I have a ritual. Whenever I start to read one of my magazines, I pull out all the annoying flyers and thick advertisements and get one piece that is the perfect bookmark. Then I read it cover to cover, not skipping anything that I think I will enjoy later because I will inevitably forget about it. However, with Bon Appetit I make an exception. After pulling out all the stupid flyers, I immediately flip to Cooking Life, Molly Wizenberg’s monthly column. Now that our favorite Orangette is busy running Delancey with her husband Brandon I have to get Molly’s musings in any way that I can, preferably quickly. This past month’s article was especially intriguing because it was about how Molly learned to love kale. Continue reading
While I will admit that I did enjoy the ravioli in the brown butter sauce, the best part of the batch of homemade pasta dough came the next night when I made the famous “Thousand Layer Lasagna“. One of my go to meals is to simply doctor-up a few jars of pasta sauce (preferably Newman’s Own since it the only reasonably priced brand without HFCS and other crap in the ingredient list) with some chopped onion and garlic and maybe a little italian sausage that has been sautéed in a little olive oil. I make a big batch, let it simmer low for a couple of hours and freeze it into 2 person portions for an easy weeknight meal. Since I made a batch of sauce while making this lasagna, all I had to do was roll out the pasta sheets as thin as possible, and layer it with the sauce and the leftover ravioli filling from the night before. Continue reading
Last week when I was having my “totally homemade meal” kick, I also knew that I wanted to make pasta dough and transform it into ravioli. Homemade pasta is one of those things that is just so remarkably different from its dried counterpart that it should be in a category all on its own. While I appreciate the ease and simplicity of tossing a bag of penne into a pot of boiling salted water and topping it with a little garlic and olive oil, I also really love the process of mixing some eggs into flour and after some time and some coaxing, eating a plate of homemade pasta. Continue reading
Last summer when I was just reading blogs and hadn’t yet taken the plunge to writing my own, interesting produce (Ramps! Green Garlic! Fiddleheads!) was creeping into my favorites which of course inspired me to seek out the unusual at the market. I have definitely embraced that philosophy this season.
Take these radishes for example. Continue reading
This morning I got up and ran 7 miles along the lakefront ending at the last Green City up at the Nature Museum. I am really glad that they managed to have a market throughout the winter but I am VERY excited for it to come back down into the park right by my apartment. My legs are getting very tight/sore/tired from all my training but I feel pretty awesome that I was able to run for an hour and 20 mins today (I run slow and don’t hesitate to drink a few gulps at every water fountain I see). 2 years ago, I couldn’t even run a mile. Continue reading
Last weekend I had the craving for something warm and comforting but all of my normal, go-to recipes just seemed uninspiring. I wanted to try something new. Whenever I am on the search for a new recipe, I look at my starred posts in my reader and slowly make my way through a stack of magazines and recipe books. However, it never fails that I end up finding the perfect thing to try over at the Kitchen Sink. Continue reading
Ever since I tried a bag of Pasta Puttana’s fresh pasta this summer, I have wanted to learn how to make it myself. However, I knew that it would take an investment in at least some sort of pasta roller, so it wasn’t until recently that I was able to finally give it a try myself. I treated myself to an attachment set for Ethel (my beautiful KitchenAid) for Christmas when the Amazon price went down to the lowest I had ever seen plus a 25% rebate. And I made a resolution of sorts to try it out in the near future.
Gourmet also has up a very helpful instructional video that takes you through the steps of making the dough, rolling it into sheets, and then cutting into noodles. I also decided to use this recipe with my “perfect pasta” flour blend that I ordered from the King Arthur website. The dough came together surprisingly easily.
After letting the dough rest for an hour, I tested out the new attachments to create the noodles.
After cutting the noodles, we hung them on this really cool pasta drying rack that I also bought with the attachments. In just over 2 hours, I had successfully turned eggs and flour into pasta. How sweet is that?
We cut half with the fettuccine cutters and the other half with the spaghetti sized cutters.
We decided to use the spaghetti for dinner (with mushrooms, garlic, parm, and red pepper flakes) and threw the fettuccine into a ziploc and stuck it in the freezer. I will let you know how it tastes after freezing. Let me just say, that the homemade pasta was FANTASTIC. It is not even comparable to store-bought dried. Not that I will stop eating dried pasta for a quick meal, but it really is worth taking the time to make some fresh pasta from scratch. I can’t wait to try this technique in ravioli or lasagna, especially this one.
I have a thing for spicy Italian sausage. I buy it in the bulk packages from Dominicks and freeze them, 4/5 to a bag. Usually I will make a pasta sauce with the whole links to freeze into individual dinners so that Dave and I can have a quick, filling meal after a long day at work and school. However, sometimes I am in the mood for this Lasagna. Whenever I make this for others, they always ask what that slightly different taste is…the secret is goat cheese. You mix in a 3-4 oz log of goat cheese with the typical ricotta/parm/egg mixture and it just gives it a slightly different flavor. It’s really good and I am not even the biggest fan of goat cheese overall.
Italian Sausage Lasagna (adapted from Turkey Lasagna)
1 yellow onion-chopped
2-3 garlic cloves-minced
4-5 hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
Basil-1 bunch, chopped
1 box lasagna noodles (you will only use 1/2 to 2/3 of the noodles)
15 oz ricotta cheese
Small goat cheese log (3-4 ozs)
1 1/2 cups of grated Parm
1 Lb Fresh Mozz, thinly sliced or grated
Preheat oven to 400F. Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium-low for about 5 mins or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more min. Add the sausage and cook while breaking it up with a fork into smaller pieces for 8-10 min or until it is no longer pink. Drain off the fat (I like to use a little spoon). Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and some salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parm, the egg and some salt and pepper. Really mix in the goat cheese well so that it combines with all the other flavors.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9×12 baking dish and spread it over the bottom well. Then add the layers: pasta (add the dry pieces, don’t worry about pre-boiling them), half of the ricotta (spread it out with a spatula to make it even), half of the mozz and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat. Sprinkle the top of the sauce with the remaining Parm. Bake for 30 mins.