October 1, 2001
Dining In: A little taste of Italy
1 lb. angel hair or spaghetti pasta
2 c. fresh vegetables (i.e. carrot and red pepper strips, asparagus pieces, snow peas, broccoli flowerets)
2 Tbsp. sundried tomato flavored canola oil (see recipe below)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until tender but firm, 3 to 4 minutes. Microwave vegetables until tender crisp or add vegetables to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Drain pasta and vegetables and return to cooking pot. Toss with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
Sundried Tomato Oil
1 c. canola oil
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped sundried tomatoes
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped shallots
2 large cloves garlic, halved
Pour canola oil into 2 c. glass measuring cup. Add the sundried tomatoes, shallots and garlic.
Set the container on a pie plate in the center of the oven. Heat at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
Line a strainer with a coffee filter. Strain oil into a clean jar, cover and refrigerate. Use oil within one month.
Makes 4 servings.
Lasagna with Spinach and Red Pepper Sauce
3 Tbsp. virgin olive oil, divided
2 Spanish onions, one thinly sliced, one chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 jar (25 oz.) or 1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
1 c. water, divided
1/2 Tbsp. crushed dried basil
3 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 container (15 oz.) low fat ricotta cheese
1 c. ( 4 oz.) shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
12 sheets oven-ready lasagna noodles
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
In a small Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat.
Saute sliced onion and half the garlic until onion is translucent. Add spinach and 1/2 c. water.
Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, combine ricotta and mozzarella cheeses in a bowl.
Spoon 1/4 sauce to cover bottom of 9x13x2 inch baking dish.
Arrange 3 sheets pasta over sauce. Cover with 1/3 spinach. Spread over 1/3 cheese mixture. Sprinkle on 1 Tbsp. Parmesan.
Repeat process twice more. Top with remaining pasta, sauce and Parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit, uncovered, 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 9 servings.
Perfect Pasta with Angel Hair Pasta
1 c. tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. mild olive oil
2 (9 oz.) packages refrigerated angel hair pasta
In work bowl of food processor or blender, process basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese and salt until a pasta forms.
With the machine running, gradually add oil in a steady stream until evenly blended. Toss with cooked pasta. Serve warm or chilled.
Makes 8 servings.
Pasta with Tuna Sauce
1 tsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
1 6-1/2 oz. can water-packed white tuna, darined
1-3/4 c. tomato puree
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (or 1-1/2 tsp. dried)
1/2 to 1 tsp. oregano
1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
5-6 oz. pasta
1-1/2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute, stirring constantly until just golden.
Add remaining ingredients except pasta and cheese. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Add water if sauce gets too thick.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water until tender but still firm.
Drain. Serve immediately, topped with sauce and cheese.
Makes 2 servings.
Spinach and Potato Gnocchi
3/4 lb. potatoes
1 egg yolk
1 c. chopped spinach leaves or 1/2 package defrosted frozen squeezed dry
14/ c. flour
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Boil the potatoes. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes. With a fork, mash the hot potatoes in a large bowl. Mix in the egg yolk spinach.
Set a deep saucepan of water to boil.
Use the fork to blend the flour, cheese and pepper into the potato mixture. When it starts to come together, gently knead the dough until it form a soft ball; this may take only 4-5 turns.
Divide the dough int four pieces. Tear each into six walnut size pieces and roll them each into a ball. Reduce the heat until the pot of water is barely simmering. Gently drop the gnocchi into the water, 6 at a time. They are done ehn they floar to the surface, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, trasnfer the cooked gnochh to a soup bowl. Repeat, until all the gnochhi are cooked and divided among 4 bowls.
Heat your favorite marinara or fresh tomato pasta sauce. Pour it over the 4 servings of gnocchi, and serve. Pass additional grated cheese, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.