I’m a garlic girl but even I was worried that this dish was going to be so garlicky it may be overpowering. Nope. Twenty cloves!
This recipe was adapted from the cookbook “The Wok” by J. Kenji López-Alt, based on the noodle dish originally created and served by Helene An at San Francisco’s Thanh Long restaurant, via The New York Times.
Lopez-Alt uses the genius technique of cooking the pasta in a minimal amount of liquid which expedites the cooking process. The starch-concentrated pasta water is then used in the sauce. This dish was crazy quick to prepare and was absolutely packed with flavor. We ate it with roasted asparagus on the side.
Yield: Serves 4
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
20 medium garlic cloves, minced or smashed in a mortar and pestle
4 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce or shoyu
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 pound dry spaghetti or linguine fini
1 ounce grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (heaping 1/4 cup)(I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
small handful of thinly sliced scallions (I used 4 scallions)
Use a food processor to mince the garlic cloves, if desired. (I used a mini food processor.)
Melt the butter in a wok or saucepan over medium heat. (I used a stainless all-in-one pan.)
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce, and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan over high heat. (Alternatively, heat up just enough water to cover the spaghetti in a large Dutch oven or saucepan.)
Add the pasta, stir a few times to make sure it’s not clumping, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente (about 2 minutes short of the recommended cook time on the package). (I used linguine fini and cooked it for a total of 4 minutes.)
Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta to the garlic sauce, along with whatever water clings to it. Reserve the pasta water in the skillet; set aside.
Increase the heat to high, add the cheese to the pasta and sauce, and stir with a wooden spatula or spoon, tossing vigorously until the sauce is creamy and emulsified, about 30 seconds. If the sauce looks too watery, let it keep reducing. If it looks greasy, splash some more pasta cooking water and let it re-emulsify.
I have a couple delicious weeknight pasta recipes to share.
The original recipe for this dish described it as “weeknight fancy”- loved it. The spicy brown-butter coated walnut topping was an essential element to earn this description.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I served the flavorful sauce over arugula-parmesan ravioli and incorporated garlic and asparagus. I also modified the method. Any variety of store-bought ravioli would work with this dish.
Yield: Serves 4
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 10 oz package frozen peas (about 2 cups)
1 cup (lightly packed) basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
4 T unsalted butter, divided
16–20 oz fresh or frozen ravioli (I used Trader Joe’s fresh Arugula & Parmesan Ravioli)
4 T (1/4 cup) coarsely chopped raw walnuts or pistachios
1 tsp Aleppo-style pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces, optional
Place the frozen peas in a fine-mesh sieve and place in a large pot of boiling salted water; cook until peas are tender, about 4 minutes.
Lift sieve from water to drain peas and basil and transfer to a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)(Alternatively, you can skip the sieve and use a spider or slotted spoon to fish out the peas and basil.)
Reduce heat to medium-low and keep cooking liquid warm. (You will use it for the sauce, ravioli and the asparagus, if using.)
Add the basil, garlic, grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoons butter (cut into 4 pieces) and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to the blender with the peas.
Blend, gradually increasing speed to high and adding up to 1/4 cup additional cooking liquid as needed, until you have a mostly smooth, fairly loose sauce; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. (I didn’t add any additional liquid.)
Return cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Add ravioli -and asparagus, if using. Cook, stirring gently to unstick, until tender, about 3 minutes or according to package directions. Drain reserving 1/2 cup of pasta liquid. Reserve pot.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
Add the chopped nuts and cook, stirring often, until butter begins to smell toasty and turn brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
Add Aleppo-style pepper, finely grate in lemon zest, and season lightly with salt; mix well.
Slice lemon into wedges.
Return cooked ravioli -and asparagus, if using- to pot, pour pea sauce over, and stir gently to coat. At this point, the consistency can be adjusted with reserved pasta water, if necessary. Using a large spoon, transfer ravioli to plates or a serving dish.
Top with more Parmesan and basil, then spoon brown-butter nuts over the top. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over, as desired.
Once again, Ina did not disappoint. 🙂 This classic baked macaroni and cheese recipe incorporated two of my ultimate favorite cheeses and was upgraded with a colorful tomato topping. It was really delicious- a new favorite!
This dish was part of my husband’s birthday feast this year. I was able to assemble the dish the day prior to baking it which was very helpful. I actually grated the cheeses two days in advance- which would be completely unnecessary if making this dish on its own, of course.
The recipe was adapted from FoodNetwork.com, contributed by Ina Garten. I modified the method and used Campari tomatoes and panko in the topping.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or 10 to 12 as a side dish
1 pound (16 oz) elbow macaroni or cavatappi (I used 17.6 oz Gigli pasta)
4 cups (1 quart) milk (I used whole milk)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 4 cups)(I used Swiss Raw Milk Le Gruyère aged over 120 days from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)(I used Cabot 3-year extra-sharp white cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 Campari tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (I set my oven to convection.)
Grate the cheeses with a food processor, if desired.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well. Reserve the pot for the sauce.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the large pot (the pasta cooking pot) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
Off the heat, add the shredded Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add the cooked pasta and stir well.
Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. (I chose a shallow baking dish to increase the surface area for tomatoes and crispy panko topping.)*If making in advance, cover and refrigerate after this step.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. (I sliced the tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick.)
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with the panko, and sprinkle on the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on the top.
Note: To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and panko on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.
This was a super quick and delicious skillet dinner that was absolutely packed with flavor. I loved the colorful and fresh tomato topping. We ate it with a green salad but it truly could have been a complete meal on its own.
This recipe was adapted from Half Baked Harvest, contributed by Tieghan Gerard. I used chicken thighs, dried oregano, and capers. I also modified the method and proportions. Next time, I may substitute 10-minute farro for the orzo. Great.
Yield: Serves 6
For the Chicken & Orzo:
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces (about 4 large)
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used a yellow pepper)
2 cups dry orzo pasta
2 T capers, drained
For the Tomatoes & To Serve:
2 1/2 cups mixed heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, grated or put through a garlic press
1-2 pinches/dashes red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, for serving
In a large skillet, toss together the olive oil, chicken, oregano, paprika; season with salt and pepper. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
Cook over medium-high heat until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and garlic, cook another minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet.
Add the bell peppers to the drippings in the skillet. Cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add the orzo and 2 1/2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until almost all the water is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes. Taste the pasta for doneness; add water and continue to cook until tender, if necessary. (I added 1/2 to 3/4 cup additional water after 5 minutes.)
Stir the chicken and capers into the orzo. Allow the chicken to warm through, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes with olive oil, basil, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
To serve, spoon the tomatoes over the chicken and gently toss. Top with feta cheese.
This quick comfort food dish uses store-bought rotisserie chicken as a shortcut. I loved the freshness and pop of color from the fresh herbs and the minced carrot.
The recipe was adapted from Antoni Let’s Do Dinner by Antoni Porowski of Queer Eye. My daughter and I are big Antoni fans! 🙂 I modified the proportions. Next time I would reduce the amount of chicken meat- just personal preference.
Yield: Serves 8
8 oz bacon (about 5 slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wide pieces
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
4 large garlic cloves, gently smashed and peeled
1/2 T chopped fresh sage
1/2 T coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
16 oz pappardelle (I used two 227 g packages)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
4 to 6 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, at room temperature (I used 6 cups but would reduce the amount next time)
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving, optional
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta and sauce or a wide heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until just cooked through with crispy edges, about 5 minutes. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
Transfer the bacon to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
Add the onion, garlic, sage, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the pappardelle and carrots to the boiling water and cook until the pasta is al dente and the carrots are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
Add the pasta to the sauce with 3/4 cups of the pasta water, the chicken, and the reserved bacon. Toss to combine.
Add more pasta water to loosen the sauce, if desired.
Top with cheese, parsley, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Preheat the oven to 400°. (I set my oven to convection.)
Fill a large pot with water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until 2 minutes less than al dente, according to the instructions on the package. (Since it will be baked later, don’t overcook it! Drain and pour into a very large bowl.)
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 to 14-inch) skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, add half of the cauliflower in one layer and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the florets are lightly browned and tender. Season with salt.
Pour the cauliflower, including the small bits, into the bowl with the pasta.
Add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan, add the remaining cauliflower, cook until browned and tender and add to the bowl.
Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper to the bowl and stir carefully.
Stir in the Fontina.
Transfer half of the mixture to a 10 x 13 x 2–inch rectangular baking dish.
Spoon 12 rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top. (I used a cookie scoop.)
Combine the panko, grated Pecorino, minced parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top.
Bake for 22 minutes on convection, or 25 to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until browned and crusty on top. Serve hot.
Note: The dish can be assembled ahead of time. Assemble the dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake before serving.
I could eat broccoli rabe with a side of broccoli rabe- an absolute favorite. My husband could eat pappardelle with a side of pappardelle. 😉 Now you can see why this dish was perfect for our Valentine’s Day dinner! Everyone loved it. ❤
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Kristine Kidd. I modified the proportions and method. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces cubed pancetta
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed (I used a mortar & pestle)
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
2 large bunches broccoli rabe (also called rapini; generous 2 pounds), stems sliced 1/2 inch thick, tops cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups water
17.64-ounce (500 g) package dried pappardelle pasta
2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus additional for serving
1/2 cup raw pine nuts, toasted (@375 degrees for about 5 minutes)
Heat 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet, preferably with a lid, over medium heat. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
Add garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Discard garlic.
Add onion, pancetta, and fennel seeds to skillet; sauté until onion is tender and pancetta begins to brown, about 8 minutes.
Add dried crushed red pepper, then broccoli rabe stems and cook 4 minutes to soften slightly, stirring occasionally.
Stir in broccoli rabe tops, sprinkle with salt, and add 2 cups water. Cover and cook until stems and tops are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid.
Add pasta to skillet with broccoli rabe and stir over low heat to combine, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary.
Stir in 2 cups of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and generous amount of pepper.
Transfer to shallow bowls, if desired. (I served it in the pot.) Sprinkle with pine nuts and garnish with additional cheese.