Tag Archives: Pasta

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs #SundaySupper

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Today we present you with the wonderful theme of Eggtastic – recipes prominently featuring eggs! Eggs and I have not had the smoothest relationship over the years; despite that, I love this theme.

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

As a child, the only eggs I would willingly eat were scrambled, and then only my mom’s. Fortunately, I have broadened my horizons a bit since reaching adulthood, and now I’d say the only type of eggs I just can’t do are hard-boiled. It’s good progress, right?

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

But yet, even now as a grown-up, I’m fairly particular about how certain types of eggs are prepared. Which brings me to this recipe I’m sharing today. I found this on The New York Times Cooking (one of the absolute best spaces on the entire interwebs, by the way); the recipe is submitted by Mark Bittman, a cook and food writer I respect enormously, and he specifically instructed to fry the eggs gently in olive oil. Except…. I hate fried eggs that way. I need fried eggs to have runny yolks, completely set whites, and super browned crispy edges.

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

So, I did what any food blogger would do – slightly adapted the recipe to accommodate my beloved crispy edges. I’m thrilled to say it worked, and you should make this the next time you need a quick, five-ingredient, weeknight meal that you barely have to think about. The end result was simple, delicious, and incredibly comforting. This will be a go-to for those days I’m feeling too tired to cook dinner. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

And be sure you check out all the delectable egg recipes from my Sunday Supper crew!

Source: adapted a little bit from The New York Times Cooking; recipe submitted by Mark Bittman

½ lb. thin spaghetti
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
4 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional but highly recommended

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente according to package directions.
Place a large, high-sided skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and garlic cloves. Cook, pressing the garlic cloves to release the oils, until the garlic is nicely fragrant and lightly colored on both sides. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon.
Crank the heat on the skillet to very high. Let it heat a full minute, until the oil is smoking lightly. Carefully, without cracking the yolks, crack the eggs into the hot skillet in a single layer. Season them with salt and black pepper. Let them fry, untouched, for a good minute. The whites will bubbly and the edges will brown. They should cook about 90 seconds at the most. You want to keep the yolk runny.
Transfer the eggs to a large bowl that can handle being lightly scraped by forks. Immediately use 2 forks to break up the eggs into bite-size pieces. Don’t worry about yolks running all over.
Time this to happen right when the pasta is cooked; you want to immediately transfer the drained pasta to the bowl with the cut up fried eggs. Toss vigorously with tongs – you want the heat of the pasta to finish cooking the yolks. Add cheese to taste and serve immediately, with extra cheese for passing at the table, if desired.

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Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Happy 2016!! I am having an absolute blast playing with all my new toys I got for Christmas, and yes, most of them are cooking related. I got *several* new cookbooks, and this mac and cheese here is the first recipe I made from one of them.

Yes, I’m aware that it’s the first Monday back to the grindstone after the holiday season, and we’re all supposed to be thinking about healthy eating and weight loss resolutions and whatnot; thus, a pasta dish featuring three cheeses probably isn’t going to be too popular on this day of the year. Oh well. It’s cold outside. Plus, I find that this blog is much more fun and fulfilling when I cook the things I want to make and eat rather than trying to appease the SEO gods. So I must stand by it!

Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

This is a particularly interesting and richly flavored version of the classic comfort food. Like I mentioned, there are three cheeses in here, two of which are smoked cheeses. And the beer adds a hoppy dimension and cuts the richness a little bit. In short, it’s a mac and cheese for grown-ups.

smoky beer macaroni and cheese

I personally prefer mac and cheese without bread crumbs on top, usually, but if you want it, add 1 cup panko mixed with 3 tbs melted butter on top of the shredded cheese layer right before baking it off. Enjoy!

Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Source: slightly adapted from The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacquelyn Dodd

½ cup unsalted butter
3 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups beer (use a pale ale)
2 tsp mustard powder
½ tsp chili powder
6 oz. smoked Cheddar, shredded
6 oz. sharp white Cheddar, shredded
8 oz. smoked Gouda, shredded
16 oz. elbow macaroni
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place 4 large gratin dishes, or individual cast-iron skillets, on a large baking sheet. Grease if necessary, and set aside.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until smooth and the raw flour taste is cooked out, about 1 minute.
Add the milk and beer. Whisk to combine, then bring to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard and chili powders.
Combine all three cheeses in a large bowl and set aside about ½ cup. Slowly add the mixed cheeses (aside from the ½ cup of course) to the stockpot, about 1 large handful at a time. Let the cheese melt before each new addition.
Now add the macaroni noodles to the cheese sauce, keeping the heat level between medium and medium-high. You want to cook the pasta in the cheese sauce until al dente but not completely done. This takes about 10 minutes, and you will need to stir often enough to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot. For me, this meant stirring constantly. I thought it was worth it.
Once the noodles are al dente, shut off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and quickly spoon the mixture into the prepared gratin dishes. Top each with the remaining shredded cheese. This is when you’d put on the panko mixture if you choose.
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are bubbling and the top cheese is melted. If you want, finish the gratins with a grind of black pepper.
Serve immediately.

Turducken Lasagna

Turducken Lasagna

Every year, I love roasting a turkey for the blog sometime in early November. And this year was no exception. Unfortunately, this year, the turkey did not love me back! First of all, I tried a newfangled type of stuffing-something-flavorful-under-the-skin technique featuring sausage and polenta. Don’t do this. The polenta is not firm enough to stay there.

Turducken Lasagna

Secondly, spatchcocking turkey, also known as butterflying, seems to be all the rage this year, so I thought I’d give it a go. Just, no. If you go this direction, please have your butcher do it. I nearly ruined my kitchen shears and no matter what I did I couldn’t properly break the breast bone. A completely useless waste of time.

Turducken Lasagna

So the bad news is that I have no turkey to share with you this year. The good news is that I’m offering you a main dish alternative for your Thanksgiving Day dinner for those of you who have tired of roasting birds and want a new spin on things.

Turducken Lasagna

This is a play on that freakish concoction otherwise known as Turducken, a scary monstrosity created by wrapping a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. Honestly, it’s never appealed to me in the least. I just can’t. But lasagna – lasagna I can! This is one of the better-tasting and more special lasagnas I’ve made. It begins with equal parts of ground turkey, ground duck, and ground chicken that makes a flavorful, interesting and pleasantly gamey meat sauce that becomes part of a pretty traditional Italian style lasagna. We were so in love. Seriously, no one would miss a turkey if you served this on Thanksgiving.

Turducken Lasagna

A few recipe notes: it doesn’t matter what cut of duck you grind. Just grind the fat and skin along with the meat (or have your butcher do it). Use all dark turkey and chicken meat, or at least a combination of dark and white. All-white meat grinds will be too dry. I hope you enjoy it!

Source: slightly adapted from Harold Dieterle’s Kitchen Notebook by Harold Dieterle

2 tbs olive oil
8 oz. ground turkey
8 oz. ground duck (any parts)
8 oz. ground chicken
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 large Spanish onion, minced
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
28 oz. can tomato puree
15 oz. can tomato puree
Leaves from 1 bunch of basil, loosely torn
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 lb. provolone cheese, grated
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. no-boil lasagna noodles
3 lbs. ricotta cheese

First, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet or saucepan over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the ground turkey, duck, and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until the meat is lightly browned and no traces of pink remain, about 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the onion, garlic, fennel, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and stir in all the crushed tomatoes and all the tomato puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then continue to simmer for 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.
Now assemble the lasagna: preheat your oven to 350 F. Place the mozzarella, provolone, and pecorino in a bowl and fold them together. Ladle one-quarter of the sauce into the bottom of a very large lasagna pan, spreading it to all the corners.
Top with a layer of noodles, breaking to fit if necessary. Spread about one-quarter of the ricotta over the noodles, then about one-quarter of the mozzarella cheese mixture. Repeat, starting with the sauce, three more times, and finishing with the mozzarella mixture. Grind black pepper over the top of the lasagna. Cover with aluminum foil, then bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and you can pierce the center of the lasagna easily with a paring knife, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven to bake until the cheese starts to brown, about 5 more minutes. Remove the lasagna from the oven and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Sweet cherries are flooding my local grocery store! I know they usually take a backseat to their coveted and more popular sour siblings, but I always love that sweeter version of the fruit and eagerly await their in-season arrival each year. I bought way too many and am happily scrambling to find ways to use them up.

sweet cherries for couscous salad

This salad is the second thing I made with my stash. The first thing was a whole roast duck with a fresh cherry-rosemary sauce on the side. It was so delicious, and I really wanted to share it with you, but this brings me to the point in this post where I start apologizing for my food photography of late. The new place has a completely different layout than the old place. There’s more windows, but they aren’t directly off the kitchen, and I have less space for food styling. But the layout is open enough that natural light does reach the kitchen where I’m photographing, if it’s not overcast or nearly sunset. So I’m definitely still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. That duck most definitely fell into the DOESN’T WORK category. Obviously you’ve figured out by now that I’ll share less-than-perfect food pictures on this site, but, come on, I do have my limits! It has to still look like food, you know?

couscous salad with cherries and feta

So hopefully this second, and no less delicious than the first, savory cherry dish works well enough to post without hanging my head in food photography shame. Because I seriously couldn’t get enough of this. It’s perfectly balanced in flavor and texture, equally tasty served cold or room temperature, easy to throw together, and just so perfect for hot summer days. I hope you love it as much as we did!

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Source: Heather Christo’s Generous Table by Heather Christo

2 cups sweet red cherries
2 cups water
4 tbs olive oil, divided
kosher salt
2 cups couscous
3 tbs minced shallot
3 tbs red wine vinegar
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
½ lb. feta cheese
2 tbs chopped pecans, or slivered almonds

Pit the cherries into a small bowl and let them sit while you make the couscous. Some of their juices will drain into the bowl (not much though!).
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, 1 tbs olive oil, and ½ tsp kosher salt to a boil. Add the couscous and stir. Cover the saucepan and shut off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then open the pot and fluff with a fork. Let the couscous cool a bit.
Slice the pitted cherries into thirds and set aside in another bowl. Add the shallots to the juice in the first bowl. Add kosher salt to taste, the remaining 3 tbs olive oil, and the vinegar. Whisk to create the dressing.
Add the dressing, along with ¼ cup of the minced parsley, to the couscous and gently toss to coat. Add the cherries and stir to combine. Crumble the feta cheese over the couscous, then add the remaining parsley (you can save a little for garnish if you want), and the pecans or almonds. Toss to gently combine. Taste and season with extra salt if needed, but remember that feta is pretty salty already – mine didn’t need anything more.
Serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
I loved this both at room temp and chilled – probably prefer room temperature if I HAD to choose, but I really loved both. Also, this makes a TON! Couscous really expands. Feel free to cut it in half.

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

Though in many ways we grew up in very different circumstances, we share one aspect of childhood very much in common: both my husband and I were raised in households with parents who insisted we eat healthfully and get our fair share of vegetables. Not only was there a side serving of veggies present at most dinners, we were both exposed to a nice variety of fruits and vegetables – it wasn’t the same few produce items at every meal. Now, not gonna lie here – both of us as children had a pretty decent laundry list of vegetables we didn’t *want* to eat, but both of our respective parents toed a fairly firm line of “eat it anyway, they’re good for you.”

roasted broccoli rabe

So, you’d think at least one of us would have entered adulthood knowing what broccoli rabe was. Nope. Didn’t happen. It’s only been in the last year or so that we’ve started eating it when its early spring season rolls around. This year we’ve been playing around with the more traditional method of cooking it – boiling it to reduce its inherent bitterness, then sautéing in a cast iron skillet and dousing it with a dressing or sauce. Quite tasty.

short cut pasta with broccoli rabe and harissa

And then I ran across a different method of preparing it in an older issue of Food & Wine – roasting it in the oven. I haven’t ever seen that method for broccoli rabe before (which isn’t to say it’s not out there – like I said above, I’m fairly new to the world of this veggie).

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

But, I was very intrigued to try it, so try it I did, and I found it quite lovely, so I had to share it with you. Broccoli rabe is quite tasty prepared this way, and here’s a plus if you have a smaller kitchen – roasting it in the oven dirties up fewer dishes overall than boiling-then-sautéing will. I will add that you lose less of the bitterness by roasting, but I found it a pleasant bitterness – not at all overpowering, and it played very well with the chewy, mild pasta and the spicy flavors going on in this recipe. Fantastic vegetarian dinner option. Enjoy!

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

{One Year Ago: Shaved Asparagus Pizza; Homemade Pizza Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Penne alla Puttanesca}

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, August 2013

1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
¼ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno or Fresno chile, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tsp harissa
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 lb. short cut pasta, such as gemelli, penne, cavatappi, cavatelli, or whatever you prefer
Grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat your oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli rabe with 2 tbs olive oil plus salt and pepper to taste. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats, then arrange the broccoli rabe on the 2 baking sheets in as even a layer as possible. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.
In a large (12-inch) deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbs oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, chile and harissa and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the garlic and chile are tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then cook the pasta according to package directions, just to al dente. When done, drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, cooking water, and about ¼ cup parmesan to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the pasta is coated in a thick sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mint and parsley, and more cheese if desired. Serve immediately with more cheese for garnish, if preferred.

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup with Turkey Carcass Stock

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup 5848

Today, I think we should discuss Thanksgiving turkey carcasses. Exciting and appetizing right? Mmmm…. No, really we should.

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Many moons ago I graduated from the wonderful Baylor University (sec ‘em Bears!), which is located in Waco, Texas, a small town that descriptively sits somewhere in between completely rural and decent-sized town. One year, I was driving down the street from my residence a couple days after Turkey Day and I had to stop my car because right smack in the middle of the street an enormous vulture was chowing down on a turkey carcass he’d dragged out of someone’s garbage bag.

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I figured he would move when he saw my car, but no. He just gave me this “yeah, what are you lookin’ at?” look and went back to feasting on that carcass. I actually had to drive around him, which also didn’t faze him one bit.

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So this year, I say we all encourage the vultures to stay out of the residential neighborhoods by using our turkey carcass to make one of the most delicious noodle soups I’ve ever tasted! Yeah, save your carcass after you’ve carved your turkey. It then goes into the largest pot you have (or hack it up into large pieces and divide among two pots – I had to and it works just fine); fill the pot with aromatics and water and let it simmer away. In a few hours you will have the richest, most beautiful turkey stock with which to make your soup, your house will have the warmest and most fragrant aroma, and your neighbor may even be texting you to find out what is making the whole building smell so good.

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup 5877

Then you use some shredded leftover turkey meat to make a delicious, comforting noodle soup that can feed your whole family. It is sooooo good. I hope y’all will enjoy it!

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{One Year Ago: Pumpkin and Fried Sage Pizza}
{Two Years Ago: Barbecue Beef Chili}

Source: slightly adapted from Down South by Donald Link


1 turkey carcass from 1 roasted turkey (use a meat cleaver to hack up the carcass into pieces if necessary)
1 onion, peeled and chunked
2 celery stalks, rough chopped
1 carrot, rough chopped (no need to peel it)
4 garlic cloves, smashed (no need to peel)
4 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs black peppercorns

1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 fresh bay leaves
2 tbs Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs dried oregano
½ tsp poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper
Up to 3 cups of store-bought chicken or turkey stock (maybe)
2 cups shredded turkey meat, light and/or dark, leftover from the roasted turkey
8 oz. wide egg noodles
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

To make the STOCK: in the largest pot you have, combine the turkey carcass bones with the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 6 quarts of water. If you need to, you can split this evenly between 2 stockpots (I had to).
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, and simmer, skimming the fat off the top as needed, for 3 hours. Strain the stock. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for a few days.
Now make the SOUP: heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and bay leaves and cook until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mustard, vinegar, oregano, poultry seasoning, 1 tbs kosher salt and 2 tsp black pepper.
Measure 2 quarts plus 2 cups of the turkey stock you just made. If you have less than that, no big deal, just supplement with the store-bought stock. Add the stock to the soup pot, then add the turkey meat.
Simmer, skimming the fat as it rises to the surface periodically, until the meat is very tender, about 30-45 minutes.
When the soup is nearly ready, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then add the noodles. Cook until just al dente, then drain them and transfer to the soup pot. Simmer them for about 15 minutes to allow them to absorb some soup broth.
Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Serve the soup in either large, deep bowls or wide, shallow bowls garnished with parsley, if desired.

Mark Bittman’s Veggie Fried Noodles

Mark Bittman's Veggie Fried noodles 5027

Secret Recipe Club reveal day is here!! This month I was assigned Tea and Scones, which is a baking blog that certainly lives up to its name. Many, many beautiful and drool-worthy scones recipes featured. And given my love of scones, you’d think I would have picked one to make, right?

Mark Bittman's veggie fried noodles 4998

Well, I strongly considered it, believe me. Very, very tempted. But, I have been striving to eat much healthier the past few months, so when I also ran across this Mark Bittman recipe, which is incredibly healthy yet uber-delicious, well, I was sold.

Mark Bittman's Veggie fried noodles 5015

Once I reach my goal weight, I’m coming back to make one of your scones! I’m a huge fan of Mark Bittman, too, so I was very excited to see this recipe. I love that we’re using soba noodles instead of rice – nice creative twist there – and that this recipe fit perfectly with my current eating habits. And the dish was truly wonderful. It didn’t feel like a “healthy” dish, if that makes sense, it was just some good, clean eating. Very filling and satisfying, and one I would definitely make again.

Mark Bittman's Veggie Fried Noodles 5020

Definitely check out Tea and Scones, y’all! Enjoy!

{One Year Ago: Caramel Apple Layer Cake, Philly Strip Steaks with Provolone Sauce and Caramelized Onions}

Source: Tea and Scones

8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 cup chopped green onions
2 large carrots chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups snow peas, or sugar snap peas, cut into halves or thirds crosswise
1/4 cup chicken stock or water (more if you need it, I didn’t.)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 egg, beaten
black pepper
1/4 cups chopped peanuts for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the noodles according to package directions, but make sure they don’t get mushy. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. Toss them with sesame oil to prevent sticking.
While the noodles are cooking, heat the canola oil in a large, deep skillet or a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook for about 15 seconds.
Add the carrots, celery, snow peas, and stock or water and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 5-10 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry, add more liquid a tablespoon at a time.
Stir in soy sauce and beaten egg(s) and let the egg lightly scramble in the pan. Add the noodles, sprinkle with pepper, and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the peanuts and serve.

Tortellini Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, and Eggplant

Tortellini Salad with Roasted Peppers, tomatoes and eggplant 098

Happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day!!! Always a fun day for me. This month I was assigned…. Feast on the Cheap!

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Feast on the Cheap is a wonderful food blog actually run by two people: “a mother-daughter duo starring a professional caterer and a fledgling foodie.” Mary Anne is the mom and her daughter is Mariel. Both have impressive and distinguished careers, Mary Anne as a nurse and a professional caterer, and Mariel as a professional writer for a number of well-known publications. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through their blog this month!

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I have been jonesing for eggplant lately, so I went through their recipe index specifically hoping to find something eggplant, and I scored big with this pasta salad. Mary Anne created this recipe, and made the brilliant decision to use tortellini for the pasta, which is just beyond delicious. The eggplant is sweated and roasted, so there is no trace of bitterness – just flavor. This salad comes together and just sings. So much flavor, and such terrific textures from the roasted veggies and the chewy, cheesy tortellini.

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As I write this, I’m growing impatient for tomorrow at noon to roll around, simply so I can eat the leftovers for lunch! And I *just* ate dinner, y’all – not even hungry. That’s how good this is.

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I highly urge you to try it very soon, while eggplant and fresh tomatoes are looking lovely for their season. I also highly urge you to check out Feast on the Cheap! It’s definitely going in my reader. Enjoy!

Tortellini Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes and Eggplant 087

{One Year Ago: Strawberry Mascarpone Sherbet, Blueberry Crumble, Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting}
{Two Years Ago: Classic Barbecue Chicken}

Source: slightly adapted from Feast on the Cheap

1 medium eggplant (about ½ lb.) cut into ½ inch dice, peeled if desired
Kosher salt, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 medium tomatoes, (about ¾ lb.) cored, seeded, and cut into ½ inch dice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ cup fresh basil, roughly torn
1 lb. cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

“Sweat” the diced eggplant: spread the eggplant on a cookie rack lined with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and allow to stand for 20 minutes. Blot dry with fresh paper towels. Transfer to a cookie sheet and toss with about 2 tsp of olive oil. Spread evenly into a single layer and sprinkle lightly with the dried oregano, as much or as little as you prefer. Cover with aluminum foil.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place the foil covered eggplant in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside, after you remove the aluminum foil.
While the eggplant is roasting, preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then saute the shallot until soft. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the brown sugar, crushed pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Saute another 5-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and have rendered their juices. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Add the cooked tortellini to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Now add all the veggies to the pasta: the eggplant, the tomato mixture, and the roasted peppers. Add the basil and the cheese and toss thoroughly and gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Matt and I hosted a party a few weeks ago, and I bought too much blue cheese. Way too much. Oops.

But, it became not such a problem once I made this delicious pasta dish. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with spaghetti smothered in a rich blue cheese sauce, some crunchy salty bacon, and fresh baby spinach? Nothing. Big, fat nothing is wrong with this lovely bowl of silky, cheesy pasta.

gorgonzola and spinach spaghetti

I just have to share this one with you, it’s become one of our faves. It’s an easy weeknight meal, but special enough for a date night or a dinner party. I’m so happy to post it today! I hope y’all enjoy this one.

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Source: adapted from 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray

1 lb. spaghetti
Kosher salt
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream
Black pepper
8 oz. Gorgonzola crumbles, or whatever blue cheese you prefer
2 cups fresh baby spinach or arugula, roughly torn or chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a medium saucepot until crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the butter to the bacon fat and put the pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute, to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the chicken stock and bring it up to a bubble. Cook, stirring, until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Add the cream, stir to combine, and then lower the heat to low. Stir in the blue cheese and stir to melt. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
Drain the cooked spaghetti and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach or arugula and the blue cheese sauce. Toss to combine and add the crispy bacon bits on top. Serve immediately.

Freeform Crawfish Ravioli

Freeform Crawfish Ravioli

OMG, you guys. We are ending Pasta with Seafood week on a hugely delicious note. Wow, was this ever so, so good. Utterly amazing and flavorful. Living where I do, I don’t find crawfish in the fish section of my grocery store very often, and though I can hunt it down, due to convenience’s sake, I don’t do so all that often. And thus, I sometimes can forget how much I adore crawfish. They’re so yummy! But, small shrimp can be subbed in with no problems.

Freeform Crawfish Ravioli

As per usual, here’s our recap from the week!

We began with a decadent Crab Macaroni and Cheese. So delicious and the leftovers only get better.

crab macaroni and cheese






Secondly, we went all Asian and healthy with Soy-Ginger Salmon over Asian Veggie Noodles. The whole thing was so flavorful and so easy to pull together on a busy weeknight.

Soy salmon over Asian veggie noodles






And then yesterday I showed you an alternate pasta carbonara, where we used anchovies instead of the bacon/pancetta. It was super tasty, and quite perfect for a romantic date night!

Anchovy Pasta Carbonara






And here’s a recipe round-up of seafood pasta dishes from the food blogosphere. Enjoy!

Decadent Crawfish Mac and Cheese from Call Me PMC
Lemon-Ricotta Pasta with Seared Scallops from Crumb Blog
Linguine with White Clam Sauce from The Texan New Yorker
Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce from See Aimee Cook
Shrimp with Lemon and Garlic Sauce over Pappardelle Pasta from Melangery
Squid Ink Fettuccine with Shrimp and Chorizo from The Texan New Yorker

Freeform crawfish ravioli

{One year ago: Cuban Black Bean Soup}

Source: adapted from The Mr. B’s Bistro Cookbook

8 lasagna sheets
2 tbs plus 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a large)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 lb. cooked, shelled crawfish tails
1 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed chili flakes, or more to taste
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Snipped chives or scallion greens

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then salt it generously. Add lasagna sheets one at a time, so they don’t stick together, and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Remove with tongs and transfer to a cutting board. Cut each in half crosswise.
While the pasta is cooking, preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Melt the 2 tbs butter. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until cooked and softened. Now add the crawfish, Creole seasoning, and chili flakes. Saute about 5 minutes, until the crawfish is heated through. Add the tomatoes and saute until few minutes until the tomatoes are soft and starting to break down.
Cube the remaining 1 1/2 stick of cold butter. Add the butter cubes to the crawfish, a few at a time, stirring constantly, letting them melt before adding the next batch of cubes. When all the butter has melted, shut off the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, place a scant amount of sauce in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Add a pasta sheet, then a good spoonful of sauce, then another pasta sheet, and more sauce. Garnish with scallions or chives and serve immediately.