Archive | pasta RSS feed for this section

Hearty lamb ragu

15 Dec

DSC_0020.jpeg

This dish may look ordinary but it’s actually quite a rarity here in the United States. Of the nearly 220 pounds of meat we consume per capita in a year only about a pound of it is lamb.

Hell, there’s more than that in this one recipe alone. Fifty percent more, in fact.

Lamb is the kind of thing that you actually need to think about when planning a meal for guests. Because many people just don’t eat it.

Ever.

I guarantee you that a good number of readers aren’t even with us anymore, having moved along at the mere mention of lamb in the headline.

Their loss. Because it makes for a pretty swell ragu.

DSC_0017.jpeg

In a good amount of olive oil brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground lamb in a pot that’s good for making sauce.

DSC_0022.jpeg

Add in a diced carrot or two, a couple celery stalks, an onion, a couple sliced garlic cloves, and some crushed hot pepper. (There was some fennel in the fridge so I tossed in a little of that too.)

DSC_0032.jpeg

Add at least a half cup or more of wine (white or red will do, though I used dry vermouth here), turn up the heat to high and allow the wine to evaporate.

DSC_0033.jpeg

Add one 28-oz. can of tomatoes (I used crushed here but any will do), one cup of chicken stock, 1/2 teaspooon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, some fresh rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir it all up, lower the heat to medium or lower and let things simmer for around an hour and a half. Stir occasionally, of course, and add more stock, or even water, if needed.

DSC_0002.jpeg

It’ll be enough to feed six lamb eaters.

If you that many.

Pasta with corn & mint

3 Aug

IMG_7872.jpeg

This was not a planned blog event. I was just throwing something together on the fly last evening, with no intention of sharing a “recipe.”

Thing is, fresh corn and mint from the garden make a really nice combination. I’m wagering that even an ill-planned post such as this might at least provide some inspiration before summer’s end.

IMG_7864.jpeg

Basically what we have here is an ear’s worth of fresh corn (blanched and then shaved off the cobb), a handful of fresh mint, a couple garlic scapes (a clove or two will do just fine), a chopped hot pepper, and a couple anchovy filets (optional, of course). Saute for a few minutes while your pasta is cooking.

IMG_7866.jpeg

When the pasta is al dente turn up the heat in the pan to high and add the pasta.

IMG_7869.jpeg

Then add some of the (well-salted) pasta water, cook it off until almost (but not entirely) evaporated, and you’re all set.

My guess is that I’ll be throwing this one together a couple more times before fresh corn season is over.

Pasta with garlic scapes & walnuts

15 Jul

DSC_0068.jpeg

Growing 200-plus head of garlic every year (232 this season, thank you very much) I go through a lot of garlic scapes. I’m sure you’re seeing them at the farm stands and at your better grocery stores right about now.

It’s the season. And it doesn’t last long.

Most of the scapes that I don’t pass along to friends wind up being roasted as a side dish, but plenty find their way into a simple aglio e olio (literally, garlic and oil) sauce with my pasta. I like swapping the garlic cloves for the scapes because it adds a really nice texture to the aglio e olio. This version we have here also includes walnuts, which adds both texture and flavor.

It’s one of those super simple pasta dishes that you wind up craving over and over, so give it a try while the scapes are still around. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until next year.

DSC_0004.jpeg

Get your pasta water going because this won’t take more than a few minutes. Then grab a few scapes (I’ve used four here, as I was only feeding myself on this occasion).

DSC_0020.jpeg

Remove the tips (seen at rear) and chop the scapes and some hot pepper up, like so. You’ll also need a small handful of chopped walnuts.

DSC_0040.jpeg

Saute in olive oil for a few minutes, or just until the scapes have softened (just don’t let them get crispy). Oh, and I’ve also added a few anchovy filets, even though I know most of you won’t. (C’mon, live a little, anchovies are awesome!)

DSC_0044.jpeg

When your pasta is just shy of al dente turn up the heat under the scapes and add the pasta to the pan.

DSC_0048.jpeg

Then add some of the (well-salted) pasta water and incorporate.

DSC_0050.jpeg

After the water has all but evaporated (a minute or so) you are good to go.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, garlic scapes can last for weeks in the fridge, so don’t be shy about stocking up the next time you run across them.

I mean, can you ever have enough aglio e olio?

The Pasta Recipe Index

17 Nov

Below are all of the pasta, stuffed pasta, pasta sauce, and pasta dough recipes that appear on this blog. Just click on a link and you’ll be taken to the recipe you’re after. Every time a pasta recipe is added to the blog it will be added to this list, which appears at the right of the homepage under “Search Pasta Recipes.”

PASTA RECIPES


Spaghetti alla bottarga

Orecchietti with broccoli rabe & sausage

 
 

Homemade bread gnocchi

The best potato gnocchi

Pasta & peas

Lobster lasagne

Polenta lasagne

Spaghetti pie

Pasta with garlic & balsamic vinegar

Pasta e fagioli

Pastina

Pumpkin & ricotta gnocchi

Pasta & chickpeas

Shrimp & sausage scampi

Pasta with sausage, grapes & wine

Pasta with garlic & hazelnuts

Pasta with fresh fig & pistachio

Pasta with pumpkin & pancetta

STUFFED PASTA RECIPES

 

 
 
 

Polenta lasagne

4 Apr
Polenta? Check.
Meat sauce? Got it.
Oven pan? Right over here.
Talk about your no-brainers.
Make some of this, would you. Thank me later.
It all starts with a good-quality base. I know some people swear by the instant stuff, but I always go with the real deal, a good Italian polenta that takes time (half an hour at least) and patience (constant and uninterrupted stirring) to cook properly. Here you have two cups of the stuff, which is mixed with eight cups of well-salted boiling water.
My ancestors are no doubt rolling over this, and I myself may go to Hell because of it, but I use a whisk for stirring polenta, not the sacred wooden spoon that generations of polenta makers have relied upon. The whisk just works better, okay. Somebody had to say it.
When the polenta is done, pour it onto a flat surface. I used a cutting board, which first got a light coat of olive oil to prevent sticking.
While it’s still hot, spread the polenta so that it’s evenly dispersed, then allow it to cool.
Everybody has their own idea about what makes a good meat sauce. I have several ideas. This one’s got ground beef, shredded pork, pancetta and a little sausage meat. Oh, and tomatoes, garlic and some onion. But you knew that.
All that’s left to do now is start layering, just as you would with any lasagne. Layer of sauce on the bottom, slab of polenta, like that.
In the middle and on top I run a cheese grater (with Romano here) over the meat sauce. (There’s no ricotta or mozzarella in this version, but I would not stop you from adding it to your own.)
After about an hour or so in the oven (at 350 F), the first forty minutes covered in aluminum foil, you have got yourself one extraordinarily satisfying “lasagne.” Even if it’s really polenta.
And don’t forget to wait awhile before cutting into the thing. It doesn’t need to rest as long as a real lasagne, but fifteen or twenty minutes wouldn’t hurt.
What, you’re in a hurry?