9-9-13How appropriate that my first set of Top Ate recipes would be pasta. I am not kidding when I say I could cook an entire one pound box of pasta and eat it all in one sitting...portion control, Jen...portion control. I seem to be a bottomless pit with pasta. I have a couple general tips.
- ALWAYS liberally salt the pasta water before cooking. It’s your only chance to season the pasta itself. When cooking a pound, I usually dump a palmful in. You aren't eating all that salt; most if it ends up down the drain with the water.
- When possible, cook pasta to al dente and add it to the sauce you are serving it with. Cook it in the sauce for the last couple minutes.
- The starchy water used to boil the pasta is all goodness! I often reserve some of it and use it to thicken or thin sauces out. The salt in the water also adds great flavor.
- Pasta goes well with almost any wine…I’ve tried them all.
1. Pasta Puttanesca: Adopted from my dear step-mother, one of my greatest influences in the kitchen. I learned most of what I know from her…as she often says “Reduction, reduction, reduction, Jen!” It amplifies the flavor and of course thickens the sauce; especially true with this dish. Note, she adds capers, which you can do, I just prefer to leave them out.
2. Linguine with Creamy Goat Cheese Pesto: What could be better? Cheese…check! Basil…Check! Garlic….Check! Pasta…Check! Check out my pesto recipe!
3. Quick Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs: One of my husband’s favorites…I doctor up a jarred sauce since I often whip this up on a weeknight.
4. Creamy Avocado Pasta: My son loved this and I loved that he loved it. The natural creaminess of the avocado paired with the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and Parmesan leaves you always wanting more…well it leaves me always wanting more.
5. Brie Mac and Cheese with Apple Onion Compote: I had to steal and adapt this bad boy. I couldn’t resist. I know it’s going to clog my arteries…I DON’T CARE. Thank you budget gourmet mom!
6. Summer Pasta: I always make this one in the summer when I have tomatoes and basil growing on my patio. I pick it right off the plant and in the bowl it goes! It couldn’t be more perfect for a fresh summer snack.
7. Orzo Salad with Craisins and Apples: This is my go to salad for barbecues and I have gotten so many compliments on it. The goat cheese kicks up the flavor and richness while still keeping the pasta light.
8. Lasagna Lite: Another one of my husband’s favorites…for a guy that “doesn’t like cheese”, it has to be good, right? I adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com. I swapped out higher fat ingredients for more heart healthy ones. It still comes out great. And remember, “reduction, reduction, reduction!”