Quick pasta recipes

(by Marco Cagetti)

These are some pasta recipes that do not require any advanced preparation, and that can be prepared while the pasta is boiling. (that is, in less than 20 minutes).

The recipes are given for 4 very abundant portions.

Pasta col pomodoro

In a large pan, bring abundant water to boil, and add salt (see above for quantity of salt); when boiling, pour the pasta and cook as directed (do not overcook. The package should tell you how long to cook it). Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in small pieces. In a large frying pan over medium fire, pour the oil and fry the garlic cloves until slightly golden. (Whole cloves will give a milder flavor than cut ones). Do not burn the garlic; if that happens, throw away and restart. Then add the tomatoes and the spices (and the olives etc if you like), raise the fire, and fry until the tomatoes have dissolved and the sauce thickened. It should take no more five minutes (but it depends on the heat of the fire, it can vary quite a bit), and the sauce should be ready before the pasta. Be careful: since you are using high temperatures, you have to stir and mix continuously, or the sauce will burn.

When ready, drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan, frying it for 30 seconds or so. Serve immediately, with grated cheese if desired. For extra effect (and flavor) you can heat the dishes in the oven before serving. Sometimes, I also cut some tiny cherry size tomatoes in half, and add them to the sauce one minute before turning the fire off (they will not melt, they just have to become warm).

A slightly more elaborate version of this sauce is the sauce with cherry tomatoes and ricotta salata.

Ravioli col vino

In a large pan, bring water to boil, add salt (3 tbsp or more as desired), and then the ravioli. Cook as directed. When ready, drain the ravioli well, put them in the individual bowls (you can use soup bowls or bowl-dishes, not flat dishes, of course), and then add the red wine, one or two glasses each. Because of the wine, the ravioli should be eaten with a spoon. Drink all of the wine only if you want to get drunk.

As for the wine, you can choose your favorite red. Of course, you may not want to use expensive wines. But don't use jug wine either, or it will taste bad. A red wine in the range of 10-$15 should do. I have never tried, but I do not think that white wine would work. It is a recipe for the winter, when it's really cold outside. Incidentally, even though the recipe seems strange, there are several similar recipes, typical of farmers in Northern Italy (which is cold and humid in winter). For instance, my grandfather used to eat polenta soaked in red wine.