Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Baked mac and cheese (and bonus rosemary-apricot pork tenderloin)

In most recommended, recipe on October 6, 2010 at 8:49 am

Mac & cheese and rosemary-apricot pork

This weekend I tried to make pasta for the first time. The recipe was deceptively easy – mix flour and salt in mound on a cutting board, then crack eggs in mound and slowly mix with hands.

From the first egg it was a disaster. I guess my mound was more of a plateau, and egg started running all over the counter, and I had to start mixing it really fast. And it was so sticky! (That probably should have been my first clue).

After the dough sat, I aimed to roll it out. “Who needs a pasta maker?” I said to myself. “Italian grandmothers used wine bottles to roll out pasta*!” So I sat out with my rolling pin, heaps of flour, and some butternut squash filling.

Erm. The dough was really hard to roll out, and I ended up with 2 inch by 2 inch very thick squares of pasta with probably a drop of filling. I dropped the little buggers into boiling water anyways, thinking maybe they would become more like ravioli I recognized.

Not so. My roommates looked nervously at the small bricks on their plates. I tried to alleviate the matter with lots of thyme butter, but the fact remained this was a dinner FAIL.**

So I’m not posting that recipe. Instead, I’m posting a recipe that I love, that is comforting and delicious and I should be able to make with my eyes closed, but still crack open my How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

*That may or may not be true.
** And no, you totally don’t get pictures of it.

Baked mac and cheese (and bonus rosemary-apricot pork tenderloin) Read the rest of this entry »

Spaghetti sauce with meat

In recipe on September 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Spaghetti sauce with meat

I went on vacation recently! It was absolutely splendid – Greece and Turkey (well, Istanbul) for a little over 2 weeks. The food was pretty good – while I can certainly wait to have another Greek salad, I did eat some excellent Cretan snails, fish, and a zucchini pie that I will dream about for the rest of my life.

When I came back, I definitely had a hankering to cook again (hurray! said my roommates). And what I had been craving most was some sort of Americanized Italian food, something that comes in big servings with easy, tasty flavors.

So I made spaghetti sauce.

NOTE. This recipe CANNOT be made vegetarian. The meat fat was an essential part of the sauce, and, while you could forego and just do onions and tomatoes, I can’t speak to the richness and equivalent deliciousness.

Those who enjoy dead animal flesh (like me!), ENJOY. Invite friends, it makes a lot (or freezes well!)

Spaghetti sauce with meat

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Asparagus & zucchini pasta

In recipe on July 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Someone left fresh zucchini in my office break room! I assume that they come from a garden, which is awesome and very inspiring (as opposed to terrorists that have chosen to attack unsuspecting, break-room browsing office workers).

My roommates and I recently established a garden in the back of our apartment. We’re lucky enough to have a large yard with which to work with, but it’s pretty wild. After a couple of (beer-fueled) work parties, we established some rows, planted some fava beans (to rework the soil says my gardening expert friend), transplanted some herbs and just this weekend added tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.

I am cautiously optimistic. I have personally killed probably 5 or 6 basil plants in the last three years, and the fact that people tell me basil is a tough plant doesn’t make me feel any better. But our garden looks great right now – check it out!

I aspire to one day having such a bounty in the garden that I can share with all my nearest and dearest (or, you know, people at the office). This recipe is based around that totally inspiring zucchini.

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Pasta with balsamic vegetables (& chicken)

In recipe on July 11, 2010 at 10:49 am

Today I feel like waxing philosophical about cooking. In my (admittedly limited) experience, there are two schools of cooking – thinking big, and get ‘er done.

“Thinking big” cooking can be found in the pages of Gourmet, or Bon Appetit, and in my head, or most types of baking. These recipes require dozens of ingredients, usually involving something so obscure that I have to research before I buy. I’d say those people who enjoy this style of cooking are foodies, are prone to make sweeping proclamations about olive oil, and mix their own spices.

The other side of the spectrum, and where I firmly see myself, is the “get ‘er done” kitchen style. At its worst, it’s the semi-homemade mixing-salsa-with-pasta crap that Sandra Lee preaches. But at its best, its accessible and adaptable, allowing a busy person to stop, take a look inside the fridge and say, “Yeah, I think I can make something happen here.”

I don’t mean to sound like fancy cooking is useless. I admire it, and those who choose to attempt the gourmet at home. But most of the recipes are so fussy that I feel nervous to play with them, which takes away the real joy of cooking: creation. No doubt I sound poncey here, but cooking’s an art, not a science, and I appreciate when I get to riff.

Wow! That was a lot of philosophy. Funnily enough, it came as a result from a pretty simple recipe that’s not really groundbreaking at all. It was inspired, as usual, from a Fitness magazine recipe, but it’s been changed quite a bit. Note: there aren’t a lot of hard stops in this recipe. Anything marked with **, replace at your own peril, but you can really adapt this one. I’ve put suggestions for alternates in parentheses after the ingredients, and at the end. Lots to play with here! Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Broccoli & mushroom lasagna

In recipe on April 27, 2010 at 6:05 pm

There are certain signifiers in life that really signify adulthood: driver’s license, gambling, voting, drinking, and the ability to rent a car for less money (really a let down, turning 26). But there are also little moments, subtle indicators based on your own memory, when you look down and realize, “Oh shit. I’m a bill paying, census-counted, no-longer MTV-courted ADULT.”

Let me illustrate with an example. My mom has always been a very hands-on cook, and being able to use a knife as fearlessly as she did also seemed to be a far-off, grown-up thing. “I could never do that,” I’d say to myself (note: this also managed to get me out some chores in the kitchen.)

One day recently I was washing some strawberries, and was slicing them quite thoughtlessly, cutting the stem off against my thumb–when all of a sudden I realized that I, too, was now cutting in that same way that had impressed me so much as a kid. I had conquered that kitchen knife. I was no longer scared. And I, unquestioningly, was very ADULT.

This dish somehow seems very ADULT to me. It’s easy, it smacks of sensible Mom (coming via Real Simple, that makes sense), and it also very delicious.

Enjoy with a glass (or two) of wine and relish in your adulthood.

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