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Tag: pasta (page 1 of 2)

Menu Monday: Back to School with Apples & Squash

If there was a ever a time I wish I vlogged, it would be now, so I could give you all a big ol’ “HELLO!” a la My Drunk Kitchen. (MDK is totally worth the clicks, btw. Harto’s antics crack me up without fail, and that’s saying something, Frederick!) Sadly, they say the camera adds 10lbs, so my video debut is still SEVERAL Pilates sessions away.

In any case, though, I can assure you I’m back from, well… let’s see: late-summer blogger malaise, crazy work (it’s year-end for Feds, and that’s about as much fun as a barrel of bubonic monkeys), serial party-throwing, and, oh yeah, a faboo week in Costa Rica (looks tragic, right?) communing with birds and frogs and snakes and monkeys of the non-bubonic variety.

Now, while I am absolutely a-twizzle with new fun things to write , I did want go get back into the swing of doing Menu Mondays. It’s one of the few things I’ve gotten good (ok, ANY) feedback on lately, so tally ho. And, since we’ve been luxuriating in deliciously crispy fall weather here in D.C. for the past few days, I thought a tasty meal that celebrated back-to-school, the impending harvest, and the no-longer-so-far-away holidays would be just the thing.

We kick off with a crisp, juicy salad of fennel and apples with a bright cider vinaigrette, and continue in that sweet-savory vein with a toothsome combination of roasted butternut squash, kale, and raisins tossed with pasta and Parmesan cheese. Plums nestled in a almond-y batter and quickly baked off make a suitably autumnal conclusion.
These dishes’ dependence on seasonal produce links them together in a very appealling fashion. If, however, you’re like Mr. T and look slightly askance at sweet-savory pairings, you can omit the raisins from the pasta and reduce the cider in the vinaigrette. I absolutely love them as they are, however, and I’d encourage you to try them as-is first.

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Choke on This: Baby Artichoke Pasta

Baby artichokes courtesy of Kuhn Orchards.  This guy looks so….Audrey II.  Check out what I made after the jump.

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Pasta for a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Some days are just a bit more than one is prepared to deal with. Thursday, for example. Nasty headcold, late to work, late AT work, stood up for happy hour and–when I finally got home–all the bread in the house was spotty with mold. *sigh* At this point, Mr. T. (who was out at a work party) and most normal people would pop off down the hill to find dinner, or at least just order a pizza. I have a phobia about placing take-out orders, though, and dining out for dinner when I’m already at home is an affront to my delicate sensibilities. Far better, for me at least, to rally to my knives and bang out a meal for myself at home than to admit defeat and end up at Busboys & Poets or something.

Rummaging around in the refrigerator, I found some smoked salmon–that would have been lovely on that bagel that had sadly turned green–some miraculously fresh parsley, and a few zucchini. Tossed with broad noodles; brightened with shallot, caper, and lemon; and glued together with pasta water and a bit of soft cheese and the resulting dish feels lush and rewarding after a day that was tiresome, tiresome, tiresome (as Nanny would say). I omitted the cheese since the last thing I want to do after a crappy day is spend the night bent over the porcelain throne yakking my face off. But, for those who aren’t dairy intolerant, a knob of goat cheese would really improve the dish. Even sans fromage, however, I found it quite the restorative little meal while watching Jacques and Julia duke it out over Beef Bourguignon PBS.

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Carbonara Redux


I’m going to write something that I never thought I’d write before: I found myself with a fair amount of left over bacon from a recent brunch I hosted. This strange-surprising newfound kitchen bounty was akin to spotting a rare, white elk–it don’t happen!

Everyone loves bacon. Bacon is the first thing to go when it is served. Who refuses leftover bacon?

My guests, apparently. So, I squirreled it away in a plastic bag and decided to engage it in a few days.

Well, here I am. A few days later. Read more

FMC Mushrooms: Pasta, Risotto-Style


My contribution to the latest Passion Fruits Farmers’ Market Challenge. Sad to report, despite the gorgeous array of mushrooms I plucked from the market, I wasn’t very inspired this week in the kitchen and–pathetically–failed to give these beauties some solo prime time a la Luke. It’s been a crazy week at work and as impressive as the funghi was, I needed something quick. So, yeah, Joe.  Why not a simple saute?

My quick kitchen default, in case you haven’t figured it out, is pasta, pasta, pasta. So, I opted to break these mushrooms up into large chunks, toss them in a very hot pan with olive oil, fresh thyme, some salt and pepper and sear until caramelized. I set them aside and decided to incorporate them into a pasta I was making, risotto-style. Read more

Summer, yet?


Other than preparing for a hasty suicide, I seem to be holding up just fine  despite this living up to be a true winter of our my discontent. Winter for me is an endless cycle of layers and lubrications. It fails to get any easier. Or warmer. Or moister.

To the point of damn-near arousal, I’ve spent way too much time these past few days fantasizing about hazy summer days, 26 mile bike rides, rinsing sand from between my toes and, well, just less clothing. Always less clothing.

Pesto crossed my mind after Day 3 of D.C. being Snow-Gang Raped.

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Garlic Pasta at 4 a.m.


Crazy Saturday night with friends. We continued drinking at my place well beyond our 3 1/2 hour stint at The Gibson, deep into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Stomachs were grumbling so Mr. Fresh sprang into action. Spaghetti aglio olio (garlic and oil), a great dish that anyone can make with pantry ingredients we all have on hand (or should have on hand): garlic, olive oil, spaghetti, chili flakes, Parmigiano-Reggiano.

It’s an uber-easy, deeply-satisfying pasta. My pasta rules stand firm: Always cook the noodle two minutes less than the package instructs and toss it with the condiment. Reserve a cup of pasta water to loosen the combined ingredients if they appear too tight. Pre-heat your pasta bowls!  Also, right before bringing the nearly-finished product to the table, always give it a spritz of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

We all greedily consumed this pasta within minutes. Then again, we were drunk and dawn was nigh.

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Pronounced, “A Ma Trish E Ah Na!”


Pasta all’amatriciana is one of my winter fallbacks.  It’s classic Roman comfort food. A bacon tomato sauce? Bring it!

It is often made with guanciale (pork jowels) but pancetta or any high-quality American bacon will do. I made this dish on Christmas Day for my family after we unwrapped presents. My father loves when I make pasta, constantly shadowing me as I pull the pasta from the boiling water (salted as heavily as the sea) two minutes before the package says it should be served, tossing it with a bit of the sauce in the saucepan to marry the noodle and condiment. Remember, the noodle is the star. Use the sauce sparingly. Never flood your pasta bowl with ladle after ladle of sauce. For some creaminess, I added a dollop of fresh ricotta and a nice drizzle of some good-quality olive oil.

Recipe after the jump. Read more

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