A few years ago, one of the first Christmas gifts I got Nick was an old school pasta maker. We love breaking it out for Holidays, and Valentine’s tends to be the time we use it the most, when our tradition is to make good ole raviolis from scratch. Now I’m not going to lie, making raviolis is a LONG process if you do it from scratch like this, but it’s a lot of fun when you have time to kill. This year with a baby, we tried to break the process up into steps; we prepped a day ahead of time, letting Char watch us prep while she ate dinner. Continue reading “Valentine’s Traditions with Raviolis…”
My apologies for the lack of posts this last month. Life kind of caught up to me, and I found myself not having a lot of computer time these last few weeks. I hope everyone is recovering from their Turkey Day food comas. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and I enter serious sad mode once the day has past. Luckily, I have Black Friday sales to distract me 🙂
Continue reading “Pre Thanksgiving Carbo Load…”
I feel like I should put a disclaimer on this recipe first and foremost, letting you know that this is NOT the easiest/quickest entree to attempt to make. However, if you have a long and free Friday night, and REALLY feel like getting ambitious, this is an AMAZING dish to try and create. It did require quite a few ingredients, but after reading the latest Food & Wine magazine, featuring so many delicious recipes inspired by Italy, we were really feeling aggressive. We had some friends over last night, and the guys went to town in the kitchen (so I can’t take much credit in this dish). However, the girls supervised, making sure the wine glasses were full 🙂 Continue reading “Baby Steps & Gnocchi…..”
So I can’t take credit for this dish, because it was 100% Nick’s creation and under taking. My only actual role in this recipe was to buy the ingredients. We hadn’t made a really good pasta dish in awhile, so I told Nick to pick his favorite one and we’d treat our selves on Friday night. We had our friends over for a nice double date, welcoming them to the neighborhood (yay for recruiting west village folks uptown). This was the perfect dish to over indulge in after a long week, because it is based in olive oil, so you don’t feel as guilty. Might I add we scraped the bowl clean, then finished the night off with four different cakes from a diner down the street. YUM!
Lil miss Char only got to play with our guests for about 20 minutes before it was bed time. I think both Charlotte and myself were a tad run down this week. We had 3 play dates this week, which is much busier than usual. We went to music class, visited Brooklyn, ventured to the Central Park Zoo with friends, and explored some new play ground swings. Hmmm maybe mama overbooked us? I’m pretty sure that explains our exhaustion.
Orchiette w/ Fennel, Sausage, & Red pepper
- 1 box orchiette
- 2 sweet italian sausages
- 1 spicy italian sausage
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 bulbs fennel (cut into cubes about the size of the orchiette)
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
- 2 cups white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 bunch parsley (chopped)
- salt, pepper, chili flakes, thyme extra virgin olive oil.
- Fresh grated parmesan
Pre-heat the oven to 425. Toss the fennel with some olive oil with a pinch of salt & pepper. Roast on a baking sheet until soft, ~25 mins.
Start boiling the water with a generous amount of salt. You can start the rest of the recipe while the fennel is roasting and while you wait for the water to boil.
Remove the filling from the sausages and saute in a large saucepan w/ 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat, until well browned. Crumble the sausage into smaller pieces, so they’re about the size of the orchiette. Remove the sausage from the pan, preserving the left over oil.
Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper to the pan, with a generous pinch of salt, pepper and dried chili flates, saute until just golden (3-4 mins). Sprinkle 2 Tbsp flour over the sauteed veggies, stirring well, until they start brown again (~1 min).
While preparing the sauce, you can start boiling the pasta, cook until al dente (not quite fully cooked… it will cook a little more in the sauce).
Add white wine and 1 tsp dried thyme to the veggies, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce until most of the wine is gone (~10 mins). Add the chicken stock and the cooked sausage to the pan, reduce again until most liquid is gone (another 5-10 mins). At this point you should have a reasonably thick, almost like glazed veggies. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Add the bread crumbs, mix well, and toast until golden. stir frequently, approx. 2 mins.
Add the pasta and roasted fennel to the mixture, tossing lightly. Cook all together for 1-2 mins. Transfer to a large bowl, toss with the parsley.
Serve in bowls, sprinkling toasted breadcrumbs and parm on top.
I know I mentioned before, I’m not much of a fan for pasta. I blame my mother (in a good way), because she seriously is the best when it comes to cooking pasta since she makes everything from scratch. So for my whole life that has been my excuse to never order it at a restaurant, because it won’t compare in taste. However, Nick LOVES pasta, and his favorite dish is your classic spaghetti. So obviously as his wife I just can’t deprive him of his favorite dish! He has definitely mastered the classic red sauce spaghetti and meatball dish (my mom might have some close competition there), but lately he’s been getting more creative with his noodles. Below’s dish is one he made for us the other night that came with quite the kick! I even found myself going back for 3rds 🙂 If you wanted to add a sausage or another type of meat to this dish it would definitely be yummy, but honestly, you don’t need it!
Spicy Cacio e Pepe with Parsley:
Ingredients: serves 2-3
- -1 pack of thick spaghetti
- – 1-2 cups fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese (you can use the granulated, pre-grated kind… it will still taste good, but the texture of the dish won’t be quite as nice. Also, use 1/3 less if you use non-fresh)
- – 1 bunch parsley (chopped)
- – 6-8 cloves garlic (thinly sliced… the more the merrier, really)
- – 1 Tbsp dried chili flakes (or more, depending on how much kick you want)
- – salt & pepper
- – extra virgin olive oil
- Boil spaghetti in generously salted water until al dente. Strain into the bowl you’re going to serve the pasta in and toss w/ a little olive oil (to stop it from sticking together.)
- In the now empty pot, add 1/4 cup of olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes. Heat over low heat, cooking until garlic flakes are just starting to get golden, 3-4 mins, stirring regularly. This should make a nice garlic/chili oil.
- Return the pasta to the pot, quickly tossing with the garlic/chili oil. Cook, continually tossing, for another 1-2 mins, then remove from heat.
- This step you can choose to do or not, depending on how cheesy you like your pasta (I like to skip this part to keep the pasta healthier… and to be honest, even Nick said it doesn’t detract from the flavor too much). But if you insist… Add 1 cup of Parmesan to the hot pasta, tossing actively. This should allow the parm to melt a little, but not to mac & cheese-like consistency.
- Add to the serving bowl, tossing with fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. You should use a generous amount of parsley… parsley offsets the richness/spiciness of the rest of the ingredients.) Make sure to add the parm before salt, b/c parm is salty in and of itself. Same with black pepper, as the chili pepper already adds spiciness… we like a lot of pepper anyways, though.
- Regardless of whether or not you added parm in step 4, definitely sprinkle fresh grated parm on top. Et voila! You’re done!
I realized I haven’t updated on Char that much this week! She’s been a little active one this week. Now that the weather is nice, I’m utilizing the stroller and taking her out non stop! She did have her ‘first roll’ ….and I am ashamed to admit this, but we both missed it. Go figure! I put her down for tummy time (which she hates), and went to the kitchen for 2 seconds to help Nick. When I came back, she was off her mat, laying there silently on her back! We are hoping she attempts it again, since she’s been squirming around like crazy on her mat, but we shall see!