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Fifty Shades Of Pasta August 11, 2014

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food.
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frankava

Yes, that’s it… gently with the linguine…. it must be al dente for it to be just right…. oooh yeah….

More baby more!

Now the thick spaghetti, you know how I like it thick…. I’ll stuff your bucatini fulla loooove….

And the safety word is gemelli.

Someone asked me for some Italian recipes, so I thought of pasta. Now that I’m going easer on the whole low-carb thing I can make it far more often.

If only I had a penne for every time I made pasta.

Okay, now that you’ve barfed & made some room, here are some ideas. And to be specific, they’re really ideas on what to have WITH pasta – they’re not recipes for making your own homemade pasta (which is pretty easy, actually: 1 cup flour to 1 egg/2 tbs water/1/8 cup olive oil ratio for each portion. Mix up, knead a bit, wrap in plastic like Laura Palmer for at least a half hour, then roll out & cut using machine or a rolling pin).

Real men like meat with their pasta. At least that’s what I’ve been told over cups of herbal tea in our circular discussions of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Wait, now I’M barfing.

Anyway, just like the construction worker inquired as you walked on by, if you like Italian sausage, I’ve got something good for you. Take the sausage (hot or sweet, whatever you like & also depending on the construction worker’s personality) and cut it open, raw, squeezing the meat out into a bowl (unless of course the construction worker yells “gemelli!”). Add some wine, red or white, and mix up. Brown this up in a saute pan with some olive oil and use a wooden or plastic spoon to break it up into decent sized chunks, not too big, not too small. Then simply add some basic marinara to it. The meat is already seasoned and spiced, so this is basically pasta & sausage without pieces of sausage but instead with more of a ragout angle.

I posted a recipe for meatballs elsewhere on this blog, but lately I’ve been doing it a little differently: I still use ground turkey, but I start with a piece of white or Italian bread, minus the crust, torn into tiny shreds by hand & then soaked with red wine. I mash this with a fork into a red paste of sorts, maybe about 1/4 cup worth for the 1/3 pound of ground turkey I’m using. Then I add salt, pepper (ground black or red pepper flakes, whatever you like), garlic powder, parmesan cheese, dried basil and maybe a tablespoon of olive oil to it all, mix it up until the consistency is uniform & then make 6-8 meatballs with it. These go on a pyrex pie plate & into the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. I’ll finish cooking them in a saute pan with a little olive oil, browning them on a few sides, and then adding marinara & simmering it all for 15-20 minutes before dressing pasta with it.

Low-Carb variation: In either of these cases, I added sun dried tomatoes during the cooking of the sauce & mozzarella cheese at the end to thicken, giving me more of a thick meaty stew. I’d increase the meat portion (something else the construction worker suggested), eat it in a bowl along with a salad & some wine.

I tried a new trick with a mushroom marinara the other day as well – I sliced up the mushrooms & sweated them down in a saute pan with some olive oil and a pinch of salt, but this time once they browned & shrunk, I didn’t add the marinara right off. Instead, I added about 1/4 of port wine and cooked it down until the wine remnant was syrupy, where you could see a trail when you dragged the spoon through it, and THEN added the marinara. I used to throw some port into my marinara to give the illusion of fresher/sweeter tomatoes, and by infusing the ‘shooms with it, this had the same effect, only more noticeable in the end. And this can easily be accomplished with the run-of-the-mill cheap twisty cap supermarket port – you don’t have to use that 1963 bottle of tawny that ran you several hundred dollars. Unless you want to…. but the only way I’d ever spend that kind of money is if I’d forgotten the safety word.

Mangia!

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