I don’t know about you but when I hear that the US Open Tennis Championships are about to begin, I immediately think of pasta. I mean, how could I not? So, when the Open starts, I naturally prepare some form of pasta to mark the occasion, just as so many of you do, I’m sure. In the past, it didn’t really matter what pasta was selected for that meal, and my choices have ranged from Bucatini to Ziti, and several pastas in-between. This all changed, however, one day when I toured the newly discovered Italian market’s pasta aisles. That’s where I discovered Racchette, a racket-shaped pasta.
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Although I’m certainly no expert, I think it safe to say that Racchette are a relatively new pasta and virtually all are manufactured by machines. I mean, I just cannot imagine Nonnas — be they from Today or the 19th Century — rolling out dough sheets and making these little rackets. I know my Nonnas certainly didn’t — but if yours did, please leave a comment and I’ll be more than happy to amend this paragraph. Moving beyond Racchette’s manufacture, I can say, in all honesty, that the first any of the Bartolini women heard of Racchette was when I mentioned the pasta to my Zia a couple of weeks ago during a conversation. It should come as no surprise to anyone, therefore, that there is no Bartolini family recipe for Racchette.
Without a family recipe to use, I did what most do in this situation: I googled it. That search returned thousands of results but most were very similar. That base recipe is one that I will make but I’ll do it in Spring, when the ingredients are fresh and readily available. Onward I went, wading through more of the search results until I came upon a recipe that was presented by the company that made the pasta. I went into kitchen, grabbed the box, and, sure enough, the recipe was on the back of the box of Racchette. (Isn’t it always the last place you look?) That recipe, Racchette California Style, is the one I’ll share today.
The recipe, as written, calls for red, white, and Marsala wines. When I prepared it, I used what I had on-hand, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, and a sweet Marsala. You may have better wine selections in mind (Jed) and, if you do, I hope you’ll use the Comments section to make your suggestions — and that includes ideas beyond wine selection. I think you’ll find this to be a simple, easy to prepare recipe. All you need to do now is to find the Racchette.
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Racchette “California Style” Recipe
- 1 lb Racchette
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- ½ cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- ½ cup red wine (I used Merlot)
- ½ cup Marsala wine (I used a sweet variety)
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook Racchette per package directions or to taste.
- Meanwhile, add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese to a food processor until blended.
- Add the wines and process until well-mixed.
- When cooked to you liking drain the pasta. Add the softened butter to the sauce, giving it a creamier texture.
- Add the sauce to the pasta, toss, garnish with additional grated cheese & cracked pepper (optional), and serve.
Inspired by the De Cecco company’s Racchette California Style recipe
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I must admit to having been surprised by this pasta. Neither Zia nor myself have ever used wine in pasta without cooking it, even if only for a few minutes. Using a total of 1½ cups of “raw” wine to dress a pound of pasta is completely new and something I never would have considered doing on my own. And the verdict? I enjoyed it. I make simple pastas with garlic, mushrooms, lemon, basil, or cheese as the predominant flavor within the “sauce”. Why not wine? Of course, if you’re not a wine lover, this dish isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you do enjoy a glass of wine every now and again, you just might want to give this dish a try.
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Just as was done in the last 2 posts, today’s look back will take advantage of the season’s harvest. Illinois is a leading producer of corn in this country and, even though the state is suffering the effects of a severe drought, there’s still plenty of corn in the farmers markets — at least in this area. This recipe for Corn Relish comes from Zia’s kitchen and is one that she prepared and canned every year. You can make it as spicy as you like and it is a terrific way to add a little Summer to your meal in the dead of Winter. Just be sure to make a double batch. It’s the only way to ensure you’ll have a few jars when Winter comes. Click HERE to see the full recipe.
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By any other name …
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Never one to show up on time, she’s finally bloomed. Meet the last of my girls and last of my roses, “Marilyn Monroe”. Officially said to be apricot-colored, some say that the blooms are flesh-toned and mirror the complexion of its namesake.
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