Guest Post: Orecchiette with Leeks and a Leek Blog Hop

Orecchiette with Leeks and Ricotta and a Leek Blog Hop

Today I’m doing a guest post over at Shut Up and Cook: The Attainable Gourmet, and I hope you’ll stop by and check it out. Besides the recipe for orecchiette with leeks and ricotta (yes, it’s as good as it sounds and easy as can be!), Erina’s blog is just a joy to explore. I’ve known Erina since college, when she was one of the stars of the all female a cappella group, The Accents. After graduation she moved out West to Seattle, where she’s been ever since, making her mark on the city. Last time I was in town (it’s been a few years now…) we met up for happy hour wine and appetizers and had a blast. We’ve since become cross-continental pen pals, sharing scores of emails back and forth about food, blogging, and careers in food. Continue reading “Guest Post: Orecchiette with Leeks and a Leek Blog Hop”

Noodle Salad with Poached Chicken and Peanut-Lime Dressing

Ingredients for Noodle Salad with Poached Chicken and Peanut-Lime Dressing

I’m going going to lie to you: this noodle salad has a few steps and a fairly long ingredient list. But, besides the fact that it’s totally worth it, this is also really three recipes in one. The peanut-lime dressing is one of my favorites, and is excellent over any salad. I like to toss it with shredded cabbage to bring to potlucks. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just short on time you can skip the chicken all together and serve the noodle salad as is, or with some cubed tofu mixed in. Continue reading “Noodle Salad with Poached Chicken and Peanut-Lime Dressing”

Saffron Lasagna ~ Lasagna alla Zafferano from A Family Farm in Tuscany

As an Italian-American, I’ve eaten plenty of lasagna in my day. But none like this. I’m used to layers of noodles and sauce that are cemented with mounds of cheese. This authentic Italian lasagna, however, relies primarily on a saffron-hued béchamel sauce to act as the glue. There’s no mozzarella, no ricotta. Just grated Parmesan, meat sauce, and a luscious besciamella made with butter, flour, milk and saffron. It’s as decadent and comforting as any lasagna you’ll encounter, and the addition of saffron makes it special enough for any holiday or occasion.

Lasagna alla Zatterano ~ Saffron Lasagna

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Pasta with Ricotta and Brussels Sprouts

Although I didn’t grow up eating Brussels sprouts, as an adult I’ve fallen in love with them. And, while I make them often, I’ve only posted one Brussels sprouts recipe on the blog. I knew I had to change that. Fortunately I came across this easy and delicious pasta with ricotta and Brussels sprouts recipe from Culinary Adventures with Camilla, my assigned blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.

When I first got my SRC assignment, I spent a long time going through Camilla’s posts and quickly became enamored with her creative recipes. I love that she includes her two adorable sons in the cooking process, and isn’t afraid to introduce them to new foods. I especially like her international series, Cooking Around the World with Camilla, in which she and her boys are cooking their way through all the countries of the world from A to Z. It’s an amazing way to learn about the world, and is a practice I hope to borrow in the future.

Pasta with Ricotta and Brussels Sprouts

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Ricotta Gnocchi and a Cheese Blog Hop

If you’ve ever been too intimidated to make your own pasta, gnocchi is a great place to start. And if regular potato gnocchi seems like too much work, well ricotta gnocchi is the way to go. This Italian pasta dumpling has three – yes just THREE! – ingredients and doesn’t require the use of a pasta maker. You just mix together ricotta, flour, and an egg and gently knead it until it comes together. After a brief rest in the fridge, you roll the dough into snakes and cut into gnocchi of whatever size you like. Cook in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes and you’re done.

Homemade ricotta gnocchi ~

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Spaghetti Carbonara for #SundaySupper

The theme for this week’s #SundaySupper is “Celebrate Your Heritage” and, in case my last name didn’t give it away, I am Italian-American (and Hungarian, and other stuff too, but mostly Italian). Although my family hails from the South of the boot, I couldn’t resist bringing Spaghetti Carbonara – a decidedly Roman dish – to the table. Although I didn’t grow up eating it, a family trip to Rome my senior year of high school was the beginning of a lifelong love affair. Today it’s something my husband and I make often if we have the ingredients on hand. It’s actually a specialty of my husband’s, and a dish I would venture to say he makes better than I.

Family Photos
My Italian great grandmother in the kitchen, and my Italian family gathered around the table

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Pesto Pasta for #SundaySupper

I am very excited to be participating in a new group this week – the #SundaySupper movement! After seeing that some of my favorite bloggers were involved, I was of course intrigued. “Our Mission,” according to founder Isabel “Foodie”, “is to Bring back Sunday Supper Around the Family Table in every home. The Family Table can be anywhere as long as the main ingredient is Love.” Cheers to that!

Pesto Pasta

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Edamame, Basil, and Ricotta Pasta

Here’s another simple, delicious, healthy weeknight pasta for you. Spring is in the air, and this dish is the perfect way to celebrate. Shelled soy beans are combined with plenty of chopped fresh basil and creamy ricotta to create a simple, flavorful sauce for pasta. I used try-color penne here, but any shape or flavor would be delicious. To save time, cook the soy beans briefly in the pasta water. This dish is on the table in about 20 minutes flat and is packed with nutrients – not to shabby! Don’t you just love easy pasta recipes like this?

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Skinny Penne a la Vodka

And I’m back! Thanks for bearing with me while I traveled and spent time with my sister. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. I promise I’ll catch up with all of you soon. Penne a la vodka is one of my favorite pasta dishes. It’s not one that I ate much growing up, but I remember ordering it as a teenager in restaurants and feeling very grown-up. My most vivid memory of this dish is from one of our high school haunts called Stingy Lulu’s on St. Mark’s Place in New York City, where the drag queen waitresses would pretend to check our ids before serving us frosty margaritas and steaming bowls of penne a la vodka.

Skinny Penne alla Vodka Recipe

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Spaghetti with Mushroom Cream Sauce and a Pasta Blog Hop

Spaghetti with Rosemary-Mushroom Cream Sauce

I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration to say that growing up we ate pasta every single night with dinner. In today’s carb conscious, diet crazy world that may elicit gasps, but in my Italian-American family it was just the norm. And while I was a picky eater, I never got sick of pasta. My dad – the cook in our family – mixed up the shapes and sauces, served it with chicken parmesan or steak pizzaiola (ok, we also ate a lot of meat and cheese…) and well into my 20s I could not understand how or why anyone would want to cut pasta from their diet. Today my dinners are a bit more diversified, but pasta remains one of my favorite foods. Continue reading “Spaghetti with Mushroom Cream Sauce and a Pasta Blog Hop”