Category Archives: Pasta

Linguine with Lemon Cream, Fava Beans & Savoy Cabbage

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I’m back! It’s been a busy 6 months since I last posted. My family survived two weddings, one on each coast (one of them was mine!), and we enjoyed a food-filled Christmas and New Year. After indulging in a few too many (okay, more than just a few) desserts and rich meals over the holidays, I was craving a veggie-heavy (meat-light) dinner this weekend.

I was fixated on making pasta with a lemon cream sauce, and the following recipe is the result. The lemon sauce just barely coats the pasta, almost like Spaghetti alla Carbonara. It tastes slightly decadent, without overpowering the fava beans or the pasta itself. It’s actually more suitable for spring than winter, but with temperatures near 60 degrees this past weekend, it felt appropriate. I’ll be back to make it again when spring eventually does come around in New York!

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

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Linguine with Lemon Cream, Fava Beans & Savoy Cabbage
Serves 4-5

Notes: I am lucky enough to live a block away from an Italian specialty grocery store that carries frozen, shelled fava beans, but if you can’t find fava beans you can always substitute them for frozen peas or asparagus. There is a scant amount of pancetta in this pasta, which can be replaced with bacon, or even omitted entirely. Additionally, the sage, basil, and parsley can be swapped out for any number of fresh herbs, but I really enjoyed this combination. Just make sure to use a light hand when it comes to the sage, as it can become overpowering. And finally, cabbage might seem odd in this recipe, but it becomes deliciously sweet after being sautéed with the shallots and cooked in white wine, broth, and cream. Try to find Savoy cabbage if possible, as it has thinner, more delicate leaves.

8 ounces dry linguine
8 ounces fresh or frozen shelled green fava beans (frozen peas can be substituted here)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 ounces pancetta, diced into small ¼ inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ head of a medium-sized savoy cabbage, core removed and shredded
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely minced

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  2. When the water boils, add the fava beans and cook until just tender. Using a slotted spoon or sieve, remove the fava beans and drain. Set aside for later. Bring the water back to a boil for the pasta.
  3. Place a large sauté pan over low heat. Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive and the pancetta and cook over low to medium heat until the pancetta has rendered its fat and begins to crisp up and caramelize [make sure not to burn the pancetta, but to cook it slowly so that the fat has time to render out]
  4. Add one tablespoon of butter, the minced shallot and garlic, and cook for an additional 5 minutes over low heat, or until the shallot is soft and translucent.
  5. Add the shredded cabbage and increase the heat to medium. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the cabbage begins to wilt.
  6. Add the wine and reduce completely until all of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Combine the cream and lemon zest in a small measuring cup or bowl and reserve.
  8. Add the chicken broth to the cabbage mixture and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook over medium heat for an additional 10 minutes or until the cabbage is very tender and cooked through.
  9. Add the cooked fava beans and cream and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced slightly.
  10. While the cream sauce is simmering, bring the pot of salted water back to a boil and add the linguine to the boiling water. Stir once to make sure that the pasta does not stick together and then cook according to the instructions on the package until al dente. Reserve a ½ cup of the pasta water and add to the vegetables and cream sauce. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  11. Strain the pasta. Using the same pot in which you cooked the pasta, add one tablespoon of olive oil and the pasta, tossing lightly to combine.
  12. Pour the sauce, fresh herbs, and 1/3 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano into the pot with the linguine and toss well until combined.
  13. Serve immediately with extra Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish and freshly ground black pepper.

An old favorite

This weekend Brian and I were in Pennsylvania for a friend’s wedding. After drinking our fair share of champagne and eating out for two days at various restaurants and hotels, we were more than ready for a home-cooked Sunday night meal. On the train, on our way back to New York, I asked Brian what he would like to have for dinner (in hopes that his current state of inactivity was the perfect moment to address the topic of food). He responded, “Why don’t we have your tomato pasta?”. An idea has never been so well received! Images of perfectly al dente pasta coated in a simple tomato sauce and liberally garnished with fresh Parmigiano cheese appeared to me, and further discussions of what to have for dinner seemed superfluous.

My mom’s tomato sauce recipe is both a personal favorite and a favorite of my two sisters and dad.  There is something about the combination of semolina pasta, tomato, garlic, and Parmigiano that is utterly satisfying (so much so that I can barely put my fork down, or restrain from going back for seconds). Despite my affection for Mario Batali’s ‘Beef Cheek Ravioli’ at Babbo, I often prefer more plebian pasta preparations. This tomato sauce does not take hours to cook, nor does it even require fresh tomatoes. It doesn’t even necessitate a trip to the grocery store, as it contains items that most people have in their pantry or in their refrigerator. And if you make too much, don’t worry—it keeps well in the freezer and can be used in various other recipes, including as a base for vegetable or lentil soups.

I could include the recipe here, but in this case I will direct you to my sister’s blog. She posted the recipe a few months ago and I only have a few notes to add. First off, use Pomì brand chopped tomatoes if you can get your hands on a box. Pomì’s tomatoes taste great and they don’t add citric acid. Secondly, always use fresh garlic if you have it and use good quality semolina or whole wheat pasta (I prefer DeCecco brand or Bionaturae (if I am making whole wheat)). Lastly, after cooking my pasta, I drain it in a colander and then return it to the pot in which I cooked the pasta (this ensure that my pasta stays hot). I like to coat the pasta in a touch of butter and some olive oil, and then either toss it with the sauce or let people add the sauce themselves.

Question of the day: What are your go-to pasta recipes?

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Pasta Salad for Hurricane Irene

This weekend, as the East Coast waited for Hurricane Irene to arrive, I whipped together this pasta salad.  I was in the Philadelphia area this weekend, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and happy that I had access to a backyard and a grill.  Friday’s weather was gorgeous, so I made the most of the brief hours that remained before the rain came pouring down to grill some chicken and make this side dish.

I am not the biggest fan of traditional pasta salad, mainly because I dislike mayonnaise in almost anything except for tuna salad.  This pasta salad is still creamy, due to the incorporation of goat’s milk cheese, but it is lighter, and in my opinion, more befitting of a nice summer evening.  My favorite thing about this pasta is the way that the raw corn bursts in your mouth as you take a bite.  It’s also easy to prepare, and can be made in the time that it takes to heat the grill and cook some chicken or steak.  I will definitely be making this again, although hopefully not on the eve of another hurricane!

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Summer Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese, Sweet Corn, and Scallions

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound box of macaroni-shaped pasta
  • 1  bunch of scallions (green parts only), sliced thinly
  • Kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn (or 1.5 cups of frozen corn)
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the box.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, slice the scallions, crumble the goat cheese, and remove the kernels from the 2 ears of corn.
  3. When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta in a colander and add it to a large mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Add the scallions, goat cheese, and raw corn to the pasta and toss everything together.  Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately or allow the pasta to cool and serve at room temperature.

Chicken Sausage and Escarole Pasta

I find myself craving pasta quite frequently.  On some days I have a yearning for my mom’s simple homemade tomato sauce (see recipe for it here), while other days I want something a bit heartier.  A few years ago I switched over to eating primarily whole wheat pasta.  It doesn’t taste like 100% durum semolina pasta, but I enjoy its nutty flavor and it fills me up so that I don’t overindulge.  I have found a few brands of whole wheat pasta that I like, including Bionaturae and Garofalo.

The other night I decided to make a favorite of mine, pasta with escarole and sausage.  I had a few chicken sausages in the freezer, so I pulled them out to defrost the night before. Luckily, I live only a block away from a great Italian grocery store and was able to find escarole (if you can’t find escarole at your local grocery store, try substituting spinach or kale).  With the addition of some sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, chicken broth, and parmesan cheese I was ready to go.  The best thing about this recipe is that it takes no time at all. You can cook the sauce in the time that it takes to boil your pasta water.  It’s delicious, comforting, and dare I say healthy.

Happy Cooking,

Pippa

Chicken Sausage and Escarole Pasta (serves 4-6 portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (I used a shape called casarecce, but penne would also work well)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 links of organic pre-cooked Italian chicken sausage, sliced into 1/2 cm thick coins
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large head of escarole, cleaned and leaves sliced into 2-inch wide ribbons
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes (rehydrated in hot water, drained, and sliced thinly)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  •  salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Instructions for cooking the pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once the water had boiled, liberally season the water with salt (the water should taste like ocean water).
  2. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package.
  3. Drain the pasta and pour it back into the empty pasta pot with a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Instructions for making the sauce:

  1. While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large sauté pan over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Add the red pepper flakes and sausage and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes over medium hight heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add all of the escarole and the chicken broth. Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat until the escarole is wilted, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the sundried tomatoes and cook uncovered for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. When the pasta has cooked, pour the sauce over the pasta and mix everything together gently with a wooden spoon.
  7. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.