Tag Archives: pasta

Artichoke and Rosemary Pasta

Our artichoke harvest has been meager so far this year: one lonely bud.  The girls’ enthusiasm to eat it buoyed it straight from the back yard onto this week’s menu, where it was luckily joined by a larger bag of artichokes from our CSA.

I always end up feeling that artichokes are worth the work, don’t you?  I usually take the easy way out and steam them in eighths, but at least once a year I roll up my sleeves, clear my counters, and set to work cleaning and slivering artichokes for this recipe.  When you’re done, the deep, haunting flavor of any passable artichoke is magnified by caramelization, teased out by rosemary, and slathered across a gorgeous pile of pasta.  I confidently assert that this recipe is worth the hour it takes.Prepared Artichokes

Here’s a decent photo tutorial showing the steps for reducing a healthy-looking artichoke to a very-tasty shadow of its former self.  You can use artichokes of any size for this recipe–baby artichokes won’t have the thistle-blossom choke in the center, but if you use a larger artichoke you can just scoop out the choke with a paring knife or grapefruit spoon as you go.  Thinking of the task as meditative rather than repetitive helps.

Whatever you do, be sure to save the meaty outer leaves that you peel off.  I usually steam and serve them separately, but Elise of Simply Recipes offers the even-better idea of simmering them to make a broth.  I like the idea of getting three dishes from my bag of artichokes–this pasta, a plate of cold artichoke leaves with dipping sauces, and a steaming bowl of pillowy cheese ravioli floating in artichoke broth.  I’ll try that next time and report back.  Waste not want not, and all that.

p.s. After all that, the kids refused to eat the pasta, of course.  The leaves, which remained in recognizable artichoke form, were as popular as ever.

Artichoke and Rosemary Pasta Continue reading

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Pesto Pasta with Beans and Greens

The lifestyle indulgences I go in for might seem quirky, I admit.  In some ways I’m frugal: our cars are old, I usually upgrade my wardrobe only when actual holes in my clothing require it, and we’ll probably never update our very-1980′s kitchen.  But other times, I splurge indiscriminately: finding myself in a new grocery bulk section last week, I bought a bag of every unfamiliar dried bean there.

Yellow beans!  Pink beans!  Speckled beans!  Tiny beans!  And more, many more.  I have only one source to blame for this new obsession: Rancho Gordo.   A local shop carries their beans, which have opened my eyes to the wide world beyond black and white beans, familiar pintos and chickpeas.  I have fallen down the dried-bean rabbit hole and I like it here.Pasta with Beans and GreensThat charmer pictured above is Rancho Gordo’s Ojo de Cabra, a meaty beauty of a bean so succulent that I kept plucking them from the bubbling pot despite the peril to my fingertips.  Like all beans, they’re even better the next day, and that’s when I suggest that you make this pasta.

This dish is fine and dandy with drained canned white beans (maybe add a little chopped fresh rosemary in that case), but it is even better as a showcase for an excellent bean if you cook it yourself and use a few scoops of the bean broth to finish cooking your pasta.

Do you have a favorite bean, or an unusual recommendation that I should seek out?  Please tell me! Continue reading

Whole Wheat Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut Sauce

There’s a new category of food in our house these days that I like to call “decadent vegan.”  Regular vegan food, as everyone knows, is steamed quinoa with shredded carrots and a squeeze of lemon, but decadent vegan food is different.  It’s this creamy, hearty pasta, and my first experiment with deep-frying and that addictive roasted squash salad that we’re still making every chance we get.  In truth, a lot of recipes on this site fall into the decadent vegan category, but for some reason I hadn’t thought of them that way before.  This year, I’m making a conscious effort to cook more vegan meals.  Decadent, delicious vegan meals.

What are your favorite recipes or ideas that fall into the decadent vegan category?  Please share!

Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut SauceIf you keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, as I’ve been doing lately, this recipe can be prepared in the time your pasta takes to cook.  And if you don’t keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, I encourage you to start. Continue reading

Pasta with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Pine Nuts

The other day I was chatting with a neighbor and I discovered that we have a few things in common.  We’re both enthusiastic home cooks, we both have lots of kids, and we share the conviction that parents who claim that their kids eat everything are lying.  Right?  Right?

Tonight my four year old actually claimed to be scared of the few Brussels sprouts threads that made their way into her dish.  “I’m scared of this one!” she exclaimed dramatically, fishing out a microscopic green strand.  “And this one!” Continue reading

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Roasted Broccoli, and White Beans

Have you entered this week’s cookbook giveaway yet?  You have until Monday night to enter!

I have a soft spot for those unreasonably large Greek “gigantes” beans.  They’re lima beans, maybe?  They’re fat and meaty and they make their presence known.  Here they nestle into a soft bed of pasta and roasted vegetables.  Small white beans could be fun too, though, especially if you use a shell pasta shape and let them get lost in the pasta swirls.  Either way, the beans and pasta are elevated one step beyond peasant food by the sweet, flavorful roasted vegetables.  Serve with a bracing, crisp, lemony salad for a nice flavor and texture contrast.

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Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Peppers

I meant to eat chocolate cake for dinner tonight.  It was just one of those days.  J kindly intervened and made me this instead.  It was so good.  Salty, creamy, hearty–and it even used up some of our CSA peppers.  That man knows what I like.  It was perfect for a chocolate-cake-for-dinner kind of night. Continue reading

Baked Pasta With Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Mozzarella

Someone taught my baby to say “stop it.”  Life with a seventeen-month-old is undignified enough, I feel, without irate admonitions issuing from the tiny person over every little thing.  Like when I try to change her diaper (“Stop it!”).  Like when I take a ballpoint pen away (“Stop it!).  Like when I insist that her carseat straps be buckled for travel (“No no no no STOP IT!”).

Imagine how she feels, though.  She’s the baby in a family of five.  We tell her to stop every time she innocently tries to tear a page from a book, or color on the table, or suck on the bottom of a delectable shoe.  We may both be saying the same words, but there are days when we’re not exactly speaking the same language.  Luckily, I can’t ever get down about it, because at the first sign of sadness this same baby rushes across the room, arms outstretched, yelling “Hug! Hug!”  Hopefully she learned that from us, too.

At times like these, comfort food is occasionally in order for the whole family.  And is there any comfort food that compares to baked pasta?  I guess roasted vegetables, maybe, so I’ve combined the two here to hedge my bets.  The children can pick out the cheesy pasta parts and I can console myself with all the eggplant that’s left in pan. Continue reading

15-Minute Pasta e Fagioli

I want you to know something.  Just now, at 11 pm, I got up off the couch, poured leftover soup into a bowl, and garnished it with parsley to take the photo below.  Because the photo I had planned to use was admittedly drab, and because I want you to want to make this soup.  I’ve never done that before; I usually just snap a photo as I go.  Is that too ridiculous?  Is it better or worse if I tell you?

But here’s the thing: I want to you to put this recipe in your mental recipe file.  It’s an easy fix when dinner needs to be on the table in 15 minutes, and it’s a bowlful of soup when you need it most.  (I, for one, always need soup most when I’m in such a rush that I only have 15 minutes to make dinner.)

This is peasant food, which means it’s all the best things: thrifty, filling, comforting.   The name translates to “Pasta and Beans,” and those are the only essential ingredients.  I never like to pass up the chance to add vegetables to things, though, so I included my beet greens and a couple of tomatoes.  You can certainly select your own vegetables, or skip them all together.  If you’ve already got cooked chickpeas or white beans handy, you’ll be glad; otherwise just open a can and you’re ready to go.

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Fresh Tomato Pasta with Dill and Lemon

The tomatoes are purple, broad-bottomed, flecked with green.  These are not my backyard Sungolds.  They’re Cherokee Purple heirlooms, hefty in my hand, and they come from east of the mountains where it actually gets hot.   They’re rare visitors in my kitchen, but I know just what to do with them today. Continue reading

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Olives and Feta

Make new friends, but keep the old.  Do you know that song?  It’s a round.  One is silver and the other’s gold.

I made a lot of new friends this week.  What more is there to life, really?  I went to the BlogHer Food conference here in Seattle and a few things came to my attention.  First, I like food bloggers just as much in real life as I like them on the internet.  (There is an automatic bond among people who spend the day in serious contemplation of what to eat next, I think.)  Second, I learned some photography basics for producing better pictures than the iPhone snapshots you see here–which I will put into practice some day when I have loads more time, maybe.  And, honestly, I came home refreshed and grateful for my family after spending most of two whole daytimes away from my girls for the first time in more than a year.

I ate plenty of great food this week, but I was glad to be back in my own kitchen tonight.  I used a favorite trick of mine for squeezing more vegetables into our meal by blending broccoli into a pureed sauce for pasta and more broccoli.  I don’t know if this is technically a “pesto” but it is green and saucy, so there you go.  I didn’t use cheese in it, so this dish is vegan if you leave out the feta.

This is an easily-deconstructed meal if you care about that sort of thing: J & I had it all, the girls had plain pasta and broccoli (they declined the green “dip”–I thought I was so smart with that spin!), and the baby had pasta, broccoli, and as many olives as we’d give her.  Go figure.  The broccoli pesto would also be just right dolloped over a pizza or spread onto crostini, or even as a dip for crackers or other vegetables.

Continue reading Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Olives and Feta (click for recipe)