Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino and Peppers, Oh My!

A classic pasta dish in Italy, loved by all, quick, easy and made with few ingredients, Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (Garlic, Olive oil and Hot Pepper).   It is hard to believe a plate so simple can be so full of flavor. For a different twist,  I added sweet peppers to the original recipe.  Nothing could be better to serve on a quiet Saturday night, open a bottle of red wine and your all set!  Lets cook!!

Linguini with Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino and Sweet Peppers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Simple yet flavorful,  this pasta dish is always a big hit

Ingredients

1 lb imported linguine or spaghetti

3 cups of mixed sweet peppers, red and yellow finely diced

6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed

6 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 hot pepper chopped *heat index as you prefer, note this is a spicy, snappy dish

2 tbls fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped

3/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

    -Fill a pasta pot with water and bring to a boil while you prepare the sauce

    -Add the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper in a wok style skillet large enough to finish off your linguine, on low heat lightly brown the garlic

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  • When the garlic is lightly brown, add the sweet peppers, stirring on a medium heat until the peppers start to break down and soften, add salt and freshly ground pepper
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    -Add the parsley, at this point you can take the sauce off the heat while you wait for your linguine

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    -Add sea salt to the boiling water then add your package of linguine

    -Cook your linguine 1 minute less than package indicates, you will finish it off with the pepper sauce

    -With a spaghetti fork, lift the linguine out of its water, draining as you lift, and mix into the pepper sauce, on a lively heat continue mixing.  Once the linguine is in the pan, add the parmesan cheese, mix well, then serve

Buon Appetito

Mickey

 

 

Rigatoni Amatriciana in Bianco

Yesterday while lunching at Harry’s Bar, one of the most famous restaurants in Venice, I opened the menu and saw something that I have wanted to make forever, Amatriciana in Bianco.

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This recipe is  similar to a recipe I shared with you  a while ago on the blog, Bucatini Amatriciana.   Today’s version,  apart from using Rigatoni,  is made without any tomato.   I like to think of it as a cross between an Amatriciana and a Cacio e Pepe,  you get the bacon onion fusion, along with the creaminess of the Pecorino Romano….It is yummy and easy, try it and  let me know what you think!!!!

Rigatoni Amatriciana in Bianco...Rigatoni with Spicy Bacon Sauce

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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A little spicy, creamy and yummy….Fast and easy to make

Ingredients

3/4 lb of Rigatoni

3/4 cup pancetta, guanciale, or center cut bacon chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

3/4 cup of finely chopped sweet yellow onion

3/4 cup of Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Hot Pepper flakes or fresh red hot pepper to taste

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients

Directions

-Put your pasta pot on to boil

-In a wok style pan, add the olive oil, the hot pepper, pancetta, and the chopped onion.  On a medium low, heat render the pancetta and saute the onions until they are both golden…. being very careful not to burn the onions.  My personal preference, I like my bacon or pancetta slightly crunchy, others  like it lightly cooked, you decide by taste.IMG_1013.JPG

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-When water boils, add the sea salt, then the rigatoni, stir.  Time the pasta for 1 minute less than the  package indicates see Pasta 101… reserve the pasta water

-With a slotted spoon, add the rigatoni to the cooked pancetta onion mixture and on a medium heat stir the mixture,  add the cheese and if necessary for creaminess, add a little of the pasta water. Stir over the heat to incorporate all the ingredients.IMG_1018

-When finished stirring, the sauce should be smooth and creamy.IMG_1020

-Serve hot, if desired add more Pecorino Cheese and ground black pepper

Buon Appetito!!

 

 

Meatless Monday…Pasta with Arugula, Garlicy Fresh Tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese Petals

This pasta dish is a great go-to when you have fresh ripe tomatoes.  It has lots of flavor, the spicy crunch of the arugula,   the garlic infused tomatoes,  and the fresh petals of  shaved parmesan cheese.  It is an easy, fast, pasta.  Fun to make with those artisan pasta shapes that you have always wanted to try!!

Pasta with Arugula, Garlic Infused Tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese Petals

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1/2 lb of Artisan Pasta (I used Fusilloni- large Fusilli)

2 Cups of fresh, ripe plum tomatoes chopped

2 large cloves of garlic pressed

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1-2 cups of fresh Arugula washed and dried

Parmesan Reggiano Cheese shaved to taste

Sea Salt and ground fresh pepper to taste

Directions

-Fill a pasta pot with water to boil

-add olive oil and garlic to a wok style pan and brown the garlic on low heat

-add the tomatoes, sea salt and ground pepper stir and cook for 5-10 minutes on medium/low heat  (note- you want the tomatoes to break down a bit, but still retain some shape, the goal is to infuse the garlic flavor)IMG_0906.JPG

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– Salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook 1 minute less that the package indicates, you. will finish the pasta off with the tomatoes for it’s last minute of cooking.

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-Mix well and continue cooking on a lively flame incorporating the tomatoes with the pastaIMG_0913

-Spoon the pasta onto the bed of Arugula and top with petals of parmesan cheese that you will make with a vegetable peelerIMG_0910

Serve and Enjoy FullSizeRender

Buon Appetito!!!

Sunday Lunch with friends, Bucatini Amatriciana

This recipe is a great go to when you are in the mood for a pasta dish that has some character.  It is one of my all time favorites, I love making it for friends and family.  The original dish was born in the town of Amatrice. You will probably recognize the town’s name, it was destroyed in the recent earthquake.   After the devastating earthquake, many Italians showed solidarity for the town and it’s people by making their signature dish.  The recipe originally called for spaghetti, but somewhere, somehow bucatini became associated with this sauce.   I hope you will try it and let me know if you like it as much as I do!

Bucatini Amatriciana

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

-1 lb bucatini (note- it’s worth using the artisanal pastas i.e. Cavalieri )

-1/2 lb of pancetta dolce or center cut bacon, cubed or slice thin if using bacon

-2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-1 fresh red hot pepper or dried pepper flakes

-1 medium onion chopped small

-1/2 tsp sugar

-1 large can of tomato sauce

-1 cup + extra Pecorino Romano Cheese (imported)

-sea salt and ground black pepper

Directions

-Place a large pot of cold water on high heat to boil

-In a pan large enough to mix the pasta, add 2 tbls olive oil, the chopped hot red pepper or red pepper flakes and the pancetta or bacon.  On medium heat while  carefully watching start to render the pancetta.

-Chop the onions and add to the pancetta continue to render the bacon while cooking the onions pay close attention not to burn the mixture. Add fresh ground black pepper

-When the Pancetta and onion mixture starts to get golden and the pancetta has rendered its fat add the tomato sauce, sea salt and the sugar.  Stir

-The sauce should slowly bubble stir occasionally. Cook for 10-15 minutes

-Your water should be boiling,  add sea salt course grain to the water, then add the bucatini.  Set your timer for 1-1 1/2 minutes less than package indicates for cooking time.

-Grate the Pecorino Romano Cheese and set aside

-When the pasta timer goes off lift the bucatini out of its water draining over the pot with a pasta fork and place directly into the sauce. Reserve the waterIMG_0080

-Stir over a lively flame adding the cheese. (Note-if the sauce is dry add some pasta water to the mixture.

-Stir in the cheese and serve adding more cheese if you like 

Would love to hear your comments !!!

Bon Appetito!!

Pasta 101

Before we go any further,  I think it is time to get down to some basics and one of them is Pasta.  Pasta….is a basic here in Italy.  Sometimes the easiest dishes are the hardest to get perfect.  Pasta seems easy, but when not cooked properly it  can end up a soggy, starchy mess.   The following recipe Pasta 101, will walk you through a step by step method for cooking dried pasta and ensuring it is al dente (firm to the bite) every time !

I will accompany the Pasta 101 recipe with a nice,  Springtime  fresh chunky tomato sauce with thyme.  

Lets get started!!

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Pasta 101

  • Servings: 2-3
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This is one of my Basic recipes and can be used  for all types and sizes of pastas.

Ingredients

-1/2 pound or 250 grams of pasta

-water

-sea salt

-sauce to accompany pasta

Directions

-In a large pot fill 3/4 with cold water and place on high heat burner, bring to rolling boil, add between 1 and 2 tablespoons of gross grain sea salt (note- salt is our friend in Italian cooking, and we aren’t afraid of it!! )

-Add the pasta, stirring.   Please respect the time indicated on the pasta package.  (note- pasta companies are not misleading you, they are pretty accurate with their cooking times so use your timer)

-Set time for 1 minute less than  time indicated, you will finish  cooking your pasta in the  hot skillet with it’s accompanying sauce. (note- keep the pasta water until you have finished the dish, we will use the water to elongate the sauce if needed)…..Cold sauces and  sauces mixed with drained pasta we will discuss later!!

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-depending on the type,  use one of these tools to take the pasta out of it’s boiling water and into the sauce of choice.FullSizeRender 7

The fork for all your long pastas, spaghetti, fettucini, bucatini etc… and the draining spoons for penne, rigatoni, and those types.

-When the timer sounds, pick the pasta out of the water,  give it a few seconds to drain over the pot…. you don’t want to carry lots of excess water  into the sauce.

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-with a lively flame or on a medium setting ,stir the pasta with it’s sauce for another minute, if you need more liquid use the hot pasta  water, taste for doneness, it should be al dente.  (note- the cheese can be added while the pasta is cooking to combine all of your flavors)IMG_0717

Buon Appetito!!

 

Springtime fresh chunky tomato sauce with thyme

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe can be easily adjusted just add more tomatoes and thyme!!

Ingredients

1-2 large ripe tomatoes chopped

-1 clove of garlic

-1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-sea salt and pepper

-2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions

-In a wok style skillet, large enough to hold your quantity of pasta add the olive oil and garlic clove. On a low heat lightly brown the garlic.IMG_0710

-Add the chopped tomatoes,   sea salt, pepper and thyme.   Stir and let simmer while your pasta is boiling.FullSizeRender copy 2

-When the pasta is ready (see above) add to the skillet and stir cooking for 1 minute with a lively heat…adding pasta water if the sauce seems to be dry…. taste for salt.  Either add cheese on or off flame.

Buon Appetito !!