We partnered with our friends @Kitchn to highlight how the best everyday meals can be quick and easy crowd-pleasers. Simple Italian pasta dishes almost always wins at family dinners. While it’s easy enough to pop open a jar of sauce and toss it with an average box of pasta, it’s just as easy (and much more rewarding) to step outside your comfort zone and upgrade your meal with homemade sauce and better-tasting pasta.
You hardly need anything fancy to make your own sauce — just basic ingredients like butter, herbs, and, of course, plenty of cheese. But it’s the quality of the pasta that will really make these simple sauces shine. Our pasta is handcrafted in southern Italy. It’s made with high-quality durum wheat and mineral-rich mountain spring water and dried slowly at low temperatures, which ensures its aroma, texture, and flavor are superior. The pasta is cut using bronze dies, which gives it a rough, porous finish that helps the sauce grip to the pasta rather than slip back into the bowl. Try it in one of these easy weeknight pasta recipes and see how an easy upgrade becomes a new family favorite.
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The Kitchn jazzed up a tub of ricotta with the zest and juice of a lemon and plenty of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. This recipe comes together in a no-cook sauce that melts almost immediately when tossed with hot pasta.
1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
2. Place the ricotta, Pecorino or Parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and black pepper in a heatproof bowl and stir to combine. When there are 2 minutes remaining in the pasta’s cooking time, place the bowl over the pot and slowly stir in the ricotta mixture. You should see if loosening as it warms.
3. When the pasta is al dente, drain it well. Add it to the bowl of ricotta and mix well to evenly coat the pasta in the sauce. Add it to the bowl of ricotta and mix well to evenly coat the pasta in the sauce. Add the basil and red pepper flakes, if tossing, toss and serve immediately. Drizzle olive oil over each serving.
A beloved and lesser known Italian classic, this authentic recipe is a family favorite. With Roman roots, this pleasantly salty, savory rigatoni dish brings a little bit of Italy to your table.
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. Cook according to package instructions, reserving 1 1/2 cups of hot pasta cooking water.
2. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil on a medium-low setting in a large saucepan. Cook pancetta with garlic until pancetta begins to brown and crisp, about 10 – 15 minutes stirring often. Remove and discard garlic once it begins to soften, before pancetta is done cooking. Season with black pepper.
3. Add 1 cup of pasta cooking water to the saucepan with pancetta. Turn up the heat to cook for about 4 minutes to create a thick, glossy sauce.
4. Toss hot pasta in the pan with sauce to coat. Stir in cheese until melted and combined. Add more pasta cooking water as to create a loose sauce.
5. Serve sprinkled with Pecorino Romano.
Nutty brown butter joins forces with salty Parmesan cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs to create a dinner that’s equal parts fast and fancy.
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions until just barely al dente. Drain the pasta; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in the same skillet over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon so that it melts evenly. Once the butter begins to foam and form brown bits, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the butter is browned with a nutty aroma. Remove the skillet from the heat.
4. Add the pasta and Parmesan to the skillet and use tongs to toss together until the pasta is evenly coated with the brown butter and cheese. Add the reserved panko, lemon juice and parsley and toss to combine.
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