Monday, January 01, 2007

Pasta - 2 ways!

Two different pasta dishes graced our menu after the holiday food spectacular. They are both easy, very flavorful - and are finished as soon as your pasta is done. Rachel Ray has nothing on these 15-minute meals!

Pasta #1:


1 lb pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti)
3 anchovy filets - packed in oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 small jar of artichoke hearts - in oil
1/2 cup small green (pitted) olives
1 medium can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
dried parsely, basil, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes - to taste

Prepare pasta as directed.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add anchovy filets - using a wooden spoon to mash the filets. (They will slowly disappear, leaving a nutty, salty flavor.) Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translusent. Add capers, green olives, artichokes, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, stirring to combine. Season with your favorite herbs.

I added a little red pepper flake for some heat - but that is entirely optional. Make sure you taste your ragu before you add any salt though, since all of the ingredients have a salty taste to them...for my palate, I didn't need additional salt seasoning.

Serve over your favorite prepared pasta. This makes a great alternative to regular old spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Pasta #2:


Pasta of your choice - I used fettuchini
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
16 medium scallops
1 small jar of artichoke hearts
1 handful of baby spinach
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/4 cup vermouth
1 cup chicken stock/broth
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp flour (if needed)
salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare pasta as directed.

Meanwhile, melt butter and oil in a large skillet. Add prepared scallops (rinse scallops in a bowl, debeard them, and pat dry with a paper towel) to the butter mixture. Immediately, add garlic and onion, stirring to combine. Cook until onions are translucent, then add vermouth, and reduce until all of the alcohol is cooked out. Add sundried tomatoes, spinach and artichokes.

Once the spinach wilts, add chicken broth and reduce some. If too thin, add a little flour to thicken - finish off with the heavy cream. Serve over pasta. Garnish with some fresh parsley, if desired.

Both recipes are (as Nathan called them) "restaurant worthy." He is so kind!

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