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

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).

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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~Jessica

Risotto ai funghi

Adapted from Memorie di Angelina

250 g Arborio, Vialone Nano or Carnaroli risotto rice
25 g salted butter
1 small (150 g) white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 litre of vegetable/chicken stock
200 g of porcini mushrooms, fresh or about 50 g dried
a small bunch of flat-leaved parsley (I had dry thyme)
1 cupful of white, dry wine
100g freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Soak dried mushroom in hot water for 20 minutes or, if fresh, chop up. Heat half the butter and olive oil in the saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Heat the stock in a separate pot. Now toast the rice in the pan for a couple of minutes, stirring until coated in the oil. Add the wine and stir to evaporate. Now begin ladling the stock into the rice one ladle at a time. Continue stirring the rice and adding stock each time the liquid begins to dry up. Add the mushrooms. If you run out of stock, and need to cook the rice more, substitute the broth with hot water to avoid over-saltiness. When the rice grains are still al dente, add the rest of the butter, the parsley, and  freshly grated cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

~Jessica

Pappardelle al ragù alla bolognese

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

olive oil
1/2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, trimmed and finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250g turkey mince
400g plum tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, dried oregano, 2 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
125ml red wine
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)
basil leaves, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
75g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
400g pappardelle (or tagliatelle or fettuccine if you like)

If using meat, cook the bacon first. Saute onions in olive oil/butter on medium heat until fragrant. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes. Add the carrot, then the celery and cook until softened. Add the ground meat and wine. Cook a bit. Add the tomatoes and puree/water, the chili pepper if you like, and all herbs. Let stew for 30-60 minutes. Boil water for the pasta meanwhile. Cook pasta one minute short (al dente). Add the pasta to the sauce and swirl to coat thoroughly. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan and torn basil. Buon appetito.

~Jessica

Creamed spinach

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sorry it’s only in the background!

Adapted from Tyler Florence

2 bags of baby spinach
unsalted butter + extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
heavy cream
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
50 g freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

Wash the spinach several times. Drain the spinach. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, then add the spinach, turning frequently, until the spinach has wilted down evenly. Remove the garlic and drain the spinach in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible. Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat and add the cream and nutmeg; cook until it reduces a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is hot, about 5 more minutes. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Cacio e pepe

Adapted from Mario Batali

500 g bavette or linguini fine
extra-virgin olive oil
110 g butter
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Cacio di Roma
freshly grated Pecorino Romano
2 pinches of Kosher salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the pasta al dente. Drain but reserve the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan. Add the butter and toss. Add cheeses and pepper. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

P.S. Yes, yes, I know I sauteed onions, garlic, and 1/2 a carrot in the butter and olive oil. And I threw in a handful of fresh parsley because I had it and color is pretty. Your concerns are duly noted.

No-yeast pizza dough pizza

Adapted from the BBC Good Food

350 g flour
2 pinches of baking powder
pinch of salt and sugar
2 spoonfuls of olive oil
170-225 mL warm water

Mix the dry ingredients separately, then add in the water and olive oil. Combine until you form a ball. Let this sit in the fridge (preferably 4-5 hours), covered by a damp cloth, while you prepare the toppings.

Pre-cook your toppings (e.g. ham, mushrooms, artichokes, San Marzano tomatoes, onions, etc.) in some olive oil/butter, sliced onions, and minced garlic. Don’t overcook, as they will bake in the oven as well. Grate your cheese (mozzarella di bufala Campana, pecorino romano, scamorza, etc.).

Punch down the chilled dough, and roll flat (a wine bottle works here). Top with chopped tomatoes, then the vegetables. Brush olive oil on the crust. Bake at 200 deg C for 10 min, add the mozzarella (or other cheeses), then put back in for another 15-25 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

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~Jessica

P.S. Different Italian pizza types:

  • pizza napoletana
  • pizza alla marinara
  • pizza capricciosa
  • pizza pugliese
  • sfincione.