Paula’s Sausage and Fennel Pasta

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for 3 people

2 small onions
3 italiian sausages
tablespoon of fennel seeds
250ml of cream (uht cooking cream works well)
330g large pasta such as rigatoni or mezze maniche

Put your pasta on to boil.

Chop up the onions into 1cm pieces and fry gently in a little olive oil until they start to soften. take the sausages out of their skins and break up into rough pieces about 2cm diameter. Add the sausage meat to the onions and fry on low heat until sausages brown up and onions start to colour up. The pasta is nearly done so turn off the heat but leave it in the cooking water. Add the fennel seeds to the sausages and stir on medium heat for a couple of minutes till you smell the lovely fennely aromas. Add the cream, mix through on low heat and add the drained pasta, heating through. Add pepper to taste; the sausages here are so salty you really won’t need any more salt. transfer to heated serving dish and serve with crisp green salad.

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Tina’s pasta with caramelized fennel & onions and chopped pumpkin seeds

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Slice two fennel bulbs and one onion into thin slice and caramelize for about half an hour or so (to caramelize, I like to use butter and a touch of oil, some salt and maybe a bit of sugar to help the caramelization).
Optional: while this is going on, chop a handful of raw pumpkin seeds very small set them aside. (Use any nut or seed you’d like, really!)

Cook up some penne and after draining, toss into the pan with the carmelized fennel.
Add the chopped pumpkin seeds, just enough olive oil (based on what you like I suppose) and black pepper.
Serve! I wound up adding a bit more olive oil to my dish, but I think it’s a personal preference thing

Mary’s Potstickers Italian Style with Condimento Balsamico and Crisp Fried Sage

Filling –
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh porcini
1/3 cup finely minced pancetta affumicata

1/4 cup grated barilotto di bufala or ricotta salata
1 cup finely chopped radicchio
1 med carrot grated
1 large shallot minced
1 large clove garlic minced
1 Tbsp Italian parsley finely chopped
1 tsp minced fresh sage
Whole sage leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Mix all of the ingredients together except for the oil and sage leaves and set aside. Crisp fry the sage leaves in olive oil and butter and lightly salt.

Potsticker dough
2 cups 0 or all purpose flour
3/4 cup boiling water

Very slowly pour the boiling water into the flour and mix thoroughly with a dough hook or spoon until you have a soft dough. Add water or flour to the mixture to get a dough that is tacky but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly for about 30 seconds. Again, add flour or water to get the correct consistency. Set the dough aside covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the plastic and cut in half leaving half in the plastic wrap. Roll the other half into a log and cut into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. If you have a tortilla press, press each ball into a round using light pressure. Remove from the press and thin out the edges only. If using a rolling pin, roll the dough into rounds with the inner round thicker than the outer part.

Fill each dough round with a scant tablespoon of filling and press the edges together with the bottom flattened and the sealed edges on top.

When all of the potstickers have been assembled, heat a non-stick 10 or 12 inch frying pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the heated pan and add the potsticker one at a time in a round. Cook lightly until the bottoms are golden. Take a pan lid to protect you from spatter, and pour enough water into the bottom of the pan to a level of about 1/4″. Cook covered over medium low heat for about 6-7 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the potstickers to continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until the water is completely evaporated.

Serve while hot with a splash of Condimento Balsamico and crisp fried sage leaves.

Amber’s Tagliatelle with Porcini and Sausage


500 grams of fresh porcini
1-2 sausage links
½ to 1 glass of dry white wine (1-2 spins around the pan, really)
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

Handful of fresh chopped parsley
peperoncino to taste
2 sprigs of Nepitella (optional)
2 handfuls of grated parmigiano
Olive Oil Q.B.
Water/Brodo Q.B.
Fresh Tagliatelle (to feed 5 people, I did 400 grams of flour/four eggs)
Clean mushrooms. Chop to desired size. I usually chop the stems finer than the caps. Set aside.
Add olive oil to pan deep enough to add cooked pasta to. Add garlic and let it go for a minute over medium heat, but don’t let it get too brown! Add mushrooms. Let them cook over medium for a minute or two. Add wine. Turn heat up until alcohol burns off. Turn down heat, add salt and pepper, cover and let mushrooms cook through. If pan starts to dry out, add water. (You can do this with brodo/broth too.) These mushrooms aren’t as water logged as champignon, so watch carefully. Take the sausage out of its casing and cook in a separate pan. When cooked through, drain fat. Set aside (You can do this in the same pan before you add garlic, if you’d like, but we don’t like the extra grease.) When mushrooms are cooked through add sausage and handfuls of parsley. Combine and set aside.
N.B. If you’re using the nepitella, you can add it towards the end. It’s really strong, don’t add too much.
Cook pasta according to directions or taste in salted water.
After you’ve boiled the pasta, add the pasta directly to the pan of mushrooms. Set aside some of the pasta cooking liquid. Mix mushrooms and pasta together to fully coat the pasta over a low heat adding only enough water as necessary. As soon as the pasta is completely coated, turn off heat and add parmigiano. Mix through. EAT!

Louie’s Chestnut Pasta With Creamy Porcini Mushroom Sauce

Chestnuts and mushrooms are a great combination for this fall pasta dish.

Ingredients:

For The Chestnut Pasta:
200 Grams (7 Ounces) Chestnut Flour
300 Grams (10.5 Ounces) All-Purpose Flour (Plus Additional For Kneading & Rolling)
5 Large Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
For The Sauce:
10 Ounces Fresh Mushrooms, Cleaned And Chopped (See Note Above)
1 Ounce Dried Porcini (If Not Using Fresh or Frozen Porcini Above)
1/2 Cup Peeled, Chopped Chestnuts (Frozen or Canned)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Fresh, Chopped Parsley
Cracked Black Pepper & Sea Salt

Directions:

To make the pasta, place the flours and salt in a mound and create a well in the center.
Add the oil, and begin to break the eggs into the well using a fork to mix the eggs into the flour.
Continue to mix the eggs and flour until the mixture comes together as a dough.
Begin to knead the dough with your hands adding a little additional all-purpose flour if needed to prevent sticking.
Knead for about 4 to 5 minutes or until your dough is smooth.
Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Using a pasta roller, break off about one third of the dough and after dusting it with flour begin to pass it through the widest setting.
Continue to dust with flour and pass through the rollers, decreasing the width (increasing the numbers) until number 4 or 5 on your pasta machine.
At this point you can either cut it by hand, or use an attachment for your pasta machine.
Lightly dust the cut pasta and let it rest on clean towels until needed.
For the sauce, if you are not using fresh or frozen porcini, re-hydrate your dried porcini in warm water until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and chop the mushrooms finely.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and add the fresh chopped mushrooms and chestnuts and cook over medium heat until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the re-hydrated mushrooms at this point if using them as well as the garlic.
Cook an additional couple of minutes.
Add the wine and cook until it has almost completely evaporated and then add the cream.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until it is “al dente“.
The cooking time will depend on how long the pasta was left to rest, but fresh pasta generally only takes a few minutes to cook.
Drain the pasta retaining a little cup of pasta water.
Add half the sauce to the pasta in the pot with half the fresh parsley, and toss to coat the pasta well adding a little of the pasta water if the sauce seems too thick.
Serve the pasta in individual bowl with an additional scoop of the sauce and a sprinkle of chopped parsley on each.

Amy’s Speck stuffed gnocchi in pear and gorgonzola sauce


I made a normal gnocchi recipe for 4 people but after rolling out the strips I made disks of about 3 cm and filled them with minced speck.
For a kg of potatoes I used 150 grams of speck
For the sauce

4 Williams pears(small)
100 grams of gorgonzola
100 grams of” Duetto” (50% gorgonzola 50% marscapone)
60 grams Butter
60 ml cream(panna liquida)
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of salt
a dash of nutmeg(optional)

Peel and cut the pears into cubes. Saute them in the butter in frying pan until they are soft and Amber(hihi) colored. Take it off the heat and add salt and pepper.
When the pears are done put your gnocchi water on when its boiling..
Cut the gorgonzola and duetto into cubes and put it in with the pear and butter. I added little by little the cream until it was all melted together and creamy.
Cook and drain the gnocchi, put the sauce on them and mix and add grate a dash of nutmeg.

Temple’s Ravioloni with pear and ricotta filling

Dough for pasta (use commercial or your favourite recipe)
Ripe pears
Lemon juice

Ricotta
1 Egg
Butter
Poppy seeds

Preparation: peel the pears and rough grate them into a bowl and add lemon juice to keep from browning. Mix with the ricotta, egg and salt and pepper. Make the ravioloni and simmer until the pasta is done (don’t let them boil, they’ll fall apart); using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer one at a time to a plate covered with a dish towel. Pat off excess water. Melt the butter and add poppy seeds; let cook for about 4-5 minutes, then transfer the ravioloni to plates and pour the sauce over them. Optional: fresh grated parmesan. We calculated 1 raviolone per person but they were so good we ate 2!

Kim’s Pumpkin Cream Pasta with Crispy Pumpkin & Radicchio

Pumpkin Cream Pasta with Crispy Pumpkin & Radicchio

 

I saw a recipe for Sweet Potato and Crispy Kale and thought this would be good with pumpkin.  Sweet potatoes can be found in Italy, but it is very hard.  They are not grown here and would have to be imported.  Pumpkin on the other hand is abundant in Italy so I use it a lot as a substitute in recipes which call for Sweet potato.

Pumpkin Cream Sauce
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I roasted in oven then, put in a sieve drained the water, and mash)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp of dry thyme or 1 tablespoon of fresh
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cups skim milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Toppings
2 tablespoons Romano cheese
Couple leaves of radicchio
1 cup of thinly sliced pumpkin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add radicchio and pumpkin slices, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons Romano cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat well with your hands. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing 1-2 times while cooking, until crispy. *when putting on sheet keep radicchio on one side and pumpkin on the other they might need to be removed earlier.  Remove and set aside.

Bring pasta water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions.

While they are cooking in the oven, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add in shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, cooking for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add in the dry thyme (if using fresh add later with the cheese). Increase heat to medium and add in flour, whisking constantly to create somewhat of a roux. Once the roux has turned golden, add in mashed pumpkin and milk, whisking to combine. It will take a few minutes of whisking to bring the mixture together. Let the mixture come to a simmer in order for it to thicken a bit, but be careful because it thickens quickly. If it becomes too thick, simply add a little milk to thin it out. Reduce heat to low and stir in Romano, remaining salt and pepper.

Once pasta is finished cooking, add the pumpkin sauce. Place in pasta bowl and top with crispy pumpkin and radicchio.

Adapted from  http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/03/sweet-potato-cream-pasta-with-crispy-kale/

Louie’s Spaghetti With Sausage & Squash

I have been shopping in the winter squash section of our local grocery store this fall, trying all the new varieties they now offer and have enjoyed each and every one. Winter squash is so delicious and versatile and best of all it is very healthy for you too! For this quick and easy pasta recipe I used Blue Hubbard squash, but any semi-firm fleshed winter squash would work just as well. For this pasta, I simply cooked up sausage with garlic and fresh sage, tossed this with diced, roasted squash, and then tossed everything together with hot cooked pasta. I used Barilla Plus spaghetti for my version, but you could also use a short pasta such as penne or fusilli instead. This recipe is hearty enough to be a main course dish, and all you would need is some crusty bread and a nice mixed salad to complete your meal.

Spaghetti With Sausage & Squash

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

An easy fall pasta recipe for busy mid-week meals.

Ingredients:

4 Sausage Links, Removed From Casings
4 Cups Diced, Peeled Squash
3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
Salt & Pepper
4 Large Fresh Sage Leaves, Finely Chopped
To Serve:
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Pound Spaghetti, or Pasta Of Choice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Toss the diced pumpkin with two tablespoons of the olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
Roast until the squash is soft and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy frying pan and once hot add the sausage and cook until lightly browned breaking it up with a fork as it cooks.
Add the garlic, and chopped fresh sage, and cook an additional minute or two.
Cook the pasta in lightly salted water until “al dente“.
Drain the pasta, withholding one small cup of the pasta water.
Add the sausage and squash to the pasta, and toss well, adding about 1/2 cup of water.
Cook over medium heat stirring continuously to mix the ingredients well, allowing the pumpkin to soften and melt into the pasta .
Serve hot in individual bowls, offering grated cheese at the table.

Spinach, Lemon, Ricotta and Pine Nut Lasagne

Spinach, Lemon, Ricotta and Pine Nut Lasagne by Sarah Topps

Our competition entry – Spinach, Lemon, Ricotta and Pine Nut Lasagne. Delicious and light and a great alternative to the more traditional recipe.
For the pasta:
600g 00 Flour
6 eggs
(you can use packet lasagne if you don’t have time to make your own but this is so much better!)

For the filling:
A huge bunch of spinach
2 tubs ricotta (or equivalent of fresh if you can get it! – Giselle!!!)
2 Lemons, juice and rind
Plenty of Grated Nutmeg
Salt
Pepper
1 bag pine nuts toasted
Parmesan
A few chilli flakes
2 beaten eggs

For the sauce:
70 g butter
30 g all-purpose flour
1 litre milk
pinch salt
freshly grated nutmeg
black pepper

Oven-proof dish 30 / 20 cms approx.

To make the pasta:
1. In a bowl, sieve the flour and make a well in the centre.
2. Crack in the eggs and incorporate by hand
3. Knead for 5 minutes until dough is soft and silky (this can be done by hand or in mixer or bread machine)
4. Place in fridge, covered for 1/2 hour to relax the dough
5. Cut dough into manageable pieces (6)
6. Roll very thinly (the thinner the better) using a pasta machine or rolling pin
7. Cut into oblong strips to fit your lasagne dish and hang up to slightly dry out

To make the filling:
1. Blanch spinach very briefly in boiling salted water and drain well. Cool
2. Drain ricotta well to remove any excess liquid
3. Add ricotta, lemon juice and rind, nutmeg, salt, pepper, pine nuts, parmesan,chilli and eggs to spinach and mix well

To make the sauce:
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Once melted, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden, sandy color, about 7 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened by the roux.
4. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to low and continue simmering until the flour has softened and not longer tastes ‘floury’, 10 to 20 minutes, then season with salt and nutmeg.

Heat oven to 165oC

Now layer the ingredients into your dish, starting with a layer of white sauce, then a layer of pasta, then the spinach mix. Keep going until your dish is full to the top.

Bake on 165oC for 40 – 50 minutes until golden brown and bubbly on top.

Eat with a crisp green salad.

PS The recipe makes quite a lot of pasta and spinach filling so we had plenty left to make ravioli for our next meal – yummy!