Category Archives: pasta

Lamb Chops and Pesto Orecchiette

My friend Joe at work is always raving about the orecchiette at Lupa. I decided that I was craving it too and decided to serve it with the delicious lamb chops I got on sale at Fresh Direct.

Lamb chops:
2 lbs 1 ½-inch thick lamb loin chops
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat an over to 325 degrees. Heat a skillet with a metal handle on medium high heat and add the olive oil. Season the lamb chops with the salt and pepper, garlic powder and thyme. Brown the lamb chops on one side, flip them over, insert a thermometer into one of the chops and place the pan in the oven until the meat is medium rare. Remove the lamb chops from the pan and set aside to rest. Place the pan back on the heat, add the white wine and deglaze the pan until the white is reduced by half.

Pesto Orecchiette:
1 large bunch of basil leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 lb box of orecchiette

Place the basil leaves, garlic powder, cheese, and pine nuts in a blender. Turn the blender on and stream in olive oil until it all forms a paste but is not too liquidly from too much oil. Taste it and add salt and pepper if needed.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Once cooked, drain the excess water and toss in the pesto sauce.


Summer Time, and the Eating is Easy

I came back from DC and since I cooked up a storm for my sister’s family, I only want to make simple easy things here in my tiny kitchen in NYC. So I made a quick pasta dish that is satisfying and filling yet ready in a flash.

Salmon and Asparagus Spaghetti

½ lb whole-wheat spaghetti
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 large bunch asparagus
8 oz smoked salmon
½ cup cream
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Heat a pot of salted water for the spaghetti. Cut off the bottoms of the asparagus and cut the rest into 1-inch pieces. Once the pot of water comes to a boil, cook spaghetti according to package directions (probably about 10 minutes). Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the asparagus, garlic powder, parsley and salt and pepper. Stir-fry the asparagus until tender, about 5 minutes. Pull the smoked salmon into tiny bit size pieces and add them to the asparagus with the cream and heat through. With a pasta scoop, transfer the spaghetti to the sauce mixture, draining most of the excess water. Toss the spaghetti immediately to distribute the asparagus and salmon. The cream should be absorbed by all of the pasta and just barely coat it.

Serve the pasta immediately with a fresh sprinkling of fresh ground pepper.

Bacon, Eggs and Cheese for Dinner?

Sometimes the simplest foods are the best foods. This recipe is yet one more way to use that big block of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Also I get to continue my obsession with Italian food. A perfect easy Sunday dinner.

Pasta alla Carbonara

½ pound fresh linguine
1 teaspoon olive oil
about 4 ounces diced pancetta
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
½ grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
¼ cup diced fresh flat leaf parsley
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese curls

Fill a pot with water and set to boil. Heat a different pot on medium high and add the oil and pancetta. Stir the pancetta so that it browns evenly. While the pancetta is browning, hopefully the water has reached a boil. Add salt and the pasta, cook according to package directions. Add the minced garlic. When the garlic softens, turn off the heat. Beat the egg with the grated Parmesan. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid and immediately add the wet pasta to the pancetta. Stir in the egg mixture, the parsley and salt and pepper. Toss till the sauce thickens. Add some of the pasta water if necessary if the egg mixture gets too thick.

Serve the pasta in a bowl with the Parmigiano curls.

Jet Lagged

It is really hard to get your appetite on board when you are jet lagged. It isn’t just about a sleep problem. I made this quick and easy dish, which reheats really well. Get some protein and the combo of salty sweet to match all of your cravings.

Shrimp, Bacon and Peas
1 package bacon, regular or turkey
Olive Oil
1 lb shrimp
1 tablespoon parsley
½ teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 package of frozen sweet peas, thawed
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 can of drained chickpeas
1 lb fettuccini pasta, cooked according to directions

Cut the bacon into chunks and heat on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crispy and brown. If you are using turnkey bacon, you may need to add a tiny bit of olive oil to the pan. If you are using regular bacon, drain the pan of most of the oil. Add the shrimp and seasonings. Stir until the shrimp is almost cooked. Add the peas and toss to heat. Add the cheese and either the chickpeas or pasta. Toss to heat and evenly coat.

Valentine’s in New York

Today is Valentine’s Day. It is freezing out. The streets are lined with roses spilling out of the Korean bodegas and everyone seems to be in a couple but me. Therefore I’m going into hibernation mode. Glorious warm hibernation. This dish was inspired by the need to clean out my fridge and cabinets but I think the results turned out so much better than I expected. Serve it with a crisp green salad to convince yourself that you are eating healthy. Also pop a good bottle of wine or bubbly and forget that it is a marketing holiday.

To make regular mac and cheese, omit the Bolognese and seasonings, and substitute elbow pasta for the shells and cheddar for the mozzarella.

Italian Mac and Cheese

1 lb package of whole wheat Conchigliette (shell) pasta
1 stick butter, reserve 1 tablespoon for the topping
1 cup flour
1 quart milk
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon parsley
3 cups Bolognese sauce
8oz grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons French friend onions

Boil the pasta according to package directions. Sit it aside in a colander to drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrease.

In the same large pot that you cooked the pasta, melt the stick of butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the flour, whisking to combine. Slowing whisk in the milk so that no lump forms. Add all of the seasonings and continue whisking as the mixture thickens. Add in the Bolognese sauce and whisk to combine. Add in the cheese and continue whisking so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Taste the sauce to check for seasoning. Once the cheese has started to melt, fold in the pasta and transfer everything to a large glass ovenproof dish. Melt the reserved butter and mix with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and friend onions. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole, trying to seal to the edge.

Bake the casserole for about an hour till the mixture is hot and bubbly and the topping is nice and golden brown and crispy.