All posts filed under: Pasta

Mortadella Fattisu with Pistachios

  pasta. One of my three favorite food groups: pasta, cheese, and wine.  You can imagine my glee when my hubby surprised me the other day with a cookbook from Flour + Water, a hit pasta and pizza restaurant in San Francisco.  The cookbook is simply named Flour and Water: Pasta. In my never ending quest to master homemade pasta, you will be seeing many of my attempts at recipes from this book over the next few months.  Just by doing this first recipe from the book I learned 3 awesome new techniques: how to really make dough by hand, how to properly run dough through a pasta machine, and how to make pan sauces.  Now, it’s not like I haven’t done those last 3 things before–I just didn’t do them as well as I could have. This ravioli dough is truly luxurious.  It’s so egg-y–the yellow color is gorgeous, and the texture is as smooth as can be imagined.  Please see my post Ravioli Dough for the full details and recipe. Once the dough …

Ravioli Dough

This dough.  We’ve all read recipes and seen videos of building a “well” with the flour.  That’s not new here.  What IS new to me with the dough is how precisely perfect it is.  Most recipes call for “adding more flour as needed” when it sticks to the board.  Not here.  I followed the ingredients and measurements precisely and the dough needed absolutely nothing else.  I whisked up every flour glob on the counter into the dough.  It all came together beautifully. Once all the bits were incorporated, I kneaded it and kneaded it and it just became more and more silky, more and more homogeneous.  Gorgeous.  Chef McNaughton describes it as “adult play-doh.”  Perfect description.  This recipe can be used for ANY stuffed pasta: ravioli, agnolotti, plin, tortellini, etc. After the dough rested, I divided it into 6 even pieces, just to make passing it through the pasta machine easier.  His technique here again is mastery.  Please also follow these instructions exactly.  I was never able to get my pasta sheets to the correct …

Goat Cheese and Beet Plin with Tarragon

  My husband and I recently visited my family in Philadelphia and finally had the opportunity to visit one of Chef Marc Vetri’s restaurants, Osteria.  I have followed Vetri for a few years and own two of his cookbooks: Rustic Italian Food and Il Viaggio Di Vetri.  Everything always looks amazing in his cookbooks and on his menus.  I’m a pasta freak, especially fresh pasta, and I am actually embarrassed to admit how long it took us to finally visit one of his restaurants.  We were not disappointed.  From the bread to the salads to the pasta… the pastaaaaaa.  Glorious.  The most amazing part was that the best thing we ate at that meal was something we didn’t order–it was something that was comped to us (long story as to why.)  It was the beet and goat cheese plin with tarragon. Paper-thin pasta sheets, creamy beet filling, sweet butter sauce, salty cheese all topped with tarragon–a spice I never would have thought of–all together, heaven.  “Plin” meaning a “pinch” are the teeniest agnolotti/ravioli you can …

Cacio e Pepe with Fresh Whole Wheat Fettuccine

Fresh pasta is one of my greatest pleasures in life.  So many of us are carb junkies, and pasta is my drug of choice.  As much as I love eating it, I always love making it.  This time around, I kept it simple.  On a recent weeknight, the craving hit hard.  I could have made something fancy, but I’ve been trying to challenge myself to cook with what I have on hand.  Living in the city, it’s so easy to run out for this or go pick up that.  But not this time–I created this dish with only what I had on hand.  I also didn’t want to be a slave to cooking for the night (it WAS a school night.)  Start to finish, this took about 2 hours.  The result was pure comfort.  I didn’t have to grocery shop for anything in this recipe, and with the whole wheat flour mixed in, I didn’t even feel guilty about eating it.  After all, a little butter and cheese never hurt anyone, right? For all of …

Spaghetti with Clams

We all have our simple food pleasures.  Spaghetti with Clams can be found on virtually any Italian menu in the country.  Variations on the dish can be subtle but make all the difference.  Every year at Nick’s cousin’s Christmas Eve party, Spaghetti with Clams is served as part of the delicious buffet for 50+ people.  Every year I devour it.  Second, third helpings.  I discovered that the recipe is a well-kept family secret, and one that I’m not yet privy to. (Gerome family–this is my official BEG.  I’m begging!)  So I tried my best to recreate here for you.  If the family does bless me with the exact recipe, I’ll be sure to share it here. Spaghetti with Clams Serves 6 Ingredients 1 pound dried spaghetti, I like Barilla Plus for added nutrients and fiber 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 pounds of littleneck clams, well rinsed of sand and grit 1 bottle of clam juice 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus 1/4 cup chopped reserved 1/2 cup dry white …

Nick’s Rigatoni

One of Nick’s favorite things to cook is red sauce.  Whenever we go out to eat and he orders steak, his first thought is “leftover steak for red sauce.”  I pretty much know from that moment on what we’re having for dinner on Sunday.  Then his love affair begins.  The Godfather goes on the TV and I smell garlic clouds drifting from the kitchen.  I must note that I am not allowed in the kitchen when this process is going on–as I, ah hem, tend to push my input whether it was asked for or not.  So I get to sit back and wait for the lovely results.  I have to say that every batch of red sauce he makes is different–but its always so delicious, so tummy warming, and feels extra special, because I know it was made with love.  Here you have it–Nick’s Rigatoni.  I think this was his best batch yet.  The sauce was so rich–the wine really kicked it to another level.  There was also this smoky taste to it, which …

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

I can’t think of anything more comforting or more universally-loved than lasagna.  Most families have their versions they go back to time and time again.  There’s the traditional Italian version which is made with bolognese sauce, bechmael sauce, parmesan (no ricotta or mozzarella) and the American version made with ground beef (or leftover meatballs), marinara, ricotta, and mozzarella.  There are countless veggie versions and even kinds made with tortillas.  This time around I decided to go all-American, but with one substitute a la the Barefoot Contessa, turkey sausage.  Here you have it–her fabulous version of American lasagna.  I slightly adapted her recipe in 2 ways.  1) I omitted goat cheese–only because I don’t care for it.  2) I substituted no-boil lasagna noodles to cut back on time. First you cook the onions and garlic, add the ground turkey sausage, and all of the basic red sauce ingredients. Then the fun part… the layering.  A quick stir of ricotta, grated parmesan, egg, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper–and that forms the creamy layer comb.  I constructed each …

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte, Part Three: Sauce and Serving

Ahh… the finish line.  The first bite.  Experiencing the combination of textures and tastes: smooth & crunchy; sweet & salty.  Everything in one bite.  Total bliss.  Total joy in knowing that it all turned out–rejoice in your accomplishment!  Now, the final step in making butternut squash agnolotti. After making the fresh pasta, the filling, and composing the finished agnolotti, it’s time to bring it all together by making the sauce and plating.  This part probably takes only 20 minutes–so make sure you save this to just before serving.  Fill a pot with well salted water; cover and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, start dicing the pancetta, thinly slicing scallions or chives, and chopping garlic into big chunks. Add the pancetta and garlic chunks to a COLD large pan.  Place over medium-low heat.  Once the pancetta and garlic are browned, discard the garlic.  Add the pancetta and pancetta fat to a ramekin and set aside.  Lower the pan heat to low. When the water comes to a boil, drop the fresh (or frozen) agnolotti into the …

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte, Part Two: Filling & Stuffing

This post serves as part two of three posts on how to make Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte.  To make the filling for the agnolotti, start by baking one butternut squash.  If you find one already cubed, awesome–that will work just fine.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and white pepper.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.  Bake until the squash is tender and you can easily pierce with a fork.  Cool at room temperature. Once cooled, add the butternut squash flesh (no skin!) to a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and maple syrup (the real stuff, please.)  The result with be super smooth and creamy with a bright orange color. To fill the agnolotti, fill a pastry bag with the butternut squash/cheese mixture.  Or you can fill a large (gallon-size) Ziploc bag.  Roll down the sides to ease the process.  Twist the bag above the filling to fill the bottom of the bag–snip off the corner of …