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Phone: 215.468.0518
Fax: 215.468.0818
E-mail: info@philadelphiacatering.com
 
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 | Current Recipe
 
 
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CHEF'S CORNER

 
"While the Pasta Boils"
Part 2 of Series
By: Julie Long and Angelo DeCecco

 

 
 

This is Part 2 of a collection of recipes of pasta sauces that you can make while the water boils and the pasta cooks. All in all, each recipe takes about 30 minutes from prep to putting it on the table. They mainly use ingredients that you normally have in the kitchen or are easy to find in an American grocery store. Since the sauces are all very simple, they work best if you use quality ingredients. Good olive oil and good canned tomatoes make a big difference.
 
All the recipes are sufficient for one pound of pasta, or approximately 4-5 servings. Serve with a salad or other vegetable, maybe some fresh bread, and you have a delicious meal that is easy and quick enough for the busiest days of the week. We've tested these recipes on ourselves, and over the years on the young and old members of Angelo's large Italian family and Julie's small mid-western one, so we are confident you'll find things here to please even the pickiest eaters. We do recommend topping with "real" parmesan or grana padana, unless the recipe says otherwise.
 
Feel free to experiment and let us know how it turns out so we can add your improvements to the collection!
 
Hope this collection helps to make the daily dinner decisions easier and adds some new flavors to your family's life!
 
Buon apetito!
 
Julie and Angelo
 
 


 
 

Easy Tomato Sauce
This simple recipe relies on good tomatoes. Use the best canned tomatoes you can find, like San Marzana. If you can find good, vine-ripened, fresh plum or other meaty tomatoes, they work very well, too. We don't even bother to skin the fresh tomatoes; just dice them up into small pieces. This is a great base for other sauces. Throw in Italian sausage, chunked or sliced zucchini, sliced mushrooms, chopped artichokes from a jar, olives, chunked eggplant, or other vegetables while it's cooking for a great variation. It's very tasty cooked while the pasta boils, but it also benefits from a little longer cooking time. We like to make a large batch on a quiet day, allowing the sauce to simmer slowly for 1-2 hours, and then keep it in the freezer.
 
1 large can of diced or crushed tomatoes or 1 pound of fresh meaty tomatoes (like plum), diced
 
2-3 large gloves of garlic, diced
 
Olive oil
 
10 fresh basil leaves stacked and sliced into thin ribbons
 
Works any pasta, including frozen ravioli and tortellini
 
Heat 2-3 tbs of olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the garlic and saute over medium heat. When the garlic begins to color, add the tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the pasta is done. Just before serving toss in the basil and mix. Drizzle additional olive oil for extra flavor.
 
**Add a pinch of peperoncini or other dried hot pepper for a flavor variation!**
 
 


 
 

Ligurian Pesto
This classic basil pesto is very easy to make. When gardens are loaded with basil in the summer, we make batches and freeze in dinner-sized portions in small plastic freezer bags. If Julie doesn't have enough basil, she has been known to add in fresh Italian (flat) parsley. It's also great as a topping for bruschetta and spread on grilled chicken or shrimp.
 
Large bunch of basil leaves, cleaned and dried
 
2-3 large gloves of garlic, cut into chunks
 
4-5 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
 
4 oz pine nuts (if you can't find pine nuts, almonds work in a pinch)
 
Salt to taste
 
Olive oil
 
Works with any pasta, including frozen ravioli and tortellini
 
Put the basil in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the garlic, cheese, pine nuts, and salt, and pulse until well mixed, forming a dry-ish paste. While running the food processor on medium speed, add the olive oil in a drizzle until the sauce forms a thin sauce. Reserve a few tablespoons of the water the pasta is cooked in. Toss the sauce with cooked pasta, adding the reserved water if needed to evenly coat the pasta. This technique also allows you to add less olive oil as it helps the sauce to spread better. You can make this sauce earlier in the day, and store it in the refrigerator in a ceramic or glass container, covered with a thin coating of oil so the basil retains its green flavor (it will turn black if exposed to the air).
 
 


 
 

"No-cook" Tomato Sauce
This is basically brushetta topping but it works great as a pasta sauce when you have really nice ripe tomatoes. Tastes best if you make it in the morning and let the flavors combine, but it works well as a last minute dish, especially if the tomatoes are really good. You can also add small slices of red or yellow peppers, or a small zucchini, cut into small chunks, if you want a little fresh crunch.
 
1 pound ripe plum (or other meaty) tomatoes
 
1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or diced
 
10 basil leaves, stacked and sliced into ribbons, plus extra for topping
 
Olive oil sufficient to cover the tomatoes
 
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Works any pasta, including frozen ravioli and tortellini
 
Chop the tomatoes and place in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add garlic, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature. Cook the pasta until it is about 1 minute short of done. Drain the pasta, and return the pasta to the pan on low heat. Toss with the sauce, adding more olive oil if needed, and allowing the pasta to finish cooking, absorbing the sauce. Serve with extra ribbons of basil.
 
 


 
 

Ricotta Spinaci
Creamy, delicious way to work some spinach into your diet
 
2 large bags of fresh spinach or one regular bag of frozen spinach
 
1-2 cloves of garlic
 
1 small onion diced
 
Olive oil
 
4 oz or more of ricotta cheese (works with low or no-fat ricotta as well)
 
Parmesan cheese
 
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Works best with short pasta or with frozen tortellini
 
Prepare fresh or frozen spinach, cooking with olive oil, onion, and garlic. When the pasta is finished, add the cooked spinach mixture, and stir in the ricotta. Add a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.
 
 
 

Angelo a Penn State Grad, has had the great fortune of seeing the world with the US Army over the past 25 years. He currently lives in Rome, Italy where he spends the day contemplating making and eating food.
 
 
 
 

2017
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul.
 
 | Current Recipe
 
 
2016
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul.  | Aug.
 
Sept.  | Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2015
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul.  | Aug.
 
Sept.  | Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2014
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul. - Aug.
 
Sept.  | Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2013
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul. - Aug.
 
Sept.  | Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2012
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul. - Aug.
 
Sept.  | Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2011
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul. - Aug.
 
Sept.  | Oct.  | Nov.
 
 
2010
 
Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul. - Aug.  | Sept.  | Oct.
 
Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2008 - Nov.
 
 
2007 - Jan.
 
 
2006 - Oct.
 
 
2005
 
Apr.  | May  | Jul.  | Oct.  | Nov.
 
 
2004
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | Jul.  | Aug.  | Oct.  | Nov.
 
 
2003
 
Jun.  | Jul.  | Aug.  | Sep.  | Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
 
 
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