Say what you will, but I’m a fan of Giada De Laurentiis, the Italian-American chef, cookbook author and TV personality of Everyday Italian on Food Network Television.
Born in Rome and living in L.A., she’s bursting with celebrity blood – her mother was an Italian actress and her father a producer/actor. Remarkably, her maternal grandfather was film producer Dino De Laurentiis, and if you watch a Fellini classic like La Strada, you will see his name in the credits.
Her TV cooking show features a variety of foods she grew up with and I have found the most inspiration in her simple and flavorful pasta recipes.
On deck for this week:
Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese
1 pound fresh or dried tagliatelle pasta (or other wide, long pasta )
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 pound frozen peas, thawed
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 bunch fresh basil leaves chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes if dry or according to package directions if fresh. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into bite-sized bits. When the sausage has browned, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the peas to the pan and, using the back of the wooden spoon, smash the peas. Turn off the heat. Add the ricotta cheese along with the cooked pasta and toss to coat, adding the pasta cooking water in 1/4 cup additions, if needed, to make the pasta moist. Return the sausage to the pan. Add the basil, Pecorino Romano Cheese and salt. Toss gently to coat and serve immediately.
recipe and photo credit: TV Food Network, Everyday Italian