Travel Eats

Entries in pasta (7)


Pasta 'n' Pesto

No, the rolling pin in the background was not used to roll the dough.  I am not that crazy.  However, this particular batch of pasta was a little obstinate--I think the semolina was a little drier.  Hence the need to sprinkle with a little water and roll fairly flat before feeding it through the KitchenAid. Ultimately it succumbed to my iron will and became some silky fettucini.  I used Mark Bittman's recipe for all egg pasta dough: 2 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, 2 cups semolina and 1 tsp salt.  Process in food processor and chill at least 30 minutes.

I remember being the first family on the block to have an Atlas pasta maker circa. 1976.  My mom was a foodie when they used to call them "gourmets".  We had a drying rack just for pasta.  I remember the first batch we ate with butter/garlic and parmesan. Subsequently never ate another Spaghetti-O.

If you are going through the trouble of making homemade pasta, keep the sauce simple and preferably homemade.

Yes, I know the Italian grandmothers didn't own food processors, but they also didn't have to drive 25 miles each way to work everyday. 


3 cups basil leaves

1 cup walnuts

1 tsp kosher salt

2 cloves garlic

olive oil

Put all ingredients in the bowl and process til a thick paste forms.  Drizzle in the olive oil til it looks like this:

 Store in refrigerator.  When ready to use put ~1/3 cup in saucepan and add ladle of pasta cooking water.  Heat til warmed through and combine with pasta.  I don't add cheese to the pesto because I prefer some freshly grated parmesan on top.



Safe for Summer Pasta Salad

 It's officially picnic and bbq season, and you don't want to be the person who brought the mayonnaise based macaroni salad that sits glistening in the sun, a food-borne illness waiting to happen.  You want to be the person who brings the salad that the hostess doesn't have to find room in her already packed refrigerator for.  You want to bring the macaroni salad that sits comfortably on the table all afternoon with it's sturdy arugula leaves and summertime flavors.  Like this one I adapted from Heidi Swanson's recipe

Sauteed garlic and scallions blended with some pasta cooking water, lemon zest/juice, salt and pepper.  Then toss with arugula, additional sliced scallions, parmesan.  I added tomatoes instead of the apples that Heidi called for.

It's summer in a bowl..... without the salmonella.


Cilantro Peanut Pasta with Asparagus

Isn't this Fire King soup bowl jaunty?  It looks like something you ate beef stroganoff out of in the '70s.  I got it in Wimberley at a little vintage shop.  Too bad they only had one, but at least I have a new prop for food photography.

Dinner was nearly a fail tonight after I discovered the bag of sugar snap peas had gone bad...luckily I had some asparagus that I could repurpose.  We served this warm; it would be delicious chilled--just thin the sauce a bit more.

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup almond butter (you could use all PB if you like, I just ran out)

4 TBS soy sauce

1 Large garlic clove

4 TBS rice wine vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

1 small bunch cilantro (stems included)

freshly ground pepper

1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces, blanched

1 box bow-tie pasta, cooked and drained

Put all ingredients in bowl of food processor (except asparagus/pasta).  Blend, thinning with water until desired consistency.  Toss with warm pasta and asparagus.  Season with more pepper/salt as needed.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.   

Oh, did you want to see the pasta and not just the awesome bowl?  Here you go....



Pasta Pomodoro

Fellow Texans, when you are suffering in the midst of week of triple digit temperatures take comfort in the fact that we can plant tomatoes in February.  And when you want a nice fresh pasta dish that won't require you to sweat over a hot stove like an Italian grandmother, try this recipe:

  • 3 large ripe red tomatoes, roughly chopped--since the beauty of this recipe is it's ease of preparation I don't peel or seed them.  Don't use canned, this is a summer recipe so you really need nice ripe tomatoes.
  • Arugula--as much or as little as you like, maybe none...that's up to you.  I used it because I think my arugula's days are numbered with the heat wave.  Inevitably I will forget to water it.
  • Basil--as much as you like, keep the leaves whole
  • Garlic--3 large cloves sliced thinly
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • Parmesan cheese--grate ~1/2 cup + more for sprinkling
  • Toasted bread crumbs--see this post for directions on toasting your own

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook penne until just shy of al dente.  Drain pasta, reserving ~1 cup cooking water.  Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chopped tomatoes, garlic, large pinch of kosher salt and several grinds of pepper.  Cook until the tomatoes soften slightly and release their juices.  I add the garlic with the tomatoes because it prevents the thinly sliced garlic from burning.  Add the basil leaves and arugula and cook til just wilted. Add the pasta, reserved cooking water and 1/2 cup grated parmesan.  Add just enough cooking water to make enough sauce to coat the pasta, cooking until the pasta is the desired doneness and the sauce thickens slightly.

To serve, sprinkle with reserved parmesan, bread crumbs and garnish with some uncooked tomatoes.  A perfect pasta dish for a hot night.


If Lily Pulitzer Was a Pasta Dish

Pink and green.  Lily Pulitzer and The Preppy Handbook.  Shades of my youth.  These gorgeous French breakfast radishes from Springfield Farm were an inspiration.  Combined with their greens and some arugula from my garden that has miraculously survived the heat and drought they made me think of madras and penny loafers.

 Modified from Rozanne Gold's recipe in Radically Simple because I didn't have perciatelli or a lot of radish greens.

Penne with French Breakfast Radishes, Arugula, Bacon and Parmesan

1 bunch French breakfast radishes with greens

Enough arugula to make ~2 cups chopped greens with radish greens

8 oz dried penne

4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan plus more for topping if desired

Remove greens from radishes and combine with arugula.  Rinse and dry well, chop coarsely.  Slice radishes in 1/8" rounds until you have about one cup of sliced radishes.  I saved the remainder to slice and eat on buttered bread with salt.

Bring salted water to boil in heavy pot.  Cook penne for ~11 minutes. Drain, saving ~1 cup pasta cooking water.  Using the same pot you cooked the pasta in heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-hi.  Add radishes and greens and saute for approximately 5 minutes until the greens are wilted and the radishes tender.

Add pasta and reserved cooking water and cook for additional 1-2 minutes.  Add parmesan and bacon. Stir and serve with more parmesan if desired.

The cooking mellows the heat of the radishes and arugula. They are still peppery but less so.  The bacon and cheese add a nice salty touch.  I didn't need to add any additional seasoning.