Pasta, just like pizza, needs no introduction. Thank God for the Italians and their mouthwatering cuisine! We are, unfortunately, more familiar with its low-rent cousin, mac and cheese, than with pasta. It is no wonder, as mac and cheese is quite approachable and easy to prepare.
Yet, while it is something we indulge oftentimes in restaurants, we tend to shy away from preparing delicious pasta at home. Truth is, pasta is fairly easy to prepare. All it takes is to read the instructions on the packaging. Provided that you prepared pasta well, you can just add some Nutella, and there you have it. Or, you can go full chef and impress some guests, your partner, or just make your tummy happy.
Use one of these five recipes, grab a bottle of delicious wine, and enjoy your dinner European style. It is healthy for both your stomach and your nerve system!
Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts Linguini
Even though it is highly unlikely that you could mess something up while preparing pasta, we will start with something fairly easy to prepare. In the end, you will treat on the delicious dish you would pay a bunch of money for in a restaurant!
While preparing your linguini based on the instructions on the box, make sure to reserve 1 cup of the water you prepared the pasta in. We will need this later for this recipe to work. Pull out that large deep skillet out of your cabinet, and warm up some oil in it.
Now, it is time to cook. In the hot oil, fry quickly six ounces of pancetta, and one medium sweet onion which you previously had chopped up. Use medium heat. It will take up to ten minutes for pancetta to brown and for the onion to caramelize, which is what we are looking for. At this point, add a pound of brussels sprouts, and two clove garlic. Stir until leaves are bright green. It will take about two minutes.
Add a cup of dry white wine. Do not worry, you can drive later as the alcohol will evaporate. You might notice some brown bits at the bottom of your skillet at this point. Make sure to scrape them from it as you add the wine. After two minutes, add the linguini, add three ounces of grated Parmesan, and half the cup of the water we saved for later.
Now, you want that parmesan to melt and to beautifully cover your pasta. For that, you have to stir a bit, until the pasta is creamy. Once that happens, season everything with a bit of salt and pepper, and it is ready to serve! For a better first impression, add a bit of shaved parmesan on top!
Bucatini with Winter Pesto and Sweet Potatoes
There is absolutely no need to avoid adding some veggies to your pasta. It really doesn’t have to be that healthy, the main point is for it to be incredibly tasty. That can be accomplished with vegetables, too!
For this recipe, you also need to prepare bucatini first, according to the package instructions. Then we are going to prep some potatoes and make sure to create an incredibly delicious pesto. No need to wait for winter to enjoy this!
Since the longest part of prepping this is baking the veggies, you want to start from there. Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheet by adding two tablespoons of oil on it. Peel and cube one large sweet potato, and drop it in the oil. Cut one medium red onion, and put it there together with the potato. Add salt and pepper, and then bake. It will take about thirty minutes, and you should stir it once, to make sure that the potato is baked properly.
In the meantime, get your food processor ready. You should put four cups of torn kale, or any greens of your preference, together with half a cup of fresh, flat leaf parsley and pulse it. It might take up to five times for it to be chopped properly. Then add half a cup of parmesan in it, 1 clove garlic, one and a half tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of lemon zest. Finely chop all the ingredients, probably up to ten times. Add a bit of oil, some salt and pepper, too.
Once the potatoes are done, everything is, basically. Toss the prepared bucatini with the veggies, pesto you’ve made and a quarter cup of pasta water. For serving, you could top it with additional parmesan and some pine nuts!
Anchor Steam Mac and Cheese
Also known as Mac and Cheese with beer. Effortless to make, delicious, and a perfect match for any themed party that includes beer. In its essence, this recipe is a huge step forward from your regular mac and cheese, while they do share the name. Still, it will take no longer than half an hour to prepare.
As usual, start by preparing the pasta, and try to refrain from drinking the beer. Or maybe not. Just make sure you are following the directions, and you will be good to go, even if you get tipsy!
Start by preheating the oven. In the meantime, over medium heat and on melted butter, cook one chopped onion and one garlic until it goes golden in about three minutes. When that happens, add flour and quarter tablespoon of cayenne pepper and cook for a minute.
Now it is time to use the beer, which we hope you haven’t finished yet and had left a cup reserved for the meal. Cook for one minute, before adding two cups of half-and-half, and two tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Up the temperature and get it to boil, then cook until it is thick. To complete it, reduce to low heat for an additional five minutes.
Remove from heat. Now it is time for the cheese part. Add two cups of grated Havarti and two cups of grated Cheddar. Make sure to whisk it in until it is smooth. Season with some salt and pepper, and add the pasta. Transfer it to the baking dish, and top with remaining cheddar.
Put the beer-licious dish into the oven until it turns golden brown. It should take about 20 minutes. Make sure to let it stand for about five minutes before serving. Grab the time to pop open a couple of beers! Cheers!
Pasta with Sautéed Peppers, Zucchini, and Smoked Mozzarella
This is another high-end pasta dish that will surely have your tastebuds screaming for more. With smoked mozzarella being one of the main ingredients, it is very unlikely that anyone will be able to resist the temptation and not help themselves twice.
As usual, make sure to prepare pasta according to the package, and to leave a cup of its water on standby.
Start with heating oil and, for better taste, some butter, in a large skillet. Thinly slice three smaller bell peppers and one small onion, and toss it in the skillet. After seasoning it with some salt and pepper, you want to cook them until it is close to being tender. This should take about 10 minutes.
Add to it two medium zucchini, which you cut into thin slices. Now it is time to cook everything together until zucchini is crisp-tender, which shouldn’t last longer than five minutes. To give it the beloved charm, add the prepared pasta, and add about a cup, or more, of grated smoked mozzarella. This will give it the richness the dish needs.
Add a quarter of a cup of fresh basil, and add half a cup of pasta water. You can also add more if the sauce you are getting is too thick. Season with salt and pepper, and add the mozzarella and basil on top. Yummy!
Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken
Adding the chicken to this famous dish will add another level to it, turning it into a genuine meal. Turn your favourite quick fix into something you can serve as a host of a fancy dinner and not feel embarrassed by doing so.
Don’t worry, it is no more difficult than the previous ones, and you are going to start in the same manner – prepare pasta according to the package.
Pre-heat the oven, and butter your baking dish, as we will need this for later. Pull out your skillet, and heat some oil in it. You want to chop a smaller onion, season it with salt, put it in the skillet, and cook on medium heat for about ten minutes. You will know it is ready when it turns golden and becomes soft.
Once that happens, you want to mix it in with the pasta you prepared. Add to the mix one and a half cup of grated smoked mozzarella, shredded roast chicken, a cup of grated parmesan and a tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary. Make sure it is mixed well.
Now it is time to prepare the béchamel sauce. Use a medium heavy saucepan, and melt three tablespoons of butter. Add three tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and cook for about three minutes. Make sure to whisk all the time, to avoid crumbs that could appear otherwise. Continue whisking while you add two and a half cup of milk, two clove garlic, and a teaspoon of salt.
When all the ingredients are in there, bring the mixture to a simmer. Keep whisking at all times, but reduce the heat. This will cause béchamel to thicken. Discard the garlic, and add it to the pasta. Mix it in, and transfer everything to the baking dish.
From here, it is all about pleasing the eye. Smooth the top and add another cup of Parmesan. You shouldn’t overbake it, fifteen minutes tops, until it is bubbling and golden. Make sure to let it cool a bit, for about the same amount of time, before you serve it.