Arsip Tag: pepper

spaghetti pie with pecorino and black pepper – smitten kitchen

If you didn’t have a nonna to do so when you were a wee lucky thing, it’s more than likely that Marcella Hazan was the person who introduced you to the concept of a spaghetti frittata, a cozy mess of leftover spaghetti, scrambled egg, some butter, parsley and a fistful of parmesan, cooked in a skillet and cut into wedges. It’s unfancy food at its best, as should be no surprise from the woman who was very distressed by complicated chefs’ recipes, wondering “Why not make it simple?”

what you'll need
spaghetti chitarra (guitar)

So when I first saw Food & Wine’s Cacio e Pepe Pasta Pie on Pinterest earlier this month, as one does, my first thought was “Oooh, so impossible-to-achieve outside a food styling studio pretty,” (because, I mean, look at it) followed by “Wait, that’s not cacio e pepe” (a Roman dish with exactly three ingredients — pecorino, black pepper and spaghetti, usually fresh tonnarelli, and if you can forgive me for being pedantic, definitely no cheddar), followed by “Wouldn’t all of that egg custard leak from my springform?” (answer: yes, and woe is my oven floor) and then “I wonder what Marcella Hazan would have thought of this.” Would she have been distraught by the springform, perturbed by the use of three types of cheese, shaking her head over the finish under the broiler?

eggs, salt, a lot of pepper
ready to bake

Well, if she’s anything like the rest of us, I think she’d be too busy enjoying it to ask such questions because this dish — which I’d liken to the halfway point between a spaghetti frittata and a spaghetti quiche — is spectacular. I made it on a whim a couple weeks ago (because that’s my thing these days) and even though my peeling wood-veneer kitchen counter is the furthest cry from a photography studio, it was a total stunner. And while this is unequivocally comfort food — pasta, eggs, and a glorious amount of cheese, yesss — something about eating it in tall wedges with a green salad felt almost civilized, humble food raised to its most centerpiece-worthy calling, and all from just a handful of ingredients. We’re going to be making this a lot this winter, I can tell.

spaghetti pie with pecorino and black pepper
spaghetti pie with pecorino and black pepper2
spaghetti pie with pecorino and black pepper

One year ago: Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits
Two years ago: Homemade Dulce de Leche
Three years ago: Intensely Chocolate Sables
Four years ago: Potato Chip Cookies
Five years ago: Roast Chicken with Dijon Sauce
Six years ago: Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema + Cranberry Syrup and an Intensely Almond Cake
Seven years ago: Mushroom Bourguignon and Sugar Puffs
Eight years ago: Leek and Swiss Chard Tart
Nine years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake and Pasta with Sausage Tomatoes and Mushrooms

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Tomato and Fried Provolone Sandwich
1.5 Years Ago: Bourbon Slush Punch
2.5 Years Ago: Mama Canales-Garcia’s Avocado Shrimp Salsa
3.5 Years Ago: Zucchini Bread Pancakes
4.5 Years Ago: Corn, Buttermilk and Chive Popovers

Spaghetti Pie with Pecorino and Black Pepper
Adapted from Justin Chapple at Food & Wine

This pie plays off the flavors of classic cacio e pepe — these flavors will be, delightfully, the strongest — but, of course, I fiddled with it a little. The first time, I made it with 8 ounces each of pecorino romano and fontina (because although I love cheddar, I just couldn’t). The second time, I made with less of each (which was a mistake) and because I’ve become That Person, the kind of person that needs to see some green before I can allow something to become a regular meal, I added about a cup of blanched and finely chopped broccoli rabe (which was not). That said, while we enjoyed our green-flecked spaghetti wedges, we agreed we’d have liked it just as much with the greens on the side, preferably in a garlicky and pepper flake sauteed heap.

A few important cooking notes: You must wrap your springform tightly in foil or you and your oven floor will end up in a very bad mood. Please (I beg here) cook your pasta until it’s a good two minutes from done as it will continue cooking in the oven and mushy pasta makes me sad. The greens here are optional (see above) but keep in mind that if you add them, you’ll want to do your best to remove every extra drop of moisture and anticipate that it will take longer to set. Finally, to me, good aged pecorino (usually sold with a black rind) makes all the difference here in providing a salty, funky kick. You can use parmesan if it’s all you’ve got, but you might find that you need more salt if you do.

Butter for greasing springform
1/2 pound broccoli rabe, toughest stems saved for another use, chopped into few-inch segments (optional)
1 pound dried spaghetti
1 1/2 cups milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 to 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
8 ounces aged pecorino cheese, finely grated, divided
8 ounces fontina cheese, grated, divided

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and this is very important, wrap the outside of the springform, focusing on the places where the ring meets the base, tightly in aluminum foil. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. If using broccoli rabe, add it to the pot and boil for 1 to 2 minutes, until it has some give. Fish it out with a large slotted spoon and drain it well. Set aside.

Add spaghetti to boiling water and cook until (this is also important) 2 minutes shy of done, so very al dente, as the spaghetti will continue cooking in the oven. Drain well and let cool slightly.

If using broccoli rabe, wring all extra moisture out of it and blot greens on paper towels to be extra careful. Mince rabe into very small bits. You’ll have about 1 cup total.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk together with salt and pepper. Stir in all but 1/2 cup of each cheese and chopped rabe, if using. Add spaghetti and toss to coat.

Pour into prepared springform and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (without greens) and up to 15 minutes more (with greens, as they add moisture too), until the cheese is melted and bubbling and a knife inserted into the center of the pie and turned slightly will not release any loose egg batter into the center. If the top of your pie browns too quickly before the center is set, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time.

Turn on your oven’s broiler. Broil the pie a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until browned on top. Cut along springform ring to loosen, then remove ring. Run a spatula underneath the pie to loosen the base and slide onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges.

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grilled pepper and torn mozzarella panzanella – smitten kitchen

Further ideas: Throw a fresh hot pepper into the grilling mix for a spicy salad. You could also stir in an ounce of thinly sliced spicy salami into the final salad.

Prepare vegetables: Place bread, pepper halves, and onion wedges in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt and many grinds (or about 1/4 teaspoon) black pepper. Use your hands to toss everything together until oil coats everything.

To grill: Heat your grill to medium-high, or if yours is small and dinky like mine, high heat. Spread peppers and onions across grill grates and grill, lid down, flipping as needed, until onions are charred in spots (they’ll be done first) and peppers are blistered and blackened in many spots and beginning to soften. Transfer onions to a plate as they’re done; transfer peppers to a bowl. Use bread in bowl to swipe up any excess salt, pepper, and/or oil in it and place slices on grill. Grill until toasted on both sides. Transfer to plate with onions.

No grill? You can do all of the above under your broiler, or in your oven at 450 degrees F. Broilers vary wildly in how robust their heat is, so keep an eye on it. Vegetables tend to take longer in the oven, up to 40 minutes, but check in at 20 to be safe. In both cases, turn vegetables and bread as needed to get an even color.

Marinate peppers: Place foil or a lid over peppers in bowl to trap heat. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove as much of the skin as you can. This is unquestionably the most annoying part so do only as much as would bother you to have to eat. (For me, this is almost every speck but you’re probably less crazy.) Cut peppers into 1/2- to 1-inch wide strips.

In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (and more to taste), and garlic. Add capers. Add peppers to bowl and let them marinate for as little as 5 minutes or up to a day, even. The longer they souse, the more pickled they’ll taste. After 5 minutes, however, they still have plenty of flavor.

To assemble and serve: Shortly before you’re ready to eat the salad, add onions to the bowl with the peppers. Tear bread into chunks and add to bowl, along with mozzarella. Mix gently, making sure the dressing coats the bread. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Finish with herbs and serve in big heaps.

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black pepper tofu and eggplant – smitten kitchen

I spotted black pepper tofu on Ottolenghi’s* Instagram last week, a fine place to gush over food. The recipe is from Plenty, an excellent cookbook that I happen to have, which means I could make it right away. However, rather than making it and then still feeling a loose obligation to make a vegetable side dish or salad, I decided to add eggplant. From there, everything went south. I don’t have three types of soy sauce. I can get them, theoretically, but I was feeling lazy about it. I was pretty sure five tablespoons of crushed peppercorns and eight thinly sliced red chiles would make my children run screaming from the room; 11 tablespoons of butter was a bit rich for my tastes. But here’s the thing with this and, I think, all recipes. Much ado is made about “internet recipe commenters” and their “I changed eight ingredients and it didn’t work, zero stars”-type presence on websites. I’m often asked how I don’t “lose patience” with these types of comments and here comes an opinion, you just know I had one brewing:

For the love of absolutely nothing holy, because this an internet recipe blog and not the 11th commandment, you are allowed to make every single recipe you come across any way you wish. Modify for the ingredients you have. Modify for the schedule you have or the free time you want. Modify for the nutrients you need. Recipes aren’t bibles; I am no goddess. I don’t find it annoying. I mean, we’re going to have to manage our expectations about the outcomes. Some changes work, some don’t, and we can talk about it, I’ll answer whatever I can as best as I can. But honestly the best thing you can do is to report back in the comments, that is, tell us what you changed and how it went, and help the next person with the question out.

what you'll needsheet pan-edshallots, garlic, and gingermake the sauceready to finishadd to the sauce

Which is all to say [“Ugh, why are recipe headnotes so long?” lol] that I used one kind of soy sauce, a third of the butter, a tablespoon of black pepper, no chiles, I halved the tofu, added eggplant, and then I ultimately sheet pan-ed it. I didn’t only roast it because I’m nursing a hot pink two-inch burn on my forearm from dropping tofu in hot oil on the stove — if only 13 years of cooking experience here could have warned me about the ol’ water-oil issue — but because to make this entirely on the stove, you’ll need to fry tofu, and then the eggplant, and then make the sauce for 15 minutes and that adds up to a lot of time. By roasting the vegetables while you make the sauce, it comes together faster. Eggplant and tofu are fantastic together; the tofu holds its shape, the eggplant collapses and partly joins the sauce and the result was too dark and pretty to even bother garnishing with chiles or scallions, but you could. You’re in charge.

black pepper tofu and eggplant

P.S. Remember when I got to interview him? That was fun.


Six Months Ago: Perfect Meatballs and Spaghetti
One year ago: Foccacia Sandwiches for a Crowd
Two years ago: Blackberry-Blueberry Crumb Pie
Three years ago: Summer Squash Pizza, Peach Melba Popsicles, and Chile-Lime Melon Salad
Four years ago: Raspberry Crushed Ice
Five years ago: Cold Noodles with Miso, Lime, and Ginger and Apricot Pistachio Squares
Six years ago: Charred Corn Crepes, Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini and Strawberry, Lime, and Black Pepper Popsicles
Seven years ago: Pink Lemonade Bars and Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
Eight years ago: Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey
Nine years ago: Everyday Chocolate Cake and Zucchini and Almond Pasta Salad
Ten years ago: Asparagus with Chorizo and Croutons and Sour Cherry Slab Pie
Eleven years ago: Cantaloupe Salsa and Plum Kuchen and Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
Twelve years ago: Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
Thirteen years ago: Huevos Racheros, Blueberry Crumb Bars, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, and Quick Zucchini Sauté

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