If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I encourage you to not limit yourself to using just grated Parmigiana or Loccatelli type cheese on your pasta. For this recipe it’s grated fresh horse radish. The use of ground walnuts and breadcrumbs in the sauce and a good sprinkle of grated horse radish is typical of Basilicata, where my paternal grandparents are from. Fresh horse radish is common in Basilicata but not so much in New York expect around Passover. It’s the bitter herb in the Seder meal that represents the bitterness of slavery.
Heat the oil in a large pot and cook the onions on medium low. Add one tablespoon of tomato paste, salt, black, and red pepper. Cook low and slow until the onions are soft and translucent – don’t brown. The onions add a little sweetness to the sauce which is a nice counterpoint to the horse radish.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste to check for seasoning. If you want a meat sauce, now is the time to add some nicely browned sausage or braciole.
Cook the pasta until almost done, drain it and add it to the sauce where it will finish cooking. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water if the sauce is too dry. Pour in the walnuts and breadcrumbs, stir to thoroughly combine and serve. This is still a very good sauce even if you don’t have fresh horse radish.
Cut about an inch of the end of the horse radish and remove some of the bark with a potato peeler. Pass the horse radish and a grater at the table and top each dish with a good amount of horse radish. Sometimes when the horseradish hits the hot steamy pasta it can make your eyes tear. Don’t let it bother you.
Cover the cut end of the horse radish with some foil and refrigerate.
Swiss chard pasta – it’s just a few simple ingredients and easy to prepare.
¼ cup olive oil
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb. Swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 lb. short pasta
¼ cup Parmigiana cheese
Start a pot of salted boiling water. You’ll use this for both the Swiss chard and then for the pasta. While the water is heating, lightly sauté the garlic in oil in a pan with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat.
When the water in the pot comes to a boil, add the Swiss chard, and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the Swiss chard and without draining it, place it right in a blender. Add the sautéed garlic and oil. Blend until it’s a fine thick puree. Check for seasoning.
Add the pasta to the still boiling water and cook until almost done. Drain it, saving one cup of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot. Stir in the Swiss chard sauce and coat the pasta while it finishes cooking. Add more of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.
Not too many ingredients but there’s a lot more work to this recipe than you might expect for a dish of pasta. I hope you think it’s worth it. Zucchini Pasta Glassata means glazed zucchini pasta. In the glassata cooking technique the pasta is partially cooked, as usual, in salted water but it’s finished in the liquid from a vegetable, in this case zucchini. It can also be made with beets or carrots but you’ll need a juicer for them.
4 or 5 zucchini depending on size
16 oz. pasta – your choice
¼ cup olive oil
2 thinly sliced cloves of garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. Parmigiana
Place a dishtowel in a large bowl and grate the zucchini on the mid-sized holes of a box grater. Squeeze the liquid out of the towel into the bowl. You need one cup of liquid. Set aside the shredded zucchini and its liquid. You can freeze and save any extra.
Cook the pasta as usual in salted water, but only for half the time recommended on the package. Reserve one cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
In the now empty pasta pot, bring the cup of zucchini liquid to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil and lightly sauté the garlic, salt and pepper. Don’t brown it. Add 2 cups of the shredded zucchini and cook on medium for 8-10 minutes and add it to the pasta.
If it seems too dry, add some or all of the reserved pasta water. Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmigiana. Serve with additional grated cheese.
Pasta e Ceci stew is a Roman recipe. It’s sort of a vegetable stew with pasta. You can use any kind of greens you like – Swiss chard, escarole, even kale. I’m using a mix of arugula and spinach.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
Salt, black and red pepper to taste
2 tsps. finely chopped rosemary
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 – 15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed
1 cup ditalini
4 cups chopped greens
Lightly sauté the onion in oil in a large pot. Season with salt and pepper. When the onion starts to soften add the garlic and rosemary. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chick peas. Crush about a half cup of the chickpeas with a spoon to thicken the stew.
Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stirring often. Ditalini has a way of sticking to the bottom of the pot . After the pasta absorbs the water you may want to add some more if you’d like it soupier. Add the greens and stir. They’ll cook in a minute. Serve with grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
“. . . Less than 24 hours after Italy announced a COVID19 outbreak in Lombardia in Northern Italy, photos of barren Italian supermarket shelves were posted on Twitter. The subject of the social media buzz centered around one of Italy’s most favorite topics: pasta. Lonely bags of smooth penne pasta, penne lisce, remained perched on ravaged aisles. All of the penne rigate, ridged penne, was gone. . . “
An Italian Tweet – Continuo a guardare questa foto fatta prima al supermercato e penso al fatto che il grande sconfitto da questo virus sono le penne lisce che agli italiani fanno cagare pure quando sono presi dal panico e si preparano all’apocalisse.
Translation – “I keep looking at this photo I took earlier in the supermarket, and I think the biggest loser of this virus is penne lisce. Italians think it’s shit, even as they panic and prepare for the apocalypse.”
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So, when you can’t get fresh clams, use canned. You don’t need fresh clams for this one. Clam sauce and linguine traditionally go together but if you can’t get linguine use whatever pasta you like.
¼ cup olive oil and more for drizzling 3 cloves of garlic, sliced Salt, black and red pepper 1 can of clams 1 bottle of clam broth ½ half cup of chopped parsley divided 1 lb. linguine
Heat the oil in another pot on medium heat and add the garlic, salt and pepper. Give the garlic a few minutes to flavor the oil. Strain the canned clams, saving the liquid and add them to the pot. Sauté for a few minutes, add half the parsley and the liquid from the canned clams and the bottle of clam broth. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
When the pasta is almost done add it to the pot with the sauce to finish cooking. Remove it to a serving dish, sprinkle with the rest of the chopped parsley and drizzle it with some olive oil. Most Italians agree that’s it’s a mortal sin to put cheese on seafood.
In Italian its pasta e fagioli – that means “pasta and beans.” Some people call it pasta fazool. Both pronunciations are correct. In the Neapolitan dialect its pasta e fasule, often spelled pasta fazool in America.
In a large pot, cook the trinity in oil. When the vegetables are soft, add the beans and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered for 2 hours.
Add salt and pepper, the cherry tomatoes, 2 more cups of water, and the pasta. If necessary, add more water as the pasta cooks. When the pasta is almost done, throw in a couple of hands full of arugula or spinach. I’m using a mix of both. When the greens whilt, it’s ready to serve.
I think it’s tastier reheated the next day. Just add some water to the pot and stir over a low flame.
A pound of beans and a pound of pasta can rally grow as they cook. You might to cut those 2 ingredients in half.
Here’s a simple dish. It’s easy to make with just a few easy to get ingredients.
broccoli cut into florets
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves sliced garlic
1 lb. pasta (your choice)
Salt and black pepper
Place the broccoli in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove the broccoli to a bowl and withthe water continuing to boil, add the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, in another pot lightly sauté the garlic in the oil and then toss the broccoli, thoroughly coating it with the oil. Season with the salt and pepper.
When the pasta is almost done remove it from the water and add it to the broccoli, garlic, oil mix to finish cooking. Add some of the pasta water and a sprinkle of oil, stir and serve with grated Parmesan cheese if you like. This recipe also works with cauliflower instead of broccoli.
An interesting recipe – turmeric pasta – from Sue Li in the New York Times. I think of turmeric as a typically Indian ingredient but it really works with pasta. I made a couple of changes to her recipe replacing butter with olive oil and heavy cream with ricotta. You can do it either way.
1 lb. small pasta
Olive oil for frying
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½ tsps. Turmeric
1 cup ricotta
1 cup Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp. chopped parsley
Start a pot of salted water to cook the pasta. Drain the pasta when done, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.
Saute the onion and garlic in oil in a pot. When the onion is soft add the turmeric and stir it into the onions for about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the ricotta and bring to a simmer. Stir in the Parmesan and add enough of the pasta water (you may not need all of it) to thin to a sauce consistency. Add the cooked pasta and parsley, blend and serve with additional cheese.
I came across an interesting pasta article by Chris Colin, originally published in Saveur and republished in Pocket – On the Hunt for the World’s Rarest Pasta.
On the Hunt for the World’s Rarest Pasta
“Delicate and impossible to replicate, su filindeu (or the “threads of God”) is a pasta made of hundreds of tiny strands by a single woman in a hillside town in Sardinia. She’ll make it for you too—if you’re willing to walk 20 miles overnight.”