Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category


What’s in a name? Seafood and chorizo pasta

March 8, 2007


My husband was struggling with what to call this dish. It’s not a bouillabaisse, it’s not a stew. It’s not a paella, it’s not a ragout. (Hey, that totally rhymes.) Finally, after much head-scratching, he came up with “seafood and chorizo pasta.”

Well, I can’t reward him any points for originality/creativity… but I can give him mad props for deliciousness. Whatever you call this dish, it has tastiness in spades.

It’s hard to pinpoint what really seals the deal on a dinner this complex and satisfying. Could it be the rich tomato-based sauce coating the mounds of freshly made pasta? Perhaps it’s the smoky, spicy chorizo sausage hiding like treasures throughout? Maybe it’s the sweet and delicate shrimp morsels? Or could it be the fierce and seductive clams, lending their hint of the sea and their decorative shells?

Hmm… Obviously this is going to take more “research” on my part. My fork, please, darling.


Click here to download the recipe for Seafood and Chorizo Pasta.

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Have Christmas Stress? Need a no fuss dish? But want it to shine? Try Ramen Noodle Salad! Yes, I said Ramen Noodle Salad. Sheesh.

December 24, 2006


I enjoy food, as you know. But it isn’t often that I eat something and then sincerely plead, “I have to have this recipe.” (Perhaps because I prefer to have others prepare food for me, and then, who needs the recipe?)

But after sampling the Ramen Noodle Salad at my in-laws’ house, I had to demand the recipe. Twice. That’s right. I got it, lost it, and then wasn’t too embarrassed to call the next week to get it again. It’s that good.

Ramen Noodle Salad is simple to prepare and absolutely delicious. I think it’s a well-kept secret, in part, because the recipe seems so unlikely to yield anything as awesomely good as it is. Cabbage, some nuts, some sugar, oil and vinegar… and Ramen noodles and their “flavor packets”?

Doesn’t really set the tummy rumbling, does it?

If that’s the case, it’s only because you haven’t had the salad. It requires nothing more than the ingredient list and a little time to marinate. No baking… no heat of any kind. And it fulfills my requirements for a salad that I will absolutely rave about: It’s incredibly delicious… and not that healthy for you, after all. (Think: Nuts, nuts, noodles and oil. Not really your heart specialist’s dream.)

But who cares? It’s so damn tasty. And by publishing the recipe on the Internet, I — and any other Ramen Noodle Salad lovers — can fulfill our Ramen Noodle Salad cravings anytime – without having to make repeated phone calls for the recipe!

Click here to download the recipe for Ramen Noodle Salad
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Breaking News: Wife claims fennel and sausage pasta as meal of champions, Husband abuses metaphor.

December 6, 2006

Pasta. It’s the food of champions, isn’t it? Or is that Wheaties?

Well, then, besides chemically enhanced breakfast cereals that come in orange boxes, pasta may be one of the few fast foods that is actually good for you. (Atkins dieters please ignore this statement and resume your regular avoidance of bread and bread-like products. These are not the carbohydrates you seek.) And when my husband gets out his pasta press and opens the fridge, pasta is not only fast and delicious, it’s also fresh and healthy.

I’ve noted a few favorites of mine in his pasta repertoire (artichoke and tomato, special sauce, stuffed ravioli), but I have no objections to his adding more. Hence, I can recommend his fennel and sweet sausage pasta. This offering makes the list because it includes the necessary healthy bit (the fennel) and adds that extra tasty bit, too (the sweet Italian sausage).

Tossed with fresh fettuccini, this concoction makes a fresh, healthy and fast dinner that was ready when I walked through the door. And that, friends, is one of the main criteria for food that I can wholeheartedly endorse. “Good food now” is my motto, you may recall. And in the spirit of Queen’s stadium anthem (and Wheaties), pasta is the champion.

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Warning Test Kitchen Experiment in Progress: Chestnut and Acorn Squash Ravioli

November 21, 2006

Experiments are good. However, sometimes you end up scratching your head when you fail. The individual pieces may work, but the combination makes you realize that not all things work together in the kitchen. I’ve been to a few restaurants, most of them leaning towards “fusion” cuisine, where there is such a discord of flavors that you are wondering who in the kitchen is tasting the food before it went out. (My wife and I have a restaurant in mind when we had one of those moments and it always gives a good chuckle to remember it.)

Unfortunately for me, last night, I had one of those moments. Caught in the frenzy for Thanksgiving, I tried to continue my exploration of very fall ingredients and give it some Turkey Day love. Oh, well, so sometimes you learn more from the effort than the results.

The new ingredients were acorn squash and chestnuts. Both are quintessential cold weather flavors and would require some effort to learn on my part. I had never used them. I had tasted both on a few occasions, liked them well enough. Yet, the only thing I was confident about them was that I would need to roast both ingredients before serving them.

It was after the thought of roasting them that my thoughts turned to ravioli. I decided I would make a filling from roasted squash and chestnuts. Then, I decided to serve them with a sauce made from braising a turkey leg. Now before you go “Ewww” too much, both pieces, the ravioli and the sauce, were delicious. My mistake was the combination. The problem was the ravioli’s filing was so sweet from the squash and the chestnuts and the sauce from the turkey was too heavy and too savory.

However, the ravioli are right. And seeing as this is a blog about the food I make and my wife eats, I felt I should share a bit of my work in progress. I don’t want people think everything I make is great. Trust me, my wife has eaten a few embarrassments over the years. Right now, I’m working on a lighter, better sauce to make this work. But until then, advice and experience of my readers could be hugely beneficial. I hope you enjoy and share ideas on my work in progress! Read the rest of this entry ?


Behold! Macaroni and cheese…

September 25, 2006

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

You say cheese, and I say “Where? Can I have some?”

Yes, I love cheese. But who doesn’t? Cheese is fantastic. And it comes in so many wonderful, varied flavors. Just gazing at the vast offerings of our Whole Foods cheese monger — a tiny fraction, I’m sure, of the true number of manufactured cheeses — makes me weak in the knees. Tasting all these cheeses is a worthy obsession for a lifetime. Every time I think I’m at the ultimate cheese summit, I discover that there’s yet more Everest to climb. Right now, for example, I’m obsessed with bleu cheese. But there are so many bleus! What can a girl do? Try them all, of course.

But I digress. We’re talking today about macaroni and cheese. And nevermind about the macaroni. The cheese is the thing. Here my husband has combined four glorious cheeses to make a zesty, sharp, melty delicious sauce that smothers the pallid macaroni and raises mac and cheese to new heights. And unlike the familiar Kraft macaroni and cheese — which fond childhood memories will not allow me to knock — this is a hearty, delicious casserole dish. You have to power your spoon through a wonderfully crunchy bread crumb layer to mound out the steaming, cheesy macaroni and its dairy-ful sauce.

My stomach is growling just thinking about it. Yours, too? Read on for my hubby’s recipe.

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It’s called ‘special’ for a reason: Spicy red sauce

September 22, 2006

Spicy red sauce


Ah, red sauce. This tasty concoction has been a staple in my diet since the hubby started his cooking endeavors. Sure, it’s changed over the years. Sometimes he’ll amp up the spices, sometimes he’ll lift the heat levels, sometimes he ‘ll dash in booze of various types to see what will happen (always a worthy cooking experiment). And, as loving wife and hungry companion, I’ve amiably tried them all. (Not a huge sacrifice in the scheme of marriage, we’ll all agree.)

After these many years of experiments, however, the testing has slowed — and now he seems to have perfected a wonderfully flavored, hearty tomato sauce. It clings happily to pastas of all shapes and sizes, and makes a delicious base for the homemade pizzas that exit our oven. It has a rich — sweet, not acidic — tomato flavor, and a surprising kick that I think goes great with the starchy, buttery vehicles it always sits on. I’ve always referred to this sauce as “special,” and now that my days as guinea pig are over, I know I’ll get a reliable and hearty meal every time I order “special pasta.” Care to try it? Read on for my husband’s explainer…

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Tomatoes, artichokes, pasta — oh, my!

September 21, 2006

Pasta with tomato artichoke

The benefits of starting this blog have been manifold: My husband cooks all the time, he’s inspired to conjure new and interesting recipes, and the deliciousness of the dishes he makes keeps escalating. I should be completely happy, right?

Well, there’s one teeny, tiny drawback to this exercise. I am forced to wait for my food! Yes, that’s right. Sometimes it’s not ready when I walk in the door; and, worse still, I have to take pictures of it in various stages of doneness, taking care that my drool doesn’t get all over the “product.”

That’s why I love this recipe. Not only is it delicious — which is key — it is also incredibly quick and easy. In about the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, the entire sauce can be assembled and finished. And since my agenda is to eat delicious food NOW, this recipe is absolutely perfect.

I’ll say one final thing before my husband takes over: I love that this sauce includes artichoke hearts. They are so tasty. And asides from the ubiquitous spinach and artichoke dip and the occasional fancy salad, you hardly ever have occasion to eat them. So I thank my husband for conceiving of one more way for me to eat that mysterious vegetable/dinosaur relic, the artichoke. You’ll be glad, too, if you try this sauce… Read the rest of this entry ?


Endorsed by Popeye: Spinach ravioli

September 17, 2006

Spinach ravioli

Spinach ravioli

I love spinach. I love it cooked with salt and butter. I love it shredded and shoved in phyllo dough with feta cheese and onions. I’ll even eat it raw in a salad — if the right toppings are in the offing, and there’s no recall for it.

I didn’t know, however, that I loved spinach in pasta. Leave it to my husband to enlighten me.

Spinach pasta is not only tasty, it’s sexy. Verdant green with specks of fresh foliage. Let’s face it: Popeye was onto something. My husband has combined something delicious — fresh pasta — with something else delicious — spinach — and then to top it off, he’s stuffed that full of cheese and spices. Need I say more?

Read on for his how-to on fresh spinach ravioli, filled with ricotta cheese and spices…

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Home-cookin’: Rustic chicken and Pasta

September 8, 2006


Does anyone else out there love Paul Prudhomme? That giant, jolly-looking chef famous for Cajun cookin’? The one who used to be so consumed with eating delicious food that he needed a wheelchair to get around? Yes, he’s lost weight. (And good for him.) But his former girth attests to a man who knows how to use butter — and isn’t afraid to consume it, either.

That’s my kind of guy.

And while I give credit to my parents for actually teaching me how to cook, my hat is off to Paul Prudhomme for making me love cooking. (A passion I have since ceded to my husband, as you can see from this blog. I’m still into eating though.)

The first raves for my mad cooking skills came courtesy of his book, Seasoned America. My parents are good cooks who used interesting flavors in their meals — much better than salt and pepper, I mean. But if you grew up never really having tasted heavily spiced, Cajun-type food… that type of cooking can be a revelation. It was for me, thanks to Seasoned America. That book was like crack. I tried many recipes — and more than ten years later, if my husband requests me to cook, he asks me to cook dishes I learned from Paul Prudhomme. (Specifically, his beef noodle casserole and Carolina Chicken Pilau.)

So naturally when my husband conceived of a dish inspired by Paul Prudhomme, I had to love it.

He’s calling it “Rustic chicken and pasta.” I’m calling it, “damn good.” What makes it Paul Prudhomme-like to me? Well, its deep rich flavors, earthy, homey spices and the long slow cooking time that lets them all get happy together. And the fact that it uses a roux — which Prudhomme used often in his book, without calling it that.

This dish is home cooking at its finest, which is what all those Seasoned America recipes were to me. Food that you want to chow on when it’s a cool, autumn evening; food that is served family-style around a hearth of sorts. It’s rich, it’s warm, it goes great with big hunks of bread you rip off the loaf and use to sop up the juices. Doesn’t that sound good? If so, read on: Read the rest of this entry ?


It puts the pasta in the press

August 29, 2006

More pasta

That pasta machine is the gift that keeps on giving. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband’s much-asked for birthday toy was an Atlas pasta press. But let’s face it, I’m getting as much use and enjoyment out of it as he is — which is the exact way all gifts should work, if they possibly can.

It isn’t all joy here in MHC-ville, though, fans. I did have to suffer some chewy pasta (one time) and the more odious duty of mopping up flour from our kitchen floor and vacuuming crushed pieces of noodle from our dining room carpet. Ah, what I suffer for my stomach. But all that experimenting and cleaning has paid off: K seems to have mastered the art of fresh pasta.

So to read about his success, and my satisfied belly, continue reading, baby…

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