Category Archives: Pasta

Antipasto Pasta Salad

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As Morg and I chatted today about a blog she reads called Sarcastic Cooking (which is awesome despite the fact they clearly stole my name), I realized how much I’ve been denying this blog in the name of work. Let’s abruptly put a stop to that shall we?

I made this recipe a month or so ago to take to the lake, and as any meat-laced pasta salad is sure to be, it was a winner. This is a recipe from Giada de Laurentis, who, I’d like to reiterate, cannot possibly be eating the food she cooks on TV. She should look like Paula Deen with all the butter and sugar that goes into everything, yet she’s one bikini and dye-job away from being a Playmate. I do not buy it, Giada. Just know that.

Anyway, a pasta salad recipe that uses salami and olives is a slam dunk with me in any capacity; however I have modified this recipe slightly because our Italian sister went ape crazy with the oil. Seriously, I had to strain the pasta salad after I made it because it was swimming in extra virgin. But fear not – proportions have been corrected accordingly, so whip up with confidence.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more later if too dry)
1 lemon, juiced

Antipasto Salad:
1 pound fusilli pasta
1/2 cup hard salami, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup smoked turkey, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup provolone cheese, cut into strips
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons green olives, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
  2. In a blender, add the basil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Add lemon juice to taste for acidity purposes. Serve.
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Filed under Comfort food, Italian food, Pasta, Side dishes

Chicken Florentine Soup

Merry New Year, Nummy!

I was thinking of making some sweeping New Year’s Resolution about posting more interesting things than soup in 2012, but then I realized I hate resolutions and I still love soup, so everyone can deal.

Seriously though – I wonder what percentage of people actually follow through with resolutions. Because I’m betting 90% of us just end up hating ourselves for not being able to cut it and the other 10% are overachievers who the rest of us hate.

Anyway, the soup: Not only is this delicious, but it’s also a good alternative when you’re looking to strap on the Italian feedbag but don’t want to pile on the calories. The tastes are the same, but because it’s mainly broth and veggies, it could be construed as mildly good for you. And it has a 2 full servings of veggies! (I made that up, but it could be true.)

Also, because this is not cream- or roux-based, all of you clichés who have resolved to eat more healthily in the new year can keep the dream for one more day.

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1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
6 cups (or more) chicken broth
1 cup pasta sauce
2 cans stewed/diced tomatoes with juice (if stewed, chop those suckers)
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, barely chopped
1 bag spinach, roughly chopped
1 zucchini, chopped evenly
1 package refrigerated tortellini (tri-color for the fun)
1 cup parmesan cheese + extra for garnish

Seasonings to taste:
Italian seasoning + extra basil/oregano/thyme (fresh would be the bomb)

Cavendar’s
Cayenne
Garlic powder

  1. Saute garlic and onion in oil until translucent.
  2. Add the next four ingredients and all of the herbs and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Bring to a boil. Add chicken, zucchini, and tortellini.
  4. Cook under zucchini and tortellini are tender. Stir in parmesan. Serve.

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Filed under Italian food, Pasta, Soups

Cacio e Pepe

One of my favorite Italian pastas is also the simplest, Cacio e Pepe.  Traditionally it is spaghetti (cooked al dente), with cheese and a good amount of freshly ground good quality pepper.  I must have had this three times during my trip to Rome.  When you are expected to consume multiple courses (pasta being your first), this is the perfect starter dish to your meal.   It is my go to meal if I am in a lazy cooking mood and maybe also borderline ready to just order Thai food.  Normally I have all the ingredients, so it is hard to justify not making it.  If I cook this as my main meal, I will also make an arugula salad with lemon juice and olive oil on the side.  Buon Appetito! – ts
Chef’s note:  since this is a simple dish, the better the ingredients the better the dish.  Try using the best fresh pepper you can find and good quality cheese.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound bavette, speghetti or linguini fine
2 tablespoons butter
Cacio di Roma, for grating (pecorino is fine to use)
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

  1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until it is almost smoking.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking liquid, and add to the saute pan with the oil. Add the butter and toss over high heat 1 minute.
  4. Grate plenty of cheese and black pepper over, add salt if necessary and serve immediately.

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Filed under Italian food, Main Course, Pasta

ROMA food

I know I am not good about posting to this blog, but this time I had an excuse!  I have been vacationing in Rome the past 7 days and am now inspired to post a few recipes later this week (always the procrastinator).  Obviously Rome is an amazing city for carb and wine indulging, but more important is their LOVE of pork.  I think I consumed more pig in Rome then I did in Barcelona, which is hard to do.  It was awesome, but the next few days I am only eating iceberg lettuce and drinking coffee, recent pics of Christina Aguilera should inspire me to do this.
Here are a few noteworthy food pictures from the trip along with the restaurant name in case you are planning a trip. I suggest asking Chef Morgan as well, girl has a great list from her abroad days. – ts

L’Enoteca Cul de Sac (near Piazza Navona)- small plates great wine list  http://www.enotecaculdesac.com/

 

 

 

 

Pastificio San Lorenzo- you MUST go here.  It is in an up and coming artsy area behind the termini called San Lorenzo, fun live music venue bars as well around the area; incredible meats and cheese; http://www.pastificiocerere.com/ristorante/index.php

 

 

 

 

 

Il Matriciano- Roman fare by the Vatican; the BEST artichokes I have ever had

 

Pork stand in Marino, a small hill side wine town just outside of Rome- 

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Filed under Italian food, Links, Pasta, Pork, Seafood, Uncategorized

Ina Garten’s Pesto

I was clicking around on the Nums the other day, and I noticed an unfulfilled promise I made back on St. Patty’s Day about a pesto recipe. As a person who places unreasonable stock in that holiday, my “luck of the Irish” will be totally whacked if I don’t rectify this, so that’s what I’m doing here.

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As the title would imply, this is Ina Garten’s recipe, and aside from the usual seasoning to taste, it needs no modification. It’s a great basic pesto recipe, and The Chef can attest to the fact that I waxed dramatic about how easy and completely worth it it is to make this rather than buying the jarred stuff. (I know that’s supposed to be obvious, but sometimes you need something like this or Batali’s Basic Marinara Sauce to reteach you that fact.)

Also, this freezes incredibly well, so make a bunch for your long-term carbo needs.

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts*
3 tbsp chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cups good olive oil
1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated

  1. Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.

  2. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.

  3. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

*The time I made this, I was too lazy to brave the psychofest that is the parking situation at midtown Schnuck’s, and I couldn’t find pine nuts at Miss Cordelia’s, so I used all walnuts. It may not feel as fancy, but it tastes just as good.

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Filed under Italian food, Pasta, Sauces

Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad ~ a.k.a. Bogie’s Pasta Salad

So this pasta salad was originally called “BLT Pasta Salad” until The Chef rightly (and a little smugly) pointed out that there is not, in fact, an “L” in it. To which I replied, “Um yuh-huh! Little tiny cucumbers. So there. What do you think about that?!”

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Turns out he thought that was stupid, which it was, so I renamed it. Basically it’s my copyright-infringement version of Bogie’s pasta salad but with bacon. Because… you know what, no. It needs no explanation. Bacon is its own reason.

As per usual with my pasta salads, I am not entirely sure about the amount of mayo, so you’ll just have to taste and add to your desired level of saturation. (The ladies reading this will appreciate that I’ve avoided using the words “moist” or “wet” here. Yes, we all hate those words. They’re icky, so just shut up about it.)

Also, if you are firmly anti-cucumber as I am, do not fear – if you dice the little buggers up tiny enough, you will barely even notice them. (But they are an integral part of the “Bogie’s” taste and the “saturation” factor, so don’t leave them out completely.)

And there you have it. This pasta will make your transition from lake to tailgate smooth – and delicious – so make sure you have some on hand.

1 package rotini, cooked al dente*
5 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large cucumber, seeded and minced**
5 green onions, chopped (white parts discarded)
1.5 cups mayo (Duke’s!)
6 strips bacon (preferably Wright), cooked and chopped
1 cup sour cream
juice of 2 lemons at serving time
chili powder
Cavender’s

  1. While the pasta is still hot, mix all ingredients in large bowl. (You actually don’t have to do it while it’s hot, but the mayo coats everything better that way, so proceed as you will.)
  2. Add chili power, Cavender’s or your favorite all-purpose seasoning to taste.
  3. Chill (at least a few hours, preferably over night). Before serving, check to make sure the pasta is not too dry and add more, ahem, “saturating” ingredients as necessary and the lemon juice.

*Make sure to cook the pasta a little under as it will sit and soften in the mayo. Also, don’t buy multicolored rotini for this because it’s much prettier red, white and green. But that might be the OCD talking, so you do what you want.
**Mince the life out of that little effer. I mean it. No big chunks of cucumber here. The slime will not stand.

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Filed under Comfort food, Party food, Pasta, Salad, Side dishes, Southern food

Chicken Pasta Salad ~ Fourth of July 2K11

It’s that time of year again, lake rats: The 4th of July. And in honor of our upcoming trip to Tims Ford, I’m giving up one of my favorite have-around lake snacks: my version of the Chicken Pasta Salad from Bread & Company. [That stuff is way too expensive to buy by the pound, so I piddled around until I figured out a pretty close imitation. Grommet-style.]

This stuff keeps incredibly well, so you can have it pre-boat, mid-beverage and even post-broken-foot if you are as unlucky around water as I seem to be.
And it makes a great base if you’re, say, drowning your sorrows in Firefly so you can limp down to the driveway to play beer die. Not that that’s ever happened.

Anywho, this recipe uses roasted red peppers rather than raw because I ain’t much for the crunch, so tinker with this as you must. Freedom of choice is American as hell.

3 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 package thin angel hair, cooked*
1 can artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped (just the green parts)
2 cups mayo (plus as much as you need for your desired level of moisture. Eww. Hate that word.)
splash of Italian dressing (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (or Cavendar’s if you’re Akin through-and-through)

  1. Season chicken and cook in skillet with olive oil. (Taco seasoning + Tony’s is a winning combination for me.)
  2. While pasta is still warm, add mayo and all other ingredients.
  3. Cover and chill at least one hour (but this is even better after it sits overnight). Season to taste.

Eat on it. It’s the yum.

*I always undercook the pasta when I know I’m making this a day or two in advance because the pasta will soften as it sits in the fridge. Adjust your level of al dente accordingly.

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Filed under Chicken, Comfort food, Main Course, Pasta, Salad, Side dishes, Snacks