Category Archives: Pasta

Mushroom Fettuccine

mushroom pasta

Speaking as someone who is learning to cook for a living, I’ve got a sad, embarrassing confession for you: I’m just not that into cooking meals at home these days. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m on my feet at 5AM and I’m baking biscuits by 6. Or maybe it’s an over-saturation of the senses, the intoxicating smell of pan-caramelized apples wafting up at me, and the constant bombardment of sauteed garlic, homey herbs, and savory braise smells of the creations from another cook, desensitizing my desire for good food. Whatever the cause, when the time to cook when the day’s end rolls around, I’ve been struggling to muster much enthusiasm.

fork pasta

I’ve come up with a counter-intuitive solution to my problem by challenging myself to only cook dinners that I’m genuinely excited about eating. They don’t have to be hard recipes or take hours to make, in fact most of them so far have been made up on the fly. They do need to be dishes I’ll look forward to eating, meals worthy of opening a moderately priced bottle of wine to enjoy midweek. To select these recipes, I pause and ask myself, as I’m heading by the store on the way home, “what am I hungry for?” And then, I make that thing. So far, it’s been a success.

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

sweet potato gnocchi

While I do my best to keep this space relatively free of my personal angst, today was really crappy, and I need to tell someone about it. It was the kind of day where I talk to my mother on the phone three times in the span of a few hours: one call to deal with some straightforward, wedding-related business, the second where she calls me back after we get cut off (bad cell reception up north) and I regress to levels of 11th grade petulance and take all of my frustrations out on her but don’t actually tell her why I’m acting out, and a third when I call back later to apologize. In short, it’s the kind of day for which comfort foods, such as gnocchi, were invented.

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Orecchiette with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Garlic Chives

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. I’m swimming in them. And the most marvelous thing about tomato season is that much of the work has been done for you, by the farmer. In-season tomatoes are the most marvelous thing to happen to cooking, because even kitchen-phobic, “I can’t even boil water, pass the takeout menu!” types can make perfect, delicious, and colorful meals with minimal effort.

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Honeycomb Cannelloni Recipe

 

You don’t have to talk to me for very long about cooking before the conversation will come around to how I think Jamie Oliver is a genius. He is a champion of non-fussy home cooking, as illustrated by the type of recipes he creates (modern takes on classics, refreshingly free from snotty attitude) and the ingredients that he chooses. 

 

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Pad Thai Recipe

 

I had a hankering for pad thai the other night and I decided that I would try to make it myself rather than ordering it from our neighborhood standby Klong or making the pilgrimage out to Queens. There are a few elements that I believe are mission critical in this dish – high tamarind to fish sauce ratio and lots of lime and peanuts are what I believe give pad thai a shot at being great. This recipe, with several tweaks, has potential.

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Italian Christmas Ravioli Recipe

 

In our family, the most sacred food of all is one specific type of ravioli – the one my grandmother makes at Christmas time. Making this ravioli the way my Grandmother has all her life is a labor-intensive process involving a wooden rolling pin, a heavy board, and a lot of elbow grease and time. This year I was tasked with ravioli making for Christmas, and I felt the need to really impress Grammy with my pasta skills. 

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Fresh Goat Cheese Ravioli Recipe

 

This recipe involves fresh pasta. To learn how to make fresh pasta at home, see my post on making fresh pasta at home.

Ravioli is on my top ten list of comfort foods and goat cheese is high on my superlative list of ingredients. I love how it instantly add richness and divine flavor to, well, anything that mingles with it. Recently I had purchased very disappointing goat cheese ravioli from Russo’s, our neighborhood cheese and pastisseria (so sad because Russo’s handmade buffalo mozzarella is out of this world), and I was craving the goat cheese ravioli of my dreams: creamy, melty, and delightful. This one totally delivered (do not be deceived by the underwhelming picture above – my camera skills are sadly lacking).

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Open Lasagne with Acorn Squash Puree Recipe

 


 

This recipe involves fresh pasta. To learn how to make fresh pasta at home, see my last post.

Sometimes we start out a recipe with the best intentions of carrying it through, only to be struck by creativity and veer far from the directions on the page. That is exactly how Jamie Oliver’s Open Stained-Glass Lasagne with Roasted Squash turned into Lauren’s Open Lasagne with Acorn Squash Puree, in all of it’s smooth, spicy, nutty deliciousness.

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Making Fresh Pasta at Home

 

Although I am not exactly sure when the first time I had fresh pasta was, I’m guessing that it was the first Christmas that I had teeth enough to chew it. Once a year, several days before the holiday, my grandmother would bring out her huge, heavy wooden board and a long rolling pin and the kneading, punching, pounding, slapping, and eventually, the endless hand rolling would commence, often lasting for two days – all for the moment when we would sit down to the famous first course of Christmas dinner, ravioli in homemade chicken stock.

 

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