For those of you who follow this blog faithfully, you notice that pasta asciutta (or the pasta most of us make with the dry, store-bought pasta) is an easy dish to make. Typically, you start a sauce in the pan, boil the salted water, cook the pasta and, then, when the pasta is al dente, you join pasta with the sauce and “ecco (there)“, you have a nice dish. In restaurants, we pay $22 dollars or more for this, while, I hope you now see, that with some practice and a good sauce, we can all eat like an Italian!
It is often said in our fast-paced lives, “I don’t have time to cook!”, yet, most of the pasta asiutta recipes are made in about 20 minutes give or take. Depending on the chopping and preparation needed, this ballpark time means that a pasta dish is prepared as the main item on the menu, a salad or vegetables is served alongside, and you have a healthy meal start to finish in 30 minutes.
The other critique that might come from my focus on pasta is from we diet-consumer-conscious-types that think we must avoid carbs. I don’t pretend to be a nutritionist, but, it seems to me from all of my nutrition reading, the issue is with the quantity, not the pasta itself. All of our recipes suggest 70 grams of pasta asciutta per person. We do this because, for us, we are eating it as the main course along with salad and/or vegetables. Italians have eaten pasta once or twice for generations and it is only recently (with the increase in processed foods, sodas, etc. . .) that they are beginning to gain weight and have some of the other problems associated with straying from their traditional Mediterranean diet.
This pasta asiutta with shrimp, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes is one of our favorites in the summer when the tomatoes are at their vine-ripest and local! I show the ingredient list based on two people, but feel free to adjust any item up or down based on personal preference. If you’re making this as a traditional first course, you can simply make less pasta per person.
- 12 medium shrimp
- 1 tomato chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Olive oil and perhaps a tablespoon of butter
- 140 grams penne or farfalle
- Heat the olive oil and butter (if used) in the pan and gently sautee the garlic and red pepper flakes
- add the shrimp and cook until white and pink
- add the tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes
- add the white wine and simmer till the wine is burned off, about 10 minutes
- add the parsley, reduce heat, and keep warm until you are ready to add the pasta
- add the pasta, stir, and serve