Pasta, Gnocchi and Noodles

For sheer all-round popularity, pasta dishes top the bill. Pasta cooks quickly and looks as good as it tastes. It is easy to digest and gives slow-release energy, so is ideal for older as well as younger guests. This chapter includes dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as well as classics such as Clams with Neapolitan Tomato Sauce, which features vermicelli. Asian noodles are well represented, too. For a special treat, try Thai Crispy Noodles with Beef, or, for a softer option, treat your tastebuds to Pumpkin Gnocchi with Chanterelle Parsley Cream.

Thai Crispy Noodles with Beef

Thai Crispy Noodles with Beef

Rice vermicelli are very fine, dry, white noodles bundled in large fragile loops and sold in packets. They are deep-fried before being added to this dish, and in the process they expand to at least four times their original size.

Clams with Neapolitan Tomato Sauce

Clams with Neapolitan Tomato Sauce

This recipe takes its name from the city of Naples, where both fresh tomato sauce and shellfish are traditionally served with vermicelli. Here the two are combined to make a very tasty dish that is perfect for a cold winterís evening.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Chanterelle Parsley Cream

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Chanterelle Parsley Cream

Italians love pumpkin and often incorporate it into their dumplings and other traditional pasta dishes as it adds a slight sweet richness. These gnocchi are superb on their own, but they are also great served with meat or game.

Lobster Ravioli

Lobster Ravioli

It is essential to use home-made pasta to obtain the delicacy and thinness that this superb filling deserves. Before you start the recipe, make a well-flavored fish stock, using the lobster shell and head.

Black Fettuccine with Seafood

Black Fettuccine with Seafood

The dramatic black pasta makes a wonderful contrasting background for the pink, white, and golden seafood. Use whatever shellfish are available; tiny cuttlefish, small squid, clams or razorshell clams are delicious in this dish.

Linguine Alle Vongole

Linguine Alle Vongole

Use the smallest clams you can find for this recipe. You will have great fun sucking them out of their shells. If you canít find linguine, use thin spaghetti.