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 ai quattro formaggi
Pasta ai quattro formaggi means pasta with 4 cheeses, and it's just that,
pasta with cheese.
The cheese is the only flavor, so you must choose tasty varieties.
The smellier the better. May be you will want to ask before serving
this to your East Asian friends.
- 500g pasta of choice (not spaghetti. Penne or similar things are
a better choice for this recipe).
- 3 or 4 (or more) types of flavorful and smelly cheeses. I use
parmigiano and gorgonzola, plus whatever I have (fontina, asiago, taleggio).
- salt for the water
- pepper (optional)
In a large pan, bring water to boil, add salt (3-4 tbsp, but tastes
vary. People can add salt later.) then cook the pasta as directed.
Do not overcook. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200 and put the dishes
for the pasta (and the serving bowl)
in the oven for 5 minutes or so.
Warm dishes are important to keep the cheese warm, otherwise it will
immediately become solid and cold.
Cut the cheeses in
small pieces (the parmesan can be either grated or in small
pieces) and mix them together. As for the quantity, it's up
to you. I suggest at least 1/2 cup per person, but people may prefer more.
You can put extra cheese on the table.
When ready, drain the pasta, pour it in the serving bowl, add the
cheese, some pepper if desired, and mix.
Handle dishes and bowls with a glove, otherwise you'll burn
yourself. Serve immediately while warm. Note,
the cheese should not melt completely; the dish must not
look like macaroni-and-cheese. Note also that many pieces of
cheese may tend to remain on the bottom of the bowl, so dig appropriately
People can add pepper (strongly suggested)
and extra cheese if they like.
Given the high fat content, this recipe is particularly good for
the winter, with a glass of red wine.
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.
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
Be careful: since you are using high temperatures, you have
to stir and mix continuously, or the sauce will burn.
- 500g pasta of choice
- 3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil.
- 4 tomatoes (a tasty and ripe variety, not the underripe and tasteless
- salt, pepper, thyme and other spices
- 4 garlic cloves (more if desired)
- a bunch of salted capers, or of kalamata olives, or a salted
- if desired, grated parmesan cheese or ricotta salata
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.
- 500g ravioli or better cappelletti
(beef, or cheese, not spinach or veggie. They have to be
strong enough to complement the wine.)
- 1 bottle red wine
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.