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Recipe: Bucatini with meatballs and homemade tomato sauce

A couple weeks ago, Lara from Simply Irresistible posted two pasta recipes that looked SO good. Well, I mean, all of her recipes look really good, but I must’ve been craving pasta, because the minute I saw these, I wanted to make them right then and there. Which is weird, because at home, Joe and I typically stay away from pasta, mostly for dietary reasons. But the weather has been cooler, and the thought of a big, warm bowl of noodles just sounded really delicious!

Two Saturdays ago, we spent the day out and about, running errands and buying a coat for Joe, and it was drizzling all day. Inspired by Lara, I suggested pasta for dinner to make up for the miserable weather. I was blown away when Joe said, “Spaghetti and meatballs?” Done and done. And to make things extra special, I told him I’d even make the sauce from scratch.

This dish turned out really well! If you’re following exactly what I did, I’d recommend you save this one for a weekend, when you have a bit more time. However, you could easily make it a weeknight meal by using your favorite jarred marinara sauce.

Get the recipe after the jump! Continue reading

Recipe: Pasta with sun dried tomatoes and spinach

Last Thursday in an attempt to both a) self-medicate and b) pay homage to the great Jersey Shore, Joe and I stopped by A.G. Ferrari and picked up lots of Italian goodies to snack on.

The next day, we had to go for broke and indulge two nights in a row, so the leftovers from our Jersey Shore binge — namely sun dried tomato pesto, sun dried tomatoes and Piave cheese — became the stars of a quick Friday night pasta dish. This is another great example of MacGyvering something together into a totally scrumptious meal (where are your requests, people?). While my pasta dish was pretty simple, one could easily add in grilled chicken, or cooked broccoli, white beans, or any other type of leafy green. Just use whatever you have laying around.

I present to you gemelli with sun dried tomatoes and spinach. The recipe is super easy. Continue reading

MacGyver me this.


You know it’s coming: Continue reading

Recipe: Roasted vegetable lasagna

Joe was out of town all last weekend, and even though he wasn’t scheduled to get home until a little late Monday night, I promised him I’d have something waiting for him on the .01% chance that the airplane food wasn’t horrible.

He assured me that as it’d be late, he probably wouldn’t be that hungry, but that nurturing instinct in me (the one that drives me to cook as a means to comfort people) wanted something delicious at the ready. I’d been thinking about making lasagna for a while, so I used the homecoming as an excuse to indulge him/myself.

The weekend without him had already seen me stuffing my maw with dim sum, sushi, pasta, and lots of wine (self-medicating after a very long and busy week at work, obviously), so I tried to keep things a bit lighter with the use of yummy roasted vegetables, and no meat.

In case you weren’t aware, using roasted vegetables in any dish negates the calories from cheese and béchamel sauce that would otherwise go straight to your heiney. It’s true. I seen it.

I started with some sliced zucchini, little planks of yellow bell pepper and big slices of cremini mushroom. All these got tossed on a sheet tray with olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flake and some dried thyme.

I popped this into a 375° oven for about 20 minutes — basically whenever I was ready for them. The main idea in preparing the vegetables is that you want them to be about the same thickness, so that they’ll layer evenly in the lasagna. With the amount of water in all of these veggies, the roasting is less about browning them and more about getting them cooked most of the way through. They’ll finish cooking in the lasagna. Plus, you wouldn’t want all that water leaking everywhere in the lasagna. It would just water down the sauce.

While the vegetables roasted, I prepared the other “filling” ingredients for the pasta. Continue reading

Recipe: Risotto with asparagus, fresh shelling peas and lemon

This is a post with some seriously good eats. The not so serious part? It’s extremely easy to make, as long as you carve out some time for yourself on a weekend evening, and are totally, 100% committed to putting a lot of love into your food. If you can manage these first two requirements, you can give the gift of risotto to someone special in your life. Even if it’s just yourself.

Back story With a brief warm spell we had last week, a few springtime favorites made an appearance at the market near my house on Saturday: verdant, crisp asparagus spears. Knobbly, plump pea pods. I feel more sprightly just thinking about it. It was a no-brainer to use both in whatever I’d be cooking.

Since Joe was leaving the next afternoon, a big bowl full of risotto love seemed to be the thing that would provide both an appropriate sendoff, and remind him that there’s something (someone?) good to come home to when it’s all said and done.

To throw in an undertone of earthiness with all the vegetal, green flavors, I picked up a few cremini mushrooms to add into the mix. Then, to heighten and brighten all the flavors, lemon zest proved the ticket. Are you ready to see how it all came together? Away we go! Continue reading

New house pasta

I managed to amaze myself when, during our first week of living in the new apartment, I made several home cooked meals. Lamb chops. Pork chops. Lots of yummy roasted vegetables. I thought I was on a roll, and was totally proud that we’d managed to make it to the store. In spite that feeling of being displaced, we were still sitting down nightly to a nice family meal.

That lasted ONLY the first week.

Last week, we had takeout almost every night. We were both exhausted each day after work, as we continued to adjust to the new routine and the feel of a new place.

After painting on Saturday, we were both starving, but didn’t feel like going out.

“Do we have anything we can eat here?” Joe asked. “Even some pasta?”

“We have some pasta, but I don’t know what I’d put with it.” He looked at me forlornly. “Okay,” I said, “I’ll Macgyver something together for us.”

As often happens when you have a fridge full of random items, a hungry family, and a desperate cook, the final dish can be fantastic. I put together a sauce made from creamy goat cheese, sweet caramezlied shallots, thyme and spinach, then of course, topped the whole thing off with parmesan. It just goes to show that if you always keep a few staples around, it’s easy to put together something satisfying. Here’s how it all went down.

First things first. Get a pot of water going to boil your pasta. When making a pasta dish that has a separate sauce, it’s always easiest to have the water going, so that you can begin cooking the pasta at a moment’s notice. Otherwise, you might get too caught up in making your sauce to time the pasta cookery correctly.

You’ll also want to set your oven to 300°, so that you can toast 1/4 cup of pine nuts.

In a small saute pan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat. Add in 1 medium sliced shallot, a clove or two of minced garlic, and the leaves of 2 sprigs of thyme.

Cook these slowly, Continue reading

Mac ‘n Cheese – the 2009 version

I was talking with a co-worker the other day about how December is totally a wash. Even though we all have to go to work or school, those few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are definitely not the time of year where I feel most focused or motivated to do anything except cook, eat, and sit at home in my pajamas — maybe with some carols playing in the background. This last week, the weather in San Francisco turned truly wintry, with temperatures cold enough to warrant the use of wool mittens, and big gusts of wind that swirled through your legs, making you brace no matter how long your coat.

The things I like about this time of year? The lights. The decorations found in the most unexpected places. Gift wrapping (it’s the only craft I ever seemed to be any good at). And of course, the eats. Because when it’s cold outside, you have license to eat whatever makes you feel a little bit warmer, even if your gym clothes haven’t seen the light of day in…a while.

That’s the thinking Joe and I have when it comes to making mac ‘n cheese every year with our Thanksgiving meal. I know we’re more than a week past Thanksgiving now (I’ll refer you back to the first paragraph if you’re wondering why I didn’t get around to writing this post earlier in the week), but if ever there was a time of year to curl up with a bowl of creamy, zippy, decadent mac ‘n cheese, this is it. Indulge now. Whatever guilt you have for eating something so deliciously bad can be assuaged when you resolve to exercise more after the new year.

Get the recipe after the jump! Continue reading

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