October 25 is World Pasta Day, a day to celebrate your love for this internationally popular Italian food. World Pasta Day was brought into existence as part of the World Pasta Congress on October 25, 1995 when international experts came together to discuss the importance of spreading knowledge of the world’s panorama of pasta.
There are over 600 shapes of pasta and their names are descriptive of their shapes. Spaghetti (cord), vermicelli (little worms), rotini (spirals), fusilli (spindles), tortellini (little cakes), linguini (little tongues), conchiglie (shells), fettuccine (small ribbons), penne (quills) and capellini (fine hairs) are some of the most popular pastas with which people all over the world cook.
While people all over the world, including the Middle East and especially Oman, relish pastas, the fact that internationally popular Italian cuisine eateries have mushroomed in different countries is testimony to the universal love for pasta. At lavish buffets, one notices a beeline at the pasta counters while at family dinners with mixed cuisines, one would always here the most common refrain – pass the pasta! Here are recipes for two most popular pasta dishes you can make at home:
Shrimp/Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp chopped parsley
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water then drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted and the cream is bubbling. Whisk in Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Let sauce simmer 1 to 2 minutes to thicken slightly. Sauce will still be thin, but will thicken more as sauce cools and once pasta is added.
Add cooked pasta and toss until coated in sauce. If you need the sauce thinner, add the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon butter until melted. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook until pink and completely opaque, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from skillet and add to pasta. The same can be done with shredded chicken – season and saute chunks of chicken, just like with shrimp; when done, shred and add to the pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Fusilli in roasted tomato sauce
2 cups of fusilli
10 medium tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp pesto or a handful of fresh basil
Boil the pasta as per pack instructions, drain and set aside.
Wash tomatoes, cut them into half. Place them cut sides of the tomatoes down on a cookie sheet and bake at 180°C for about 15 minutes, until the skin wrinkles and juice starts to come out. Put the roasted tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, pesto or basil, salt, and sugar into a blender and blend until creamy (Add a little water, if needed). Add the cooked pasta, toss and serve.