Tag Archives: fresh pasta

Carpionata Piemontese

Now I am quietly waiting
for the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.
The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.
It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.

Frank O’Hara, excerpt of “Mayakovsky” from Meditations in an Emergency

This passage kind of perfectly expresses those mean reds I mentioned a week and a half ago that have taken up in casa TMFP. It hasn’t helped that it was a fairly rainy week and therefore the sky grew dark out even sooner than it should, and in one of those rainstorms Michael’s new car was lightly clipped by some jerk near his office. And ugh–as I write this it’s gotten grey and moody outside again. It’s like the weather is gleefully pissing all over my “Operation: Abolish Mean Reds” efforts with every cold, grey, sodden day. It’s why we curled up with the second season premiere episode of Mad Men in all of its angsty glory but at the same time pushed ourselves from a culinary perspective–we may be indulging our grumpiness in some ways, but tasting something new and different could also be the jolt we both need. First up: our anniversary dinner on Sunday and going back to a genuine happy place.

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Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe

Guilt can be a powerful thing–and as with all things powerful, it must be used in responsible ways. Michael is headed for a conference this coming weekend, leaving me to fend for myself for six days.* Naturally we’ve had periods of separation before–usually because I’m the one traveling for work–but this will be the longest period we’ve had to deal with since I moved to Connecticut five years ago. I know Michael feels bad about leaving me to have to cook for myself for a whole work week because not only did we have pasta on Sunday night, he was the one suggesting to make it and he acquiesced to my request for cacio e pepe without much protest.

In other words, he brooked no opposition to us having a dish that is, in essentials, pasta and cheese. Yep, that’s guilt. Read More

Garganelli with Duck Ragu

We’ve been a bit quiet this past week for several reasons, namely travel and work, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been cooking up a storm during our increasingly limited free time–and we sometimes spend our evenings making labor-intensive meals. There’s something so…comforting, or freeing, or delightful about sitting at a dining room table and hand-rolling your own garganelli after hitting road blocks with a work project–especially when you realize you’re not half-bad at it. Michael even compared me to Iron Chef Italian Masahiko Kobe in the eventual speed I picked up in rolling the little squares into quills.

When you’re having a less-than-awesome day or even weekend otherwise, the little compliments like this can light your grin for the rest of the day. Read More

Insalata di Caprese featuring Kumatoes

Having access to great food stores means we can usually get our hands on some pretty unique ingredients. Sometimes the best can be found at the Greenmarket, while others can be hiding next to something as innocuous as grapefruit that you only see because you’re making a beeline for the good deal on peaches just beyond that display.

This is precisely how we stumbled across the oddly colored kumato. Read More

Bruschetta over Multigrain Crostini

When friends come to visit and ask for a home-cooked meal of the Italian persuasion, the proper host puts his machinations for chipotle-glazed meatloaf on hold and break out the macchina-de-pasti.  Tomatoes are coming in nicely and the first choice was essentially a no-brainer.  Bruschetta with tomatoes, lemon (zest and juice), basil, some Italian olive oil, salt+pepper and you’re on Nebbio Nove. Read More

Papperadelle with Sauteed Mushrooms and Ricotta Cheese

A few weeks ago, Michael started in his recent kick of craving pasta with some kind of sauce with this dish.  He knew he wanted to do either a tomato or a mushroom sauce for fresh pasta, and remembering how delicious my plate of fresh fettuccine and mushrooms at Pisticci was a few months ago, I cast my vote for the little fungi.  What he didn’t know at the time, though, was that I wanted to mix in some fresh ricotta into the pasta as well–and thus sparked a debate in Whole Foods on the virtues of ricotta versus mascarpone cheese.

We’ve used both in the past to mix in with delicate fresh pasta, and both are delicious, but I was really feeling Team Ricotta this time around, and eventually, I won over the husband–though I know that the next time around we will be buying a tub of mascarpone from Vermont Butter and Cheese…ah, compromise.

Making this dish is very, very easy to do:  thinly slice a mixture of mushrooms (here we used 8 ounces of cremini and shiitake mushrooms), and saute them in a pan with a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil for about 10 minutes or so.  Deglaze with some red wine, and let the mixture cook down more, stirring occasionally, for another ten-fifteen minutes until the mushroom mixture has cooked down some more.  Mix in a half cup of ricotta cheese with the mushrooms, and then add in cooked fresh pasta (either store-bought or homemade), and toss with the mushrooms and serve.

Buon apetito!  We’re back from our holiday break and we have some amazing meals to share with you over the next few weeks…stay tuned!

Mushroom-Provolone Ravioli in Rosemary Brown Butter Sauce

Mushroom-Provolone Ravioli in Rosemary Brown Butter Sauce

It’s adorable to watch the Mrs. get all enthusiastic about dinner while in the throws of our weekend food shopping, sometimes even on the subway ride.  Keeping her in suspense is easier than you might thing since typically I have no idea what I want to make until I’m wherever we’re going.  It’s a bit existential, I know, but lately I’ve felt compelled to well… not plan anything.  I think being in a new place has something to do with it.  I also think that it’s almost impossible to get used to something as large and multifaceted as NYC.  As far as choice goes, I feel literally spoiled by it.  This makes for some wonderfully spontaneous evenings in the kitchen, but pulling a culinary Hail Mary carries some amount risk. Read More

Fettuccine with Four-Herb Pasta 9-19

Fettuccine with Ligurian Four-Herb Pasta

Among the few souvenirs we brought home from our honeymoon were two small cookbooks that now sit on our shelf.  They are in Italian, and while I can barely speak the language, one of the ways I’m attempting to learn is by reading the recipes in order to pick up vocabulary and the like.  They appealed to me because they had interesting recipes and gorgeous photography, to be sure, but also because the dishes they contained seemed different than anything I’ve come across in the Italian cookbooks we currently own (with the likely exception of The Silver Spoon).

One of our two Italian-language cookbooks

One of our two Italian-language cookbooks

When I saw “Trofie with five-herb pesto,” I had to say I was intrigued; I was in the mood for fresh pasta and this pesto relied on pistachios to provide the nutty flavor.  Our normal fresh pasta dough was not quite right to make the hand-rolled twists, however, so we stuck with reliable linguini as we knew it would hold up well to the stiff sauce.  I also forgot to buy thyme so we only used four herbs to make this pesto, but we didn’t miss it that much; in the future we could add some lemon zest instead to provide the flavors in a pinch.  Come to think of it, adding zest would make this even more inspired from Liguria—as we learned during our stay, lemons (and subsequently limoncello) are one of the few things that they do well.

In keeping with the evening’s theme, we paired the pasta with simple breaded shrimp skewers that are so easy to make:  marinate peeled and deveined shrimp in some olive oil, garlic and parsley for about an hour, toss with breadcrumbs, spear them onto skewers, and broil for about 6 minutes until they are pink and delicious.  Served with lemon wedges, few things felt more appropriate for the last official weekend of summer.

Broiled Shrimp Skewers

Broiled Shrimp Skewers

We naturally made much more than we’d eat in one sitting of both things, and while the shrimp was saved to snack on for the next day or two, I was fortunate in being able to lug a sizable plastic container of the stuff to enjoy for my last two lunches, though to be civilized (and also to exert a little portion control lest I eat the entire container in one sitting) I use a little bowl from Pottery Barn that I purchased after I landed my first post-collegiate position.  It’s traveled with me to several offices since then, and is as sturdy as ever:

Ligurian pesto at the office!

Ligurian pesto at the office!

Ligurian Four-Herb Pesto with Fettuccine (adapted from La cucina grande:  Pasta):

  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves removed from stems/stalks
  • 1 bunch basil, well-washed with leaves removed from stem
  • 10 springs marjoram, leaves removed from stem
  • 15 mint leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Olive oil (about ¼ cup to ½ cup, depending on preferred consistency)
  • 1lb fresh pasta

In a blender or food processor, combine herbs, pistachios, garlic along with some salt and pepper (though go easy here—season as you go along until you get the taste you want), then slowly add the olive oil in order to get a smooth, pasty consistency.  Once the mixture is smooth, add the cheese and blend again to incorporate—adding it too early will make the sauce too thick too quickly.  Toss with fresh hot pasta (we made enough to serve four), and serve with extra cheese to top if desired.

Fresh Tortelloni with Shallot and Butter Sauce

Fresh Tortelloni with Brown Butter Shallot Sauce

Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella

Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella

The first of our three dinners over Labor Day weekend was relatively simple, as there’s something to be said for not doing too much all at once.  We had made our first shopping trip and done some exploring on the way back as well as furiously unpacked many of our boxes; the prospect of rolling out fresh pasta (even with help from the Kitchen Aid) and then bending over a counter to individually fill raviolis or the like was not an appealing one that particular day.  So when Michael suggested some fresh pasta from Whole Foods to pair with some tomatoes we got at a fair price, I was in no mood to argue, so we settled on making some bruschetta (probably the best of the entire season) and finishing the pre-made pasta (provolone and prosciutto tortelloni) with some shallots and butter.  I made the addition of some fresh mozzarella to the mix to make it a touch more substantial, but overall it was a simple, yet satisfying meal.

Besides:  how can you go wrong with occasionally indulging in what the Italians define as fast food?

On Friday, July 31, I defended my doctoral thesis and naturally, my folks were in town for the event.  After a night of celebration, we (my mom, dad, Elizabeth and I) felt that a nice quiet day and a massive home-cooked dinner was in order for Saturday.  We swung by a brand-new farmer’s market only a few blocks from the TBYK homebase and set to work.  Here’s what we came up with.

Primo piatto- pasta fresca:

My mom was the first one to teach me to make fresh pasta and this felt quite appropriate.  I have changed the method a bit (I cannot do the flour well to save my life) and I tend to mix up the dough in my stand mixer (although last night I saw Iron Chef Kobe use a spatula- wow!).

Vast Expanses of Pasta Fresca

Vast Expanses of Pasta Fresca

Instead of cutting them in the machina di pasta, I took the long, thin sheets, rolled them up and cut them with my knife (I think this is pappardelle?).  I made a simple sauce out of cooked fresh tomatoes, ricotta and basil.

Pappardella with tomatoes, ricotta and basil

Pappardelle with tomatoes, ricotta and basil

Secondo piatto- roast chicken:

I don’t know if roast is the correct adjective, maybe baked is a better term, but baked just makes me think of cakes.  This was also a twist on one of my mother’s (and indeed, grandmother’s) recipes. I cooked a pan of kosher chicken thighs with red wine, olive oil, sage, rosemary with just a touch of butter on top in the oven, call that what you want (fricassee? semantics and nomenclature were never my strong suits).  This dish is pretty fail-proof, but in particular, this batch was *really* good.  It may have been opting for the kosher chicken instead of standard, it could have been the sage, but whatever the difference,  it *rocked*.  I added a some sauteed mushrooms deglazed with a bit of brandy, but honestly, had I known how the chicken was gonna turn out, I wouldn’t even had bothered.

Chickens Before

Up Chickens!

Down Chickens!

Down Chickens!

Looking back, I realize that the entire meal became an unintentionally homage to my mother- taking our family recipes and putting my own spin on them.  I never intended this to be the case, but the outcome is still very gratifying.  So, until next time friends- Ciao!


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