Tag Archives: pasta

Pasta with Peas/ Pasta e Piselli

Pasta e Piselli/ Pasta with Peas is one of my childhood favorite dishes, one of those dishes that my mom used to make for me and my siblings weekly. My mom is from Naples and Pasta with Peas or Pasta and Potatoes or Pasta with Bean or Pasta with Lentils were a staple in our family. Every time I eat one of those dishes I immediately go back in time when I was a kid. I still remember the good old days when me, my siblings and my neighbors used to play outside all day. My mom used to call us around 6.30/7 pm and its still so vivid in my mind the amazing smell that my house had. I particularly remember when Pasta with Peas was on the stove because peas have such a fragrant sweet smell that is difficult to forget.

This recipe is very easy to follow. I used frozen peas but you can use Fresh or peas from the can. I added Guanciale but if you don’t have it its fine, you could substitute it with Pancetta or Bacon (bacon will give a little bit more of smoky flavor) or Ham. Either way is going to be an amazing dish. The final result is going to be like a soup but more thick. The pasta that I really like to use is small tube/ tubetti they are small and the go perfectly with peas that are small, but you can use any pasta you prefer. My mom used to use Pasta Mista that is a mixed of different cut of pasta, very popular in Naples. Don’t add too much pasta otherwise it won’t be such a pleasure to see and to eat; you need to balance your ingredients and go with the flow. Also very important keep a pot with a little bit of hot water to add in case you need to. My mom used to Enjoy and Buon Appetito

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of peas
  • 150 grams Guanciale or Pancetta or Bacon
  • 2 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Oil
  • Half Onion
  • 340 grams Pasta Ditalini/ Tubetti or Pasta Mista
  • Salt and pepper
  • Love
  • 3/4 cups of water warm
  • Parmiggiano Reggiano

Method:

In a pot put the oil, let it warm up and add the onion finely chopped. When the onion has a gold colour add the guanciale or Pancetta and cook it for few minutes until its crispy. Now its time to add the peas, stir them and let them cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add 1 cup of warm water and cook everything for 10/ 15 minutes with lid on ( I like to put a wooden spoon between the lid and the pot so it will cook nicely). When the peas are done add the rest of the water and the pasta. Give a nice stir and cook it until is ready ( my tubetti took 10 minutes). If it gets too dry add more warm water. Taste your pasta and check if there is enough salt. Plate your amazing dish made with love and add Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy

img_6814

FRESH EGG PASTA

Fresh homemade pasta is a classic of Italian cuisine! For many it is a ritual that is handed down from generation to generation, it is a childhood memory, at home; it is a moment of celebration with family or friends. Before moving to Vancouver I had no idea how to make fresh egg pasta, in Italy you can buy Fresh Pasta at the super market or even better at the local deli.

When I moved here I was really fascinated by all the Italian women, friends of my mother-in-law and not, who invariably made fresh pasta for the family. There is a lot to admire in these women because they really had to learn in an era without Google, without internet!

My mother-in-law told me that the first time she made the pasta she simply put some flour on the table, a few eggs and started to knead, naturally without weighing … all by eye. When I also started making pasta, it was when I really became passionate about cooking. There is nothing more satisfying, in my opinion, than fresh pasta, eggs and flour. And nothing more delicious than a nice plate of tagliatelle with a good ragu ‘.

Now the passion I have for Fresh Pasta I like to pass it on to the ladies and gentlemen that come at my cooking classes. The class on fresh pasta is one of the most requested. My clients / friends are also fascinated by being able to create something precious only with the use of eggs and flour and of course lots of love. We make pasta, ravioli, lasagne, tagliatelle, fettuccine, spaghetti alla chitarra, tortelli, tortellini, agnolotti, cannelloni and whoever has the most ‘put it. My recipe is very simple, for 1 egg is 100 grams of flour.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 500 grams all purpose flour
  • A sprinkle of love

Method:

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together – with a bit of work and some love and attention they’ll all bind together to give you one big, smooth lump of dough! 

You can also make your dough in a food processor if you’ve got one. Just put everything in, whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to your work surface and bring the dough together into one lump, using your hands.

Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente. 

There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then all you need to do is wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges (this will give you crusty lumps through your pasta when you roll it out, and nobody likes crusty lumps!).

Dust your work surface with some flour, take a lump of pasta dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Click the machine down a setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Fold the pasta in half, click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting and roll the dough through again. Repeat this process five or six times. It might seem like you’re getting nowhere, but in fact you’re working the dough, and once you’ve folded it and fed it through the rollers a few times, you’ll feel the difference. It’ll be smooth as silk and this means you’re making wicked pasta!

Now it’s time to roll the dough out properly, working it through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with a little flour every time you run it through. When you’ve got down to the narrowest setting, to give yourself a tidy sheet of pasta, fold the pasta in half lengthways, then in half again, then in half again once more until you’ve got a square-ish piece of dough. Turn it 90 degrees and feed it through the machine at the widest setting. As you roll it down through the settings for the last time, you should end up with a lovely rectangular silky sheet of dough with straight sides – just like a real pro! If your dough is a little cracked at the edges, fold it in half just once, click the machine back two settings and feed it through again. That should sort things out. Whether you’re rolling by hand or by machine you’ll need to know when to stop. If you’re making pasta like tagliatelle, lasagne or stracchi you’ll need to roll the pasta down to between the thickness of a beer mat and a playing card; if you’re making a stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini, you’ll need to roll it down slightly thinner or to the point where you can clearly see your hand or lines of newsprint through it. 

Once you’ve rolled your pasta the way you want it, you need to shape or cut it straight away. Pasta dries much quicker than you think so whatever recipe you’re doing, don’t leave it more than a minute or two before cutting or shaping it. You can lay over a damp clean tea towel which will stop it from drying. Buon Appetito

Rainy Day Soup/Pasta and Potatoes soup

Pasta and Potatoes soup is a typical dish that comes from my parents hometown Naples. It’s a simple dish that uses basic ingredients and belong to a poor and humble tradition. It’s a very starchy soup and I considered a comfort food!

I was born in Naples but I grew up in North Italy, my mom used to make this dish a lot especially when it was rainy and cold outside! She used to say ” well today it’s raining so it’s a perfect day for pasta and potatoes”.

When I moved to Vancouver I started to cook by myself for my husband trying to offer him all the amazing dishes that my mom taught me. The weather was rainy every day so for a week, every day, we had Pasta and Potatoes soup. At the 6th day my husband asked me ” Can you please tell me why you make this soup everyday? It’s very delicious BUT every day? ” Well, I replied, my mom used to make this dish when it was raining so I would love to keep the same tradition”

He was laughing so hard, of course, because Vancouver it’s a rainy city and it  does rain a lot, all the time so it can be Pasta and Potatoes soup every day. Back then I didn’t know the weather situation here. Now my husband tells this story to everybody, to all my friends. Actually, when I did my audition for Master Chef Canada, he did suggest I bring Pasta and potatoes….. I should have done that.

Now here is the recipe that you can make today, that is a rainy day, or any other day that you need comfort food. It’s incredibly good, creamy and it will warm your heart.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 200 grams of pasta small cut like ditalini, small shells or broken spaghetti 
  • 500 grams potatoes cut in small pieces 
  • 50 grams pancetta or bacon ( if you don’t like it it’s ok)
  • Soffritto( carrots, onion and celery chopped fine)
  • 1 tomato cut in pieces 
  • 1 bouillon 
  • 5 tablespoons of oil
  • Parmesan Crust ( if you don’t have it it’s ok)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  • A sprinkle of love

Method:

Cut the celery, onion and carrot in small pieces.

  • Put them in a pan whit some oil and let them stir fry for few minutes.
  • Cut the potatoes in cubes, not too small, and add them to the vegetables.
  • Stir fry everything for a minute, now you can water! The water has to cover all the vegetables. Add the tomato and a bouillon. Cook everything on a medium high heat and when it does start to boil low the temperature down on a low heat and cover with a lid. The potatoes has to cook slowly for 30 minutes or more. Sometimes gently stir the potatoes. 
  • After that you can add the pasta and the Parmesan Crust, if you need you can add another glass of water and cook everything in low medium without lid! The water need to dry out and become a nice cream.
  • When it’s ready add a drizzle of oil and serve with Parmesan cheese! 
  • Buon appetito