Eggplant & Artichoke Gemelli Pasta

What’s great about pasta, is that the options are endless, and it’s usually a fairly quick meal to make. I love going into my fridge and seeing what I can come up with during the weekday using whatever I have on hand. This pasta in particular I made with eggplant, marinated artichokes, spinach, and some fire roasted crushed tomatoes. Quick, easy, and delicious!

Ingredients: (serves 1 hungry person)
2 small garlic cloves
1 14.5oz can roasted crushed tomatoes (or whatever you have on hand!)
2 large marinated artichokes, cut in half
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 large handful fresh spinach
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, for topping
Gemelli pasta

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the eggplant slices and artichokes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the eggplant is softened through. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, cut both the eggplant and artichokes into smaller chunks.

In a medium pan, sauté the garlic in olive oil and cook until softened – about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5-7 minutes then stir in the fresh spinach as well as the cooked eggplant and artichokes.

Cook the pasta per the box instructions, and reserve some of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well to coat all the noodles. Cook for 1-2 minutes, adding splashes of the pasta water as needed to keep the sauce smooth. Plate and top with Parmesan cheese!

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Pasta with Homemade Pumpkin Sauce

I hate seeing all those pumpkins going to waste after Halloween, so this week I decided to do something about it. And what better way to protest wasting pumpkins than just eating every pumpkin in sight, right? I ended up making homemade pumpkin purée and freezing half of it (so that I can have pumpkin pie on demand all winter) then I roasted all the seeds to snack on… for what will probably be an eternity because many pumpkins were involved.

Last night I made some pasta using the purée, and it came out great. Thinking I’ll experiment with making some scones this weekend as well. My mom said when I was a baby she gave me so much pumpkin baby food that I turned orange. Hopefully that won’t happen again, but if it does, please know it’s not me showing support for Trump… I simply just ate too much pumpkin again.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups pumpkin purée
1 cup unsalted chicken stock, plus more as needed
4-5 small chunks of Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground sage
Salt and pepper, to taste
Gemelli style pasta, or pasta of your choice

Making your own pumpkin purée is very simple. Just cut up the pumpkin into large slices and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Toss the pulp, but save the seeds to roast later! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 1 hour, or until fork tender. Peel off the skin, and purée the pumpkin in batches until smooth. You’ll have a lot, so feel free to freeze most of it for a different day!

Now, for the pasta. In a Dutch oven, sauté the garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon butter until softened. Add the pumpkin purée, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, sage, another tablespoon butter, and half of the chicken stock. Stir well to combine. Once some of the chicken stock has been absorbed, add the rest of the stock. Cook on low for about 10 mins, stirring often. You can keep adding more chicken stock as needed. In the meantime, make your pasta per the box instructions. When the pasta is cooked, strain and toss into the pumpkin mixture. Save a splash of the pasta water to add in as well. Add one more small pad of butter for one final toss of the pasta. Plate and add a bit more grated Parmesan cheese, followed by a dollop of ricotta cheese. Enjoy!

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Bucatini With Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes

One of my favorite coworkers brought me a ton of cherry tomatoes and basil from her garden (thanks Toni!!) so I decided to make one of my favorite go-to pasta dishes – homemade basil tossed with pasta and roasted tomatoes. It is delicious and fail proof!

Ingredients: (serves 1-2)
Bucatini pasta, or pasta of your choice
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
10-15 plum (or cherry) tomatoes

Boil water and cook the pasta per the box instructions. Reserve a little of the pasta water to use.

In a food processor, mix together the basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also add a small handful of nuts to your pesto if you like. I left them out this time. Next, in a pan saute the tomatoes in olive oil until they begin to burst and cook down a little.

After draining the pasta, add the pasta back to the pot and toss with the pesto, adding pasta water as needed to smooth it out. Plate and top with roasted tomatoes and additional Parmesan cheese.

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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!

Zucchini “Pasta” With Garlic & Tomatoes

I finally bought a spiralizer and have been making “pasta” out of any vegetable that enters my home. Well those that can be spiralized anyway. My favorite is the zucchini “zoodle” though. It’s amazing how it totally satisfies your pasta craving without eating the real thing. I also like how the vegetables soak up a lot of the sauce, making them very flavorful. If you don’t have a spiralizer yet, I would definitely recommend getting one!

Ingredients: (serves 1)
1 large zucchini, spiraled (with spiralizer, or julianned by hand)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped leeks
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes
good pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a good amount of olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic, onion, and leeks. Cook for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 5 minutes. Toss in the zucchini and mix well. Continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Serve in a large bowl with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Spring Carbonara With Fiddleheads & Ramps

I have never eaten fiddlehead ferns before. I’ve seen them a few times the farmers market, but have always been too intimidated to buy them! This is what I love so much about being a part of a CSA, you get to learn about all these wonderful foods that you would likely never try, or even know about, if they didn’t show up in your bag each week. And as it turns out, I love fiddleheads! They taste sort of similar to a green bean I suppose, but smaller and a little crunchier. I’ll definitely be picking some up at the farmers markets from now on!

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1/2 pound pasta
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup fiddleheads, trimmed and boiled for 5 minutes prior to cooking
4 ramps, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small handful parsley, chopped
Fresh lemon wedges, for serving
Black pepper, to taste

Start by washing the fiddleheads well, then boiling them for 5-7 minutes. You HAVE to boil them before cooking them, as there have been food poisoning relates cases of eating raw fiddleheads. By boiling them, you ensure that this will not happen. It’s really just a precaution, but recommended! Once your fiddleheads have boiled, set aside.

Cook the bacon until crispy and also set that aside. I would also recommend making one extra piece of bacon to snack on, because bacon is delicious. Next, get a large pot of salted boiling water going, and cook your pasta per the box instructions. While that cooks, saute the garlic, ramps, and fiddleheads in a little of the leftover bacon grease from the pan. If you’d rather use olive oil that is fine too. In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, cream, and some pepper. Strain the pasta and add to the pan with the ramps etc. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool about 30 seconds, then pour in the egg mix and stir well until fully incorporated. Toss in the crumbled bacon pieces and some fresh parsley. If you feel it’s dry at all, add bits of the reserved pasta water to help smooth the sauce out. Plate and squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon on top. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Homemade Basil Fettuccine With Sun Dried Tomatoes & Mushrooms

My mom gave me a pasta machine recently which I’ve been excited to use, so when I got some basil in my CSA this week, I figured I’d get fancy and make some basil fettuccine! I’ve never made my own pasta before and had a lot of fun doing it. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and it came out pretty good for my first try! You can add any herbs you like, or even beet juice to give the pasta a beautiful color- the options are endless!

Ingredients: Serves 4

Basil Fettuccine:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (semolina is another option)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Other:
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot (or a few mini ones like I had), chopped
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
Olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 small lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, for garnish
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Start by making the pasta. Place the two cups of flour on a clean surface and make a little well in the center. Add the eggs, fresh basil, and olive oil to the center and whisk the eggs until well incorporated. Start scooping in bits of the flour to the center, mixing to incorporate a little at a time. I made the mistake of breaking the circle and my eggs started to spill out, but I just simply used my hand to hold it back until I mixed enough flour into the eggs to keep it from running any more. Once all the flour is mixed into the egg, start shaping it with your hands. It’s going to be very sticky at this point, but continue kneading for about 10 minutes. There’s really no wrong way to knead the dough, just keep folding it over onto itself and massaging it like crazy! After a while you’ll notice that it pretty firm and no longer sticky. Wrap in saran wrap or with a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

Once the pasta is ready, cut it into quarters. One chunk at a time (while the others stay covered as to not dry out) run it through the pasta machine on the thickest level, and continue running it through the other levels until you have the thickness you like (I started on 1 and ended on 5.) Lastly, run the pasta sheet through the fettuccine blades and toss onto a baking sheet with some corn meal to keep it from sticking. Cover the pasta with a dish towel and get a large pot of salted water boiling.

In the meantime, make the sauce! In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the garlic and shallots in some olive oil until translucent. Add the sun dried tomatoes and cook for a minute or two before adding the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have cooked down a little, add some of the chicken stock and cook for about 5 minutes. Next, add another splash of stock, followed by the capers, red pepper flakes, sherry vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, adding more stock every once and a while.

Place the pasta to the boiling water, making sure to swirl it around the pot to not get stuck. Cook for about 3-5 minutes depending on the consistency you like. Drain and add to the sauce, mixing well to cover the noodles. Add a splash of chicken stock or pasta water if it starts to dry out. Serve with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Enjoy!

Golden Beet Ravioli With Brown Butter

There is a little restaurant in Brooklyn called Testo that I love to go to with friends. Every time we go, one of us orders the beet ravioli- it’s so delicious and has such a nice light earthy taste to it. I decided to make it at home with some golden beets that I had. I took a shortcut with the pasta and used wonton wrappers, but you can make your own dough if you have the extra time! For the sauce I just made a simple brown butter as I didn’t want the sauce to outshine the beet flavor. They came out great! I think Testo would have been proud.

Ingredients:
1 package wonton wrappers
3 golden beets, peeled and quartered
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Fresh parsley (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the beets and garlic on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and roast for 25 minutes or until fork tender. Add the walnuts to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

Place the beets, garlic, walnuts, and ricotta in a food processor. Blend until smooth then salt and pepper, to taste. To make the raviolis, wet the perimeter of two pasta wrappers and add a spoonful of the beet mixture to the center. Place the second wrapper on top and press the edges together until sealed all the way around. Repeat until you have the desired amount of raviolis. I cut my wrappers into circles with my pasta trimmer, but you can leave them square or simply fold in half for a triangle shape!

Place the raviolis in a pot of boiling salted water. I always add a drizzle of olive oil to my water to help prevent the pasta from sticking together. Boil for about 4 minutes. In the meantime, heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium high heat, cooking until the butter begins to turn golden brown and has a nutty fragrance. Plate the raviolis, and top with the browned butter, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.

Minty Pea Orecchiette With Sausage & Artichokes

This was a random weeknight pasta that was created using existing ingredients in my fridge. Sometimes I think the best meals are made that way- by grabbing what you have and experimenting! My mom is really great at opening the fridge and making something out of nothing, so maybe I picked this skill up from her (hi mom!) The whole meal took about 30 minutes and was really great. The pea and mint sauce gave it a fresh Spring taste. I think it would actually be a nice cold pasta salad as well, maybe swapping out the sausage for cherry tomatoes.

Ingredients:
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh mint
6 tablespoons olive oil (or more as needed)
16 box Orecchiette pasta
2 sweet Italian sausage links, removed from casing
1 can artichokes, quartered
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making the pea and mint sauce. Add the peas, mint, and Parmesan cheese to a food processor and blend until combined. With the motor running, add the olive oil until smooth. It will be a thicker sauce. Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside. Next, add the pasta to a pot of salted boiling water and cook per the box instructions. At the same time, brown the sausage and artichokes in separate pans. Once the pasta is ready, toss with the pea and mint sauce then add the sausage and artichokes! Top with a little grated cheese.

 

Creamy Lemon Pasta With Mushrooms & Swiss Chard

After a long week of working late every night, I was finally able to cook some dinner! I ordered some local NY pasta from my CSA this week and was really excited to try it out. There’s definitely something special about cooking with local ingredients. You can taste the love and care put into every bite! I was craving a creamy pasta, so I made a nice lemony sauce to toss it in. I also added some pretty mushrooms I found at the corner store nearby and some fresh Swiss chard. The whole meal took about 20 minutes to make and was delicious!

Lemon Cream Sauce:
1 cup half & half
2 tablespoons butter
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt, to taste

Other:
16 oz pasta of your choice! (I used gnocchi sardi)
6 oz mixed mushrooms
Small bunch Swiss Chard, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
1 cup pasta water (to use as needed)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta as instructed. While the pasta cooks, make the cream sauce.

Add the olive oil and butter to a pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so. Next add the mushrooms and sauté for about 3-5 minutes, toss in the Swiss chard and cook for another 5 minutes or until the greens have cooked down a bit. Lastly, mix in the cream, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, white pepper, and salt.

Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the water. Toss the pasta in the lemon cream sauce, coating all the noodles well. If the sauce dries out at all, add small amounts of the pasta water until it has the consistency you want. Taste and salt and pepper as needed. Plate and sprinkle a little extra parmesan cheese and fresh parsley!