"Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
September 24, 2006 9:13 PM   Subscribe

What are your favourite pasta recipes?
posted by oxford blue to Food & Drink (36 answers total) 98 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Pasta Capricciosa (from Pomp and Sustenance, which I am sad to say is out of print)

1/2 cup capers
3 or 4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup cream
1 1/4 pounds rigatoni, cooked and drained

Grated parmesan cheese

Place capers, garlic and mint leaves together on board of in a chopping bowl and chop them fine. Add to the heated tomato sauce.

Simmer for five minutes, then add the cream. Simmer without boiling, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, until well assimilated.

Pour over pasta and serve with parmesan.

(Author said she forgoes the cream during the summer.)
posted by jason's_planet at 9:50 PM on September 24, 2006 [3 favorites]

Puttanesca - tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers and anchovies (and garlic). It's intense flavor, but so good.
posted by O9scar at 10:08 PM on September 24, 2006

I like to throw some shrimp in when I make Pasta Puttanesca.

My favorite pasta recipe is by far the simplest:

Boil water.
While water is boiling, heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add several cloves garlic.
Add one can of drained, rinsed diced tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until creamy (and/or until pasta is ready).
Serve with lots of cheese.

But, you probably already know that one.
posted by rossination at 10:11 PM on September 24, 2006

Response by poster: I did, but you make it sound good.
posted by oxford blue at 10:15 PM on September 24, 2006

Best answer: Ziti and Proscuitto, from Pierre Franey's Cuisine Rapide

1 lb ziti or penne pasta
6 roma tomatoes
1/3 to 1/2 lb thin sliced proscuitto
12 oz asparagus or green beans
3 or more cloves garlic
1/2 pint cream
grated parm cheese
fresh basil
olive oil

Slice tomatoes into chunks. Dice the garlic. slice the asparagus into @ 2 inch lengths. cut the proscuitto into strips @1/2 x 3 inches.

Boil a big pot of water and cook the asparagus til firm. Meanwhile In a deep skillet heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the garlic and brown briefly. Add the proscuitto and sautee for a while until proscuitto starts to slightly crisp. Add the tomatos, reduce heat, and simmer while the tomatos cook down, about 15 or 20 min.

When the asparagus is cooked fish it out with a strainer and set aside. Use the hot water again & start cooking the pasta.

When the tomatos are cooked down and mushy add 1/2 the cream, stir it all and simmer until slightly boiling and it all gets creamy.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and rinse briefly under cold water.

Mix the asparagus and pasta into the sauce. Heat together briefly. Chop the basil and toss it into the pasta & sauce. Serve with the parm cheese.

You can adjust the proportions of the ingredients to suit your taste; it is a very forgiving recipe.
posted by pgoes at 10:16 PM on September 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Oxtail ravioli with gremolata.

If I'm just doing pasta for myself, I like farfalle, oriechietta or fusilli drizzled with olive oil and folded through with sauteed garlic, salt and pepper, peas and good ham, with shavings of good parm.

Also, I like seafood lasagna, carbonara and pasta with sausage and basil (note: self-links).
posted by solid-one-love at 10:17 PM on September 24, 2006

Get some cappicolla, slice it thin. Get fresh shrimp, peel and devein. Wrap shrimp in a piece of cappicolla. Lightly oil a skillet over hight heat. Place shrimp in skillet. Turn once, pull out when underdone. Throw a small handfull of cappicolla slivers in the pan with some garlic and onion diced fine and a teaspoon or so of capers (capers are optional. I frequently leave them out.). Get that to a nice golden color. Dump in a can or two of crushed tomaters. Stir to combine, allow to simmer for about ten minutes. Boil your pasta. I like farfelle or penne with this. Throw shimp on top of sauce for a short while until finished cooking. Pull shrimp out. Toss in a handful of shredded basil leaves. Drain pasta and dump into skillet. Toss with sauce. Serve with some of the skrimp. I like grated pecorino romano on this, fuck the tradition of no cheese with seafood.

Porky fish sauce, plus you get to eat shrimp wrapped in crispy pork product.

Mmmmm, pork and shellfish. Someone's god hates me.
posted by Seamus at 10:37 PM on September 24, 2006

I'm now a vegetarian. But back when I was a poor, first-year grad student, my favorite meal was Spicy Spaghetti, which considered by many to be a crime against food. I'd cook up a package of italian sausage, lightly (heavily) doused with Dave's Insanity. Then, I'd cook up a package of Barilla angel hair pasta. This would then get stir-fried in chili oil. Shortly after, tomato sauce was added along with the italian sausage, and it gets stirred over medium heat until the consistency was about what I desired.

In retrospect, I'm not even sure this can be considered food as most people use the term.
posted by headlessagnew at 10:41 PM on September 24, 2006

Cream of mushroom...seriously, buy a 50 cent can and it's the best damn pasta sauce ever.
posted by apple scruff at 10:57 PM on September 24, 2006

Response by poster: Apple Scruff, do you put shake & bake in your coffee?
posted by oxford blue at 11:05 PM on September 24, 2006

alla Carbonara. Egg yolks are really the critical ingredient to the dish (I don't use any whites).
posted by milkrate at 11:14 PM on September 24, 2006

Best answer: Penne Vodka!

1 can of crushed tomatoes
2/3 of a cup to 1 cup of good vodka
1 cup of heavy cream
1 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
handful of torn basil
red pepper flakes to taste
1-2 cups of chicken stock or water

Saute the garlic and onion in butter and olive oil until they just begin to caramelize. Add the tomatoes, stock, pepper, and basil and bring to a simmer. Add the vodka and cook until the alcohol has burned off. Simmer for as long as you can wait... the longer, the better but 20-30 minutes is a good minimum. Add the cream, cook until heated thoroughly, then add the penne.

The measurements are estimates; I've been making this for so long that I'm not sure of the exact recipe. Basically, you add vodka until the bite of the vodka balances the sweetness of the tomatoes (just keep tasting) and add cream until it's a pretty, soft red (not pink) color.

On the vodka: It should be drinkable, but doesn't need to be great... Smirnoff is fine, no need to break out the Grey Goose.

I love this dish and so does everyone I've ever made it for. I rasied a ton of money for an MS Bike-a-thon by holding pasta dinners with this sauce.
posted by chickletworks at 11:24 PM on September 24, 2006 [4 favorites]

I ate the following several times a week for years: Fettucine, with minced garlic, parmesan, organo, lemon juice, and olive oil.
posted by goofyfoot at 11:24 PM on September 24, 2006

Oh, and since this thread needs to leave Italy:

This Asian-inspired pasta salad is excellent.

And for a quick lunch, nothing beats noodles with peanut sauce and scallions.
posted by chickletworks at 11:27 PM on September 24, 2006

Another quick "sauce" I've enjoyed - this is best over farfalle (bowties):

Saute chunks of bacon in a heavy pan. Add some diced onion, sundried tomatoes, and (optional) walnuts. Cook until the onion is translucent and the bacon is crisp (you may want to drain some of the bacond fat before you add the onion). Toss with pasta.

An additional trick, that I wasn't hip to until relatively recently: toss your pasta in a serving bowl of some kind. Spooning a lump of sauce over a plate of plain pasta is tacky American thing to do - tossing and serving the pasta with the sauce allows you to use less sauce (not usually an issue with healthier sauces), and it makes cream sauces less likely to get gross and coagulatey when cool (or at least it happens slower).

I'm loving this thread! I am an avid cook but nonetheless a college student, and pasta is a favorite meal of mine. It's cheap, quick, easy, and good for you.
posted by rossination at 11:30 PM on September 24, 2006

Response by poster: I just use the pot I cooked the pasta in; it saves washing up another dish.

I normally don't care for vodka, but chickletworks's recipe sounds so good I may just have to buy a bottle so I can make it.
posted by oxford blue at 11:43 PM on September 24, 2006

Sauté an onion. When the onions are clear add a glass or two of white wine. When only half the white wine remains add as much cream as your conscience or dietician allows you. Shortly before serving add pieces of smoked salmon and chopped fresh dill.

I get hungry just thinking about it.
posted by sveskemus at 11:52 PM on September 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

this is really simple, but it's a very fast and delicious clam pasta:

- olive oil
- 1 can of chopped clams
- 1/3 bulb garlic (less if you like garlic less than me)
- handful of white button or brown crimini mushrooms
- some cheap dessert wine like port or sherry
- fresh ground black pepper

toss the garlic and mushrooms together into a food processor and whack them until they're finely minced. in a saute pan, heat some olive oil and then toss in the mushrooms and garlic, saute for a minute or two and then dump in the contents of the can of clams (delicious salty clam juice included!) also add about a half cup (or whatever you like) of the port and the black pepper, and saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or long enough for it to stop being watery and thicken up.

while that's going, cook some linguine. turn off the heat and let it cool for a minute, then toss the linguine in the pan until the pasta is well-coated. top with piave, asiago or whatever your favorite dry italian cheese is. get fat.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 11:57 PM on September 24, 2006

I'm by no means a master, but I did this by accident and it was great. Take a few tins of diced tomatoes, drain, and put in a pot over low heat. Roughly chop an onion and some garlic, and add them to the mix. Keep it going for a while, then put it in the blender and whiz it around for a few seconds. You get a wonderful smooth consistency that's only improved by cream or butter. It's nice by itself, but even better when you use it as a base for something more exciting.
posted by twirlypen at 1:26 AM on September 25, 2006

Best answer: This is a great, rich sauce that I had in a restaurant and tried to recreate. As such, I don't know exact quantities, but I think with a pasta sauce it doesn't matter that much!!

(for 2/3 people)

-In a large pan, fry one/two pressed garlic cloves (depending how much you like!)
-Add 15 or so good quality vine tomatoes, chopped into quarters
-Add one jar of sundried tomatoes, the ones marinated in oil and garlic. Snip them into halves or quarters, depending on how large they are. Also chuck in about half of the oil in the jar, as this is yummy.
-Chop some green chillies (maybe one per person) and add these
-Add a jar/ jar and a half of drained artichoke hearts (I use the ones that come in a can, draining off the brine)
-Finally finish with a couple of handfulls of chopped fresh basil!

The combination of the flavours of the sundried tomatoes, basil and artichokes, with the kick of the chillies is fantastic! I serve it with penne pasta.
posted by schmoo at 2:34 AM on September 25, 2006

Best answer: I like Spaghetti alla Carbonara and it's fairly simple to cook.

You'll need:
3 strips of bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 crushed clove of garlic
3 eggs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (fresh grated is awesome but Kraft works)
1 lb. spaghetti

Keep in mind the end result is all of these ingredients in one bowl, with the hot pasta and hot bacon / olive oil cooking the eggs and cheese into a thick sauce.


-cut the bacon into matchsticks
-mix the eggs and cheese together in a large mixing bowl
-start cooking pasta
-combine bacon, garlic and 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and cook until the bacon is crispy
-throw the cooked pasta onto the egg / cheese mixture and stir for only a moment
-throw the cooked bacon, garlic, and hot oil onto the pasta / egg / cheese mixture and stir as quickly as you can

The egg and cheese should go from a very yellowish color (like a yolk) to a cream color close to the color of the pasta to begin with as it cooks. You're probably thinking that you'll die from raw egg, but you really do cook all of it with the hot pasta, bacon, and oil. You end up with noodles coated in the egg/cheese sauce and a bunch of yummy bits of bacon.

Season it to taste. I usually add a little bit of basil and sea salt, but sometimes I don't even add anything.

This is not a dish to eat if you're trying to lose weight, mind you. The way the recipe works out you end up saving all of the grease from the bacon and the oil you cooked it in, so it helps to get the least fatty bacon you can find or to just use turkey bacon. If you eat it and it feels too heavy try less olive oil if you cook it again.

Damn...now I'm gonna have to cook this soon.

Disclaimer: like chickletworks up above, I've been making this so long I usually visually measure things. I'm pretty sure I got the measurements right, though.
posted by ztdavis at 2:53 AM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This recipe is excellent - I originally just thought I'd try it out once for fun since I'm a fan of Monkey Island, but it has become a family favourite by now.
posted by Skybly at 3:37 AM on September 25, 2006

Carbonara, aglio e olio, anchovies/garlic/capers/parsley, eggs/cheese/peas/pepper, fedora (thin marinara with rosemary-infused cream), long-cooked tomato/garlic/saffron, red or white clam sauce
posted by rxrfrx at 4:39 AM on September 25, 2006

This is a timely one to use your green tomatoes:

Spaghetti with Sicilian Green Tomato Sauce

And here is another favorite and proven crowd-pleaser:

Denver Pasta Supper
posted by mikepop at 5:33 AM on September 25, 2006

Take an entire garlic and separate out all the cloves, removing the crusty skin stuff. Chop them as fine as you can (grating would also work) and saute them on very low heat in a little butter or olive oil until they are transparent. Add some onion and continue cooking on low heat until the onion is transparent. Add a can of tomatoes and a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste, and liberal amounts of basil and oregano. You can add diced vegetables and already-cooked ground meat if you like (or you could cook the meat before adding the tomatoes, I suppose). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, while you cook your pasta in a separate pan. Serve hot with grated parmesan or slices of aged cheddar.
posted by joannemerriam at 5:53 AM on September 25, 2006

I have made this salad from Jamie Oliver more times than I can remember. Everybody raves and asks for the recipe. I use bowtie pasta instead of shells, and I use grape tomatoes instead of cherry. Either will do. It's the best!

11 ounces (310 grams) small shell-shaped pasta
3 cloves garlic
9 ounces (225 grams) yellow cherry tomatoes
9 ounces (225 grams) red cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 handful black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons fresh chives
I handful fresh basil
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and garlic, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until al dente, and drain.
Put the garlic to one side for the dressing. Put the pasta in a bowl.

Cut the tomatoes, cucumber, and black olives into small pieces, about half the size of the pasta, and place in the round metal container. Roughly chop the herbs and place these in the container.

Using a fork mash the cooked garlic cloves on the board with a little salt, add to the salad.

Add the oil, vinegar, and seasoning.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:24 AM on September 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

roast up a tray of vegetables - zucchini, squash, eggplant, onions, peppers, some garlic - until they are carmelized. make an olive oil, salt, pepper lemon and garlic dressing to pour over it when it's done. Then pour over penne or spagetti. Sprinkle feta cheese to taste. Grill some shrimp and throw them on top and you'll go straight to heaven.
posted by any major dude at 6:26 AM on September 25, 2006 [5 favorites]

OMG, dude--that sounds delicious! I am making that!
posted by LoriFLA at 6:31 AM on September 25, 2006

well, what can one say, we're spoilt for choice :) as for me, i like to add celery to a basic bolognese sauce.
posted by londongeezer at 6:51 AM on September 25, 2006


1 1/2 pounds medium shallots (about 24), peeled, halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from French bread
1 1/2 pounds farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed, cut diagonally into 11/2-inch pieces
1 pound creamy blue cheese (such as Saga blue or Gorgonzola), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss shallots with 2 tablespoons oil on baking sheet; spread in single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

Stir 2 tablespoons oil and breadcrumbs in skillet over medium heat until crumbs brown, about 4 minutes. (Shallots and crumbs can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover separately; keep at room temperature.)

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 10 minutes. Add asparagus; cook until asparagus is crisp-tender and pasta is tender but still firm to bite, about 4 minutes. Drain pasta and asparagus. Transfer to large bowl. Immediately add blue cheese and shallots. Toss until cheese melts and pasta is well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Makes 6 servings.

Sooooooooo good. I usually make it without the breadcrumbs. Excellent with a light salad beforehand - especially with a Raspberry or Strawberry Vinagrette.
posted by Constant Reader at 7:11 AM on September 25, 2006

I'm a fan of cacio e pepe. Some cheese (parmesean, romano, asiago, whatever I can dredge up along those lines) and black pepper. Dash of olive oil. Awesome.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 8:39 AM on September 25, 2006

Best answer: I'm an approximate cook so these measurements are mere guidelines.

Vaguely Shrimp Scampi

1/2 lb raw peeled shrimp
5-8 large cloves garlic, sliced (not grated or pressed!) into thin medallions
2T butter or olive oil
juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon
fresh or dried basil
salt (optional)

(Optional: chopped seeded roma tomatoes, capers)

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and saute until lightly golden and delicious smelling. Drop in the spinach and saute until cooked. Squeeze lemon over the lot. Sprinkle in basil and salt to taste. If using romas or capers, toss in at the end and cook only until warmed through.

Serve over angelhair pasta. Parm or reggiano is good with this too.

I like to serve this with green and yellow summer squash.
Summer squash
3 zucchini/crookneck squashes (any combination), sliced into 3/8" medallions or half-moons
2T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
spices/herbs to taste: basil, oregano, and garlic work great, but go nuts. You can adjust the herbs to match your main dish.
1/4c water

Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan (one with a lid available). If using garlic, drop it in and saute just until golden. Add any other herbs if using (if using fresh herbs, add them at the end.) Add the zucchini and saute for a while. Don't stir too vigorously, let them sit on the pan for a while to brown up a smidge. Drop in the water, cover pan, and lower heat. Allow to steam for roughly 10m, or until you like the consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Vietnamese-esque Beef Noodle Salad
I make no claims to the authenticity of this dish; it was inspired by Vietnamese Bun but is at best distantly related.

1/3 package thread rice noodles (the really skinny kind)
small green cabbage, shredded (iceberg lettuce would also suffice)
bean sprouts
grated carrots
fresh mint
fresh basil, chopped
ground peanuts

.5 lb beef, cut into thin strips (not sure what cut is best for this, needs to be pretty tender)
1T olive or grapeseed oil
1T sesame oil

juice of 1 lime
splash rice vinegar
splash fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed
shake cayenne

juice of 1 lime
splash rice vinegar
splash fish sauce
smidge sugar (1/4t at most)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
shake cayenne

Mix up the marinade. Allow the beef to marinate for 2 hours or so. (If you're running late you can skip that step and just dump it in while the beef is cooking.)

Boil a pot of water and let the rice noodles soak for 8 minutes. Add 1C cold water to stop cooking and then drain the noodles. Place a pile of cabbage, bean sprouts, grated carrots, and noodles on each plate. Garnish with mint and basil.

To prepare the beef, heat the oils on medium high heat. Drain the beef (if marinated) and saute briefly in the heated oils. If you didn't marinate the beef, add the marinade to the pan and let it boil off to make a thick sauce.

Add the beef to the prepared plates. Sprinkle with ground peanuts.

Sprinkle the dipping sauce as desired.
posted by fuzzbean at 9:54 AM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Apparently I'm the poorest of the carbonara bunch, as the other linked recipes all call for prosciutto and I always use bacon.

Oh, well...my art degree will make me money when I graduate this May, right? ...right?
posted by ztdavis at 5:57 PM on September 25, 2006

Response by poster: I belive pancetta would be better then proscutto. But bacon is pretty orgasmic as well.
posted by oxford blue at 6:21 PM on September 25, 2006

I don't really understand using prosciutto in carbonara. That's just incorrect.

The recipe is supposed to have pancetta (unsmoked, unsweetened) but it's just dandy with cheapass US bacon (smoked, sweetened).
posted by rxrfrx at 2:02 PM on September 26, 2006

Uhh... pancetta is smoked.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:20 PM on September 26, 2006

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