Crushed red pepper and tuna pasta: as simple and delicious as it is!

I have no idea why I haven’t posted this recipe yet since it is a very popular one in Italy AND in my family, either with the two variants: the “white” or “red*” version.  A quick pasta ready in 20 minutes, flavored with panfry canned (in olive oil) tuna, crushed red pepper, white cream and parmesan. Super creamy, delicate and with a hint of spicy, really suits any taste and can be kept as a “last minute” meal whenever you are out of ideas for dinner.

4 servings INGREDIENTS

1 pack maccheroni (my favorite are the thickest available at the store)

3tbs. olive oil

2 cans (5 oz. each) tuna in olive oil

1/4 small sized onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic

crushed red pepper to taste

2-3 tbs. whipping cream or cream cheese

a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Start heating a pot of salted water to cook the spaghetti (if you want to be sure to cook your pasta in the authentic Italian Style, follow these easy directions).  In the meanwhile, in a medium sized pan heat the olive oil with the chopped onion and the cloves  of garlic. Open the canned tuna, dry it from its oil and crumble it in the pan as soon as the onions looks translucent.  Add the crushed red pepper.

This sauce doesn’t need to cook much. In few minutes you will see the tuna changing its color so add the whipped cream (not whipped) and the grated parmesan and let it cook for a couple few minutes. Alternatively, you can melt in a couple of tbs. of cream cheese (plus, obviously, the parmesan). Switch off the heat: your sauce is ready.

As soon as the water reaches the boiling point, start cooking the pasta. When the maccheroni are done, dry it very well in a colander keeping some of the cooking water for the sauce, in case in the meanwhile it got too dense.   Take away the garlic cloves from the sauce, add few tbs. of the Maccheroni water if needed. Mix the maccheroni  with the sauce directly in the pan, and serve still hot. YUM! DELICIOUS!

Learnt it, made it, loved it!   TIPS: – This sauce can really be pared with any kind of short or long pasta: even the spaghetti would turn out delicious dressed with it!

– If you prefer the idea of a red* version of this sauce, use a small pot instead of a pan, and once the tuna has changed its color, add a can of tomatoes sauce and follow the same instructions needed to make “Italian Tomatoes sauce“, so you will also know the truth about “Marinara sauce”.

– This pasta dish really needs to be served still warm (once reheated in a microwave it will keep the taste but get too much dry) but if you are looking for a “cold tuna pasta salad” for a cook out or as sack lunch, try this awesome “tuna, lemon and cappers pasta salad”.

– Of course this is another handy recipe during Lent time, and if you need a list of more, check out this post about “10 Lent meal ideas“.

– My favorite “tuna in olive oil” brand that I can easily find here in the Mid West is the GENOVA one (this is not an affiliate link so If you buy from here I won’t earn a penny 🙂 ): it is not as delicious as the one we can buy in Italy (which is tuna in Extravergin Olive oil), but honestly it is, in my humble opinion, the most decent substitute.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog once again this week, it really means a ton to me! If you like to received every week for free one of my new recipes, subscribe here with no other obligations!

And  please, feel free to share this recipe and leave your comment:

this will support my blog and encourage my self-esteem (LOL!).

Talk to you next week,

SILVIA

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Spaghetti alla CARBONARA: one of the most famous Italian pasta dishes

Although the target audience of this blog is intended to be Americans and those not already familiar with Italian cooking and customs, a consistent part of my audience is, in fact, Italian! And it has been a while since my Italian followers made fun of me because I haven’t yet published the recipe of Carbonara Pasta. You see, together with “Spaghetti al pomodoro, bucatini all’amatriciana, e tagliatelle al Ragu”, Spaghetti alla Carbonara is one of the most famous pasta dishes in Italy! So now that the taunting has subsided, 😉 I will share with all of you the recipe for this Italian classic!

Like many other popular Italian dishes, this pasta dish requires just few fresh ingredients (bacon or better- pork jowl, eggs, spaghetti and parmesan cheese).  It’s super-easy, quick to prepare (ready in 20 minutes), and would be perfect for any kind of occasion. It is absolutely “kid friendly” (my daughters love it), appealing to even the pickiest eaters. I mean, who- especially in the U.S.- doesn’t love bacon and cheese?!?

Just like the Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, the main ingredient of this sauce should be pork cheek or jowl (“guanciale”). However, it could be hard to find or a bit expensive. So since bacon here in the U.S. is really DELICIOUS, you have my blessing to go ahead and make it with bacon! Even Italians often make it simply with bacon! Whichever you choose, I assure you that by making this spaghetti sauce you will for sure bring a breeze of Italy to your table!

Since this recipe is pretty popular, before writing my post, I pried on some American cooking websites to see how knowledgeable the American audience is of how to make an authentic Carbonara. Well, no matter what you may read, Italians don’t use any parsley, onion, peas or tomatoes in this recipe. The only variant I’ve known (typical from Rome’s area) is that you can use Pecorino cheese instead of Parmesan.

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4 serving INGREDIENTS

1 package spaghetti

3 egg yolks (of medium-sized eggs)

1 medium sized egg

about 10 slices bacon (approximately half a pound)

1 tsp. black pepper

3 handfuls of parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Start heating a pot of salted water to cook the spaghetti (if you want to be sure to cook your pasta in the authentic Italian Style, follow these easy directions).

In the meanwhile, cut the bacon into small cubes.

When the water reaches boiling, toss the spaghetti in to cook. Then move the bacon into a pan (no oil or butter, just let the bacon cook in its own grease) and saute at medium heat for about five minutes, or until it looks crisp and the fat is rendered.

Drain the fat from the bacon, throwing away the grease.

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In a good sized bowl (you will need to fit all the spaghetti and bacon in it) beat the yolks and the egg. Add the parmesan cheese and the black pepper and mix altogether, stirring very well. Honestly, when I cook for my family, I avoid the black pepper at this stage, and instead my husband and I just add it on top of our spaghetti once it’s plated.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain well. Then, while the pasta is still very hot, mix it into the bowl with the egg mixture using a fork. The heat of the pasta will cook the raw eggs into a creamy sauce. (Be sure you do NOT do this in the pot or on the stove or you will be eating “Spaghetti alla Frittata” 😉 instead of Carbonara!) Add in the bacon and continue mixing quickly, until the eggs thicken.

That’s it!

Serve your Carbonara with some extra parmesan cheese and black pepper on the table (in case somebody would like to add a bit more) and Enjoy!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips:

– Prepare the dressing while the pasta is cooking,  to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready at the same time as the dressing.

– It is very important that the pasta is still very hot when you add it to the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs, and just as important, that the beaten eggs are never combined with pasta on the stove because the eggs would cook too quickly on the bottom of the pot, ruining the creaminess of the sauce. The eggs MUST be mixed with the drained pasta, in the bowl where they were beaten.

– This pasta is very rich- both in taste and calories- so it would work perfectly as a complete meal.

– If you enjoy having a breakfast of bacon and eggs, this could also be considered as a “parachutes” choice when you have no idea what’s for dinner, or a way to use some leftovers.

 

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,

share it, like it, leave a comment, subscribe, and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

 

Walnut and thyme cream fettuccine

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This special pasta recipe is typical from Liguria, a really beautiful Italian region located in the North-West of Italy.  cartina-liguria

The beauty of this region is that it is overlooking the sea to its full extent, although mainly mountainous, so that the landscape is both mountain and sea- a really stunning scenario.
Liguria is also very famous for its cuisine.  Among the most popular dishes are focaccia with rosemary and pasta with pesto sauce, as well as many seafood specialties.

The recipe that I propose today has a rich flavor and a creamy and crisp texture. A delicious dish that will satisfy even the most demanding palates.

In addition, the cream to dress this pasta is incredibly simple and fast; you can prepare it while you cook the pasta!

In few words: a succulent and spectacular dish, ready just in 20 minutes!

INGREDIENTS for 4-5 servings

1 package of fettuccine

6 tbs. olive oil (3 for the cream and 3 for browning the bacon)

8 oz. bacon (chopped in cubes)

3 slices sandwich bread

1 and 1/2 cups walnuts

1 tbs. fresh thyme

5 oz. whipping cream

sea salt and pepper

 

DIRECTIONS

Start heating a pot of water to cook the pasta (and a small sauce pan for double boi link the walnut sauce).

After removing the crust of the bread, put it in a food processor and chop into pieces.  Then set the chopped bread aside.


Now put the walnuts in the food processor with the cream and blend for a few seconds.

Transfer the mix into a sauce pan, add 3 tablespoons of oil and stir to get a smooth cream.

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Add salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm in a double boiler.

IMG_2511(If the water for the pasta begins to boil, don’t be afraid to pour the pasta in, because your dressing is almost done).
Now dice the bacon and brown it in a pan with the remaining oil until crispy.


Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  In the remaining oil in the pan, toast the chopped bread with crumbled thyme.


Drain the pasta al dente, toss immediately with walnut-cream sauce, bacon and toasted bread, spice with plenty of pepper and serve still warm.

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

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Tips: – If you don’t have fettuccine at home don’t panic, this pasta sauce pairs perfectly with short pastas like Farfalle or Fusilli also!

          – My daughters (4 and 2 years old) don’t like this pasta sauce because of the walnuts.  I mention that because maybe this is not the most “kid friendly” pasta to prepare!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do, share it, like it, and support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia