Friday Night Pasta

We are not particularly religious (I am an atheist), but my family has made a regular tradition of Friday night Shabbat dinners, complete with candles, challah, probably-mispronounced Hebrew prayers, and a slightly heightened sense of formality. Though the rest of my family never grew quite as attached to it, one of the regular Shabbat courses became a personal favorite of mine, a strange orzo comfort dish that had no real name. As a child I called it “stuff”. Today I call it “Friday Night Pasta”.

Now that I’m living without a meal plan (domestic or collegiate), I thought it would be nice to revisit some of my old favorites meals. I decided to start with Friday Night Pasta as it was a fairly simple recipe. The results were somewhat mixed, I’ll admit – I had no strainer to dry the pasta, and my hotplate (I have no access to a stove) barely kept the pasta at a boil.

In case anyone is interested, I’m going to post my mother’s recipe here. The pasta is not dynamic enough to stand by itself. On Friday nights we have it alongside challah and grilled salmon, and the courses complement each other well. But it is a simple, tasty carb dish – a perfect side for those getting started cooking for themselves. In my housing I’ve been having it with toaster-oven grilled bratwursts.

Here it is:

Saute 2-3 minced garlic cloves briefly in ~1/3 cup olive oil. They should barely begin to brown. Make sure a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce is open and ready in case you have too hot a heat and the garlic is galloping toward burning too quickly. Pour it over the garlic/oil and add 1/4 c. white wine. I usually use a cooking wine which is cheap and sold in the vinegar section of the grocery store. Simmer gently for 10 min. Boil a pound of orzo in salted water until done. Drain and add to sauce.

If you have any simple recipes that you think I should try, pass them on to me. If it looks easy, I’ll give it a shot and post on the results. Thanks!


  • melpomene

    Sounds like a soap opera gone terribly wrong… “Friday Night… Pasta!”

    As for a simple recipe, here’s one of my favorites:

    Mushroom Pasta Sauce

    olive oil
    1/2 white/yellow onion
    2 cloves garlic
    as many white mushrooms as you want, sliced
    Can of whole peeled tomatoes, chopped up (size unimportant)

    Saute the onions until translucent. Add garlic, and then add the sliced mushrooms. (You could add some cooking wine after they’re sauteed if you’re feeling fancy) Saute. Once finished, add the chopped tomatoes and cook for like… 10 minutes?

    In the meantime, boil water and cook your favorite pasta.

    Add a salad and chicken breast and YUM!

  • hilaryforman

    Ahhh Stuff. Such simple nomenclature. It’s right up there with tasty rice and Brown Dolly. This recipe is the one I made for us at Grandma’s house, but I adapted the recipe to make it simpler (took out the eggplant-pie aspect, since you don’t have a spring-form pan). When I made the recipe for us, I just used ground beef, but that’s your prerogative.

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 pound penne pasta
    1 medium onion, diced
    1/2 pound ground beef
    1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
    1/4 cup Marsala wine
    1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
    1 1/2 cups diced smoked mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
    3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup
    1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

    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. Drain pasta.

    Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and pork, and brown the meat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peas and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, basil, and cooked pasta. Set aside.

    Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top.

    source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/everyday-italian/eggplant-timbale-recipe/index.html

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