Thanks, Mario

Thanks, Mario…

Mr. Batali saved me a trip to the grocery. And he can save you too if you have a head of cauliflower, pasta and a handful of pantry/fridge staples. I'll tell you flat out I reduced the pasta by 25% and could have done with even less. I also added 3 pinches of pepper flakes (much less) and had a free hand with the cheese (atrophied piave in my case but perfect for grating.).

Btw the recipe uses the whole head of cauliflower, stems included. Leave an hour for slow cooking. It's worth it. Vegetarian! Can be gluten free. Click here for the recipe.

 

Eat -B

 

Fast and Furious Pasta


If you have a bad day, try this pasta for dinner. Quick, easy, dare I say cheap? It will raise your daily success rating. Use the lemon juice after zesting for the pasta recipe in an EZ vinaigrette or to marinate chicken with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. No waste. ­čÖé Click here for the recipe.

 

Eat – B

 

 

Not Penne with Vodka Sauce

As promised … Pasta with vodka sauce. Not penne. Blame Trader Joe's, I do. Plenty of rice and gluten free options. Am I now a minority? So linguine stepped in and twirled its way round our hearts. Two kids took home leftovers, an endorsement if ever there was one. Any way you toss it, Ina did a great job with the recipe. I lightened the load a bit on the hot pepper flakes. I also think it covers more than a pound of pasta.

Click here for the recipe.

Mangia – B

Note: obviously can be gluten free. Just ask Trader Joe's.

 

 

“I Don’t Feel Like Shopping Pasta”

Shop if you must, slide if you can.

With one large or a couple of medium, summer perfect tomatoes and a pantry, this dish is done in 13 minutes. Double down to feed a crowd.

Ingredients:

Pasta of your choice

Tomato(es)

Basil

Olive

Parmesan or similar grated cheese

Boil a big pot of salted water. Add 1/2 bag of tbd pasta.

Meanwhile chop tomato and throw in bowl. Drain pasta (not too well). Add to tomatoes, drizzle with good olive oil, add basil and a fair amount of grated cheese. Mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Eat – B

 

 

Leftover…Pasta and Cabbage

 

My job is done, almost. I got my husband to eat chickpeas. I got my son to say he would eat cabbage – he balked at the sight of the legumes, but heck, I'm nearly home.

Just about every ingredient is flexible or replaceable…cabbage and kale could switch places. Shallots and onion of just about any color are interchangeable. Bacon isn't essential if you're meat free. Pancetta could sideline the bacon if you're a meat lover.

I channeled my inner NY Chef Michael White for this one – who else would mince a jalape├▒o for this pasta special?

Ingredients:

12 ounces pasta

4 slices bacon, 5 if you're snacking

2 shallots chopped

1/2 cabbage roughly matchsticked

2-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

1 jalape├▒o, chopped fine

1 cup chickpeas rinsed

1/2 cup Parmesan or similar Italian cheese

Olive oil (if not using bacon)

Salt & pepper

1-2 tablespoons butter (optional)

Cook pasta according to directions, saving 1 cup pasta water. Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove and chop. Leave fat (or add olive oil if you skipped bacon), adding shallots. Soften 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage and garlic if using. Cook 5-ish minutes. Add jalape├▒o, 1-2 minutes. Add chickpeas, cook through, then add pasta with enough pasta water to make “sauce” and get the good stuff from the bottom of the pan. It will be at least 1/2 cup. Add bacon & butter. Season with salt, pepper & Parmesan.

 

Meat Free Monday Pasta

In an effort to save $ I planned to use half a head of Napa cabbage shredded with pasta, cheese, and leftover cream. Plus I was parsimoniously planning to turn stale bread into crusty crumbs. But that plan bit the dust as I unfurled leaf after mildewed cabbage leaf. Gross.

That left the cauliflower. While a fan of roasted veg, I couldn't bear it again. Thus “the way better than I have any right to expect it to be meat free Monday pasta” was born. And I still got to make crusty crumbs!

Ingredients

At least 4 inches baguette or some other loaf, ground in food processor

4 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/2 head large, or a whole head of small cauliflower, cut into florets

12 ounces pasta of choice

1/4 cup cream (frankly 1/2 is better)

1/3 cup Italian cheese of choice

5 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Nub of butter (optional and not needed if using 1/2 cup cream!)

Start pasta water with a big sprinkle of salt. When water boils, add pasta. Add cauliflower when there's about 4 minutes left of cooking time. Before draining save 3/4 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile heat large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add a teaspoon-ish chopped garlic. When it smells good (:30) add the crumbs, sprinkle with salt and stir occasionally until crunchy. Put in separate bowl and wipe skillet.

As pasta finishes cooking, add 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet over medium heat, plus remaining garlic. When it smells good (:30) add drained pasta and cauliflower. Toss. Adding at least 1/2 cup cooking liquid – it will keep pasta and garlic from sticking to the pan. Plus it gets absorbed. Add cream and cheese. Stir. Top with crusty crumbs.

Eat – B

BTW – It really only takes 20 minutes despite the lengthy instruction.

BBTW – why over share ingredients. My non cheese lover couldn't tell you what was in the dish.

 

No Regrets Potluck Pasta

You know what's better than Sunday night dinner? Sunday night potluck with friends and family! It spreads the work and increases the company. (Also I now have leftover open wine – good for a weekday glass or two!)

Speaking of friends, I met Andrew Carmellini when he visited my radio show. Nicest guy and a very talented chef. I enjoy his restaurants in New York, Locanda Verde and Lafayette among them. But if you can't get to NYC, he shares the same spirit in “Urban Italian”.

Here I share his lamb ragu. (Click here for the recipe). It's NOT an all day cooking affair, but you do need to set aside a couple of hours to be at home. Serve day of, or make ahead!

 

Eat – B