Pasta Sauces

Making Basil Pesto in a Blender

This article is about basil pesto, the second most famous Italian pasta sauce, of course after tomato sauce. However, this is not about the traditional way to make “Pesto Genovese” – using a mortar; there are plenty of good resources on that (as greatly summarized on Food Lover’s Odyssey). This article is about the more … Continue reading “Making Basil Pesto in a Blender”

mascarpone tomato gnocchi

Buckwheat Gnocchi with Mascarpone Tomato Sauce

This recipe was inspired by a dish I had last summer at Farmer’s Apprentice, a great Vancouver restaurant. For my interpretation, I made rustic gnocchi by mixing in some buckwheat flour, and used mascarpone as a base for a creamy tomato sauce. The result speaks for itself! The dish is really easy to make, but … Continue reading “Buckwheat Gnocchi with Mascarpone Tomato Sauce”

pesto alla trapanese

Pesto alla Trapanese, with Almonds and Fresh Tomatoes

I’m from northern Italy – only been to Sicily once – and I only had heard about this dish before moving to Canada. Thanks to my friends food-bloggers, however, this dish tickled my attention, I starting making it, and I think it has already become part of my repertoire! What I love about Pesto alla … Continue reading “Pesto alla Trapanese, with Almonds and Fresh Tomatoes”

Shrimp, Zucchini and Saffron Linguine

This dish is a summer classic featuring an incredible flavor combination: roasted zucchini, shrimp and saffron, in a creamy wine sauce. Like other crustaceans, shrimp tend to spoil quickly and are often frozen at sea or even sold cooked. Whole shrimp deteriorates even quicker because the cephalothorax (the “head”) contains the midgut gland (corresponding to … Continue reading “Shrimp, Zucchini and Saffron Linguine”

Saffron Penne

Roasted zucchini and/or shrimp are common additions to saffron-based pasta sauces. This recipe, however, is about the simplest saffron sauce, which is just made of saffron and cream. The fat contained in the cream has the ability to bind with parts of the saffron compound that are not water-soluble, thus extracting even more saffron flavor. … Continue reading “Saffron Penne”

vodka pasta

Vodka Pasta (Made Vegetarian)

I’ve been away for so long that I feel almost ashamed of myself! Luckily, this is not sufficient to stop me from posting again πŸ™‚ As you can see from the pictures below, I’m cooking in a different kitchen πŸ™‚ – this is part of the reason for my prolonged absence: we have moved to … Continue reading “Vodka Pasta (Made Vegetarian)”

Handmade Tagliolini with Mushrooms

Most Italians would be perfectly happy to eat pasta every day, and some probably do! Everyday pasta is normally dried durum pasta, delicious when of good quality and properly cooked, and also convenient as it can be stored for months in the cupboard. Fresh pasta, on the other hand, is generally regarded as more sophisticated, … Continue reading “Handmade Tagliolini with Mushrooms”

Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma – A Sicilian First Course with Character

Pasta alla Norma is a staple Italian first course almost unknown in North America. The dish, native to Sicily, is especially known in southern Italy but can be found all around the country. Alla Norma sauce (likely named after the opera Norma, by Sicilian composer Vincenzo Bellini) can be recognized from other eggplant-based sauces for … Continue reading “Pasta alla Norma – A Sicilian First Course with Character”

Bell Pepper Pasta

Italians rarely get tired of a good tomato sauce, but when they do they often resort to a tomato sauce variation. This recipe is based on the simple addition of roasted bell peppers, and of chili for some heat. The resulting sauce is great on pasta, but it also doubles as a tasty dip for … Continue reading “Bell Pepper Pasta”

Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans Pasta

This recipe describes a common variation of the classic pesto pasta. In Liguria, pesto pasta is often had along with potatoes and green beans, a hearty version sometimes called ‘enriched’ pesto. Please see the Making Pesto in a Blender article for tips on how to make the pesto base simply and quickly. Pesto, Potatoes and … Continue reading “Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans Pasta”

tortiglioni all'arrabbiata

Tortiglioni all’Arrabbiata

Sugo* all’Arrabbiata is a classic pasta sauce from central/southern Italy that can be prepared very quickly, while the pasta cooks. This sauce is traditionally quite spicy, and this is at the origin of its name (all’arrabbiata, in Italian means ‘angry-style’). If desired, a milder version can be made, but a certain amount of heat is … Continue reading “Tortiglioni all’Arrabbiata”

Pasta with Gorgonzola

This quick and versatile recipe is another great representative of the cuisine of northern Italy. With any kind of strong, creamy cheese and a handful of always-ready ingredients, this delicious sauce can be whipped together from scratch in minutes. In Italy, there is absolutely no Alfredo sauce! The most famous dish that makes use of … Continue reading “Pasta with Gorgonzola”

Basic Tomato Sauce

Even though tomatoes made their appearance in Europe in the 1700s, it took until the beginning of the 1900 for them to reach today’s popularity and central role in Italian cuisine. This recipe describes one of the most basic pasta sauces: the tomato sauce. The tomatoes, delicately flavored with salt, a hint of onion*, and … Continue reading “Basic Tomato Sauce”