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March 03, 2005 - Image 87

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-03-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Arts & Life

Food

Al Dente

Wonderful, comforting pasta makes a comeback after the anti-carb fad.

ANNABEL COHEN

Special to the Jewish News

T

he anti-carb craze is slowing
down. People starved for healthy
carbs are introducing whole
grains and even pasta — in moderation
— back to the table.
Some folks never gave up pasta. It's
too good, too comforting and a guilty
pleasure.
Dry pasta is inexpensive and an excel-
lent product. Indeed, many cooks worth
their reggiano have no qualms about
serving good quality dry pasta instead of
its more expensive fresh counterpart.
It's easy to prepare pasta. And what's
more satisfying than freshly boiled pasta
drizzled with butter or olive oil and a lit-
tle fresh-grated parmesan cheese.
The real trick is in the cooking and
quick serving of pasta. Unless you're
preparing pasta salad, hot, cooked
spaghetti, farfalle and linguine, among
others, should never be made ahead of
mealtime and should never be rinsed —
within reason and recipe.
Pasta should be truly al dente. And
you can't rely solely on a clock to tell
you when that is. Always — always —
taste pasta before you drain it. When
you bite down, pasta should be slightly
chewy.
To salt or not? It's personal preference.
Salty water adds a negligible amount of
flavor to pasta, but go ahead if you must
— about a tablespoonful to a big pot of
water.
The following recipes are simple. Of
course, you can add ingredients to your
heart's content.

FETTUCCINE WITH SPINACH,
ROASTED GARLIC AND FETA
Substitute kale or chard for the spinach,
walnuts or almonds for the pinenuts and
parmesan or another cheese for the feta.
1 cup peeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound dry fettuccine
1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves
2 cups fresh chopped plum or roma
tomatoes
1 cup lightly toasted pinenuts
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Roast the garlic: Preheat oven to 400F.
Lay a 12-inch sheet of heavy-duty foil
(or two layers of regular foil) on a flat

surface. Place the garlic in the and pour
the olive oil over. Use your hands to toss
the garlic with the oil. Wrap the garlic in
the foil and place the packet on a baking
sheet. Roast in the center of the oven for
40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool
completely before opening. Chop the
garlic and set aside.
Just before serving: Be sure to have all
your ingredients ready and at hand.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook according to
package directions until just al dente.
Drain the pasta well (do not rinse), and
place in a large bowl.
Add about half the garlic to the pasta
and add all the spinach. Toss immediate-
ly. Add the tomatoes, half the pinenuts
and the half the feta cheese. Season to
taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the pasta with extra feta cheese
and pinenuts sprinkled over the top.
Serve the remaining garlic on the side.
Makes 4-6 servings.

PENNE WITH MASCARPONE,
EGGS, OLIVES AND BASIL
1 pound dry penile pasta
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg, optional
salt and pepper to taste
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped, pitted dried-cured olives
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
fresh grated parmesan cheese, garnish
Have all the ingredients ready.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil
over high heat. Add the pasta and cook
according to package directions until
just al dente. Drain the pasta well- (do
not rinse), and place in a large bowl.
Add the mascarpone cheese, butter
and olive oil; toss well. Add nutmeg, salt
and pepper to taste. Toss in the eggs and
basil. Serve the pasta with parmesan
cheese on the side. Makes 4-6 servings.

SPINACH PASTA WITH CHICKEN
AND CARAMELIZED ONION
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with
juices
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more for

spicier sauce)
1/2 cup red wine, any kind
4 baked or grilled chicken
breasts, cut into 1/2-inch
chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound dried spinach pasta, any shape
fresh basil leaves, garnish
Make the caramelized onions: Heat oil
in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring
frequently, for about 8 minutes, until
the onions are softened and beginning
to brown. Add the sugar; cook, stirring
frequently, for another 8 minutes, until
the onions are brown and caramelized.
Make the sauce: Heat the tomatoes in
a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add bay leaf and pepper flakes; bring to
a boil. Reduce heat, add the wine and
cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasional-
ly. Add the caramelized onions, chicken,
salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil
over high heat. Add the pasta and cook
according to package directions until
just al dente. Drain the pasta well (do
not rinse), and place in a large bowl.
Add the sauce with the chicken and toss
well. Serve, garnished with the basil
leaves. Makes 4-6 servings.

CAPELLINI WITH SALMON AND
VODKA TOMATO CREAM SAUCE
Sauce:
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup vodka
1 cup tomato puree
3/4 cup heavy cream (not whipped)
1 tsp. hot red pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1 pound dry capellini
4 salmon fillet portions (about 5
ounces each)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley, garnish
freshly grated parmesan cheese, garnish
Preheat oven to 450F.
Make the sauce: Heat butter in a
medium saucepan over medium-high
heat. Add onions; cook, stirring fre-
quently, until very soft. Add the vodka
and tomato puree; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium; stir in cream.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Keep warm.
Bring a large of water to a boil over
high heat. Add the pasta and cook
according to package directions until
just al dente. Drain the pasta well (do
not rinse) and leave in the colander.
Spray a baking:, sheet with nonstick
spray. Arrange the salmon on the sheet.
Brush the tops with olive oil (or spray
with olive oil cooking spray). Season the
salmon with salt and pepper. Just after
adding the pasta to the boiling water,
place the salmon in the preheated oven.
After draining the pasta, turn the oven
off, but leave the salmon inside. Arrange
the drained pasta on 4 individual plates
or pasta bowls. Divide the sauce among
the portions. Top the pasta with sauce
and the hot salmon (it will have finished
cooking by then — resist the urge to
overcook the salmon). Serve garnished
with fresh chopped parsley and a sprin-
kle of grated cheese, if desired.

MACARONI AND CHEESE
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
4 cups milk
2 tsp. ground paprika
1 pound, about 4 cups, shredded sharp
cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound dry pasta shape
Make the sauce: Melt butter in a large
saucepan over medium-high heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking
constantly, for 3 minutes. Drizzle in the
milk, whisking constantly and cook
until the mixture begins to boil and
becomes thick. Whisk in the paprika.
Slowly add the shredded cheese, stirring
with a wooden or plastic spoon until a
thick cheese sauce is achieved.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook according to
package directions until just al dente.
Drain the pasta well (do not rinse), and
place in a large bowl. Stir in the sauce
and serve hot or spoon into a buttered
baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at
350E, until the sauce is bubbly and the
top of the pasta is browned. Makes 4-6
servings.



For more recipes, go to JNOnline.com.

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