Fettucine con sugo di Mafalda

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Adapted from Lidia’s Italy

Ingredients:
Kosher salt
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb. pasta (I had farfalle)
10 basil leaves, freshly shredded (I had parsley)
1/2 cup Grana Padano, grated

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Meanwhile… Saute 1/2 chopped red onion, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 minced carrot, 1/2 chopped gray zucchini in the saucepan. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer. Stir in the heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Slip the pasta into boiling water. When the pasta is al dente (15 minutes) and sauce is ready, drop the pasta directly into the sauce. If some pasta water gets in there, all the better!
Add the shredded basil (parsley), then toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove from heat, stir in the grated cheese, and serve immediately.

I never knew this sauce had a name, but I have added cream to tomato sauce many a time for a variant on plain ol’ marinara. Not for the lactose-intolerant, of course, but adds some extra fat to a tasty vegetarian meal!

~Jessica

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Farfalle al salmone

IMG_20171008_220954.jpgAdapted from Cucinaconoi and Mediterranealicious

Ingredients, For 4 portions:
500 g of fresh tagliolini (or 360 g dried pasta)
500 g of fresh salmon
300-350 g of heavy cream
2 spoonfuls of grated parmesan cheese
40 g of brandy (optional — I had sherry)
15 g of minced shallot (I had red onion)
40 g of butter
1 beefsteak tomato (Roma would have been better)
1/2 zucchini
a little branch of dill (I used parsley)
a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions for the salmon:
Clean the salmon, removing the skin. Then slice the fish into strips or cubes. Add the butter to the saute pan, add a spoonful of EVOO and the chopped shallot and let it pan-fry at a very low heat. Now add the salmon and let it sear, stirring to evenly cook. If you have brandy, pour over the fish. When the brandy has evaporated, I added some chopped tomatoes and diced zucchini and let that saute a bit. Then add the cream, then salt and pepper, and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Directions for the pasta:
Set a pot of water on high heat for the pasta. Once the pot is boiling, salt the pasta water. Cook the farfalle for 15 minutes or until al dente. When the pasta is ready, add it directly into the pan with a sieve; then add in half a ladle of the pasta water to bind the sauce.

Sprinkle on some chopped parsley, some salt if necessary and let it pan fry for a bit, stirring. Switch off the stove, add some freshly grated parmesan. Garnish with some parsley as desired. Serve.

This YouTube video is a fresh salmon tagliolini recipe, an alternative to the classic pasta with smoked salmon; if you want, you can use 100-120 gr of smoked salmon instead of fresh. I couldn’t find a good price on smoked salmon, so I picked up 1 lb. of fresh salmon from Trader Joe’s. Enough for 3 generous portions, or 4 modest ones.

~Jessica

Spaghettini all’olio e rosmarino

Adapted from Lidia’s Italy

Ingredients:
Kosher salt
1 lb. (450 g) spaghettini
2 spoonfuls of EVOO
3 spoonfuls of unsalted butter
3 spoonfuls / 2 sprigs of rosemary
chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
1 cup grated Grana Padano (I used Parmigiano)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large skillet, over medium–high heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the rosemary, and cook until the needles are sizzling and the rosemary is fragrant. Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water, and simmer to reduce by half. Stir in the parsley.
When the pasta is al dente, remove with tongs directly to the skillet. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat, toss with the grated cheese, and serve.

~Jessica

P.S. I threw in 1/2 chopped red onion because I had it.

Ravioli with sage brown butter sauce (Salsa di burro bruno e salvia)

IMG_2708Adapted from Mario Batali and Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
1 box of Trader Joe’s porcini ravioli (serves 2)
1 tbsp of unsalted butter
2 leaves of fresh sage
thyme, salt, pepper
1 clove of garlic, sliced thin lengthwise
Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
While the pasta cooks (3-4 minutes for the ravioli), melt butter in a saute pan and continue cooking until golden brown color appears in the thinnest liquid of the butter. Add sage leaves and fry a couple of minutes. Fry the garlic and herbs and spices. Remove from heat until pasta is ready. Drain the pasta, but leave some cooking water, and gently pour into saute pan and return to heat. Add the cheese, toss to coat and serve immediately.

Forgot the nutmeg and lemon juice! I missed lunch and so ate this around 5pm for supper. Amber came home later and fried some frozen shrimp to add to her meal. Next time I’ll follow Lidia’s recipe cause she’s really Italian.

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~Jessica

Herbed summer squash pasta bake

IMG_2707Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:
250 g De Cecco pasta
olive oil
3 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Juice of half a lemon
45 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large or 5 skinny scallions, sliced thin, white and green parts separate
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
25 g (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
350 mL (1 1/2 cups) broth
thyme, oregano, salt and more pepper to taste
finely grated parmesan cheese
smoked Gouda, cubed small
chopped basil

Directions:
Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and fry the zucchini for 10 minutes without burning, browning both sides. Remove, and sprinkle the squash with some lemon juice. Melt butter in the pan on medium heat and fry the scallion whites and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the flour until absorbed by the butter. Slowly add the (milk) broth, incorporating each time you mix it together. Season with lemon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all herbs. Season to taste. Add the gravy sauce to your baking dish. Add the pasta, squash, and cheeses. Stir to combine. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Serve hot, topped with chopped basil.

I subbed broth for the whole milk and smoked Gouda for the mozzarella. It made the sauce a quite nice gravy, surprisingly. I also had two tomatoes and some reserved puree that needed to go somewhere so… Mystery pasta bake. Yum! In hindsight, however, this would have been super delicious without the addition of tomatoes, although Amber really didn’t mind them.

~Jessica

Garlic herb pizza dough

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Like that shape? Trademarked.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
pizza dough
1/3 cup tomato puree
2-3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
basil to garnish
spinach
1/3 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated

Directions:
Let the refrigerated dough sit for 25 minutes at room temperature, longer if possible. Meanwhile, place the pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 425-450°F for 30-60 minutes (depending on topping prep time.) Slice or grate your vegetable and cheese toppings. Do not load up each pizza with too many toppings as the crust will end up not crisp that way! About a third a cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. One to two mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.

Take the ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Let the dough relax 5 minutes. Stretch dough into a thin 12-inch round — I did this classical way, tossing the round on my knuckles in the air. Be careful! Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent soggy dough from the toppings). Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling? Let rest another 5 minutes.

Here I removed the pizza stone from the warming oven. It’s very hot. If you have it, sprinkle the pizza stone with cornmeal (I didn’t), and place the dough on top. Spoon on the tomato sauce (I added some dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper here), sprinkle the cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza. Slide the baking stone into the oven. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. Then drizzle with olive oil.

Ok, so this post title is a lie. I used garlic herb pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, which only recommended a (too short) baking time of 6-8 minutes. But I followed all the other steps. Wish I had had 250 g diced fresh mozzarella, and torn basil! Made a baby spinach side salad rather than wilt it in the oven as a topping.

~Jessica

P.S. Pizza attempt #1Pizza attempt #2Pizza attempt #3

Rigatoni carbonara

IMG_2667Amber’s recipe, learned in a cooking class on her Phillippines-Vietnam trip

Ingredients:
400 g pasta of your choice
2 eggs
75 g Parmigiano-Reggiano (aged three years), grated
3-4 strips of bacon (if only we had guanciale or pancetta!)
black pepper
100 g peas, frozen
2-3 cloves of garlic

Directions:
Bring a pot of salted water to boil, while you do other things. Fry the bacon until crisp but not too overdone. Beat the eggs, and mix in the cheese. Season this with some salt and pepper. Mince the garlic. Saute the garlic until fragrant. Add the peas to cook them a little bit, or cook them in the pasta pot of boiling water for one minute like Jamie suggests.

When pasta is al dente, drain and make sure you reserve some pasta water (we did not, sadly). Toss the pasta, peas, and bacon all together in your pan. Season with fresh cracked pepper if you have a grinder. Now, make sure the pan isn’t too hot, or the eggs will scramble. Slowly add the cheese-egg mixture so the heat of the pasta cooks it, tossing all the while. Jamie also suggests adding pasta water to thin the sauce if need be. Garnish with some more freshly grated Parmigiano and slivered basil (we took a few leaves from the window herb “garden”).

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I love fettuccine or linguine (pasta lunga) best, but we only had pasta corta (short pasta) in the cupboard. Amber had a hankering for this as we had all the ingredients and had been eating my grandmother’s cooking for several meals by now (food is equal to love, for Chinese families — accept the gifts of food and be grateful).

~Jessica