Creamy Pappardelle with Chicken & Bacon

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

  • coarse salt
  • 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
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  2. 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.)
  3. Transfer the bacon to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce with 3/4 cups of the pasta water, the chicken, and the reserved bacon. Toss to combine.
  9. Add more pasta water to loosen the sauce, if desired.
  10. Top with cheese, parsley, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Sous Vide Butter Chicken

Everyone loves butter chicken. This recipe was adapted to make sous vide from a viral Instant Pot recipe. The original recipe by “The Butter Chicken Lady,” Urvashi Pitre, was even published in The New Yorker.

This version was simple to prepare and resulted in perfectly cooked, ultra tender and moist meat. The sauce was amazing too. My husband declared that it was the best butter chicken I’ve ever made! Easy and delicious.

The recipe was adapted from How to Sous Vide: Easy, Delicious Perfection any Night of the Week by Daniel Shumski. We ate it with roasted asparagus and warm naan.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tsp garam masala, divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 to 2 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 5 or 6)
  • 1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup (4 T) tomato paste
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  • warm naan, for serving
  1. Set the water temperature to 165 degrees F. (It took a little bit shy of an hour for 10 quarts of room temperature water to reach the temperature with my Anova machine.)
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp garam masala, the garlic powder, turmeric, paprika, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, and ginger.
  3. Dust both sides of each chicken thigh evenly with the spice mixture. Pour any remaining spices into the sous vide bag.
  4. Place the chicken in the bag and evenly distribute 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of the butter.
  5. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in a second bag; remove as much air as possible.
  6. Place the bagged chicken in the preheated water. (I clip the top of the bag to the side of the water bath container.)
  7. After 1 hour 30 minutes, remove the bagged chicken. (Near the end of the cooking process, I cooked the rice and vegetables.)
  8. Remove the chicken from the bag and set it aside.
  9. Pour the juices from the bag into a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
  10. Add 1/4 cup (4 T) cream, the cilantro, the remaining 1 tsp garam masala, and the tomato paste. Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds.
  11. Pour the blended sauce into a medium-size skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 4 T (1/2 stick) butter and the remaining 1/4 cup cream. Cook, stirring gently, until the butter is melted and the sauce becomes homogenous, about 1 minute.
  12. Gently place the chicken in the pan and stir to coat.
  13. Cook over medium-low heat, about 1 minute.
  14. Serve the chicken over rice drizzled with additional sauce and garnish with cilantro. Serve with warm naan, if desired.

Note: Any extra sauce can be refrigerated in a covered glass container for up to 5 days. Serve over rice, roasted vegetables, or chicken.

Butterscotch Pudding with Streusel Crumble & Pecans

Wow. We just loved this! The pudding was fabulously creamy and a little bit salty. The sweet streusel crumble and toasted pecan toppings complemented it perfectly.

This recipe was adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics by Sarah Kieffer. I weighed the ingredients, when possible, omitted the rum or bourbon in the pudding, and modified the method.

Yield: Serves 8

For the Butterscotch Pudding:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (28 g) cornstarch
  • 8 T (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T blackstrap rum or bourbon, optional (I omitted it)

For the Streusel Crumble: (Makes 1 cup)

  • 48 g (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 33 g (2 1/2 T) granulated sugar
  • 33 g (2 1/2 T packed) light brown sugar
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 T (43 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 3 pieces

To Serve:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup (27 to 57 g) whole pecans, toasted and chopped into small pieces

To Make the Butterscotch Pudding:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the granulated and brown sugars, salt, and egg yolks on low until combined.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and beat until very thick, about 5 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the cornstarch. Mix on low until combined.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and heavy cream until just simmering. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium liquid measuring cup with a pourable spout.
  5. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the hot milk-cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Beat until incorporated.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes thick and begins to boil, 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Whisk for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture becomes the consistency of pudding and is glossy.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and rum, if using. Mix until the butter is completely melted.
  9. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap sits directly on top of the pudding (this will help keep it from forming a skin).
  11. Place the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator until well chilled, at least 4 hours. While the pudding chills, make the streusel crumble.

To Make the Streusel Crumble:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, sugars, oats, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add the butter and incorporate using a pastry blender until the mixture comes together but is still quite crumbly.
  4. Place the streusel on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer; press into the pan.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.
  6. To serve, crumble into chunky pieces.

To Serve:

  1. Divide the pudding between 8 ramekins and top with toasted pecans and streusel.
  2. Pass additional streusel at the table, if desired.

Weeknight Ragù

This comfort food dish was very well-received in my house. Everyone in my family was fighting over the leftovers! It was easy, full-flavored, and absolutely delicious.

The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I modified the proportions and substituted sour cream for the heavy cream. I also adjusted the consistency of the finished dish with pasta cooking water. Great.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 3/4 lbs ground pork, turkey, beef, or chicken, preferably dark meat
  • kosher salt
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 Calabrian chiles in oil, finely chopped, or 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 7 T double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 7 T sour cream or heavy cream
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs (20 to 24 oz) rigatoni, gemelli or other short pasta
  • 2 oz Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • basil leaves, for serving
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high.
  2. Add ground meat in 12–14 pieces (patties), spacing evenly, and season with salt.
  3. Let cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned underneath, about 3 minutes.
  4. Turn over and cook until deeply browned on opposite side, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. (It won’t be cooked through.)
  5. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to pot over medium heat.
  6. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add chiles/red pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until paste is slightly darkened in color, about 3 minutes.
  9. Return meat to the pot and break up into small pieces.
  10. Add sour cream/heavy cream and 2 1/4 cups water.
  11. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat, and simmer gently until liquid is reduced by one third and flavors have come together, 15–20 minutes.
  12. Season ragù with salt and pepper.
  13. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
  14. Add pasta to ragù along with 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and Parmesan.
  15. Cook, stirring and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes.
  16. Transfer to a serving dish or individual bowls. Garnish with basil and reserved Parmesan. Serve.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta

Growing up, my mom frequently made what we referred to as “white spaghetti” (aka spaghetti without red sauce!). The pasta was coated with garlicky olive oil and topped with crispy garlic slices, broccoli florets, and Parmesan cheese. Classic. 🙂

This version is from Old World Italian: Recipes & Secrets from Our Travels in Italy by Mimi Thorisson. The recipe is included in the “Roman Pastas” section of this beautiful book. It is a little bit more indulgent than my mom’s rendition because it contains more cheese as well as heavy cream. I loved that the broccoli was chopped and incorporated into the creamy sauce.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 large head broccoli and stems (about 1 pound or 450g), cut into small florets and coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound (500g) dried spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 garlic clove(s), minced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups (115g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the broccoli and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove with a kitchen spider or slotted spoon and set aside, keeping the water boiling to cook the pasta.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups (500ml) of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the empty pot and set aside.
  4. Chop the onion and mince the garlic in a food processor. Set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add the onion and sauté until tender and golden, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  8. Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Pour the cream over the mixture and cook for 15 seconds. Remove from heat.
  10. Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor and process until roughly creamy.
  11. Add the broccoli sauce and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water to the pot of pasta and set the pot over medium heat. Cook, tossing frequently, adding more pasta water as needed to adjust the consistency, until the pasta is well coated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  12. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. Scatter the grated Parmesan on top and serve immediately.

Tres Leches Cake

I made this incredibly moist sponge cake for dessert after our Cinco de Mayo feast this year. It would be perfect served after any Mexican-inspired meal.

The recipe was adapted from my food blog friend Ronit Penso’s Tasty Eats blog, originally posted as a round cake on MySliceofMexico.ca. I modified the method and the baking time for a convection oven, used sea salt and a combination of vanilla bean paste and extract, and modified the amount of topping.

Although I reduced the amount of topping, we found that it was absolutely essential. I also thought that the fresh strawberry garnish made it even more beautiful and delicious. Festive and great.

For the Cake:

  • cooking oil spray, for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 7 large or extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

For the Syrup:

  • 1 can (12 fl oz/354 ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 oz/396grms) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • fresh strawberries, sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). (I used the convection setting.)
  2. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9”x13” (23×33 cm) metal baking pan, and dust with a bit of flour. Turn the pan upside down and tap on it, to get rid of excess flour. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, mix the milk with the vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
  5. Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Start whipping on low speed and gradually add the sugar.
  6. Once the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium-high, and whip until frothy and thick, about 3 minutes.
  7. Lower the speed to medium. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the liquid ingredients (milk/vanilla), in three batches, and beat shortly, about 10 seconds, after each addition. You should have a smooth and frothy batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes on convection, or up to 35 minutes in a standard oven, until the cake is deep golden in color and if you gently press on the top it springs right back. The sides should also begin to pull away from the edge of the pan. (I baked mine for 27 minutes on convection.)
  10. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly while you prepare the syrup.
  11. In a bowl with a spout, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream.
  12. Prick the top of the cake with a toothpick or fork.
  13. Pour the syrup over the top of the cake. Keep at room temperature until all of the syrup is absorbed.
  14. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. (I chilled mine overnight.)
  15. Just before serving, make the topping. In a large cold bowl, combine the cold heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla.
  16. Whip with a hand blender on medium-high to high speed, until firm peaks form, or as desired. (I stopped whipping the cream somewhere between soft and firm peaks.)
  17. To Serve: Slice cake and top each slice with a dollop of topping and a sliced strawberry.

Butterscotch Pudding

My son is a major fan of creamy comfort food. He was obsessed with this pudding and its caramel notes. ❤ I loved all of the garnishes.

This recipe for this sweet treat was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. She was able to find the perfect ratio of milk to cornstarch to prevent grittiness. I found that the pudding had to cook a little bit longer to thicken.

I topped the chilled pudding with lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, toasted and sweetened sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Next time, I may try candied pecans instead of almonds. 🙂 The original recipe includes several other options as well.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 packed cup/165 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters whole milk
  • 1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch whisky, optional (I omitted it)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • freshly whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving (I lightly sweetened the whipped cream with confectioners’ sugar)
  • chopped candied ginger, sliced almonds, Demerara sugar, shaved chocolate, cocoa nibs or flaky sea salt, or a combination , for garnish, optional
  1. Put egg yolks, cornstarch and salt into a large heatproof bowl (preferably with a spout), and whisk until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. (I used a balloon whisk and a pyrex bowl with a spout.)
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter, whisking, until the brown sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a sauce whisk so that I could get into the edges of the pan.) Let cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to smell like hot caramel and darkens slightly, about 1 minute longer. (Don’t walk away, or the mixture may burn.)
  3. Immediately pour the milk and cream into the pot. (It will bubble fiercely and seize up- the sugar clumps.) Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the clumps melt, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking yolks until smooth, then whisk in the remaining hot cream mixture. Pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan and place it over medium heat.
  5. Cook pudding, whisking constantly especially around the bottom and edges of the pot, until it comes to a full boil. It is important to bring the pudding to a full, vigorous boil to activate the cornstarch. Otherwise, it may not set. (If you end up with thin, runny pudding, undercooking may have been the issue.) Also- it’s okay if the eggs curdle because the mixture is strained at the end.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring the mixture constantly, until it thickens enough to mound thickly on the spoon, 4 to 10 minutes. If at any point the pudding looks curdled, whisk to help smooth it out.
  7. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof container or bowl, then stir in the Scotch or bourbon, if using, and vanilla.
  8. To prevent a skin from forming, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. (If you like the skin, don’t cover pudding until it cools.)
  9. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  10. If garnishing the pudding with toasted sliced almonds, evenly spread them on a parchment paper-lined rimmed sheet pan; roast in a 400 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and place in a small frying pan. Top with granulated sugar, to taste, and cook over medium-low to medium heat just until the sugar melts and coats the almonds, about 1 to 2 minutes. Return to the lined baking sheet to cool.
  11. When serving, spoon pudding into dishes. Top with dollops of whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, and any of the optional garnishes. (I incorporated some confectioners’ sugar into freshly whipped cream.)

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