Prepare warmed bowls with grated cheese (parmigiano, romano, etc.) and a swirl of good olive oil, salt and pepper with a chopped green herb of your choice (basil, parley, thyme, etc.). Put pasta into salted boiling water and stir carefully with a wooden spoon. After about 30 seconds test pasta – if it is tender, take out. It should be soft but have a bit of bite in it. If not yet cooked, test again after ½ minute. Remove with tongs (keep scissors handy!) and arrange (about 2 -3oz) in a small pile on plate. Finish with olive oil, pat of butter, cheese (a little bit!) salt and pepper…and finally fresh green herb & lemon zest. You now have a beautiful presentation of the most delicious gourmet pasta in town! (This pasta is a delicate food that must be handled carefully and quickly. The cooking water should always be preserved and used to loosen and lighten the pasta no matter what sauce you are using. Keep a small bowl of iced water nearby so you can arrange pasta by hand.) It should be served promptly after being plated so get everyone to “tavola” before serving! Tante Belle Cose! For special orders, private parties or pasta making classes call 707-758-4083
A Few “Sauce” Suggestions…
Remember the pasta is the star and the “sauces” are the supporting cast!
For the big chunky sheets of pasta
Prep your bowls with oil, etc. Chop (quite finely) a fresh tomato or two and sauté with finely chopped garlic to taste until just warmed (not really cooked!). Arrange your sheets of pasta like silk handkerchiefs on the plate and spoon some tomato on top… you may have to put your hands under cold water and arrange them loosely by hand: you don’t want them all folded over one another. Finish with cheese, salt, pepper etc. and chopped green herb if you prefer…
Fresh Summer pasta:
Chop 2 large tomatoes finely, also garlic to taste, minced anchovies to taste (TRY NOT TO OMIT these as they take the dish to another level!) a handful of capers, 10 or so large basil leaves julienned with good fresh olive oil.
Cook pasta and remove to prepared plate and arrange 1 or 2 sheets loosely by hand so sheets don’t stick to one another. (Do not put too many together. Remember you can always have “seconds”!) Sprinkle “sauce” sparingly on top and finish with pasta water, freshly grated cheese and the basil…beautiful!
“Aglio e Olio” Garlic & Olive oil: You can always dress your fresh pasta with a bit of olive oil & a bit of butter with fresh (or browned) garlic.
And fresh grated cheese…as simple as that…so delicious. Add what you feel like. If you are having fish, add lemon zest and juice…with meat or chicken add some stock.
Alfredo: Use fettucine pasta for this sauce or pappardelle. Melt several tablespoons of butter and about 4-6 oz small cubed prosciutto in saucepan (to heat only). Cook pasta and add to butter & prosciutto. Add freshly grated parmesan or romano and some cream immediately and toss in pan. Loosen to taste with pasta water I use light cream because heavy is too rich for me). Finish with salt, pepper & fresh nutmeg if you like.
You can make this as rich or light as you choose…all the flavors are there…can finish with a sprinkle of chopped Italian parsley.
Al pomodoro (fresh tomato)
Simply sauté garlic to taste until lightly browned and add tomatoes that have been blanched (put fresh tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds or until skin starts to curl a bit then put until COLD water and peel) Chop…. Heat only for a minute or so until warm and pour on pasta in the prepared bowl… Finish with julienned fresh basil if you like…Lovely on the green spinach pasta or really any of them!
Saffron Pasta which is very high quality… therefore a wonderful full saffron flavor, I suggest a mixture of shell fish and solid meat fish such as salmon, halibut, cod, etc. sautéed in butter & olive oil and garlic or perfectly barbequed. Cook pasta and arrange on prepared plates; add a bit of fish mélange and finish with finely chopped parsley, orange & lemon rind and a tiny bit of minced raw garlic if you like.
It is also wonderful with osso buco. Again finish with a classic gremolata. A beautifully colorful and fragrant presentation…retain the water for risotto or rice as the water retains a lot of flavor.
Truffle Infused Pasta: Julienne the skin only of fresh zucchini and quickly (until barely wilted) blanch in good chicken stock. Prepare bowls with oil, cheeses, etc. and bird nest pasta; finish with julienne on top and slice of truffle (if not available truffle oil), salt, pepper and some lemon zest.
Buckwheat/spelt Pasta: Wonderful with a bit of anchovy paste in olive oil, garlic and Romano cheese & lemon zest. Absolutely delicious… or with carmelized mushrooms & marscapone with good stock to loosen it a bit. Finish with fresh grated cheese and a squeeze of lemon…wonderful!