I hope everyone had an amazing holiday weekend. Though I swore I wouldn't attempt any shopping, I spent a few days braving the crowds to continue to get a jump on my Christmas present buying (and of course in the process pick up some things for myself). The last thing I wanted to do was spend more time in the kitchen–especially after the almost all-day cooking extravaganza that was Thanksgiving. That's where a recipe like this comes in handy: flavorful, light, and incredibly easy to put together, it's one to have ready for the upcoming busy month.
P.S. Check back tomorrow for an outfit post featuring an amazing piece from Subtle Luxury, the brand behind chic California cashmere. I'm so excited to be a part of their "How to Style a Scarf" blogger series! x
1/2 cup almonds
4 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
24 sun-dried tomato halves
4 cloves garlic
8 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, diced
2 pounds medium-sized pasta
1. In a small pan over medium heat, toast almonds until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
2. In a food processor, pulse almonds, parsley, tomatoes, garlic and oil until slightly chunky. Pour into a bowl and season with salt and lack pepper.
3. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and toss immediately with pesto, then add mozzarella and toss to combine.
Pesto may not be considered a comfort food by most people but the bright, tangy sauce was something of a staple in my parents' cooking when I was growing up. It's no mystery as to why this was the case: pesto's relatively easy to prepare in large batches–no cooking is required and the chopping is done by the food processor–and it stores really well (even in the freezer). My favorite part is the mix of nuts hidden in the thick sauce–they add a subtle richness that mellows the bold flavors of the garlic and basil.
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pignoli (pine) nuts
2.5 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 7 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and dry well.
2. Place the walnuts, almonds, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Process for 30 seconds.
3. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil and process until thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Stir in pignoli nuts.
4, Serve over pasta (to taste) or store in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top to prevent air from touching pesto (yields about 4 cups).
I made this pasta dish one night after reading an article about how Americans include an alarmingly low amount of fish in their diet. I love seafood, but it's expensive, temperamental, and often time-consuming to prepare. Luckily this recipe is none of those things. Canned tuna–in oil or moistened with some in your own kitchen–is transformed in a sauce made sweet by onions and salty by olives. This is truly one of my favorite dishes–especially because it's so easy to prepare considering its wow factor when finished.
2 lbs penne pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup white wine
3 cans of tuna in oil (or, mixed with about 4 Tbsp. olive oil), seasoned with black pepper and garlic powder to taste
1 jar Kalamata black olives, pitted and quartered
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente and drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat; sauté onion 4 minutes until limp.
3. Add tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, black pepper, and garlic powder and sauté for another minute.
4. Add wine and boil until reduced, about 5 minutes.
5. Break up tuna, dropping flakes into pan. Stir in olives and parsely.
6. Stir pasta and sauce to combine and season to taste.
It's funny how in today's small world there are still things that remain inaccessible at times–like some fresh produce. For example, nothing tastes quite like fava beans do at the end of spring/beginning of summer right when they're in-season. To clean the meaty beans requires a bit of effort–in addition to their outer pods, each bean has a waxy second shell–but they more than make up for it in taste. Despite the rich flavors of tomatoes and sausage in this rustic pasta dish, the bight green favas still are flavor stars.
ENTER MY CURRENT HANDBAG GIVEAWAY HERE.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 pound Italian sausages, casings removed
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 3/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup shelled fresh fava beans from about 1 pound, blanched 3 minutes then peeled (or double-peeled frozen beans, thawed)
1 pound fresh pasta sheets cut into irregular shapes (or dried egg fettuccine)
4 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus additional for passing
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.
2. Add sausages; break up with fork. Sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Drain excess fat. Add wine; simmer 1 minute, scraping up browned bits.
3. Add tomatoes and fava beans. Sauté until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot.
5. Add sauce to pasta. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed, about 2 minutes. Mix in cheese. Transfer pasta to bowl. Serve with additional cheese.
Gnocchi are one of my favorite pasta shapes–I just love how they puff up like tiny pillows after a short stay in boiling water. Surprisingly light thanks to airy ricotta cheese in the dough, they're also wonderfully filling. Usually I toss the dumplings with a smooth basil-tomato sauce, but they'd also taste decadently good in a simple browned butter.
2 cups ricotta (whole-milk or part skim, 1 pound)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces), divided
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (more as needed)
2-3 cups of preferred tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)
salt and pepper
1. Stir together ricotta, eggs, 1 cup cheese, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
2. Add flour, stirring to form a soft, wet dough.
3. Shape dough on a well-floured surface with floured hands into two 1-inch-thick ropes. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces with a floured knife and let rest on a floured board, counter top, or baking sheet.
4. Cook gnocchi in 2 batches in a pot of boiling water, adding slowly to pot and stirring occasionally until cooked through (about 4 minutes per batch). Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain in colander.
5. Meanwhile, heat sauce until warm. Toss cooked gnocchi with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and fresh basil to serve.
I love dishes that get better the longer they simmer, and this lamb-based recipe definitely does just that. A ragù is any sauce in which meat is added to sautéed vegetables and seasonings–what Italians call a soffritto. In this case, ground lamb is cooked with carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic, and a blend of spices until the mixture is unbelievably tender and flavorful. The added bonus? How delicious your kitchen will smell when the sauce is busy bubbling on the stove.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 28-ounce can diced San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 pound fresh pappardelle or other wide noodle
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1. Heat oil in a deep sauté pan. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook over high heat, stirring occasionallyy until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, lamb, coriander, fennel, cumin, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes. Drain excess fat or water.
3. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat until the liquid is mostly reduced, 40 minutes or more.
4. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well. Add the pasta to the sauce. Serve topped with mint.