IMG_0838Simplice in Italian means simple. The beauty of most Italian-inspired pasta dishes is the immense amount of flavour they offer compared to the preparation time. These recipes are quick and easy to prepare and require few ingredients. Have an Italian inspired dinner party by placing large bowls of these pastas in the middle of the table and serve the meal family style. Remember a key rule, pasta doesn’t wait. When it’s hot, serve it immediately and forego any North American social conventions about waiting until everyone has pasta before eating. Once it’s on your plate, dig in.

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Brown Butter Scallop Linguine In a Snap

4 servings
Prep Time: Less than 30 minutes
Total Time: Less than 30 minutes

  • IMG_0853 Scallops & Tagliatelle3/4 lb linguine
  • 3 tbsp oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs Digby scallops
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • Parmesan, to serve

Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over high heat. Pat scallops dry on all sides with paper towel. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Sear 6-8 scallops at a time until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining scallops, adding oil as needed. Remove scallops from pan. Reduce heat to medium and add butter. Cook until the butter starts to turn a caramel colour. Add the shallots, and cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and capers. Toss with linguine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with arugula, Parmesan and scallops.

Pork Ragu Tagliatelle

8 servingsPrep Time: Less than 30 minutes
Total Time: More than 3 hours or overnight

  • IMG_0853 Scallops & Tagliatelle1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (about 3 lbs) boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes,
  • drained and lightly crushed
  • 1/2 cup Chianti wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 8 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 lb tagliatelle pasta
  • Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan), to serve

Directions: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the pork well all over with salt and pepper. Sear the pork until dark brown on all sides. Place in a slow cooker. Add a few splashes of wine to the pan to deglaze. Pour wine over the pork. Add the remaining ingredients, except the pasta and Pecorino. Cook on high until pork is fall-apart tender, about 3-4 hours. Remove the pork and shred with two forks. Return to sauce. Uncover and cook until sauce is slightly thickened. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Serve pasta topped with ragù and grated or shaved Pecorino.

Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Orecchiette

4 servings
Prep Time:Less than 1 hourIMG_0900 Veggie Orecchiette
Total Time:
Less than 1 hour

  • 12 mini sweet peppers*
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss vegetables with olive oil then salt and pepper. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet until eggplant is tender, tomatoes are blistered, and peppers are blackened, about 20-25 minutes. Slice the peppers, removing the seeds. Squeeze roasted garlic from skin, mashing onto baking sheet. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Toss pasta with roasted vegetables, including pan drippings. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with parsley and spoonfuls of ricotta.

* Or substitute with a red pepper, yellow pepper and green pepper that have been cored, seeded and cut into 3 pieces.

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Baked Gnocchi all’Amatriciana

4 servingsIMG_0899 Gnocchi
Prep Time: Less than 30 minutes
Total Time: Less than 30 minutes

  • 150 g guanciale (cured pork cheek)
  • or pancetta
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
  • 500 g prepared gnocchi
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large oven-safe skillet, fry guanciale or pancetta until crisp and brown. Add shallot, garlic and spices. Cook until shallots are soft and translucent. Add tomatoes and juices, and crush. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the gnocchi. Simmer another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve with additional crushed chilies.

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