Posts tagged ‘pasta’

January 12, 2012

Easy Kale, Shallots, and Pasta

Ingredients
Half a bunch of kale
About half a cup of vegetable broth
1 giant or 2 normal sized shallots
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 box of pasta
Handful of walnuts (toasting directions below)

Process
Set walnuts onto a toaster-oven safe plate and toast for about 10 minutes.

Set a pot of water for paste to boil.

Chop shallots and sauté in olive oil. They should get brown around the edges and ideally a bit crispy.

Chop the garlic and toss into the pan with the shallots.

After sautéing them together for a few minutes, add the broth and stir. Then add the chopped toasted walnuts.

The sauce should thicken a bit. Chop the kale and when the water is boiling, add it to the sauce. Cover and remove from the heat while the pasta cooks.

When the pasta is nearly ready, turn the heat on the kale and sauce. Stir around until heated through and until the kale has wilted.

Combine the pasta and sauce and serve!

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June 21, 2011

Simple Tomato and Basil Pasta

Real easy, very yummy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuff You Need:

Five small (somewhere between cherry tomoto and small slicing) tomatoes
A large handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
2 green onions
2 stalks green garlic, from the bulb to the scape
A few tablespoons garlic/veggie broth
Olive oil, salt, pepper, pasta

 

Stuff You Do:

1. Put on water for pasta, enough for 3/4-1 whole box

2. Chop garlic and the white part of green onions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Put them in the pan with olive oil, veggie broth, salt, and pepper and saute on low heat.

4. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them to the pan with the finely chopped basil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Add green parts of green onions (scallion parts)

6. Cook on low heat for another 5-10 minutes, until the pasta is ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Toss pasta with sauce and top with mozzarella or parmesan.  Rejoice in the reappearance of tomatoes and basil.

June 12, 2011

Green Pasta Sauces

Since we have such an abundance of greens right now, we’ve been making a range of green pasta sauces.  It’s amazing how many greens taste good on pasta, and how great they are no matter how often you eat them.  So, several green pasta sauce ideas:

  1. Parsley Garlic Noodles  – this is more or less our favorite quick dinner.  Or dinner at all.

1 bunch parsley

1 head of garlic or 3-4 stalks of green garlic (the more the better)

Olive oil or butter

While making a box of pasta, wash and roughly chop the parsley and finely chop the garlic.  When the pasta is done put the parsley and garlic in the still-warm pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil or butter.  Stir it for a minute or two to coat in oil then add the pasta and mix.  It’s great on its own or with any kind of cheese and lots of salt and pepper.

  1. Cilantro & Ramp Pesto

1/2 bunch of cilantro
3 ramps, tops and bottoms
1 stalk of green garlic
a handful of arugula

Put all of these great things in a food processor with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  It makes a lovely, light pesto and is great with a little Parmesan.

  1. Kale & Pasta

½ bunch of kale

½ a head of garlic or some green garlic stalks

Olive oil

Juice of ½ a lemon

Optional: Portobello mushrooms

Chop the kale into smallish pieces and cut the garlic into whatever shape you like.  Cook the garlic (and mushrooms-cut into small pieces) in the olive oil over low heat.  When the pasta is nearly done, add the kale to the garlic, stir, and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add a tablespoon of water or veggie stock and cover for 3-4 minutes.  Uncover and turn off the heat.  The kale should be starting to wilt.  Add the lemon juice.  If you cook it until done then it will become mushy on the pasta, so better to stop early.  Mix it up with the pasta and eat right away.

May 28, 2011

Best Penne Vodka Ever

While A was away on vacation, said vacationer’s girlfriend fixated on a very pretentious idea. She was sitting at her desk in the library, thinking of the 1940s Italian neo-realist film The Bicycle Thief and remembering the delicious-looking bowl of pasta served by the frugal yet culinarily skilled mom. This led to the (a) highly specious conclusion that the film characters were eating penne vodka, and (b) a wide-ranging search for the best penne vodka recipe ever. Vacationer’s girlfriend eventually settled on Smitten Kitchen’s adaptation of Rachel Ray’s embarrassingly named “You Won’t be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta.” After sending the closet-dweller the recipe & a short lecture on the cinematographic brilliance of TBT, girlfriend ventured out to acquire the needed libations.

The closet-dweller and vacationer’s girlfriend made many changes to the Smitten Kitchen & Rachel Ray recipes. Here’s the final version:

Penne Vodka (non-discriminatory re: relationship status)

A couple tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
About 5 stalks green garlic, minced
Good-sized handful of chives, snipped into the pan
1/2 cup vodka
1 cup veggie stock
1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
A little less than a pound of pasta, depending on the sauce:pasta ratio you prefer
1/2 cup heavy cream
A small handful fresh oregano, chopped up (or basil if you have it around)

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, green garlic, and chives. Gently saute chives and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes. Add vodka to the pan. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add veggie stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes until the tomatoes taste done (if you’ve cooked with diced tomatoes before, you probably know what I mean). Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta. Stir cream and fresh herbs (oregano or basil) into the sauce and simmer a bit more. Season more as needed. Stir together with pasta and top with cheese if you so desire.

Evening entertainment option 1: Go classy, eat penne vodka and drink wine while watching an amazing Italian neo-realist film.

Evening entertainment option 2: Go post-college, eat penne vodka and drink Yuengling while watching Community for hours on end.

April 13, 2011

In Which The Closet-Dweller Goes It Alone

A door creaks open in a central New York Apartment on a blustery April day. A trembling, blinking creature emerges from the dark recesses within, moving slowly into the harsh afternoon light, a la The Beast of Disney fame. Who is this pale and disheveled form, you ask, wearing a bewitching mix of leggings and marinara-stained t-shirt with mismatched socks, inquiring of the cat as to the time?

It is I, the closet-dweller. I, who revels in the dark embrace of the closet by day and gazes, hypnotized, at glowing screens by night. I, who wrangles toddlers and recycles all those beer bottles whose labels I have not torn off in a frenzy of unused energy. I, who provides almost no monetary but much comedic support to my steadfast and lovely roommates. And where, you might ask, are these providers of vegetable knowledge, givers of gentle prodding into the warmth of the kitchen? Whither, they not of the closet?

My fellow denizens of small-town America have fled to England, leaving me to face alone the yawning cupboards empty of onions and greens and the anxiety-producing prospect of a solo farmer’s market. But I will not quaver! For they have also left me to indulge pleasant pastimes: Washing the dishes in one’s underwear whilst belting hits of the lovesick-country variety. Feeling no compunction about eating ice cream for breakfast. Talking to the cat freely in his natural tongue.

So I will press on, knowing as I do the shadowy contours of the apartment, the insomniac secrets of its culinary abundance. Join me, on this journey of discovery and peril, of fear and opportunity, as I leave the closet and prepare to fend for myself.

Tonight’s adventure involves pasta, mushrooms, butter, three-buck chuck, and the musical stylings of Ms. Dolly Parton. Let’s begin:

You might want to start by tying a red ribbon around your ponytail and clearing away some dishes, while listening to this song.

Ponder the contents of your fridge while you do so, and the big questions, such as, why exactly is food at the bottom of the drain so much less appealing than food on a plate? What does the mime in Dolly’s video symbolize? Where can I find those suspenders she’s wearing?

Congratulations. You have earned your first glass of wine. This can be consumed while cutting up some garlic and if you’re me, your second-to-last shallot. Chopping can be soothing but also boring, so you should listen to this awesome song. I give you my full permission to dance around singing the chorus into a wooden spoon, as I know you want to. Go on. If you can’t be undignified and cliche in front of your cat, you’re depriving an animal of the chance to harshly judge your melodramatics, and what kind of responsible pet owner would do that? Think of the animals!

If twangy, confusing, and unrequited love is not your thing (and if not, why not?) this is also a good opportunity to call someone you love but who lingers on the phone, as one: you have wine, and two: you can say, “I would love to talk some more, but I have to put these shallots and garlic onto the stove in a frying pan with a shitload of butter and salt and pepper. Goodnight!” (See what I did there? Subtle recipe instructions!)

Now, on to the improvisation portion of the meal. While the shallots and garlic are making sweet love to all that butter, fill a pot with water and set out the pasta of your choice. (I find it satisfying to methodically rip off the top of the box, but to each her own.) Cut up a hefty portion of portobello mushrooms. Throw those in with the other stuff. Here is where my night got tricky. I decided to be bold and go for a creamy sauce even though I had no cream. You could also take this recipe in the direction of the tomato-y balsamic if you have access to such things. What I did is perhaps unconventional, but turned out, well, let’s be honest, pretty ok: tear up some cheddar cheese (white, extra sharp, just like yours truly, heyo) and pour in the heaviest liquid dairy you posses, but not sour cream or yogurt, obviously. You want to keep the liquid in proportion with how much you chopped and how much pasta you’re making. With that in mind: pour a little bit of the wine from your glass into the pan but much more into your mouth. I also put some vegetable stock in there, cause it was in the fridge, and my mushrooms were a little withered and I thought it would perk them up. And yes, I realize this recipe is just to put a little of all your dairy products over pasta and mushrooms and eat it, but sue me. I’ve been living in a closet for six months.

I know you’re as smart as you are pretty, so you’ve remembered to cook and drain your pasta during all the above innovative saucing. Mix all the stuff you’ve cooked together and put a bunch of stuff on it: salt, pepper,  more cheese. And pour another glass of wine. You deserve it.  And let me know how it turned out. For me, it was sort of weird, but I liked it. That’s what she said. Closet-dweller out!

 

Stuff On Pasta, With Cat

I took a shitty picture with my phone. You can just see the cat and the beer bottles in the background.

March 24, 2011

Chard and tomato sauce

This week we got our first chard, which was really really exciting. Usually we just eat it straight on pasta, but this time we decided to really shake things up by making a tomato sauce to go with the chard and pasta!

It was like this, but delicious, rather than wordy:

1 large can of diced tomatoes (this would be so much better in the summer, when we could have fresh)

1 head of garlic

1 very large shallot

balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon red wine

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

chard!

salt & pepper to taste

 

1. Chop the garlic and shallot and cook them in a small amount of oil.  Add the dried basil, red wine, and a capful of balsamic vinegar.  Cook for a couple minutes.

2. Add the canned tomatoes, turn down the heat, and cook for at least half-an-hour.

3. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar, cook for a few minutes and taste.  season with salt, pepper, & basil.  Add more sugar if the tomatoes still taste tinny (I suppose if you are using fresh tomatoes you could leave the sugar out altogether, although it is good to balance the basil).

4. Put water on to boil for spaghetti.  Meanwhile, cut the stems off the chard and chop it into very small pieces, about 1 inch x 1 inch and set aside.  If you’re saving veggie scraps for stock, you can save the stems for that.

5.  Once the spaghetti is done, throw the chard into the sauce and stir continually until it is all nicely mixed together and the chard is starting to wilt a little bit.  Turn off the heat and eat right away.  It remains great the second day as well.

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February 2, 2011

Garlic and Parsley Soup, French Bread, and Upstate New York Wisdom

Here in the hinterlands, we got another good foot of snow last night, and it’s begun blowing and flurrying again tonight. We’re cozying up and dosing ourselves with a heady combination of hot toddies, garlic and parsley soup with noodles, and a particularly inspired homemade crusty French bread. Followed by a rousing game of scrabble and some cheerful bluegrass—and okay, for one of our roommates (hint: the one who lives in the actual closet) “bluegrass music” also means some freakin’ Dixie Chicks. If this sounds like a recipe for perfect bliss, friend, it is. We’ve been inspired by the towering success of the bread to begin a weekly series of blog posts, each attempting a different bread from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. Below you’ll find the recipe for the spicy, light soup, and some helpful hot toddy hints. Take one into the hot shower with you (it is not weird quoth the closet-dweller) after the cold, snowy walk to the liquor store and you’ll feel you’ve died and gone to heaven.

And now, for an anecdote as the cherry on this Wednesday sundae: We are three fairly liberal gals living in a very conservative enclave. Today this was all turned on its head with a choice comment made by our salt of the earth neighbor, a dispenser of advice on dog-walking, sprained-ankle-healing, snow-shoveling, and truck-moving who is naturally named Bob. One of our gang happened to be tramping into town past Bob’s house, where he was indeed heartily shoveling snow, with a troupe of snow-day-addled and rosy-cheeked children. Bob took one look at our harried compatriot wrangling a small herd of children through the snowdrifts and cheerfully exclaimed, “You need me to give ya the number for Planned Parenthood?” And thus, an ever-so-slightly scandalous joke about birth control made our night. We’ll take what we can get!

Hot Toddy
The classic recipe is a tipple of whiskey (Irish, American (i.e. bourbon) or Scottish (i.e. scotch) a slice of lemon, and the rest of the glass filled with just boiled water. Variations include throwing some tea into the mix, and milk and sugar if the spirit moves you, though dairy and alcohol might just throw you for a nasty loop in quantity.

Parsley and Garlic Soup


1. Cut at least two heads of large garlic.
2. Cook over very low heat with olive oil and black pepper. Stir frequently
3. Add eight cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil.
4. If using water, add at least two vegetable bouillon cubes.
5. Add a teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt.
6. Once the bouillon has dissolved turn the heat down a bit.
7. If you want, add a few handfuls of uncooked pasta. It will cook in the soup.
8. When the pasta is done, turn off the heat and add at least half a bunch of parsley. We used frozen parsley from this fall, but fresh would work just as well.
Serve with delicious bread and parmesan if you want.