Posts from the ‘pasta’ Category

Fettuccine Alfredo

The boy has been out of town on business all week, so I decided to take advantage of that fact and make something with loads of dairy. This was pretty much the perfect recipe to accomplish that. I’ve always loved alfredo, typically poured from a jar, but once I started making my own, there was no going back.

The recipe really couldn’t be easier

Fettuccine Alfredo

  • Heavy cream
  • Butter
  • Parmesan (the good stuff)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • Pasta (Fettuccine really is best)

Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add an equal amount of cream. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste, then a little salt (Parmesan is pretty salty). Heat until barely simmering. Turn heat off and put grated Parmesan in. I typically add about half the amount of cheese as cream/butter. Stir around to melt the cheese, and let sit.

Cook pasta according to directions. Taste the sauce to see if it needs any more salt, then add the noodles to the pan. Toss is all together, then sprinkle on a little more cheese, just because you can. If the sauce is too thick, pour in a little pasta water.

I’d like to say that I ate a salad with this, but I didn’t. Just lots and lots of pasta.


Pasta with Leeks and Pancetta

Last Saturday was my sweet sister’s birthday, so I offered to come over and cook dinner for her. Yes, I’m pretty much the best sister ever. When I asked what sounded good, the only thing she requested was my crack dressing. Gotta love it. That still left me with no main course. I wanted a recipe that was just a little more special than usual, and that hopefully had a little bit of dairy in it, since the boy (now fiancée!)  wasn’t going to be around.

I remembered seeing this recipe a while before, and had mentally tucked it away for later. So glad that I did, because it was really really delicious. It has some of my favorite things like wine, something bacon related, and leeks. Can’t go wrong with that. I even set aside some of the sauce before adding the cream so I could take it home to the boy, and it was still delicious.

Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks

  • 12 ounces, weight Pasta, Cooked Al Dente  (I used farfalle)
  • 3 ounces, weight Chopped Pancetta
  • 3 whole Leeks, Sliced Thin
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • ½ cups Dry White Wine
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, Shaved

Cook pasta and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Saute chopped pancetta until fat is rendered and it starts to brown. Add sliced leeks and cook for 8 minutes. Add butter. After 1 or 2 minutes, pour in wine, then cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until reduced (At this point, I took about 1/3 cup and tossed it with some noodles for the boy). Reduce heat to low, then pour in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the pasta and top with shaved Parmesan.

Original recipe:

Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

This soup is good. Really good. So good that I made it Saturday night, and the boy asked me to make it again Sunday night, and to make a bigger batch. I think that’s a recipe win. It comes from the Nigella Kitchen cookbook that I gave my sister for Christmas. At this rate, I’m really going to have to buy myself a copy.

Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

  • 10 oz pork tenderloin, cut into thin discs and then fine strips
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 packages ramen noodles. Discard seasoning packets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I added some of our homemade chili infused olive oil at this point for a little heat. Yum)
  • 6 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 3-4 cups chopped bok choy. Baby bok choy would be great, but our store didn’t have any.

Mix the pork with the lime juice, soy sauce, paprika and fish sauce in a bowl. The recipe said to not let this stand for more than 15 minutes. I probably did, but it turned out just fine.

Cook the ramen, then put in a bowl of cold water and set aside.

Heat the chicken broth in a small saucepan to a low simmer.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the scallions and ginger for a minute or so. Pour in the pork and its marinade and stir thoroughly.

Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. At this point your pork should be cooked. Add the bean sprouts and bok choy.

Put some of the noodles in a bowl, top with meat and veggies, and pour some broth over it all. At this point the boy drizzled a little more chili oil on top, but for me it was perfect.

Roasted Gnocchi

I gave a copy of Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Kitchen away for Christmas, so I of course had to flip through it for a few minutes. This recipe caught my eye. I had already planned on a repeat of the beer braised pork chops, so I thought this could be a fun side dish with it instead of the potatoes we had last time. I love gnocchi but it can so easily be thick and doughy and unappetizing. These were tasty and had a really good crunch and were perfect for beer sauce. Few things aren’t perfect for beer sauce.

Roasted Gnocchi

  • Gnocchi (I got a package on the pasta aisle)
  • Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400. Put the gnocchi on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss around. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pull them out when they’re as crunchy as you’d like them.

Nigella recommends sprinkling with salt and eating as is. I served it as a bed for the pork chops and sauce.

Lazy Tomato Sauce

Lazy doesn’t mean bad. Also, I’m realizing how much my definition of lazy has changed. A couple of years or so ago, lazy tomato sauce would have been me opening a jar of Bertolli. Fancy tomato sauce would have been me dumping a few spices into that jar. Classy.
This sauce is definitely going into frequent rotation though. It is so simple and sweet, and extremely easy. I could see myself eating it on our balcony in the summer. Mmm… summer.
The hardest part was letting it simmer for 45 minutes. I was hungry.

Note: The quality of the tomatoes you use makes all the difference. This is not the time to get the cheap brand. Also, make sure that they don’t contain basil, which was much more prevalent than I would have thought.

Lazy Tomato Sauce

1 28 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste (I barely added a pinch, and only at the very end)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then throw in the contents of the can and the onion halves. Bring to a boil over medium, then reduce and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Every so often I would stir it around and smash the tomatoes. Which was fun. When the time is up, remove the onion and discard. Serve with your favorite pasta and salad. Oh, and wine and garlic bread too, of course.

Cheesy Spaghetti Bake

When La and I became roommates, and discovered our shared love of food, I soon came to learn that she had something that I didn’t: loads of family recipe comfort foods. I’m in the process of tasting as many of these as possible, since I seem to have missed a certain part of my southern heritage in this department. Like the fact that, until a few months ago, I had never had the classic green bean casserole. GASP.
This is one of our absolute favorites. So much so that we had it for Roommate Christmas this year (along with St. Germaine and vodka gimlets. Heavenly). It’s the perfect comfort food, and we think that it might even be better the next day. Always a good thing.
Since I finally got a copy of the recipe, I thought it best to post it here, so I’ll never have to worry about accidentally deleting the email.

Cheesy Spaghetti Bake
Bake at 350
30 minutes

½ lb. lean ground beef
15 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
8 oz. spaghetti broken into thirds

Cheese Sauce
1 C milk
2 T flour
2 T butter
1 C grated cheddar
1/3 C grated Parmesan (Or Italian Blend, as we normally do)
Pinch of salt & pepper

– Over medium heat melt butter, stir in flour until smooth paste 
-Slowly add milk while stirring out all lumps
-Continue to cook over medium heat until boiling
-Turn on low heat for 1 minute until sauce coats spoon
-Stir in ½ cup cheddar and all Parmesan
-Stir until melted

-Brown meat, drain, return to pan
-Add spaghetti sauce to meat, cover, let simmer
-Cook spaghetti, drain, return to pan and add meat/sauce mixture
-Stir until mixed well
-Pour half of the spaghetti/meat/sauce mixture into clear 9×13 dish
-Cover with white cheese sauce
-Pour the remaining spaghetti/meat/sauce mixture into dish and cover with remaining grated cheddar
-Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly

Serve with lots of garlic bread and red wine. 

Friday Night Improv

We (roommate (La) and I) had a slight change in plans for dinner tonight, involving mixed up addresses among other things. Long story short: I had to come up with some sort of dinner, without much to work with. The result was delicious, if I do say so myself, and more than enough for us and our friend Mimi.

Spicy Chicken Rotini
3 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar Bertolli tomato and basil sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp sugar
1 lb rotini pasta

Pour half of the sauce into the bottom of a crockpot, then stir in the pepper flakes and sugar. Place the chicken breasts in, then pour the remaining sauce on top. I stirred it all around as much as I could, placed the cover on, and set it high for about 4-5 hours. When we were hungry, I shredded the chicken in the pot and mixed it together. Serve over rotini.

I also served creamed corn, which is called (creatively enough) Allyn’s special corn.

1 package frozen corn
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp salt
10 good shakes of Tony’s, or to taste

Throw it all together in a saucepan with a lid, over medium low heat for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the corn is thoroughly heated, take the lid off and cook until the cream has thickened.

La’s homemade lemon drops helped round the evening out.