All posts tagged: pasta

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 …

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte, Part One: Fresh Pasta Dough

This post serves as part one of three posts on how to make Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte.  I am a pasta junkie, especially fresh pasta.  Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant, I always ask the waitress which pastas are fresh on the menu.  Maybe it’s a pappardelle bolognese that will get my eye… or black pepper fettucini with truffles… or even a luxurious spaghetti carbonara.  What’s even more special to me is filled fresh pastas–pastas filled with rich meats or seasonal produce and almost always with cheese.  Yum yum yum.  This dish incorporates all of that and more: gorgeous butternut squash from the farmer’s market, salty and rich pancetta and parmesan, creamy ricotta, sweet and crunchy breadcrumbs, and ribbon-like silky butter sauce. Despite what cooking shows may try to make you believe, making fresh pasta does take time.  I’ve probably made it a dozen times, and while I’ve gotten faster (and less messy), it’s still a multi-hour process–and thus requires multiple posts from me to teach you …

Greek orzo salad with sun-dried tomato and feta

When it’s hot outside, and you’re grilling, side dishes need to be kept simple.  Usually a few ears of corn, cole slaw, and a bag of chips are the perfect companions to burgers, hot dogs, and any grilled chicken or meat.  I like to make pasta salads too–“kitchen sink” type of pasta salads.  Any bite-size pasta shape works (corkscrew, bow-tie, penne, whatever) plus the entire contents of my vegetable drawer (broccoli, grape tomatoes, red onion, etc.) and some Newman’s Own light Italian dressing.  Mixed together and chilled–super simple and always a crowd pleaser. I was watching an episode of “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network, and watched Ina Garten as she made a tomato feta pasta salad.  Her dressing looked awesome (and it was a far cry from bottled dressing), so I decided to take that cue from her and improvise the rest with my fridge’s current “kitchen sink” of offerings. First, I began by boiling half a box of orzo, rinsing for several minutes under cold water, then spraying with Pam to prevent from …

100 Layer Lasagna

I love you, lasagna.  You contain all of my favorite food groups: Fresh pasta Cheese Sauce (red and white) Ground meat (the more complex the mix, the better) Normally, I would be salivating at any regular lasagna, as I view lasagna the same way as pizza (that any pizza is good… even if you bought it at, say, 7-11.)  Leave it to the master… my favorite Italian chef, Mario Batali, to create the 100 layer lasagna.  Yes, 100. The pasta layers are said to be so thin, they’re translucent.  This thing of beauty is now available at the delicious Del Posto.  You can buy it a la carte for $30 or enjoy it on a tasting menu.  Fortunate for me (and Nick!), we received a gift card to Del Posto from the extremely generous duo, Pete and Karen Gerome, to celebrate our engagement.  That means that this glorious beauty will be mine… all mine… I love you, 100 layer lasagna.  Let’s make lasagna babies together.