This week at Rock Bottom Homestead, we are making lots of lovely pasta. Red Beet Farfalle, Basil Fettuccine, Sourdough Saffron Tagliatelle, Golden Beet/Sweet Potato Gnocchi, and our homestead classic – Ricotta Gnudi. All made with our free-range deep gorgeous eggs, King Arthur flour, local herbs and vegetables, homemade/local milk ricotta, and some of our own sourdough starter ‘Doris’.
It’s a tall order, to be sure, but with the breadmaker out of commission for a bit, it’s fun to have something else happening around here. I had more fantasies but he talked me down off the Olympian heights to reality. But even if you are using your own homemade pasta or even standard pasta – some fancy but simple sauces are not out of range. I hear holiday-eve pasta is a thing or maybe should be for its ease and simple sexiness.
These are pantry staples for us – or handy to get from easy to ship sources these days. A couple recipe blogs back there is a quick Carbonara recipe, too – to add to your repertoire or whip up (or purchase from us) a good pesto. Here – roasted garlic and parmesan, frozen roasted tomatoes with herbs, browned butter with nuts, a quick cream sauce, a mushroom/onion toss, all make fantastic options to top some pasta. Adding shrimp or scallops or bits of chicken or butter/cannellini beans to any of these recipes boost the protein and all sauces do best with a bit of reserved pasta water to thin if needed. Enjoy!
1 Large head of Garlic
1 cup of Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
1/8 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
1/2 shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sheer top of garlic bulb off, keeping all the cloves intact to the bulb but exposing them a bit. Put in small oven proof dish and cover with Olive Oil. Bake uncovered for about 30 min until soft and the top edges of the bulb crispy gold.
Remove bulb carefully from the oil to cool (save oil), pull apart carefully and either squeeze out the soft garlic or peel and squash with a fork. Mix with some of the roasted Olive Oil until desired thickness – toss with pasta, add Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste, garnish with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan – enjoy!
If you can get fresh tomatoes – this is great to get together in late Summer with various Heirlooms and freeze for later or just do it up when you can, also great with Eggplant (treat just like the Tomatoes, or do both!):
6-8 Medium-Large Tomatoes (or equivalent), cut into thick slices
2-3 Large Garlic Cloves, peeled and halved
2-3 sprigs of Herbs – Sage, Thyme, or Rosemary work best, dried or fresh
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Coarse Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lay Tomato slices on sheet pan in a single layer. Toss Garlic and Herbs, drizzle Olive Oil over everything. Sprinkle with Sea Salt & Black Pepper and roast slow until the Tomatoes caramelize around the edges. (If frozen, heat over Medium heat then proceed from here). Chop roughly and toss with cooked pasta. Add more Olive Oil if necessary to coat pasta. Add shredded Parmesan if desired.
1/2 cup chopped raw Walnuts (or Pecans)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) Butter, cut into chunks
16 small-medium Sage leaves (if using dry, add after the butter cooks)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Grated or Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired
In a very large skillet, toast the chopped walnuts over moderate heat, tossing, until golden and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Add the butter to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sage leaves and cook for 20 seconds, then stir in the lemon juice. Add cooked pasta and cook for 1 minute, tossing gently. Season with salt and transfer the pasta to plates. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top and serve, passing grated Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.
Vikalinka’s Pasta Cream Sauce
2 cups double cream/heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
salt to taste
1/2 cup of reserved pasta water
Heat the cream in a pan over low heat but do not let it boil. Take it off the heat and whisk in the grated Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth. Taste the sauce and add the salt as needed. (Salt is an important ingredient here, so do not skip it.)
To dress the pasta with the cream sauce, add the pasta directly to the pan with the sauce and gently shake the pan to coat the pasta with the sauce. Add up to ⅓ cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Serve immediately.
Bacon Wild Mushroom Onion Toss
5-6oz Bacon (1/2 package), cut into lardons
1 Med-Large Vidalia or 3-4 Shallots, sliced
16oz Wild or Gourmet Mushroom (or a mix of Wild and Baby Bella), sliced
4 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil (or Truffle Oil, if you are lucky enough to have any!)
1 tsp Dried Thyme
Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
In a heavy bottom skillet, saute Bacon lardons slowly – when halfway cooked, add sliced Onion, and saute until just translucent. Add Mushrooms and 2 Tbsp butter. Saute all together (if dry, add a little olive oil), until Mushrooms are fragrant, Onions are caramelizing, and Bacon are tasty nuggets. Add Thyme, S&P to taste. Use the last of the Butter and Olive Oil to ‘sauce it up’ to your desired thickness. Toss with pasta.
Happy Pasta Week!