Pasta is nourishing, filling and tasty. With canned tomato-based sauces, spaghetti can be quick and easy, but with homemade simmered to go tomato sauces, it can be an all-day process. The same goes for alfredo. Spaghetti is a favorite pasta dish, but it certainly doesn’t stand alone on the playing field.
Pasta dishes hail from around the world. Today’s recipes originated in Italy, Germany and France.
Spaghetti noodles are a pantry storage item and eggs are also staples. The two are combined to make Salerno Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Bread Crumbs. The recipe comes from Salerno — a town just south of Naples, Italy. It is simple and easy — just use some pantry items and it comes off as a pretty fancy and nourishing meatless dish.
Spaetzle is a homemade German form of pasta that is also made from the basics. It does require a spaetzle maker — a sort of metal plate with holes in it to push the dough through. A large-holed grater could be a reasonable substitute. The seasonings make the dish tasty.
Spaetzle pairs well with weinerschnitzle (which has nothing to do with hot dogs or sausages). In German, weiner means viennese and schnitzel is pork or veal. The dish is made of pork cutlets pounded very thin and then seasoned, breaded and fried.
Salerno-Style Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Bread Crumbs
If you are eager to make it a “perfect” dish, timing is the key here. Eggs should be tender and cooked so that the white of the egg is firm but the yolk is still soft. The soft yolk makes something of a sauce to coat the pasta. The pasta should be drained just before cooking the eggs, but make sure the skillet preheats for five minutes before adding the eggs. A nonstick skillet is essential because it ensures an easy release of the eggs.
2 slices high quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound spaghetti
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
4 large eggs, cracked into two small bowls (two eggs per bowl)
Put oven rack into the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Pulse the bread in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the crumbs out over a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until golden brown for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta. While it is heating, cook 3 tablespoons of the oil, garlic, pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch skillet over low heat, stirring constantly for 8 to 10 minutes or until the garlic foams, is sticky and straw colored. Transfer the garlic mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean with a wad of paper towels and set aside.
Stir 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta into the boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. A minute or two before draining the pasta, return to the skillet to low heat for 5 minutes (for the eggs). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain and discard the remaining water from the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, the garlic mixture, 3 tablespoons of the oil, parmesan and parsley, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Cover and set aside to keep warm while cooking the eggs.
When the skillet is hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat the pan. Quickly add the eggs to the preheated skillet. Season the eggs with salt and pepper, cover and cook over low heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Uncover the eggs and remove from heat.
Pour the reserved cooking water into the pasta as needed little by little, stirring to loosen and separate the noodles as needed. Divide it into 4 individual serving bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs. Carefully slide one fried egg on top in each bowl and serve immediately, passing extra Parmesan separately.
4 cups flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Prepare a firm dough from the flour, eggs, water and salt. Beat until it comes easily away from the sides of the bowl. Run dough through spaetzle maker (or push through the large holes of a cheese grater) into boiling salted water. Skim out and dip in cold water. Serve with butter and a little finely grated Swiss or grueier cheese.
4 cups of 3/4-inch cubes sandwich bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 pork tenderloin (1 1/4 pounds), trimmed of fat and the silvery skin on the outside cut on an angle into four equal pieces
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 large hard cooked egg, yolk and white separated and passed separately through a fine mesh strainer.
Place bread cubes on a large, microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for four minutes, stirring well halfway through cooking time. Microwave on medium power until bread is dry and a few pieces start to lightly brown, 3 to 5 minutes longer, stirring every minute. Process dry bread in a food processor to very fine crumbs, about 45 seconds. Transfer breadcrumbs to a shallow dish (it should make about 1/4 cup crumbs). Spread flour in a second shallow dish. Beat eggs with a tablespoon of oil in a third shallow dish.
Place pork with the cut side down between two sheets of parchment paper. Pound to an even thickness, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Dredge each cutlet with flour then dip into egg mixture allowing excess to drip back into the dish to ensure very thin coating and coat evenly with bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs on to stick. Place breaded cutlets in a single layer on a wire rack over a baking sheet and let the coating dry for five minutes.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven over mediumhigh heat until it registers 375 degrees. Lay two cutlets without overlapping in a pan and cook, shaking pan continuously and gently until the cutlets are wrinkled and light golden brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to paper towel-lined plate and flip cutlets several times to blot excess oil. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve immediately with garnishes.
Milanese Fettuccini Alfredo
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, 2 pinches
1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 pound fettuccini
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pats
8 ounces (2 1/2 to 3 cups loosely packed) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring large pot of water to a boil over medium heat.
Preheat the oven to warm, about 200 degrees. Put a large serving bowl or a platter for the pasta into the oven to warm.
In a small pot over low heat, add the saffron threads and the stock. Let steep until ready to use.
When the water boils, season with salt, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Just before draining, add a ladle of the starchy pasta water to the pot with the saffron stock. Drain the pasta.
Remove the bowl or platter from the oven and scatter with the butter pats. Add the pasta and pour in the saffron liquid. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and toss for 1 minute. Add more cheese and continue to toss for another 1 to 2 minutes. Keep tossing until the pasta is evenly coated and cheese has melted into the saffron broth forming a creamy, lightly golden sauce. Serve immediately.
Turkey Fettuccini Skillet
8 ounces uncooked fettuccini
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups fat-free milk
1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cups cubed, cooked turkey breast
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cook fettuccini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté the onion, celery and garlic in oil for three minutes. Add mushroom and cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Stir in the milk, seasoning blend and salt. Bring to a boil.
Combine cornstarch and half and half until smooth. Stir into skillet. Cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in parmesan cheese until melted. Stir in turkey. Drain fettuccini and add to turkey mixture. Heat.