A Passion for Pasta

By: Marylaine Louise L. Viernes

Ms. M’s Top 3 pasta recipes will not just have your guests smacking their lips and saying “Amore;” they will also be asking for More!

We feature three different types of pasta: thick, flat and long strands of carbonara, wide and flat strips of lasagna and bow-tie shaped pieces of farfalle!

Romance your taste buds: Casanova Oyster Carbonara

Only for your Sweetheart: Heart-shaped Lasagna

Farfalle in love with classic Baked Farfalle Pasta with Mozzarella

Here’s how to make these three easy and delicious pasta dinner ideas this Valentine’s day…

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1. CASANOVA OYSTER CARBONARA
Giacomo Casanova was an Italian adventurer, author and even an outlaw from Italy, but he is most known as a lover! Inspired by Casanova, we throw in a popular aphrodisiac, oysters for one unforgettable good meal!

This recipe serves 4 and you will need to prepare the following ingredients:

A box of fettuccini pasta (about 12 oz.)
2 cups of all-purpose flour
Kosher or Himalayan pink salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Olive oil for frying, about 3 tablespoons
8 strips of dried and smoked artisanal quality bacon cut to an inch long
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and sliced
6 eggs beaten and seasoned with a dash of pepper and a pinch of salt
2 cups of breadcrumbs also seasoned with salt and pepper
2 large egg yolks
¾ cup of chicken stock
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 oz of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
14-15 pieces of shucked, drunk Louisiana oysters. Get these fresh oysters drunk by lightly marinating each piece in liqueur (no more than 5 drops of vodka each). Other excellent options are juniper gin or martini.

• Start by taking a bowl and combining the flour with 10 grinds (3 pinches) of pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.

• Preheat the oil over medium heat to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Simultaneously cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water with a few drops of olive oil and bring to a simmer, then prepare the rest.

• Render (turn the fat into oil) the bacon slowly in a skillet over medium heat and then add the shallot and garlic, cooking in the bacon oil for no more than 2 minutes.

• Shake excess liqueur and liquid from the oyster but keep them moist. Place them in the flour and coat completely. Next, dip each piece in the beaten egg and place them in the breadcrumbs, coating each piece completely.

• Prepare the oil to deeply fry each oyster piece until they turn crispy and golden brown. Set aside on a paper towel and season with salt mildly.

• Whisk the egg yoks and combine the chicken stock the combination of oyster zest and liqueur.

• Revert to the pasta; remove from its simmering state and then place it in the skillet with the bacon, then add the liqueur and yolk mixture. Cook this concoction over medium low heat until it thickens into fine sauce, coating the pasta.

• Add some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, carefully tossing and not stirring in so as to not break the soft pasta into pieces. Throw in a dash of black pepper.

• Lastly, place the pasta in a bowl, with the fried oysters around it. Top it with the rest of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and then top with the grated lemon zest.

Serve warm and enjoy!

HEART SHAPED LASAGNA
Putting in the Art in Heart, and Savor in Flavor, this exquisite dish is not just pleasing to the palate, but oh so delightful to the eyes… here’s how to make it…

• To achieve that special heart shape, use a 10-cup heart-shape bundt pan

• Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then take a large pot of salted water with a few drops of olive oil to cook the lasagna noodles until it achieves the al dente texture, which is cooked well, but not too soft.

• Drain the noodles and spread them flat on a baking sheet or tray to drain them off the liquid completely.

• Taking another pot, heat it over medium heat, adding in the onions, stirring it gently for no more than 5 minutes, and then add in the garlic and oregano for an additional 2 minutes only. Then add in the beef, 2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper, making sure that the beef strips will not form bunches.

• Bring to a simmer and then add the tomato paste while stirring continuously. After a minute, add in the tomatoes, sugar, water and another dash of salt and pepper, stirring until the sauce thickens.

• Take another clean bowl for the cheeses - ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella, along with the parsley, eggs and combine it altogether, mixing well yet gently.

• Revert to the noodles which should be dried by now, and cut it in a half crosswise manner, and then take the bundt pan, lining the bottom with 4 of the half-cut noodles, carefully placing 2 pieces along the straight line and 2 along the arches.

• Lay 12 whole noodles in the bottom of the pan, slightly overlapping and making sure the entire bundt pan is covered and the heart shape is apparent.

• Pour in a cup of the warm meat sauce and then top 1 cup of the ricotta mixture over the sauce. Top again with 4 noodle halves and repeat the pasta and meat mixture layering until it reaches the top.

• Finally, fold the edges of the overhanging lasagna pieces, moving towards the center to completely cover the hole in the center.

• Bake in the oven until it turns golden brown, for no more than 45 minutes.
Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then invert the pan on to a cutting board or the final dish. Reheat some of the remaining sauce and pour into the center of the heart a few minutes before serving.

Prepare the following
ingredients:

2 pounds of ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Two tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
One 16-ounce box lasagna noodles
1 large onion, chopped evenly
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
½ cup of chopped flat-leaf type of fresh parsley
Tomato paste about half a cup or 6-ounce can
Tomato paste, 1 ½ cup or 28 ounces
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
12 ounces of Ricotta cheese
10 ounces of shredded mozzarella (2 ½ cup)
¾ cup of grated parmesan
2 large eggs

BAKED PASTA FARFALLE WITH MOZARELLA
Making this delicious dish is as easy as putting on a bowtie! The recipe below is good for 4 generous servings. First, prepare the following ingredients:

Half a pound of farfalle, also known as bow-tie pasta
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of olive oil
A can of pureed, whole peeled tomatoes
Half teaspoon of oregano, preferably dried
¼ teaspoon of sugar
Coarse or rock salt
4 ounces of chicken sausages (about 3 pieces) cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese
10 ounces of mozzarella cheese (roughly 2 cups), cut into half-inch cubes

• Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then begin cooking the pasta. Once it comes to a boil and has that al dente texture, drain and set aside. Make sure that the pasta is not too soft or overcooked.

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and get a large saucepan and heat the olive oil.

• Add garlic and sauté for no more than one minute, or until fragrant and the garlic turns mild golden brown. Then add the oregano, tomatoes and sugar. Bring it to a boil and reduce it to a simmer to break up the tomatoes and thicken the sauce.

• Add salt to the thick sauce and stir gently. Then add the pasta, sausage and half of the mozzarella cheese. Toss to combine only, do not stir so as to not crush the pasta.

• Transfer to a baking dish and top it with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese before putting in the oven.

• Bake for no more than 15 minutes or until the dish is bubbly and slightly brown.

• Cool for a minute then serve.

Watch your family and guest far-falle in love with each bite of this delectable dish with rich, gooey cheese!