Fresh pizza is one of my favorite things, but it takes forever to make and rise. Not anymore. I was recently out of yeast, but I really wanted fresh pizza. Enter greek yogurt and self rising flour. Two ingredients, and no rising time. The […]
I was reading a cookbook the other day, and I came across a recipe for pasta puttanesca. I’ve only had pasta puttanesca twice in my life- once, when I had just watched A Series of Unfortunate Events (the one with Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, a true classic). I begged my mom to make it, and she made it- using a puttanesca spice mix. It was spicy. I cried. I ended up eating Annie’s mac and cheese. Tale as old as time. The second time, I was feeling brave, so I decided to make it myself. I was going through a bit of a phase, where I put sparkling water in EVERYTHING. Ever had sparkling tomato soup? Yeah, neither have I, because you see, heat gets rid of the carbonation. Long story short, I put sparkling water in the puttanesca. It was terrible. And now, there I sat, vowing to make a PROPER puttanesca! While all the ingredients are there (except for anchovies), the method is a little bit different, in that I changed everything and did nothing as I was supposed to.
4.5 green olives
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ head of garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
Looks innocent enough. Start by pureeing the garlic and olives together,
and then pouring in the olive oil.
I had originally intended to just use the food processor to chop everything up, and then proceed as normal. But then I got distracted by something (it was probably a bird), sliced up the tomato,
threw it in, and pureed it. Turned out to be a good thing! But three out of my five finest moments have involved Swarovski crystals and my dog, so don’t listen to me.
Throw in some salt, and then heat up some olive oil in a pan and throw in the mixture.
Let it heat and sizzle and bubble and fry and toil and trouble,
and then pour in the milk. Stir it in, and keep stirring until it all comes together. Stir it some more, just to be on the safe side.
It would be a good idea to boil some pasta, too. When the pasta is cooked, stir it in, and then shave some cheese on top. It’s not traditional puttanesca- but it is good.
Gnocchi is probably the most underrated Italian food. Bruschetta, polenta, foccacia, and antipasti have all been incorporated into the mainstream, but gnocchi’s been left behind, in all it’s spuddy glory. Did you know spuddy was a word? No squiggly red line showed up under it, […]
So, what do you do when your basil plant is starting to droop, you have an open packet of turkey breast in your fridge, and you want pasta really, really badly? Simple. You make pesto, throw in the turkey breast and some cavatappi, and call it Christmas pasta. Make it green and red, and no one can dispute how festive it is! That’s called spin, and I like it. It’s gotten me out of many sticky situations (“But mom, I was only sledding down the stairs so I could calculate the velocity!”) and gotten me many things (“You see, I need this new lipstick because in today’s hyper-consumerist and fast moving society, the investment you put into every new product will pay off in terms of social standing and opportunities!”). It also got me this pasta, which I now bequeath to you. Make it. Use too much mozzarella. Call it festive. Fight the first person who disputes it. Tell the police it was just holiday spirit getting the best of you.
1 ½ cups basil leaves
5 cloves garlic
2 oz parmesan cheese
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups cavatappi (or any other short pasta, really!)
4 oz deli turkey breast
4 oz mozzarella
7 cherry tomatoes
Start by boiling the pasta, and making the pesto. Making pesto is so simple, and tastes a lot better than the stuff you get in jars at the store. That said, I have actually eaten pesto from a jar with a spoon. And you know something? I’m not ashamed, either. Just throw the basil, walnuts, parmesan, and garlic into a food processor, add in the olive oil, and pulse it up.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and throw in the sugar.
With all the raw garlic, you need this sugar. I learned my lesson about that a long time ago. The year was 2009. The me was but a munchkin. The sister was there. The pesto was being made, by the sister. I was the taste tester. I was so sweet and unsuspecting. I tried pesto loaded with raw garlic and no sugar. I can still feel the garlic burning at the back of my throat. I remind my sister about this every time I make pesto.
Now that the pesto’s ready, throw the tomatoes in a pan, add some olive oil, salt, and pepper, turn the heat to medium, and cover them. They’ll add a great texture and some nice tartness.
Shred the ham, throw it into a big pot,
and then pour the pesto over it. Saute it briefly,
and then throw in the cooked, drained pasta.
Also crumble up the mozzarella.
Stir it around just long enough for the mozzarella to start to melt- it’s okay to have a few gooey pieces, but for the most parts it should be long strings wrapping all around the pasta.
Serve it with a few tomatoes on top, and don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t Christmas pasta.
Polenta is a somewhat obscure Italian dish. Not in my house. I was raised on the stuff. I believe that I’m about 3% polenta. Not the kind you see here, but the kind that comes in logs in Trader Joe’s. I love it with pesto. But I’m writing a recipe here, not a commercial for Trader Joe’s. A few years ago, when I was trying to read every cookbook in my library (I read 42 out of 75, if you’re interested. I’ll get around to the last 33 someday. I got sidetracked by Leo Tolstoy. Along that line- Count Vronsky is a total scuzzball), I found out that polenta could be liquid. It blew my mind. I made it that day, and I never looked back.
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic
Simple! Well, it’s simple if you remember to label your boxes. Otherwise you may spend close to 15 minutes trying to determine whether something is semolina or cornmeal. Pour the water into a pot, and turn the heat on. Be sure you have a really, really, really big pot, because there might be some splattering. So, unless you want first degree burns from polenta, use a big pot!
Now, grab all the garlic. If yours is a tad old and has some stems poking out of it, don’t worry. It’ll all be peachy in the end. Peel it,
and dice it up. Try to dice it up as finely as you can, unless you want big chunks of garlic in the finished product. And if you do, I’m the last person in the world to judge you. In fact, garlic really alters my perception of you. You could be a gambler, Republican, or not like dogs, but if you’re a garlic fan, you’re okay in my eyes. I get the feeling that’s not a good yardstick to measure people by. Anyways!
By now the water should be boiling.
And, if you’re not holding a camera in one hand, pour the cornmeal in a thin stream into the water, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps. I have no such luxury, so I dumped the whole thing in at once,
and then whisked like heck.
It was still a bit lumpy, but I like it that way! Not really. I just dealt with it for the sake of blog. See what I do for you? Once it’s all a uniformly yellow, lumpy substance (appetizing, eh?),
put the lid on it, turn the heat to low, and leave it alone for about 8 minutes. When you come back to it, it would have thickened nicely.
So whisk it a tad bit more, and then pour in the olive oil.
You can use butter if you want a richer flavor, but I love the silkiness the oil gives it. It’s garlic time now! My favorite time. Chuck it in, and stir it around. The sharpness of the raw garlic will fade, but you’re a pansy, saute the garlic before putting it in. I repeat: pansy. Not really. I suppose it takes all sorts to make a world go round. I never understood that saying, when I was younger. The thought of people not agreeing with me was quite foreign. I had a very happy childhood.
Squeeze in the lemon- fresh is really best, but the only lemons I had were fossilized. Oops. This bottled version worked just fine, though.
. Mix it in, and it’s all done!
If it seems too thick, pour in some more water, but this was all good. Serve it with some fresh cracked pepper!