Sunday, November 11, 2007

Zoe loves Bolognese

Zoe, just turned three, loves her Grandpa Pietro's Bolognese sauce. Rather than the usual tagliatelle or fettuccine as her pasta with her favorite sauce, Zoe prefers her ragu on farfalle. "I like the bow ties," she said, as she emptied her pasta bowl in rapid order.

To create this absolutely mouth-watering sauce, one of our favorites, go to the classic pasta web site: and then click on sauces and then ragu.

We believe, no matter what your age, you'll agree with Zoe. "The best," she says.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

tortellini presto

Many of us are lucky enough to be able to buy fresh,home-made egg pasta from a local source (we are not talking supermarket here). For those of us who are that fortunate, we, therefore, have available an almost instant dinner that ranks high among the stars in taste delight. Our tortellini is usually cheese filled (with four cheeses). Therefore we add the pancetta to the sauce. For a meat-filled tortellini, add or omit the pancetta as you wish. This is a recipe for two people:
  • 48 - 60 tortellini (give or take either way)
  • four tablespoons butter
  • one tablespoon chopped shallots
  • one tablespoon chopped pancetta
  • one-half cup cream
  • salt and pepper
  • maybe a dash of nutmeg
  • one-quarter cup freshly grated parmesan.

Put three quarts of water to a big boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Add the tortellini.

Meanwhile in a saute pan, over medium heat: add the butter and let it melt. Add the shallots and pancetta and cook for a few minutes, until the shallots are soft, and the pancetta is cooked through (not brown). Add a half teaspoon of salt, some twists of the pepper mill, a dash of nutmeg if you choose, and then add the cream.

Cook until the cream is reduced -- maybe in half, but mostly judge how much sauce you want to coat the tortellini. Then take off heat. (This whole operation requires a minute or two to chop and about four to five minutes to cook!)

Meanwhile, test the doneness of the tortellini by taking one out, clipping off a tiny edge, and tasting. When the texture is truly al dente, drain. We find we can cook tortellini longer than we generally think we can. It does not get too soft for a while. Under-cooking seems to be more of a tendency because we are so tuned into keeping flat pasta totally al dente.

Put the tortellini in the sauce, which you have reheated. Add the parmesan. We then cover the pan and cook over high heat for one minute, to get the pasta very hot and steaming.

Add a spig of parsley and serve. Presto!