Plethora of Pasta

January29

I have been reading non-fiction about Italy (A Vineyard in Tuscany, Halfway to Each Other and Mediterranean Summer), for the last couple of weeks and I cannot get enough pasta. This past “Mandatory Sunday Supper”, I just could not stop myself and made a bazillion varieties.

I was originally inspired by dropping in at 21st Century Pizza to pick up a couple of pies before a Jets game on TV.  Owner Vlado also makes fresh pasta that he keeps in the fridge and freezer in the front of the shop.  In addition, whenever I am zipping through “the outer” ring of the grocery store (where all the whole foods that inspire my cooking are located), I pick up whatever fresh items are marked with a fluorescent sticker and then throw them in the freezer as soon as I get home.  This way I always have a variety of dips to serve while watching a movie or a game and lots of sauces for pizzas and flatbreads.  But sometimes my freezer needs a purging and this is a great opportunity for a Italian Feast.

I started with a spaghetti alla puttanesca which was a snap to assemble as both the fresh pasta and the authentic sauce of anchovies, capers and olives were prepared by Vlado.  I put together a Jamie Oliver recipe of Mushroom & Cream sauce  to toss with Vlado’s hand-made gnocchi.  I tried to cut the fat back a bit by using a thickened milk rather than cream and I was a bit disappointed with the results.  Next time, cream it is…..  Vlado also has a noodle made from beets which I simply tossed  with a browned butter and topped with mizithra cheese.  This proved to be Daughter #1’s favourite.

A clear box of discounted fresh spinach was sauteed with pancetta (Italian bacon), pine nuts and combined with spinach ravioli.

I tossed another of Vlado’s fresh pastas, this time beet ravioli with Alfredo sauce.  I rolled asparagus spears with a Rosemary Tuscan roasted ham (also being cleared). And just in case there were not enough carbs on the table, I toasted crostini to mop up olive oil from this fall’s harvest and pressing, from our Sicilian friends.

As  a special indulgence for three (me, myself and I) I  made a crispy, low fat eggplant parmigiana.  Before I left for church in the morning, I sliced the eggplant and placed it on a tray with course salt, adding another sprinkle of salt over top.  By the time I arrived home, the salt had pulled the excess moisture and any bitterness out of the veggie.

Before dusting the eggplant discs in flour, egg-wash and homemade breadcrumbs (which I always have on hand in the freezer), I blotted the flesh of the veggie with paper towels.  In hindsight, I should have rinsed them first as they were a tad on the salty side but oh so good.  In order to reduce the fat, instead of frying them before baking them, I prepared a heavy cookie sheet with a generous drizzle of canola oil and placed the discs over top in a single layer.  Have way through the baking time at 10 minutes or so (in a 375 degree oven), I turned them an added a bit more canola oil.

Just before serving,  I prepared a casserole dish with a layer of marinara sauce and placed the crispy eggplant on top, and then a layer of shredded mozzarella over all.  I intended to add a second layer of Parmesan when they came out of the oven but was glad that I did not, as the dish was salty enough.

So why did I spend an afternoon in the kitchen, preparing a half dozen dishes when one would certainly have sufficed?  What can I say?  I did it for love.

Kath’s quote (from Mediterranean Summer): “David, I didn’t invite you here to chop vegetables and season lamb.  Cooking, you know is not about recipes.  It comes from my heart.  You have never asked me why-why I do things, why I want it done this way and not that.  What’s in your heart David?”-David Shalleck

Love-that is all.


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3 Comments to

“Plethora of Pasta”

  1. Avatar January 29th, 2013 at 9:55 am Jeanine - the Baking Beauties Says:

    Wow!! What a feast at your place! And they all look fantastic too!


  2. Avatar January 29th, 2013 at 9:41 pm Dorothy Warwaruk Says:

    Kathy, what a great cook you are!! I would really like to try the recipe using the eggplant.

    I’m in Thunder bay at present. It’s daughter, Linda’s 42nd B-Day today.

    Have you all tried Lawrence and Chris’s new lager beer, THE FARMERY?

    Take care, and continue to do the cooking that you love!

    Dorothy


  3. Avatar January 30th, 2013 at 6:56 am Kathryne Says:

    Hey Dorothy. No I have not tried the new beer but Doug and Jeremy have and they love it. Did you know that our son Jer is currently taking his brew-masters course?


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