One Sauce ~ Three Easy Pastas

I’d like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee…Jack Nicholson/Five Easy Pieces

I have no idea why Five Easy Pieces popped into my mind when I typed Three Easy Pastas, but Jack Nicholson’s scene is priceless, look for it on You Tube.

This past month I needed some quick dinners and some form of pasta is always a go to dinner around here,but you would think that with so many cookbooks at hand I would have been happy perusing a few for something new, but I was totally engrossed in DVR’d episodes of Master Chef and thought to take a look at a few of Joe Bastianich’s pasta recipes, adapted of course since I already had a prepared homemade sauce stashed in the freezer.  I haven’t tried his pomodoro sauce, but it is referred to in all of the recipes that I found at Runner’s Nutrition &  Weight Loss…Don’t you love it, pasta, nutrition and weight loss?

With a few additions to perk up the sauce for each pasta dish,olives, thyme, oregano,  anchovies and a pinch or two of mint for the Puttanesca sauce, onion and eggplant for the Rigatoni a la Norma,  and finally sauce with onions and ribbons of prosciutto for the simple, but delicious Fettucine Capricciosa I had 3 new go to pasta dishes and still more on his list to try.  Follow link for his recipes:,7124,s6-242-303–13646-0,00.html

Rigatoni a la Norma

“The very best eggplant is like filet mignon,” says Bastianich. Here it’s lightly fried “and incredibly tender and flavorful.” Je doesn’t say how much sauce for each recipe, so add what you want.  For the eggplant recipe I had 3-4 cups sauce.

3-4 cups tomato sauce
1 medium eggplant, peeled,  cut into one-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pound rigatoni
6 tablespoons ricotta cheese

Boil a pot of salted water. Heat pomodoro in a saucepan. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Place on paper towels to drain for 10 minutes, then dust with flour. In a saute pan on medium, saute one garlic clove in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil until golden. Add half the eggplant; saute until brown on the outside but tender inside. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining garlic and eggplant. In the same pan, saute onion in last tablespoon of oil until tender (seven minutes). Add to pomodoro sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta to boiling water. Two minutes before pasta is cooked, remove from water and add with the eggplant to the pomodoro sauce (with some pasta water if needed to keep the sauce liquid). Cook until pasta is tender. Divide into six servings. Top each with a tablespoon of ricotta.

FAT: 21 G

Fettucine Capricciosa

This simple pasta dish uses prosciutto, which is salt-cured, air-dried Italian ham. It has a slightly sweet, earthy flavor that goes well with the sweetness of yellow onion.”

About 2 cups of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound prosciutto or ham, thinly sliced into ribbons
1 pound dried fettucine

Put a large pot of heavily salted water on high heat to boil, and simmer pomodoro in a saucepan on low. Add canola oil to a saute pan on low heat. Add onions to the pan, sprinkle with salt, and saute until golden brown and tender, about 12 minutes. Remove onions and set aside. Saute the prosciutto in the same pan until slightly crispy (about five minutes), then add to the pomodoro sauce along with the onions. Add pasta to the boiling water. Two minutes before it’s cooked, remove pasta from the water and add it to the pomodoro with a little pasta water if needed to keep the sauce liquid. Cook until the pasta is tender. Serves six.

FAT: 17 G

My third recipe, a new fall favorite is Pasta Inverno (winter pasta) a bowl of which I am finishing off as I finish this post.  Perfectly cooked Angel Hair with sautéed  julienned root vegetables, turnip, rutabaga, butternut squash and beets for the latest version.  I don’t see why you can’t use a different pasta like penne, but for that kind of pasta, I would cube the root vegetables and increase the cooking time for the vegetables.


Adapted from Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman

“Inverno” means “winter” so this is pasta for winter, in contrast to the
more famous pasta Primavera which means “spring.”

2TB butter
2 cups peeled and shredded or finely julienned mixed root vegetables
(carrots, celery root, golden beets, parsnips, rutabagas, salsify,
turnips) and/or winter squashes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2-1/2 cups light cream or half-and-half
salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the
root vegetables, garlic, and shallot, and saute until the vegetables are limp, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cream. Simmer until the vegetables
are tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to keep warm and season with
salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of
the cooking water and drain the rest.

Toss the pasta with the sauce until well coated, and then transfer to a
serving dish. Add the Parmesan and toss, adding some of the reserved
cooking water if the mixture appears dry. Serve at once, passing
additional Parmesan at the table.