Archive | January, 2021

Caramelized Shallot Pasta

19 Jan

Here’s another tasty pasta recipe from the New York Times — it was one of their most-requested for 2020. It took me awhile to make this after I clipped it, because shallots and fresh parsley are not things I normally have on hand and I had to wait until I got to a store that carried them. Peeling and slicing the shallots and garlic and pulling the leaves off the parsley stems were the most labor-intensive parts of this effort! (I chopped the parsley in the food processor after de-stemming it.)

The recipe for the sauce makes enough for two four-person servings of pasta, using 10 oz. of pasta. Since we’re only two here, and the recipe didn’t look like it would make a huge amount of sauce, I divided it into three instead of two, and used 6 oz. of pasta, saving the other two portions of sauce for another time. I had already chopped up and measured out the parsley by then, so I used the whole cup, setting some aside for future meals.

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil
6 large shallots, very thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves – 4 thinly sliced, 1 finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 (2-oz.) can anchovy fillets, drained
1 (4.5-oz.) tube or (6-oz.) can tomato paste
10 oz. pasta
1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
Flaky sea salt

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the thinly-sliced garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots have become totally softened and caramelized with golden-brown fried edges, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the red pepper flakes and anchovies. Stir until the anchovies melt into the shallots, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper (though the anchovies are so salty I did not add any additional salt). Cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until the tomatoe paste has started to cook in the oil a bit, caramelizing at the edges and going from bright red to a deeper brick color, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer half to a reusable container. Use these leftovers for another batch of pasta, or with roasted vegetables, over fried eggs, or under crispy chicken thighs.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until very al dente (a bit more than usual). Save 1 cup of the pasta water before you drain it. Transfer the pasta to the Dutch oven or a skillet with the shallot mixture and the cup of pasta water.

Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the skillet to coat each piece of pasta and scraping up any bits of sauce at the bottom, until the pasta is thick and the sauce has reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Combine the parsley and the finely chopped garlic and season with flaky salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among bowls or transfer to one large serving dish, and top with parsley mixture and a little more red pepper flakes if you like.

Serve 4

Baked Spinach-Artichoke Pasta

8 Jan

Here’s a nice recipe I got from the New York Times. It’s not a dieter’s delight, that’s for sure, with heavy cream and lots of cheese. But it sure is good! The recipe suggests cooking the pasta until just shy of al dente, because it will continue to cook in the sauce as it bakes.

The red pepper gives the sauce a little zing, but not enough to make it spicy.

The Times suggests you can use kale or mustard greens instead of the spinach, use other cheese combos, add mustard or carametlized onions, or top with crumbled bacon (which, being kosher, I would never do!)

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
8 oz. medium pasta shells
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
10 oz. fresh baby spinach or frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
2 cups heavy cream
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
Black pepper
4 oz. grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)

Directions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions until 2 minutes short of al dente. Drain and reserve.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach little by little until wilted, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped artichokes.

Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the Parmesan until melted.

Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cooked pasta (or transfer the pasta and the sauce to a large bowl to mix). The liquid might appear wet and loose but it will thicken as it bakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a 2-quart casserole dish or individual casseroles or ramekins. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake until bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. If you like you can broil for a few minutes until the cheese is browned in spots.

Cool slightly befoere serving.

Serves 4 to 6