Tag Archives: spaghetti

Simple Suppers: Pasta with Bacon and Arugula

bacon arugula pasta tastefood

Friday Night Pasta – Spaghetti, Bacon, Arugula, Cheese

The busier I get, the more I crave simplicity. And the busier I get, the more elusive simplicity becomes. It’s time to take charge. While I might not be able to simplify my calendar or clear my work load with the snap of my fingers, and how I  wish I could simplify my clothes closet and garage storage with a Bewitching wiggle of my nose  – I can at least simplify my dinner. In fact, simple dinners are often the best. Minimal, fresh and light, composed in less than 30 minutes, these dinners do not skimp on flavor, and offer require double portions, because they taste so good. Many Italian recipes fall into this category. This recipe takes inspiration from Cacio e Pepe, the humble Roman dish consisting of pasta, olive oil, cheese and cracked pepper, glistening with reserved pasta water. Of course, since I can at best call myself a sometimes-simplifier, I couldn’t resist throwing in a few more ingredients for good measure. No one will argue with bacon, is my bet.

Spaghetti with Bacon and Arugula

I used spaghetti, because that’s what I had on hand. Bucatini or gemelli would work well, too. Serves 4.

8 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 to 3 cups fresh arugula

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the skillet. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and black pepper. Toast over medium heat until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then add 1/4 cup Parmigiano and stir to blend.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta 1 minute less than package instructions for al dente. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain the pasta.
Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup reserved water, the pasta, 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Pecorino to the pan, stirring and tossing constantly to melt the cheese and evenly coat the pasta. (If too thick, add additional water a little at a time to reach desired consistency). Remove from heat. Add the bacon, half of the breadcrumbs, and the arugula; toss to warm through. Serve immediately with remaining breadcrumbs sprinkled over the pasta.

Carbonara

carbonara tastefood

~ Spaghetti Carbonara with Sweet Peas ~

If there is an Italian equivalent to the classic Jewish chicken soup, then I think it would be Pasta Carbonara. You can’t get more comforting than a deep bowl of noodles slicked with an egg-rich cheesy sauce redolent of bacon. The optional addition of sweet peas to carbonara is essential in my opinion. Peas add freshness and a sweet counterpoint to the salty bacon, while providing the vegetable component to call this a complete meal in a bowl. A sating and soothing meal at that – pasta carbonara for the belly and soul.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Sweet Peas

The heat from the pasta will help to cook the eggs when combining. Be sure to do this away from the direct stove heat to prevent the eggs from scrambling.

1 pound spaghetti or bucatini

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2 large eggs
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup (or more if desired) frozen sweet peas, thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, stirring to separate the pieces, and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
While the bacon is cooking, whisk the eggs and cheese in a bowl until smooth; set aside.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan. Add the peas, garlic and red pepper flakes  and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the pasta and stir to coat the noodles. Remove the pan from heat and quickly add the eggs and cheese, stirring constantly to coat the pasta and to prevent the eggs from cooking. Return the bacon to the pan and stir once more. Serve immediately with extra cheese for sprinkling.

Shrimp, Broccolini and Tomato Pasta

broccoli shrimp pasta tastefood

~ Shrimp, Broccolini, Plum Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic, Chili, Spaghetti ~

Nothing beats a fresh and bright bowl of pasta, whipped up in less than 30 minutes, for an easy weeknight dinner. This dish has it all: Crisp tender broccolini and sauteed shrimp tossed in a simple tomato sauce flavored with basil, garlic and chili.  It’s elegant, light and utterly delicious. Happy Monday!

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Broccolini and Basil
Serves 4

1 pound spaghetti or linguine
Salt
Extra-vrigin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 pound broccolini, ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled with tails intact, deveined
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 (28 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, drained
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup whole basil leaves
Grated Parmigiano cheese, optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain  and transfer to a large serving bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a skillet. Add broccolini and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until bright in color and crisp tender. Transfer broccolini to a plate.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to same skillet.
Add shrimp in one layer, in batches if necessary. Cook until pink on both sides and just cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to another plate.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, one teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Simmer 5 minutes, breaking tomatoes apart with a spoon. Taste for seasoning and add a teaspoon of sugar if needed. Add shrimp, broccolini and tomatoes to the spaghetti. Toss to combine. Add basil and toss again. Divide among serving plates. Grind more pepper over the pasta and sprinkle with cheese if using.

Spaghetti, Meatballs and Lady and the Tramp

meatballs spaghetti tastefood

Valentines Day and … Meatballs?

You might be surprised to hear this, but I am not a sweet person. That is, I don’t eat lots of sweets. I prefer savory dishes, and if I indulge in any one department it usually involves salt, not sugar. So, this Valentine’s Day when I found myself thinking of a special meal to prepare for my family, a rich chocolate cake was not at the top of my list. Instead, I will make delicious comfort food, something sating and homey, pleasing to the entire family – and savory, not sweet. So, this is on our menu for the big day: Spaghetti and Meatballs. And don’t tell me that isn’t romantic either;  you need only to look to Lady and the Tramp for inspiration…

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Makes about 12 (2-inch) meatballs. Serves 4.

For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (28 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti
Whole basil leaves for garnish
Finely grated Parmigiano cheese for serving

Combine the pork, beef, garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, oregano, salt pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Add the egg and  mix in with your hands. Lightly form into 2-inch meatballs. Place on a plate, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches, without overcrowding. Brown on all sides, turning gently with tongs or a spatula. Remove and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. When all of the meatballs are browned, pour off the oil.

Make the sauce: Without cleaning the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and saute until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by 2/3. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Return meatballs to the skillet. Cover and simmer over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook unitl al dente; drain. Serve spaghetti with meatballs and sauce ladled over. Garnish with basil leaves and grated cheese.

And here are a few sweeter suggestions for your Valentine’s Day from TasteFood:
Chocolate Brownies
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Pots de Creme

Spaghetti with Cauliflower, Chile and Parsley Gremolata

~ Spaghetti, Cauliflower, Red Chile, Parsley, Garlic, Lemon, Breadcrumbs ~

It’s a wonder what a bare refrigerator can produce for dinner. I’ll be honest – the contents of my fridge looked bleak the other day. It was 6 pm, dinner hour was fast approaching, and we were 4 hungry people in the mood for good food – something warm, filling and tasty. I know I write and think about food for most of my day, every day, but sometimes all of that writing and thinking doesn’t materialize as a meal on our dinner plate. This happens, and there we were.

Upon urgent inspection of the refrigerator, I found half a head of cauliflower and a forlorn chile pepper in dire need of rejuvenation, amongst the usual staples including a hunk of cheese and fixings for an oh-so-simple green salad. It would be a pasta night, I knew then, and with these ingredients I made a riff on a gremolata topping. Gremolata is a condiment that traditionally includes parsley, garlic and lemon, served over meat and fish. In this case, I took the basic ingredients of a gremolata and tossed them with breadcrumbs and Pecorino cheese before tumbling the whole lot with finely chopped cauliflower, minced chile and garlic. It was a hit – and so were the groceries I purchased the next day to refill our refrigerator.

Spaghetti with Chile Cauliflower Gremolata

Taste the fresh minced chile for heat, and feel free to adjust the amount of chili flakes to your taste. Serves 4.

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 head medium cauliflower, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces, about 2 cups
1 red jalapeno or small Fresno chile, stemmed and seeded, finely diced

Heat panko, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a skillet over medium heat until breadcrumbs are golden, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. When cool, stir in cheese, parsley and lemon zest. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add cauliflower. Saute until cauliflower begins to soften, 3 minutes. Add chile and saute until cauliflower is tender but not mushy, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and toss with the spaghetti. Add half of the breadcrumbs and toss again. Divide pasta among serving plates. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumbs over the pasta. Serve warm.

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout

Change is in the air. We are moving house in a week, and while it’s a local move, it still requires dismantling a life, glass by glass, book by book. Our belongings are wrapped and boxed in ambiguous cartons that creep along and up the walls, towering over the furniture with an insistency that precludes denial. In a week our life will be unpacked in a new home and environment, our belongings liberated and rapidly arranged then rearranged to produce a new vignette. For now, the dust bunnies and memories swirl about, gathering in corners and getting in our heads. And our dog is behaving strangely. I think she is hoping and fearing that she will also be packed.

Change is cathartic. It’s also unsettling. For all of the moving we’ve done in our family life, you would think this would be a piece of cake – the next step in our family adventure. Is it because I am older now? Or perhaps it’s because the children are older, fully aware and present in this move, packing their belongings and looking forward to our next step in their teenaged lives – a time which guarantees uncertainty with or without a move. I see how they watch me and listen to my words and mood, using me as a measure, while secretly I watch them back, feeling curious and just a little guilty about this event. After all, I am their mother.

So I reflect on our previous moves, from one country to another, to languages I would have yet to learn, searching for homes and a community to insert myself and my family into. This time we are simply moving zip codes, but this move has its baggage, too. So, today I will do what I do best and what has always served us well. I will cook a comforting and nourishing family meal, and we will share it for dinner as we sit together at our well traveled kitchen table.

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Ragout
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, cut in 1/4 inch dice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, optional

1 pound spaghetti
Grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté until golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat in the pan. Add garlic, red pepper, oregano and chili flakes. Sauté 2 minutes. Add wine. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add sugar.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve hot with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with cheese and parsley.

Spaghetti with Broccolini, Breadcrumbs and Chili Flakes

For a fresh and easy weeknight dinner, try this recipe for Spaghetti with Broccolini, Chili and Breadcrumbs. The combination of pasta and breadcrumbs is eternally comforting, like a well worn cardigan you pull on at the end of the day. In this recipe that homey pairing is jazzed up with a potent blend of garlic, red chili flakes and black pepper that will get your tastebuds dancing. Just because it’s the weeknight doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun.

Spaghetti with Broccolini, Breadcrumbs and Chili Flakes
Serves 4

1/2 cup bread crumbs or Panko
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 pound broccolini, ends trimmed, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

Toast the breadcrumbs in a dry skillet over medium heat until light golden. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and chili flakes in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Saute until broccolini is tender and bright, 3-4 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the water. Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add broccolini, half of the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated cheese. Toss to combine. If the pasta is too thick add a little reserved water to desired taste and consistency. To serve, sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs and cheese, to taste. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas
Pasta with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts
Vegetarian Lasagna

Spaghetti and Meatballs


Spaghetti and Meatballs

One would think that since I have a food blog, dinner is always a happening, gastronomic event in our home. Wouldn’t that be nice? However, as any multi-tasking writer/parent may attest, after a day of meeting deadlines, planning a cooking class, driving kids to and from activities, bringing the dog to the vet and paying bills, dinnertime rolls around and the “what’s for dinner?” question looms with a blank stare in response. The most unfair aspect of this situation is that the supermarket was bypassed on the way to the vet, and I have spent a good part of the day immersed in the food web drooling over photos and recipes by many talented bloggers. So to add misery upon misery, not only is the family famished and the refrigerator empty, I am craving a delicious home-cooked meal worthy of TasteSpotting.

Yesterday this was the case. It was 6 pm, and I had no idea what to make for dinner. We were hungry, and the usual salad with cheese seemed so … wimpy. I pictured something warm and filling, a sturdy meal to feed a family. Peeking in the freezer, I spied a pound of frozen beef, and suddenly envisioned a Lady and the Tramp style platter of spaghetti with steaming red sauce and meatballs. The cook in me said, “Why not?” All the necessary ingredients were in the pantry. It would take less than an hour to prepare the meatballs and sauce, while filling the kitchen with tantalizing aromas as it simmered. I would rally and fight my fatigue. The reward was a perfectly delicious and rustic family-style dinner to launch the new week.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten. I used all beef for the meatballs (that’s what was in the freezer!) Feel free to substitute some of the beef with veal or pork. Serves 4.

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 pound beef, 1/2 pound veal or pork)
3 slices prosciutto, minced
1 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beated
1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 –  28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
Whole basil leaves for garnish

Combine the beef, prosciutto, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, oregano, salt pepper and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the egg and water and mix in with your hands. Lightly form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.
Heat olive and vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Carefully add the meatballs in batches, without overcrowding. Brown on all sides, turning gently with tongs or a spatula. Remove and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. When all of the meatballs are browned, pour off the oil. Without cleaning the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and saute until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by 2/3. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Return meatballs to the skillet. Cover and simmer over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Serve over cooked spaghetti, garnished with grated cheese and basil leaves.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Lasagna
Bacon, Broccoli and Tomato Pasta
Boar Ragu with Pappardelle

or these recipes from the food blogs:
Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe from Kitchen Parade
Spaghetti Squash with Sausage from White on Rice Couple
Spaghetti with Ramps
from Amateur Gourmet

Spaghetti with Bacon, Breadcrumbs and Arugula


Spaghetti with Bacon, Breadcrumbs and Arugula

There are many ways to face the winter doldrums. You know, that time when there is a lull in season and activities. The bang of New Year has passed, and winter lays ahead, blustery, chilly and gray. Call it the post-holiday blues. Or, more optimistically, call it a clean slate. It’s all good. A little down time is healthy for us, offering a window to focus inward and reflect. It’s a priceless moment of stillness before the year accelerates in its usual fashion. Enjoy that moment and its simple pleasures. Listen to the silence of the snowfall, brew a pot of tea, walk the dog. And when you’re cooking, be sure to include bacon. Bacon always helps.

Spaghetti with Bacon and Arugula

Serves 4

12 ounces applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound perciatelli or spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese
3 cups arugula, washed and dried

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté until fat is rendered and bacon is golden brown. Transfer with slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but one tablespoon fat. Add breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Sauté until breadcrumbs are golden. Transfer to a small bowl.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl.
While pasta is cooking, add one tablespoon olive oil to a clean skillet or saucepan. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add cream and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the cream. Pour cream over pasta. Add bacon, arugula and half of the cheese. Toss to combine. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and remaining cheese over pasta and briefly toss. Serve immediately.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Lasagna
Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

or these hearty pasta recipes from the food blogs:
Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce from Simply Recipes
Pasta Pie from Noble Pig
Squash Bacon and Goat Cheese Pasta from the Kitchn