PASTA COOKING TIPS
Use at least 4 quarts of water per pound of pasta
Add a generous tablespoon of salt to boiling water
Adding oil can prevent foaming but also prevents the sauce from sticking to the pasta after it is cooked.
Savory Italian Bread
2 1⁄4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
6 to 6 1⁄2 C. all-purpose or bread flour or part whole wheat flour
In a large mixing bowl, stir together water, oil, sugar, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, yeast and 3 cups of the flour. Beat 3 minutes.
Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead 10-12 minutes by hand or with a dough hook. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover, let rise until doubled.
Punch down dough and divide into 2 pieces and form them into round loaves. Place on greased or parchment lined large baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
Beat together 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water until frothy. Brush on loaves. Option: Carefully cut slits on top of the loaves. Bake in preheated 400°F oven 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
Makes 2 loaves.
Quick & Easy Bread Sticks
1 tablespoon instant yeast 1 1⁄2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon powdered milk 1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 1⁄2 to 4 cups flour
In a bowl, mix water, yeast, powdered milk, honey, and salt. Add enough
flour to form a firm ball. Knead about 5-10 minutes. Divide dough into 12 pieces and roll into sticks. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter or olive oil. Sprinkle with any combination of parmesan cheese, garlic salt, sesame or poppy seeds. Cover and let rise 15-30 minutes. Bake at 400° about 15 minutes.
MAKING HOMEMADE PASTA
Pasta can be divided into three categories: Dried Semolina Pasta, Fresh
Egg Pasta, and Fresh Eggless Pasta.
Dried Semolina Pasta: This is the pasta we typically find in our grocery store in shapes such as capellini (angel hair), elbow macaroni, farfalle (butterflies or bow ties), fettuccine, fusilli (spiral pasta), lasagna, penne, spaghetti and more. This pasta is made from durum wheat flour (called semolina in Italy) and water. Durum wheat is high in protein, produces an elastic dough, and springy, resilient noodles. These qualities, which work well in a commercial setting, are not as suited for home use. It is difficult to achieve good quality homemade pasta with durum wheat and water.
Fresh Egg Pasta: Fresh egg pasta is delicate in flavor and texture and the wheat and strong egg flavors complement each other. Fresh pasta absorbs sauces better than dried pasta. Homemade pasta tastes much better than anything you can buy and is a fairly simple project, requiring only a few tools. A food processor can make the dough quickly and requires less effort than traditional hand methods. Fresh egg pasta can be rolled and cut by hand or by machine. Egg pasta is typically used to make spaghetti, fettuccine, or lasagna as well as filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini. Fresh egg pasta may be cooked immediately or dried for about 2 hours then sealed in a plastic bag and placed in the freezer for longer storage (use within 1 to 2 months). Add frozen pasta directly to salted boiling water and increase cooking time by a few minutes. For one pound of fresh egg pasta, you will need about 4 quarts of well-salted water.
Fresh Eggless Pasta: This type of pasta is more
common in southern Italy and is hand-molded into
cavatelli (mini hot-dog buns) or orecchiette (meaning
“small-ear”). These pasta use a combination of
semolina pasta or whole wheat pasta and all-purpose
flour to make a more workable dough. This dough is
stiffer and is best kneaded in a food processor. A
final hand-kneading gives the dough a smooth, elastic
finish. This dough does not require resting time
because the dough is shaped, not stretched. Cut a
rope of dough into small pieces and then use a knife
to shape. To shape cavatelli, press your index finger
against the blade of a butter knife to flatten dough.
Pull knife toward you, allowing the dough to drag across
the work surface and curl around the tip of the knife.
To shape orecchiette, use a butter knife and press
into dough piece to form a shall concave disk. Place
index finger of other hands against the curved outside put down the knife and push the disk over your finger, turning it inside out. Transfer pasta to a jellyroll pan dusted with flour so the pasta will not stick to each other.
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
YIELD: about 1 pound of noodles (serves 4 to 6) or filled pasta (serves 6 to 8)
Table-Mixing: Sift your measured flour into a pile on the table or countertop and make a well in the center. Add eggs to the well and begin to stir with a fork or whisk, pulling in the flour a little at a time until the dough begins to form. Continue hand-kneading using remaining flour until dough is smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Bowl-Mixing: Break eggs into a bowl and whisk slightly. Add flour and use a large spoon to combine until dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a 1⁄2 teaspoon water at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon flour at a time. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth about 1 to 2 minutes.
In a food processor: Add flour and process for several seconds to aerate the flour. Add the eggs and continue pulsing just until a dough begins to form a ball, about 30 seconds. If the dough is sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the ball is formed. If too dry, add water about 1⁄2 teaspoon at a time and pulse until the ball is formed. Place dough onto a dry surface and knead until the dough is smooth about 1 to 2 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours. Divide dough into smaller balls (2 to 6 pieces, depending on rolling method) and keep unused portions wrapped in plastic.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Use 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour and 11⁄2 cups whole wheat flour. Blend flours together. Add 3 beaten eggs. Follow directions for Fresh Egg Pasta.
Divide one 10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach in two. You will only need half the package for one recipe. Add thawed spinach to 1 cup boiling water and cook two to three minutes until tender. Drain and press with a spoon to remove as much water as possible. Finely chop spinach, removing any further liquid. Add spinach to the 3 eggs and beat. Add 21⁄2 cups flour and mix until dough forms. Turn out onto work surface and knead until smooth. Let rest before rolling pasta.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. capers (optional)
1 cup fresh mushrooms
1 (8-oz) package of cooked salad shrimp 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1⁄2 cups frozen corn
1 1⁄2 cups white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil. Add all the ingredients except the shrimp. Cook until the vegetables are tender but are careful not to overcook them. In the last 7 minutes add the shrimp. Serve over cooked spaghetti or linguine. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
8 oz. chopped pancetta (Italian bacon) 4 egg yolks, beaten
1⁄2 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup parmesan cheese 2 Tbsp. butter
Heat a large saucepan. Add the chopped pancetta. Cook slowly until it has rendered some of its fat. Beat egg yolks with the cream. Add the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Set aside. Cook the pasta. Drain the water from the pasta but save 2 or 3 Tbsp. of the cooking water. In another saucepan melt the butter, add the cooked pasta and the reserved water. Add the pancetta with the fat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the egg mixture and incorporate well with the pasta. Put the pan back on the burner and mix well. The eggs will cook in a few seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.
Do not be afraid to add in your favorite vegetables with your pasta dishes. Here are some common additions:
Steamed broccoli, cut into small florets. Works well in cream and tomato-based sauces.
Steamed asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Cut on the diagonal for a beautiful display. Works well in cream dishes.
Fresh or frozen peas. Works best in cream dishes.
Roasted cauliflower, cut into small pieces; coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Add to tomato dishes.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook penne according to package instructions. Drain.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add crushed tomatoes. Bring mixture to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the mozzarella, fontina, ricotta, Parmesan, and Asiago. Cook until the cheese is melty and the sauce is creamy. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Add the pasta and stir until the penne is completely coated in sauce. Remove from heat.
- Garnish with parsley and serve warm.
Homemade Pasta Sauce Recipes
For the Red Meat Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 peeled and small diced yellow onion
- 10 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 1 seeded and small diced red bell pepper
- A ½ cup of cabernet sauvignon
- 1 pound loose Italian sausage
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 each 28-ounce cans of crushed and whole peeled tomatoes, squeezed with hands
- 2 tablespoons of dry basil
- 1 tablespoon of dry oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto:
- 1 cup of packed fresh basil leaves
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
- ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Aglio e Olio:
- A ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons
- A ½ cup of finely minced garlic
- 1/3 cup of chardonnay
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Finely minced parsley for garnish
For the Red Pasta Sauce:
- In a large pot over medium heat add in the olive oil and caramelize the onions until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Next, add in the garlic and peppers and saute for 6 to 8 minutes. Deglaze with wine and cook until it’s almost gone.
- Add in the sausage and beef and cook until there is no more pink in them.
- Add in the tomatoes and herbs and stew over low heat for 1 hour.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve over cooked pasta.
For the Pesto:
- Add the basil, lemon juice, pine nuts and cheese to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and pulse until combined. Should be slightly loose.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve over cooked pasta.
For the Aglio e Olio:
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-size saute pan over medium heat and cook garlic until done about 3 to 4 minutes. Note: it should no longer have a bite to it.
- Deglaze with wine and cook until it’s almost gone.
- Next, stir in a ½ cup of olive oil.
- Garnish with parsley and season with salt and pepper and serve over cooked
Get your broccoli on with this delicious pesto.
YIELDS: 6 - 8
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine broccoli, basil, and oil and pulse until combined. Add Parmesan, almonds, garlic, and salt and blend until combined.
- Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Ground Turkey Bolognese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook angel hair according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, make bolognese: In a large skillet or pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add crushed tomatoes, wine, parsley, and dried oregano.
- Let simmer until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Toss with cooked angel hair.
- Garnish with Parmesan and parsley.
1 lb. fresh egg pasta
1 recipe any filling for pasta
1 recipe of any sauce for pasta
1. Cut pasta sheets into long rectangles measuring 4
inches across. Use a spoon or filled pastry bag to
place small balls of filling (about 1 rounded teaspoon each) in a line 1 inch from the bottom of the pasta sheet. Leave 11⁄4 inches between each ball of filling.
2. Fold over the top of the pasta and line it up with the bottom edge. Use your fingers to seal around each filling, pressing to remove any air pockets.
3. Use a fluted pastry wheel or ravioli stamp to cut along the bottom of the sealed pasta sheet and between each ravioli.
5. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and half the pasta. Cook at a gentle boil, until the doubled edges are al dente, about 4 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to warmed bowls; add some sauce. Meanwhile, cook the rest of the ravioli.
1. Roll your pasta to the thinnest setting allowed by your manual machine, or hand roll until you can see the outline of your hand through the dough. Cut into 3- inch by 5-inch rectangles. Cook three to four pasta sheets at a time to al dente in 6 quarts of well-salted boiling water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice water for 30 seconds, drain and layout on kitchen towels. Repeat until all noodles are cooked.
2. Spread filling lightly over pasta sheets, leaving a 1⁄4-inch border on all sides.
3. Start at the short end and roll up jelly-roll style. Place seam-side down in a
buttered 9x13-inch baking dish.
4. Spoon sauce over cannelloni and bake 12 minutes or until golden in a pre-
heated 450-degree oven. Serve immediately.
1. Cut pasta sheets into 21⁄2-inch squares. Transfer squares to a clean, lightly floured work surface. Place 1⁄2 teaspoon filling in the center.
2. Fold the square diagonally in half to make a triangle with the top edge covering the filling, but leaving a thin border of the bottom edge exposed. Seal with your finger.
3. Lift the filled triangle and wrap the back of the triangle
around the top of your first finger; squeeze the corners of the triangle together.
4. Fold back the top of the triangle so the filling is completely enclosed and slide off your finger.
(Adapted from The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles) FILLINGS FOR PASTA
1 cup ricotta cheese
3⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 large egg yolk
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and egg yolk. Add 1⁄2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and ground black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta and Parmesan cheeses.
Add egg yolk. Remove stems from 3⁄4 pound washed spinach leaves. Add to pot and steam until spinach wilts (about 5 minutes). Cool slightly and squeeze out excess liquid and chop fine. Set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and sauté 1⁄4 cup minced onion until translucent. Stir in spinach and cook for 1 minute. Cool slightly. Combine with cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Sauté 2 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until golden color over medium heat, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely minced and sauté about 4 minutes. Add 1⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes), and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until liquid dissipates, about 2 minutes. Remove contents of the pan to a bowl and cool slightly. Stir in 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1⁄3 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 large egg yolk. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
*Variation: Add 1⁄2 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles to the mushroom mixture.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1⁄2 pound ground meat (beef, pork, veal, Italian sausage or combination) 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg yolk
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Sauté 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon olive oil until lightly colored. Add the meat and cook over medium-high heat, stirring to break up the larger pieces, until the liquid evaporates and the meat browns. Drain off the fat and transfer to a medium bowl. Add Parmesan, egg yolk, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Try one of these low-cost excellent sauces the next time you’re whipping up a bowl of pasta. The recipes call for just five ingredients or less; dinner will be served in no time.
1. Roasted Tomato Sauce
Tom Colicchio’s delicious sauce is a simple puree of tomato halves, garlic, and tomato juices.
2. Ziti with Roquefort Sauce
You’ll want nothing more with this full-flavored pasta than a green salad or, in season, plain sliced tomatoes.
3. Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Grilled Scallions
A quick puree of scallions, tomatoes and olive oil creates a delicious sauce for this three-ingredient recipe.
4. Mixed Pepper Pasta
F&W's Kay Chun cooks a mound of sweet peppers with onion and garlic, then tosses them with tomatoes and parsley for this hearty vegetarian pasta sauce.
This is one of the quickest and most humbly delicious tomato sauces you can make. You can sieve it and use it as a basic sauce for all manner of dried pasta. Unsieved, it is very chunky and thick and thus suitable for ribbon or strand pasta cuts or short macaroni cuts, such as pennette (short quills), or medium shells.
6. Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Sauce
Both the sharp, bitter flavor of broccoli rabe and its vitamins are best preserved by steaming, but if you prefer a milder flavor blanch it first.
7. Pasta with Robiola and Truffles
This indulgent first course marries three of Italy's best ingredients: egg pasta, winter truffles, and Robiola Rocchetta, a creamy cheese from northern Italy, which forms the base for an incredibly rich sauce.
Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook angel hair until al dente, 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until seared and no longer pink, 10 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board to let rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1" pieces.
- Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add sun-dried tomatoes and oregano and stir until combined. Add flour and stir until golden, 1 minute, then pour in the milk and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Let thicken 2 minutes, then stir in tomato paste, Parmesan, and cream cheese and stir until combined and warmed through. Stir in basil.
- Add cooked angel hair and chicken and toss until fully combined.
- Garnish with basil and Parmesan and serve.
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