Arsip Tag: pasta

charred eggplant and walnut pesto pasta salad – smitten kitchen

Source: Walnut pesto adapted from Jody Williams

  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used Setaro’s organietti, but other radiatore shapes are great here)
  • Additional olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant (1 pound)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Additional sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or basil
  • Dressing
  • 3/4 cup (2 3/4 ounces) walnuts, toasted and cooled first for best flavor
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, cleaned
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, plus more at end
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more at end
  • 2 tablespoons (about 3) minced sun-dried tomatoes (oil or dry-packed will both work)
  • Freshly ground black pepper and/or red pepper flakes

Cook pasta: In very well salted water until 1 to 2 minutes before doneness and drain.

Prepare eggplant: Trim eggplant and slice into 1/2-inch coins. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat grill to medium-high. Arrange eggplant in one layer and cook until charred underneath, about 8 minutes. (If it’s sticking to the grill, it wants to cook longer.) Flip pieces over and cook until charred on second side, about 5 to 8 minutes more. Set aside to cool slightly then chop into chunks.

No grill? Heat oven to 425. Trim eggplant and slice into 1/2-inch coins. Coat a baking sheet generously with olive oil, arrange eggplant on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release easily; if they don’t want to, cook them a few minutes longer. Flip each piece, sprinkle again with salt and pepper, and roast on the second side for 10 to 12 minutes, or until charred underneath again.

Make dressing: In food processor, coarsely grind walnuts, cheese, garlic, thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper and/or red pepper flakes. Stir in oil and tomatoes, then whisk in vinegar to taste.

Assemble salad: Toss cooked pasta with walnut dressing and additional vinegar and oil to loosen (I used about 1 tablespoon extra oil and 2 tablespoons extra vinegar in total). Chop eggplant into chunks, add to bowl and toss again. Adjust seasonings to taste, then stir in cheese and herbs.

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corn, bacon and parmesan pasta – smitten kitchen

Oh, hi, I am ready for summer now. What did I miss?

Because the first half of this summer was so busy — a manuscript due, a redesign set off into the world, a birthday, and a zillion other bits of happy work/life chaos — I’m in this funny position of looking up for the first time mid-July and realizing that no mysterious person has arrived while I was buried in winter recipe testing and font fine-tunings and filled my freezer with popsicles, put a bowl of heirloom tomatoes on the counter, ready for their caprese closeup [realistically, this doesn’t happen even if I had been paying attention, but let me enjoy this rose-colored Pinterest fantasy just the same] and beach? Hadn’t seen it since May. I have about seven weeks left to catch up, except I know at least five of those will be buried under recipe testing and book edits, which basically means it’s now or never to do all the summer things I haven’t yet.

what you'll need
diced thick-cut bacon
cutting the corn off the cob

Beach? Check. Swimming? Check. Grilling? Check, check, check. Scheduled 7-hour flight with 4 adults and 5 children to a faraway beach town in the name of vacation? I’m scared but: check! Do everything I can with sweet summer corn while it lasts? Let’s get to work!

those curls of steam (!)
crispy bits

We had some leftover corn on the cob after Father’s Day and I shaved it off the cob and sautéed it in the renderings left behind from crispy bits of bacon (also tangentially related to Father’s Day), tossed the two with al dente pasta and a bit of cooking water with parmesan, chives and basil and it was really lovely and very summery and, because this is 2016, took a picture of it and posted it on Instagram and promised to share the recipe later and three weeks later, here we are! I am sure everyone was at the edge of their seat. Let my ridiculousness not hold you up: this should be a new summer staple, so easy, happy, kid-friendly and welcoming of all matter of laziness (you can decide to make this 20 or so minutes before you eat it) and adaptations (bacon not your thing? add some diced tomatoes at the end).

pasta with corn bacon and parmesan
pasta with corn bacon and parmesan

Redesign: Thank you for all of your feedback. I’m sorry we’ve had some glitches (notably, an email newsletter that went out blank save some tacky ads, obviously, I hope, a mistake I hope we’ve now fixed). Do know that I am going through your concerns one by one and making adjustments, yes, including that ad on top (soon). In the meanwhile, there’s a search bar back in the sidebar, seasonal links are back there, the In Season tab should be working now too, and the comment form is back up at the top so you don’t have to scroll through. Soon, soon, we will have everything right and well again. In the meanwhile, happy cooking!

One year ago: Very Blueberry Scones and Look What Else We Baked!
Two years ago: Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches and Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles
Three years ago: Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic and One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes
Four years ago: Bacon Corn Hash and Peach Pie
Five years ago: Flatbreads with Honey Thyme and Sea Salt and Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
Six years ago: Mango Slaw with Cashews and Mint and Thai-Style Chicken Legs
Seven years ago: Watermelon Lemonade, Light Brioche Burger Buns, Blueberry Boy Bait and Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza
Eight years ago: Zucchini Strand Spaghetti, Project Wedding Cake: Mango Curd and Swiss Buttercream
Nine years ago: Quick Potato Pirogi, Ratatouille’s Ratatouille, Red Bean Chili and Double-Layer Chocolate Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Butterscotch Pudding and Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake
1.5 Years Ago: Chicken Pho and Pear and Hazelnut Muffins
2.5 Years Ago: Gnocchi in Tomato Broth
3.5 Years Ago: Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas and Ethereally Smooth Hummus
4.5 Years Ago: Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame and Apple Sharlotka

Corn, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta

Think of this as a close cousin to the bacon corn hash in the archives. I think this would also be delicious with farro or another grain instead of pasta. If you’d like a creamier pasta, a big spoonful of mascarpone stirred in at the end would be otherworldly; use a little less pasta cooking water if so.
  • 8 ounces dried pasta (I used spirals here and radiatore in the past)
  • 1/4 pound bacon, ideally thick-cut, diced
  • 2 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
  • Fistful of fresh basil and chives, chopped

If you’re hoping to pull this all off in one pan, cook your pasta in a large deep saute pan* until al dente, or 1 to 2 minutes before it is done. Reserve a cup of pasta cooking water and drain. Wipe pan dry if using for the next steps, otherwise, you can get started in a large frying pan.

Scatter bacon in pan over medium-high heat, no need to heat the pan first. Cook, stirring, until evenly browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon bits to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from pan (save for other fun stuff, like frying eggs) and add corn to it. Season corn with salt and pepper and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, until crisp-tender. Add pasta and a couple splashes of the cooking water and half the parmesan and toss, toss, toss the pasta with the corn, seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed and adding more cooking water if it doesn’t feel loose enough. Add scallions and stir to warm. Stir in bacon and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and fresh herbs. Dig in.

* this is my go-to for a lot of things these days because it is both shallow saucepan with a lid and and a big deep frying pan

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skillet-baked pasta with five cheeses – smitten kitchen

September is like gateway or fake fall, appropriate considering that the season exists officially for only one-third of it. But October — and especially so this year, ushered in with a week of gray rainy (which I just typed as grainy, also somehow fitting) weather — almost without fail sets off the following things in the following order:

* I spy the season’s first interloper.
* All of a sudden the children need to wear socks again and there are no socks anywhere. Ever.
* I spend approximately one week extoling the virtues of cardigan weather before I remember it’s here to stay until June of next year and worry that I chose poorly.
* We get all Fall Cute and plot afternoons of apple picking, hayrides, corn mazes, apple cider doughnuts, leaf peeping, posing for pictures in pumpkin patches and pretend we do it for the kids.
* I immediately crave soup, chili, roast chicken, caesar salad, grilled cheese sandwiches and hearty baked pastas. Let’s waste no time getting to that last part.

what you'll need
ready to bake

I spied these baked shells with five cheeses on Tasting Table* a few months ago from the team behind Emily (wood-fired) and Emmy Squared (Detroit-style) pizza** restaurants and I loved the story behind the dish. The Hylands went to Al Forno in Rhode Island on their first date in 2001 and ordered the famous “pasta in the pink” — a bubbling pasta gratin with a creamy tomato sauce and abundance of cheese — and fell in love. This was their attempt to reverse engineer it. When done right, it pulls off two feats, a good charred edge of sauce around the dish, everyone’s favorite part to scrape off with a fork, and enough of the sauce leftover in the dish that you want to swoop a piece of bread through it.

skillet baked pasta with five cheeses

I haven’t had the original — although honey, if you’re reading, this is a hint — but from studying it in great detail online, I’d say that this version is less rich (it uses milk, not cream, and not two cups of it either) but it’s not a negative. I like that it doesn’t have the gut-busting richness of baked ziti, macaroni and cheese or even a vodka sauce but contains nods to each with a zippy uniqueness from a garnish of scallions.*** You’re not making a bechamel or browning meat or doing anything fancier than mixing the sauce cold in a bowl and pouring it over, which makes it ideal for weeknight meal on a chilly day. It bakes in a skillet, which maximizes the crispy lid geography, and those smallish shells nestle together and create interlocking swirl shapes as you cut through them, probably not the most important part but completely pleasing to me nonetheless.

skillet baked pasta with five cheeses

* The title of the article, by the way, is particularly amusing if you also binged on Transparent Season 3 this weekend, especially given that this recipe was published in May 2015

** We recently went to Emmy Squared and like everyone else, fell in love with the wild combinations and gloriously frico-ed edges of the square pizza, the kindness of the staff (we had 5 kids at our table, is all I’m saying) and the vinho verde on tap (hiii). The starters were as good as the pizza itself, so rare but also dangerous as this definitely ensures you’ll be too full to eat all the pizza you’ll want to or perhaps brilliant because then you get leftovers. Regardless, it makes a good argument for trying their non-pizza recipes at home.

*** One of my favorite ingredients, I almost always have scallions in the fridge. What are the things you always have in your fridge that might not be considered staples to most people? I love hearing about stuff like this.


One year ago: Broccoli Cheddar Soup and S’More Cupcakes
Two years ago: The Crispy Egg
Three years ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Four years ago: Spaghetti with Broccoli Cheese Pesto
Five years ago: Apple and Honey Challah
Six years ago: Single-Crust Plum and Apple Pie
Seven years ago: Lebanese-Style Stuffed Eggplant
Eight years ago: Balsamic-Glazed Sweet and Sour Cippoline, Majestic and Moist Honey Cake, Best Challah (Egg Bread) and Mom’s Apple Cake
Nine years ago: Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers and Peter Reinhart’s Bagels
Ten! years ago: Fougasse + Rustic White Bread, Flower Cupcakes and Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Spring Chicken Salad Toasts
1.5 Years Ago: Carrot Graham Layer Cake and Wild Mushroom Pate
2.5 Years Ago: Three Bean Chili
3.5 Years Ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
4.5 Years Ago: Over-The-Top Mushroom Quiche

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broken pasta with pork ragu – smitten kitchen

This dish hails from the restaurant Maialino in New York, where it’s on the menu as malfatti al maialino. Sam Sifton wrote about the story behind in the New York Times Magazine a few years ago. The chef, Nick Anderer, first designed this to use up extra pork parts and make use of discarded pasta scraps but quickly became one of their most popular dishes.

My favorite part about is the brothy braise (not shown nearly enough in these pictures, feel free to puddle yours a bit more heavily), enriched at the end with butter, and the almost salad-y finish, bright with lemon, parmesan and arugula. Seasoning — salt, pepper and even the lemon at the end — is everything here so keep tasting as you go.

  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder, about 4 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 large rib celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 1 quart chicken stock, plus a splash or two more, if needed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 9-ounce boxes dry lasagna, broken into 3-inch shards
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (although I use more) grated or shaved parmesan or grana padano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
  • Large handful arugula leaves, cleaned

Prepare pork: Use a sharp knife to remove the thick skin from the pork, but not trimming off all the fat — leave a thin sheen. Season generously with salt and place in fridge until ready to use — overnight is ideal but a few hours will cut it as well.

Braise the pork: Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat a deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion, celery and fennel until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer, then season well with salt and pepper.

Rinse pork to remove excess salt, dry with a paper towel and add to seasoned broth. Cover and place in the oven for 90 minutes or more, until the meat just begins to pull away from the bone.

Allow both meat and broth to cool in the braise out of the oven for 30 minutes, or until you can touch the meat with your hands. Remove the pork and gently pull the meat from the bone, then tear the chunks into bite-size shreds. Place these in a large bowl.

Strain the braising liquid, pouring enough of it over the pork to barely cover it and keep it from drying out.

Pour the rest back into the pot, simmering it until it is reduced by half. Add pork and cooking liquid that has covered it, and warm it back to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Add the butter and stir to emulsify.

Bring large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, or usually a minute shy of package directions. Drain and add to the pork ragu, simmering for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, half the cheese and parsley, if using. Ladle into wide pasta bowls with and top with arugula and remaining cheese. We enjoyed this with an extra lemon wedge on the side.’

Do ahead: Should you wish to freeze this — we froze half and I was overjoyed to find it again last month — shred the pork and return it to the reduced cooking liquid, stopping short of the butter; freeze them together in a bag. Once defrosted, rewarm to a simmer, add a splash or two of pasta cooking water if needed to loosen it, and then the butter (this ensures you get the most flavor from it). Add freshly cooked pasta, lemon and parmesan from here.

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quick pasta and chickpeas – smitten kitchen

Pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas) is one of Rome’s most iconic dishes, the only dish so essential that it shows up on both Tuesdays and Fridays on the informal meal calendar.* And while there are no two matching ways to make it (a fine excuse to spend as many weeks in Rome as it takes to try them all, if you ask me), the rough guiding recipe principles are fairly consistent: a sautéed base of garlic, sometimes onion, celery and carrot too, and seasonings to which chickpeas, water or chickpea cooking broth, and pasta are added. Some are a more brothy like soup, some blend some chickpeas for a thicker base, some more herby with rosemary or sage, some are light and others are heavy on tomatoes. And then then came Victoria Granof’s version that took the internet by storm over the last couple years as word of it trickled out from her Chickpeas cookbook (which goes so far beyond hummus in ways that only a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and famous food stylist would think of) in the lovely Short Stack single ingredient cookbook series.

what you'll needwhat you'll need

I bet you think this means it will be complicated. It is, in fact, the opposite. Granof’s version has 5 ingredients, I bet every single one is in your pantry right now, and takes 20 minutes, which is why there’s no making it just once. We all need more 20-minute dinner magic in our lives, so it’s not surprising that it’s already made the web rounds from Food52 to Dinner: A Love Story.

add tomato pasteadd the rest

It could also be argued that there’s little I can add to it: why mess with perfection? But I found two little things along the way: The first is that the first time I decided I wanted to make it (you know, 5 minutes after reading about it; this recipe has that effect on people) I discovered that I didn’t have any small pasta around except for little rings familiar to anyone who ate or wish they got to eat (me!) Spaghetti-Os growing up, the little Os are an official pasta shape called annellini. Did I originally buy them with vague aspirations of reverse engineering the canned stuff? You betcha. But after I saw how quickly my children gobbled this similar-looking dish up (and it’s so great in a thermos for lunch too, so go ahead and double it), I am glad I hadn’t gotten to it yet.

a-simmeringa little extra

The second thing is a little extra finish that I do when I have a minute or two more to spare. Rather than just drizzling olive oil on top, as is traditional, I love to heat it with some additional chopped garlic, minced rosemary leaves, salt and pepper flakes for a minute for a nutty, flavorful, slightly crispy, and dramatically sizzling finish, and alternative to the usual parmesan or pecorino, which is not unwelcome here, just not nearly as dynamic.

* Please note: 80% of what I know about Roman cooking, and particularly pasta e ceci, I’ve learned from the fantastic Rachel Roddy; please do not miss her Guardian column, blog, or books but be warned you might buy tickets to Rome five minutes later, which is essentially what we did in 2013. (The other 10% is from non-Roddy Roman food writers and the remaining 10% was gleaned on that vacation.)

quick pasta con ceci

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pasta salad with roasted carrots and sunflower seed dressing – smitten kitchen

Almost every year, I attempt to set off the summer with a pasta salad that aspires to be everything the underseasoned, swmming-in-mayo pasta salads many of us grew up dreading were not. That is, unsoggy pasta that still has a bite to it, dressings with crunch and acidity, and vegetables that are there for substance, not just flecks of color. But this is the first year I did it by public polling, and by public I mean, my husband keeps reminding me how much he likes roasted carrots, Sara, who helps out behind the scenes here, reminded me how much she likes the roasted carrots at the Dig Inn chain, and many of you have told me over the years about nut allergies and nut-free schools and workplaces, which means it’s high time to give sunflower seeds their time in the spotlight. (Besides, I’d choose sunflower seed butter over almond or cashew butter any day, wouldn’t you?)

sad from the store but taste fine
ready to roast

Look, I don’t know anything about dating or making fashion choices by algorithm, but I think the results of this new-recipe-by-polling were exceptional. Carrots are out at the markets right now, but have also come a long way at the grocery store, where I bought these rainbow pretties, although monochrome carrots work too. While they’re in the oven for a quick, high-heat blast, you grind sunflowers (but not all the way, no powder here) with garlic, parmesan (if you wish), lemon zest, and some carrot greens, and if yours came without, a few kale leaves. The green is important here (and I should have used more) because the natural color of sunflower seeds is a bit gray/beige, not exactly the summery brightness one hopes “sunflower” would impart. You then stir in olive oil, lemon juice, more salt, and pepper, more than you think you’ll need because carrots are sweet, pasta is neutral, and you’re going to want the seasoning to stretch across all of it.

quick, high heat roast
cut into batons-ish
a quick blend
sunflower seed dressing
mix it

And that’s it, you just wrapped up lunch, or dinner, or picnic/potluck/whatever else the end of the school year requires of you fairly quickly and with a dish that is meant to be room temperature, perfect for people whose meals usually are anyway by the time we get to them, and who dream of leftovers for lunch the next day that don’t require a trip to the sketchy breakroom microwave. We should definitely do this more often.

pasta salad with roasted carrots and sunflower dressing

Pasta Salads, previously:

Charred Eggplant and Walnut Pesto Pasta SaladPasta Salad with Roasted TomatoesPasta and Fried Zucchini SaladZucchini and Almond Pasta Salad

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pasta with pesto genovese – smitten kitchen

Welcome to the point of the summer when I don’t remember why I chose a career in cooking when I only want to eat about five things — tomatoes, melon, iced coffee and/or drinks, and popsicles — until the heat and humidity recede. The fifth, pasta with homemade basil pesto, is a craving that arrives like clockwork every July. It usually comes with very specific instructions, a list of everything I think tastes good with, near, or stirred into pesto pasta, things like white beans, grilled and marinated zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, and bocconcini (or tinier!) mozzarella. And that’s it, that’s my whole menu for the rest of July. I’ll come back when I’m interesting again, okay?

… Fine, here’s the thing: I’ve never written up a recipe here for basil pesto with few bells or whistles because whenever I want to share a recipe for something really basic, I tend to talk myself out of it. Doesn’t the internet have enough pesto recipes, Deb? Why speak if you’re not adding something new to the conversation? This is my constant internal monologue. And yet! I do keep notes for how I make pesto on my computer to refer to every July because almost every recipe I find on front-page Google results is missing information I need, like a weight measurement for basil (good luck finding two cups of basil leaves that weigh the same or guessing how much of a larger plant you’d need for a couple cups of leaves), an accurate estimate of the amount of olive oil you’ll need, a reminder to please toast your pine nuts for maximum flavor, and, most importantly, the amount it makes and the amount of pasta the yield can generously coat. Yes, what I just described is called “a recipe.” And yes, this is a recipe blog. Maybe it’s time to finally close this loop.

what you'll needgrind your parmesan firstbasil leavesadd the basil leavesfinlots of pestomix in bowlpasta with pesto genovese (basil pesto)

A few more notes/tips:
– Pesto comes from the Italian word pestare, which means “to pound” or “to crush,” as pestos were traditionally made in a large mortar with a pestle. Strictly speaking, pesto is a generic term for anything that’s made by pounding or grinding, something I take great liberty with on SK (see: walnut pesto, almond pesto) but basil pesto, pesto alla genovese, is so popular, it’s usually what comes to mind when people think of pesto.
– Technique: I use a food processor but you can absolutely make it in a mortar and pestle, or with a mezzaluna, or just a regular knife. Just mince, mince, mince away at each stage instead of grinding.
– Ingredients: Pine nuts (pignoli) are the traditional nut here but I find that almonds also work well. Just toast them first: Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes, tossing once or twice for even color. The cheese is usually Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.
– Pasta shape: The most traditional shape for pesto is trofie, a short, thin, twisted pasta from Liguria made with semolina (hard wheat) flour. The shape is rolled by hand — no pasta machine required (hooray). I cannot find the photos anywhere now but I made it a few years ago. However, I never have great luck with hand-formed shapes because it’s hard to keep them all the same thickness, which leads to some pieces overcooking while others take forever to cook. I have faith you’ll do better; here’s a good lead.
– Make sure your basil leaves are dry, or the mixture gets kind of mucky looking (yes, I’m a professional writer, why do you ask?).
– Don’t skip the salt. Absolutely skip the lemon. I always say that I think we often add salt when we’d be better off adding acidity to foods. Here, I feel the opposite; skip the lemon, which is not traditional and discolors the basil. Season it well.
– Always leave some cheese on the side, because you’ll want extra to finish your dish with.

pasta with pesto genovese (basil pesto)



Six months ago: New Classic Wedding Cake + How To
One year ago: Frozen Watermelon Mojitos
Two year ago: Corn Fritters and Bourbon Peach Smash
Three years ago: Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
Four years ago: Corn, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta
Five years ago: Tomato and Fried Provolone Sandwich
Six years ago: Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles and Grilled Peach Splits
Seven years ago: One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes and Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
Eight years ago: Bacon Corn Hash
Nine years ago: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
Ten years ago: Mango Slaw with Cashews and Mint, Thai-Style Chicken Legs, Peach Blueberry Cobbler, and Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Eleven years ago: Light Brioche Burger Buns, Blueberry Boy Bait, and Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza
Twelve years ago: Chocolate Sorbet
Thirteen years ago: Double Chocolate Layer Cake

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winter squash and spinach pasta bake – smitten kitchen

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (250 grams) ricotta
  • 1 cup (100 grams) finely grated parmesan, divided
  • 1 cup (85 grams) coarsely grated fontina cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) water
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (8.4 grams) kosher salt (I use Diamond; use less of other brands)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces (140 grams) baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thinly-sliced sage leaves or 1 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves (optional)
  • 1 1/4-pound (560-grams) butternut or another sturdy winter squash, peeled, seeded, sliced thin or 1 pound (455 grams) in prepared chunks, sliced thin
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) dried pasta (see Note), broken into pieces if large/long

Heat oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a 9-inch springform with 3-inch sides (see Note) with a sling of parchment paper, pressing it across the bottom and creasing the sides to get it to fit as best as possible. If the sides aren’t well covered, repeat with a second piece of parchment in the other direction.

Whisk egg and ricotta in a large bowl. Stir in half of the parmesan, fontina, water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, a few gratings of fresh nutmeg, lots of freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Stir in squash, spinach, and sage or thyme, if using. Add dried noodles and stir until everything is coated.

Pour into prepared pan and press gently so everything is in as even of a layer as possible. Sprinkle with second half of parmesan. Gently fold any parchment that extends over the rim of the pan into the center and cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake on a sheet (for extra security against drips) for 1 hour, then remove foil, reopen the parchment folded over the top, and drizzle the dish with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Return to the oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Pasta will be baked through and the top will be crisp. If it doesn’t have as much color as you’d like on top, you can finish it under the broiler for a minute or two.

Cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes before removing the springform ring, sliding the pasta bake by its parchment onto a serving plate, and cut it into wedges.

Do ahead: This keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week. Rewarm uncovered in a 350-degree oven. I haven’t frozen it, but would expect it to freeze well, tightly wrapped.

* Structural note: Like a lasagna, this is more wet and messy when it first comes out of the oven. I recommend a 30-minute rest at minimum (what you see here in the loose slices) but it will be cleaner to cut and more set the longer it hangs out. It reheats fantastically and keeps up to a week in the fridge. Last night, we reheated wedges from 6 days ago and they were (still) perfection.

* Pan size: I only tested this in a 9-inch springform but would expect it to also fit in a 11 to 12-inch ovenproof skillet and also, less glamorously, a 9×13-inch baking dish. No need to line with parchment if you’re serving it from the pan or not worried about leakage.

* Pasta shape: I am using a ribbon-shaped pasta called mafaldine or reginette. You can find it from many brands with slight variations such as: Anna (what I used), Sfoglini, Garofalo, Eataly. Classic ruffle-edged lasagna noodles broken into pieces will work too.

* Adaptation notes: I used Ottolenghi’s recipe as general inspiration, but not a literal guide. I skipped the tomatoes, pine nuts, feta, basil, parsley, and even the fresh noodles, instead using dried ones and adding more liquid so they could fully cook. I add some fontina for richness, a bit more parmesan, more salt, and sage.

* Salt [an update]: There have been so many comments about the salt level, I’m adding the weight of the salt and more guidance. As originally noted, Diamond brand kosher salt is much lighter than other brands of kosher salt so if you’re not using it, it’s a good practice to use half of any other brand when reading a recipe. More about salts here.

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simplest mushroom pasta – smitten kitchen

The recipe is shown here with 1 pound cremini mushrooms — the size bag I buy them in — but it’s actually really nice with 1.5 pounds too, if you’ve got it. Use any kind of mushrooms you like, or a mix, just slice them thin and season them well. I’m using a shape called fusilli pugliese here.
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried pasta, any shape you like
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter
  • 1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced thin (see note)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Glug of dry marsala or white wine (optional)
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche or mascarpone, or heavy cream
  • Handful chopped chives or parsley, to finish (optional)
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino
Bring a large pot of very well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta in it until 1 to 2 minutes shy of package suggestion. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water before you drain the pot.

Meanwhile, heat your largest sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the mushrooms in as close to an even layer as possible and don’t move them for about 3 minutes, until they’re browned underneath. Sprinkle with garlic and a good amount of salt and pepper (seasoning is everything here) and give them a stir. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft and tender and any liquid expelled has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Add the marsala and cook, stirring, until it disappears. Taste the mushroom mixture; you want it very well-seasoned at this point.

Add your drained pasta and half of the reserved pasta water and cook, stirring, until the pasta absorbs most of the liquid, adding more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to keep it a little saucy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche. [If using heavy cream, because it’s thinner, I’d cook it it onto the pasta for 30 to 60 seconds on the stove.] Adjust seasoning, if needed, and finish with chives and cheese. Eat right away.

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pasta with longer-cooked broccoli – smitten kitchen

I’ve been working up the courage to tell you about this dish for a few years. Why courage, you might ask? What’s courageous about the timeless combination of broccoli and pasta, Deb? It’s the cooking time. This broccoli is not al dente. It does not “retain a crunch,” “still have some bite to it,” or keep any of the verdant green hue it entered the pan with. And, even more audacious, it doesn’t wish to. This broccoli applies a philosophy of vegetable cooking times fairly polarized from our current moment, when the minutes we walk vegetables by the fire have plunged so far that some of us even advocate for eating cauliflower, asparagus, and even broccoli raw. [Or, in a twist on the words of a steak cooking chart I once saw on the wall of a restaurant in Texas: A good farmer could still save the vegetable.]

pasta with long-cooked broccoli-1

But there is a time and place for all vegetable cookery, and this is the one that really made me fall in love with what happens when broccoli is cooked until it begins to melt. What is key is that this is not the bland, soggy, boiled to death broccoli nightmare of someone’s childhood cafeteria or dinner at grandma’s house. [Justice for grandmothers, always, however, for feeding us ingrates anyway.] This is more silky, closer to braised, and has an elusive vegetable sweetness, a nod of vegetable confit, that only comes with the luxury of the unrushed.

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Which is funny because this is all in the service of a pasta-and-broccoli actually perfect for weeknights — a one-pan meal. It takes a page from an Apulian dish usually made with orecchiette and broccoli rabe (orecchiette con cime di rapa). The simplest way to make it is just to boil the vegetable and pasta together, and dress it at the end with olive oil, garlic, cheese, and seasonings as we do in this pasta with garlicky broccoli rabe. But this diverges in two ways. First, less divisive regular (Calabrese) broccoli is swapped in for broccoli rabe. The broccoli is first sauteed in a hearty glug of olive oil and a lot of aromatics — garlic, lemon zest, pepper, and anchovies, which are wonderful here even if you think you don’t like them. This step ensures that the final vegetable tastes not just boiled, but complex and fragrant when we next add both the dried pasta and water and finish cooking them together. I can’t wait for you to find out how good it is.

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6 months ago: Corn Butter Farro
1 year ago: Crispy Cabbage and Cauliflower Salad
2 year ago: Rigatoni Alla Vodka
3 years ago: Perfect Vegetable Lasagna
4 year ago: Bodega-Style Egg and Cheese Sandwich and Chocolate Puddle Cakes
5 years ago: Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Korean-Braised Short Ribs
6 years ago: Small-Batch Tiramisu
7 years ago: Miso Black Sesame Caramel Corn and Hot and Sour Soup
8 years ago: Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic and Pecan Sticky Buns
9 years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
10 years ago: Italian Stuffed Cabbage
11 years ago: Lasagna Bolognese
12 years ago: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
13 years ago: Best Cocoa Brownies and Chana Masala
14 years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes and Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
15 years ago: Seven-Yolk Pasta Dough and Best Chocolate Pudding
16 years ago: For Beaming, Bewitching Breads

pasta with long-cooked broccoli-5

Pasta with Longer-Cooked Broccoli

  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to finish
  • 5 thinly sliced cloves of garlic
  • 2 anchovies, roughly chopped (optional, see note)
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Glug of white wine (optional)
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • 8 ounces dried pasta such as fusilli corti or gemelli
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino romano to finish (see note)
Separate the broccoli “treetops” from the stems. Cut or break the tops into 3/4-inch florets. Peel the knobby stems and slice them 1/4-inch thick.

In a large deep skillet or saucepan, combine olive oil and garlic then turn heat to medium-high. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Add the anchovies, if using, lemon zest and pepper flakes and cook for 2 more minutes, using a spoon or spatula to break the anchovies into tinier bits. Add a glug of wine, if using, and cook until it disappears. Add the broccoli and stems, kosher salt, and many grinds of black pepper, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes; the broccoli will get darker in color. Add the dried pasta and water and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan and for 12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Lift the lid and stir a couple times while the pasta cooks, just to ensure it’s cooking evenly. Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest, lid on, for 5 minutes.

Remove lid, and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Finish with lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, additional black pepper, and grated parmesan. Spoon onto plates and serve with more parmesan.


  • Of course you don’t have to use anchovies if you don’t want to. For a similar-but-not-exactly-the-same briny addition, replace the anchovies with 1 to 2 tablespoons of drained capers. If you don’t like capers either, it’s fine. Just add neither.
  • If you’d like to keep this dairy-free, you can swap the parmesan with breadcrumbs toasted lightly in olive oil and seasoned.
  • Some pastas — and people (sorry!) — are thirstier than others and you might find you need an additional splash or two of pasta water to keep the dish sauced.
  • I’m using a pasta shape here called fusilli corti, which I was delighted got a dedicated shoutout in Eater last fall.

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