Carb-Loading for a Cause: Part 2

We posted a number of pasta recipes yesterday to help you prepare for the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Marathon weekend. Since we found so many great recipes, we broke it into two parts, and this is part two! (Of course, there is no reason that you shouldn’t try them if you’re not participating in the marathon. After all, who doesn’t love pasta?)

Chef Michael White’s Spaghetti con Ceci

(“In Season” by Robin Raisfeld & Rob Patronite, New York Magazine, November 3, 2008)

15 ounces Italian chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup pancetta, diced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
14-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
10 to 15 basil leaves
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine 12 ounces of the chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped. (1) Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. (2) Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until done. (3) Drain pasta, and toss with chickpea sauce and remaining 1/3 cup whole chickpeas. Plate into 4 bowls, and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serves 4 (or 2 to 3 marathoners).

Picnic Pasta Frittata with Asparagus, Leeks and Bacon

by Erika Kerekes (Los Angeles Cooking Examiner, June 21, 2009)

½ lb spaghetti
4 slices thick bacon, diced
1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped
3 large leeks, sliced (white parts only), thoroughly washed
Salt and pepper
9 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 Tbsp olive oil

Cook the pasta in lots of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and dump into a large mixing bowl. Let cool.

Meantime, cook the bacon in a large ovenproof skillet (it’s important that it be ovenproof – no plastic handles! – because you will be putting it under the broiler to finish the frittata). When the bacon has rendered some of its fat and is starting to brown, add the leeks and asparagus, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté a few more minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the bacon is cooked. Add the vegetable mixture to the mixing bowl with the pasta. Let cool. Wash the skillet and return it to the stove.

Beat the eggs, add them to the cooled pasta-vegetable mixture, and mix thoroughly. Stir in the grated cheese and more salt and pepper to taste. (Add a little more salt than you’ll think you need.)

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, pour in the pasta-egg-vegetable mixture and spread it evenly in the hot skillet. Cook about 8 minutes, until the underside is golden brown (use a spatula to peek). Now take the skillet and put it into the oven, under the broiler, for about 5 minutes. You want the rack to be close to the top, but not on the very top level, because if the pan is that close to the broiler the top of the frittata will burn. Check the frittata after 3 minutes to make sure it’s cooking but not burning. When the top is golden and the eggs are set, remove the pan from the oven. Slide the frittata onto a large cutting board and leave it alone until it has cooled – do not try to cut it when it’s hot, or it will fall apart.

Slice the frittata into wedges for serving.

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

by Erika Kerekes (Los Angeles Cooking Examiner, July 9, 2009)

1 lb spaghetti
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, halved and interior green taken out
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 dried birds-eye chilies or 1/8 tsp crushed red chili flakes
2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
Salt to taste

Put a pot of water to boil. When it boils, add 1 Tbsp salt to the water, add the spaghetti, and stir. While the pasta is cooking, sauté garlic in olive oil on medium heat for approximately 1 minute. Add red chili and sauté for an additional 15 seconds. Add chopped parsley. Add salt to taste and take off the flame. When the paste is cooked al dente (consult the package for appropriate cooking time), drain the pasta, but leave a couple tablespoons of the pasta water in the pot – this is important for this dish. Add your sauce from the sauté pan and stir. Add additional salt if needed. Buon apetito!