Cooking in the Time of Corona: Easy Recipes for Handmade Pasta and Dried Pasta
Carrying on as we cook our way through the corona crisis, here are recipes for my favourite handmade fresh pasta and dried pasta dishes from the last 13 years on Eat Like a Girl.
Don’t forget to check out and cook from the first post in this series: 9 Recipes for Homemade Bread, Flatbreads and Pizza, which has recipes for my favourite bread, including Irish soda bread and the blaa, and my favourite speedy bread which requires just 20 minutes of your time, a frying pan and no yeast, the Irish soda farl. If they don’t grab your attention, breakfast bacon and egg pizza or smoky aubergine, red pepper and chicken skin flatbread will.
Fresh pasta and dried pasta are equally good, they are just different. Not all dried pasta are the same though in terms of flavour and nutrition so seek out bronze died extruded pasta if you can (it will say on the pack) which are generally slow dried and more nutritious as a result. Bronze died pasta also has a rough surface which grips the sauce, and are in general nicer to eat. But, you know, use what you have and what you can get.
I have included some of my favourites here, and there are many more on the site. Please forgive the terrible photography in the earlier recipes and don’t judge the recipes by them! Let’s get cooking.
Looking for produce and ingredients? Please take a look at my comprehensive and regularly updated list of UK (and some Irish) producers, farmers, bakers, and online retailers who are delivering through the crisis.
Handmade pasta is a treat and a joy. It is easy, although it takes a little time and a little effort by hand, it is not complicated. All you need is a rolling pin and a surface to roll it on. Ideally use pasta flour, but use plain flour or bread flour if that is all you can get or have. It will still be delicious.
I have travelled to Italy many times, and have had the great joy of cooking with locals and learning from them. Many of these recipes come from those trips or are inspired by them. Don’t be afraid of making homemade pasta, I promise you will love it!
FRESH PASTA RECIPES
Eggs, flour, salt and a rolling pin and you are good to go for fresh egg pasta! Pasta flour is ideal but if you can’t source it, use whatever flour you have (although avoid self-raising). Comprehensive and easy to follow instructions here as taught to me in pasta school in Italy.
Tagliatelle with ragu recipes vary from town to town and home to home in Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy. I had the great joy of spending a day with Anna and she very kindly shared her recipe. It has sausages in! And it is gorgeous. Homemade pasta too, but you can use dried if that is your preferred. For further ragu inspiration see my recipes for tomato and chorizo ragu, squid ragu, beef and black garlic ragu, ‘nduja ragu, beef shin and mushroom ragu, pork, beef and black pudding ragu and my duck ragu. Yes, I do love ragu, and it is such a perfect comfort food for right now and anyway.
I love pasta, sausages and I love meatballs so this is a dream dish for me. Carrot strips give lovely flavour and texture and this comes together quickly.
You may not recognise this pasta shape but it is one of the easies to make and it has a wonderful firm texture. It just requires durum semolina flour and water and salt. You can use semolina flour also which is easy to source.
The same gorgeous shape, but with saffron. This may seem luxurious in a time of crisis but I always have some in my cupboard and rarely use it. I suspect you might too. You can, of course, omit it.
These gorgeous noodles are made using leftover breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. If you don’t have a ricer with large holes use a colander.
DRIED PASTA RECIPES
Simple, classic, quick and gorgeous. A perfect lunch or speedy supper.
Carbonara, many ways
Courgette Carbonara is a veggie alternative to the classic carbonara. Inexpensive, easy and fast. Chorizo & Kale Carbonara is robust and flavour packed, I love it and make it often. Broad Bean and Prosciutto Carbonara would work well with frozen peas also. Classic carbonara is the one though. It is in my book and I will share it with you here soon (I can’t believe it isn’t here already, I make it all the time!).
Black Pudding Pastas – YES
You know this is the space of an enthusiast, right? And I am very enthusiastic about black pudding. It is a terrific ingredient. It has a wonderful deep rich flavour and makes a very quick pasta ragu which actually lies to your face and tells you that it took a longer time. It is one of my post popular recipes still and if you haven’t made it yet you MUST make Spaghetti Corkese (Spaghetti with Black Pudding & Tomato Sauce)
Following on from that, when you have more time and pork and beef, my Tagliatelle with Pork, Beef and Black Pudding Ragu is based on a proper Emilia Romagna ragu and it is also gorgeous. Butter your noodles, just do. I served this at my Black Pudding Pop Up this time last year and every single plate came back clean, and it was the fourth black pudding dish.
Got a tin of duck confit lying around? Convert it into ragu. I do and I am horrified to discover it is out of date. Fresh duck will of course do.
Yes to everything here. ‘Nduja is a brilliant flavour bomb and makes an instant sauce. I bought some from Cobble Lane Cured on my list of people delivering through the crisis (linked below), but also you can buy it in jars online and it will last a long time. Worried that your out of date eggs may be off? Stick them in a pot of water, if they float they are and if they don’t they are good to go. This dish is fabulous and fast.
Introduce your leftover pasta to eggs the next morning. Make omelettes, frittatas, scrambled eggs. So delicious.