Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Since I have just come back form sunny California here is a recipee full of sunshine.

Delicious anytime, quick, easy, inexpensive... will do your casual family dining or more elegant occasion.

Ingredients (4-5 people):

Red flavorsome cherry tomatoes (15-20 oz). PALFO TIP: after years of trial and error I found that the best cherry tomatoes for these recipe are the "Nature Sweet" CHERUBS sold at any supermarket. Of course if you have access to home grown or market cherry tomatoes then it would be fantastic.
Extra virgin olive oil (PALFO TIP: Bertolli; see tips on previous recipes)
Two large garlic cloves
PASTA (4-5 oz per person). PALFO TIP: Barilla, De Cecco or Colavita; see tips on previous recipees; for this recipee use rotini shapes or large shells
Fresh basil leaves

In a medium to large frying pan add extravirgin olive oil using PALFO RULE: cover the bottom and a little more. Add two pressed garlic cloves (PALFO TIP: pressing garlic will remove the skin which causes heartburn and indigestion) and cherry tomatoes cut in half.
Place a large saucepan 3/4 full of water to boil.
Start cooking cherry tomatoes on medium heat. After 5 minutes (or when they get a little soft but not completely remove from heat.
Add salt to boiling water ( remeber to taste the pasta before it is cooked and then from then on learn how much to add each time). Cook Pasta according to minutes on box or "al dente".
A few minutes before Pasta is cooked place cherry tomatoes on heat (medium to low) cook for an additional few minutes, add fresh basil leaves. Drain pasta and add to cherry tomatoes, mix and dish out. Add additional fresh leaves to each plate to garnish and fresh parmesan cheese.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Its time for a Real Carbonara

This recipe has been bastardized enough!

Ingredients (4-5):
Pasta (Penne Rigate or Rigatoni or Spaghetti; approximately 3-4 oz per person), PALFO TIP: Use only Italian brands Barilla, De Cecco, Colavita. Barilla is the cheapest, and stock up during special offer time).
1 large egg
Black pepper (freshly grated)
A shallot
Heavy cream (2-3 tablespoons)
Smoked bacon (or pancetta if you can find it; 7 to 10 slices)
Extra virgin olive oil (do not even think about attempting to cook Italian without this!). PALFO TIP: the best value for money is Bertolli

In a small pan place extra-virgin olive oil PALFO RULE: enough to cover the bottom and a little more. Add bacon, cut in small cubes. If you use american bacon (I usually remove the very white fatty bits). Add shallot also sliced thinly.

Cook on high heat for a few minutes until bacon appears cooked but not crispy. Add some white wine (a little or more depending on taste), let it evaporate for a few minutes and set aside.

Bring water to boil in a large pan. Add salt after boiling begins and then add pasta cook until al dente, and definitively do not throw it against the wall to see if it sticks!

A few minutes before the pasta is cooked beat the egg in a bowl add 1/4 of a small glass of cream to it and lots of black pepper. Place the bacon back on the high heat until it sizzles. Drain pasta and place it back in the pan on low heat. Throw egg/cream mixture over it followed immediately by the sizzling bacon/oil/shallot mixture. Switch heat off. Stir vigorously for one minute and serve with lots of grated parmesan cheese on it!

All together it won't take you more than 20 minutes

Enjoy and Happy Friday

Pasta with Zucchini and Bacon

It the day for zucchini and bacon!

This recipe is fantastic: it is quick and delicious! It can be a quick family dinner or a dish for a special occasion either way its a winner!  it is also very cheap and authentic:

Ingredients (4-5):
Pasta (penne, large shells or similar) PALFO TIP: Barilla, De Cecco or Colavita
Zucchini (4 to 5) small green zucchini/squash, PALFO TIP: do not buy the large ones as they are full of water and don't cook well
Bacon (smoked 5 slices, cubed)
Extra virgin olive oil (PALFO rule: medium to large frying pan, cover the botten and a little more), PALFO TIP: Bertolli is probably the best and cheapest on the market for Italian food.
Cherry tomatoes (optional)
Fresh Basil

Cut zucchini Julienne style (lengthwise), place in medium to large frying pan with extra virgin olive oil and cubed bacon. Cook on Medium heat, stirring occasionally. Do not have the heat to low or too high. After zucchini have mostly cooked, add cherry tomatoes and cook a few more minutes until all is cooked.

Boil water for pasta, add salt (PALFO TIP: in the beginning just add some and then later taste pasta before it finishes cooking, adjust as needed).
Cook pasta al dente (or as specified on package). Drain and mix with zucchini mixture.
Add a few fresh leaves of basil and grated parmesan cheese