6÷2 = 3 quick pastas

Math is hard. Pasta is easy. In less time than it takes to calculate π you can make either of these three great recipes that only require a few ingredients each.

Some pasta takes longer to cook than others so you’ll need to know when to start cooking your sauce once you’ve got the pasta in the water. An example; recipe 3 really only has garlic, which can burn quickly if left in the hot oil for too long. Have the pan hot but only put the garlic in during the last few minutes. Burning can also be avoided by taking the pan off the heat now and then or by adding a bit of water.  The last thing you ever want is toasted, bitter garlic.

1. Strozzapreti with pancetta, tomatoes and garlic

  • 1 package Strozzapreti (they tend to be a little stuck together so separate them onto a plate)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz. pancetta (cut into ¼ inch dice)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 medium onion (cut into ¼ inch dice)
  • 3 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Ground pepper
  • ¾ cup parmesan reggiano cheese (grated)

Instructions

  1. Bring salted water to a boil and heat up the pan.
  2. Pour two tablespoons of olive oil in the pan to heat up.
  3. Put the pancetta in the pan and occasionally stir, add some pepper.
  4. Once the pancetta has started to brown and render it’s fat, add the onion and garlic. Don’t forget to stir.
  5. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and let them melt a little.
  6. Place pasta in the water (the Strozzapreti is a six to seven minute pasta).
  7. A few minutes after pasta has gone in the pot pour two ladles full of boiling water into the pan and add the bay leaves.
  8. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to a steady simmer.
  9. About two minutes before the pasta is done take the cover off the pan, add a bit more fresh olive-oil and continue the simmer.
  10. Drain the pasta and pour it into the pan.
  11. Discard the bay leaves and mix everything together.
  12. Off heat, add the cheese and some more pepper.
  13. Once you’ve plated the dish, add a touch more olive oil all over.

2. Strozzapreti with mushroom duxelle and cream

  • 1 package Strozzapreti
  • 1 ½ packages of button mushrooms (cut into fine dice)
  • 2 small shallots (cut into fine dice)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • S&P
  • ½ cream
  • ¾ cup parmesan reggiano cheese (grated)
  • ¼ cup parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring salted water to a boil and heat up the pan.
  2. Chop up the mushrooms. If they’re a little old or damp put the pieces into a towel and squeeze out all the liquid you can into a bowl and reserve it.
  3. Put butter in the pan and let it melt and then sizzle.
  4. Put the shallots and garlic in the pan for about a minute, add salt and pepper.
  5. Once the shallots are translucent add the mushrooms. Stir constantly. You want them to brown but not burn.
  6. Put pasta in the water.
  7. About three minutes after adding the pasta add the cream to the mushrooms and lower heat to bring the sauce to a light simmer. If it thickens too quickly pour in some of the mushroom liquid.
  8. Drain the pasta and pour into pan.
  9. Mix everything off heat and add the cheese and some more pepper.
  10. Garnish with parsley.

3. Three-cheese Tortellini with garlic and parsley

  • ½ package three-cheese Tortellini
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus some extra)
  • 5 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
  • Ground pepper
  • ¾ cup parmesan reggiano cheese (grated)
  • 2 tbsp parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring salted water to a boil and heat up your pan. Don’t let it get too hot!
  2. Put pasta in the water (the Tortellini I use can take 15 minutes).
  3. When the pasta has about three to four minutes left of cooking time put the olive oil in the pan.
  4. Once the oil is hot add the garlic. If it looks like it’s frying get the pan off the heat. Swirl it around, don’t let it burn! You’ll smell it in less than a minute.
  5. Just after a minute pour a ladle full of boiling water into the pan.
  6. Swirl the garlic, oil and water around to get a light emulsion. Lower the heat.
  7. Drain the pasta and pour into pan.
  8. Mix everything together and add some fresh extra-virgin olive oil
  9. Off heat add the cheese and some more pepper and mix.
  10. Garnish with just little parsley.

Of course you can use other types of pasta if you like. I bought the Strozzapreti and Tortellini at Costco. All three recipes are easy and delicious! Now pre-heat the pan, get chopping and make sure you have things ready when the pasta is done. Solve that equation and you’ll see these recipes are pretty hard to F up.

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