Clapping On The Down Beat

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Mambo Italiano September 4, 2012

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 8:36 PM

 Rosemary Clooney singing Mambo Italiano

The lyrics don’t make any sense to me, but I like the song, especially when I am cooking.

Mambo Italiano restaurants are authentic modern italian restaurants specializing in espresso style cooking (we cook it just right, fresh to order).

I noticed lots of cooking magazines are featuring and highlighting Italian cuisine.  So feeling especially inspired, I made homemade pasta.  It’s relatively easy and quick.  This time however, I tried using a roasted beet instead of one of the eggs.

Egg Pasta:

4 whole eggs

2 1/2 c. flour

Make a well with the flour and drop the eggs in the center.  Scramble the eggs with a fork and gradually draw in flour to make a dough.  OR put it all in a cuisinart and process till it comes together in ball.  Then press out or shape.

First I roasted some beets in a drizzle of olive oil at 425 for 90 minutes till soft.

Then I peeled one of the beets when it was cooled and put it in the food processor and pureed it.  I then added 2 whole eggs and one egg white and mixed it in with the beet.  Then I added 2 1/2 c. flour in the processor and pulsed till it came together.  I have a pasta machine, so Josh and I cranked out sheets of pasta.  He was really good at it.

Look  how pretty our pasta dough is!

We made fettuccine, mainly because I like how Josh says it.  He sounds like a little old Italian man.  I like how he says Francisco Bernoulli from Cars 2 as well!

Fresh pasta cooks in boiling water for about 2 minutes.  However a lot of our purple color came out in the water and our pasta was pink in the end.  It looks like sliced ham.  It did not have a beet flavor at all either.  The beet served mostly for color.  I added brown butter and parmesan.  YUM YUM.  We had sliced sautéed zucchini too.

The best part is Josh loves to clean and use a vacuum.

I am training this one well.  Cooking and cleaning.


  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Freshly grated Romano cheese
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1. Put a large saucepot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown pancetta 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and stir up all the pan drippings.

3. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

4. Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up egg mixture and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and extra grated Romano.

Pasta Puttanesca

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tin flat anchovy fillets, drained
  • 1 /2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 20 oil-cured black olives, cracked away from pit and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 (32-ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 cup  flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked to al dente

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, anchovies, and crushed pepper. Saute mixture until anchovies melt into oil and completely dissolve and garlic is tender, about 3 minutes.  Add olives, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

Toss sauce with cooked pasta.   Serve with grated cheese and bread.

Get your olives from the bulk bins in the market, rather than buying a jar. The unit price is always much less per pound and you can get just what you need for each recipe.

Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto Pasta

  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves or 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons toasted pistachios
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or made into a paste
  • Juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 cup fresh shelled peas or defrosted frozen organic peas
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Trim the tough ends from the asparagus. Store half of the spears upright in a glass filled halfway with water to keep it fresh for a few days or until ready to serve. Chop the remaining asparagus and place it in a food processor. Add the mint, parsley, tarragon, cheese, pistachios, garlic and lime juice. Add the olive oil, pouring to a count of 6 (1/3 to 1/2 cup). Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the pesto comes together. Place in a small container and store in the refrigerator if not using immediately.To serve, bring the pesto to room temperature and place it in a large, shallow serving bowl. Slice the reserved asparagus spears on an angle into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and season with salt. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes, then add the peas and chopped asparagus and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the cooking water and add it to the serving bowl to thin the pesto. Drain the pasta, peas and asparagus and add to the bowl. Toss 1 to 2 minutes to combine. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the shaved cheese


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