Category Archives: Pasta

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.

Baked Pasta with Peas

Baked Pasta with Peas

Baked pasta is typically made with red sauce. Baked pasta with peas is white and green with no mozzarella.

Baked Pasta with Peas

Baked Pasta with Peas

Butter 9” spring loaded pan and dust with Parmesan.
Sauce – Melt ½ stick of butter in a pot and add ¼ cup of flour and whisk until blended.  Slowly whisk in quart of milk and bring to a simmer.  Cook until thickened – whisk occasionally.  Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup Fontina and 1 cup Parmesan.  Add egg, whisk and taste for seasoning.  Cover & keep warm.
Place rack in upper 1/3 of 375o oven.

Baked Pasta with Peas

Put ½ of pasta mix into 9“pan and dot with ½ of the ricotta.  Put the rest of the pasta in the pan and dot with remaining ricotta and sprinkle with ¼ cup of Parmesan.
Bake for 30 min. then sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan and bake for another 10 minutes.  Place under broiler, watching closely, for a minute or so to brown top.
Let it rest for 30 minutes before removing from pan so cheese can harden.  Cut into wedges and sprinkle with parsley and mint.

Baked Pasta with Peas


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Short Ribs and Diced Tomato Sauce

(short ribs or flanken are beef ribs cut across the bone)

 

Short Ribs and Diced Tomato Sauce

This sauce has an intense flavor for two reasons – first, the ribs with their collagen and marrow and second, the fond created by the meat and then the onions and tomatoes. Le fond is French for the caramelized bits of food that stick to the bottom of the pan. There’s even a very good restaurant by the name Le Fond. Deglazing removes the fond and reincorporates its flavors back into the sauce.

Short Ribs and Diced Tomatoes Sauce

Short Ribs and Diced Tomatoes Sauce

Bring the ribs to room temperature and cut into pieces. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and brown in olive oil. Remove and set aside A fond should be beginning to form.
Add chopped onion to pan and sauté on low-medium heat. Add tomato paste and stir and coat the onions. Cook until softened and translucent.
Short Ribs and Diced Tomatoes Sauce

Add diced tomatoes and simmer uncovered on medium until almost dry (more fond is formed). Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan.Short Ribs and Diced Tomatoes Sauce

That’s not burnt – it’s fond


Add enough pasta water to thin the sauce. Return the meat, add the bay leaf and simmer on low for fifteen minutes.
Short Ribs and Diced Tomatoes Sauce

           after deglazing with wine                  after thinning with pasta water

Cook the pasta until almost done, drain and add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Serve with grated Parmigiana.Short Ribs and Diced Tomato Sauce
Short Ribs and Diced Tomato Sauce

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Pasta Inchiummata 

Pasta Inchiummata  (pasta with pine nuts, currants and tomatoes)

With currants, nuts and mint pasta inchiummata  might seem like dessert but it’s very hardy Sicilian main course. It doesn’t take long to make and there’s no simmering.

Soak the currants in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Drain and discard the water; set the currants aside.  In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil and red pepper. Stir in the garlic,  pine nuts and currants. Cook for 3 minutes.pasta inchiummata

garlic, pine nuts, currants


Add the diced tomatoes, basil, parsley, mint, salt and pepper, and then cook for 3 more minutes.pasta inchiummata

tomatoes, basil, parsley, mint


Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Cook until the pasta is coated with the sauce, about 2 to 3 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt and black pepper. Toss the pasta in the pan with the bread crumbs and serve.

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Pasta Rosso con Broccoli

Pasta Rosso con Broccoli (Red Wine Pasta with Broccoli)

This recipe is a bit complicated, takes some time and can be expensive depending on the wine you use but it’s very pretty, tastes great and is worth the trouble. It’s also very spicy but it’s up to you how far you want to go with the pepperoncini. (if you don’t have whole dried pepperoncini, use dried red pepper flakes)Pasta Rosso con Broccoli

The pasta –

Pasta Rosso con Broccoli

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 crumbled dried pepperoncini (stem, seeds and core removed)
  • 3 or 4 anchovies
  • 1 bottle red wine (a moderately priced Chianti would work)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb short pasta
  1. In one pot heat oil, garlic, pepperoncini and anchovies. Add 3 cups of  wine and salt.
  2. In another pot add pasta to salted boiling water and cook for 2 minutes after it starts to boil again. Drain and add to pot with wine and bring to boil. Keep stirring until wine is absorbed  and the pasta turns red– about 8-10 minutes. Add more wine as needed.

 The pepperoncini –Pasta Rosso con Broccoli
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 5 or 6 crumbled dried pepperoncini (stem, seeds and core removed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Heat the oil, add the garlic and pepperoncini. Keep the heat low and don’t burn it.
  2. When the peppers and garlic darken a little put everything, including the oil in a food processor (or mortar and pestle) with a teaspoon of salt and grind until it’s a paste.
  3. Put it back in the pan and heat until it dries.

The broccoli –

Pasta Rosso con Broccoli

  • 1 head of broccoli cut into florets
  • ¼ olive oil
  • 1 clove thinly sliced garlic
  1. Boil broccoli for about 5 minutes. Drain and toss over medium heat with garlic and oil.
  2. Turn off the heat, add half of the pepperoncini paste and stir.  If it’s too dry add more oil.

Put it all together –
  1. Pour the broccoli and pepperoncini mixture over the pasta and add a little of the pasta cooking water to make it moist.
  2. Serve with extra pepperoncini paste.

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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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