October 5, 2022
Sauces are easy and improve the pasta flavour and texture. Pasta cooking water is added

Sauces are easy and improve the pasta flavour and texture. Pasta cooking water is added to the sauce to assist it adhere to the pasta.The Globe and Mail

A number of years in the past, I spent a while on the Barilla pasta manufacturing facility in Parma. Though it was an attention-grabbing pasta-learning expertise, I used to be extra fascinated by the debunking of a number of myths.

All of us discovered that Marco Polo introduced pasta to the West. However that’s not true. It was the Arab merchants who introduced noodles to each the Chinese language and the Italians. They have been additionally the primary to determine the right way to dry pasta, which they took with them for lengthy journeys.

In Italy, a love affair developed with pasta. Nonetheless, they owe their dried pasta to the French who manufactured the primary extruder machine within the late nineteenth century.

The importation of laborious wheat durum flour from Canada and different nations modified pasta’s course but once more. Italian pasta was initially made with smooth wheat, which produces softer, gummier pasta. When durum wheat was imported and used, the pasta grew to become firmer with a barely chewier consistency – the breakthrough texture. Al dente pasta is a reasonably new style however makes all of the distinction. The pasta turns into the foremost participant, and the sauce enhances it. Al dente pasta additionally has a decrease glycemic index than the soft-cooked selection.

Pasta guidelines

It have to be al dente, not clumped throughout cooking and by no means rinsed as a result of that’s what holds the sauce to the pasta. The water ought to have a whole lot of salt to flavour the pasta.

Sauces are easy and improve the pasta flavour and texture. Pasta cooking water is added to the sauce to assist it adhere to the pasta.

Whereas we add pasta to the sauce within the skillet in North America, you usually discover in Italy, the pasta and sauce goes right into a bowl and is blended there. The pinnacle of the family all the time bought the blending bowl because it was alleged to have probably the most flavour

Use good olive oil for sautéing and further virgin for ending. The higher the ending olive oil, the higher the dish.

Winter cherry tomatoes are often good however substitute them with canned cherry tomatoes if you happen to favor.

Ditali with Zucchini and Ricotta

Serves 2 to three as a predominant course, 4 as an appetizer

I first had this dish in Rome in a trattoria at lunch time. Though this dish requires ditali, both penne or small rigatoni work equally effectively.

  • 2 tablespoons additional virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 small zucchini or 2 giant, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper
  • ½ teaspoon purple pepper flakes or to style
  • 8 ounces ditali
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place a pan over medium warmth. Add oil and onion sautéing till softened about 2 minutes. Toss zucchini and garlic with onion and season with salt and purple pepper flakes to style. Cowl the pan.

Take away lid after about 10 minutes. Preserve cooking till zucchini browns flippantly and all of the liquid has evaporated about one other 5 to 7 minutes.

Place pasta in loads of salted boiling water. Cook dinner in line with bundle instructions or till al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water. Switch pasta to a bowl and toss with zucchini and ricotta, flippantly mashed with a fork.

Add sufficient pasta cooking water to maintain combination moist and stir in half of the Parmesan. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan simply earlier than serving.

Garganelli with Prosciutto and Peas

Serves 4 as an appetizer

This easy appetizer is conventional in Emilia Romagna the place butter is usually used as a substitute of olive oil. Substitute different quick pasta for garganelli.

  • 8 ounces (250 g) garganelli
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 ounces (90 g) prosciutto, sliced
  • 4 ounces (125 g) frozen peas
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper

Cook dinner pasta in salted boiling water. Drain when al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water. Return pasta to cooking pot. Stir in half the butter and half of Parmesan.

Place a skillet over medium warmth, whereas pasta is cooking, Add remaining butter. Add chopped onion and prosciutto. Sauté gently with out permitting it to color, about 5 minutes. Cut back warmth to medium low. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper.

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Add ¼ cup reserved pasta water to cook dinner peas. Simmer till peas are simply tender, about 2 to three minutes.

Add pasta to pan and stir collectively. If too dry add a bit extra water. Convey to the desk with remaining Parmesan served individually.

Unhealthy-Climate Pasta

Serves 4

Referred to as this since you don’t have to buy the substances as you often have them in the home. Excellent for this winter.

  • 1 small head broccoli or cauliflower (about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 24 chopped black olives (2 oz/70 g)
  • 4 tablespoons additional virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 8 anchovies, chopped, non-obligatory however good
  • ½ teaspoon purple pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Salt to style
  • 250 grams penne or different quick pasta

Divide broccoli into small florets then lower every in half lengthwise, making one facet flat. Convey a big pot of water to boil and add florets. Convey again to boil and boil 2 minutes. Drain and refresh with chilly water till chilly.

Place a small pan on low warmth and dry-toast breadcrumbs till golden brown, about 2 min. Add olives. Reserve.

Warmth oil in a skillet over low warmth. Add garlic and gently fry till it simply begins to color, about one minute. Add parsley, anchovies and purple pepper flakes crushing them with a picket spoon. Fry one other minute. Add white wine and simmer till it has evaporated, about 3 min. Toss in broccoli and stir effectively to coat.

Cook dinner pasta in a big pot of salted boiling water. Drain when al dente and toss pasta with ready sauce including a little bit pasta cooking water if too dry.

Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs and chopped olives.

Zac’s Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Chilies

Serves 4 as an appetizer

Hostaria Romana is an old style Roman trattoria. The waiters are previous execs doling out lavish bowls of antipasti with irreverence and wit. The pastas are served within the bowl that they’re blended in (known as originale) and if two of you order the identical pasta, they offer the lady the bowl and the person a soup plate, which fits to point out that Italians actually do love girls. Zac is my grandson who, when he was youthful, was robust in his pasta likes. This was his favorite.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 8 ounces (250 g) spaghetti
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Warmth oil in a skillet over medium-low warmth. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook dinner slowly for 3 to five minutes or till garlic could be very smooth. Cook dinner pasta in a big pot of well-salted boiling water till al dente. Drain, reserving a couple of half cup of the cooking water.

Toss pasta with flavoured olive oil in skillet and add 2 tablespoons or extra of cooking water. Season with salt and pepper to style. Sprinkle with parsley and grated cheese and serve instantly.

Pasta with Clams

Serves 4

Eric Reguly, the European bureau chief for The Globe and Mail, invited us for dinner in Rome. He lived in Rome as a boy, relies there now and loves all types of Roman cooking. Small Manila clams or New Zealand clams are much less sandy than littleneck clams. The tomato confit garnish is non-obligatory.

For Tomato Confit

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, lower in half and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper


  • 1 pound (500 g) linguine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon scorching chili flakes
  • 3 kilos (1.5 kg) Manila clams
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Further virgin olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350F.

Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet, lower facet up. Bake for 25 minutes or till semi-dried. Put aside.

Cook dinner pasta in a big pot of salted boiling water till al dente. Drain, reserving about half a cup of the cooking water.

Warmth olive oil in a big skillet over medium warmth. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add wine and chili flakes and produce to boil. Add clams and steam till they open, about 2 to three minutes.

Stir reserved roasted cherry tomatoes into clam sauce. Style for seasoning, including salt and pepper if wanted.

Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss collectively, including pasta cooking water if wanted. Garnish with parsley and end with a drizzle of additional virgin olive oil.

Tagliatelle with Tomato Pesto and Comte Cheese

Serves 4 as a primary course

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This easy pasta stars a primary course. Comte cheese is from Quebec or France and has a candy, nutty flavour, which fits effectively with the pasta. Use contemporary mozzarella if Comte is unavailable. It’s much less distinctive however good.

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • ¼ cup contemporary parsley
  • ¼ cup contemporary basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper
  • 8 ounces tagliatelle
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup Comte cheese in items (extra if you happen to love cheese)

Warmth a skillet over low warmth. Add pine nuts and toast for 3 minutes or till golden. Place in bowl to chill.

Add parsley, basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper right into a meals processor and pulse till mixed. Combine with cherry tomatoes and reserve.

Convey a big pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook dinner in line with bundle instructions till al dente. Drain and toss with reserved pesto. Prime with Comte cheese.

Orecchiette with Rapini, Shrimps and Cherry Tomatoes.

Serves 4

For lovers of the bitterness of rapini blended with the sweetness of tomatoes. And shrimp. Use medium to giant shrimp, so they don’t overcook. Canned cherry tomatoes work effectively on this dish.

  • 1 bunch rapini, ends trimmed
  • 12 ounces (340 g) orecchiette
  • 2 tablespoons additional virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup contemporary breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to style
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 12 ounces (340 g) shrimp, shelled
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • Further virgin olive oil, for garnish

Convey a big pot of salted water to boil. Add rapini and cook dinner for two minutes. Take away with tongs, drain and refresh with chilly water. Minimize every stalk into 3 and reserve. Add orecchiette and cook dinner for 9 to 12 minutes or till al dente. Drain reserving ½ cup cooking water.

Warmth 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium-high warmth, whereas pasta is cooking. Add breadcrumbs and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Stir till crisp and golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape onto a plate.

Return identical pan to warmth and add remaining oil. Cook dinner cherry tomatoes for two to three minutes or till wilted. Add garlic and shrimps and toss collectively till the shrimps begin to flip pink. Stir in capers, chili flakes and rapini.

Proceed to sauté till shrimp are cooked 2 to three extra minutes. Add pasta and sufficient cooking water to make every thing moist. Season with salt and pepper. Toss every thing collectively and sprinkle with a little bit olive oil. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over every serving.

Pasta with Spiced Cauliflower

Serves 4 as a primary course, 2 as a predominant

My favorite fast pasta, cauliflower with anchovies, a dynamite mixture. I first had this in Rome and have become hooked on it. I add sautéed scallops to it after I desire a richer dish.

  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 anchovies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 8 ounces (250 g) orecchiette or conchiglie
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan

Break cauliflower into florets and place in meals processor. Pulse till cauliflower is a little bit smaller than the orecchiette. Reserve.

Convey a big pot of salted water to boil. Add orecchiette and boil till al dente. Drain effectively, reserving half cup pasta cooking water.

Whereas pasta is boiling, warmth oil in frying pan over medium excessive warmth. Add cauliflower, anchovies, garlic, chili flakes and sauté collectively till cauliflower is al dente about 2 to three minutes.

Toss within the orecchiette add about ¼ cup pasta cooking water and grated Parmesan. Toss every thing collectively and serve.

Rigatoni with Many Cheeses

Serves 6

This vegetarian pasta is sort of a five-cheese mac and cheese. The chilies steadiness the richness of all this cheese. Serve a small portion as an appetizer earlier than a lighter predominant course or make it dinner itself.

  • 12 ounces (375 g) rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 ounces (250 g) ricotta
  • 1 4-ounce (125 g) ball buffalo mozzarella, sliced
  • 8 ounces (250 g) grated fontina
  • 4 ounces (125 g) grated ricotta salata
  • 1 cup inexperienced peas, defrosted if frozen
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Convey a big pot of salted water to boil. Add rigatoni and cook dinner for six to eight minutes or till pasta is barely undercooked. It would proceed to cook dinner when baked. Drain and reserve, saving 1 cup cooking water individually.

Warmth oil in skillet over medium excessive warmth. Add chili flakes and cook dinner for 30 seconds. Add wine and produce to boil. Boil till wine is diminished by half, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mustard and reserved cooking water. Return to a boil then take away from warmth.

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Switch contents of skillet to a bowl and permit to chill. Stir in cream, milk, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, fontina, ricotta salata and inexperienced peas. Stir in pasta. Style for seasoning, including salt and pepper as wanted.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Pour pasta combination into dish and dot with butter. Cowl with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 10 to fifteen minutes longer or till combination is effervescent and cheese is golden on high.

Pasta with Spiced Hen Ragout

Serves 4 to six

This can be a strongly flavoured Sicilian dish with a contact of Moroccan spice in it. The sauce is somewhat like a wealthy rooster Bolognese. Orecchiette is the very best pasta, however cavatappi or bigger shells can be advantageous too.

  • 1 pound (500 g) boned and skinned rooster thighs
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ cup purple wine
  • 2 cups rooster inventory, home made or low sodium
  • 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 teaspoon chopped contemporary thyme
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 2 cups child spinach
  • 12 ounces (375 g) orecchiette, cooked in line with bundle instructions.
  • 1-ounce shaved Parmesan cheese, non-obligatory

Warmth oil in sauté pan or excessive sided skillet on medium-high warmth. Season thighs with salt and pepper. Add thighs to pan and sauté till browned on either side, about 2 minutes per facet. Take away thighs.

Add leeks, carrots and celery and sauté for 3 minutes or till softened barely. Add garlic and cook dinner for 1 minute. Pour in purple wine and produce to boil. Boil till diminished by half, about 2 minutes. Add inventory, tomatoes, cinnamon stick, star anise, thyme, and chili flakes. Convey to boil, scale back warmth to low, cowl and simmer for half-hour.

Take away cowl and add thighs. Cowl once more and cook dinner for 20 to 25 minutes or till thighs are cooked by way of. Take away cinnamon and star anise. Take away thighs and shred. If sauce is simply too skinny, convey to boil and scale back till barely thickened.

Return rooster to pan and add child spinach. Cook dinner for 1 minute longer or till spinach is wilted. Season sauce effectively with salt and pepper to style.

Whereas sauce is cooking, place giant pot of salted water on excessive warmth. When water involves boil, add pasta, and cook dinner in line with bundle instructions. Drain and toss with sauce. Prime with shaved Parmesan if desired.

Straightforward Rustic Lasagna

Serves 6

Wealthy and filling, that is straightforward to make. Largely simply sausages and cheese, it’s a nice winter tummy hotter. Utilizing whipping cream as a substitute of entire milk makes a richer sauce, nevertheless it’s not essential if you wish to lower the energy. The standard of the sausages is essential as a result of it’s the predominant flavouring within the dish. In the event you boil contemporary lasagne noodles for a minute earlier than utilizing, they take up much less sauce, and also you get extra filling. If utilizing dried noodles boil solely till very al dente as they’ll proceed to cook dinner because it bakes.

  • Contemporary lasagne noodles (about 6 to 9 lasagne noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Italian sausages, about 1½ kilos (750 g), faraway from casings
  • ¼ cup purple wine
  • One 28-ounce (796 ml) can Italian plum tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 cup whipping cream or entire milk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly floor pepper
  • 4 cups grated fontina, provolone, or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Convey a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add lasagne noodles and cook dinner for 1 minute or till softened however not absolutely cooked. Drain and toss with a little bit olive oil to maintain them from sticking collectively. Reserve.

Warmth oil in a skillet over medium-high warmth. Crumble in sausage meat and cook dinner, stirring for 3 minutes or till sausage loses its pinkness. Add purple wine and produce to boil, then add tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for quarter-hour or till sauce has thickened. Pour in cream, convey to boil, and boil for 4 minutes or till sauce is thickened and diminished to about 5 cups. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to style.

Mix grated fontina and Parmesan and put aside.

Flippantly oil an 8×12-inch baking dish. Make a layer of lasagne noodles, high with one third of sauce, then one third of cheese. Repeat layering twice extra ending with sauce and cheese.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or till sauce bubbles and cheese is browned on high.

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