Pici all'Aglione, Quick Pasta and Chickpeas, and Ziti with Sausage, Onions, and Fennel
For our second pasta night (Only two so far? I’m shocked.), we’re steering closer to Italy than before. We have recipes for homemade noodles, called pici, that are as satisfying to make as they are to eat. Or make a super quick pasta with chickpeas based off of Rome’s most iconic dishes, pasta e cici. Rounding it out, we have Lidia Basitanich’s recipe for Ziti with Sausage, Onions, and Fennel. Hers is a one skillet meal that tastes like it simmered all day, without the actual hours at the stove. Break out of your marinara sauce routine with any of these Italian pasta dinners.
Reading Jul’s Kitchen can feel like a little escape. Her writing is so evocative of her life and cooking in Tuscany. When we cook from her recipes, we feel like we might just be joining her- even if it’s all in our head. Making these spaghetti-like fresh pasta wasn’t too challenging. Rolling the dough was easy enough for even little hands. Dress it in some fresh tomato sauce and you’ve got dinner in Tuscany. Or, at least in your dreams.
- Kate halved this recipe and it worked well.
- Servings for this is on the smaller side. If you’re cooking for your family, consider adding a chicken breast or even some meatballs on the side.
- Give the dough time to rest after kneading is necessary. Otherwise rolling out will be very tricky. The gluten will bounce right back.
Pasta and chickpeas are such a delightful comfort food combination. Soft, savory, and a little protein to see you through the rest of the day. To make this version simply dig in your pantry for some small pasta, a tube of tomato paste, a can of chickpeas, and a clove of garlic. All set and only 20 minutes away from a soothing end to a long day. Or a quick lunch. Or late night bite. (You get the idea.)
- Kate special ordered annelini, the little ring pasta. Betsy used orzo. Both were perfect.
- Add a little water towards the end if it gets too thick before the pasta is done.
- With or without the drizzle, this was amazing. But the extra kick of the flavored olive oil is pretty darn good.
- Betsy doubled this recipe for her family. A written it truly is two servings.
Lidia Bastianich is one of the queens of Italian and Italian American cooking for a reason. Not just her restaurants or television shows, but for her never-fail, fabulous recipes for the home cook. We liked this recipe because it worked in a home kitchen, just using one pan. But it also used restaurant techniques like browning each ingredient before simmering in the sauce. You end up with a pasta dish worth sharing at your next dinner party. (Imagine coming out with a platter of this?)
- Kate halved this recipe and ended up with four good sized portions. This is definitely a dinner party sized recipe as written.
- Look around for fennel before you drop it from the recipe. The vegetable adds a sweet, licorice note that complements the sausage.
- Serve this with plenty of fresh grated parmesan, a big salad, and some garlic bread and you have a party to remember.
From the Smorgasbord:
New to us- Crema di Limoncello. Take limoncello, a lemon liqueur, and give it a touch of cream. Think creamsicle, and you have this drink. We’re going to make a batch in time for the holidays.
All this pasta reminded us of the Italian desserts we’ve made over the episodes.
A cake with a citrus glaze that is ideal for both dessert and the next day with a cup of coffee.
Creamy, semi frozen dessert with chips of chocolate throughout. Mixes up quickly and can be in the freezer, waiting for an after dinner treat.
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Complete Transcripts: Italian Pasta Night
Kate Schulz 0:04
Hi and welcome to Episode 87 of the dinner sisters podcast. Two sisters taking on the challenge of dinner. I'm Kate Schulz. living and working in Rhode Island. I'm a passionate cook and recipe collector always thinking about my next meal, which in this case might actually mean more pasta. I can't believe I'm saying it..
Betsy Wallace 0:26
And I'm Betsy Wallace. I live work and raise a family in Atlanta, Georgia. I love dinnertime but can always use help planning and cooking for my family of five. I've got three kids, they're five, seven and ten.
Kate Schulz 0:44
Our goal of this podcast we want to cook a little better. learn a little bit about food, and most importantly figure out what the heck to have for dinner. And here's how this works. Like every week we have three recipes that we cooked and reviewed from popular food blogs, internet places Anywhere else I can find your recipe. We will have all these recipes tips, the smorgasbord and a shopping list on our website at dinner sisters calm. You can also get them sent directly to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter. If you'd like to preview the recipes before listening,
Ok week's recipes were Pici from Juls kitchen, quick pasta and chickpeas by smitten kitchen and Ziti with sausage, onions and fennel by Lidia Bastianich.
Kate Schulz 1:29
I think anyone might find it hard to turn down a plate of pasta, right? And you know, I actually I think you and I talked about this. I thought this was our first pasta episode, but it turns out it's actually our second Betsy.
Yes, right. We go way back for the first one.
Kate Schulz 1:46
mm way back Episode 14, which is like craziness. Think about that. Our first episode we had a roasted cauliflower pasta, a BLT pasta salad, and chicken with angel hair pasta bake. Remember that? Yeah, yeah, that's delicious so I need to make that again. It was a big hit in our house and if you're interested you can go check out that recipes.
I was thinking that we should have reminded people to make that BLT pasta.
Kate Schulz 2:29
Ok First up is pici from Juls kitchen. And this is a make your own pasta dish in your hand roll the noodles. It's like a fat kind of spaghetti like so it's a little fatter than spaghetti that you hand roll. And to make the dough it's real simple. You just mix up flour, water and olive oil on the counter until you get a nice workable dough. And you just knead that until it's very Smooth, which takes about 10 minutes or so, because you're developing gluten so the pastas is nice and chewy. You then let it sit for at least a couple hours to kind of relax so you can roll it out. You can do that overnight or during the day, you roll it out into a thick sheet and slice it into strips. Then you roll the pasta between your hands until you get noodles that are a little thicker, like I said, then about a spaghetti all those noodles get piled in a flour dish and when you're ready to cook, boil some salted water. They cook really quickly, like fresh pasta does right a couple of minutes. They float to the top and you're done. Meanwhile you make a super simple sauce. And all that is is a little bit of olive oil heated in a saute pan and you drop in a couple smashed garlic cloves, so you're not chopping the garlic you just smashing it to kind of like release all that flavor out of the clove. You let the garlic just brown and flavor the oil and then you pour in some tomato puree or tomato sauce essentially and let it simmer for a few minutes when the pasta in the sauce. When both are done cooking, toss the pici in the sauce and serve it. Betsy, you and I talked about this a little bit and I'm dying to know how this turned out for you.
We actually made these tonight! Luckily, it was raining and all of our activities got canceled so it was just a nice night to do it anyways. What I liked about it, I guess, is that it seemed like a relatively approachable project cooking. You use kind of frugal ingredients so it's not a big risk to try it because you're just working with the water and the flour and the olive oil.
I had a little bit of trouble my water was kind of like breaking out of my flour bowl. You make a little bowl with your flour and then you pour the middle and my flour would just make a river and run all over the counter.
Kate Schulz 5:00
You know what I did? I cheated. I made this in a bowl, my counters aren't great. They're little warped and so like scraping dough off is kind of a pain in the butt. I just took the biggest glass bowl that I have, pile it all in there and then just worked it until it was kind of like kneadable and then I put it on my countertop. That seems not authentic, but much more reasonable.
Betsy Wallace 5:28
Yeah, I did have this like runaway water situation. I watched several videos before I did this, and it all looks very easy. And then I was like, Whoa, what's going on with my water?But it was fine. In the end. Everything worked. I will say It says to put a piece of cling wrap over the top and I've been trying to not use that in my kitchen. So I just did the olive oil and let it sit and it was just a couple hours, I didn't do it overnight, so that was fine.
Kate Schulz 6:13
Yeah, I didn't use cling, cling wrap either. I have these Pyrex bowls that I absolutely love because they have the plastic tops on them. So I just like put it back in the bowl oiled and put the top on just it wouldn't evaporate too much. And it was fine. I think you've you've got to let it rest. If you don't, you'll never be able to roll it out.There's a real big difference in the in the just the feel of the dough and it just rolls out so easily. So did your kids actually roll out the dough? They just kind of get in there.
Yeah, they did. I did what you said and used a pizza cutter to kind of make the initial cuts which was easy. Our noodles were extremely inconsistent. But it's fun, very fun. And I mean, you really can't mess this up and they're like, we know how to do this because we've done it with play dough.
Kate Schulz 7:10
That's true. It does have a very much like, this is very handmade quality to it. You're not like rolling out pasta sheets. You're not. You know, Krumping little tortellini, you're just rolling out. Like you were just making worms.
Yeah, that's it. I mean, there's tons of videos on this. So we watched a couple before we tried it and then we just went for it. And I boiled them up, and I thought when I tossed all them in there, we made sure they were coated with flour. But I was like, Oh, no, these are all just going to be one big goop. And they did not do that.
Kate Schulz 7:55
Yeah. I love to the texture of these. I thought they were delicious and chewy. I loved it with that sauce which was nice and kind of like fresh and delicious tasting. I made I actually made a half batch of this because there's only so much fresh pasta like you can eat at one time, and we had other pasta dishes to make this week. A half batch was two very generous portions like that's all we eat for dinner. And James loved it. You know, I would make this again. I think this like you said a nice rainy day project or you just kind of want to have a little bit of comfort food. This is this is a five out of five for me. I really liked making this I thought the taste was delicious.
Yeah, I thought so too. I'm also giving this a five out of five because I think we could do this again. And it just felt really fun. I mean really fun.
Kate Schulz 8:52
Low stakes high reward.
Which was great. Also, I will just say this is kind of what we had for dinner, but my kids were I like, I'm gonna eat a banana too.
Kate Schulz 9:04
Yeah, it is. It's definitely something that like I said to really generous portions of like non growing children. So you may want to do like a chicken on the side or you know a little cheese and, and bread maybe.
Yeah, it's quite nice. All right, next up, we have quick pasta and chickpeas by smitten kitchen.
Kate Schulz 9:26
So this recipe is almost a polar opposite of the pici To be honest, right? It is super simple, super quick weeknight weeknight meal, made of almost entirely pantry ingredients. And I have to admit, like full disclosure, I initially looked at the recipe because it reminded me of spaghettios and I was like, Oh,.
Kate Schulz 9:46
And so, in any case, this is it uses a small pasta, which you sometimes see in soups, you know, like a minestrone soup. So like a pasta for minestrone cooked in tomato sauce and then with garlic and chickpeas is all the dish is. To make it you warm up some olive oil in a skillet. Then add a couple smashed garlic cloves just like we did for the sauce in the last recipe just to flavor the oil. Then you add in a good dollop of tomato paste and cook it until the kind of the raw taste is gone. You've caramelized that tomato a bit. Then add a can of rinsed chickpeas, a half cup of that small pasta and water and you just simmer it for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. I had to add a little extra water as it was cooking just to kind of keep things loose, but you know, no big deal. And while that's going you also make a drizzling oil by heating a couple tablespoons of olive oil with garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper. You just kind of ladle it into bowls and pour the finishing drizzle on top. I mean this I took one bite of this like beanie starchy pasta after a long week and it was comfort food. So how did you like it, Betsy?
I'll say first that I doubled it, which I was happy about. I looked at it and thought half a cup of pasta. It was me in the kitchen. There's just four of us, but I thought half a cup of pasta and one can of beans is not going to cut it for us.
Kate Schulz 11:21
yeah, it's not gonna work.
Unknown Speaker 11:22
Yeah, so I did double it right off the bat. But we have been out all afternoon and then we're going to be home quick for dinner. And then we were going to go to a haunted trail that night, the day that I made on Saturday. And so I had thought well, this seems easy. I could make it and in the hour in between, and it was just like, perfect for that because it was not fussy. It was super easy. It was just delicious. Grant said this is very slurp-able is how he described it and it feels like hearty and comforting because it's got the Beans and the pasta -hit the spot. It was good.
Kate Schulz 12:04
Yeah, I cannot tell you I as soon as I made this and took my first taste I was like, Oh, well this is delicious. I'm so happy I made this. I mean in my house, I always have all these ingredients. I always have a can of chickpeas. I've always got some sort of pasta, tomato paste to keep in the fridge. So also like sometimes you can't even handle chopping something. You know what I mean? You're like I can't even chop an onion. And this is literally like take something smash the garlic clove know throw it in there. I thought I agreed like the chickpeas got nice and soft and with that kind of simmer and the pasta was super good. Did you do the drizzle?
So I didn't do the drizzle
Kate Schulz 12:55
I mean that took it next level Betsy. If you get it next time you Make it you got a little extra time and I think you're right. This was fine. I had it for I had a couple bites before I did the drizzle it was delicious after the drizzle super good. And kind of added a little something but I don't think it's not strictly necessary. For rating How would you rate it?
I'm, I'm giving this like a high four to five, maybe five out of five. I think this is something I'm going to make a lot everyone loved and I think that's really some healthy beans. We're always talking about getting more beans in our diet.
Kate Schulz 13:40
This is a good one. This is a five out of five for me. I mean, I feel like I don't want to just like throw out fives willy nilly. But hey, it was super quick. Super delicious. was not junk food. You know, it wasn't just like a bowl of cereal. And in case you're wondering why smitten kitchen is a little like Italian oriented, she actually adapted this from, you know, a meal that she had when I think she was in Italy or something. So that's where that comes from. She had a little head note about that, which was nice.
Okay, so the last recipe today is ziti with sausage, onions and fennel, by Lidia Bastianich.
Kate Schulz 14:25
Yeah. So Lidia Bastianich is one of the original amazing Italian chefs that kind of helped popularize the Italian food in the US. And she said several successful restaurants, but I think that you and I know her from her PBS show, right? I really like her. She's like this warm and expert cook who knows a lot about Italian foods and a lot about the home cook. And I have, I think, at least one of her cookbooks about like Italian American food, which I just love. And I would recommend any of our cookbooks to anyone who's like looking for really solid recipes, delicious Italian food. And upping your game. You know she's got some really good recipes in there. But this isn't from her cookbook, this is from her website. And it is for a sauce, which I had to look up it's typically like a long simmered sauce, but this one doesn't take that long, which is kind of nice. The fennel, onion and sausage kind of get brown in stages. So to make it you brown a pound of loose Italian sausage like the meat not like in casings right, then you push that to the side to make room for some sliced onions. You brown those for a bit and then you push the onions to the side with a sausage and you add some thinly slice fennel with that brown and caramelized and then you mix it up and make a hole in the center of your saute pan like push everything to the side there and you add a third of a cup of tomato paste and you let that caramelized. Then he added a bit of crushed red pepper and let that kind of bloom in the oil. While this is all going on, you should have been boiling a pound of ziti and cooking that off and when the pasta was done You need to save some of the pasta liquid. Because what happens is once we've done that tomato paste, crushed red pepper thing, you're going to take the pasta liquid and pour it into the sauce and mix it up and you get this like delicious tomato red sauce that you let simmer for about five minutes or so to let things meld and you toss it with your ziti and let that cook a little bit you know get the pasta to be nice, nice texture and serve. You know so tell me how did this go for you Betsy?
Yeah, so I liked the I actually made this with Meta who's my middle daughter. She was just happened to be in the kitchen order to help and it was kind of a fun recipe because you brown the meat and then you push it to the side. And then you do a little bit on this and then you push the mix it up and push that to the side and then you do your fennel and everything was like pushing.
Kate Schulz 17:02
Yeah, it's very active and kind of fun that way. And it was a way that the sauce came together that I had not done before.
My was full by the time we got to the end of that.
Kate Schulz 17:19
Yeah, I made a half recipe again. And I'm glad I did.
Unknown Speaker 17:21
Yeah, it just makes it made a lot of pasta.. This would be great Kate for having neighbors over.
Kate Schulz 17:27
Oh, yeah. I totally agree. I went to Trader Joe's and I bought like a two pack of them for like a smaller fennel. She says like use a full pound fennel ball. But I was like, that's a huge fennel. My god. I'm goodness. But yeah, I definitely agree. I poured it out of the platter to take pictures for the podcast. I was like, Oh, well, this would be interesting. This like sausage a feast right? with a bunch of Parmesan cheese on the side and some garlic bread. It was like picturing this dinner party in my head. But if you have it, it's actually not a bad meal for leftovers. This was really good. I thought it was delicious. I liked the technique. And overall I would give this like a four to five I thought it was really delicious. Like a high four to five.
I'm alsohigh four to five will probably make it more when you know fennel is at the market, which it kind of is right now. And I just had it was good. It was kind of a fun way to make it and it was really really comfort food. Yeah, delicious. Cozy all melded together, you know?
Kate Schulz 18:54
All right. Well wrapping it up, Betsy. What is your winner for the week?
I'm gonna say it's the chickpeas Kate because that was just I had never made that before was good. That was really good.
Kate Schulz 19:11
I loved all of these almost equally but I think the chickpeas like edged out just for simplicity sake like the rest of you that will probably make the most.
Yeah, I feel the same way because they were all so good
Kate Schulz 19:26
this week and I love them for them reasons. Me too. Well if any of these recipes sound good to you, make sure to check out our show notes and grocery list at dinner sisters.com there, you'll find links to all the recipes, any tips or techniques we discussed. And all the other things that we talked about on our show. If you'd like to chat more with us, yeah, asked to join our dinner sisters Facebook group. We love chatting with you all and it's always so interesting. We had someone make the khari Kima. Remember that with venison, which I thought was like fantastic. It looks so good. So we're Sharing recipes. Yeah, we're talking. And you can find us on Facebook at dinner sisters podcast.
All right. Okay, before we head to the smorgasbord up break.
Okay, Kate. So this week's smorgasbord is all about Italian treats.
Kate Schulz 20:19
Yeah, I know you and I always want a little something sweet after every meal. And I can take this to the extreme like I can even be like, so we had some breakfast. Is there a little breakfast dessert like a little pastry with my second cup of coffee. There are a few Italian desserts that I think would be absolutely phenomenal at the end of these meals and I think they deserve revisiting. Plus you sent me a delicious idea that I'm super excited to try.
Yeah, Kate. So I came across this on Instagram this week, and it's called crema de limoncello. So what you do is you start with a graded lemon peel, and that is kind of like soaked in everclear or vodka for about a week. And then you strain it out, mix it with some half and half. And I think some of the recipes call for a little bit of sugar and vanilla. They're all a little bit different. I looked at a couple of them because I thought Ooh, while not that, right, we make this so you just kind of it's that like, extracted delicious, lemony liqueur with a little bit of half and half and vanilla sugar and then you keep it in the freezer.
Kate Schulz 21:39
Well, it is something that in Italian restaurants in Rhode Island, they will often some of them will give you a little a little teeny glass of limoncello at the end of the meal like complimentary kind of thing. Or if you like know the manager, like bring over the limoncello it's like a thing, right? So when you said the crema in the limoncello, I was like Whoo. Because I like the creaminess kind of that like creamsicle lemon kind of thing.
And as we talked about on the podcast like Kate, we love dairy.
All right, what did you want to talk about?
Kate Schulz 22:22
So I thought we'd talk about some Italian desserts that we've made in the past for other episodes. The first one I thought it was Episode 50. We made this Italian Ciambelloni. And so it's a yogurt cake with citrus zest, and you bake it in a tube pan. And when it's all done, you glaze it with a super lemony syrup glaze. It is so moist, so good. And it keeps forever with that glaze. Yeah, this is the kind of cake you make for a party and then the treat for having a party and all these people over and doing all that work. The next day is a slice of it for breakfast.
Uh huh. You know, then like a second slice when you're having your second cup of coffee.
Kate Schulz 23:04
Exactly. Just like a smaller slice because like a not a full one, just like a smaller size. Yeah, this is this was really good with coffee. I was like, Oh, I should make that recipe again. So good. But that was from Episode 50, which was an Italian winter dinner party, huh?
Yeah, we also made Marcella Hazen Semifreddo in Episode 30. And this is a creamy, semi frozen dairy desert with like ribbons of chocolate. And I remember making this cake we had to grate all that chocolate. Remember that? Yes.
Kate Schulz 23:43
Yeah. There's a lot of chocolate grading. We did complain a little bit about that. There was a bit there was a little bit but it's so good. It
has the grading. Then it's like amazing. And also this is another thing freeze it up in a loaf pan and then it stays in your freezer and then you slicing for you know for guests and it's pretty rich like I felt like I had for a while and it was just delicious.
Kate Schulz 24:15
And service was really really good and I think what was so delicious for me is is an ice cream adjacent dessert without breaking out your ice cream maker. Yeah, exactly. You know, I mean, and you kind of mold it and it's nice and pretty and you can put it on a pretty plate and then slice it and like have it with your coffee and things and it's so good. I think you know, again with the coffee and little coffee it all comes back to a little a little snack with the coffee for me. Oh my goodness. I thought this would be really delicious with the pici you know, yeah, have that kind of meal and then you have that rich dessert. pici isn't too heavy. Anyway. Yeah, if you guys are interested in those desserts and you want to check out the links and get the recipes they'll be in our show. notes, we can make sure you get to them.
Coming up next week. Our friend Tara is back and we are doing a cookbook review.
Kate Schulz 25:15
Yay. I always love having Tara on the podcast. She's so much fun and we are reviewing the cookbook. Indian ish by Priya Krishna. And we've had a lot of fun cooking from it and I can't wait to talk to you guys about it.
Unknown Speaker 25:27
Yeah, that'll be a nice one. Alright, so that's what's for dinner this week. See you next time on the dinner sisters. We'll see have a spot at the table for you.
Kate Schulz 25:35
Would you like a little dinner in your inbox every week? subscribe to our newsletter by going to our website at dinner sisters calm for show notes and other fun stuff. If you have some dinner ideas, you can always shoot us an email at dinner sisters podcast at gmail. com. Lastly, we always say it but we really mean it. If you like what you're hearing, please review and subscribe. That's how people get to know us. Plus, we read the reviews like total creepers and Any other screenshots of that. So, that's Yeah. With our coffee and a little snack thanks and happy eating
Transcribed by https://otter.ai