One-Pot Spicy Rigatoni

I’m not a full convert, but I do dig this whole one-pot recipe craze. Especially with pastas, I find the noodles are particularly infused with flavor. We were inspired by this recipe, but made a few changes. I imagine it’s great with the chicken, but we’ve only ever had it without and it has never disappointed.

2 T olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c dry sherry
1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
2 c water
2 T fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 2 t dried)
2 pinches dried red pepper flakes (3 if you like it spicy)
1/2 t salt
500 g Rigatoni (or other short pasta, tubes would be best)
1 T butter
10-15 basil leaves, torn
1/2 c Grana Padano, grated
3 T cream

In a deep pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté shallots and garlic until tender, then add peppers and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it begins to smell caramelized, then deglaze pot with sherry. Add tomatoes and break them up with a spatula. Add the water, oregano, pepper flakes and salt and bring to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes or until almost tender. Turn heat down to low, add butter and basil. When butter is completely melted, add cheese and cream, stirring until integrated. Simmer for 5 minutes more, stirring all the time, then remove from heat. Let stand for a couple of minutes, then serve.

Creamy Goat Cheese Tomato Pasta

I am a total sucker for a creamy tomato sauce. Unfortunately, they tend to be a little disappointing. This is the exception.

The goat cheese flavor is pretty pronounced, so if you’re not a fan, this one isn’t for you. The original is here, but I made lots of changes (chief among them: cutting out the bacon – sundrieds really fill that meaty, umami slot for me). That said, the technique is the same and I might employ it in the future. As a plus, this comes together very quickly.

2 shallots, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
100 g (roughly) oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and sliced thin, oil reserved
2 T white wine
1 14.5 oz/400 g can stewed tomatoes
1 small pinch salt
1 small pinch sugar
1/4 t dried oregano
1 large pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 lb/500 g short pasta (1/4 c pasta water reserved before draining)
3-4 oz/100-125 g spreadable goat cheese (Ziegenfrischkäse)
lots of torn basil leaves

Heat a deep skillet over medium low heat and warm 1-2 T reserved sundried tomato oil. When oil shimmers, add shallots, garlic and sundried tomatoes and stir frequently until shallots and garlic are tender (3 minutes). Add wine and cook until 3/4 reduced (and the boozy smell is gone). Add canned tomatoes, salt, sugar, oregano and red pepper flakes and reduce heat to low. Stir to combine, crushing tomatoes with spoon. Allow sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, then remove from heat and set aside.

Cook and drain pasta, returning it quickly to the pot off the heat. Add goat cheese to pasta and stir well to coat. When goat cheese is well distributed, pour in tomato sauce, again stirring very well. If sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta water to loosen it to your desired texture. Add torn basil and stir until just distributed. Serve immediately.

Fresh Fettucine Alfredo

For Christmas last year, we got some KitchenAid attachments from my family. Back in January, I posted some of our first attempts, which were great successes. Here is a detailed recipe for fresh Fettucine Alfredo: a simple, fresh pasta and a rich, creamy sauce. Continue reading Fresh Fettucine Alfredo

Stove-top Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli

This was a weird one. I was pretty doubtful about the method, but the result was unquestionably fabulous. We’ve been on a bit of a broccoli kick of late – I would go so far as to double the broccoli and halve the pasta. I found the original here by way of Tastespotting, but I lightly steamed my broccoli, making my version use more than one pot. The recipe below details what I did.

4 1/2 c/1.125 l water, plus more as needed
1 lb/500 g broccoli, cut into small florets
3 T butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz/350 ml evaporated milk
1/2 t salt
1 lb/500 g short tube pasta
3/4 t cornstarch
1/2 t smoked paprika (pimentón)
1/2 t dry mustard
12 oz/350 g shredded cheddar cheese

Pour 1 cup/250 ml water into a small saucepan and set a steamer basket filled with broccoli in it. Cover with tight lid and steam over medium low heat for 5 minutes or until broccoli is bright green. Set aside when finished (if you like, shock the broccoli by pouring it into an icebath slightly before the desired texture is achieved).

In a large dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until translucent and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Turn heat to medium and add the remaining 3 1/2 cups/875 ml of water, 1 cup/8 oz/250 ml of the milk, salt and pasta. Stirring frequently, bring to a rapid boil. Turn heat down to simmer and cook pasta for 7-9 minutes, always stirring, until pasta is barely undercooked and liquid thickens slightly.

Whisk remaining 1/2 cup/125 ml of milk with cornstarch, paprika and mustard. Stir into pasta and continue to simmer until sauce is well thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove pasta from heat and stir in shredded cheese, a handful at a time, until completely melted. Add broccoli and stir until well coated. Serve immediately or allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

Pasta and Red Onions

Sarah’s out on the town this week in London and I’m scrounging around for foody things at night — trying to resist the temptation to try out the new restaurant on our street.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Red onions
  • Herbs de Provence (or I suppose you could get your own mixture of parsely, sage, rosemary, thyme, simon and garfunkel)
  • Pasta
  • Hard cheese (I used parm; I’m sure Romano or Grana Padano would be fine)

The story:
After work yesterday I bought some red onions, knowing I might not have the chance again for a while, and wondered what I was going to do with them. There was a pasta sale at Kaufland recently, and we’ve got oodles of noodles lying around the apartment (not kidding, but I’ll put them away soon, I promise).

I threw some olive oil in the bottom of a skillet — not quite enough to cover the bottom — over low heat (3 out of 9 on our stove), and tossed in 2 small (think Clementine-sized) sliced red onions and a bunch of garlic coarsely chopped into slivers once it got hot. I wasn’t quite sure what else would be needed. Jul suggested fresh basil or oregano. I thought those sounded great, but don’t have any fresh basil and oddly couldn’t find the oregano. I did however, in my search, stumble upon an old jar of Herbs de Provence. Dumping on about a tablespoon (I guess) of the Herbs made it smell awesome.

Meanwhile I got a pot of water going for my pasta. I used the Eliche cut (single helix scaly looking things), which worked well with the strands of red onion. I cooked the onions and garlic and herbs until the pasta was done — maybe a little bit longer, then combined them in the pasta pan (heat off, but still on the stove) and I grated a big hunk of parmesan into it and mixed it up well. Pretty good improvisation, if I may say so, considering I normally just cut up what Sarah tells me to.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

We’ve been trying to get this right for a while now. We’ve tried it with cream and without, with pancetta, with prosciutto, with garlic, with onion and with all different kinds of long pastas. We finally hit it out of the park. I’m going to detail what we did in this recipe, but I found the inspiration here.

200 g (about 1/2 lb) bacon, cut into 1 in squares (seriously, just normal bacon)
1 large or 2 medium shallots, sliced
1/3 c white wine
500 g (1 lb) spaghetti (we used linguine, it was awesome)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c Grana Padano, shredded or grated
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1 t black pepper, coarsely ground
pinch salt (optional)

In a deep skillet, fry the bacon over medium high heat until some fat is rendered and the edges begin to crisp. Add the shallots and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook the shallot until translucent and add the wine. Heat to a boil and allow to reduce until about 1/2 the wine is left. Remove the skillet from heat, cover and set aside.

Cook the pasta in salted water. While pasta is cooking, stir eggs into cheese until just mixed and add nutmeg, pepper and salt. Drain the pasta, return the skillet with bacon to very low heat and remove lid. Pour pasta into skillet and toss until well coated with wine and bacon and shallot are well distributed. Remove skillet from heat and pour egg and cheese mixture over pasta. Toss quickly with tongs and serve immediately.

Chicken & Bowties

Over the past couple of years, about one out of every five times I’ve called my mom, she’s making chicken & bowties for dinner. I finally asked her this weekend for the recipe. We gave it a whirl last night and now I understand why she makes it so frequently. Thanks, Mom!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 T sun-dried tomato pesto
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c white or rosé wine
1/2 lb farfalle, cooked

Heat olive oil to medium high in large deep skillet. Add chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes or until just golden. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add broccoli and cook for 5 minutes more.

Combine salt, pepper, pesto, basil, red pepper flakes and tomatoes in a small bowl. Add mixture to chicken and broccoli and stir until well distributed. Add liquids, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add cooked pasta and stir well.