Posts tagged italian
Posts tagged italian
Here’s another good, quick, weeknight meal. I used some ramp pesto that was leftover from the Pasta with Fiddleheads that I made a few nights ago. Serve over cavatappi pasta with a good bottle of Italian wine, and you can’t go wrong.
Phew! Work got pretty busy for a while there. I didn’t have much time to cook, and I was worried that the package of wild mushrooms in my fridge wouldn’t wait for me. Luckily, it did. So tonight I put down my Blackberry and whipped up this recipe. Only modification was to add some sliced shallots. The mascarpone added a nicely creamy and sweet finish. This is categorized as a “first course dish” on Epicurious, but I thought it was hearty enough to work as a main dish for a weeknight meal.
Local wild little-neck clams were on sale at FreshDirect, so I decided to give this recipe a try. I’m not a fan of East Coast clams. Every time I cook these clams it makes me homesick for the sweet and tasty little Manila clams of my Seattle youth. I know Manila clams are an invasive species that came over from Japan. So if they invaded the West Coast, can’t they invade the East Coast, too? Maybe one day. Until then, these little-necks did a fine job, and the spicy Italian sausage added a great flavor contrast. I’ll make this recipe again - maybe next time with Manilas.
I love trying new ingredients. I’d never heard of black garlic before. Essentially, they ferment regular garlic so it’s savory/sweet - not unlike roasted garlic. FreshDirect (my grocery delivery service) had some in stock, so I ordered it then found this risotto recipe. I made a few modifications - used shiitake mushrooms and also threw in green peas at the very end. But the savory complexity of the black garlic really complemented the risotto. Going to have to try this in more dishes.
Never been a fan of rubbery mozzarella. This recipe provides a brilliant solution! It has to be my favorite recipe (so far) from the new Frankies Spuntino cookbook. I love the concept of baking the eggplant low and slow (layered with homemade tomato sauce and pecorino), and then adding some fresh mozzarella right at the very end. Why didn’t I think of this before? I scaled the recipe down, and the cooking time seemed a little long (maybe it’s right for a full batch?). I admit that my first attempt burned a little around the edges. STILL, it was irresistibly delicious, so I am definitely doing this one again!
Time to use up that little package of farmer’s market Italian sausage that has been chillin’ in my freezer. This recipe looked tasty, and it didn’t disappoint. The fennel and peppers were great with the sausage. I had some radish green sitting around, so as a side dish I whipped up a little radish green pesto to serve over pasta on the side. I’ll admit that green pesto didn’t add to the color palate of the plate, but it tasted pretty darn good.
This dish practically made itself. Super easy. Can you boil water? Can you toss in some penne pasta and cook until it’s done? Can you dress the cooked pasta with tomatoes, olives, herbs and goat cheese? Check, check, check. The recipe called for Kalamata olives and basil, but I used green olives and thyme. The creamy sauce created by the melting goat cheese was the finishing touch.
Picaso had his Blue Period. I’ve officially entered my Italian Period. It all started when we moved to Carroll Gardens (an old Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn). Then I hosted an Italian themed housewarming party. Then I bought a copy of The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual (it was technically a birthday gift for my husband, but I admit to borrowing it a few times!). So now I’ve started making homemade pasta. We have a Villaware pasta roller (also gift for my husband - is this a bad pattern?). We were never happy with the quality of the machine - a bolt fell inside early on and has been rattling around and the roller came apart from the base. So a new machine has been ordered. But I figured I’d give the old roller one last hurrah before it’s kicked to the curb. The pasta actually came out pretty well. I made different recipes on two different nights. First was ravioli filled with beef (actually the leftover meatballs from our housewarming) and ricotta. Next was simple hand-cut noodles with tomato sauce. My pasta recipe is pretty basic so far: I used one egg, a cup of flour and enough water to get the right consistency. The first time I used regular flour. The second time I substituted in some semolina. I liked the semolina better, but this recipe obviously begs for improvement over time - just as soon as my new roller arrives in the mail.
It’s meatball mania! I made big batches (1.5x the recipe) for our recent housewarming party. There are more pics from the housewarming food spread posted separately. I actually made meatballs before when I helped cater a Super Bowl party at my friend’s apartment in Manhattan (see my archives). So I guess these recipes now enter my cannon of favorite tried-and-true party foods. I love the fact that meatballs can feed a crowd, satisfy both veggie and meat eaters, and freeze up nicely in the unlikely event of leftovers. They worked for the Super Bowl, they worked for my Italian themed housewarming, and I’m sure they’ll be back again.
Carroll Gardens Housewarming Party
Here is a photo spread from our recent housewarming party. Beautiful, no? The real beauty was that it was actually very low on cooking (which saves the nerves of a busy host!). I made a big batch of veggie “meatballs” with pesto sauce and more traditional beef meatballs in homemade tomato sauce (I’ll post photos and recipes of the meatballs separately). But everything else was more assembled than cooked: sliced tomatoes and mozzarella with basil, an antipasto platter (mainly FreshDirect deli items), bakery bread with fresh ricotta, and bakery cannoli and cookies. We set up a Campari bar so guests could make their own negroni, and also had plenty of wine on hand. I’ve always loved Italian food, so moving to an Italian neighborhood has been a wonderful excuse and inspiration!