Before coming across this lovely plate of Maccheroni alla Chitarra with Ragù Abruzzese and Palottine that graces the cover of Domenica Marchetti's The Glorious Pasta of Italy, I'd always thought that spaghetti and meatballs was strictly checkered tablecloth territory, an Italian-American dish with very distant (if any) ties to Italian cookery. As it turns out, this Italian cousin of our beloved spaghetti and meatballs is quite the popular dish in Abruzzo.
'The Glorious Pasta of Italy' on Serious Eats
Fresh tomato sauces are wonderful in the summer, but as tomato season heads south for the cooler months, it's always a good idea to have a roasted tomato sauce up your sleeve. A slow roast in the oven takes even the most middling tomatoes to the next level by concentrating all of their great sweet tomato-iness. This plate of Mafaldine with Roasted Tomatoes, Robiola, and Crushed Fennel Seeds from Domenica Marchetti's Bolognese from The Glorious Pasta of Italy takes that roasted tomato sauce to an even more thrilling place by pairing it with some unlikely but incredible partners: fennel seeds and robiola cheese.
Domenica Marchetti's Bolognese from The Glorious Pasta of Italy has its own curious ingredient, mortadella, which makes perfect sense since mortadella comes from Bologna. Marchetti's ragù is pretty genius, rich and meaty with melting diced carrots, onions, and celery and surprisingly little tomato paste. It makes for the perfect sauce for a Lasagna Bolognese, layered with bechamel, or atop a mound of fresh tagliatelle.
Domenica Marchetti finishes these rich little gnocchi by tossing them in an herbed butter and baking them in the oven under a shower of finely shredded Parmigiano. Similar to another autumn pasta, butternut squash ravioli, these carrot gnocchi tread the line between sweet and savory in the best possible way, sweetly carroty and buttery with a welcome hit of salt from the Parmigiano and a brightness from the chopped herbs.
The recipe is a three-parter, beginning with Ragù all'Abruzzese, a slow cooking tomato sauce that's simmered with three types of meat, beef, lamb, and pork that enrich the sauce with all sorts of lovely meaty, fatty notes. The curious thing about this particular ragù is that the meat is removed before serving so that it can be used in another dish such as filling for cannelloni or tortellini.
This BLT Bucatini from Domenica Marchetti's The Glorious Pasta of Italy is another fantastically quick pasta to add to your weeknight dinner artillery. The "B" here is really more like a "P," crisp slices pancetta, the "L" is peppery arugula, and the "T," tomatoes of course, and in this case, sweetly roasted cherry tomatoes tossed with olive oil.
Whether it's a quick dinner of spaghetti with garlic and olive oil or transcendent plate of handmade tortellini, pasta has an innate ability to satisfy and comfort in ways that no other dishes can. It's that soul satisfying nature of pasta that draws you into Domenica Marchetti's The Glorious Pasta of Italy. We'll be cooking from her book all week. Enter to win a copy here.