Category Archives: Pasta

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms

I adapted this from I recipe by Rhonda Carano that I saw in a Ferrari-Carano wine ad. It works for me.

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms

Instructions:

In a small pot, heat chicken broth to a boil. Add porcini mushrooms and take it off the stove.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the garlic. Remove the casings from the sausages, break them up and cook until lightly browned.

Remove porcini mushrooms from broth and reserve the liquid. Chop mushrooms and add them to skillet with rest of the ingredients. Add the Marsala, stir and deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes and the reserved chicken/mushroom broth. Add oregano, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms

Cook the pasta until it’s almost done. Strain it and add it to the pan where the sauce is cooking. Remove bay leaf and turn off the heat. If necessary, add some pasta cooking water to thin the sauce. Add cheese and chopped parsley, blend and serve

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms


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Filomena’s Fettuccine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

Filomena’s Fettuccine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

Filomena’s Fettucine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Anchovy Tomato Sauce that I got from a pizzeria chef I know.  I thought it was pretty good. A friend of mine showed it to his Sicilian grandmother who, to put it mildly, didn’t approve of it. The differences in the two recipes don’t seem too extreme to me but to her, there’s a world of difference. Out of respect for Nona Filomena, I’m posting her recipe. I tried them both and prefer Nona’s.Filomena’s Fettucine with Alici and Tomato Sauce
Filomena didn’t exactly give me a breakdown of ingredients and preparation so I’ll paraphrase our phone conversation and fill in a few blanks.

Filomena’s Fettucine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

“You start with a small can of alici (anchovies) in a frying pan with some oil (olive). When they start to dissolve, put in your garlic (2 cloves) finely chopped so you don’t mistake it for a pinole. You cook that a little bit (5 minutes)and then put in a small can of paste (6 oz.). Stir it until it absorbs the oil and then a little of the pasta water to thin it, but not too much. Put in the pinoles (pine nuts) and currants (about 1/3 cup each). Now, a little sugar (two teaspoons) to cut the acid of the tomatoes. Let it cook until it’s done (about 20 minutes) and maybe if you need it, a little more pasta water. You should taste it then. There’s probably enough salt from the alici but if you like it salty you might want more. No cheese with this but you put a bowl of fried breadcrumbs on the table and people help themselves.”
A few of Nona Filomena’s comments:
  • No parsley in this sauce. It doesn’t belong.
  • You make this with fettuccine. No other kind of pasta.
  • You don’t put the toasted breadcrumbs in the sauce as it’s cooking because they get soggy. You want them crisp.
  • It’s all right to finish cooking the fettuccine in the sauce but if you’re making two or three pounds when the whole family is coming, you don’t have to do that.
  • No red pepper in this – just black.

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Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

I adapted this from Michele Becci’s recipe. You can serve it hot or cold as a pasta salad.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Put a pot of water on the stove for the pasta.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the walnut pieces to the hot, dry pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the walnuts are toasted and brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: combine the arugula, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until smooth.  Add in the Parmesan and lemon juice. Pulse until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain pasta. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking. Add in the lemon zest. Toss.

Add the pesto into the pasta and stir to incorporate. If too dry, add a little of the pasta water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in a few handfuls of arugula and top with the toasted walnut pieces. Finish with a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.Arugula Pesto


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Anchovy Tomato Sauce

Anchovy Tomato Sauce – (pasta con acchiughe e pomadoro)

 

I’m not going to try to convince anyone who doesn’t like anchovies to eat them. Just keep in mind that anchovies dissolved in sauce like this aren’t the same a eating them directly from the can. Give it a try – you might like it. I called it ????? Tomato Sauce in the subscriber email so you anchovy haters wouldn’t ignore it.

*toasted breadcrumbs

Put up a pot of water for the 1 lb. of pasta – spaghetti or perciatelli is good with this sauce.


Put the anchovies and oil from the can into a large pan with an additional ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the garlic, pepper and half of the parsley and sauté on a low heat until the anchovies dissolve.

Add tomato paste and after it’s blended in with the garlic and oil and caramelized, add the water. Blend and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Check for seasoning – the anchovies are salty so you shouldn’t need any more salt.


When the pasta is almost done add it to the pan with the sauce to finish cooking. Add some pasta water to thin the sauce. Mix in the coloratura di alici, half of the breadcrumbs and remaining parsley just before serving. Serve with the remaining breadcrumbs.


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The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

This is the simplest pasta sauce I can think of. Just 3 basic ingredients – tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. You can use any kind of ripe fresh tomatoes or a 28 oz. can of San Marzanno tomatoes would work too.
These 3 ingredients plus pasta, water, salt and pepper make a meal. You can build on it with other ingredients. You can simply add some grated parmigiana, torn basil leaves and a few drops of olive oil when serving. Maybe brown some sausage or saute a few shrimp in the pan before you add the tomatoes then simmer them in the sauce. There are lots of possibilities.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

Preparation:
Put on a pot of water for the pasta.
Start the sauce  by lightly sauteing the garlic in the oil until it’s pale orange, not brown. I prefer it cut into large pieces but do it any way you like. Use a low heat and take your time to flavor the oil. Add salt, black and red pepper depending on your taste. (You can stop right there if you want. In addition to being the base for lots of things, seasoned garlic and oil is all you need for a standard dish – PASTA AGLIO E OLIO.)
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
Add the tomatoes. They can be just roughly chopped alla rustica, or cored, skinned and de-seeded, depending on how much time you have. Let them simmer while the pasta water comes to a boil. As they soften you can break them up with the back of a wooden spoon.
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
When the pound of pasta is almost done, drain  it and add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Instead of absorbing water the pasta can absorb some of the sauce. Add a bit of the pasta water to loosen the sauce.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

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Macaroni and Beans

Allesandro Castelli-Italian Peasants by a Cottage

 

Macaroni and Beans

Macaroni and Beans

I don’t always do real La Cucina Povera (the cooking of the poor) recipes but this time it’s one of the best – macaroni and beans. What could be a less expensive meal for a family?  And the best part about it is that it’s delicious. Every weekday night my mother would start dinner with one of her mother’s recipes, a kind of macaroni and “something,” maybe beans, lentils, cecis (chick peas), broccoli, cauliflower and then she’d serve the main course. These macaroni dishes were terrific but she  never considered them “good enough” to serve to guests.

So here’s the family recipe for Macaroni and Beans.

Macaroni and Beans

Macaroni and Beans

Start a pot of salted water for the macaroni.

Saute the onion slowly over low heat in oil. Don’t brown. Season with salt, black and red pepper. Add the tomato paste, parsley and blend. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and let this continue to simmer on a low heat as the pasta cooks.

Macaroni and Beans

When the pasta is almost done add add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Add the beans and some of the pasta water so it has a somewhat soupy consistency. Check for seasoning and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and,if you like, some grated cheese or toasted bread crumbs.


 

Collard Greens Italian Style

Collard Greens Italian Style

Bridget and I were at a farmer’s market and got some collard greens. We were going to make them Southern style and looked for someone selling smoked ham hocks. Instead we found Italian sausages and changed our plans. Broccoli rabe, sausage and pasta is a traditional Southern Italian dish. So why not mix-up Southern USA and Southern Italy. We replaced the broccoli rape with collards and just because we were being adventurous anyway we added some cannellini beans. Here’s how we did it.

Collard Greens Italian Style

Cleaning collard greens – Cut out and discard the stems. Stack the 2 remaining pieces. Cut the stack into 1 inch strips and wash them.

Collard Greens Italian Style

Put up a pot of water for pasta.
Cut the sausage into 1 inch pieces. Brown in oil in a large pot.Collard Greens Italian Style
Remove sausage and add garlic and beans. Cook for a few minutes and remove. Deglaze the pot with the wine.
Add the greens to the pot with 1 cup of water. Cook covered on medium high until they wilt, about 10 minutes. Add the almost cooked pasta and ¼ cup of cheese and blend. Return the sausage and beans to the  pot. Add more pasta water if necessary to keep it a  little soupy and serve.

Collard Greens Italian Style


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Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

This is a quick sauce that can be made in the time it takes to cook the pasta. If you buy fresh shrimp use their shells to make a simple stock. If not, Better Than Bouillon is a good substitute.

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

Start a pot of water for the pasta.

Clean shrimp and thoroughly dry them so they don’t steam. Season with salt and black pepper. Boil the shells in a cup of water and save it. (* If you don’t have shells substitute  chicken, vegetable or fish stock. ) Lightly sauté shrimp in olive oil until lightly pink and remove. Add the anchovy and cook until it dissolves then sweat the onion and garlic. Add the tomato paste and blend.

Pour in the white wine and burn off the alcohol. Add ½ the stock and return the shrimps to the pan.

Stir in the breadcrumbs and sprinkle with parsley.

When the pasta is almost done add it to the sauce with the rest of the stock and finish cooking. if it’s too dry add some of the pasta water.

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce


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Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Red Rock Shrimp  Credit: D.D.Deheyn and M.C.Allen


Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Here’s my take on Nick Stellino‘s pasta with shrimp and paprika.

 

Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Pasta with Shrimp and PaprikaPut up a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the salt and red and black pepper.  add the garlic and parsley and cook for a few minutes – don’t burn the garlic.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the shrimp and paprika. Stir together and cook until the shrimp starts to color.Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Add the wine and stir and simmer simmering over medium heat, until the wine reduces.

Add the butter and stir until it melts. Drain the almost cooked pasta. add it to the sauce and pour in the stock. Turn off the heat add the optional parsley, stir to combine and serve.Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika


 

Tomato and Anchovy Butter Sauce

Tomato and Anchovy Butter SauceTomato and Anchovy Butter Sauce

My mother would have let the family starve before she’d combine butter instead of olive oil with tomatoes for pasta sauce. Tomato and Anchovy Butter Sauce? I try to keep an open mind. Here’s my cover of Bon Appetit’s recipe and it’s not bad at all.

 

Tomato and Anchovy Butter Sauce

Tomato and Anchovy Butter Sauce

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
Lightly cook the anchovies and garlic in the melted butter until the anchovies dissolve. Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften.Tomato and Anchovy Butter Sauce
When the pasta is almost done add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Add the chopped herbs and mix just before serving.