Posts tagged ‘Pasta’

March 18, 2012

Weeknight Wow | Pork Jowl Pasta with Monkfish

We all get stuck in a weeknight routine, I know.  I’ve heard the complaints — “I don’t know what to make and I don’t have the time to make it anyway.”

Maybe all you need is to take something familiar and give it a little tweak.

Enter pork jowls.  In Italian it’s guanciale, and it’s sliced and cured in a manner similar to bacon.  But it’s a deeper, richer almost gamey flavor that brings something different to your weeknight plate.  Fry them up, toss them with some familiar ingredients and you’ll have a pasta that’s delicious on its own.  Add some slices of easily-prepared monkfish and you can serve your loved ones something wonderfully unexpected.

Just be sure to maintain the mystery: don’t tell them how easy it was.

Pork Jowl Pasta with Roasted Monkfish

For the pasta sauce:

1/3 lbs. of sliced pork jowl

Pinch of red pepper flakes

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December 15, 2011

The Beautiful Bivalve | Mussels with Chorizo and Broken Fideo

In the Abode of the Dead they are known exclusively as moules, and, when served, Hades will eat them in breathtaking quantities.  They are mussels — tiny, meaty, sweet little jewels that are revered like no other ingredient in these parts.  I must admit, they are strangely beautiful.  Their black and pearly shells contrast with the orange-yellow flesh inside, and a full pan of these yawning bivalves is quite striking indeed.

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July 14, 2011

Summer Produce | Short Ribs Braised in Tomato

This is a Saturday meal.  Not because it’s hard.  (It’s not.)  Not because it takes a long time.  (It could.)   But because if you head to a farmer’s market Saturday morning, or happen to run across some really fabulous tomatoes while you’re doing your weekly grocery shopping, this is what you should make.  This time, I used some beautifully imperfect farmstand tomatoes from an unscheduled stop at a roadside market.

This is, without question, the easiest way to make a fresh tomato sauce.  And perhaps one of the tastiest.  What follows is not so much of a recipe, as a way of cooking.  Let your heart (and perhaps your tummy) lead you.

Braised Short Ribs in Tomatoes, Serves 4, inspired by Scott Conant

2 pounds of really lovely ripe tomatoes, cored

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June 2, 2011

Spargel Pasta | Asparagus in Cream Sauce

While I was in Germany and France last month, just about everywhere I went, sandwich boards proclaimed in German or French “Lust auf Spargel?” “Fin de l’Asperge!” And it seemed every bistro and restaurant had specials celebrating the edible spring perennial.  And truly, it is best savored when it is fresh and local.  I enjoyed a wonderful pasta dish at the Ratskeller in Munich my very first night and remember it wistfully.  With roasted tomatoes, tender asparagus and a drizzle of cream, this easy dish is a satisfying vegetarian meal, even for omnivores like myself.  There is a brief moment here in Ohio in the latest June or the earliest July, when the asparagus and the tomato harvests almost touch, those few precious days would the most wonderful time to enjoy this dish.

Spargel Pasta, serves 4

1 bunch asparagus

1 cup of small tomatoes or

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April 11, 2011

Meatless Monday | Orecchiette with Leek and Pea Shoots

It’s been so rainy today that everything in sight is a variation of green: the yet-to-be-mowed grass.  The budding trees.  The trembling stalks supporting the heavy heads of daffodils.  My dinner of orecchiette bathed in butter, chartreuse leeks, backyard mint and verdant parsley.  Tiny pasta ears cradle pale green edamame, the whole bowl crowned with pea shoots.  It was as close to a taste of spring in a bowl as I’ve come in a long time.  It is long overdue.

Orecchiette de Aprile, serves two, plus a little one who’s almost 4

1/2 pound orecchiette pasta

2 T butter

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February 14, 2011

Are you awake?* | Cacio e Pepe

Late the first night in Rome many years ago, Hades and I wandered.  Blinking in the bright lights of the wedding cake, looking for a spot to grab dinner, tired from our long trip, still adjusting to the time change.  We came across a tiny nameless spot, umbrellas still up outside, despite the late hour.  We stopped in and ordered the first thing on the menu. It was this: spaghetti, copious amounts of finely ground black pepper and pecorino romano.

It is a go-to meal for tired people. It requires not so much thought, but pristine ingredients. Perhaps, when you’re home late one night, don’t have much in the fridge and don’t care much for thinking about what’s for dinner, you’ll give this a try.  You may choose to add a bit of guanciale, or pancetta if it’s lying about.  Perchance an egg yolk.  No one in Rome would approve, of course, but do as you please, it’s late after all.

I am tired.
I am true of heart!

And also:
You are tired.
You are true of heart!**

Cacio e Pepe, serves 4

1 pound of fresh spaghetti, otherwise good quality dried

1 c grated pecorino romano

1 t finely ground black pepper

4 T good quality olive oil

3 egg yolks (optional, make sure they’re good quality)

1/4 c crisp guanciale or pancetta or bacon (optional)

handful of chopped parsley (optional)

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente.  Drain, but reserve one and half cups of the pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot, and the remaining ingredients, as many or as few as you wish, adding pasta water as needed to create a silky sauce.

* Playlist included Are You Awake?, by Kevin Shields

January 11, 2011

Winter Kitchen | White Bolognese with Fresh Pasta

You can’t find a fresh, ripe, beautiful red tomato here in Ohio in January.  You just can’t.  So how could you possibly make a bolognese in the depths of winter?  Make a white bolognese.  Skip the tomatoes altogether and make a very Italian specialty.  In doing so, you will make my single most favorite thing to cook.

It is my most favorite of all favorites.  Really, truly.  The kind that my small family of three will piggishly devour an entire pound of pasta, with Cherub (remember, she’s three) helping herself to thirds.  It is, in a word, delicious.  Amazingly delicious.  Well, that’s two.  But I mean it: if you have yet to make a recipe from this blog, you should make this one.

White Bolognese, adapted from The Silver Spoon

1 T olive oil

2 strips of bacon

1/2 finely chopped yellow onion

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