2 Delicious Pasta Recipes

I love trying out new pasta recipes.  Recently I’ve made 2 really lovely ones that I need to share with you.  The first one is a recipe from one of my favorite cooks, Nigella Lawson.  Her recipe for pappardelle with lamb ragu can be found on her website.  I was attracted to this recipe because I’ve been cooking with lamb a lot lately and I was intrigued by the addition of mint and redcurrant jelly to the pasta sauce.

That’s not parsley or basil decorating this dish – it’s mint!  This was a really delicious and comforting meal that I’ve made twice already.

You can trust Nigella to give you such a fantastic recipe!  I highly recommend giving this a go.  It’s very easy and quick to whip up, even on a weeknight.  I didn’t have and couldn’t find pappardelle, so I used fettuccine instead.

The second recipe is seriously one of the best pasta dishes I have ever made/eaten (by another of my favorite cooks, Valli Little).  I am always impressed when I try a pasta recipe that is made without using a tomato-based sauce, as it is always so delicious.  I grew up thinking that you only used tomato-based sauces on pasta!  Wow, what a sheltered childhood I must have had!  Discovering that I could enjoy pasta without tomatoes was almost as thrilling as hitting that 21st birthday, when one can finally legally drink alcohol!

This sensational pasta dish is called broccolini and chilli spaghetti with pangrattato.  It is another easy whip-up-on-a-weeknight meal that is bursting with the most amazing flavor.  I will definitely be making this recipe again and again.

I hadn’t heard of pangrattato before, but it is easy to make.  It involves tearing up chunks of sourdough bread, drizzling them with olive oil and baking until golden and crunchy.  Then, toss them in a food processor along with some chopped garlic and parsley and pulse until they form coarse crumbs.  You’ll be using this pangrattato to sprinkle over the spaghetti just before serving, along with some fresh grated parmesan.

One thing you can’t skip in this recipe is the lemon.  You must have fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over the pasta before serving as it really completes the dish and brings all the flavors together.

I only used 400g of spaghetti, instead of the 500g called for in the recipe, because my pan isn’t quite big enough for an extra 100g.  I found though that 400g was definitely plenty of spaghetti.

Spaghetti Puttanesca

So you’ve just read the title to this post.  I can actually hear a shocked gasp among my readers – you haven’t seen a savory recipe at The Sweetest Kitchen in a very long time!  How strange!  Well, I just want to prove to you that we do really eat foods other than cakes and cookies in this house.  It’s just that I prefer blogging about the sweet foods!

Last week I picked up a new delicious. magazine; September 2010′s issue.  There was a recipe inside for spaghetti puttanesca, which is a dish I’ve been wanting to make for the past few months.  Since the recipe was now in one of my favorite magazines, I wrote down the ingredients list and immediately went out and stocked my pantry with semi-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and anchovy fillets.  These ingredients aren’t something I’d normally keep in the pantry, but the rest of the ingredient list is normal for our pantry/refrigerator.

What took longest in making this dish was the preparation.  The cooking was simply a breeze, couldn’t have been easier.  The house smelled amazing while the sauce was cooking in the frying pan; I’m sure you could have smelled it from the street had you been standing outside.  I’ve never, ever eaten anchovies (to my knowledge), so I was looking forward to trying this and wondering how they would taste.

And so was my 1-year-old son!  He wouldn’t keep his hands out of the dish as I was trying to photograph it!

The textures and flavors are many in this dish.  The flavor is tangy and salty and it’ll definitely wake up your mouth.  The olives and semi-dried tomatoes add a variation of flavor and texture with each bite, and thyme-flavored ciabatta breadcrumbs add a subtle crunch.  I know I haven’t been out much, but I can honestly tell you that this is one of the most flavorful dishes I’ve eaten in a very long time.

I would definitely recommend this if you love Italian food!

You’ll have 3/4′s of a loaf of ciabatta bread when you’re done making this dish.  Ciabatta makes an excellent garlic bread, so why not use it to make your own to accompany your spaghetti puttanesca?

Spaghetti With Mushrooms And Garlic

This is one of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy spaghetti.  My husband originally found this recipe while looking for truffle recipes.  That original recipe used olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil and truffles tossed with spaghetti.  But since truffles aren’t readily available and are quite expensive, the truffles can easily be substituted with another mushroom.  I’ve previously used button mushrooms; this time I used baby portobello mushrooms.

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The recipe is really easy and is one of those that you can’t really screw up.  You can add all the ingredients based on your own tastes.  I’ll post a basic recipe, but note that I can’t give you the exact amounts because I never measure them!

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The flavor of the mushrooms really stand out in this dish; it is the most prevalent taste, followed by the garlic and herbs.  A sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese finishes off the taste really well.

Spaghetti With Mushrooms And Garlic
Serves 2-ish

Ingredients
2 servings uncooked spaghetti (maybe a little more?)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1-1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, or button, finely chopped
Grated Parmesan cheese

Method
In a medium saucepan or skillet, add olive oil, herbs, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook, uncovered, over low-medium heat until it begins to simmer; remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain.  Toss with mushroom mixture until thoroughly coated.  Serve with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.

If I have leftover olive oil after plating, I usually just toss it out after making sure there are no more chunks of garlic and mushrooms.

If you try this, let me know.  It’s been my favorite for years!