Wednesday, November 25, 2020

SPAGHETTI ALL'AMATRICIANA

This is one of the simplest and most delicious pasta sauces. In Rome this tomato sauce is served with bucatini, which is a hollow version of spaghetti; it's like a straw with a tiny hole. The sauce originated in the small town of Amatrice, about 2 hours northeast of Rome. In Amatrice, they prefer spaghetti. Sadly, an earthquake destroyed almost the entire historic town.



6 oz guanciale or pancetta, diced
1 T extra-light olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28-oz) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
¼ cup Pino Grigio or other dry white wine
2 t chopped fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ lb spaghetti
2 T freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the pancetta and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the oil and sauté the onion and red pepper flakes for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing any hard center cores.
Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.

To the saucepan, add the crushed tomatoes, wine, basil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti in salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Save a little of the pasta water to add to the sauce.

When the sauce is finished simmering, stir in a little of the pasta water and the grated cheese.

Pour the drained pasta back into the pot and add some of the tomato sauce, as needed.
Toss to combine and spoon pasta into 2 warm pasta bowls.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle on a little more cheese, and garnish with basil.

Buon appetito!

Serves 2 with plenty of sauce left over.



Sunday, November 8, 2020

FARFALLE WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGES, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, & FENNEL

This is one of my Go-To meals on a weeknight.  It is so delicious, you may want to serve it for company. . .after this pandemic is over. This recipe includes Italian sausages (pork or turkey), sun-dried tomatoes, and fennel. Farfalle (pronounced fa-FAR-lay) translates to "butterflies". Get the onion, fennel, peppers, and garlic chopped up on a cutting board ready to toss into the skillet. Dinner in under 40 minutes!



2 T extra-light olive oil, divided
1 lb mild or hot Italian sausages

1 T sea or kosher salt, for the pasta water
1 lb farfalle (butterfly) pasta

1 large sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 T fresh basil, chiffonade or torn
½ t red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup red or white wine
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into bitesize pieces

1 bunch Italian parsley, trimmed and chopped
½ cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and fry the sausages for about 15 minutes over medium heat until brown on all sides. I put a splatter screen over my skillet to keep most of the grease from popping out on the stove.
Remove to a cutting board and discard grease and carefully wipe out or wash out skillet.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the salt.  
Boil the farfalle pasta for 10 minutes, until al dente.
Save 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.  

Drain pasta and set aside.

In the same large clean skillet add the rest of the oil and cook the onion, fennel, and peppers over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring as needed.  
Add the garlic and cook another minute. 
Add the wine and cook another minute.

Cut the sausages into ¼ inch circles and add to the skillet along with the sun-dried tomatoes.  
Add 1 cup of the pasta water and cook another 4 to 5 minutes.
Spoon in the pasta and add the basil, red pepper flakes and parsley.  
Toss to combine and add more pasta water, if needed.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the grated cheese and spoon pasta into 4 heated pasta bowls.
Serve with extra grated cheese at the table and a green salad...and of course a glass of vino rosso (red wine) or vino bianco (white wine).

Serves 4