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.

Budget Meals: Day 6

Ingredients
GOYA black bean soup $1.50
Dried rosemary $6.29
1 carrot $0.23
1 zucchini $0.94
4 tomatoes on the vine $1.33
10 oz white button mushrooms $1.79
Total: $12.08

Directions
Chop fine 1 red onion, 3 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil in a medium pot. Season with salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, crushed rosemary. Chop 1/2 carrot, 1/3 zucchini, 1 tomato, 5-6 mushrooms. Saute vegetables over medium heat. Add the can of black bean soup, plus another cup of water rinsing the can. Season with turmeric, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Raise heat and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Here I added 1/4 box of penne rigate and enough water to cover it, cooking it al dente for 5 minutes. Serves 3-4.

I recently acquired some cheese from Trader Joe’s, so feel free to slice / grate some on top for a Tex-Mex feel. It’s rather hard to shop plastic-free at TJ’s I realize now — not great for #plasticfreeJuly then.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 4

Ingredients:
32 oz. tomato sauce $1.50
Paprika $2.19
Ronzoni penne rigate $1.89
1 carrot $0.25
1 green zucchini $0.82
4 brown portobello mushrooms $0.77
4 red onions $0.98
1 yellow squash $0.40
Total: $8.80

Directions
Chop 1 red onion, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/2 zucchini, the mushrooms, 1/2 carrot. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Saute the onion, garlic until fragrant. Add the carrot, then the two squash. Add the mushrooms. Cook together a few minutes, stirring. Add the can of tomato sauce. Season with paprika, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
Boil salted water. Add half the box of penne. Cook 5 minutes until al dente. Add pasta to sauce. Serves 3-4.

Just to make it fancy (and I didn’t have Parmigiano because it’s wrapped in plastic and expensive unless I buy it at Trader Joe’s), I added a drop of my truffle olive oil, which I brought back from France, before serving. Just for the aroma, which I really really like.

~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

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