PASTA RECIPES

Expressly reserved to American ladies

Here there are some quick, easy and cheap "pasta" recipes I create when there is no time to cook other things: I think the recipe while I'm making ... so you don't find these in any CookBook: it's all MY OWN. My wife prefers to read recipe books, but I love this way of cooking: "Fantasy to the power", or at least, to the stove ;-)

While the water is boiling, you can make one of these sausages: they requires not more than 5-10 minutes to be ready and goes fine on fusilli, reginelle, tripoline, and other crisped pastas that "take" the sauce. They are good when your husband (or your wife) come home with the boss ... half hour before dinner, and you spent all the afternoon chatting on the Net. God bless the creator of microwave oven!

Doses are for 4 persons, and requires 250-300 grams of pasta. I suppose that you know how to cook pasta: remember that the cooking time written on the package sometime is too few. At that time taste the pasta: if it's hard leave on fire tasting every minute until it's good for you. The "pasta al dente" (not like glue) is better. Wait for Netscape 8.0 with "plug-and-eat" extensions to taste my pasta!

If you don't eat all the cup, and the day after you want to re-heat it, put in microwave oven at 25% - 35% for 5-8 mins, then add half spoon of olive oil and mix.

All cheeses used here (except "Gorgonzola") can be freezed, if you find a good and cheap cheese shop with discounts. I buy cheese once a month, a month and half, then slice it in pieces that we can eat in 3 - 4 days and put it into the freezer: We don't waste lots of time for shopping, the bill is lower because the dealer is happier to sell big pieces, and we eat always fresh cheese, not these yellowish slates.



"Mezzo Pesto"

The original "Pesto alla Genovese" is a very long preparation, requires opportune devices to be good, like a marble mortar, and sometimes it's heavy to digest. This sauce look like Pesto (well, at least it's green)
Take:
Smash all togheter with a fork in a big salad-bowl.
Put cooked pasta on it.
Blend very very well.
If you like you can add raped Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano or Pecorino (better the hot one). Don't buy pre-raped cheese, must be too old! If you don't have a cheese-raper, you can use a knife with saw to scrape cheese directly on pasta.


"Pasta e Nus"

That in Italian means "Pasta e Noci". There is an old Piedmontese joke that says "Pan e nus mangè da spus, nus e pan mangè da can", that means: "Bread and walnuts eat as brides, walnuts and bread food eat as dogs".
Best walnuts come from Sorrento. Be careful: walnuts are olily seed, so can become rancid.
Mince very little with an half-moon knife (never used? It's an useful tool, buy it!) walnuts, garlic and chili.
Put the result in a big salad bowl.
Add cheese, cooked pasta and a spoon of olive oil.
Blend very very well until the cheese is melted.


"Pasta alle erbe di Provenza"

This one is the easiest dish. It requires only a lot of these little jars of dryed herbs.
It follows strictly the main rule of Ligurian kitchen: a few to eat, but a lot of smell...
If you have a marble cooking mortar, like these of chemists, it's better, otherwise you can use the palm of hand and the thumb to pulverize dryed herbs: if you don't know how to make this, ask a junkie ...
This "dressing" follow strictly your personal taste. I suggest the mix of various herbs like my taste, but you must try, try, try ... unless you found the right mix.
Crush togheter these herbs until you have only powder.
Put cooked pasta in a big salad bowl.
Add 2 spoons of good olive oil and put herbs powder on it.
Add a lot of raped hot Pecorino.

some variants ...

Variant 1: you can add some pickled small black olives, 10 capers and, if you find them, a couple of anchovies (not sardines!) in oil, chopped.

Variant 2: cut a slice of bacon in small short stripes, fry it, and add on the pasta

Variant 3: this one is more expensive: if you found a white truffle from Alba (the king of truffles) cut 10 - 15 slices on every dish ... and join the Nirvana!

Do you want to eat a VERY GOOD grilled steak or fish? Use the same mix, increasing rosemary and juniper, putting the flesh (or fish) under 90% white dry wine and 10% olive oil (if it's fish add the juice of a lemon, too), with 3 cloves of garlic per person and salt almost 8 hours before cooking (a day is better). While cooking, drop slowly, tea-spoon by tea-spoon, the sauce on the flesh (or fish), adding another tea-spoon when the piece is in the dish.
Don't put away the rest of the sauce: can stay in refrigerator for a week, and is good for cooking a roast-beef in oven or to make other steaks.



"Pasta veloce"

If you prefer pasta with meat "ragu" here is the quickest recipe. This is good also for "tortellini", "ravioli", "agnolotti", "cappelletti" and other filled pasta.
Take a pan (with teflon interior, it's better), and put in it:
When you put the water on fire, put the pan on high fire too and mix (with a wood tool, obviously!).
If the sauce "run too fast" low the fire; if it dry add a spoon of water (or white wine). If it burns close the fire.
When pasta is cooked put in the pan and leave on fire for 1-2 minutes, mixing with the sauce.
Serve directly from the pan (whatch out to squirts!) and rape Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano on it.
The rest can be re-heated in the same pan, adding a spoon of water or wine, until the pasta is crackling: somebody prefers pasta in this way.



"Gnocchi alla bava"

"Gnocchi" are things home-made with potatoes, but it's possible to find them already made, if there is a "Pasta Fresca" shop near you. 150-180 grams per person is a fair portion, because this sauce is heavy.
They cooks very fast: put them in boiling water, when they rise up they are ready.
This recipe is a tradiction of my family, and it's good for short pasta, too.
Put in a Pyrex bowl, good for microwave oven: While water is heating, put the cheese in microwave oven (this is my personal touch: the cheese fuses better) for no more than 2 minutes at 15%-25%, so cheeses melted togheter, and mix with a fork smashing thun in very little pieces.
Put cooked gnocchi on cheese and mix.
Add a lot of raped Parmigiano, Grana or Pecorino.
To re-heat add a spoon of olive oil.



Wines

If you found it, the better wine for these pastas is Vermentino di Diano Castello, the best Vermentino for me, maybe because vineyards are 5 minutes from my home. Other places in Italy making a good Vermentino are: Sardegna, Cinque Terre, Dolceacqua.
Other good wines with a limited production are: Arneis from Alba, Pigato from Albenga, Buzzetto aka Lumassina from Finale and Savona
All these are white dry wines, and if you like them they are good as a drink, in place of the too common Martini.



Here is one of my preferred recipes from Piedmont: bagna cauda. It's not for pasta, but it's good for cold winters. Remember, ladies: after this dish DON'T KISS ANYONE except who eat bagna cauda with you: he can sue you!




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