Archive for Fall Pasta – Page 4

Spaghettini With Italian Sausages

This recipe somehow ended up on the bottom of my pasta file! We made it last night & had, I hate to admit, a Pasta Pig Out! Oops! Is it just me, or does everyone like cold spaghetti in the middle of the night???

Makes 3 – 4 Servings

2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely shredded or chopped
3 or 4 sweet Italian sausages
1 or 2 red bell peppers, roasted**
12 oz. spaghettini of spaghetti
2  Tbsp. EVO
¼ cup red wine
1/8 tsp. or to taste, red chili flakes
1 Tbsp. each butter & EVO
¼ – ½ cup Parmesan cheese, or a combination of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, finely grated

Combine the parsley, garlic and basil, put aside.

Roast the peppers; this can be done the day before. Cut core out of pepper, cut pepper in half; remove seeds and membrane; slice into ¼ “ strips.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Place a large serving bowl in a 180 F oven to warm.

In a large frying pan, brown the sausages on all sides in 2 Tbsp. EVO. Remove the sausages from the pan, cool until they can be handled; remove pan from heat; slice sausages into ½” pieces. Return the pan the sausages were cooked in to the heat & add the sausage slices to the pan to finish cooking on one side; turn the sausage slices over; cooking for a couple of minutes; add the strips of red pepper to the pan. Add the red wine &  let it evaporate. Turn the heat down to very low, cover with a lid & keep warm.

Add 1 –1 ½ Tbsp. salt to the pot of water. Add the spaghettini & cook until just before al dente (firm to the tooth), checking for doneness 2 minutes before the time given on the package. When cooked al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta & add to the pan with the sausages & peppers. Toss with 1 Tbsp. each of the EVO  & butter, adding some pasta cooking water if pasta appears too dry. Keep tossing & turning the pasta for 1 – 2 minutes until the pasta is al dente, remove from the heat & toss with the Parmesan. Place spaghettini in the warmed serving bowl & top with the parsley, basil, garlic mixture & more grated cheese; tossing to combine.  Serve immediately.

Note:  if you find Italian sausages made with Turkey, give it a go!

**If you would like to see how to roast peppers, please go to Charred/Roasted Peppers.

Tomato Sauce With Herbs

This is my standard go to when I need a quick tomato sauce . Besides using it  to dress pasta,  I use it for pizza and for eggplant parmigiana among other things.  I hate anchovies, so I leave them out!

Makes Enough Sauce For 3/4 lb. –  1 lb. Spaghetti Or Spaghettini

_DSC1343 resize ps edit1 clove garlic, minced
2 – 4 Tbsp. EVOO (according to your taste)
2 ½ cups canned Italian (plum) tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp. dried oregano, or 1 ½ tsp, finely chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
Salt & pepper to taste


(opt.)  1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chili flakes ( gives a bit of zip to the sauce)
(opt.)  finely chopped anchovies
Heat oil in large saucepan until warm. Add minced garlic & anchovies, if using. Saute lightly for approximately 1 minute. Do not brown the garlic. Add dried oregano & chili flakes if desired. If using fresh oregano, add it when you add the rest of the fresh herbs. Add the chopped tomatoes & bring to a boil. Lower heat & simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly thickened. Approximately 5 minutes before sauce is finished cooking, add all the fresh herbs.

In a large, warmed bowl, toss drained pasta with tomato Sauce & serve immediately with grated Parmigiana Reggiano or Pecorino Romano if desired.

Phyllis Signature




Spaghetti With Pesto Trapanese

There is nothing like making this pesto when the garden provides ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. It’s so easy to put together.  Thanks to “Lidia’s Italy” for this one! On a hot day, with a glass of chilled wine, it just doesn’t get any better.   You choose the vino!

DSC_1267 nx2¾ lb. cherry tomatoes, very ripe & sweet (not hothouse tomatoes)
12 large fresh basil leaves
1 plump garlic clove, crushed & peeled
1/3 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted (not blanched almonds)
¼ tsp. pepperoncino flakes (red chili flakes), or to your own taste
½ tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or to your taste
½ cup good EVOO
1 lb. spaghetti
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano)

You will need either a blender or food processor to make the sauce.

Rinse & pat dry the cherry tomatoes. Rinse & pat dry the basil.

Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl, followed by the garlic, almonds, basil, pepperoncino & ½ tsp. salt. Blend for a minute to a fine puree; scrape down the bowl & blend again if any large bits or pieces remain.

With the machine running, drizzle in the EVOO in a steady stream, emulsifying the puree into a thick pesto. Taste & adjust the seasoning. (If you are going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto, covered at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but bring it to room temperature before cooking your pasta).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil & add 1 Tbsp. salt. Cook the spaghetti al dente. While the pasta is cooking, scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl. When the spaghetti is done, drain briefly & drop into the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over & toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

Yummy, my mouth is watering while I am typing this recipe up! Hurry up & ripen cherry tomatoes!

Phyllis Signature

Spaghettini With Lemon And Garlic

A great variation of the Italian favourite, spaghettini aglio, olio e pepperoncino; with the addition of lemon juice and lemon rind. I especially like this type of pasta in the summer as a “primi” (first course) followed by a “secondo” of perhaps fish, chicken or veal cooked on the barbecue.  Or, you could make a big salad and serve the pasta as a main.

Makes 4 main course servings or 6-8 first course servings.

1 lb. spaghettini
4 large garlic cloves, minced
½ – ¾ tsp. pepperoncino (red chili flakes), or to your own taste
½ cup EVOO
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. salt; add the spaghettini and cook until al dente; checking for doneness 2 or 3 minutes before the timing on the package says. (I often find that the cooking time stated on the package for al dente is too long). Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and drain pasta in a colander.
While the spaghettini are cooking, cook the garlic and pepperoncino flakes in the EVOO in a 12” heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is just golden. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper & ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water; bring to a simmer. Toss the pasta in the sauce with the parsley, adding more pasta cooking water if pasta appears dry. Place pasta in a large, warm serving bowl. If you wish, you can pass the Parmigiano Reggiano.


To see some of my favourite dried pasta’s, please go to my Source List.


Food Processor Or Stand Mixer Pasta Dough

_DSC1415.jpg nx2Quantity for 3 People:

2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. EVO
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs, room temperature

Note:  if you are serving the pasta with a meat sauce, this amount of pasta should be enough.

*Quantity for 4 People:

2 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 ½ tsp. water
1 ½ tsp. EVO
1 ½ tsp. salt
4 eggs, room temperature

Method For Processor:

Place flour in processor with salt. Do a couple of on/off turns to blend. Combine the eggs, water & EVO and drizzle into the feed tube with machine running. Combine until dough forms clumps. Do not over process. Remove to a work surface and knead for 1 minute. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to 30 minutes. Then continue to roll out the dough.

Method for Stand Mixer:

Place flour in mixing bowl with salt. Whisk together to blend. Add the eggs, water & EVO. Using the “paddle” blend on level 2 for 30 seconds. Remove the “paddle” & attach the dough hook. Knead the dough for 2 minutes on level 2. TIP: Make sure you hold down the bowl while it is doing the kneading or it will jump off it’s pins! It happened to me the first time!

Rolling Out The Dough:  (using a hand cranked machine)

Cut dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Work with one piece of dough at a time; keep the others covered. Flatten the dough well with your hand. Put it through the rollers of the pasta machine on the widest setting. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed. Fold the dough into 3rds and put through on the widest setting 7 – 9 times. The dough will feel a bit silky.
Reduce the space between the rollers by 1 setting at a time. Put the dough through the rollers. Reduce by 1 setting and put the dough through again. The sheets will become thinner and longer. Continue until you have reached setting 4 for spaghetti, 5 or 6 for fettuccine, depending on how thin you like your pasta. Cut them in half crosswise for easier handling. Drape the sheets of pasta over a rack (I use a clothes drying rack and let dry a bit (the edges will feel a bit dry), to make it easier to cut the pasta. Put the sheets of dough through the desired cutting rollers; toss with a bit of flour. Shake out the strands and place the cut pasta over a wooden dowel, pasta drying rack, or a floured towel on a baking sheet.

** If using the pasta roller attachment for a stand mixer (Kitchen Aid) the method is basically the same as above, except you may find that the numbers on the dial for cutting the pasta could cut the pasta thinner than with the hand cranked machine.

Phyllis Signature

Butter Sage Sauce For Gnocchi

Sage Butter Sauce (Version 1)

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter
8 large fresh sage leaves (or the equivalent if leaves are smaller)
Freshly ground black pepper

This will make enough butter sauce for 1 batch potato gnocchi

Put butter into a sauté pan and set over low heat to melt. Toss in the sage leaves and a generous grind of black pepper. Keep the sauce warm, allowing the sage leaves to infuse the butter, until ready to dress the gnocchi.

Sage Butter Sauce (Version 2) – with browned butter. I love to serve this in the fall and have tossed in chopped, toasted local hazelnuts for a minute to heat through, then dress the gnocchi.

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter
8 large fresh sage leaves (or the equivalent if leaves are smaller)
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the butter into a sauté pan set over medium heat. Watching carefully & swirling the pan occasionally, “toast” the butter until it is a light golden brown. Toss in the sage leaves then dress the gnocchi with the sauce.

Tomato Sauce For Gnocchi

Here’s another Tomato Sauce that I created to dress gnocchi  made with either potato or ricotta cheese.  It is really good on other pasta too.  I like it on “shapes” (my name for short pasta).

2 cups tinned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
2-3 Tbsp. each EVO & butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp. flat-leaf parsley
4-6 Fresh basil leaves, or to taste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1-2 Tbsp. salt. Add gnocchi to the water, when they rise to the surface, cook for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon or “spider” to a heated serving bowl. Ladle the tomato sauce over the gnocchi; serve hot.

Prepare the sauce while waiting for the pot of water to boil. Heat the EVO & butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for a few seconds but do not brown. Add the chopped tomatoes along with their juice; cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Just before the sauce is done, tear up the basil leaves and add to the sauce. Add parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano if you wish.

Basic Potato Gnocchi

Up until I received “Lidia’s Italy” cookbook as a Christmas gift a few years ago, I had never tried to make gnocchi. We used to buy gnocchi from an Italian store/deli which were made by the owner’s wife. Just like little pillows; so why bother. They closed their business so… we were forced to give it a go.  They are not hard to make at all & come together fairly quickly.

Makes 6 Servings

1 ½ lbs. baking (russet) potatoes
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs, beaten well
1 ½ cups unbleached flour, plus more for working with the dough

You will need a potato ricer or vegetable mill with a medium disk to make the gnocchi.

Put the potatoes, whole & unpeeled, in a large pot with cold water to cover by at least 2”. Bring to a steady boil & cook just until they are easily pierced with a fork or a sharp knife blade; don’t overcook or let the skins burst. Remove the potatoes from the water & let them drain briefly. If the skins do burst a bit, place the potatoes onto paper towels to absorb some of the water they may have absorbed. Peel & press through the ricer or food mill as soon as you can handle the potatoes, so their moisture will evaporate. I press them directly onto a large baking sheet & spread them out very lightly, then sprinkle the potatoes with the salt. Let them cool & dry for a minimum of 20 minutes but preferably for 2 – 3 hours. The dryer they are the lighter the gnocchi will be.

To mix the dough: pile the potatoes in a large, loose mound on a clean work surface. Pour the beaten eggs over them, then sprinkle 1 cup of flour on top. Using your hands, work in the eggs, mixing and moistening the flour & potatoes. Gather into a single mass & knead for several minutes, scraping up sticky bits from the work surface & your hands. Incorporate additional flour in small amounts, only as needed, until the dough is smooth, soft & only slightly sticky. Avoid adding too much flour, as it will make the gnocchi heavy & dry.

To form the dough into gnocchi: cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. On a work surface, very lightly sprinkled with flour, roll one piece under your hands into a thick cylinder, continuing to roll it into a long rope, about 2/3” thick. With a sharp knife or dough cutter, cut the rope into ½” pieces. Dust lightly with flour. Tip: I am a bit lazy and don’t bother to roll the gnocchi over a dinner fork to make the grooves. Place the gnocchi in a single layer, onto two lightly floured large baking trays. At this point you can freeze the gnocchi (I freeze one of the baking trays of gnocchi then remove the gnocchi once frozen and place them into a freezer bag).

To cook the gnocchi: Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add 1 – 2 Tbsp. salt. Add the gnocchi and within a few minutes, they will begin to rise to the surface, once they have all risen, cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the boiling water with a “spider” or large slotted spoon to a warm serving bowl. Do not attempt to drain into a colander, as the gnocchi are delicate and will either break or get mushy. Dress with the sauce. Serve immediately.

**If you would like to see three sauces for dressing the gnocchi, please go to Butter & Sage SaucePesto With Hazelnuts and Tomato Sauce.