PASTA CARE PACKAGE - STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

As the dark cloak of winter starts to wrap itself around us, we habitually start to crave warm nourishing food. Lauded as one of the most comforting foods, pasta has a way of righting all wrongs, a magic cure for even the most severe cases of seasonal melancholy. If you are missing family  who may have left to go to college, or just thinking about someone who you do not get to cook for as often as you like, I have created for you a pasta package with all the classics that show someone how much you care. This time we feast on the classics: fresh trofie with pesto Genovese, green beans & new potatoes; spaghetti cacio & pepe strictly by Gentile from Gragnano; fresh tagliatelle with ragù Bolognese for the best spag bol experience and lastly bucatini all’amatriciana for the ultimate slurp.

Trofie with pesto Genovese, green beans & new potatoes
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Spaghetti cacio & pepe
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Tagliatelle Bolognese
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Bucatini all’amatriciana

For this meal, you will need:

  • A large pan for boiling water
  • A frying pan for the sauce
  • A colander to drain the pasta

The detailed recipes for the dishes are below, but in essence:

  • Cook the pasta in well salted boiling water
  • Mix in the sauce with a splash of boiling water in a saucepan
  • Serve and slurp!

 

Trofie with pesto Genovese, green beans & new potatoes

Pesto Genovese – the basil one – is something everybody loves, or at least, everybody with a soul. It must be fresh-made, and never have been heated (so jarred ones are a no-go), and should be made with fresh basil, Italian pine nuts and sharp pecorino (maybe also parmesan, as in ours).

With regard to the pasta, the perfect shape is trofie – little spiralled squiggles of fresh semolina pasta – or if you must use a dry pasta, linguine might be best. Always in Liguria, potatoes and green beans are cooked with the pasta and tossed in the pesto. This is as charming as it is delicious – the potato and green bean add textural variety, so every mouthful is different enough to be exciting.

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • Fresh trofie
  • Pesto Genovese
  • Green beans
  • Sliced new potatoes
  • A little grated parmesan

Directions:

  • Bring a large pan of well-salted (10g/lt) water to the boil
  • Put the trofie into the boiling water. They will take about 10 minutes to cook
  • After the trofie have been cooking for 3-4 minutes, add the potatoes and green beans. Most likely, the potato will take the longest to cook if anything does– but as you near the end of the cooking time start tasting all three components and make sure none are raw
  • At some point in the process, decant the pesto into a bowl and set it above the pasta water for just a moment – not to warm the pesto, but to gently soften it
  • When ready, drain the trofie, potatoes and beans, reserving a little of the water. Add them to the pesto bowl and stir to mix, tasting for seasoning and adding just enough of the pasta water to moisten the dish and emulsify the sauce
  • Serve with a little grated parmesan on top

 

Spaghetti cacio & pepe

Pasta, cheese, pepper: few ingredients that pack a lot of flavour. The allure of cacio e pepe lies in its simplicity, although I find that trying it at home can sometimes create difficulties. The best way to prepare a perfect cacio e pepe is to follow this recipe to the letter, paying close attention to all the steps that transform a simple dish into a masterpiece. The sworn enemy of this pasta is the ball effect caused by the cheese forming into lumps. To prevent this setback, your pack contains finely grated cheese grated. The best way to prepare a perfect cacio e pepe is to follow the traditional recipe to the letter, paying close attention to all the steps that transform a simple dish of pasta and cheese into a veritable masterpiece.

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • Gentile spaghetti
  • Pecorino
  • Parmesan
  • Ground black pepper
  • A knob of butter

Directions:

  • Cook the Spaghetti in well salted boiling water until tender with bite (10-12 mins)
  • Meanwhile, heat the butter and half the pepper with a splash of pasta water, and boil fast to emulsify
  • When the Spaghetti is ready, add to the sauce and toss together, then scatter over both cheeses
  • Let sit, off the heat, without stirring, for 1 minute so the cheese can melt, then toss well and plate. Scatter over the remaining pepper and a little extra cheese, and serve

 

Tagliatelle with ragù  Bolognese

Ragù Bolognese is the meat sauce that begat spag bol. And in honesty, it isn’t so very different – I use a mixture of beef, veal and pork for a lighter flavour. And it ought to be braised, slow and long, with lots of milk, white wine (though this is subject to some debate), and a small amount of tomato for a blushing, rather than red, sauce. Bolognesi will indignantly tell you that the correct pasta is tagliatelle – and they should know…

(nb: this is a recipe for pasta with sauce – there should be little enough sauce that you can really taste the pasta. Sometimes, less is more.)

Your pack serves two as a main and contains:

  • Fresh tagliatelle
  • Some ragù alla bolognese
  • A little grated parmesan

Directions:

  • Bring a large pan of well-salted water (10g/lt) to the boil
  • Warm the ragù on a medium heat
  • Add the pasta to the water, and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Drain the pasta, reserving a little of its cooking water, and add both to the sauce
  • Cook together for a minute or two, until the sauce is glossy and clings to the pasta
  • Heap onto plates, and top with the parmesan.

 

Bucatini all’amatriciana

If you’ve ever watched An American in Rome you will remember Alberto Sordi diving on a plate of bucatini all’amatriciana. The real star of this recipe is guanciale, which should never be replaced by pancetta, and is a type of cured meat that consists of two parts fat and one-part meat, obtained from the cheek of the pig. You will receive it sliced into strips so you can then brown it in a pan straight away, without adding anything to it. Make sure the pan is cold so that the fat doesn’t burn upon contact and become rubbery. You need to be a little hungry and have the right ingredients on hand to experience these bucatini: I’ll provide the right ingredients, so the hunger will definitely come next!

Your pack serves two as a main and contains:

  • Gentile bucatini
  • Guanciale, already cut
  • Napoli sauce
  • Chilli flakes
  • Ground black pepper
  • Pecorino

Directions:

  • Cook the Spaghetti in well salted boiling water (10g/lt) until tender with bite (10-12 mins)
  • Meanwhile heat up a pan (medium to high heat) and fry off the Guanciale with a drizzle of oil. Render down the fat until the pieces of guanciale are golden brown. Add in the chilli flakes (we recommend the amount we have sent you, but if you do not enjoy spice add as much as you feel is right for you) and let it cook off and release its flavours for 2 minutes.
  • Add the Napoli sauce and a ladle of the pasta water to the guanciale and chilli flakes, and let it slowly reduce and intensify in flavour. Keep a bit of extra pasta water just in case you need to let down the sauce after adding in the pasta
  • Add the bucatini to the sauce and fold through with some of the olive oil from the bottle provided. If the sauce is too thick add in a bit more of the pasta water, you have reserved and then serve.
  • Finally finish the dish of with a healthy sprinkle of Pecorino, and enjoy.

 

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