Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pasta Tricolore

Pasta with the marinara sauce

Pasta with pesto

Pasta with Alfredo sauce

Pasta Tricolore

Just in time for Lent, this is a delicious and meatless dish.  Catholics around the world abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays of Lent.  Some people forego meat throughout Holy Week: from Palm Sunday until Holy Saturday.  Still, others abstain from eating meat during the entire Lenten season. 

Of course, you can serve this anytime of the year.  When I serve this during those times, I usually accompany it with roasted chicken or pork, grilled beef, or sausages.

Pasta Tricolore

1 lb dry pasta
1 cup Marinara Sauce (see 2/17/14 Post)
1 cup Pesto (see 2/27/14 Post)
1 cup Alfredo Sauce
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

1.    Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Cream Sauce (Alfredo Sauce)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1.     Melt butter in a medium sauce pan.  Add the cream and grated cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.
2.     Stir sauce over medium-low heat until cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.

As you might have guessed, the green white and red represent the Italian flag which is called il Tricolore.  Some say the colors have meanings: green represents the country’s hills and plains, white for the snow capped Alps, and red for the bloodshed in the wars of independence.  The other meanings have a religious significance to them: green for hope, white for faith, and red for charity, which are the three Christian theological virtues.

I first had this dish when my husband and I were just dating many years ago.  I thought the different colors made for a lovely presentation.  Whether in a single serve pasta bowl or on a large platter, it is very appealing.  Sometimes, “pasta tricolore” refers to a kind of pasta, usually penne or rotini, which are colored green, white/uncolored, and red.
When serving on a platter, different shaped maccheroni  (the Italian word used to reference all types macaroni pasta) may be used for an interesting combination.  Even gnocchi may be used.  I’ll teach you how to make gnocchi later.  For this post I used cellentani, kind of a very loose rotini.

This dish calls for 3 kinds of sauces: Marinara, Pesto and Alfredo.  The first two I taught you the past couple of weeks.  The third one is super easy.  You basically combine everything in a saucepan, stir and let thicken.  The neat thing about this being so easy to make is that you can keep making more if your guests are still hungry and you’ve run out of the other two sauces! 

When I served this dish to my family, my daughter remarked, “Oooh, fancy!”  I encouraged everyone to get a small serving of each kind of sauce so they could compare and determine which they liked best.  So although the marinara was good, it was the one left over.  I did have to make a second mixture of pasta with the Alfredo sauce.  I’m guessing their enthusiasm was because we don’t have pesto or Alfredo that often.

So what pasta shape or shapes will you use for this dish?

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