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.

Orzo Asparagus Salad

Spargelsaison is fun, but it can be a little one-note if you don’t have a variety of preparations for the stuff. If you’re lucky enough to have grilling weather while the asparagus is as its peak, this is a fantastic way to serve it alongside burgers or sausages. I found the original here and have posted my version below.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
250 g orzo pasta
at least 500 g green asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
about 300 g artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1-1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, julienned
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

In a small skillet, heat olive oil to medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant. Set aside.

Cook orzo in salted water for 1 minute less than package directs. Add asparagus to orzo for last 2 minutes of cook time but no more! You want the asparagus to be bright green and still a little crispy when you drain the pasta. After draining the orzo and asparagus, run cold water over it immediately, agitating it frequently to make sure there are no pockets of heat. After draining and cooling, pour orzo and asparagus into a large salad bowl. Add artichokes and tomatoes to orzo bowl.

Remove shallot & garlic to a small deep bowl. Add lemon zest and juice, vinegar, salt and pepper to bowl. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil. Pour dressing over salad, stir thoroughly, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. Stir again before serving.

Garlic Lemon Cream Pasta

I’ve been on the hunt for a creamy lemon sauce for years and have tried a few that just didn’t do it. They either weren’t lemony enough or had way too much cream (Cliff has no gall bladder – too much cream or butter does him in). This one finally has the right balance of flavor and creaminess. Here’s the original, with my version below.

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 c chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup capers
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c artichoke hearts
1/4 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 t herbes des Provence
1 lb broccoli florets (optional)
1 lb pasta

Heat butter and oil to medium in a deep skillet. Sauté garlic, shallots and lemon zest until tender and fragrant. Add broth and simmer until reduced by half and syrupy*. Add capers, lemon juice and artichoke hearts and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in cream and add salt, pepper and herbes. Set aside sauce. Cook pasta and broccoli to desired doneness, drain and toss with sauce.

*I wasn’t happy with the ‘syrupy’ texture and wanted the sauce to be a little thicker, so I added a cornstarch slurry (1 T cornstarch and 1 T water whisked until smooth). Pour the slurry into the simmering sauce and stir well until thickened, then proceed as above.

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

SPARGELZEIT!!1!

It’s that time of year again. While the locals are losing it over the white stuff, I’m partial to green asparagus (more flavor). This will definitely make another appearance before the fleeting season ends. Here’s the original, my version is below.

500 g/1 lb pasta (whole wheat pasta would be great here)
500 g/1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (you could easily double this)
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk or cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small shallots, minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cook pasta in well salted water. For last 3-4 minutes of cooking time, add asparagus pieces. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Whisk together mustard, flour, milk or cream, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned. Whisk in mustard mixture and bring to a simmer, cooking until thickened. Stir in lemon zest and juice and half of the cheese. If sauce gets too thick, loosen it by stirring in a little pasta water or more milk.

Combine pasta, asparagus and sauce, tossing until well coated. Serve and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

I’m sick of cooking. Yeah, I didn’t think it would ever happen, either, but the recently wrapped-up holiday season kinda tested my limits. Mostly because I’m tired of doing dishes, but at least part of it is a lack of inspiration. As much as I wanted to go out last night, I didn’t feel like spending the money, so I looked inward…to my pantry. It had to be something made from staples that wasn’t boring. The technique came from one recipe and the flavor profile from another and it yielded delicious results: subtly sweet and smoky, with a salty punch from cheese and some half & half to ease the acidic edges. And it came together in the amount of time it took to boil the pasta.

Maybe my mojo’s not entirely gone.

1 T olive oil
1 T butter
2 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T tomato paste
1/4 c white wine
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
large pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 jar (3-4 peppers) roasted red peppers, drained, lightly rinsed and roughly chopped
2/3 c half & half
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
salt to taste*

In a small saucepan, heat oil and butter to medium-low. Sauté shallots and garlic until just tender, then stir in tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes. Add wine, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes, stir to combine and allow wine to reduce to 1/3 (the boozy smell the should be gone). Reduce heat to low, add the red peppers and half & half and stir until everything is combined. Allow to heat to a bare simmer, then blend with a stick blender until very smooth. Stir in the cheese and bring sauce to a simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, but do not allow it to get to a full boil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Toss with pasta and serve with more cheese for sprinkling.

*The peppers I used had a little salt in them, as part of the preservation process. Combined with the cheese, that was salty enough for us. Plus, be careful not to blot out the peppers’ sweetness – I think that’s where the interest comes from.

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.

Homemade Pasta — a series of tubes!

Large Macaroni in process

In our continuing quest to make more food ourselves where feasible (and fun!), I bought a(nother) pasta making attachment for our KitchenAid mixer on eBay earlier this month. This one extrudes dough into tube shapes!

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Continue reading Homemade Pasta — a series of tubes!

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

Pumpkin Ice Cream and Fresh Pasta

Continuing in our series of KitchenAid glory basking, this weekend we thawed out some of our pumpkin puree (most often used in pies), and equipped with all the right stuff (thanks Cheryl!), we made a batch of pumpkin ice cream and tried our hand at fettucine.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

We wanted to stick to the recipes in the ice cream maker’s instructions, but quickly discovered (remembered?) that Germany’s dairy products hierarchy don’t match up to the U.S. or British ones. If we can get Light, Heavy, Single or Double cream here in Germany, we haven’t yet found where. Thus we are limited to recipes requiring Whipping Cream (or Half-and-Half, which we can simulate through a conversion Sarah found online).

So Sarah dug up this one, requiring only whipping cream. It’s kind of hard to pour ice cream batter into the freeze bowl with the moving dasher WITHOUT glooping over the side of the bowl a little.

Fresh out of the freeze bowl after about 20 minutes of dashing, it had a lovely soft-serve-like consistency. 6 hours later at pal Matt’s house, it had the firmer texture — better for scooping — I prefer. The flavor was outstanding — this is what I want my pumpkin pies to taste like, except it was ice cream. Therefore: make and freeze enough pumpkin puree so that you can get your pumpkinny dessert on in the summer, when you can’t be bothered to turn on the oven.

We often skip steps in recipes calling for mesh straining, but it was a good idea in this case, to make sure no accidental egg bits (though I think we tempered the eggs better this time than in earlier attempts) or spice chunks from the custard made their way into the final product.

Semolina Fettucine

Having finished off that batch of goodness, it was time for us to tackle our first semolina pasta. Sarah acquired our primary ingredient from the local fancy market (Sarik, am Kassiansplatz, if you know your way around Regensburg’s Altstadt).

The standard recipe included with our pasta-making attachments was surprisingly easy. Basically: throw eggs, oil, water, flour and salt into the mixer bowl and mix for 30 seconds with the paddle on the lowest speed setting.

Switch out the paddle for the kneading hook and let it knead for 2 minutes for you on the lowest speed setting. Our mixer struggled a bit at times; I think the lowest speed is a little too low for that mass of dough.

Then knead by hand a few minutes.

Next, cut your kneaded dough ball into more manageable pieces. The instructions say 8 lumps, which made for some pretty long flat sheets of noodles.

16 lumps (on a spaghetti attempt the same day) made for shorter sheets, which were much easier to handle, but shorter noodles after running through the cutter. 12 lumps is probably the ideal compromise between flat sheet handle-ability and noodle length. We’ll try that on the next batch.

Sarah was really smart and laid out an old (clean, of course!) towel right at the start on our table. On that surface we can sprinkle flour and clean up the mess quickly.

The instructions (included with the attachments and in tutorial videos on the web) suggest sprinkling with flour between the flattening and cutting stages to prevent sticking, but we didn’t need to do that at all. If you’re going to cut them by hand (say, for your pappardelle), it’s probably a good idea to sprinkle the sheets with flour so you can roll and cut them without sticking.

We did sprinkle the cut noodles with flour to keep them from sticking while in storage.

The big test was the same evening at Matt’s place, where he whipped up a decadent gorgonzola-mozzarella-pancetta-rocket sauce. Our noodles behaved admirably: no sticking, clumping, or tangling.

Can’t wait to get that batch of spaghetti out of the freezer and give them a whirl, too…

Restaurant Colosseum

The Joint

Restaurant Colosseum
Inh. Teixeira Pinto
StadtamHof 5
93059 Regensburg
Tel. +49 941 28 00 74 65

Cliff

Restaurant Colosseum
Restaurant Colosseum
This seems like one of those locations that has a hard time staying in business. Maybe it’s cursed (not a big surprise, owing to its history), or just had a string of unlucky proprietors since we’ve been here in Regensburg observing it. But I really hope this iteration sticks around, despite the odds facing it. The location is ideal for us and food quality was, by our estimations, very high. I like that the owner comes around to check on his guests while they are eating. But I’m troubled by what seem big threats to his livelihood.

  • Trattoria Marina is just a few meters away and has a much flashier location, setup, and is well established as the Italian restaurant on this part of the island.
  • They seem to have much more capacity for seating than necessary. Of course, they just opened this spring.
  • It’s hard to know what the place is actually called . The building is labelled “Colosseum”. Is that the name of the restaurant? Cursory google searches about the restaurant yielded nothing useful. What about carry-out business? Phone number on the door? All of that was missing or not obvious. Seems like the owner is relying on walk-in/by business. Hope that’s enough.

Here’s what it does have going for it: homemade pastas (excellent!), decent pizzas, a great bruschetta, and a Buy 10 Get 2 Free deal on carry-out pizza. I just hope they can stick it out against the odds.

Sarah

Locals already know this, but for those just visiting, Regensburg suffers from a glut of Italian restaurants. Most of them are fair-to-middling with a few standouts. Colosseum is on track to be counted among the standouts. Service is friendly and attentive. The food is fresh and well-priced. They don’t seem to have the flair that Marina has, but they’re far more pleasant to deal with – just try ordering a pizza from both places and see which experience is better.

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