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

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

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.

Mushroom lasagna

Adapted from smitten kitchen, who adapted from Ina Garten and Simply Recipes.

Salt + pepper
Olive oil
400 g dried lasagna noodles (250 g would have been plenty for me!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
960 mL whole milk
170 g unsalted butter, divided
60 g all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper + nutmeg
750 g cremini or portobello mushrooms (really used 250 g! + eggplant + walnuts)
freshly grated parmesan, to top

I added:
1 red onion
500 g canned chopped tomatoes
fresh thyme + basil + oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of sugar
300 g frozen spinach
250 g ricotta
125 g mozzarella

Boil lasagna pasta for 10 min in salted water with olive oil. Simmer milk and garlic in a saucepan until fragrant. Remove. Melt butter. Whisk flour into the butter. Add milk mixture, little by little. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg. Thicken for 3-5 minutes, stirring. Set aside.

Trim mushroom ends, saute them with the onions in olive oil and butter. Add the spinach and canned tomatoes to this. Season with salt, red pepper flakes, sugar, and the fresh herbs. Preheat oven to 190 deg C. Spread béchamel sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer pasta, béchamel, mushrooms, parmesan three times, then top off with pasta, béchamel, and grated parmesan. Bake for 45 minutes, covered by aluminum foil. Remove at the end to crisp the top!

~Jessica

P.S. Cover with foil for the first half of bake time to avoid burning!

Spaghetti alla puttanesca

Aka “whore’s pasta”. Inspired by BuzzFeed but let’s follow Gennaro Contaldo instead:

400 g dried spaghetti
olive oil + unsalted butter
4-8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 fresh red chillies with seeds, sliced (or red pepper flakes if you haven’t)
a small handful of black olives , destoned
2 handfuls very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
Parmesan cheese to serve
1 large onion, finely chopped
tomato paste (optional)
½ cup dry red wine

I forgot to add the onion, and unfortunately substituted sardines for anchovies as my grocery had none. Had no basil, and added a can of peeled tomatoes for good saucy measure. Excellent heat in this dish.

~Jessica

Baked ziti, in a manner of speaking

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Glug of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, minced
125 g turkey strips
500 g can of crushed tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano
Red pepper flakes, to taste
450 g pasta, cooked al dente and drained
220 g mozzarella, coarsely grated
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
100 g frozen spinach
To serve: Dollops of your favorite ricotta and slivers of basil leaves =)

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I used fettuccine instead of ziti, and added a bit of chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, and mushrooms, for nutrition.

Preheat oven to 225 deg C. Cook pasta until al dente (at least 2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time). Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Coat with glug of olive oil, and heat oil. Add the protein of your choice and cook with onion, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and salt over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat is browned; stir frequently. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. If it’s become quite thick, stir in reserved pasta water. Add spinach and cook until wilted, ~1 minute.

You can either 1) layer or 2) mix the pasta together, casserole-like, before baking. If 1) coat drained pasta in a little olive oil so they don’t stick. Ladle sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, then layer of pasta, another layer sauce, then mozzarella and ricotta, another layer of pasta, add the remaining sauce, and top with remaining cheeses, including Parmigiano.

If 2) Stir in drained pasta and heat together for one minute. Pour half of pasta mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish, lasagna pan, or other 3-quart baking vessel (or divide among smaller ones, if you’d like to freeze some off). Sprinkle with half of each cheese. Pour remaining pasta and sauce over, and finish with remaining cheese. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes.

~Jessica

P.S. Feel free to cook in some bell peppers, a la Simply Recipes.

Pasta with ricotta and mushrooms

Adapted from Lidia Bastianich

454 g pasta (I used spaghetti)
glug of extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
chopped thyme/rosemary (I used thyme)
6 brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
pinch of salt and pepper
200 g ricotta
1 bunch green onions, chopped (I didn’t have any)
parsley for garnish, roughly chopped (I didn’t have any)
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

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Cook the pasta al dente in salted water, save some pasta water for your sauce. Saute garlic and rosemary until fragrant. Add mushrooms. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add scallions. Add some reserved pasta water. Mix in pasta, ricotta, and parmesan. Serve hot.

~Jessica