PRIMI PIATTI: PASTA E RISO (FIRST COURSE: PASTA AND RICE)

Jarred Tomatoes

I was given a gift of fresh jarred tomatoes last year by a friend who was born in Milan, Italy (Rose Oxley). This was a gift that I truly enjoyed. I opened the jar to make a tomato topping for focaccia….the taste of the jarred tomatoes was amazing! I decided to try this for myself. It’s a bit of work, but well worth it…I will now be able to enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes all year round!

Mom's Fresh Tomato Sauce

My mom makes this fresh tomato sauce, mainly in the summer when the Jersey Tomatoes are ripe and in season. This sauce is especially delicious on her homemade pizza!

Marinara Sauce

This is a basic marinara sauce that we use for many different pasta and pizza dishes. This sauce can be made several days in advance and warmed when needed.

Oven Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce

Roasting the tomatoes really brings out a delicious, intense flavor. Adding oven roasted tomatoes to a thick, savory cream sauce creates a wonderful topping for many different pasta dishes. Feel free to substitute roasted peppers instead of the oven roasted tomatoes for a quicker cream sauce option.

Pesto Sauce

The deep, savory combination of the basil, nuts, and parmesan cheese makes a delicious sauce for pasta. This is also excellent as an accompaniment to a caprese salad, as a topping for portabella mushrooms, and as a topping on chicken cutlets.

Bechamel Sauce

This béchamel sauce is silky and creamy.  I have used this sauce in various lasagna recipes. 

Mom's Manicotti

These homemade manicotti are soft, creamy and delicious. The crepes are not difficult to make…expect to discard the first couple of crepes while the skillet comes to temperature. The filling can also be changed to create different dishes.

Gnocchi with Parmesan Cream Sauce

This dish is extremely flavorful. The gnocchi is soft and really absorbs the delicious flavors of the parmesan cream sauce, the sautéed pancetta and the caramelized vegetables. You will enjoy this dish!

Tortellini Alfredo with Prosciutto and Peas

Whenever I host a dinner party or holiday gathering, this dish is always included on the menu. I tend to eliminate the prosciutto so I can offer a vegetarian option. I always make this a day in advance, which allows the tortellini to plump up and absorb the cream.

Penne Vodka

Penne Vodka is one of my daughter’s favorite dishes. There are many different versions of this recipe, and we have tried most variations. The recipe below has been modified to include our favorite ingredients. Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese.

Penne with Beef Braciole Sauce

I made this penne dish with my beef braciole, and was delighted with the deep flavors that developed from the braciole sauce. The long cooking time and the red wine incorporated in the sauce creates tremendous flavor. Cook the pasta to the al dente stage and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Add freshly shredded parmesan cheese for the best flavor.

Spaghetti with Garlic & Olive Oil

This is a very easy dish to make, requiring few ingredients. It’s a perfect dish for a quick weeknight meal, and is generally simple enough to appeal to the kids!

Spaghetti with Eggplant, Mushrooms, & Ricotta Salata

I created this spaghetti dish with the ingredients I had in my refrigerator this morning. The pasta is delicious, and the vegetables and cheese really make this a savory dish. Feel free to modify based upon your favorite ingredients.

Spaghetti with Sausage & Cannellini Bean Sauce

We enjoyed the most delicious panini sandwiches on the streets in Rome and Florence, Italy. Some of the best sandwiches were the simplest – grilled bread with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. The key to making this panini exquisite is using the freshest ingredients possible. This version is Jessica & Nicholas’ favorite.

Dad's Linguini with Red Clam Sauce

We have enjoyed this dish for years, especially since the clams are readily accessible in my parent’s backyard (the bay of North Wildwood). We have all taken our turns “clamming” and have fond memories of returning to the house so Dad can prepare this delicious meal.

Fettuccine with Pesto Shrimp

This dish is delicious and easy to make for a quick weeknight meal. You’ll be surprised at the deep flavors developed from the pesto and fresh fettuccine pasta.

Baked Spaghetti

This is a delicious recipe....it is reminiscent of a lasagna in form, but much easier to make.  Like lasagna, let the dish sit for 15-20 minutes after being removed from the oven to allow the dish to set (it will cut a lot easier when it is slightly cooled).

Lasagna Napoletana

This is another dish that is heartier with the addition of meatballs and sausage.  This recipe is delicious and worth the effort!  Make sure you let the lasagna sit for 15-20 minutes after baking to allow the lasagna to set (or you will end up with a soupy mess).

Linguine - Puglia Style

This recipe was intriguing….I never saw pasta cooked raw with all the ingredients “one pot style”.  This recipe is from the Puglia region of Italy, and was written by Martha Stewart. 

Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

This risotto dish is delicious, especially with the addition of the wild mushrooms.  It is a great side dish to any of the meat dishes in this cookbook.  Any leftover risotto is a great foundation for the rice ball “Arancini”.

Shells Alfredo with Prosciutto & Peas

I have made pasta with a prosciutto and pea cream sauce for years.  It is usually a crowd favorite. 

Stuffed Shells

This is a delicious pasta dish.  If jumbo pasta shells are not available in your market, use cannelloni or manicotti shells.  This recipe incorporates spinach into the stuffing mixture, however, any combination of flavors can be substituted. 

Fettucine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo is a delicious, rich pasta dish.  I have made this dish for many special occasions.  Grilled chicken or shrimp can be added to this recipe to make a heartier pasta dish. 

Delicious Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is a standard Italian American dish, and can be modified by including a variety of ingredients to taste.  I have often added chopped meatballs and sliced cooked sausage to make this dish even heartier.  This dish is best when served warm with grated parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti with Goat Cheese & Spinach

The tartness and creaminess of the goat cheese makes a delicious sauce for this dish.  Add fresh baby spinach for beautiful color, and feel free to add toasted nuts to the dish if desired.

Spaghetti with Clams & Shrimp in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

We have enjoyed this dish for years, with slight modifications of ingredients.  Feel free to improvise and include your favorite ingredients.

Scialatielli with Mussels, Clams & Shrimp

This is another delicious pasta dish we were served at “La Favorita O’ Parrucchiano” in Sorrento, Italy.  Fresh seafood is so abundant there that every dish tasted spectacular! 

Autumn Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

This is a delicious dish to make in the autumn season.  The addition of roasted butternut squash is extremely flavorful.  I have used pumpkin as a substitute…and it is equally delicious.

Lasagna Rollatini

This is a delicious, individual serving recipe for lasagna.  The combination of the béchamel and marinara sauce gives this recipe a deep, savory flavor. 

Cannelloni with Ricotta & Fresh Herbs

This is a simple recipe of rolled pasta, filled with fresh ricotta and fresh herbs.  The cannelloni is served with a fresh tomato sauce.

Italian Macaroni & Cheese

I have made this version of “macaroni and cheese” many times.  It’s always a fan favorite, so be prepared to share the recipe.  The combination of the asiago and fontina cheeses makes this dish really rich and delicious.  The cheese can be varied based upon your preference.  I have also varied the breadcrumb topping, utilizing a crushed cheddar cracker topping. 

Pasta Primavera with Chicken

This pasta dish is creamy and delicious. The addition of chicken makes this dish especially hearty. Feel free to add or substitute any of your favorite vegetables to this dish.

Dad's Spaghetti with Crab Sauce

This is another of Dad’s favorite dishes, using the crabs caught right outside of the house.  It’s hard to get fresher ingredients! Make this with any pasta, although we traditionally use spaghetti or linguini. 

Linguini Pescatore di Papa

We enjoyed this delicious dish in Italy.  The Italian word "pescatore", translated means "fisherman".  My Dad is the best fisherman I know.  The pasta dishes he makes with the seafood he catches are fantastic.  This dish reminded me of home!

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