This is the easiest, most customizable, yummiest Cajun pasta recipe ever. I’ve been making some variation on this for years, and I’ve never met a Cajun pasta I didn’t like. If you have a couple of basic vegetables, a bottle of Cajun seasoning, pasta, and […]
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.
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.
Yeah, you read that right. How does applesauce mac and cheese not taste disgusting? With the help of cayenne and pesto. Apples and cheese are a classic combo, and a spicy, herby pasta is the perfect place to show that. Feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you have on hand- I was plumb out of macaroni so I use small shells!
3 oz dried, uncooked pasta
2 oz cheddar
1 ⅓ cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup applesauce
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (not shown)
⅓ cup pesto (not shown)
Start by boiling some pasta. The smell of pasta is extremely soothing to me. Carbs are one of my main hobbies. While the magical carbs cook,
make a roux, which sounds fancy and complicated, but is literally just melted butter and flour. So melt the butter,
nd whisk in the flour.
The roux may be just a touch dry,
so pour in some oil.
Once it’s the right consistency, and looked all nice and toasty brown,
turn the heat down and pour in the milk.
Now would be a good time to grate the cheese/make someone else grate it because you forgot and have to stir the sauce. Speaking of which, stir the sauce! If you don’t, the milk will curdle, and burn, and then you’ll have a very messy pot on your hands. Ever try to scrub scalded milk off a pot? You don’t want to. So, stir the sauce!
Once it’s thickened a bit, throw in the applesauce.
. Mix it in, it’ll turn a pretty light brown color.
Now throw in the cheese,
and it’ll turn orange! That color now has very negative connotations, but in cheese, it’s still okay. In cheese, everything is okay. Except maggots. I don’t like maggots. Maggots are bad. It’s a bigly shame there’s an orange maggot running things right now.
Now all you need is some salt and cayenne!
Oh, and now would be a good time to panic that the cinnamon from the applesauce is too overwhelming, so throw in some pesto for good measure. Then taste it and realize it turned out pretty dang good!
So drain the pasta, and then mix that in as well.
Serve it in a big ol’ bowl, and enjoy the horrified expression on the faces of anyone who you tell that you’re eating applesauce mac and cheese. Was that last sentence gramatically correct? I’m going to say it was.