Archive for the 'Pasta' Category

Fetuccini with Seared Scallops in a Lemon-Garlic Cream Sauce


Every week at the farmer’s market, I see the fish vendor. I always stop and look at chalkboard list of products and prices. The line almost always stretches around the back of his truck. My usual thought is that I don’t have enough cash to buy anything and, anyway, Angela doesn’t like fish so it’s not really worth it.

Before we left for the market, Angela had asked if we could have shrimp for dinner. I had some frozen shrimp in the freezer but they wouldn’t easily defrost in time and I don’t particularly relish force defrosting shrimp (although it can be done). So, when I came to the farmer’s market this week, and saw that not only was the fish vendor selling jumbo shrimp but that also his line was relatively short (and I had extra cash), I had to get in line and buy some.

A patron in line ahead of me ordered some scallops. In fact, he thought he was buying all the scallops: he wanted about 12 and that’s how many the vendor thought were left. Instead, the fish vendor had mis-estimated how many were left. So I decided that this week they were also going to be mine.

When I presented my acquisitions to Angela, she decided that the shrimp would wait until the next day and she wanted them seared in a cream sauce. I had never made such a dish but it sounded good to me so I thought I’d give it a try.


I usually cook from recipes. Occasionally, I’ll try and improvise. Unfortunately, it’s usually a bit disappointing when I do. So I have an aversion to improvisation. Particularly when it comes to expensive ingredients as I don’t want to waste the money.

With this recipe (I wanted to say today but I made this on Sunday), I may have finally broken the streak. To be fair, this isn’t particularly complicated or difficult recipe. But I am pleased with it.

Neither the garlic nor the lemon are overpowering. It didn’t hurt that we had high quality scallops (better than frozen at least). And the sauce went well with the pasta.

Angela would have liked her scallops a bit more seared but it may require a switch to clarified butter to actually make that happen.

The serving range is a bit large as the two of us ate all of the recipe but it could easily be served to four if they aren’t particularly hungry. But it’s good enough for two to eat the entirety.


Fetuccini with Seared Scallops in a Lemon-Garlic Cream Sauce

1 lbs. large scallops
salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 cup heavy cream
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp diced Italian parsley
1 lbs. fresh fettuccini, preferably homemade

  1. Remove the small muscle attached to the scallop and discard. Dry the scallops in paper towels thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter has stopped foaming, add the scallops. Sear the scallops in the butter on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the scallops to a plate and cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Reduce heat of the skillet to medium and add the garlic. Sauté the garlic until it is golden, about 1 minute.
  4. Deglaze the skillet with the vermouth or wine. Increase heat to high and boil down the vermouth until it is reduced by half.
  5. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer the heavy cream until it is thickened. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and add the lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it is just undercooked.
  7. Return the scallops to the skillet and add the parsley. Toss the sauce with the scallops until they are well coated.
  8. Remove the pasta from the boiling water and add it to the skillet.
  9. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 1 minute more.
  10. Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4.

Tortellini Panna e Prosciutto (Tortellini with Cream and Prosciutto)


In Italy, this was one of my favorite dishes to order. While I had never been to Italy before and I’m not of Italian decent, this was instantly comfort food, even though it was foreign to me. It didn’t hurt that it almost universally good.

The first time I tried my own hand at tortellini panna e prosciutto the tortellini were my undoing. I decided to be a perfectionist and measure the size of each tortellini. It would’ve helped to keep them all the same size if I could cut straight. It ended up taking an inordinate amount of time: I think it took about 2 hours just to form them.


I would’ve been hesitant to make them again but they’re really good. I’ve managed to get my tortellini making time to about 1 hour but that’s still a significant investment of time and energy.

This is also probably not particularly good for you. The tortellini are filled with cheese. The sauce is similar to alfredo sauce but with prosciutto added. However, I probably burned enough calories making the tortellini.


I’ve posted instructions for making pasta before. The tortellini recipe I use is basically the same that I use for cheese ravioli but in a different shape. You could also use fresh fettucini in place of the tortellini if you don’t want to invest as much time. It’s also sometimes served with peas (becoming tortellini panna, prosciutto e piselli) if you’d like it with a green vegetable.

I always try and make enough so that I’ll have left-overs for lunch the next day but for some reason we always manage to eat them all.


Tortellini Panna e Prosciutto (Tortellini with Cream and Prosciutto)

1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tbsp diced Italian parsley
3 eggs
salt and pepper
2 cups all purpose flour

4 tbsp butter
4 oz. prosciutto
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan

  1. In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, parmesan, and parsley, attempting to break the ricotta into as small pieces as possible. Stir in one egg and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Using the well method, mix the flour with the remaining 2 eggs to form a dough. Knead the dough briefly and then divide it into 4 pieces.
  3. Roll out 1 piece of dough to the thinest setting on a pasta machine. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into approximately 1 1/2″ squares. Discard any dough that is not approximately square. On each square, place about 1/4 tsp of the filling made previously. Fold each square in half by having two opposite corners meet, forming a isosceles triangle. Make sure that the dough forms a good seal. Pull the two corners of the triangle which form the longest side together to form the tortellini. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  4. Cook the tortellini in boiling salted water about 3 minutes or 1 minute after it floats.
  5. Melt the butter for the sauce in a large sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the prosciutto and sauté for about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer and allow the cream to reduce. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  7. When the pasta is done cooking, add the pasta to the sauce and cook for 1 minute more.
  8. Serve with additional grated parmesan.

Serves 2-3.

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana


As I’ve said before, simple pasta dishes appeal to me. There’s something infinitely satisfying about taking a few good ingredients and turning them into something spectacularly good. And while Dr. Atkins may not approve of a meal like this, it’s one of my favorites. It’s actually good enough that we served it as a course for Christmas last year (we served a meal in the Italian style).

This dish is becoming increasingly popular on Italian restaurant menus. Particularly, those that want to appear more authentically Italian (as opposed to Italian-American). The sad thing is that they seldom have an authenticity nor are they particularly good. Angela ordered one a few weeks ago that wasn’t spicy at all.

And, really, this is such a simple and fast dish that a restaurant should be able to do a very good rendition of it without too much effort. I would be fine if it wasn’t this most authentic but at least make it taste good. There’s no real excuse.


The recipe itself takes about 40 to 45 minutes to make. For me, that’s a pretty quick dinner (but not Rachel Ray speed). I usually prepare the ingredients and then start cooking the sauce. Once the tomatoes are added and they begin to simmer, I start boiling the water for the pasta. When the pasta’s done, I add it to the sauce and go from there.

I don’t know exactly how authentic this recipe is. It does use pancetta in place of guanciale (I would try to make some if I could find a local source for pork jowl). It also uses spaghetti in place of bucatini (bucati was available at Trader Joe’s for a month or so but was nearly impossible to actually eat). The taste seems pretty close to what I had in Rome but I don’t know how memory has influenced that. Either way, it’s still pretty tasty.


Spaghetti all’Amatriciana
Adapted from Roma: Authentic Recipes from In and Around the Eternal City

1 tbsp olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, diced
1/4 cup diced onion
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp Pecorino Romano, grated
1/2 lbs. spaghetti

  1. Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and onion. Cook until the pancetta is browned.
  2. Add the red pepper flakes (add more or less depending on your taste) and the tomato paste. Stir well and allow to cook for one more minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the skillet. Scrap up any browned bits. Simmer the tomato sauce for 30 minutes.
  4. Bring salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook for one minute less than indicated on the package, about 7 minutes. Drain the spaghetti.
  5. Stir in half the Pecorino Romano into the sauce. Add the spaghetti and mix well. Cook for one minute more or until the pasta is al dente. Add the remaining Pecorino Romano.
  6. Serve with additional Pecorino Romano to sprinkle on top.

Serves 2 to 3.

Ravioli al Formaggio con Sugo di Pomodoro (Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce)


The title today is stretching my Italian. I think that’s the correct translation (from English to Italian) but I’m not an expert by any means. In Italy, I would say something in Italian and get a response in English. But at least I tried.

Luckily for us, tomatoes are still in season here so we’ve been having a lot of tomato sauces and tomato soups (don’t you wish you lived in Southern California? of course you probably don’t have massive fires where you live so it’s probably a wash). We hadn’t had ravioli in a while and I figured it would be a good match for the tomatoes I bought at the Farmer’s Market.


When it comes to ravioli, I usually just make cheese ravioli. Meat ravioli can be good but frequently they tend to be too much flavor in one place. I also don’t particularly care for the texture of chopped meat. Cheese ravioli have a much simpler, cleaner flavor. I tried to keep the ravioli filling simple, partially because I’m lazy, but mostly because it works. The recipe could easily be modified by using a different herb or different cheese.

The problem with saucing cheese ravioli is that the sauce can’t be too complicated or flavorful or it will overpower the taste of the ravioli. So I figured that the simpler a sauce the better and figured tomatoes with a few aromatics and some herbs would be good. Plus we had fresh thyme in the fridge.


While homemade pasta seems like a luxury and very time consuming, it really isn’t in this recipe. It took about 45 minutes or so from walking into the kitchen to finishing dinner. The pasta gets made while the sauce cooks so there’s no real downtime.

I previously wrote more in depth instructions for pasta making and didn’t feel the need to repeat them here. When making my pasta, the dough ended up a bit dry so I added a few drops of water and that took care of the problem.

The ravioli were good but Angela wasn’t as big a fan of the tomato sauce as I was. So I get to eat the leftovers for lunch today.


Ravioli al Formaggio con Sugo di Pomodoro (Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce)

Tomato Sauce:
1 1/2 lbs. whole tomatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp diced garlic
4 sprigs thyme

Cheese Ravioli:
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tbsp diced Italian parlsey
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
an egg wash of 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Place them in a large skillet, cover, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the skillet and run them through a food mill with the disk with the largest holes (or peel the tomatoes and dice them).
  2. Clean the skillet and melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Add the tomatoes and season with salt. Lightly simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, parsley, and one egg. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Using the well method, mix the flour and two eggs together. Knead the dough until it comes together. Divide the pasta dough into four pieces.
  5. Roll out one piece of pasta dough to the thinest setting. Place 1 tsp of ricotta mixture about 1 inch from the corner of the dough. Repeat with the remaining mixture until no room is left on the dough. Each drop should be approximately 1 inch from any other. See the picture above for an illustration. Spread the egg wash in lines between the filling mixture. Roll out another piece of dough to the thinest setting and place over top of the first piece of dough. Press down between the filling and try to remove any air bubbles. Cut the ravioli with a pastry cutter or pizza cutter. Make sure all edges are sealed on the ravioli. Repeat with the remaining pasta dough and ricotta mixture.
  6. Cook the ravioli in salted boiling water for approximately 2 minutes after they begin to float.
  7. Add the thyme leaves to the sauce. Remove the ravioli from the water and add them to the sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute more.
  8. Serve the ravioli with the sauce and sprinkled with grated parmesan.

Serves 3 to 4.

Spaghetti alla Amatriciana Bianco


Simple pasta dinners are a staple in our household (it should really be apartment-hold but I don’t think that’s a real word). The main reason is that we frequently can’t figure out what to actually eat for dinner and we usually get to the point where either I need to make something very fast or we go out to dinner (and, given both of us have an innate frugality, eating out is seldom an option).

This is the point where I usually reach for a simple pasta recipe. This was the situation last night. To complicate matters further, we had spaghetti al pomodoro earlier in the week so a tomato sauce is out.

We eat traditional Bucatini alla Amatriciana relatively regularly (as regularly as anything we eat) so the same dish just without the tomatoes sounded like it could be a winner. And it was quite good. It’s very similar to Spaghetti Alio e Olio, just with panchetta added (and how could that be a bad thing?). The dish is extremely fast: the critical path is the cooking of the pasta. The sauce cooks in about 4 to 5 minutes. The only key is to not put in any more butter or olive oil than specified; if you do, it will end up too oily.


In other news, we didn’t clean up from the pork chops the other night and we think our cats absconded with the leftovers. Oops. I’m just hoping they didn’t hide it somewhere and we’ll find it in several weeks. Our cats eating pork always makes me imagine the two of them stalking and attacking a pig.


Spaghetti alla Amatriciana Bianco
Adapted from Trattoria Cooking

1/2 lbs. spaghetti or bucattini
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 oz. panchetta, diced
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup Italian parsley, diced
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving

  1. In boiling salted water, cook the pasta for 1 minute less than indicated on the packaging. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the panchetta and red pepper flakes and cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked past, the reserved cooking water, the parsley, and parmesan cheese. Stir and scrap up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute more. Serve with extra grated parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 2.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro (Spaghetti with Tomatoes)


Sometimes the simplest things are the best. And I think that spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce is one of them. Just the taste of pure, ripe tomatoes. Not overcooked and not overly complicated.

Recently, there was a book published (which I haven’t read) regarding the choice of last meals for chefs (apparently that discussion is popular among chefs). Apparently, the most common selections are simple, classic foods (with Mario Batali a notable exception). I would like to think that spaghetti al pomodoro would be a similar meal. Would it be my choice for a least meal? I don’t know. I don’t particularly relish the idea of devising a last meal.

In any case, I do like simple tomato sauces on pasta. There’s something both comforting and tasty about it. I’ve tried a number of different techniques and, while I still like a complicated ragú based on my grandmother’s, I think I’ve found a good option for a simple and fresh version.

This recipe really depends on the freshness of the tomatoes. I really don’t think it would nearly as well with canned tomatoes (even San Marzano). When we went to the Santa Monica Farmer’s market, I found several smallish tomatoes that were advertised as being especially for sauce. Given that I only ever really use tomatoes for sauces, I figured they’d be a good choice.


This is fundamentally a simple recipe. The hardest part is making the pasta but that could be easily replaced by factory pasta.

My technique for pasta making comes mainly from experimentation. I have found that a ratio of 1 cup of King Arthur all purpose flour to 1 extra-large egg (the size of the egg is important). This is not the ratio recommended in any cookbook I’ve ever found (most recommend using large eggs but extra-large eggs are cheapest atTrader Joe’s). I don’t know how important the brand of flour is. I always make my pasta by the well method as it doesn’t seem worth dirtying my mixer bowl.

I wouldn’t recommend rolling the pasta by hand. I tried once (before I had a pasta maker) and it was a disaster. Without a pasta maker, use factory made pasta.


Spaghetti al Pomodoro (Spaghetti with Tomatoes)
Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1 lbs. tomatoes
1/4 large onion, skin removed
2 1/2 tbsp butter
Fresh pasta made with 2 cups of flour and 2 eggs
2 basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. Slice the tomatoes in half vertically and place them in a skillet. Cover the skillet, turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the tomatoes from the skillet and run them through a food mill (alternately, skin the tomatoes and then dice them).
  3. Return the tomatoes to the skillet and add the onion and butter. Slowly simmer over medium heat for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Slightly undercook the pasta in salted boiling water (taste the pasta for doneness). Discard the onion and add the pasta to the skillet and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Serve the pasta with slivers of basil leaf and parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 2 or 3.


Fresh Pasta

1 egg per cup of flour

  1. Place the flour on a board and make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the well.
  2. Using a fork, mix the eggs together. Slowly, add flour from the edges of the well. Eventually, the mixture will be too mixed to use a fork. Switch to your hands and mix the eggs and flour together.
  3. Once the mixture becomes somewhat homogeneous, start kneading the dough. Knead for several minutes after it has come together.
  4. Divide the dough into fourths. Feed each through the pasta maker individually. Start on the largest setting, feed the dough through, then fold in half, and feed through again. Repeat until the dough has become uniform.
  5. Feed the dough through the pasta maker at smaller settings until reaching the desired thickness (on the Kitchenaid Pasta Maker this is 6 for spaghetti for me). It should go through at least four settings on the pasta maker in total. Sprinkle flour on each piece of dough so it doesn’t stick.  And remember, when determining thickness, the pasta will approximately double in width when it’s cooked.
  6. Cut the dough into the desired shape (I use the larger pasta cutter for the spaghetti al pomodoro).
  7. Coil the pasta together and sprinkle with flour so it doesn’t stick.
  8. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. It will be done about 2 to 3 minutes after it floats to the top.

Serves 1 per egg/cup of flour.

Penne con Fiori di Zucchine (Penne with Zucchini Blossoms)


Last weekend, we went to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, because the Long Beach Farmers’ Market was closed because of the marathon. While there, I found some zucchini blossoms which aren’t usually sold in Long Beach (we have options for which vendor to buy something from but there isn’t a whole lot of variety in types of produce). I spent most of the week trying to make something with them but we kept getting side tracked with other options for dinner (we, uh, mostly ate out this week).

I had never actually eaten zucchini blossoms before but they always looked good on television (I have a confession to make: I watch way too much of Molto Mario). So I had no idea if I’d like them or what the best way to prepare them was. So I just picked something that looked reasonably good. I also needed something where the pickier eater in the family would have something to eat (it bothers me when she makes instant macaroni & cheese or a microwavable pizza when I’m at home) no matter what.


So I ended up making pasta because at worst we could eat the pasta. And the pasta was quite good. It was good enough that this dish would be good without the zucchini blossoms. Angela described it as being both light and heavy at the same time and I’d have to agree. It had body but it wasn’t overly heavy and filling. It was really just a nice pasta dish.

I did like the zucchini blossoms but the blossoms themselves seem to get lost in the sauce of this dish. I believe they add flavor but I’m not sure if this is the best use of the zucchini blossoms themselves (next time I find them I may try stuffing and frying them).


Penne con Fiori di Zucchine (Penne with Zucchini Blossoms)
Adapted from Trattoria Cooking

6 small zucchini flowers with small zucchini attached
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz. panchetta, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and black pepper
1/2 pound penne
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  1. Separate the flowers from the zucchini. Remove the stamen (the part inside the flower) and any remaining stem from the flowers and zucchini. Rinse the flowers and zucchini under cold water and dry with paper towels. Cut the flowers into quarters lengthwise. Slice the zucchini thinly.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 1 minute less than specified by the directions.
  3. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the panchetta and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, flowers, and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the wine and stir, scrapping any brown bits, until the wine is almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broth and the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the sauce is thickened about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked pasta and cook for one minute more, stirring regularly.
  7. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Serves 2.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Doesn’t look like much does it? And, really, it’s not. Spaghetti alla carbonara is one of my default Angela-is-out-and-I-need-something-for-dinner meal. The critical path (why yes, I’m an engineer) on this dish is cooking the pasta so it isn’t really time or energy intensive. Plus, it tastes good in a comfort food sort of way.

I first tried this dish in Italy and fell in love with it in Rome. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant (I know it’s in a guidebook at home) but I do remember two things about it: it was by Pompey’s theater (which means it was in the Jewish ghetto) and that it opened for dinner at 7:30 PM. I know this second part because I showed up at 7:00 PM and was told that I would have to wait until 7:30 PM. So I waited and I was glad I did as I had the best spaghetti alla carbonara that I’ve ever had.

My version is not as good as that served in Rome. I’ve really had trouble finding a satisfactory recipe. Most recipes say that the pasta will cook the eggs in a bowl. And they’re wrong (possibly dangerously as the eggs don’t really cook). Some recipes say to add cream. Again, they’re wrong; the real dish doesn’t have cream. And serving it with a raw egg may be trendy (I think that’s how Mario Batali serves it at his restaurants) but it’s not particularly appetizing to me.


My thoughts are that it should be creamy but that the eggs should make it creamy. The only way I’ve found to do that is to slowly cook the eggs with the pasta as if making a custard. Is it authentic? I have no idea (it’s probably not) but it tastes good to me and fulfills my memories of the dish.

The recipe is loosely based on one from a book I bought in Italy, All the Recipes, Pasta of Italian Cuisine. However, the technique of the recipe is pretty much my own creation and I’ve modified the ingredients list a bit. I’ve only ever used panchetta, but I’m sure it would be good with guanciale (more authentic) or even bacon (what’s not good with bacon?). Also, when the recipe says to stir constantly, do so or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs (which, while it may be good, is not spaghetti alla carbonara). Finally, the recipe as listed only serves 1 because Angela doesn’t like it. I’ve also found that the final step of cooking the egg and pasta together seems to work better when there’s less of it. The recipe could easily be multiplied to whatever number of portions you’d like (or depending how hungry you are; this isn’t a lot of food for one person).


Spaghetti alla Carbonara

4 oz pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 oz panchetta, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
4 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and pepper

  1. Bring water to a boil, add salt, and cook the pasta. Under cook it by one minute.
  2. While the pasta cooks, in a sauce pan (preferably nonstick), add the olive oil and the garlic clove. Turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add the panchetta and cook until it is browned but not completely cooked (the panchetta will cook for a minute after the heat is off).  Remove the garlic clove.  Turn off the heat.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, 2 tbsp cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.
  4. When the pasta is finished cooking, strain it and add it to the sauce pan. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Prepare a serving bowl. While constantly stirring, turn the heat to medium and cook. When the egg mixture just begins to solidify on the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and pour to pasta into the prepared serving dish.

Serves 1.

    Pasta with Corn, Pancetta, and Sage

    Pasta with Corn, Pancetta, and SageAs a big fan of corn, pancetta, and pasta, one would think that combining them would be a no brainer. However, I never thought of it. And why would you? Pasta is Italian and corn is American. And Italian-American food has been relegated to cheap restaurants that those in the know would never eat at (apparently I am not in the know and I’m pretty happy there).

    This recipe comes from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook which was helpfully provided to me by our local library (as I’m too poor to purchase it for myself right now). This dish is basically creamed corn with pancetta and a bit of sage mixed with pasta. The sage flavor is not particularly pronounced so increase the amount if you, unlike my wife, like sage a lot. The original recipe called for 5 to 6 small ears of corn but, given that I buy corn priced by the ear, I used 3 large ears instead. There may be a flavor difference but as long as I don’t try it, I’ll be happy with the cheaper version (that was, until recently, my theory with sushi; as long as I don’t know what I’m missing, I’m okay).

    Pasta with Corn, Pancetta, and Sage
    Adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook

    2 1/2 cups fresh corn (about 3 large ears)
    1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
    3 oz pancetta, cubed
    6 sage leaves, diced
    1 lb. fresh egg pasta, preferably linguine
    salt and pepper
    3 tbsp Parmesan cheese

    1. Using a knife, slice the corn kernels off of the ear into a bowl. Then, run the back of the knife at a 45 degree angle to the ear to force out all the starchy liquid. Combine the liquid and the corn.
    2. Boil waiter for the pasta and cook until slightly underdone. Reserve pasta water.
    3. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the pancetta and saute until lightly browned.
    4. Turn off heat, add sage and 1 tablespoon butter. Allow the sage to seep for 1 minute.
    5. Add 6 tablespoons of butter and turn heat to medium. When the butter is melted, add the corn and liquid. Cook until warmed through and the liquid in the pan thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Add cooked pasta to the corn and toss. Finish cooking the pasta with the corn.
    7. Off heat, add Parmesan cheese and retaste for seasoning.

    Serves 4.