Category Archives: Pasta

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Colatura di Alici

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Colatura di Alici

This is a quick sauce and should be ready in about the time it takes to make the pasta. Don’t overcook it and keep the fresh taste of the tomatoes. Simple ingredients and yet the result is a complex flavor. Colatura di Alici is an Italian fish sauce similar to the ancient Roman and Greek garum.

(you can buy colatura di alici on-line)

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Colatura di AliciPasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Colatura di Alici

Put a pot of salted water on the stove to cook the pasta.
Lightly toast the breadcrumbs in oil a pan and set aside.
Add more oil to the pan and cook the anchovies until they dissolve. Add the garlic and cook until very lightly golden. Add the chilli and cook briefly. Then add cherry tomatoes and capers.Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Colatura di Alici
When the pasta is almost done move it from the pot to the pan, adding a bit of  the pasta water to the sauce. Mix the pasta with the sauce adding water from the pot as necessary.Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Colatura di Alici
When almost done, add the colatura di alici, breadcrumbs, and chopped parsley and blend. Taste for seasoning.  Anchovies and colature di alici can be salty and you may not need any more salt. No cheese on this one.Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Colatura di Alici

 

If you have lots of cherry or grape tomatoes to cut in half, here’s a simple and quick way to do it instead of cutting them one at a time.

(sorry about the siren in the background – we live in New York City and didn’t notice)


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Pasta with Sausage Meat and Ricotta

Pasta with Sausage Meat and Ricotta
This is a quick and easy meal. I remember when my mother first made it. I unexpectedly came home with a friend at lunch time. This is what she fed us, made with a few things she happened to have on hand. A delicious cream sauce with only four ingredients. You really don’t need anything more, but I suppose that if you want to complicate it you can add garlic or onions or some other spices. What I like about cooking with sausage meat is that the butcher does all the work –  grinding and spicing.Pasta with Sausage Meat and Ricotta

Pasta with Sausage Meat and Ricotta

Put up a pot of water for the pasta. Fry the sausage meat in olive oil. You don’t need any garlic, onions or salt & pepper. The spice from the sausage is enough. When it’s lightly browned add a cup of the pasta water and the ricotta and blend. Throw in a good handful of chopped basil and stir. My mother sometimes used peas instead of basil.

Pasta with Sausage Meat and Ricotta

When the pasta is almost done add it to the sauce and stir to coat it. If it’s too dry add a little more pasta water. Serve it with some freshly chopped basil. See, I told you it was quick and easy.

Pasta with Sausage Meat and Ricotta


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Spaghetti with Lemon and Mushrooms

Spaghetti with Lemon and Mushrooms
This is quick, easy, inexpensive and nutritious, vegan too if you don’t use cheese. Put a pot of water on the stove and by the time the pasta is done, you’ll be ready to eat.Spaghetti with Lemon and Mushrooms

Spaghetti with Lemon and Mushrooms

Slice the mushrooms as thinly as possible. Use a mandolin if you have one. Put them in a large serving bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon (no pith) and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Either use a press or very finely chop the garlic and add it to the mushrooms. Mix thoroughly and be sure all of the mushrooms are coated with lemon juice.  Add the parsley, salt, black and red pepper and oil and mix again. Let the mushroom mixture sit while you make the pasta or for at least 15 minutes.Spaghetti with Lemon and Mushrooms
You got it, the mushrooms will not be cooked. The salt and acid in the lemon juice are all they’ll need, sort of like ceviche.
When the spaghetti is done to your taste, drain it and add it to the serving bowl with the mushroom mixture, retaining some of the cooking water. Mix well and if it’s to dry add some of the reserved cooking water. Serve with the parmigiana.Spaghetti with Lemon and Mushrooms

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Calabrese Pork Ragu

Calabrese Pork Ragu
Here’s another one Grandma made for my Calabrese grandfather – Calabrese Pork Ragu. It doesn’t take too long to prepare but there’s three hours of simmering so plan ahead. It’s so thick and meaty you can almost eat it as a stew without the pasta.

Calabrese Pork Ragu

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and add the sausage. Break it up and brown it. Add the pork, mix and brown it.

While the meat is browning, finely chop onion, carrot, celery, garlic and ¼ cup of the parsley.

When the meat is done remove it, leaving the liquid in the pot.

Add the vegetable mixture to the pot with the oregano and red pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.

Calabrese Pork Ragu

Add the tomato paste and wine. Cook, deglazing the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.

Add the browned meat, crushed tomatoes, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours, adding more water as needed to keep meat covered with the sauce. Check for seasoning.

Calabrese Pork Ragu
After 3 hours of simmering.

Cook pasta reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce; stir to coat. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Stir, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed. Serve with grated cheese.

Calabrese Pork Ragu

Calabrese Pork Ragu


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Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma
This is a Sicilian recipe that my Aunt Lena, who married a Sicilian, used to make. She called it simply “rigatoni with eggplant.” I didn’t learn that it was formally known as “Pasta alla Norma” until I was an adult. It was named for the heroine in Bellini’s Norma.

* Ricotta salata comes in 2 types – fresh for eating and dry for grating. If you can’t get it, use parmigiana.

Slice the eggplant into about 1/2-inch rounds (don’t peel it). Salt and drain it. Cook it over medium-high heat in a pot, in olive oil adding more oil as needed. Do it in batches so it doesn’t crowd. Cook it until it’s browned and soft. Don’t worry about a few burnt edges – that adds flavor. Move it to a plate and don’t drain it or put it on paper towels.

Meanwhile, put up a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
Using the same pot the eggplant was cooked in, add some oil and on medium heat fry garlic with salt, black pepper and red pepper. After a few minutes when the garlic begins to color, add the tomatoes. Cook for about 20-25 minutes on medium. Taste for seasoning.
Cook the pasta until almost done. Cut the eggplant into approximately 1-inch pieces (they’ll be irregularly shaped and that’s OK) and add to the tomato sauce.

Gently stir it in. Drain the almost cooked pasta (saving a cup of pasta water in case the sauce is too dry) and toss it with the sauce. Again, gently, so the eggplant doesn’t break up too much. Serve with freshly grated  ricotta salada.


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Calabrese Pasta

Calabrese Pasta
My Salernitano grandmother used to make this for my Calabrese grandfather. I don’t really know if this was something that was common in Calabria or simply a dish that he liked. When my mother made it, she said we were having Calabrese pasta and that’s what I still call it.
I list precise measurments for ingredients but it’s not written in stone. If you like olives, add more. If you don’t like capers, use less. You get the idea.

 

This is a very quick sauce so put up the pasta water before you start anything else.

Lightly sauté the anchovies, olives, capers and garlic in olive oil.


When the anchovies dissolve and the garlic begins to turn golden, add the tuna, tomatoes, pepper and oregano. Taste for seasoning and let it simmer for no more than 8-10 minutes to keep a fresh taste.


Toss the pasta in the sauce and serve with grated cheese (no cheese if you use the tuna).


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Pasta All ‘Amatriciana with Veal

Pasta All ‘Amatriciana with Veal
Some people say Amatriciana can only be made with guanciale and served over bucatini pasta. Sometimes I make it with guanciale, sometimes with pancetta and this time I used porcetta. And I never serve it with bucatini. I find bucatini unmanageable. It has a mind of its own when you twirl it on your fork and it inevitably spots your shirt with sauce. So, I’m using short fusilli.

 

Pasta All ‘Amatriciana with Veal

Drain a can of plum tomatoes and cut them length-wise into ½ in. strips. Save the liquid from the can. In a frying pan, sauté porcetta until brown and crisp and remove. Brown the veal in the porcetta fat and remove it.


Lightly sauté the sliced onions in oil and add the chopped garlic in a pot. Don’t brown. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste.  Add the tomatoes to the onions in the pot.


Don’t add the tomato liquid until the tomatoes fry for a bit. Then add the liquid, porcetta and veal to the pot. Deglaze (the Le Fond post tells you all about deglazing ) the pan that you browned the porcetta and veal in with ½ cup each of water and red wine and add to the sauce in the pot. Stir it and bring it to a boil. Taste for seasoning. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Now’s the time to make the pasta. Cook it until almost done. Remove the veal from the sauce and stir in the pasta to finish cooking it in the sauce. Serve with grated cheese, maybe Pecorino Romano if you have it. Amatriciana should have a little heat to it so add lots of black or red pepper.


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Short Rib Pasta Sauce

Short Rib Pasta Sauce

This is a hearty, rich pasta sauce. It may need a long time to simmer but it’s worth the wait.

short-rib-sauce

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Season ribs with salt and pepper and allow them to come to room temperature. Deeply brown the ribs on all sides and remove from pot.

Sweat 1 cup trinity and the garlic. Add the plum tomatoes, beef broth, bay leaves and return beef to pot.  Simmer 2 1/2 hours.

Remove beef, remove bones, shred meat and remove any fat. Put the shredded beef back in sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve with your choice of pasta and Parmigiana cheese.


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* Trinity – Equal parts chopped carrots, onions and celery – for this recipe it’s 1/3 cup of each. Cook on a low heat until veggies soften.


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Pasta with Anchovies and Cherry Tomatoes

Pasta with Anchovies and Cherry Tomatoes

cherry-tom-sauce

This is a quick one so start by putting about 4 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of salt up to boil.

pasta-with-anchovies-and-cherry-tomatoes

Heat the oil and add garlic. Simmer on low heat until very lightly browned. Add the dried red peppers* and anchovies. Stir until the anchovies are dissolved. Add the cherry tomatoes and salt and black pepper.

Simmer until the tomatoes release their juices and soften. It should be ready when pasta is done. Add some of the pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce.


dried-pep-2

*If you don’t have dried red peppers and don’t have time to make them, use some standard red pepper flakes.


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Pasta with Cauliflower and Pancetta

Pasta with Cauliflower and Pancetta

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A simple cucina povera recipe – pasta and cauliflower – dressed up with pancetta, breadcrumbs, walnuts and currents. A friend got me this recipe from his grandmother. She was born in Trapani so I’m assuming that’s where this recipe originated. Her instructions were ‘some’ of this, ‘enough’ of that and ‘cook it until it’s done.’ I tried it a few times and this is what I came up with. (Bacon is not a substitute for pancetta. It’s too smokey. If you don’t have pancetta, use some diced pork or no meat at all.)

Pasta with Cauliflower and Pancetta

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Soak the currents in warm water for 15 minutes. Sauté pancetta until it starts to brown then add breadcrumbs. Mix and brown crumbs, then add walnuts and drained currents. Mix and simmer for a few minutes, then remove and wipe out pan.20160813_182117

Add oil to pan and put in cauliflower, salt and pepper, on medium heat. Cook until lightly browned on all sides and softened.20160813_183254

In a pot, sauté onion in oil, salt and pepper. When the onion is softened and transparent, add the stock. When it comes to a boil add the pasta and when it’s almost done add the cauliflower. Deglaze the cauliflower pan with the wine (or water) and add that to the pot. Stir and simmer for a few minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and pancetta-bread crumb mix and stir. It’s ready to serve.20160813_185429

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Made with orange cauliflower – tastes the same but has an new look.

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