Vegetarian Carbonara with Spinach

This healthy carbonara was unbelievably creamy. It was also absolutely loaded with fresh spinach. Amazing!

The purpose of the smoked gouda topping was to mimic the smokiness of the missing pancetta or bacon in this lighter, vegetarian version of “carbonara.” I thought is was equally delicious with and without it.

This recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by Kay Chun. I used whole wheat spaghetti and increased the garlic. It was a quick and delicious weeknight dish.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach
  • red-pepper flakes, to taste, optional
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup grated smoked Provolone or Gouda (1 1/2 ounces)
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups cooking water and drain the pasta.
  3. Return the pasta and reserved cooking water to the pot and heat over low. Add the butter and onion-garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed and sauce is slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, season with salt, plenty of pepper and red-pepper flakes, if using, and stir until spinach is wilted.
  5. Stir in the Parmesan and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top each with 2 tablespoons smoked cheese. Finish with more black pepper, if desired.

Savory Smoky & Cheesy Cookies

Making these savory cookies was more of a risky endeavor than trying a new type of soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day. I was happy with the results! They were flaky, cheesy, and biscuit-like.  Lovely served as an appetizer with a glass of wine or beer.

A friend commented that they shouldn’t be called “cookies.” I absolutely agree, but it’s hard to argue with Dorie Greenspan. I’m also not sure what to call them instead. They were too cookie-like to call them crackers and too cookie-like to call them biscuits… too savory to be “cookies” though!

This recipe was adapted from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. I refroze the cut shapes prior to baking. I weighed all of the ingredients and the texture was perfect. The shape could be adapted for any holiday or cut into simple circles for any occasion. Nice!

Yield: about 22 shamrock cookies

  1. Combine cold butter, Gouda, cheddar, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a food processor; pulse until butter is in bits and the mixture forms small curds.
  2. Add flour; pulse until dough looks moist and forms large popcorn-sized curds.
  3. Turn dough out onto a flat surface; knead gently just until it comes together and you can shape it into a ball. Divide into 2 pieces. Pat each piece into a disk.
  4. Place 1 disk between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Repeat with second disk.
  5. Stack sheets of dough on a baking sheet. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. (I froze the dough overnight.)
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), preferably on convection.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  8. Peel parchment paper/plastic wrap off 1 sheet of frozen dough. Cut into cookies using a 1 1/2-inch-diameter cutter, or cookie cutter of choice (my shamrock cookie cutter was larger). Stack the cut shapes with plastic wrap between each. Refreeze for 15 minutes prior to baking.
  9. Arrange 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second sheet of dough.
  10. Bake cookies in the preheated oven until lightly golden on the bottom, about 15 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Cookies are done when bottoms are golden brown and tops are lightly golden.
  11. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  12. Gather dough scraps, roll to a thickness of 1/4-inch, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Cut into cookies, refreeze cut shapes, and bake on a cooled baking sheet.

Note: The rolled-out dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; cut and bake directly from the freezer.

The baked cookies can be kept in a covered container for about 4 days at room temperature, or wrapped airtight for up to 2 months in the freezer.

One Year Ago: Easy Churros

Two Years Ago: Samoa Brownies

Three Years Ago: Apple Biscoff Crumble

Four Years Ago: Asparagus Mimosa and Rutabaga Oven Fries

Five Years Ago:

Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup

IMG_7811

I have been desperate to use Harissa. I am not sure if that one ingredient made this soup so delicious…. but it was the best butternut squash soup I have ever made or eaten. The recipe calls for an aged goat cheese but the author also suggested using Gouda if the other was unavailable. I used a goat milk Gouda cheese (perfect!); the cheese gave the soup an amazing flavor but was not overpowering. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Paula Wolfert. We ate it with popovers and green salad. YUM!

For the La Kama Spice Blend: (use extra on roasted vegetables)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cubeb pepper (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the Soup:

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 pounds butternut, kabocha or calabaza squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 1/4 pound aged goat cheese, shredded (I used goat milk Gouda)
  • Harissa
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the Spice Blend: In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, toss the onion with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the squash, cover with a round of parchment paper and the lid and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend and the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, 20 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (I use an immersion blender in the pot.); add the crème fraîche, three-fourths of the cheese and 1 teaspoon of harissa to the last batch. Return all of the soup to the pot and season with salt and black pepper. Serve the soup, passing the remaining cheese and more harissa at the table.

One Year Ago:

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