Category Archives: Pasta

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Alex, I’ll take Bacon for $1,000. 

A:  Bacon is a key component to this traditional Roman spaghetti-based meal. 

Q:  What is Spaghetti Carbonara? 

Tonight's starting lineup

I have this very simple cookbook that my Mother gave me when I moved out of the house.  It’s great really; straight forward recipes, nothing complicated, and basic enough that typically I have all the ingredients that I need on hand.  Also, it’s short and focused enough that I can lazily flip through a section to see what strikes my fancy and then make it for dinner that night.  I came across this Spaghetti Cabonara and it struck my fancy.  I had been saving my CSA bacon for something special and this was it.  The best part is that the whole meal comes together quickly with minimal fuss.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Stirring the eggs while piping hot

Spaghetti Carbonara

Adapted from Clueless In the Kitchen by Evelyn Raab 

Ingredients:

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti 

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk 

4 oz pecorino cheese, finely shredded 

6 slices bacon 

To Make: 

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil to cook the pasta. 

While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the bacon until crisp in a large skillet.  Remove the bacon and chop up into crumbles.  Set aside.  Drain all but about 2 tbls of the bacon fat from the skillet 

Beat the egg and the egg yolk and grate cheese.  Set aside 

When the spaghetti is fully cooked, drain, do not rinse it, and pour it into the skillet where the bacon was cooked. 

Immediately add in the cooked bacon and pour in the raw beaten eggs with the shredded cheese to the skillet with the piping hot spaghetti.  Stir to even coat the spaghetti.  The hot spaghetti will cook the raw eggs and transform the mixture into a rich and creamy sauce.

To Serve: 

Best eaten right away!  Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with any fresh herbs that suit your fancy.  Serves two as a main course or four as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Pasta, Recipes

Baked Mac & Cheese

Baked Mac & Cheese

How do you like your maccaroni and cheese?  Do you like it baked with a crunchy bread crumb layer and stiff enough to slice?  How about from the stove top with a creamy cheese sauce?  Or even (gasp) from the box?  Regardless of how you like it, I highly recommend you give this version a try. 

Spices and onions

This mac and cheese is extra cheesy and has a crunchy panko bread crumb topping.  Whole wheat elbows adds a light nutty flavor (and some extra fiber).  This is the ultimate in comfort food and is ripe for modifications.  I could see additions of bacon or some wilted spinach.  Alternatively, you could throw in some blue or goat cheese for an interesting flavor option.

Making the cheese sauce

This is great right out of the oven or eaten cold out of the fridge the next day.  The perfect dinner for a cold winter Sunday night.

30 minutes to heaven

Baked Mac & Cheese

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking 

Ingredients:

8 oz whole wheat elbow pasta

5 oz mild cheddar, shredded

4 oz Monterey jack, shredded

1 small onion, diced

3 tbls tablespoons butter, divided

2 tbls flour

1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp paprika

1 bay leaf

 2 cups milk (2%)

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

To Make:

Shred the cheeses and set aside. 

Fill a large stock pot with water and cook the pasta until just tender, according to the packaged instructions.  Drain and set aside.

Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and preheat the oven to 350F.

Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, over medium heat, melt 2 tbls of butter.  Add the diced onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add in the flour, dry mustard, and paprika and whisk to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes to get the raw flour taste out.  Slowly stream the milk into the pot, whisking constantly to incorporate.  Add the bay leaf.  Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes.

Remove the cheese sauce from the heat and stir in about two-thirds of the shredded cheese until melted.  Stir in the maccaroni.  Empty about half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Layer with half of the remaining cheese.  Empty the rest of the mac into the baking dish. 

In a small skillet, melt 1 tbls of butter.  Add the bread crumbs and stir until lightly browned.  Top the mac and cheese with the remaining cheese and finally the toasted bread crumbs. 

Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

To Serve:

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 6 as a main course.

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Filed under Dinner, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian

Winter Squash Lasagna

Winter Squash Lasagna

 When we blog, we post recipes that we make that are yummy.  Obviously, we don’t post everything we make, we look for dishes that have something interesting or special about them.  This dish is very, very special.  After dinner tonight, we both agreed that this twist on the classic lasagna is one of the most delicious things we have made in quite a while.

Squash ready for roasting

We got the idea for this dish while browsing through one of our Thanksgiving-themed cookbooks.  The author shared a recipe for a pumpkin and sage lasagna that sounded tasty, but was pretty fussy and complicated.  It called for frying sage leaves and for thickly slicing a seeded and peeled pumpkin and sauteing it before making the lasagna.  With two small children in the house, we don’t really have time for that kind of work.

Mashed squash and ricotta

So we decided to go rogue with the recipe and make it our way.  Our way includes a roasted winter squash whose flesh is folded with whole milk ricotta and flavored with dried sage.  Things get simplified with no-bake lasagna noodles.  It also adds mozzarella cheese to the mix and tops the whole dish with a creamy bechamel sauce that is flavored with bay, thyme, parsley, and black pepper.  Once baked, the lasagna is rich and creamy with balanced sweetness from the squash and savory from the cheeses and herbs. 

Construction

Middle layers

         

Ready for the oven

Fresh out of the oven

         

 

 

 We recommend that you head immediately to your nearest market and purchase one of the many delicious in-season winter squashes currently available and make this dish tonight.  I think I might have to go look for leftovers.

Winter Squash Lasagna

Ingredients:

2lbs winter squash such as pumpkin or butternut (do not use spaghetti squash), cut in half and seeded

1 lb ricotta cheese

2 tsp dried sage

2 tsp kosher salt

3 cups milk

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp dried parsley

6 whole peppercorns

3 tbls butter

1 large clove of garlic, minced

3 tbls flour

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 package no-boil lasagna noodles

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

To Make:

Roast the winter squash in a 400 degree until tender, about 50-60 minutes (depending on the type of squash).  Remove and let cool.  Meanwhile, pour 3 cups of milk in a saucepan.  Cut a square of cheesecloth (about 8 inches) and place the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and parsley inside.  Gather up the corners to make a packet and tie tightly with twine.  Add the herb packet to the milk and heat over medium heat until gently simmering.  Simmer for 2 minutes (do not let it boil), remove from heat, and let the milk steep for 30 minutes.

Once the squash is cool, scoop out the flesh and place it in a large bowl.  Mash the squash with a potato masher.  Add the ricotta cheese, sage, 1 tsp of salt, and ground pepper to taste.  Fold the mixture together and set aside. 

To make the bechamel sauce, use a 3-4 quart saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and saute until just beginning to brown (about 2 minutes) stirring constantly.  Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the raw flour taste is cooked out, about another 2 minutes.  Remove the herb packet from the milk (discard it).  Slowly pour the milk into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly.  Once all the milk has been added, continue to whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with remaining tsp of salt and ground nutmeg.

To Assemble:

In a 9×13 casserole, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Place three lasagna noodles crosswise on top of the sauce.  Top with 1/3 of the squash ricotta mixture and 2 ounces of the mozzarella.  Place three more noodles in the dish.  Top with 1/3 of the squash ricotta mixture, 2 ounces of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the bechamel sauce.  Repeat the second layer (noodles, the remaining squash, mozzarella).  Top with remaining three noodles, the rest of the bechamel sauce, the rest of the mozzarella cheese, and the grated parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes and the top is browned and bubbly.

To Serve:

Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.  Garnish with chopped fresh sage leaves with desired.  Serves 8.

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Kimchi Noodle Soup

Kimchi Noodle Soup

Kimchi Noodle Soup

So, you are wondering what to do with all that kimchi are you?  Okay, here is a recipe for a simple and tasty soup that I like to make for lunch on cold days (or on days when I have a cold).  It only takes about 15 minutes to make and it is warm and filling. 

Kimchi Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

1 serving of dried noodles (I prefer rice noodles but thin spaghetti works as well)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce (I like the flavor of Tamari soy sauce but regular soy sauce works too)

1/2 cup kimchi

1 tbls juice from the kimchi jar

3 cups chicken broth

2 eggs

1 scallion, finely chopped

To Make:

Cook noodles in a saucepan of boiling water until done.  Drain and toss the noodles with the sesame oil and soy sauce.  Divide the noodles between two bowls and top with half the kimchi and kimchi juice.  Meanwhile, heat the broth in a sauce pan until simmering.  Crack one egg into a small bowl and gently slide it into the sauce pan.  Place the lid on and simmer until the egg whites are set and the yolk is still soft, about 3 minutes.  Remove the egg and place it on top of the noodles and kimchi.  Repeat with the other egg.  Divide the broth between the two bowls and garnish with chopped scallion.

To Serve:

If you would like your soup with more kick, add extra hot sauce to taste.  Serves two.

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Filed under Pasta, Recipes, Soup, Vegetarian