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Pasta-making may tangle you up at first. But you'll soon get the hang of it.

You must have noticed that pasta--once a faintly comic, faintly ethnic vaudeville turn among foods--has become a class act. The noodle, at last, is nouveau.

One reason: the varied shapes that were sold only in Italian specialty markets can now be found almost everywhere. Another: readily available, reasonably priced pasta machines make it possible to produce your own fresh pasta. The first attempts may tangle you up like Laocoon and his serpents, but you'll soon get the hang of it. (The hang, or rather the drape, is one of the keys to success.)

PArt of the popularity is that pasta tastes good with such an amazing range of sauces. Familiar tomato-based ones will always be favorites, but green and white sauces have their followings, too.

David Canright's Mediterranean-style sauce is light on tomato but rich in flavor, with leftover chicken and pine nuts providing additional body. Without the lavish use of butter and cream of Tetrazzini, his preparation is kinder to dieters. Pasta with Mediterranean Chicken Sauce 1/4 cup olive oil or salad oil 1/4 cup pine nuts 1 Large onion, chopped 2 Cloves garlic, minced or pressed 1-1/2 teaspoons each dry basil and oregano leaves 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed dreied hot red chillies 2 small zucchini (about 1/2 lb. total), ends trimmed and sliced 1/8 inch thick 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced 2 medium-size tomatoes, cored and chopped 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey, torn in bite-size shreds 1 package (10 oz.) fresh or dry fettuccine Boiling water Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12- to 14-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, lift nuts from pan; set them aside.

To the pan, add the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and chillies. Stir until onion is limp, about 4 minutes. Add remaining oil, if needed, then add the zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes; stir 3 minutes. Add the chicken and stir just until hot, about 1 minute longer.

At the same time, cook the pasta in 4 to 6 quarts boiling water until tender to bite, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta or 8 to 10 minutes for dry pasta (or as package directs).

When pasta is done, drain and pour onto a rimmed platter or shallow bowl. Spoon chicken sauce over pasta and mix by lifting with two forks. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Offer remaining cheese and the salt and pepper at the table to add to individual servings. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Excessive modesty for a long time kept Oris Scarborough of King City from sending us his recipe for chili verde, but Margaret Harrell finally persuaded him to do so. Mrs. Harrell, who comes from an early California family, says that Chefs' recipes for Mexican dishes sometimes startle her. But this one, she feels, has the clear ring of authenticity.

The Harrell family finds this dish perfect for cold or hot weather, for picnics, and for freezing. Our tasters, a random assortment who seldom agree on food matters, were unanimous in their praise. Chili Verde According to Oris 4 pounds lean boneless pork butt or shoulder 2 tablespoons salad oil 1 large onion, chopped 4 or 5 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed 1 large can (7 oz.) diced green chillies 1 can (about 1 lb.) tomatoes 1 can (about 13 oz.) tomatillos Salt and pepper Cilantro (coriander) leaves Warm corn or flour tortillas

Trim off and discard excess fat from meat. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Add oil to a 5- to 6-quart pan and place over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pork cubes, a portion at a time, to make a single uncrowded layer; cook, stirring, until browned on all sides. Lift out meat as browned and set aside.

Add onion and garlic to pan and cook, stirring, until onion is limp. Return meat and any accumulated juices to pan. Also add the chillies, tomatoes, and tomatillos (including their liquids); break up tomatoes and tomatillos with a spoon. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is very tender when pierced, about 2 hours. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days; to continue, lift off and discard solidified fat, then reheat.)

Skim off and discard fat from surface of chili. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in wide bowls topped with cilantro leaves. Offer warm tortillas alongside. Makes 2 quarts, or 4 to 6 servings.

Some people become suffused with nostalgia whenever they taste a muffin, the homely (in the best sense of the word) hot bread that has become such a symbol of domesticity. Muffins may conjure up Mother's cozy kitchen or a young cook's early essays into baking. They may even bring back the bark of the waitress as she relays a request for a toasted muffin to the short-order cook: "Burn one!"

Larry Dane Brimner's recipe adds to other muffinly virtues a touch of sweetness and the ample (but not excessive) fruitiness of Golden Delicious apples. Larry's Apple Muffins 1 cup coarsely chopped peeled and cored Golden Delicious apples (about 1 large) 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground cinnamon 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1 cup whipping cream 3/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Mix apples with the lemon juice and cardamom and set aside. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the cream and butter. Add the cream mixture and chopped apple to the flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon batter into greased 2-1/2-inch muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake in a 400[deg.] oven until tops are golden brown, about 18 minutes. Immediately turn out of cups and serve hot, or let cool on rocks and serve at room temperature. Makes about 20 muffins.

If you ever passed by Vacaville, California, you probably noticed a tantalizing odor in the air--warm, reassuring, infinitely savory, like onions well and truly fried, but without the bite of raw onion. The odor has the fast-food grill's promise of limitless calories, but not its greasy vulgarity. IT is the scent of a giant onion-dehydrating plant and one of the plant's products, instant minced onion.

And it is instant onion that lends a nutty, oniony flavor to rich but basically stolid pork chops in Chef Fred Cherry's beautifully simple reciper. Oven-fried Onion Pork Chops 1/2 cup instant minced onion 1/4 teaspoon dry marjoram leaves or dry thyme leaves 3 tablespoons dry red wine or water 6 loin pork chops (about 2 lb.), cut 1/2 inch thick Salt and pepper About 1/4 cup melted butler or margarine

Combine onion, marjoram, and wine and let stand about 5 minutes.

Lightly sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper and spread one side of each chop with about 2 teaspoons of the onion mixture. Cover with a flat mallet to press the seasonings into the meat. Turn chops over, spread each with another 2 teaspoons onion mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and pound again.

Arrange chops in a single layer in a greased 10- by 15-inch rimmed baking pan. Drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake, uncovered, on the bottom rack of a 500[deg.] oven, turning once, until browned and no longer pink next to the bone (cut to tests), about 20 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Mar 1, 1985
Words:1280
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