Sauce Carrettiera, is in short, a miracle sauce. Contrary to popular beliefs about spaghetti sauce, this sauce takes almost no time to simmer and is ready to go by the time your pasta has finished cooking. It is quick, and spicy, and satisfying- the perfect meal for college students doing some late night studying or for parents who need a quick bite before dropping the kids off at soccer practice. In fact, it is the go-to meal for university students in Italy- it’s pretty inexpensive too!
This sauce’s miraculous powers come from two key ingredients: the fresh Parmesan cheese and the red pepper flakes.
The marriage of these two ingredients is celebrated so perfectly in this dish that I cannot imagine eating Carrettiera sauce without the cheese. It would be like peanut butter with no jelly; an ice cream sundae with no whipped cream. The heat of the red pepper is both mellowed and complemented by the Parmesan; it helps bring out the ‘umami’ flavor of the cheese.
So, next time you’re in a hurry, or just don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking, try Carrettierra. The heat and immediate satisfaction will have your feeling as macho and spicy-hot as the muscular cart-pullers this sauce was named after- (Carrettiera originates from the Italian word for ‘cart-pullers’ and refers to the large, muscular, ‘macho’ men who spent all day doing this hard work and who came home to eat this spicy sauce for dinner).
Spaghetti alla Carrettiera
From: Chrissy Esposito
26-28 oz strained peeled tomatoes (like the Pomi brand) or canned, peeled tomatoes that have been blended until smooth (either with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender)
¼ cup good olive oil (it is okay to use good olive oil here because the sauce never goes beyond a mild simmer)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes- to taste (1/2 tea-1 tea)
1 pound spaghetti or thin spaghetti
4-5 oz chunk of Parmeggiano Reggiano, freshly grated
Put the water onto boil and while boiling simmer the garlic together with the red pepper flakes in a small sauce pot over medium-low to low heat.
Simmer the garlic and pepper flakes for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic (you want the garlic to cook for a few minutes, until it “releases its scent” and is no longer bitter).
Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. You don’t want to over-do the salt because the Parmesan is naturally salty, you will want a lot of Parmesan on your pasta! Let sauce continue to gently simmer until the pasta is done.
Throw the pasta in when the water boils and when the pasta is done, the sauce is done! Drain the pasta, mix together, and serve with a ton of fresh Parmesan cheese.
When most households say they have a secret ingredient, they generally mean something normal like love, mayonnaise or grandma’s special seasoning mix. But in my house, where we are not normal, I learned from a very young age that everything (every single thing) tastes better with whiskey. All of my favorite family standbys – Irish Whiskey Potato Soup, Jack Daniels Fudge Pie or Bourbon Sweet Potatoes – owed their indescribable special to what can only be considered the world’s greatest spirit. Some of these I grew up with, some of them were added over the years, but there’s a rich, nutty, I-don’t-even-know (is amber a flavor?) that has defined almost every food I’ve ever been obsessed with. And now that I’m 21, I’ll happily drink a well margarita, and only believe in cheap vodka, but even in my young age, I take my whiskey very, very seriously.
I could wax poetic for hours about cooking with whiskey – fun for all ages, and I have yet to find a food it doesn’t improve. But in my nearly 6 months of being 21 I have never yet written about a cocktail, so I’m going to celebrate my impending half birthday with a simple fall cocktail my friends and I dreamed up. I’ve actually wanted to make this for weeks but I decided to wait until it was seasonally appropriate. All it takes to make it is to heat up a cup of apple cider and add 1/8-1/4 cup of whiskey (afterwards, of course, so it doesn’t evaporate). And it tastes like a fall serenade swirled up your mind and heart and dropped them in… I don’t know, a fiery maple tree or something. Ireland wins my love all day every day so I used Bushmills but I bet this would taste amazing with Scotch too. Extra points if you mull the cider but I’m lazy so I won’t fault you if you are too.
Do you have a fall drink you make? Whether it’s spiked or child appropriate, we want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below!
Most normal people recognize that Saturday morning is the best day of the week to sleep in, but I’m a little dumb about these things. After a week of sleepless nights, I still have a tendency to get up at 6am to make it to my dance class at 10… in Connecticut. It is, in fact, insane. But my dance school is one of my favorite places in the whole world and the concrete towers and grand avenues that are my New York day-to-day are no substitute for the fiery autumn country roads that lead me home.
Usually I go home on friday nights so I can get up for dance at a normal time, but by a beautiful stroke of luck I took the train last week. And when I got off the train in South Norwalk to transfer to Bethel (which is so great, you’ve never even heard of it) I had what can only be described as “a moment.” All at once, the friendlier people, bright colors and most importantly the crispness of the air whacked me in the face and though the equinox was still a week away, my fall had arrived. Ever since then, I can’t get enough of apples, pumpkins, squash and cinnamon… but I decided I’d better hold off to share my insanity until it was really really fall, and also until I had a recipe worthy of my sentiments to share with you – something truly special. Which luckily, I found today on the first full day of fall! This recipe is inspired by Martha Stewart’s recipe, but with added sherry, more rosemary, cream, garlic and cheese. It tastes vaguely Northern Italian, but distinctly American and very very fall. And the best part is it only takes 1/2 an hour max from start to finish, even for a slow cooker like me!
How about you – do you have a savory way to welcome in the season? We’d love to hear about it!
Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
From: Gabrielle Siegel, inspired by Martha Stewart
12 oz penne pasta
2 tbsp canola oil
4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp dried rosemary
2.5-3 tbsp sherry
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2-3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp sugar
Cook pasta, according to package directions, in salted water until al-dente. Drain, and reserve 2 cups water.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan, and sauté garlic and rosemary for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and slightly toasted
Carefully add the sherry, pumpkin, half-and-half, parmesan and sugar, and stir to combine. Add reserved water in 1/2 cup increments until desired texture is reached.
Add pasta to pan, and stir to coat.
Eat, sprinkled with parmesan and a little rosemary.