Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Easy Pasta Recipes

Author: Ana Maria Da Costa Vasconcellos

When I get home and have short time to prepare lunch, the quickest dish is always pasta. You can easily have a complete meal in 10 minutes (plus the time to boil the water).

Pasta is a genuine food, that mostly of the times contain only water and wheat flour, being safe for people of all ages. The difference is how we dress it. But following the rules of Mediterranean Diet, that combines vegetables with carbohydrates, if the right quantity of fat (good fat) is used, it can really be considered a high quality meal for all ages.

The number of calories of a pasta dish (not considering the dressing) is around 300 kcal. Plus the dressing it makes a complete meal for about 600kcal, that matches perfectly with a balanced and healthy diet.

There are many industrialized dressings that may contain chemicals, but as seen along the following recipes, it is really easy and simple to cook a good and genuine meal with easy-to-find fresh ingredients.

Tasty Pasta with Tuna

This recipe is one of the favorite ones for my children. It's a complete meal as you have pasta (carbohydtares), extra virgin olive oil (good unsatured fat), grated parmesan and tuna (proteins).

You'll need for 4 people:

400gr of pasta (500gr if you want a unique and complete dish)
3 cans of tuna with olive oil (I use the 160gr each cans)
5 anchovies fillets
4 pieces of garlic (chopped)
3 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 or 5 spoons of grated parmesan
1 lemon juice

How to do it:
Put the pasta into the salted boiling water and set your timer for the cooking time (part of the goodness of a pasta dish is its correct cook - a too much cooked pasta loses taste).

Then put the extra virgin olive oil inside a frying pan and add the chopped garlic, the minced anchovies fillets and soon after the tuna. Mix it all, add a small piece of peperoncino (optional) and right before turning the gas off, add the lemon juice.

When the pasta is done, drain it with a colander and put it back inside the pan. Add the tuna mix and the grated parmesan. Mix it all well's ready.

Tagliatelle Alfredo
I got this recipe from a waiter of Alfredo's restaurant at Epcot Center, many years ago.

You'll need (for 4 people):

400gr of tagliatelle (fresh fettuccine would be great)
250gr cream
120gr of a good quality grated parmesan
1 spoon of butter

How to do it:
After putting the pasta inside the boiling salted water (tip: add a thread of oil to the water. It avoids fresh pasta to attach one with another), take a pan and put the butter, the cream and the grated parmesan together. Take it to low gas and mix it until it gets hot, but not boiling. When the pasta is done, drain it with a colander and add the warm cream and mix it all. It's done.

Pasta with bottarga and cherry tomatoes

Here you need to have grated bottarga, but it worths the expense.

You'll need (for 4 people):

400 gr of spaghetti
4 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 or 5 pieces of garlic, chopped
Minced parsley
500gr of cherry tomatoes
Grated bottarga

How to do it:
After putting the spaghetti into the boiling salted water, put the extra virgin olive oil inside a pan, add the chopped garlic and parsley and let it color a little. Then add the cherry tomatoes cut in halfs, mix it with the rest for a while and then turn off the gas. When the pasta is done, add this mix adding the grated bottarga. Perfect with a glass of good white wine. Enjoy!

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About the Author
Ana Maria da Costa, economist and enogastronomic expert, lives in Italy since 1983 and shows Italian food culture from the inside, with tips and useful info in her website All About Italian Food

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