Spicy Eggplant Pasta

The beginning of this week was much colder than I was mentally prepared for. It’s that awkward time of year where I’m not sure how to dress myself and am in complete denial that Summer is over. I’ve also avoided turning my heat on, as that means I am accepting Winter is on its way and that my bills are about to get higher. Well this week despite the cold weather, I refused to give in! I wrapped myself in a big blanket and made this spicy eggplant pasta to warm up. This recipe was also great because it took all of 15 minutes to make and was super delicious. A perfect weekday meal!

Ingredients: (serves 2)
1/2 box thin spaghetti
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Saute the garlic and shallot in some olive oil until softened. Add the bell pepper, eggplant, and a touch more olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the diced tomatoes, followed by the pepper flakes, paprika, and sherry vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste, then cook for another 5 minutes over medium heat. In the meantime boil your pasta per the box instructions. When the pasta is ready, strain and add to the tomato mixture, coating all the pasta with the sauce. Plate and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

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Leek & Arugula Risotto With Pancetta


I’ve never made risotto before, mainly because I thought it always sounded so time consuming to make. But I am happy to report that it doesn’t take that long and is totally worth the end result. The pancetta with the runny egg reminded me a little carbonara, which I love. I think my favorite thing about this recipe was that I tossed in some lemon juice and zest which ended up giving it really nice flavor.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz pancetta, chopped
1 large garlic clove
1 cup sliced leeks
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup water
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup chopped arugula
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs

Start by bringing the chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep on low.

In a heavy saucepan, cook the pancetta in a little olive oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Next, saute the garlic and leeks in the leftover pancetta drippings until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and and stir for another 1-2 minutes. Next add the the water, lemon juice and zest, and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add in 1/2 cup of the hot chicken broth and cook until liquid is absorbed, then repeat until all broth is used. You want to be stirring constantly. The rice will be soft but will still have a little firmness to it when finished. Toss in the pancetta and arugula.

To poach the eggs, boil some water in a medium sized pot. Add about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (helps make them fluffy) and swirl the water with a spoon to get a little whirlpool going before pouring the eggs in one at a time. Cook for about :30-:45 seconds before removing them with a slotted spoon. I usually lift them slightly out of the pot and gently poke the centers until it feels a little firm but runny in the center.

Plate the risotto and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and your poached egg!

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Homemade Sweet Potato Ravioli With Watercress Pesto

Making your own pasta isn’t as hard as it sounds! I’d like to experiment more with different flours and techniques when I have some extra time, but these quick raviolis were a nice start. The sweet potato with the peppery watercress were nice together. I’m looking forward to my leftovers tonight!

Pasta Dough:
1 1/5 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice cold water (as needed)
1 egg, beaten

Filling:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 whole garlic cloves
1/2 small white onion, chopped into chunks

Pesto:
1/2 cup pecans (I used what nuts I happen to have, but pine nuts or walnuts work too!)
1 cup watercress
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 the juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making the dough. On a clean surface, mix together the flour and salt, then make a little well in the center. Add the eggs and olive oil to the center and whisk with a fork. Start scooping bits of the surrounding flour into the whisked eggs. Once all the flour is mixed in, start shaping it with your hands, adding small amounts of cold water as needed. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes. After a while you’ll notice that it pretty firm and no longer sticky. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

**Alternatively, you can place all the dough ingredients into a food processor! If the dough seems dry at all, add a little cold water until you achieve the right texture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the sweet potato, garlic, and onion with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender. Place in a food processor with a splash of olive oil and blend until smooth. Cover and set aside.

For the pesto, place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding more olive oil as needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pasta dough is ready, cut it into quarters. One chunk at a time (while the others stay covered as to not dry out) pass each portion through the pasta machine until 1/16 inch thick. Dust with flour and continue with the other pieces. Next, brush two pieces of your rolled dough with the egg wash. Scoop teaspoons of the sweet potato mixture onto one side of the dough, keeping each dollop about 1 inch apart. Top with the second piece of dough, and use your fingers to press down around each mold of filling. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut between each piece to make the individual raviolis. Dust with a little flour and set aside.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling, and add about 10 raviolis at a time. I like to add a tiny bit of olive oil to my water to prevent the pasta from sticking together while cooking. Plate and top with pesto, a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresh Parmesan cheese!