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Ditalini with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe

Ditalini with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe


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Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ditalini or other short tube-shaped pasta (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
  • 1 7-ounce container purchased pesto
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Recipe Preparation

  • Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and boil until broccoli rabe is just crisp-tender and pasta is just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes longer. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and broccoli rabe to pot.

  • Meanwhile, bring vegetable broth and crushed red pepper to simmer in medium saucepan. Add beans and simmer until beans are heated through, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

  • Add bean mixture, pesto, and vinegar to pasta and broccoli rabe. Stir well, adding pasta cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls.

Recipe by Melanie Barnard, Brooke Dojny,Photos by Susan Gentry McWhinneyReviews Section

How to Throw a Green Party

W hen planning an environmentally friendly party menu, leave your global appetite behind and think local. Shipping ingredients from another part of the world requires a tremendous amount of fuel. Look to your nearest farmers&apos market or CSA (community-supported agriculture) for in-season fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, eggs, and dairy products. They&aposre fresher, taste better, and are oftentimes priced the lowest.

Editor&aposs Tips:

Clean foil can be crumpled up and tossed into the recycling bin, making it a better option than plastic cling wrap. But, don&apost risk contaminating a load of recyclables: If your foil is covered in baked cheese and sauce, toss it in the trash.

When you stock up on supplies, carry a reusable tote bag. Not only is it a less wasteful choice than plastic but it&aposs stronger and helps you carry more.

Beyond "local," there are a number of other labels and designations to keep in mind, including organic, biodynamic, and sustainable. Organic food is regulated by the U.S.D.A. and must meet certain standards to be certified as such. While there is debate over the value of the U.S.D.A. organic label and how much it corresponds to the original goals of organic farming (which prioritize local and sustainable agriculture), you can assume that any food bearing the U.S.D.A. organic label is free from artificial pesticides and fertilizers. Like organic, biodynamic farming eschews pesticides and fertilizers. It&aposs also a sustainable, self-contained system in which everything on the farm is reused or recycled, with the goal of enriching the biodiversity of the land. There are a variety of ways to define sustainable agriculture, but in simplest terms, it aims to sustain rather than degrade the environment while also being econonomically viable. For more information on these labels, consult greenerchoices.org, a Web-based resource run by the Consumers Union.

It can be a little overwhelming at first, but with a little thought and a bit of planning, creating a delicious, environmentally friendly menu is easy: With the right ingredients, you can turn almost any recipe into a green one.

If you&aposre having a backyard barbecue, opt for grass-fed burgers and steaks, which typically require fewer pesticides, fossil fuels, and antibiotics than the corn-fed alternative. Hosting a wine and cheese party? Swap imported Brie for artisan cheese from a nearby farm, and pair it with wine from the same region.

For a Sunday brunch, think frittatas made with organic eggs, whatever veggies are in season, and cheeses, all sourced from your area. Alongside, serve locally baked pastries, rolls, and muffins, or make your own sweets with fresh fruit from the farmers&apos market. Use our Advance Search to find recipes to match the season and your personal preferences.

When planning your menu, also keep in mind that a lot of green-minded folks are committed to a vegetarian diet (for various moral and ecological reasons, including the idea that "eating low on the food chain" has a smaller impact on the environment). Offer at least one dish that&aposs completely free of animal ingredients. Flavor-packed vegan dishes such as Ditalini with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe or Avocado and Mango Salad with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette will satisfy everyone on your guest list.


Vegan Dinner Ideas – Seven New, Quick and Easy Pasta Recipes

Perciatelli with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant
(Martha Stewart Living)
Perciatelli is similar to spaghetti, which you could also use in this recipe. This is a robust and flavour packed pasta with red and yellow peppers, basil, cayenne pepper and lots of tomatoes.
See recipe at Whole Living

Ditalini with Pesto, Beans and Broccoli Rabe
(Bon Appetit, image:Susan Gentry McWhinney)
Ditalini or ‘other short tube-shaped pasta’ is the way to go with this dish containing cannellini beans and broccoli rabe. This recipe calls for store bought pesto so UK or European peeps may like to try Zest pesto (vegan or vegetarian options) which is my favourite.
See recipe at Epicurious

Eggplant Pasta Salad
(Sara Quessenberry, photo: Anna Williams)
This tasty pasta can be enjoyed hot or cold and would be a popular dish to take to a picnic or BBQ. The capers, white wine vinegar and pine nuts elevate this pasta from ‘blah’ to ‘can I have some more mama?’
See recipe at Real Simple.

Spaghetti with Olive and Pine Nut Salsa
(Gourmet, image: Romulo Yanes)
This recipe has a short list of ingredients and is super easy to prepare. The capers and dried hot red-pepper flakes add extra oomph also.
See recipe at Epicurious.

Pasta with Beet Greens
(Melissa Roberts, Image: Stephanie Foley)
Pepper your penne with some new ingredients such as beet greens (spinach or silver beet), black olives, pine nuts and golden raisins.
See recipe at Gourmet


Beany Pasta Pot (Good Food Magazine)

Here is a highly nutritious and filling pasta made with red pesto, borlotti beans and even an apple!
See recipe at BBC Good Food.

Courgette ‘Pasta’ with Cashew Mint Cream
Any raw food enthusiasts or those looking for a new twist on pasta will enjoy this healthy and flavoursome dish! I’d love to know what you think of this courgette pseudo pasta.
See recipe at Waitrose.


Veal Meatball and Broccoli Rabe Soup

I can already hear some of you saying, "Veal meatball and what soup?" I'm glad you asked. Broccoli Rabe is a leafy green vegetable that is slightly bitter and very popular in Southern Italy. It is also known as Rapini or just Rabe. Although you'd assume it's a relative of broccoli, it's actually closely related to turnips. It's a very healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamins A and C and lots of potassium. I really enjoy the little bit of bitterness and also the fact that you can do so many things with it. It's great in soups, pastas, just as a side, sauteed with olive oil and garlic (really, what isn't good sauteed with olive oil and garlic??), or even made into a pesto.


Soup isn't something I find myself making every other day, but, when it's cold outside and I'm feeling chilled, I have a few soups in my recipe arsenal that warm me right up. This is one of them. I acquired this recipe some years back while watching 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. It's a delicious and comforting meal in a bowl. definitely a "keeper".

In case you're unfamiliar. this is a bunch of Broccoli Rabe.


Veal Meatball and Broccoli Rabe Soup

1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe, trimmed (see *note) and cut into large, bite-size pieces
2 tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic (1 minced and 3 chopped)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt and black pepper
1 quart unsalted chicken stock
2 cups unsalted beef stock
1/3 pound Ditalini pasta

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground veal
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2-3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. Drop in the broccoli rabe and cook for 7-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over med.-med/high. Add the chopped garlic, carrots, and onions and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Note: To trim broccoli rabe, cut off about 1" or so from bottoms of stalks and also any yellowed or wilted leaves. Wash in plenty of cold water.


Pasta with garlicky broccoli rabe

In my humble opinion, there’s cooking and there’s cooking. (I know, I’ll just give you a minute for the staggering profundity of that sentence to kick in.) What I mean is, it’s one thing to turn banana bread into a crepe, that crepe into a cake, that cake into a vehicle for walnut butterscotch, drooling, diet-postponing, and seconds, and it’s an entirely other thing to find yourself at the playground at 5:15 p.m. and realize a) you don’t actually have anything in the fridge that you can turn into dinner, b) you, in fact, barely feel like cooking, in fact, your interest in cooking is only a single degree stronger than your desire to order in, so this better be easy, and c) the adjacent farmers market which you have heard from others boasts ramps and asparagus and spinach and other new! spring! delights! in fact, at the tail end of the day, boasts few things aside from a straggler of a single bundle of broccoli rabe. And you like broccoli rabe, you’ve warmed to it quite a bit since you’ve accepted it into your life, but you hardly excel in turning it into a lightning-quick, lazy, and completely satisfying dinner (or LQLACSD for short).


Or, I didn’t before last Wednesday afternoon. This thing where you can grab anything at random without a shopping list in hand or recipe in mind and transform it effortlessly into a LQLACSD, this is real cooking. This is what separates those grandmothers that cranked out dinner like clockwork every night for 60 years, that didn’t throw in the towel because they only had canned peas and stale rice in the pantry, from the dilettantes. And people? Over 750 recipes into this site, I’m still getting there. Sometimes a simple recipe, one that you make once and instantly memorize and throw into the dinner rotation, helps.

And this is how by 6 p.m. I had I turned that bundle of broccoli rabe — a vegetable I love but don’t have a sixth sense for, at least not yet — into my new favorite pasta dish. I found inspiration in a 2006 recipe from Gourmet, showered it with punchy romano cheese, and retired for the evening with happy bellies and only a few dishes to wash. It is dinner, salad and a vegetable dish in one. It is quick. It could be dolled up in any number of ways — toasted breadcrumbs, minced capers or green olives, some ricotta — but it needs none of these to delight. To be dinner tonight, but 20 minutes after you bring home the groceries on a day too lovely to be fiddling over the stove. Hallelujah.



Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
Adapted, just a smidge, from Gourmet, September 2006

The original recipe calls for spaghetti, but I prefer short, chunky pastas that are spear-able by toddler forks. I fell for a “toscani” shape, though it also looks like campanelle, “little bells.” I think it looks like pretty, pretty locks of hair.

So, unless I think the texture of a salt really makes a difference in a dish, I usually default to table salt in my recipes, because it’s cheap and everyone keeps it around (and, better that someone uses a coarse salt for a table salt volume and undersalts a dish than the other, irreversible, way around). But! Not here. Please don’t use table salt. Most table salt is iodized and that iodine can turn your garlic a weird bright blue/green color. It will still be safe to eat but look… disturbing. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

1 pound pasta, whatever shape you like (but chunky ones will match up better with the rabe)
1 pound broccoli rabe, heavy stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch sections (I attempt to match my pasta in length)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
About 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)

To serve: Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (omit, of course, if keeping the dish vegan)

Bring a huge pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain rabe and pasta together and pour into serving bowl. In the same pot or a tiny one, heat the olive oil with the garlic, pepper flakes and Kosher salt over moderate heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes lightly golden. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Shower with freshly grated cheese and eat at once.


The Power of Pasta

When hunger strikes, a hearty bowl of noodles can always set you right. From old-school spaghetti with meat sauce to spicy pad thai, pasta satisfies the soul, fills the belly, and hits the table in mere minutes. But what about the girth of that belly? If you've quit eating pasta in the name of carb avoidance, try a strategy that will put it back on your plate: more sauce, less pasta.

Flip the traditional ratio of noodles to sauce so the pasta's still integral to the meal, just not the focus. Whether the sauce highlights vegetables, cheese, seafood, or meat, it's almost invariably the best part of the dish anyway. Start with these recipes and you'll discover that you can shift the balance of almost any pasta dish in favor of sauce supremacy. The best part: You might end up tipping the scales in the right direction, too.

1. Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes and Clams
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and saute 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves until just fragrant, about a minute. Add 2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds scrubbed littleneck clams (or other hard-shell clams, mussels, or cockles), and 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the clams begin to open. Uncover and cook until all the clams open (discard any that don't), 5 to 7 minutes more. Add cooked linguine, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and toss. Serve with chopped parsley.

2. Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Red Onion, and Pancetta

Chop 1 bunch broccoli rabe and cook it in salted boiling water until crisp-tender drain. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and saute a thinly sliced red onion until soft add 1/4 pound diced pancetta and cook until it just begins to brown. Add the broccoli rabe and warm through add the cooked orecchiette and moisten with some pasta water or more olive oil. Season with salt and lots of pepper.

3. Pasta with Chicken, Spinach, and Parmesan

Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook 2 boneless chicken thighs until they're browned and cooked through cut them into bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile, cook pasta until 1 minute short of al dente add 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach and cook until wilted, 1 minute more. Reserve some pasta water drain the pasta and spinach and return them to the pot. Add the cooked chicken, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, lots of grated Parmesan, and enough pasta water to moisten. Toss and season with salt and pepper.

4. Bow Ties with Caramelized Fennel and Onions
Core and chop 3 fennel bulbs and chop 1 onion add to a large pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables give up their liquid and stick to the pan. Uncover, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, and cook until the vegetables brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and scrape up any brown bits in the pan toss with cooked bow tie pasta.

5. Pasta with Tomatoes, Sausage, and Chick peas
Heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 sweet Italian sausage (removed from its casing), 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 minced garlic clove, and some red-pepper flakes cook until the meat is well browned. Add a 14-ounce can of chopped tomatoes with their juice, and a can of drained chickpeas (reserve the liquid). Season with salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down and the flavors meld, about 10 minutes add some chickpea liquid if needed. Cook the pasta when it's nearly done, add 2 to 3 cups fresh spinach to the sauce and cook until wilted. Toss the pasta with sauce, and top with grated Parmesan.

6. Ziti with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Walnuts
Heat some olive oil in a pan and saute 1 minced garlic clove over medium heat until just fragrant, about a minute. Add 1/2 to 3/4 pound sliced mushrooms and cook until their liquid releases and evaporates. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine reduces by half and the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 11/2 to 2 cups shredded cooked darkmeat chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until warmed through. Toss with cooked ziti, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and lots of grated Parmesan.

7. Zucchini Carbonara
Saute 1/4 pound diced bacon in a pan until the fat begins to render add 3 diced zucchini and cook until they're soft and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes more. Meanwhile, mix 1 egg, 1/4 cup cream, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cook the spaghetti or linguine until just tender drain well and immediately add it to the egg mixture toss until every strand is well coated. Add the bacon, zucchini, and more pepper, and toss.

8. Pasta with Pea Puree and Prosciutto
Boil 1 cup chicken broth or water in a pot add 2 cups fresh or frozen peas and cook until just tender. Remove 1/2 cup peas and set aside puree the remaining peas and the liquid in a food processor with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and 2 tablespoons soft butter. Return the puree to the pot along with 1/4 cup torn prosciutto and the reserved peas add salt and pepper, then cooked pasta, and toss. Top with more grated Parmesan.

9. Garlicky Penne with Potatoes and Broccoli
Slice 1 pound waxy potatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds place them in a big pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Add the penne, and 7 minutes later, add 1 pound broccoli florets. When the broccoli is crisp-tender and the pasta is al dente, drain. Return to the pot and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, salt, and plenty of pepper. Top with grated pecorino Romano.

10. Spaghetti with Lima Beans and Goat Cheese Pesto
In a food processor, puree 2 1/2 cups basil leaves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 ounces goat cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, and one garlic clove. Cook spaghetti until it's almost al dente add 2 cups frozen lima beans and cook until heated through. Drain the pasta and beans and toss with the pesto, adding salt, pepper, and pasta water as needed.

11. Pasta with Eggplant, Lamb, and Pecorino Romano
Peel a large eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat 1/4 inch olive oil in a large pan on medium high. Add the eggplant and cook until browned on all sides drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil, and add 1/2 pound ground lamb, a chopped onion, a minced garlic clove, and lots of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the meat is browned. Add the cooked pasta, eggplant, 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano, and 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint toss with salt, pepper, and pasta water as needed.

12. Pasta with Tomatoes, Green Beans, and Anchovies
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pan and saute 1 cup fresh bread crumbs until golden and crisp remove them with a slotted spoon. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, a chopped onion, and a few chopped garlic cloves. When the onion is golden, mash in a few anchovies, add 1/2 pound trimmed green beans, a 28-ounce can drained chopped tomatoes, and 1/2 cup dry white wine. Cook until the beans are tender and the sauce is thick toss with cooked pasta and serve topped with the bread crumbs.

13. Ziti with Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Egg
Cut 1 1/2 pounds asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Heat some olive oil in a large pan add the asparagus and 4 ounces chopped prosciutto. Saute until the asparagus is crisp-tender. Beat 2 eggs in a large bowl with plenty of salt and pepper, and stir in the asparagus and prosciutto. Cook ziti drain and immediately add to the bowl. Toss until the pasta is well coated, adding pasta water as needed. Serve with grated Parmesan.

14. Macaroni with Cauliflower, Peas, and Cheese
Cook macaroni until it's halfway done add 4 cups cauliflower florets to the water. When the pasta and cauliflower are nearly done, add 1 cup peas reserve some pasta water and drain the pasta mixture. Heat 1/2 cup chicken broth in a large pot add 1 cup grated Cheddar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, a pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth. Add the pasta mixture and toss, adding pasta water as needed. Serve with more Cheddar.

15. Spaghetti with Roasted Ragu

Peel a large eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. In a roasting pan, toss the eggplant with 1/2 pound ground beef, a chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, and salt and pepper spread it evenly in the pan and drizzle on some olive oil. Roast at 425?F, stirring occasionally, until browned, 30 to 40 minutes. Add one 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained 3 tablespoons tomato paste 1/2 cup dry red wine and 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh oregano and thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried). Continue roasting until the mixture is thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Toss cooked spaghetti with the sauce and top with grated Parmesan.

16. Pasta with Tomatoes, Olives, and Shrimp
Peel, devein, and chop 1/2 pound of shrimp, saving the shells. In a small saucepan, combine the shells with 1 cup dry white wine and 1 cup water. Simmer for 10 minutes strain and reserve the liquid. Saute 1 tablespoon minced garlic in some olive oil, and then add the shrimp-wine liquid, a drained 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped black olives, and 1 tablespoon capers. Simmer for 10 minutes add the shrimp and 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried) and cook for 1 minute more. Toss with cooked pasta, adding salt, pepper, and pasta water as needed.

17. Pasta with Radicchio, Pine Nuts, and Raisins
Heat 1/4 cup pine nuts in a small dry pan over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until the nuts are toasted, about 5 minutes set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan, add a chopped onion, and saute until soft add 1 head shredded radicchio and cook on medium until it begins to wilt, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/2 cup raisins and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar season with salt and pepper, and cook until the radicchio is very soft. Add cooked pasta and toss, adding a bit of olive oil to moisten if needed. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

18. Fusilli with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Chorizo

Cut 2 medium zucchini into 1/4-inch disks. Heat some olive oil in a pan add 1 cup diced Spanish chorizo and cook until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and a minced garlic clove, and cook until the onion is translucent, 2 minutes more. Add the zucchini and a 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained cover and cook until the zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes more. Add the grated zest and juice of a lemon, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with cooked fusilli and top with chopped parsley.

19. Pasta with Spicy Squid
Slice 1 pound squid into rings set aside. Saute 1 minced garlic clove and a diced fresh red chili in 2 tablespoons olive oil add 1/4 cup dry white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the squid cook until just done, about 2 minutes. Toss with cooked pasta, adding extra olive oil if needed. Season well with salt and pepper and a few red-pepper flakes, and top with chopped parsley.

20. Pasta with Tuna, Artichoke Hearts, and Basil
Saute a chopped onion and a couple of minced garlic cloves in olive oil. When they're golden, add 2 cups frozen artichoke hearts and 1/2 cup dry white wine simmer until the hearts are heated through. Add a drained 6-ounce can tuna (packed in olive oil is best), salt, pepper, and a pinch of red-pepper flakes. Toss with cooked pasta, a little pasta water, and 1/2 cup chopped basil.

21. Shells with Smoky Beans and Turkey
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep skillet add a chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 minced canned chipotle chilis (from the Latin section of the market), 1 tablespoon ground cumin, and 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft and fragrant add a 14-ounce can of chopped tomatoes with their juice, a drained 15-ounce can of black beans, and 1 cup shredded cooked turkey breast. Cook for a few minutes to heat through, and toss with cooked pasta shells, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and pasta water as needed. Top with shredded Cheddar.

22. Coconut Curried Mussels with Cellophane Noodles

Soak cellophane noodles in a bowl of just-boiled water until softened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot, combine a 13-ounce can of coconut milk, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons green curry paste (or to taste), the grated zest and juice of a lime, a teaspoon or so of sugar, and a splash of fish sauce add 2 to 4 pounds scrubbed mussels, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until all the shells are open discard any mussels that don't open. Stir in a handful of chopped cilantro. Drain the noodles and top with the mussels and sauce.

23. Gingered Shrimp with Cellophane Noodles
Soak cellophane noodles in a bowl of just-boiled water until softened, about 10 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large pan add 2 to 3 tablespoons grated or minced ginger and a minced garlic clove. Cook until fragrant. Add a pound of peeled, deveined shrimp and 1/4 cup rice wine or dry white wine cook until the shrimp turn opaque and pink on both sides, about 3 minutes total. Add a handful of chopped scallions and cilantro leaves, and toss. Drain the noodles and top with the shrimp.

24. Udon Noodles with Scallops

Cook the udon noodles according to package directions and then drain them, saving some of the cooking water. Saute a pound of scallops in a bit of sesame oil until opaque, about 2 minutes, depending on their size. Stir in 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, and a minced garlic clove. Add the noodles and enough cooking liquid to make a sauce. Sprinkle the noodles with fresh cilantro and a pinch of red-pepper flakes.

25. Gingered Chinese Noodles with Beef
Cook Chinese egg noodles until tender drain and reserve in a bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil in a pan add a handful of chopped scallions and 1 tablespoon grated ginger. Cook for 2 minutes add to the noodles and toss. In the same pan, heat some vegetable oil and stir-fry 1 pound thinly sliced beef or pork for 2 minutes add a couple of handfuls of bean sprouts and cook for 2 minutes more. Add a little water and soy sauce and cook until the sauce coats the beef. Add the noodles and toss top with chopped scallions.

26. Soba Noodles with Pork and Peanuts
Slice a pound of boneless pork into thin strips and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pan, and stir-fry the pork until cooked, about 3 minutes. Add a bit more oil and 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce and rice vinegar cook for 30 seconds. Add cooked soba noodles, and a handful each of sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, and chopped peanuts toss to combine, and season with salt and pepper.

27. Egg Noodles with Ground Pork, Tofu, and Bok Choy

Cook Chinese egg noodles until tender reserve some cooking liquid, and drain them. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Add 1/2 pound ground pork along with some salt and pepper, and cook until browned remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add 1/2 pound thinly sliced firm tofu to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and fry the slices on both sides until brown remove. Add a few minced garlic cloves, a tablespoon of minced ginger, and a minced fresh hot chili, and stir for 1 minute add a few cups of chopped bok choy and cook until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Return the pork and tofu to the pan and add the noodles. Toss well, adding cooking liquid and soy sauce as needed.

28. Udon Noodles with Beef, Snow Peas, and Fried Eggs

Cook udon noodles in boiling water, adding 2 cups snow peas in the final 2 minutes of cooking drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Heat a tablespoon each of vegetable oil and toasted sesame oil in a large pan add 1/2 pound thinly sliced skirt steak or flank steak, a tablespoon of minced ginger, a few minced garlic cloves, and a minced fresh hot chili stir-fry until the beef is browned outside but still pink inside. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, add a little more oil to the pan, and fry 2 eggs until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Return the beef to the pan and add the noodles and snow peas toss and season with soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper, adding cooking liquid as needed. Top with cilantro.

29. Chicken Pad Thai with Spinach

Boil wide rice noodles until tender drain and rinse. In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, and a sprinkle of red-pepper flakes. Cut 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry in vegetable oil until browned and cooked through remove. Add a bit more oil to the pan and scramble 2 eggs add the chicken, noodles, 3 cups chopped spinach, a few chopped scallions, a handful of bean sprouts, 2 minced garlic cloves, and the fishsauce mixture. Cook, tossing, until warmed through. Top with chopped peanuts.

30. Cellophane Noodles with Edamame and Cilantro "Pesto"

Soak cellophane noodles and a cup of frozen shelled edamame in boiling water to soften. Puree 2 cups cilantro leaves, a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, a fresh hot chile, a garlic clove, and some salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Toss the noodles and edamame with the cilantro "pesto" and season with salt and pepper.

The shape of your pasta may shape your meal. "there's no rule book, but italian tradition has evolved into combinations that work," says Maureen Fant, cookbook author and translator of Oretta Zanini De Vita's Encyclopedia Of Pasta. Learn the styles and perfect your pairings.

Long pasta : spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine
Pasta principle The long strands of these pastas work well with smooth sauces, since liquid and oil cling to their surfaces, says Fant.

Match with Silky sauces like pesto, meat sauce (a.k.a. ragu), or tomato sauce, or even a simple sauce of oil, garlic, tomatoes, and a touch of fresh chili pepper.


Short pasta: penne, rigatoni, rotini, farfalle (bow ties)

Pasta principle Short pastas are best with chunky sauces -- they match the relative size of the other ingredients, says Fant. Their nooks and crannies also help trap and carry sauce. The larger varieties are good for baked dishes.

Match with Rich, hearty sauces that include pieces of meat, seafood, vegetables, or cheese.

Tiny pasta: stelline, ditalini, orzo
Pasta principle These miniature shapes are perfect for soups, adding substance to every spoonful, Fant says.

Match with Hearty Italian soups like pasta e fagioli and minestrone. Keep them out of sauces, which can overwhelm their texture and taste.

In the pasta aisle, you'll find an array of nutritious options that you can't rightfully call macaroni. We asked Andrew Carmellini, the chef at Locanda Verde in Manhattan and the author of Urban Italian, to explain how these three varieties compare in the kitchen.

Low-carb
Health benefit Egg-based low-carbohydrate pasta has about 40 percent less carb content than traditional pasta. You also take in more protein from this variety.

Good with Any pasta sauce. "There's no difference in what you would cook with this as opposed to regular pasta," says Carmellini.

Cooking tip These noodles cook quickly. Give them about 3 minutes for al dente, and avoid reheating them. Our pick Carba-Nada

Whole wheat
Health benefit Whole grains may help fight inflammation related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Nutrition.

Good with Meat sauces. Whole-wheat pasta has a nutty flavor that pairs well with hearty sauces. You can also highlight its taste with a simple combination of butter, black pepper, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, says Carmellini.

Cooking tip "Be careful not to undercook this pasta. You want it al dente, not crunchy," says Carmellini. Box directions can underestimate cooking time. For the right doneness, you may have to cook the pasta up to 10 minutes longer than the time specified, he says. Our pick Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend

Kamut
Health benefit This pasta is made from an especially nutritious relative of durum wheat, and it contains more protein and fiber than conventional semolina pasta.

Good with Light sauces. The pasta has a mild, buttery flavor, so the less you do to it, the better. Extra-virgin olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a bit of salt and pepper work wonders.

Cooking tip Since this pasta tends toward firmness, use the upper range of the recommended cooking time, says Carmellini. Our pick Eden Organic Kamut


Simple Christmas Baking: Part 2 Dried Cherry Oven Pancake

Dried Cherry Oven Pancake

Here’s another recipe that can be served for breakfast or dessert. It’s easy to mix up and it can bake while you spend time with your family. Make this with dried Michigan cherries! (You can get them in big boxes at Meijer.)

1 T. butter, melted, plus more for the pan

1/3 C., plus 1 t. granulated sugar

3/4 C. all-purpose flour (or a scant less whole-wheat pastry flour the final product will not rise as high with whole-wheat flour, though.)

Heat oven to 375. Butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart baking dish. In a bowl, combine the eggs and 1/3 C. sugar. Whisk in the flour until no lumps remain. Whisk in the milk and melted butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the cherries over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Serve warm.


Tell Me Tuesday: Pasta Dishes to Fuel Training Runs

Know how a vehicle needs the right type of gas to perform at its best? If you drive a Lexus or Volvo, fill it with Plus, while your 1997 Subaru can get along just fine on regular unleaded. I feel it's the same with fuel for running: Sure, I can move down the road okay on some leftover BBQ chicken and salad-from-a-bag, but it's a whole lot easier to cruise on a night-before dinner of pasta and a bit of protein.

Training for a marathon (or half-marathon, which Dimity and I are running in 2.5 weeks--hello, Disneyland Half, where I'll be part of 2:15 pace group, and Dim will be bolstering the efforts of 2:30 runners), I'm acutely reminded of this fact weekly. In what seems like the blink of an eye, it's, once again, Friday evening, and I have to make a dinner that'll pack a punch for me the next morning. I thumb through my recipe box, looking for just the right recipe that'll help me--and appeal to the four members of my family who aren't going to burn upwards of 1,500 calories the next a.m.

Martha Stewart's version looks a bit more swanky than mine, but mine is still powerfully tasty!

Lately I've been loving on pasta dishes with beans or legumes, including these two dishes. They are easy, tasty, and hearty without feeling gluttonous. Perhaps best of all: Post-run, leftovers can be nuked in a jiffy and gobbled down in that all-important "window of opportunity" for muscle recovery (the 45-60 minutes after exercise). Last Saturday I ran a strong 20 miles. When I got home, 10-year-old Phoebe was eagerly playing, "Restaurant," so she did the heat-and-serve of the penne for me. Pasta-and-beans never tasted so sweet!

Penne with Grape Tomatoes and Mozzarella
(especially love this summery recipe because you don't cook the "sauce")

Ditalini with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe
(It's next to impossible to find broccoli rabe in Portland, so I usually sub in baby broccoli from beloved Trader Joe's)

Since I know I'm not the only one always on the prowl for tasty new recipes, please tell us what's your favorite fuel-a-run dinner dish.


Food in Puglia.

Needless to say the food is pretty awesome too. Puglia is a mainly agricultural region. 40% of Italy’s olive oil comes from there, as does a lot of the country’s durum wheat. The local cuisine is based on seasonal locally grown produce and home cooking. Simple but delicious fare.

Of course, people eat quite a lot of seafood (there are 800km of coastline), the most popular and famous being mussels from Taranto (check out the pasta recipe from Puglia for spaghetti with mussels below). They also consume a lot of pasta, bread, veggies, cheese and pulses. The most popular meat is lamb or goat, as well as various local cured pork products but meat tends to be mostly slow-cooked or roasted and eaten for Sunday lunch and on holidays. There are very few traditional dishes with beef!

As you will see from these 12 pasta recipes from Puglia, there are other types of fresh and dried pasta. But, orecchiette and cavatelli feature most in traditional Apulian pasta recipes. Of course, you can use other types of pasta for all these recipes if you can’t find or make the original type.

Click the dish title to go to the recipe post.

Seafood pasta recipes from Puglia.

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe (rapini).

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe (cime di rapa in Italian) is one of THE signature pasta dishes of Apulian cuisine. However, it is also popular in neighbouring Basilicata and the surrounding areas of Southern Italy. Like so many traditional pasta dishes, this is a simple recipe made with only a few ingredients but it is so so tasty! Like many Southern Italian pasta dishes, this contains anchovies. Of course you can make it without. But, in reality the anchovies are used for their umami flavour and the finished dish has no fishy or salty taste!

Orecchiette pasta with Romanesco broccoli.

Orecchiette pasta with Romanesco broccoli is another recipe that includes orecchiette and anchovies. In fact, it’s quite similar to the classic orecchiette with broccoli rabe above. Similar but not the same! This can be made with other types of broccoli too, but the star of this dish is the Romanesco broccoli. This is an amazing looking member of the brassica family of veggies. It’s not a cross between a cauliflower and a broccoli but actually a separate vegetable variety that’s been grown in Italy since 16 th century.

Spaghetti with mussels alla Tarantina.

Many people prefer to eat seafood in restaurants, rather than cook it at home. However, a lot of seafood dishes, especially seafood pasta recipes, are really not difficult to make and don’t leave your house smelling of fish! This spaghetti with mussels alla Tarantina is one such dish. It’s unbelievably tasty, easy to prepare and will definitely impress your guests! As I mentioned above mussels from Taranto in Puglia are very popular (and very appreciated in the mussel eating world). So, it’s not surprising that the Pugliese have such delicious mussel recipes!

Pasta alla Pizzaiola.

Pasta alla pizzaiola is a simple but delicious Southern Italian pasta recipe inspired by pizza marinara, hence the name! Although, most definitely of Neapolitan origin, slightly different versions of alla pizzaiola are traditional in Basilicata, Sicily and Campania. This recipe is the version from Salento, Southern Puglia. It includes capers and anchovies. I also added some fresh mozzarella just before serving. It’s also possible to bake pasta alla pizzaiola (al forno), which is what I did with the leftovers.


The Best Sauces for Italian Pasta

The secret to great Italian cooking is the sauce, but sometimes there isn’t enough time to make it from scratch. Our selection of premium quality pasta sauces will transform your favorite pasta into a satisfying meal that everyone will love. For an easy weeknight meal that can be put together in a snap, keep your pantry stocked with top brands like Agromonte, Coluccio , and La Fiammante and find pasta recipes on the Supermarket Italy blog.