CATEGORIES: Baking, Breakfast, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Pasta, Pork, Ramen, Vegetarian

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Pasta

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Cacio e Pepe

Serves 4 to 6

6 ounces Pecorino Romano, 4 ounces finely grated (about 2 cups) and 2 ounces coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
1 pound spaghetti
Table salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

Place finely grated Pecorino in medium bowl. Set colander in large bowl.

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1½ teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain pasta into colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1½ cups cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder; return pasta to now-empty bowl.

Slowly whisk 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water into finely grated Pecorino until smooth. Whisk in cream, oil, and black pepper. Gradually pour cheese mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Let pasta rest 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, adjusting consistency with remaining ½ cup reserved pasta water. Serve, passing coarsely grated Pecorino separately.

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Lemon Linguine

Ingredients

2 pounds linguine

2 egg yolks

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 lemon, zested, and juice of 1/2, plus more juice, as needed

Salt

freshly milled black pepper

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

Directions

  1. Fill just about the biggest pot you have with water and bring to a boil. When friends are coming for lunch, get the water heated to boiling point before they arrive, otherwise you end up nervously hanging around waiting for a watched pot to boil while your supposedly quick lunch gets later and later. Bring the water to the boil, cover and turn off burner.

  2. I tend to leave the addition of salt until the water comes to a boil a second time. But whichever way you do it, add quite a bit of salt. When the bubbling's encouragingly fierce, put in the pasta. I often put the lid on for a moment or so just to let the pasta get back to the boil, but don't turn your back on it, and give it a good stir with a pasta fork or whatever to avoid even the suspicion of stickiness, once you've removed the lid.

  3. Then get on with the sauce, making sure you've set your timer for about a minute or so less than the time specified on the package of pasta.

  4. In a bowl, add the yolks, cream, Parmesan, zest of the whole lemon and juice of half of it, the salt and good grind of pepper, and beat with a fork. You don't want it fluffy, just combined. Taste. If you want it more lemony, then of course add more juice.

  5. When the timer goes off, taste to judge how near the pasta is to being ready. I recommend that you hover by the stove so you don't miss that point. Don't be too hasty, though. Everyone is so keen to cook their pasta properly al dente that sometimes the pasta is actually not cooked enough. You want absolutely no chalkiness here. And linguine (or at least I find it so) tend not to run over into soggy overcookedness quite as quickly as other long pasta. This makes sense, of course, as the strands of "little tongues" are dense than the flat ribbon shapes.

  6. Anyway, as soon as the pasta looks ready, remove a cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and then, off the heat, toss it back in the pot or put it in an efficiently preheated bowl, throw in the butter, and stir and swirl about to make sure the butter's melted and the pasta covered by it all over. Each strand will be only mutely gleaming, as there's not much butter and quite a bit of pasta. If you want to add more, then do; good butter is the best flavoring, best texture, best mood enhancer there is.

  7. When you're satisfied the pasta's covered with its soft slip of butter, then stir in the egg mixture and turn the pasta well in it, adding some of the cooking liquid if it looks a bit dry (only 2 tablespoons or so - you don't want a wet mess - and only after you think the sauce is incorporated). Sprinkle over the parsley and serve now, now, now.

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Lemony Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Dill

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound pasta (use your favorite shape)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 (7.5-ounce) container crème fraiche

  • 1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced

  • 1 bunch fresh dill, stems removed and chopped ( a few sprigs saved for garnish)

  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon, chopped (I used hot smoked salmon but you can easily use lox trimmings)

  • Brined capers, drained

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet. Sauté onion on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until softened and just slightly browned. Remove pan from heat and add crème fraiche, lemon zest and juice and half of the dill. Stir to blend well. Taste and add a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

  2. When pasta is done, drain it well and stir it into the crème fraiche mixture, making sure the pasta is well coated. Add salmon and stir to combine. (Alternatively, you may wish to sprinkle the salmon on top after you plate the pasta.)

  3. Serve, garnishing with the rest of the dill and a sprinkling of capers.

  4. Serves 4-6.

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Tagliatelle with Mushrooms, Brandy and Peppercorns

INGREDIENTS - SERVES 2

  • 250g dried tagliatelle

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 

  • 30g unsalted butter 

  • 1 onion, very finely chopped

  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced 

  • 1 tablespoon dried green peppercorns 

  • 100ml brandy 

  • 150ml chicken stock

  • 150ml double cream 

  • Fine sea salt flakes

  • Freshly ground black pepper  

METHOD

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, but make sure you do so in very salty water. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving 50ml or so of the cooking water, and have the pasta handy. 

For the sauce, heat a medium frying pan over a high heat and, once hot, add the oil and butter, along with the onion, mushrooms and peppercorns. Cook, stirring and tossing the pan constantly, for a few minutes until the mushrooms wilt down and the onion is just slightly softened and coloured. Add the brandy and allow it to bubble and evaporate almost entirely – if it sets on fire that’s fine, just watch your eyebrows. Add the chicken stock and allow that to bubble and almost entirely evaporate. Add the cream, allowing it to bubble for a minute, and then turn off the heat and season to taste. Add the pasta to the frying pan and stir to coat well – if the sauce is a little thick, let it down with the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately. 

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Classic Mac and Cheese

From "The Mac + Cheese Cookbook - Homeroom"

INGREDIENTS:

For the Bechamel:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the Mac & Cheese:

  • 1/2 lb dried elbow pasta
  • 2 cups Bechamel
  • 1 1/2 cups grated 2-year-aged, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Make the bechamel sauce: Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the entire 3 cups. This is normal.

Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. After conducting the spoon test, add the salt.

Make the mac & cheese: Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse the pasta wiht cold water, and drain it again.

Add the sauce and both cheeses to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the pasta is hot and steaming, another 5 minutes.

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Baked Pasta with Sausage Ragu

SERVES 4 FOR 2 DINNERS, WITH PLENTY OF EXTRA RAGÙ SAUSAGE RAGÙ

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds (900g) your favorite sausage (chicken or pork, sweet or hot), removed from the casings
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 cups (1.4kg/ 2.5kg) fresh or canned chopped tomatoes (preferably Pomi)
  • 6 fresh basil leaves

BAKED PASTA

  • Soft butter, for the baking dish
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (110g) grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup (50g) grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup (60g) fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound (450g) short pasta (such as penne or small shells)
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 To make the ragù, warm the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks, about 5 minutes.

2 Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add the onion and a couple pinches of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3 Stir in the tomatoes and basil and simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld, at least 45 minutes. (Add a little water if the sauce looks dry.) Taste and adjust the seasoning and discard the basil. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

4 The day of: Heat the oven to 500 ° F (260 ° C). Butter a shallow 2-quart (1.9L) baking dish and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

5 In a large bowl, combine the 4 cups (950ml) ragù with the heavy cream, mozzarella, Parmesan, ricotta, and salt.

6 Cook the pasta for 3 minutes, then drain and run it under cold water to stop the cooking. Add the pasta to the bowl, tossing gently to combine.

7 Spread the pasta evenly into the baking dish. Scatter the cubed butter over the top. 8 Bake until bubbly and brown, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Reserve half for later in the week— right in the baking dish, or transfer to a container.

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Noodles with Tuna and Peas

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Noodles with Tuna and Peas

Serves 8

  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 7 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 pint morel mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces fusilli or other short pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups peas (frozen, or fresh peas that have been shelled and blanched)
  • Two 5-ounce cans good, olive-oil packed tuna, drained and flaked into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Stir together the breadcrumbs, olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until breadcrumbs are fragrant and golden brown. Set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add shallot, celery, and mushrooms with a generous pinch of salt and cook until the vegetables soften and start to brown, about 5 minutes. If they start to brown too quickly, add a little water to the pan.
  3. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until the flour softens and melts. Turn up heat to medium and add the milk, whisking to break up any flour lumps. Stir constantly until sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Turn heat down to low and season well with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon zest, nutmeg, cream, and Parmesan and stir well. Keep warm.
  4. Next, cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, add the peas and tuna to the cream sauce and stir through. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, saving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. If the sauce seems thick, add a little of the reserved cooking water. Taste for seasoning, then add lemon juice and parsley and stir again. Serve immediately, sprinkling each plate with some of the breadcrumbs.

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Orecchiette with Merguez and Ramps

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Orecchiette with Merguez and Ramps

You can easily substitute another type of sausage (hot or sweet) and any greens you like, such as leeks, broccoli rabe, kale, or spinach. Just toss in a little garlic or onion right after you brown the sausage if you’re not using something from the allium family.

SERVES 4, WITH LEFTOVERS

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound (340g) Lamb Merguez or any loose sausage
  • 6 ounces (170g) ramps (about 15 large), cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 pound (450g) orecchiette or other short pasta
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the merguez, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks
  2. Meanwhile, slice the white bulbs of the ramps finely and coarsely chop the leaves, keeping them separate. Add the bulbs to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and start to brown, a few minutes. Add the leaves and cook until just wilted, another minute or so. Turn off the heat and set aside. 
  3. Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sausage and ramps and cook briefly over medium heat, stirring through an using some of the cooking liquid to losen things up and create a silky sauce. Serve immediately, with Parmesan.

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Swedish Meatball Pasta

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Swedish Meatball Pasta

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 finely minced onion
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt (for meatballs)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (for meatballs)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups beef broth
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (for sauce)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (for sauce)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups egg noodles
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, salt, and pepper, mixing until evenly combined. Heat the canola oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Take about a golf-ball size of the meatball mixture and roll it into balls. Place the meatballs into the pot, cooking for one minute. Flip the meatballs.

Add the beef broth, milk, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and give it a stir. Bring the liquid to a boil, then add the egg noodles. Stir constantly until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has reduced to a sauce that coats the noodles, about seven to eight minutes. Add the parmesan and the parsley, stirring until the cheese is melted. Serve!

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Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. garlic-flavored oil
  • 6 oz. cubed pancetta
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen petits pois
  • 8 oz. orzo pasta
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. soft butter
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Warm the oil in a heavy pan that will hold everything later; a Dutch oven or saucepan of 10 inches diameter should be big enough. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until it becomes crisp and bronzed, then add the peas and stir for a minute or so until the frozen look leaves them.

Add the pasta and turn it about in the pancetta and peas, then pour in the boiling water. Add salt (cautiously, especially if this is for children—the pancetta is salty, as is the Parmigiano-Reggiano later); then turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, though check on it a couple of times and give a stir or two, to stop it from sticking and to see if you need to add a little more water from the kettle.

When it’s ready, the pasta should be soft and starchy and the water absorbed. Beat the butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano into the pan, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

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Mushroom Pasta with Halloumi and Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1⁄4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 250g haloumi, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup (50g) walnuts, roughly chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 300g field mushrooms, sliced
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper 
  • 250g sour cream

Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 8–10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, reserving 1⁄3 cup (80ml) of the cooking liquid. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the haloumi and walnuts and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden. Set aside and keep warm. Add the remaining oil, the garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes. Add the cream and reserved liquid and cook for 3 minutes. Add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Top with the haloumi, walnuts and pepper to serve. Serves 4.

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Mushroom, Sundried Tomato, and Chicken in a Cream Sauce

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Mushroom, Sundried Tomato, and Chicken in a Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

2 pieces, chicken, sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup, sun-dried tomatos, sliced into thin strips
1.5 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lb, ziti or penne
3 tbsp, olive oil
1/2 cup, light cream
1/4 cup, grated pecorino romano
1 tsp, dried basil

Directions:

Get started by cleaning off the mushrooms and slicing them into nice thin pieces. Throw these into a non stick skillet with olive oil and a touch of salt, and start to simmer gently. They'll start to release their fluid after a few minutes, just keep on cooking them down until they are nice and soft and slightly caramelized.

Once the mushrooms have softened, throw in the garlic and the sun-dried tomatoes. Cook together until the garlic and sun-dried tomato have infused their flavor into the olive oil. Then add in your basil, and stir together.

Once the garlic and sun-dried tomato have cooked together, add in your chicken strips and cook at high heat until they get a nice light brown sear to them. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When the chicken has cooked about 80% of the way through (chop open a piece with your spoon, it should be almost completely white inside), add in your cream, lower the heat to medium, and stir together.  Let the cream start to bubble a bit, then reduce the heat and let everything simmer together while the pasta is cooking.

Cook the ziti or penne in salted water until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Once cooked al dente, throw your grated pecorino cheese into the mushroom and chicken mixture, and then take a small ladle of the pasta water and ladle it over the cheese. This will melt the cheese and help it to incorporate into the sauce. Stir together to incorporate.

Drain your pasta, and add it to the creamy chicken mixture. Toss together over medium heat for about 30 seconds to finish the cooking of the pasta and let all the flavors incorporate.

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