I don't care what you do to it. Toss it in garlic oil, top it with
tomato sauce, stir it into soup or deep fry it. Just give me noodles...
Lots and lots of 'em!
I could eat pasta 24-7 if it wasn't for this little, (er, not so
little) thing called a waistline.
Seriously chitlins, I just dig the stuff! My favorite thing to
do in my fancy shmancy restaurant chef days was to invent the pasta
special. I'd just go into the walk-in (that's fancy chef talk for
a really big refrigerator), pick out the leftover bits of this and
that, which were just gonna be thrown out tomorrow, sauté or grill
them, toss them with some pasta, invent a sauce and... Badda-bing,
we had a $12 pasta-of-the-day and it always sold out.
Sometimes I'd get uppity. Squid ink linguini with tarragon crusted
baby shrimp anyone... Sometimes I'd get down-home. Come and get
yer macaroni and Velveeta! Sometimes I'd just throw everything short
of my soul into the ziti. Wild mushroom, artichoke heart, sundried
tomato, sweet pepper, asparagus and grilled chicken ziti, please.
But it was always fun, zingy, yummy and so easy to make that I felt
like I was doing something wrong.
Well darlins, I was not doing anything wrong at all (well, except
for that one night in the walk-in with the six foot two German --
but don't get me started). I was just giving in to what we all know,
that pasta makes us happy no matter how complicated or how simple
it is. It twinkles our taste buds, fills us up and out, makes us
feel safe and homey and sometimes it even whistles when we blow
into it. Try a big manicotti sometime. Hell, you can call a cab
with that thing!
Now then, without further parboiling I give you some perfectly
pasticious recipes guaranteed to leave you so carbed out you'll
either run a marathon or go shopping.
So bon appetito my little macaritos!
Boil a one
pound package of frozen or fresh tortellini. It's ready when it
floats to the top like a victim of the mob. Drain the pasta, run
it under cold water and toss in olive oil. Leave your pasta in a
big bowl and toss in one half red onion finely chopped, one bell
pepper chopped, a handful of sliced olives and a good handful of
cherry tomatoes cut in half. Then make a dressing out of a shot
of balsamic vinegar mixed with a shot and a half of olive oil, a
spoonful of Dijon mustard, a heaping spoonful of capers, and a lot
of salt of pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and toss
with your pasta. Next, cover in a ton of grated Parmesan. I like
to add fresh basil too, but you don't have to.
Make an herb butter
by letting one stick of sweet butter get soft. Then puree it in
a food processor (or mix it up by hand) with a good smidgen of finely
chopped tarragon, finely chopped parsley and thin sliced chives.
Season the butter with salt and white pepper and put aside.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, have a big pot of boiling water on
the stove and drop your linguini in it. While your pasta is cooking,
melt your herb butter and let it simmer with a spoonful of fresh
minced garlic. When your pasta is done, drain it, toss it in a bowl
and add a heaping handful of cooked baby peas, generous amounts
of sliced or chopped smoked salmon and your hot melted garlic herb
butter. Toss the whole shebang up and garnish with more slices of
in Toasted Sesame Dressing
kinda exotic -- like me. Boil one package of soba noodles (you can
find these in most gourmet groceries these days), drain and leave
in cold water while you make the dressing. Toast six tablespoons
of white sesame seeds and grind in a spice grinder or pound to hell
by hand with a hammer or mortar -- or your boot. Puree' two cloves
of garlic, the ground sesame, one tablespoon of red miso, two tablespoons
of soy sauce, three tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and a pinch
of sugar. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Drain soba
noodles and toss in olive oil, then drizzle with sesame oil and
toss again. Lay in a bowl and pour dressing over. Top with sliced
scallions, bean sprouts and red pepper julienne.
Well pistachios, there you have it, three more reasons to pasta
down and boogie. By the way, I know I didn't say it, but anytime
you boil pasta water, throw in a good drizzle of olive oil and a
nice healthy pinch of salt. It just makes life a little better and
keeps things from getting sticky and funky, which is, of course,
not always a bad thing -- but enough about me.