Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pasta alla Ghetto Fabuloso

When I saw this week's Food Network's Sensational Sides Calendar was "things in the panty," I got excited. I love the challenge creating of what I affectionately refer as ghetto or welfare meals, especially something relatively healthy. I thought about it for a couple of days. Hm, I always have my special Italian gluten-free pastas that I mail-order, some type of canned fish, shallots (I prefer their subtle sweetness over onions), and frozen peas are guaranteed to be found in my freezer. Just by chance I had some hothouse tomatoes and parsley, too. Yes, I can make some fabulous pasta using these ingredients. When I visited Venice, Italy I learned that "Ghetto" was coined there for the Jewish neighborhood I was renting an apartment (right on the canal about the fish market, which got loud and stinky in the morning.) What an amazing experience. So, yeah this creation is inspired by this trip to Venice, hence, "Pasta alla Ghetto Fabuloso." If you don't have these exact ingredients, improvise. Make it your own and own it.

  • 1 package of pasta of your choice (I used Le Venezian Corn Pasta Eliche)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot (or 1 small onion), finely chopped
  • 1 cup of frozen peas (or an frozen veggie, corn would work well, too)
  • 1 can (14.75oz) salmon (I used it w/ bones and all for extra texture and calcium. Any canned fish will work)
  • 3 small/medium hot house tomatoes or ~12 cherry tomatoes
  • salt, pepper, oregano (optional) to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian Parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional, it's lactose-free!)
Preheat (toaster) oven to broil. Cut up the tomatoes: in 8 sections for large tomatoes, length-wise; or in half length-wise for cherry tomatoes. Place cut side up onto an aluminum-lined small sheet, sprinkle with salt and broil until browned, about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them or they'll burn.

In a large saute/fry pan, heat up olive oil over low/medium heat. Add in the finely chopped shallots or onions. Stir frequently until transparent and start to brown a little bit. At this point, add in the frozen peas with stirring. Allow to thaw out. Then add in the salmon (or fish of your choice), broken up in chunks, liquid and all. Make sure to taste it for seasoning. It may not need salt if using say anchovies. Add in salt, pepper, oregano, even chili flakes to however you are liking the tasting. Add in most of the parsley and reserve a little for garnish.

Meanwhile, boil well-salted water in a large sauce pan over high heat. Once boiling, all in the pasta cook per the instructions on package. Cook until al dente, firm to the tooth. Yes, you must try it. Immediately drain.

Toss all three together: the pasta, everything in the saute pan, and the tomatoes. Serve in a nice pasta bowl. Garnish as you would like with parsley, chives, pecorino, use your imagination. Makes 4-6 servings. Buon appetito!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Sensational Sides Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The spring food we're focusing on here is  "things in the panty." On twitter, we're tagging #SensationalSides. Here are other delicious recipes to help realize we all have items in our pantry to create something delicious:

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