Friday, January 23, 2009

Presto Pasta Night #97 - Recap

It's been a lot of fun hosting Presto Pasta Night - thanks to Ruth for starting the event and for all the work she puts in to keep it running. Best of all we're soon to reach the 100 milestone!

Thanks also to everyone who took part - it's been so enjoyable to be able to feast upon your tasty offerings. I'm pretty certain that there will something to suit everyone.

Without further ado, the entries are presented in the order they were received.

Pumpkin-filled Purple Pasta Pillows
by Sarah from What Smells so Good?

It may have been a battle to make this low-carb pasta but they do look splendid - their vibrant colouring due to the addition of beet juice to the dough. The filling is mix of ricotta, pureed pumpkin and Parmesan with a little sage and rosemary added for good measure.

Spicy Roasted Eggplant Penne
by Sara from Cupcake Muffin

Sara adapts a dish from Giada's Kitchen and creates a vegetarian pasta that will surely appease even the most carnivorous. The sauce is based on a mixture of oven roasted vegetables - eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic & red pepper flakes. Once roasted they are put through a processor until they have that lovely chunky appearance and then simply tossed through cooked pasta and finished with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.

Spinach Pesto Pasta
by Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen

Lisa calls this her quick and easy pasta dish, I'd also add vibrant and delicious. It doesn't take a lot of time to produce something that's not only good for you but satisfying. The colour in this pesto comes from the use of raw spinach which is whizzed together with pinenuts, garlic and dried chillies. A final stir through of parmesan and balsamic completes the dish. Toss it through your hot pasta and Voilà!

Gourmet Dairy-Free Macaroni and Cheese
by Kitchenetta from Got No Milk

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Kitchenetta has indeed come up with dairy-free macaroni and cheese. The lactose intolerant can now enjoy that classic comfort food and I do believe everyone might just have their forks at the ready to grab a taste of this.

Turkey Chili with Whole Wheat Orzo
by Hillary from Chew on That

The cold weather in Chicago inspired Hillary to create her own version of Turkey Chili. Cooked wholewheat Orzo is added near the end of cooking to thicken the chilli but also, as it is wholewheat, it adds a nutty, textural element to the dish.

Jola's Pasta Salad with Pesto, Sundried Tomatoes, Garlic and Cracked Pepper
by Margot from Coffee and Vanilla

Pasta salad lovers, I think this might become a new favourite. Margot briefly roasts a mix of fresh tomatoes, leek, and garlic until golden before mixing them through pesto coated cooked pasta. For added flavour spikes, sun-dried tomatoes, lots of fresh basil and a good grinding of black pepper finish the dish. All that is left is to let it chill, though it must be very hard not to eat it straight away.

Tuna Fettuccini with Tomato, Garlic and Basil
by Chris from The Way It Crumbles

Let's welcome Chris who is a first time PPN'r and has two dishes for this week. The one shown above is a lovely spring or summer offering that can be put together in a flash. Garlic and herbs are sautéed gently in the oil from canned tuna - the tuna along with basil and tomatoes are then added to heat through. Add your cooked pasta, along with some chilli flakes for bite, toss through and serve. For the other recipe, make sure you check out the link for details. We all hope to see many more pasta offerings for Chris in the future.

Mee Siam (dry)
by Mrs Ergül from Mrs Ergül in HER Kitchen

Mee Siam (dry) is a classic Malay dish - there's a wonderfully spicy Red Chilli Paste that is used as a base of a stir fry of chicken, shrimp and fried bean curd. This spicy mix sits on a bed of vermicelli (rice noodles) and is topped with a generous garnish of omelette ribbons, spring onions, more chilli and lime wedges.

Sausage, Spinach and Fennel with Linguine
by Abby from Eat the Right Stuff

If going the full detox is a bit too much for you, then consider this hearty but nutritious offering. chock full of vegetables. The dish starts with sauté of garlic, sausage, chilli flakes and fennel seeds. The pan is deglazed with white wine, fennel slices along with tomatoes are added to help form the sauce as it simmers away. Spinach is placed on top to wilt in the heat before being stirred through.

Perciatelli with Shrimp and Garlic Breadcrumbs
by Pam from Sidewalk Shoes

Don't know what perciatelli are - then Pam has the answer for you. By the description I think they sound like a thinner version of bucatini. The perciatelli are served in a sauce of garlicy shrimp enhanced by the tangy addition of capers and lemon peel but the coup de grâce are the garlic breadcrumbs which are, to quote Pam "to die for".

Rotini with Mascarpone and Cilantro Pesto
by Marye from Baking Delights

The heart of this dish is Marye's Cilantro Pesto which is made from cilantro & pecans, along with red onion and dried chipotle. The base of the sauce is a decadent mix of mascarpone and cream - pasta is stirred through the heated base and then the pesto is added and stirred through. It's then finished off with parmesan, chopped pecans and fresh cilantro leaves.

Tortiglioni with Sausage and Leeks
by Melissa from Alosha's Kitchen

"Freakin good" is the description Melissa has given to her pasta dish and yes, I can understand that. A sauté of Italian sausage and red pepper flakes, some leeks, a little chicken stock and wine. Simmer away for 10, add your cooked pasta followed by a mix of fontina, shredded mozzarella and a little more red pepper flakes.

Roasted Cauliflower, Mushroom and Pasta Soup
by Ben from What's Cooking?

Unlike Ben, I don't think Cauliflower is evil, it's just been badly cooked or should I say over cooked - it shares the fate of poor cabbage. In this soup, cauliflower along with serrano pepper and mushrooms have been roasted and then added to a tomato based stock. Beet greens and cooked pasta join in for the last 5 minutes of simmering.

Spaghetti with Sicilian Cauliflower Sauce
by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast

Our Pasta Guru, Ruth prepares a south beach friendly dish from the perpetually effervescent Ainsley Harriot's latest book Fresh and Fabulous Meals in Minutes. In true Sicilian style, the base of this sauce is olive oil into which garlic and anchovies are added - the anchovies do indeed melt into the oil leaving behind a hauntingly deep and delicious flavour. Florets of cooked cauliflower and saffron are the next ingredients - the cauliflower breaks up into tiny pieces while the saffron colours the dish with its fragrant stain. The final flourish is a touch of lemon juice, parsley and parmesan.

Long Life Noodles with Pickled Ginger
by Mary from One Perfect Bite

A fitting dish to celebrate the Chinese New Year - The Year of the Ox. The Chinese Long Noodles are topped with a stir fry of ground meat, bell peppers, ginger and garlic and garnished with cilantro and scallions (spring onions). Mary also includes the story behind Chinese New Year and the symbolism of the foods offered. I hope we all have very long noodles!

Beef and Mushroom Lo Mein
by Katie from Thyme for Cooking

Another great dish to celebrate Chinese New Year. A treat for all the senses, it's made using beef flank steak strips that are marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce. It's then stir fried with a mix of vegetables - leek, bell pepper, celery, carrot, mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Beef stock and sherry form the base of the sauce which is thickened right at the end with a little cornstarch.
Psst...Katie has been nominated in the Humor category of the Well-Fed blog awards, Lo Mein for all who vote for her;)

Taco Pasta
Katie from One Little Corner of the World

This dish came to life from the successful combination of leftovers and morphed into its own creation. Taco meat, black beans and cilantro are mixed into cooked pasta - it's then served with an array of condiments, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, olives, peppers, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos which are added to the pasta base as you desire.

Sweet Frumenty Pudding with Poached Blueberries

sweet frumenty pudding with poached blueberries© by Haalo

My own offering using Greek pasta called sweet frumenty or trahanas. Cooked in a totally non-traditional way, I've turned it into a sweet, porridge-like offering.

Thanks again and remember next week your host will be Erin from The Skinny Gourmet - more details can be found here.


  1. Thank you for hosting such a great roundup Haalo! You did a great job. Everyone's pasta dishes look delicious! :)

  2. Fantastic roundup Haalo. Thanks for a doing such an awesome job. And thanks everyone for some very tasty dishes!

  3. A wonderful PPN, Haalo. I love all your commentaries and the dishes really look great. Hmm, which to try????

  4. Thank you all - it was a lot of fun putting together the recap, so many great dishes!

  5. As usual, what a wonderful lineup. Thanks for putting this together and thanks to Ruth for starting it.



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