Entries in pasta (4)


pasta carbonara 


If there is one dinner that produces a table full of cleaned plates it is pasta carbonara. It is a really quick dinner to make too...the only trick is the timing: Cook the bacon before starting the pasta. Have all the remaining sauce ingredients ready to go. Once the water is boiling you can cook the pasta and start cooking the onions at the same time. The egg mixture must be added to the pasta immediately after the pasta is drained because the heat of the pasta is what cooks the eggs. Cream is not esential in pasta carbonara but many people are wary of eating runny eggs and have the tendency to overcook them "just to be safe." By adding cream the eggs are a bit less likely to scramble.






1 package fettucine or spaghetti
8 ounces bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
1bag frozen peas
3 eggs
1 cup half and half
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan cheese


Bring large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of salt. 

Heat a large skillet on high heat and add bacon. Cook, stirring often, until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Drain all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Now is the time to put the spaghetti in the boiling water.

Combine eggs and 2 tablespoons half and half in a glass container and stir with a fork until well combined and set aside.


Add onion to pan with bacon fat and saute until translucent. Add peas and stir until they are thawed. Add remaining half and half and stir to combine. Reduce heat to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta until al dente, and drain. Place pasta back in pan and immediately add egg mixture. Stir continuously until pasta is well coated and egg mixture is thickening. Add sauce in skillet to pasta. Add reserved bacon and serve with parmesan.




pasta with potatoes, green beans, and pesto


I think I am finally nearing the end of all the basil in the garden so I just made another big batch of pesto.


My first job after college was working in the art department of Glamour magazine where there was a very cool young Italian woman named Gloria who worked in the fashion department -- she first introduced me to this traditional Italian pasta dish. Gloria used broccoli but you can use broccoli or green beans interchangeably so use whichever you prefer, or whatever looks best when you shop. I thought the idea of potatoes in pasta seemed quite odd at first, but it is really delicious. Our basil plants did amazingly well this year so we ate this often over the summer.


You only use need one pot to prepare this pasta...something I have always appreciated since I do not love doing dishes nearly as much as I love cooking. The photo above uses fresh pesto made from our garden, haricots vert from a farm stand and gemelli pasta. The photo below uses fusilli, and broccoli. Both times I happened to have fingerling potatoes so I used them, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds, but any potatoes will work cut into a half inch dice.


The amounts for this recipe are not precise so you will have to bear with me...


I used 1 pound of pasta, about 2 or 3 cups of diced potatoes, and either 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florettes, or a bag of green beans (the equivalent amount to replace 1 head of broccoli), and a generous cup of pesto. Either store bought or homemade pesto can be used. Bring a big hunk of parmesan to the table to grate over the finished pasta.


The exact timing of this dish is really dependent on exactly what kind of pasta you use. Basically over cooked potatoes will be ok, but undercooked ones are not. Al dente pasta is ideal. And the broccoli or green beans can be bright and crisp, or soft and tender...it is delicious either way. To achieve this I always cut my potatoes fairly small, and cook them for 3 or 4 minutes before I add the pasta. Then I check the pasta package for the recommended timing and add the green beans about 3 or 4 minutes before it is done.  If you are using broccoli add it 4 or 5 minutes before the pasta is done. Drain the whole pot into a colander and shake off extra liquid. Return to a pot, add pesto, and toss to combine. 


rigatoni with turkey and creamy tomato sauce


When we lived in Manhattan one of our favorite places to go for a casual dinner was Bar Pitti, where Adam often ordered Rigatoni Pitti. When I discovered turkey at our local farmer's market I remembered that dish and was inspired to recreate it. Turkey sausage adds a bit more flavor but I find the recipe works well with ground turkey too.


1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 pound turkey sausage or ground turkey

1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)

2 26 ounce boxes strained tomatoes

1 half pint heavy cream

1 pound rigatoni

1 bag frozen peas

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt.


Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add onion. Saute until translucent. Add turkey and cook stirring, until lightly browned. Add sage and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and cook until hot.


While sauce is simmering cook pasta, adding the peas 2 or 3 minutes before it is ready. Drain when pasta is al dente. Combine with sauce and serve.


spaghetti with sardines and breadcrumbs


Every year during spring break we take a vacation with my extended family...there are eleven of us in all: my sister, her husband and their two children, my mom and dad, and the five of us. We are just back from this years trip so the next few posts will be from our time away. I am the cook of the family, and although I get tons of help with shopping, table setting, and clean up, the majority of the cooking is done by me. When we arrived the week before Easter we were warned that the shops would all be closed from Good Friday through the Monday after Easter, and as a result I immediately started stockpiling food.  Things that could be stored in the pantry were especially appealing since refrigerator space was limited and 4 days is a long time for things to last. I was a little worried about trying something for the first time when a table of 10 were counting on me for dinner but all were quite happy with this dish! We ended up having it again towards the end of our trip - this time I used whole wheat spaghetti, which no one even noticed. Coarse breadcrumbs add texture to this dish so I recommend making your own from some stale bread: just tear bread into small pieces and then pulse in a food processor or blender until you have coarse crumbs. If you want to skip this step Panko breadcrumbs are a good alternative.





1 pound spaghetti

1/2 - 3/4 cups breadcrumbs 

olive oil

1 red onion, finely diced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tins sardines 

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water

to a boil.


In the meanwhile, toast breadcrumbs in a medium skillet until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and wipe skillet clean. Return pan to the stove and add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet placed over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until transluscent. Add sardines and the oil they are packed in to the pan and break up with a wooden spoon. 


Once you have started sauteing the onions and garlic you can cook the spaghetti. When it is almost ready add the parsley to the sardine mixture. Drain the spaghetti when it is al dente, reserving a cup or two of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to combine, adding some of the pasta water if the mixture seems too dry. Stir in breadcrumbs and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil if desired. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.