Pasta Primavera

Perfect for spring or summertime pasta!

Perfect for spring or summertime pasta!

A popular spring and summertime pasta is easy to prepare and can be served with hot or cold. Best prepared 12 hours in advance to allow the flavors to be enhanced through the marinating of time.

ENJOY!!!!

Ingredients to serve 4

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 c sliced olives
  • 1 carrot minced
  • 1 celery minced
  • 3/4 cup broccoli sliced and steamed for about 5 minutes
  • 10 basil leaves cut into strips (or 1 tablespoon of pesto)
  • optional: sunflower seeds
  • optional 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • Pasta of choice: Rotini or Farafalle (Bow tie) allow to cook about 1 minute less than indicated on box.

In a large pan fill with water, bring to a boil and add pasta. Heat oil and garlic in skillet for 2 minutes, when the garlic turns beige in color add tomatoes to skillet and quickly cover to prevent splatter. Also add olives, carrot, celery, broccoli. Allow to simmer on medium-low heat for 5 minutes.

Drain water from pasta. Turn off all stove burners. Add pasta to skillet of vegetables thoroughly incorporate the foods by turning with 2 spoons. May serve warm OR place into a bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerator if serving cold.

Homemade Pasta from La Cucina della Nonna

MOST POPULAR PASTA MAKING CLASS! “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR GROUPS & PARTIES”

Fresh homemade pasta, Easy to make.

Original homemade Pasta Recipe from the kitchen of  Southern Italian Nonnas (Grandmothers) is easy to make and enjoyable to eat! 5 minutes of working the pasta dough and 10 minutes to cut it up; with memories of a wonderful meal that lingers on…. Choose from a variety of  shared Italian Sauces taken from Nonna’s kitchen to compliment your fresh homemade pasta.

Pasta Nest

Pasta Nest

Preparation: 3 minutes for pasta dough. 20 minutes to cut strips.  Pasta can be boiled after it has been hung for 15 minutes then the “Fresh Pasta” should boil for 3 minutes, drain well.  Use a pasta dryer, wooden spoon set up between to jars, or a chair for drying.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300 grams Semolina Flour (1 1/2 cup)
  • 100 grams flour (1/2 cup)
  • 1 egg (Large)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (add as needed)
  • (may use  2 small eggs and 1/2 cup water)      

Extra dried pasta can be placed in bag and conserved in refrigerator for 3 days.  If reducing the recipe in half, reduce water to 80 ml  (1/3 and 2 Tbsp).

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl crack open egg,  set aside empty shell, with a fork beat yolk and egg white until foamy, set aside. In a large mixing bowl add semolina, flour, salt, water and beaten egg, combine with fork and then work the  ingredients together by hand.  (Add additional warm water 1 teaspoon at a time, if pasta ball does not form and is crumbly.)

Remove the pasta ball  from the bowl and continue to knead the dough on a clean table pushing the dough outward with heel of the hand and folding the dough over again, working the dough for about 5  minutes.  The dough will be round, smooth and when indented with your finger tip, gently move back into place by itself.  
Divide the pasta ball into eight parts with a knife and keep covered with plastic wrap as to prevent moisture loss. Can be made and frozen for 2 weeks, then thawed and rolled out. Must be used after 3 days if stored in refrigerator.  

Roll out dough until thin as a dime!

On a large cutting board dust with flour. Begin with one eighth of the pasta mass, roll out flat with a rolling-pin, until the pasta is no thicker than a dime. (If using a pasta machine, dust rollers with flour. Systematically pass the dough through until a final press on number 6.) With a knife cut the rolled out pasta into lengths of 6 inches and about 1/2 inch wide. lightly dust flour onto cut pasta.

Place freshly cut pasta onto back of a chair or onto a pasta rack.

To dry long pasta, try the following suggestion: (always dust with resting point with flour) pasta drying rack, or hang pasta on back of chairs then when half way dried coil pasta onto flour dusted cutting board. Allow to dry for about 60 minutes. Continue process for rest of pasta mass.

Bring a large pan of water (1 quart/liter of water for 100 g of pasta) to a hard boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add dried pasta. When the pasta floats to the top it is done, about 3 minutes depending on the thickness. Place colander into sink. Poor water and cooked pasta into into colander.

Serve your favorite  Italian Sauces over cooked pasta. Buon Appetito!

Add favorite sauce to homemade pasta!

Mini-meatball filling for ravioli.

Mini-meatball filling for ravioli.

For Ravioli follow the same steps to making pasta dough. Using two flat sheets of pasta dough rolled  out. One sheet should be slightly wider than the other.
Meat Filling:
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 pound hamburger meat
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 Tbsp Parsley

In a frying pan add oil, onion, garlic, hamburger. Using a wooden spoon break apart the meat while it’s browning. Allow to thoroughly cook. Using a colander empty ingredients from frying pan and allow to drain fluid. Transfer ingredients from colander into a food processor. Add egg salt and parsley, blend on high until meat becomes smooth as a pate`.

Cover meat filling with a second pasta sheet. With a "Crimper" seal and cut pasta squares.

Cover meat filling with a second pasta sheet. With a “Crimper” seal and cut pasta squares.

Flour a cutting board. Lay pasta sheet on floured cutting baord. Place small amounts of meat about 2 inches apart. Place the wider pasta sheet on top of mini-meatballs. Scatter more flour on top of pasta sheet. Seal with fingers, may use a “Crimper” to seal and cut the ravioli.

Pastry / Pasta Crimper can be found in most stores and has a double wheel that allows for sealing and cutting of the dough.

Set ravioli aside on another floured cutting board and allow to dry. Maybe cooked 15 minutes after preparation or if waiting to dry, turn every 30 minutes. Ravioli may dry also on floured cutting board in refrigerator. Ravioli may then be bagged and place in freezer. Fresh ravioli can be stored in refrigerator 3 days after preparation or stored in freezer for 2 weeks.

Cheese Filling:
1/2 pound Ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients and follow same steps for meat ravioli.

Meat Ravioli with favorite s

Meat Ravioli with favorite sauce.

Pesto with optional Sunflower Seeds

Simply ingredients for a delectable pesto sauce.

Freshly Chopped Basil carries over a summer flavor into early fall! Add Pesto to your favorite Pasta, Soup, use as a Sandwich Spread, added into a Cheese Ball, or on a baguette as an appetizer. Very easy to assemble and make; less than 10 minutes to prepare and enjoy!

Pesto will leave you wanting MORE! Serves 6 people.  This recipe allows for an Optional 1/4 cup of  Roasted Sunflower seeds, Pine Nuts, or Walnuts for a nuttier flavor.

LET’S BEGIN:  Fill pasta pan with water and place on burner set at high to boil.

Use a Food Processor for quickest preparation. Set to chop then blend. OR a cutting board with a half moon, OR mortar.

Homemade Pesto and Pasta

INGREDIENTS
2 cups Basil Leaves (Stores now sells containers or you can buy a plant. Remove and wash leaves.)
1 large single garlic clove
(optional 1/2 cup Pine Nuts or Walnuts)
1/2 -3/4 cup Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Pecorino Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Drizzle over Pasta and Pesto
1 cup Parmesan Cheese to top off Pasta dishes.
A few small springs of basil set aside for presentation.

Finished Pesto

PREPARATION

Freshly chopped herbs and garlic done by knife or half moon.

With Processer “Set to OFF” add basil leaves and garlic clove ( If opting to use nuts you may add them in at this point). Begin to “CHOP” leaves and garlic (nuts) for about 30 seconds. (Same for assembly with half moon or mortar.)

Set processor  to “PUREE” and through spout of machine slowly add HALF of olive oil. (If making by hand and incorporate cheese, spices and oil with a fork) Allow processor to work. Set oil aside. Add Salt and Pepper. Slowly add cheese, alternating with olive oil. Allow to BLEND together for about 1 minute. Set aside or cover and store in the refrigerator.

Pesto made with the mortar brings the oils from the herbs to the sauce.

Add pasta of choice to BOILING water. Add 2 Tbsp salt. Allow pasta to boil for 1 minute
less of indicated time. (If box indicates boil 8 minutes, then boil for 7 minutes to achieve “al dente” and allow pasta to “absorb pesto”.) Drain water from cooked pasta. Rinse pasta with cold water for 10 seconds; (RECOMMENDED RINSE ONLY for this pasta dish), so that the cheese in the pesto will not coagulate to the pasta.

Place pasta in a large serving dish.  Add prepared 1/2 cup Pesto for 4 individuals . With two forks toss pasta and pesto together until pasta is dressed in pesto. (Additional pesto for more flavor!)

Serve into individual dishes. Drizzle a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over pasta and top off with desired cheese. Place basil spring on top of prepared pasta for presentation.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Authentic Ragu` Italian Sauce

Old Bari w Homemade Oricchette Pasta

RAGU` is a common dish served in southern Italy for Sunday lunch after morning church services.  Very easy to prepare!

Prep. time 5 minutes!  Cooking time 3-4 hours on low heat.Can be made the day before.

 Serves 4-6 people.

  • 1-2 pounds Roast (1 kilo)
  • 1 medium onion peeled and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cup red wine
  • Two 28 oz cans tomato sauce (1 ½ L)
  • 1 cup of water.
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Add salt to taste. 2 tsp. salt
  • 10 leaves fresh  Basil (add ONLY in the last 10 minutes of cooking sauce.) Reserve 6 leaves for presentation of dish.
  • Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)   

With a sharp knife cut and quarter the roast to accommodate number of people being served and place in a large pan. Add coarsely chopped onion and olive oil. Cover pan and allow to cook for 15 minutes on MEDIUM heat, turning the meat twice with the onions, as to not to burn. 

Add ½ -3/4 cup of red wine, cover the pan and allow to simmer for 5 minutes on LOW heat. 

Add tomato sauce,1 cup of water and milk. Prop lid of pan with wooden spoon and allow to simmer on LOW or Warm heat for 3-4 hours turning sauce occasionally (every 20 minutes) as to not to burn the Ragu. 

After 3-4 hours of cooking Ragu, Add 10 chopped basil leaves to sauce and remove the Ragu from the heat.  In a separate pan boil water and add your favorite pasta. The Orecchiette (little ears) pasta or Tortellini is commonly used with the Ragu ` Sauce.  This delicious married combination  originated from the city of Bari the beautiful southern region of Puglia, on the breathtaking Adriatic Sea. 

Drain pasta of all water and return pasta to pan.  Add 2-3 ladles full of sauce to pasta and turn in pan .  Spoon out pasta onto dish,  pass with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, add one ladle of sauce on top of cheese.  Add 1 tsp of cheese to top of sauce and place a fresh basil leave for a beautiful presentation. 

Serve with meat on side.  Click on Waldorf Salad to complete this dinner!

By Kimberly Crocker

Old City of Bari and Homemade Pasta

Stuffed Grilled Calamari

Spring or Summer, both grilled calamari and calamari with tomato sauce is the perfect dish to be enjoyed as appetizers, or a delightful dinner! Also try Stuffed Calamari Casserole & Salad
INGREDIENTS                                                                                                                     

Stuffing for calamari.

  • 1 pound of whole calamari (May be bought frozen, pre-cleaned. Thaw, rinse and pat dry with paper towel.)
  • 2  cups cubed bread (for stuffing)
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup milk (may need to add a little bit extra milk so that the bread crumbs are moistened)
  • 2 garlic cloves (medium)
  • 1 tablespoons parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Fill each Calamari with prepared stuffing.

In a medium size bowl, beat egg with a fork, add milk and continue to beat with fork for another 20 seconds. Add bread chunks, salt, garlic and parsley. Using a fork or your hands mix all ingredients together. Open end of Calamari tube (optional, head can be left intact) and with your finders begin to stuff cylinder body of calamari 3/4  full. Set aside on a dish. Repeat with rest of calamari.

Grilled

May be placed on a warm grill slightly golden brown, turn often, calamari will cook for a total of 8 minutes .

In Sauce, Stove Top Calamari in Marinara Sauce

1/3 cup olive oil
1 small onion peeled and diced
28 ounce (700 ml)can of  Tomato Sauce (or may substitute with 1/2 bottle white wine, 375 ml)
1/2 cup water (preferably from pasta water which contains starch used for thickening)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano

240 g Fussilli Pasta (cooked) optional

In a skillet pan, over low heat, add olive oil and onion. Allow to become translucent in color, 5 minutes.  Add calamari, allow to become slightly golden turning periodically. Add tomato sauce (or white wine), salt, pepper flakes, oregano. Prop open lid on pan with wooden spoon allow to simmer in sauce for 20 minutes.

If serving over pasta, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 Tablespoon salt and 240 g pasta. Follow directions on box for correct amount of time to cook pasta.

Lasagna with Meatballs

“The history of the name of these noodles is actually quite interesting. “Lasagna” is derived from the Greek lasanon, which means “chamber pot.” The Romans borrowed the word to refer to cooking pots of a similar shape, and eventually the word came to be used to refer to the noodles which were traditionally layered in a lasanum, a Roman lasagna dish. Many people are unaware of the humble origins of the name for this popular Italian food, which means that you can trot it out at your next dinner party and look impressive.”

Ragu`

1 onions
1/4 cup Olive oil
2oo g sausages
500 g of hamburger meat (halved 250 g each. Reserve half for Ragu` and half for meatballs.)
1/2 cup red wine
2 28 ounce cans of tomato sauce or 700 ml Tomato sauce.  (reserve 1/3 cup sauce to use with ricotta or cottage cheese)
2/3 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1 box Barilla Lasagna Pasta Sheets
1/3 cup canola oil
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 Tablespoon chopped parsley
Reserved 1/3 cup tomato sauce
250 g ricotta or cottage cheese
200 g mozzarella sliced
Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C.

In a large pan over medium heat saute` onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add ground sausage and 250 g. of hamburger meat. Working quickly with a wooden spoon break apart the the meats until they resemble meat crumbs about 4 minutes. Add wine, allow to come to vapor, 1 minute.  Add Tomato sauce with 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup milk and salt to taste. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Stir occassionally, for 10 minutes.

Prepare the meat balls.
In a seperate pan, warm canola oil over low heat. Then quickly start meatballs. In a bowl, add250 g hamburger meat, garlic and parsley working with hands to ensure all ingredients are well combined.
Shape into meatballs the size of a cherry and fry in oil until outerside is slightly hard. (5 minutes)

Ricotta and Sauce
Mix the ricotta with a ladle of sauce ‘Working with a fork combine sauce and ricotta until creamy (1 minute)
Assembling Pasta Layers for Lasagna
In a deep roasting pan, pour three ladles of sauce to thoroughly cover the bottom of pan.
Place a layer of pasta add three ladles of meat sauce.
Place a layer of pasta. Then spread the ricotta.
Place a layer of pasta, then three more  ladles of meat sauce, add the diced mozzarella.
Place a layer of pasta layer with three ladles of sauce, add meat balls as well.
Place a layer of pasta and four ladles of sauce.
Top off with mozzarella slices and Parmesan Cheese
Lightly Cover pan with aluminum foil, leaving space between cheese and foil.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and allow to bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, let stand for twenty minutes so that ‘everything is’ congeals’ a bit before dividing into the portions.

History of Lasagna  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-lasagne.htm

Stuffed Clams or Mussels

Stuffed mussels or clams, open-faced or absorbed in tomato sauce makes for great finger foods.

A favorite seafood lovers dish.  You will serve this as an appetizer or part of the main course
using the sauce over fettucine or linguine pasta.  Have more fun with this dish by preparing it with a friend, child or spouse.

2 pounds (1 kilo) Mussels or Clams (bathe in a bowl of cold water for 1-2 hours in order for sand to be expelled from inside shells.)
1/2 cup water
Stuffing. Needed supply: 4 inch (10 cm) cut string for cooking string (cotton butchers twine). Will need about 20 pre-cut strings.
2 1/2 cups cubed bread (for stuffing)
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 tsp salt

Sauce
1 medium onion diced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 28 ounces cans of unseasoned tomato sauce

Directions for expelling sand from shellfish.

Pre-soak clams or mussels for 2 hours in cold water so that they expel the sand from their shells.

Directions for making stuffed shellfish
Scrub the shells with a kitchen brush or metal scrubber (no soaps or detergent). It’s okay for some algae to still be attached to the shell.
Over medium heat, place a large pan and add 1/2 cup water with all the cleaned mussels or clams, cover pan and allow shells to open. About 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl add bread crumbs, egg, salt, garlic and parsley. Using a fork or your hands mix all ingredients together.

Turn off heat on the stove and reserve water in the pan by taking the opened mussels or clams one at a time from the pan. If some have not opened leave them in pan and cover with lid. They will continue to open.
Place one tablespoon of stuffing into each mussel or clam. With one hand close shell with seafood and stuffing inside. While with the other hand the string is wrapped two times around the closed shell and knotted, or bow-tied.

In a large pan over medium heat, add onion and oil allow to saute for 4 minutes.
Slowly pass about 3/4 of the reserved water from the musssels into a bowl.  Stop the filtering process as any debris (sand) starts to float toward the sieve.  The debris will naturally be the last to float to the top. Discard the last bit of water.  Add the 3/4 filtered, reserved mussel/clam water to the pan with the sauteed onions and mussles.
Add all of the stuffed and tied clams or mussels with tomato sauce. Add 1/2 tsp salt to taste and allow to simmer in sauce for 20 minutes. Mussels will be served in a bowl, use fingers or fork and knife to remove string. The sauce may be added to cooked linguine or fettucine pasta. Top off with chopped parsley for presentation!