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Dinner Tonight! | Quick Fix

Pasta Right Now

January 16, 2002|ELLEN SAVASTANO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

This pasta sauce has an old-fashioned long-simmered taste, but takes less than 15 minutes to cook.

Use a food processor to chop the vegetables and speed preparation time.

Serve the rigatoni with an arugula salad, which brings a bitterness to the meal but is offset by the avocados and dried cherries.

Plates, napkin and silverware from Pier 1 Imports.

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Rigatoni With Mushrooms and Pancetta

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 ounces pancetta, diced small

1 small onion, diced small

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound button mushrooms, minced

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice

1/2 pound rigatoni

Pepper

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the pancetta and fry until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towels, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, 1 minute, being careful not to burn it. Add the minced mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, 10 to 15 minutes.

When the water is boiling, cook the rigatoni until al dente, 11 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Add salt and pepper to taste to the sauce, along with the parsley and thyme. Toss the pasta with the sauce and top with the pancetta and Parmesan to taste just before serving.

2 to 3 servings. Each of 3 servings: 369 calories; 991 mg sodium; 16 mg cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 47 grams carbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 5.78 grams fiber.

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MENU

Rigatoni With Mushrooms and Pancetta

Arugula Salad With Avocado and Dried Cranberries

Crusty Bread

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STAPLES

Garlic

Olive oil

Onion

Parmesan cheese

Red wine vinegar

Rigatoni

Canned diced tomatoes

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SHOPPING LIST

Arugula

Avocado

Bread

Dried cherries

Pancetta

Button mushrooms

Parsley

Thyme

Dried cranberries

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GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Heat water, dice and cook pancetta.

25 minutes before: Cook onion.

20 minutes before: Cook garlic, add mushrooms.

15 minutes before: Add tomatoes and simmer. Clean arugula, cut herbs and grate cheese.

10 minutes before: Cook pasta.

5 minutes before: Cut avocado, prepare salad, finish pasta.

Arugula Salad With Avocado and Dried Cranberries

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 5 minutes

3 ounces arugula or baby spinach, stemmed, washed and dried

1/2 avocado, diced

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, pepper

1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Place the arugula and avocado into a bowl. Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil over the salad and toss lightly until the arugula is coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the cherries.

2 to 3 servings. Each of 3 servings: 108 calories; 120 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 4.95 grams fiber.

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