Carbonara

If you ask me what the easiest pasta to make is, my answer would probably be Carbonara. It only needs 5 ingredients, takes about 15 min to make, and it’s absolutely delicious with a creamy sauce made egg, parmesan & pecorino romano. This pasta is so good that I use it as a standardized test for every Italian restaurant I visit, and it is the only pasta that I would make on a daily basis for a quick and delicious meal or snack. Since this dish is originated in Rome, but with some of the ingredients that are very hard to find outside Italy, so I make some recontamination on what to use in the ingredients list.

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You’ll Need:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 oz freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 oz freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 oz cured pork (options):
    •  guanciale (It’s very hard to find & expensive, but the Romans love it, it’s cured pork jowl)
    • pancetta (Also very hard to find & expensive, but very popular in Italy, it’s cured pork belly)
    • bacon (Very easy to find & cheap, thick cut, smoked and cured pork belly)
  • 3/4 lb dried pasta (options):
    • bucatini (a hollow, thick spaghetti-like pasta, very light, not easy to find)
    • spaghetti (very easy to find and cheap)

How to make this:

  1. Heat up a large pot of water with salt over high heat, and bring to a boil, cook the pasta until it’s just a bit over al dente
  2. While the pasta is cooking, sliced the cured pork of your choice into pieces about 1/4 inch thick by 1/3 inch square, then sauté the cured pork in a large skillet over medium heat until the fat just renders, just so that the edge are crispy but not hard, then remove from heat and set aside
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks, Pecorino and Parmesan in another bowl, season with black pepper
  4. Save a ladle of pasta water, add the drained pasta to the pan, stir it for about 20 seconds, then add in the egg yolk cheese mix, stir constantly, then add a little bit if the pasta water at a time, mix until the yolk thickens
  5. Server with some extra Pecorino or Parmesan
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Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Scialatelli)

If you love pasta, but don’t know what Scialatelli is, you are missing out. Scialatielli is a thick and wide pasta from the Amalfi coast, and it’s perfect with some fresh seafood and arranbiata (angry) sauce! Also, this recipe works for almost any type of thick/wide pasta, fettuccine or linguine will work just fine!

You’ll need: 1 1/2 lb of fresh (or 1 lb dried) wide pasta, 1/2 lb mussels; 1/2 lb clams; 1/2 lb shrimp; 3 tbsp olive oil; 1 small onion; 2 garlic cloves; 1 red chili; 1 12 oz tin crushed tomatoes (or the 2/3 lb fresh tomatoes); 1/2 cup white wine

How to make this:

  1. Finely mince the onion and garlic, seed the red chili and cut into thin slices, peel and devein the shrimp, brush the clams and mussels
  2. Heat a skillet with olive oil over a medium-high, then add the onion, garlic & chili and sauté for 3 minutes
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and white wine, cook until it simmers, then let it reduce for about 1o minutes. You can boil the pasta while the sauce is cooking
  4. Add in the clams first, cover with lid and let it cook for 4 min, then add the mussels, cover and cook for 2 min more, then add the shrimp and cook for another 3 min, follow this pattern so nothing will be over cooked
  5. Mix in the cooked pasta, sprinkle with some chopped parsley when serving

 

Linguine alle Vongole

As the weather gets better, more and more fresh seafood products are starting to show up in your local market, so, why not take advantage of the fresh ingredients and make some delicious pasta! Also, I know traditionally this dish uses spaghetti, but, my spaghetti attachment on my pasta maker broke, so I made linguine instead, which is not uncommon, and in my opinion, better at scoop up the delicious calm sauce. Since most of the salt in this dish comes from the clams and anchovy, you don’t need to add any extra salt for this dish. It’s super easy to make and this recipe serves 3.

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You’ll need: 1 1/2 lb clams; 1 lb fresh pasta or 1/2 lb dried pasta; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 tbsp butter; 1/2 cup white wine; 1/4 shallot; 3 clove garlic; 1 red chili pepper; 1/2 tsp anchovy paste; some parsley

How to make this:

  1. Rinse and brush the clams, then finely mince the shallot & garlic, deseed and slice red pepper, and roughly chop the parsley
  2. In a deep, thick bottom pan, heat up the oil and butter, then lightly fry the anchovy paste, shallot, garlic and chili pepper
  3. Then add in the clams, toss them in the pan, then pour in the white wine, cover the pan and let it simmer for 6 min
  4. Cook the pasta while the clams are cooking
  5. Add the chopped parsley into the pan, then mix into pasta
  6. Serve it with some extra parsley and parmesan

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

One of my favorite pasta dishes is the Shrimp Fra Diavolo or the “shrimp brother devil”, this spicy seafood tomato sauce is great with almost any pasta, even rice; the spiciness matches very well with the natural sweetness of the shrimp. It is also very easy and fast to make, enjoy!

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You need:

  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes

How to make this:

  1. Peeled and deveined the shrimps, pad them dry completely, toss them in the red pepper flakes, salt, and olive oil
  2. Heat up the pan on high, sear the shrimps on a single layer for 1 min each
  3. Take out the shrimps, add a little more oil. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, cook them in the same pan until they turn translucent
  4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, let it cook for about 2 min, then add the crushed tomatoes and oregano
  5. Let the sauce simmer for 5 min, then add the shrimps and let them cook in the sauce for another 2 min
  6. Serve it with some linguine and chopped Italian parsley

Pasta alla Genovese

Burnt my hand making bread today, so I am going to keep this short and informative. This delicious meat sauce is basically a combination of beef stew & french onion soup, it’s also very easy to make but takes a long time, so clear up your morning so you can enjoy it for dinner.

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You Need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 lb pancetta
  • 3 pounds beef chuck
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 lb yellow onions
  • 3 lb red onions

How to make this:

  1. Heat up a large pot or dutch oven with oil, chop the pancetta and fry them until they are crispy
  2. Roughly chop the beef chuck into 1-inch cubes, quickly marinate them with some salt and black pepper, cook them on high heat until they are browned
  3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, turn the heat down to medium, evenly mix in the diced carrot and celery, and let it cook for 10 min
  4. Roughly chop all 6 lbs of onion into 1/4 inch thin slices, if you don’t want to cut the onion, chop each into quarters, then blend them in a food processor with some olive oil
  5. Add the onion, close the lid and turn the heat down to medium-low after it simmers
  6. Check it once every half hour for the first 2 hours, then let it simmer in the pot/dutch oven for 6 hours, stir it occasionally
  7. Add salt to taste, serve it with some Rigatoni or any tube and shell pasta

Pasta con le Sarde

Sometimes you can find a nice piece of fresh fish, but sometimes, all you have is cans of sardine, so how does one make something delicious out of something that’s so plain? Here’s a famous pasta dish from the beautiful Sicily that uses the canned fish.

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You need:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion
  • 1 cup fennel
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 anchovy filet
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cans olive oil sardines
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 lb thick spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp fennel fronds

How to make this:

  1. Finely chop the fennel and sweet onion, mince the garlic. Pour the olive oil into a large pan and cook the the the anchovy filet, onion, fennel, and garlic until translucent
  2. Take the sardine out of the can and de-bone it, chop them into 1-inch pieces
  3. Heat up a pot of water and cook the pasta while the onion is being cooked
  4. Chop the raisins, add them in the pan with the white wine, turn the heat down to low, add in the chopped sardine and pine nuts, add the extra olive oil to the pan
  5. Draine the pasta, and mix it in the pan, add the chopped fennel fronds
  6. Serve it with some toasted breadcrumbs and toasted pine nuts