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    Shrimp Linguine Alfredo

    This is a real simple recipe that anybody can prepare. I takes less than 30 minutes and you will be the toast of the town with your family and friends.

    You will need:

    Uncooked Shrimp – I used 30’s for this recipe however you can use any size as long as they have the shell and weigh approximately 1/3 to 1/2 pound/serving

    Olive Oil

    Unsalted Butter

    Nutmeg – if you don’t have the whole bean do not use grated from the jar just omit. The taste will change somewhat but it will be just fine.

    Heavy Cream – approx 1/4 cup/serving

    Sea Salt/Pepper – I used white pepper here as to not speckle the final sauce but cracked black pepper will work just fine.

    Romano Cheese – approximately one Tablespoon/serving

    Parmesan Cheese – approximately one Tablespoon/serving.

    Fresh or Dried Linguine – I used Linguine Fini for this recipe but you can use the larger pasta or substitute Fettuccini if you prefer.

    NB: The sauce will take approximately 15 minutes to prepare, so be sure to cook the pasta so that it is finished when the sauce is ready.

    Prepare the Shrimp – if the shrimp you purchased was not cleaned by the fish monger make a slit on the back cutting through the shell and clean out. In a sauté pan large, enough to hold the shrimp add some olive oil and heat to a high simmer (when the oil shimmers you know it is the proper temperature). If you do not have a large enough pan, you can do this in batches. Sauté shrimp on both sides until the shell turns a nice shade of pink (do not cook all the way through, as the shrimp will be finished in the sauce). When shrimp is done place in a bowl to cool enough to be able to remove shells. DO NOT clean the pan at this stage.

    Prepare the sauce:
    When shrimp is cool enough to work with remove and discard shells. Cut shrimp into bite size pieces. In the sauté pan you used to do the first step of the shrimp, heat olive oil and butter, it will be ready when the oil shimmers. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the heated sauté pan. The time it will take to cook the shrimp will depend on the size you decided to use. When the shrimp is almost totally opaque add the heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring the cream up to a simmer then add the cheeses. You cannot walk away from this sauce, as the cream will burn if you are not careful. Either swirl the cream by working the pan in circles or stir regularly until the cream and cheese start to thicken. It is done when the shrimp is firm to the touch and the sauce has noticeably thickened. Drain the pasta and spoon enough of the sauce over it to coat.

    Plate the coated pasta then add the shrimp and balance of sauce. Grate a little more nutmeg over the plated pasta and enjoy.

    Sunday Gravy

    Sure, everyone has their family recipe for Sunday gravy, well that is if you were of Italian heritage, others would refer to this as Spaghetti Sauce. Well I’ve made many a Sunday Gravy, had some failures and some great successes, this recipe has always proved to be one of my best.

    This recipe will make approximately 20 cups of gravy.

    For the gravy you will need:
    Four 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
    One small can tomato paste
    Two cups beef stock
    One medium size sweet onion
    Carrots – enough to equal the volume of the onion
    Four or five sprigs fresh oregano
    Four or five garlic cloves
    Fresh ground pepper
    Kosher salt

    Two pounds country ribs
    Two pounds Italian Sausage (your choice of sweet or hot)

    For the meatballs

    Two pounds ground chuck
    One pound ground pork
    One pound ground veal or turkey
    Enough stale bread (I used leftover Italian bread) to equal the volume of the ground meats
    Two cups milk (or more if necessary)
    Two cups shredded Parmesan cheese
    Two large eggs
    Olive oil
    Vegetable oil

    In a heavy bottom stock pot heat four tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Place carrots, onion and garlic in a food processor and run until the vegetables are of a paste consistency. Thoroughly brown the country ribs (in batches if necessary) until a nice brown crust forms, remove and set aside. Pour off any liquid from the stockpot, add four tablespoons olive oil, reheat until shimmering then brown the Italian sausage until a nice brown crust forms, remove and set aside. Pour off any liquid, add two tablespoons olive oil, and reheat until shimmering. Place vegetable past along with tomato paste to the stockpot and cook until the mix is somewhat dry. De-glaze pot with the beef stock scraping up all the fond at the bottom of the pot. Add the four cans of crushed tomatoes, the sprigs of oregano and the ribs and sausage to the stockpot. Reduce heat to very low, place lid over pot and simmer for 5 or 6 hours. To reduce the possibility of the gravy burning I take one of the unused burner grates, place it on top of the burner you are using, make sure that it is firmly in place, put the stockpot on that tiered burner. Stir the gravy every occasionally to insure a good mixture.

    While the gravy is simmering make the meatballs. Break up the stale bread into medium to small chunks, but into a bowl large enough to hold the bread and both meats. Pour one-cup milk into the bowl, as the bread starts to absorb the milk using a fork start to mash the bread. If there is not enough milk continue adding more until you can mash the bread into a paste. Add the parmesan cheese, the eggs, the meats, salt and pepper (to taste) and using very clean hands or hand covered with rubber gloves and work the mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Form the mixture into equal balls (I like mine large). In a sauté pan large enough to hold the meatballs, heat approximately one-quarter cup of vegetable oil until shimmering. Carefully lower meatballs into oil, do not crowd, work in batches if necessary, and cook until a nice brown crust forms rotate balls until all sides have that same rich brown crust. Set aside meatballs until cooled enough then place in the refrigerator. During the last one to one and a half hours of cooking the gravy, add the meatballs submerging them to cover. During the last half hour taste the gravy for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Once the time used in this recipe is completed, cool to room temperature.

    Remove the meatballs, sausage and ribs from the gravy and portion two cups of the liquid into quart freezer bags for future use. Similarly portion out the meatballs, ribs and sausage into quart freezer bags for future use.

    Parziale Pastiera

    Lydia P.

    This recipe has been in my family forever. It comes from my father’s side of the family and my father and his siblings each inherited an enamel baking pan from my grandmother. These baking pans, 13 ½ inches in diameter, were from my grandfather’s bakery and had very, very long handles for use in my grandfather’s huge brick ovens. They cut the handles off of these pans for use at home.

    You will need:
    1-2 lbs ricotta cheese
    2-4 handfuls of pecorino romano cheese (half a pound works better)
    8 Italian sausage, cooked and sliced thin
    1/2 lb perciatelli, broken into thirds
    1 dozen eggs

    Preheat oven to 350F
    Fry the sausage. Boil the macaroni.
    Beat the eggs, add the ricotta and romano cheeses to the egg mixture. When the pasta is cooked and drained, add that to the egg mixture. Slice the sausage, add to the mixture.

    Grease the pan with the sausage fat. (13″ round enamel pan is best)
    I took 3 tablespoons of sausage fat and greased the pan with that and did not add any more fat to the mixture. Pour mixture into pan and smooth it out on top so there is no macaroni sticking out of the top (unless you like burnt, crunchy macaroni).

    Bake for 1 hour or until knife comes out clean. (mine took 70-75 minutes) It will be brown (NOT burnt!) on top.
    This can be served either hot or cold. It freezes well, too!

    You can cut this recipe in half and bake it in a glass deep baking dish (13×9) as well.

    When we prepared this recipe we used half the amounts stipulated. Not knowing the size of the handful of cheese mentioned we went with one full cup of Pecorino. It is difficult to determine link size when purchasing the sausage so we went with 2 pounds.

    As you can see in the photograph of our version we used a football shaped baking dish which was sufficient in size to hold everything. Using the fat from the sausage to grease the baking dish hadn’t been tried before by us but really like the idea, it gives the dish a little added dimension.

    Thank you Lydia and congratulations on being the first, of hopefully many, Guest Chef.

    Scallop, Shrimp and Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo


    I had a taste for seafood but really did not know what I was going to prepare. I visited my local fishmonger to see what was available. The usual fare was there, nothing seemed to tickle my fancy. I was about to consider something else to have and then she brought out some bay scallops and shrimp. They looked so fresh although I knew they were recently thawed and ready to be displayed. At first I thought to do the usual shrimp scampi but just couldn’t resist purchasing both.

    My mind started to envision how to put these two items together and what else to add to make an interesting combination. I walked around the produce department and saw some sun dried tomatoes they were snatched up quickly to add to my growing recipe. I considered what I had in my larder at home and knew that I had some heavy cream and garlic along with half a box of fettuccini.  My meal was set. You will find that this is a quick and simple dish to prepare.

    You will need :

    Bay Scallops – approximately ¼ lb/serving
    Shrimps – approximately ¼ lb/serving [16 21’s or smaller]
    Sun Dried Tomatoes – approximately ½ oz/serving – I used dry packed but olive oil packed should work as well.
    Fresh Garlic – to taste
    Tomato Paste – approximately 1 tsp/serving
    Hot Pepper Flakes – to taste
    Heavy Cream – approximately ¼ cup/serving [add more if you like a soupier sauce]
    Romano Cheese – grated – approximately 2 TBS/serving

    In a stock pot large enough to hold the pasta bring water to a rapid boil. Add pasta and prepare to just al denté. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, combine with scallops lightly salt and pepper. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all the ingredients add a good quality olive oil and heat to a simmer. Finely dice garlic add to sauté pan along with tomato paste and pepper flakes.  Once the garlic is translucent add shrimp and scallops. Cook seafood until shrimp starts to become opaque tossing occasionally to distribute evenly. Add heavy cream and Romano cheese to the shrimp/scallop mixture cook until the cream starts to thicken. Add pasta to the sauté pan and stir into the seafood sauce. Serve immediately.

    Garden Fresh Pasta

    freshpasta

    Here is an easy yet refreshing pasta sauce. If you don’t have a garden you can purchase these fresh items from your farmer’s market.

    You will need:
    Italian style plum tomatoes (such as San Marzano) – approximately five per serving
    Fresh Garlic – approximately two cloves/serving
    Fresh Shallot – approximately two cloves/serving
    Good quality olive oil
    Fresh Basil – approximately two TBSP/serving
    Fresh Oregano – approximately one TBSP/serving
    Pepperoncini – approximately one tsp/serving (if you don’t like a little spice you can eliminate this item)
    Fresh or dried pasta – I used Spaghetti Rigati for this recipe [this pasta is slightly thicker than Ange Hair – approximately four ounces dry pasta/serving

    Clean herbs well and chiffonade – set aside [NB: Lay basil leaves flat on cutting surface, stack several leaves then place oregano leaves on top, stack remaining basil leaves on top. Roll basil/oregano bundle into a tube form then finely chiffonade. This method makes it easy to work with the smaller oregano leaves]. Quarter tomatoes and remove all seeds and membrane, cut quarters in half and set aside. In a sauce pot large enough to hold all the tomatoes add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Heat oil until just shimmering, add pepperoncini, garlic and shallot, with a wooden spoon stir until garlic/shallot mixture is just translucent add tomatoes add salt and pepper to taste and cover pot. Cook tomato mixture over medium heat until they break down. When the sauce is broken down mash larger pieces to get a somewhat chunky consistency, cook pasta. When pasta is ready add basil/oregano chiffonade to sauce, plate spaghetti and top with the fresh garden tomato sauce.

    Shell Pasta with Mushroom and Onion

    Photobucket

    This simple and fast dish is perfect for a light meal or side dish. I had some mushrooms and onions leftover from diner the other night and wanted to use them. I had a taste for a pasta dish and came up with this.

    You will need:
    Mushrooms – approximately one cup/serving
    Sweet Onion – approximately one cup/serving
    Olive Oil – approximately two tsp/serving
    Tomato Paste – approximately one tsp/serving
    Oregano Pesto or Fresh Oregano chopped with olive oil to form a paste – approximately 1 tsp/serving
    Garlic – approximately one clove/serving
    Salt/Pepper
    Shell Pasta

    Prepare pasta according to package directions. In the mean time medium dice mushrooms and onion and puree garlic. In a sauté pan large enough to hold mixture heat olive oil until hot, add mushroom, onion and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent. Make a small clear area in the pan and add the tomato paste and pesto/oregano and sauté a few minutes then combine all elements. Salt and pepper to taste. When pasta is cooked drain well and return to pot add mushroom mixture and heat through.

    Pasta con Cinque formaggi e el Pancetta

    Pasta with Five Cheeses and Pancetta

    This is not your kids mac and cheese but they will love it too. You can adjust quantities according to your personal taste.

    You will need:
    Parmesan Cheese – shredded – 1/2 cup
    Mozzarella Cheese – 1/2 cup (use fresh not smoked)
    Asiago Cheese – shredded – 1/2 cup
    Fontina Cheese – shredded – 1/2 cup
    Gorgonzola Cheese – 1/4 cup
    Whole Milk – 4 qts – heated
    All purpose Flour – 8 TBS
    Butter – 8 TBS
    Fresh nutmeg
    Pancetta – 1/4 inch thick slice – 1 or 2 depending on taste
    Good quality Italian/french bread (use food processor to crumb) – approximately 1/2 cup
    Salt/pepper – to taste (if you want a cleaner sauce use white pepper)
    Olive Oil
    Tubular or shaped pasta such as penne rigate, radiatore, farfalle, cavatappi or conchiglie – 1 pound

    Prepare pasta by bringing large pot of salted water to a rapid boil, add pasta and cook until just below al dente. In a dutch oven or pot large enough to hold cooked pasta plus one quart liquid heat one tablespoon olive oil. Cut pancetta into 1/4 inch dice, when oil is heated add pancetta. Cook pancetta until crisp, remove from pot with slotted spoon and reserve. Pour off any fat left from pancetta add butter and flour and cook until combined scraping up brown bits from pan. Slowly pour heated milk into pot stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring milk to a fast simmer then add Parmesan, Asiago and Fontina cheeses stirring well to allow cheeses to melt. Add salt and pepper to taste and 4 or 5 scrapes of the nutmeg, stir well. Remove from heat, fold in cooked pasta until well coated, crumble gorgonzola cheese into mixture, combine well, cut mozzerella cheese into 1/2 inch chunks then fold into mixture

    Butter a 9 x 13 oven proof dish, pour cheese and pasta mixture into pan and level top, combine bread crumbs with parmesan cheese and cover top. Bake in a 350° F oven until top is golden brown. This works well as a side dish or main course.

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