Category Archives: Pasta

Pasta al Pomodoro Light

Pasta al Pomodoro Light

Pasta al Pomodoro Light is adapted from an Eric Kim’s recipe in the New York Times. This sauce is delicate and subtle. Its appearance is very plain although very tasty. You can dress it up with a sprinkle of parsley and some grated Parmigiana cheese if you’d like.

Pasta al Pomodoro Light

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 lbs. plumb tomatoes roughly chopped
  • Salt and black pepper.
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
Lightly sauté the sliced garlic for 5 minutes in a large pot. Don’t brown it. Add the tomatoes and raise the heat to medium high. Stir until the tomatoes start to release their liquid and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.Pasta al Pomodoro Light

Put the cooked tomatoes a few spoons at a time into a sieve over a bowl. Force them through with the back of a wooden spoon. You should have about 2 plus cups of sauce. Discard the tomato skins, seeds, and garlic. Pasta al Pomodoro Light

Pasta al Pomodoro Light


Leave whatever liquid is left in the pot and add enough salted water to cook the pasta. Pasta al Pomodoro Light
When the pasta is almost done drain the water and add the tomato sauce. Cook for another few minutes, tossing until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes to absorb more sauce.
Serve with parsley and grated Parmigiana.

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Basic Bolognese

Basic Bolognese

Different people make Bolognese differently. My recipe is for basic Bolognese. I don’t used any garlic because the sofrito (carrot, onion, celery) is enough for the aromatics. Some people use pancetta, but with a mix of pork and beef it isn’t necessary. Often recipes call for chicken or beef stock but that’s not needed with a pound of chopped meat already in the sauce. Don’t be tempted to add and basil, oregano, bay leaf or any other herbs or spices. They’re not needed. On American menus you sometimes see “Spaghetti a la Bolognese.” Spaghetti should never be served with Bolognese sauce, only broad long pasta like mafalda, pappardelle, tagliatelle, fettuccine, and sometimes rigatoni.
Basic BologneseIngredients:
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 diced medium onion
  • 2 diced celery stalks
  • Olive oil
  • ½ lb. each – beef and pork
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
  • salt & black pepper to taste
Basic Bolognese
Basic BologneseDice the onion, carrot, and celery. That’s the sofrito, the base for many Italian sauces. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the sofrito to a bowl and set aside.

Basic BologneseAdd 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and brown the meat, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Return the sofrito to the pot. It’s fine if some of the meat is still a little pink.

Basic BologneseNow add the wine and deglaze the pot. Stir and cook for 5 minutes and then pour in the crushed tomatoes and 2 cups of hot water. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 hours. If the sauce gets too thick as it simmers add more water. While the sauce is simmering, start a pot of boiling water for the pasta. I’m using fettuccine. Drain the pasta when it’s done and save a cup of the pasta water.

Basic BologneseTo serve, put a sauté pan on low heat. Put some of the sauce in the pan, add some pasta, and stir with a little pasta water. Place in a dish and sprinkle with Parmigiana cheese.

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Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes

This is a simple and quick recipe similar to aglio e olio. You can make the sauce in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes has a fresh light taste so I wouldn’t recommend any cheese on this one.
Spaghetti with Cherry TomatoesIngredients:
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt, black pepper
  • Red pepper (from a pinch to a tablespoon)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
Start a pot of water for the pasta and begin to cook the pasta.
Spaghetti with Cherry TomatoesSlowly cook the garlic in the oil in a large frying pan. Add the seasoning (salt, black and red pepper) and the parsley. Stir and then add the tomatoes (half of them cut in half). Cook over a medium heat until the pasta is almost done.

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes

Add a cup of the pasta water to the sauce and then add the almost cooked pasta to finish cooking. Add additional water as necessary to keep it moist. Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes
Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes

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Spaghetti Spoon

Alberto Sordi in An American in Rome, 1954.  Spaghetti Spoon


 

 

I can’t remember how old I was when I first ate spaghetti with a fork and spoon.  I learned that technique because I grew up in America.  If I’d have grown up in Italy, I wouldn’t have been able to use the spoon because it’s considered poor etiquette.  Either way, it doesn’t matter much to me how you eat it as long as you don’t cut it with a knife.
Spaghetti Spoon

 

ITALIAN CURIOSITIES: SHOULD YOU OR SHOULD YOU NOT USE A SPOON TO EAT SPAGHETTI?

You know Italians are passionate, sometimes even too much. You just need to look at them when it comes to soccer. In the kitchen, if there is something likely to start up a heated discussion around the table – besides soccer, of course – it must be the way you eat your spaghetti (and long pasta in general) . . .

See the full spaghetti spoon article here:

Spaghetti Spoon

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Roasted Broccoli Pasta

Roasted Broccoli Pasta

I know that lots of people don’t like broccoli and this recipe is for them. Roasting it gives it a crisp flavor that makes the difference. This is adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in the New York Times.
Roasted Broccoli Pasta
Ingredients:
  • 2 ½ lbs. broccoli cut into bite sized florets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz. small pasta
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 12 oz. whole milk ricotta
Pre-heat your over to 425o.
Roasted Broccoli Pasta
In a bowl, toss the broccoli, 2 tbsp. oil, salt, black, and red pepper. Place it in a large sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes, toss and roast for another 10 minutes until edges start to lightly brown. Remove, set aside, and set the over to broil.
Cook the pasta according to package instruction, drain and set aside.
Mix together the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
In the large bowl, mix together the broccoli, cooked pasta, and ricotta. Add the Parmesan mix and combine.Roasted Broccoli Pasta
Spread the pasta and broccoli evenly in the sheet pan, drizzle with oil and broil for 2 to 4 minutes until pasta is lightly crisped and serve.Roasted Broccoli Pasta

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Baked Ditalini

BAKED DITALINI

 

This baked ditalini (Budino di Ditalini) is adapted from Lydia Bastianich’s recipe.

 

Ditale in Italian means “thimble,” and hence the name of this delightful little tubular pasta. It is great in soups, but even better when baked. This dish is like a pasta pudding—a savory dish with all the luxury of dessert.

– Lydia

 

Baked Ditalini
Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. dried breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus more for the pot
  • 1 lb. ditalini
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1½ cups grated Parmigiano
Preheat the oven to 350o and butter a 4 quart rectangular baking dish. Coat it with the breadcrumbs, tapping out any excess.
Baked Ditalini

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the ditalini, and cook until al dente, drain and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and salt. Add the cream and milk slowly and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pasta, peas, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. Baked Ditalini


Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining half cup of grated cheese. Bake until the custard is set about 35 – 40 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.Baked Ditalini

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Pasta cu Anciova

 

Pasta cu Anciova

Pasta cu Anciova

Here’s another tinned fish recipe. I think this one might be a family recipe since I’ve never seen anything like it except when my friend Vinnie’s Sicilian grandmother made it. The first time I had it I was in my teens and eating dinner at Vinnie’s . It seemed strange to me then compared to my mother’s tomato sauce.  But as I grew older, I often asked Vinnie’s grandmother to make it. There are some intense flavors here and even if you aren’t crazy about anchovies (anciova in Siciliànu), you should give this a try.
Pasta cu Anciova
Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cans of anchovies packed in olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • Red pepper to taste
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • ½ cup chopped parsley divided
  • 1 cup unseasoned toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. pasta – perciatelli, bucatini,  or spaghetti

Start a pot of water for the pasta.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat. Empty the cans of anchovies with the oil they’re packed in, into the pan. Add the sliced garlic, stir, and simmer on low for 8 minutes. The anchovies will eventually dissolve so don’t worry about breaking them up.
Pasta cu Anciova

Add the tomato paste, raise the heat, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups of water and half of the parsley, blend, cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
Pasta cu Anciova

While the sauce is simmering cook the pasta until almost done. Using tongs put the pasta in the sauce to finish cooking. Stir in the rest of the parsley and serve. Pass the toasted breadcrumbs to be sprinkled on the pasta.Pasta cu Anciova

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Tinned Fish

Tinned Fish

It’s been around for a long time but suddenly it’s become a thing – tinned fish. When I was growing up if I wanted a snack, I could always open a can of sardines, squid, or tuna. It’s a very old way of preserving food. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and isn’t perishable until it’s opened.

Here’s an informative post from Epicurious

The Can of Food That Makes Dinner Parties Delicious, Easy, and Insanely Fast

The easiest dinner party you’ll ever throw is the one where all you do is make a few salads, open a few tins of fish and put out a few baguettes. The reason you aren’t throwing this party already is because you think that tinned fish is cheap, acrid, odorous stuff that you’d never serve to company, much less yourself. But that line of thinking stops now. 

Click logo for full article – 

 


Tinned Fish Pasta

Here’s a recipe that works with almost any type of tinned fish. I used sardines. 

Tinned Fish PastaAdapted from Bon Appétit

Tinned Fish PastaIngredients:
  • 1 cup unseasoned toasted breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup. olive oil
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 cans sardines packed in olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. chopped capers
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. spaghetti or linguini
  • Chopped parsley for serving

Tinned Fish Pasta


Lightly sauté the garlic in olive oil in a small pan until it’s fragrant. Don’t let it brown.Tinned Fish Pasta

Put the garlic and oil it cooked in, sardines, lemon zest and juice, capers, salt, and pepper in a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl on top of a pot of boiling water to gently heat the ingredients. Remove the bowl and cook the pasta in the same boiling water.Tinned Fish Pasta

When the pasta is done add it to the bowl with 1 cup of the pasta water and the parsley. Mix and serve with a sprinkling of the toasted breadcrumbs.Tinned Fish Pasta

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Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and SausagePasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Simple ingredients and an easy preparation – this one is a classic. Whoever first put this combination together deserves a medal. You can get this in almost any Italian restaurant, hero shop and even in some pizzerias.
Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Ingredients:
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, black and red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 Italian sausages (sweet or hot) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb. short pasta
Start a pot of boiling salted water for pasta. Remove stems, cut into 2 inch pieces and wash the broccoli rabe.
Boil it in the pasta water for 8 – 10 minutes until tender. Remove and drain. Add 2 tablespoons more salt to the water and cook the pasta in the same pot until almost done.Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Fry the sausage in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until browned. Add garlic, salt, red, and black pepper and lower the heat so the garlic doesn’t burn. Cook for 5 minutes and add a half cup of pasta water and deglaze the pan. Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Add the prepared broccoli rabe and another half cup of pasta water. Blend and cook for 8 minutes. Add the drained pasta to the sausage and broccoli to finish cooking. Serve with grated Parmigiana cheese.Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

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Pasta with Mushroom Sauce

Pasta with Mushroom Sauce

Pasta with mushroom sauce is an easy recipe for a rich tasting sauce.

Pasta with Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 hot or sweet Italian sausages
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. short pasta (penne, fusilli, gemelli, etc.)
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
Pasta with Mushroom SaucePut the chicken stock and dried mushrooms in a small pot and bring it to a boil. Remove it from the stove and set it aside.
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the sausage meat and brown it.
Remove the mushrooms and save the liquid. Chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan with the onions and sausage meat.Pasta with Mushroom Sauce
Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of the mushroom/chicken stock, oregano, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes or so until it thickens. If it get’s to dry mix in some more chicken stock or pasta water.Pasta with Mushroom Sauce
While the sauce simmers cook the pasta until almost done. Drain it and add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Sprinkle with parsley and place the pasta in a serving dish. Serve with grated Parmigiana cheese.Pasta with Mushroom Sauce

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