Ree Drummond Adds Her ‘Pioneer Woman’ Touch to These Classic Italian Recipes

Food Network star Ree Drummond puts her “Pioneer Woman” spin on three Italian recipes: Pasta Fagioli, Spaghetti Carbonara, and Pasta Puttanesca. The culinary personality may be from Oklahoma but knows how to serve up Italian classics deliciously with her own special touch.

Food Network personality Ree Drummond
Food Network personality Ree Drummond | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Ree Drummond’s Pasta Fagioli encourages using what you ‘have on hand’

Pasta Fagioli, which translates from Italian to “pasta and beans” is a deliciously simple meal. And the culinary personality makes it even more convenient for home cooks by subbing in whatever beans, vegetables, or other ingredients you prefer, as she notes in her The Pioneer Woman blog.

“A good cooking pot and plenty of canned beans are must-haves for pasta fagioli—everything else can be substituted with what you have on hand,” she said. “If you want to make it vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of chicken. Did your helpful spouse buy the wrong canned tomatoes at the market? No problem—you can use crushed tomatoes or even diced fresh tomatoes. Don’t have ditalini pasta? Use small elbows, shells, or even bowties! Don’t like kale? Use spinach, or leave out the greens altogether.”

Ree Drummond’s Spaghetti Carbonara adds in a few items not found in the original recipe

Drummond’s version of this classic pasta dish closely follows the original which features the use of bacon or pancetta, egg yolks, olive oil, and Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses and then served, of course, over pasta.

Along with those ingredients, the Pioneer Woman star adds to her recipe chopped onion, garlic, and heavy cream because, as she notes on her blog, “it’s a free country.” She also adds peas to her carbonara dish, which she writes should be tried, “the next time you need a pasta fix! Or a bacon fix. Or a cream fix. Or a Parmesan fix. (You get the picture.)”

One reviewer on her site agreed Drummond’s pasta carbonara is a keeper, writing, “I made this for dinner tonite for the first time. My son loved it. It is one of his favorite dishes. Thank you for the recipe. I used to always use bottled alfredo sauce. Not anymore.”

Drummond’s Pasta Puttanesca departs from the original recipe with the use of Parmesan cheese

The cookbook author’s recipe includes spaghetti or bucatini pasta, sliced red onion, halved grape tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, pitted olives, olive oil, chicken broth or white wine, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese.

For any home cooks squeamish about using the small, salty fish in this recipe, Drummond reassures “If you think you don’t like anchovies…you do. You really do. You just don’t know it yet.”

Drummond’s use of Parmesan in her version of the dish was not lost on a reviewer on her site: “Your blog is funny and this recipe looks great but adding cheese to a recipe with seafood is a big ‘no no’ if we are talking about authentic Italian food..!” Maybe they’ll change their mind once they taste it.

Find each of these recipes from Ree Drummond on The Pioneer Woman blog.

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