Some say Italians eat pasta every single day. Is that true or just a false myth? I’ve been living in Italy for many years now, and I can confirm that, basically, it is true: pasta is an essential partner of the Mediterranean diet. And, yes, it is bought and consumed in large quantities. There are at least three reasons behind this: pasta is delicious, easy to cook, and healthy.
Today, I’d like to share with you my favorite (and easiest) Italian pasta recipes. I’ll include the basic ingredients and preparation method. As for quantities, take into account that 500 grams of pasta serve about 5 people (4 if an “encore is wanted,” which is very likely!).
One of my favorites, indeed. It’s a recipe that comes from the center of Italy. Tradition says that it was first served in a town called Amatrice, therefore the name. When this town was struck by a terrible earthquake in summer 2016, the beautiful Medieval city center was completely destroyed, and the surrounding areas were devastated. In an attempt to give some relief to the population, restaurants around the world launched a fundraising campaign. If a portion of Amatriciana pasta was ordered, a part of the profit was shared with the charity associations of the Amatrice region.
Ingredients: Bucatini (long and thick spaghetti-like pasta that has a hole in the middle), tomato sauce, bacon, olive oil and finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery.
Preparation: Fry the finely chopped onions, celery, and onions in olive oil. Then add finely chopped bacon (or pork cheek, if you manage to find it) and the tomato sauce. Add some salt and a pinch of sugar to get rid of the natural sourness of the tomatoes.
Cook your pasta al dente, pour it in a large pan, and then add the sauce. Put it back on the stove and stir it until the sauce is well blended with the bucatini. Serve hot.
Did your friends come over to your place after the movies, and you don’t have anything ready to feed them a quick meal? No need to call for a pizza or a Chinese takeaway. Here’s a recipe that’s quick and delicious. I’ve discovered this recipe in an old book of recipes written by stage actors. This one in particular was, apparently, prepared by one famous Italian comedian (Sandra Mondaini) for her friends and crew after the show.
Ingredients: Spaghetti, breadcrumbs, olive oil, and garlic.
Preparation: Fry some slices of garlic in hot olive oil. Then cook the pasta al dente, drain it well and then pour it into the pan with the oil and the garlic. Turn the stove back on and stir gently while adding generous pinches of breadcrumbs to the spaghetti. The aim is to create some sort of “golden crust” on the spaghetti. Once the pasta starts to thicken, turn the stove off and serve straight away – better with a glass of sparkling wine, to add a touch of party-like atmosphere.
This recipe is one of my kids favorite. Plus, it is extremely fast and easy to prepare. I always cook butter pasta when I didn’t have time to prepare anything else, and it’s still a success!
Ingredients: Short pasta (penne or rigatoni), butter, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese.
Preparation: Cook the pasta al dente and then drain it, saving some of the cooking water in a cup. Add about 50 grams of butter for each 400 grams of pasta and stir vigorously until the butter is completely melted. Add 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, pour some of the cooking water directly on the cheese, and keep stirring. Serve hot, adding more grated Parmesan cheese on top and a pinch of ground nutmeg for added flavor and spice.
I’ve learned this recipe from a friend of mine, and it’s soon become one of my family’s favorites. It’s perfect for warming you up during cold winter days, and it’s so delicious. Plus, it is an unusual way to cook the pasta, with the same technique used for the risotto recipes.
Ingredients: Pasta (large penne rigate are best for this recipe), chicken broth, butter, and Parmesan cheese.
Preparation: In a large pan, pour some olive oil and the raw pasta straight from the bag. Add the chicken broth until the pasta is completely covered. Turn on the stove and stir occasionally. Wait until the pasta is cooked and the broth has thickened into a sauce-like texture. Add some butter and keep on stirring for a couple of minutes. Serve hot, adding grated Parmesan cheese on top.