Lemon, Sage and Asparagus Rigatoni

On February 17, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Fresh pasta is one of those things that sounds time consuming, especially on a work day evening. It certainly can be but there are ways to reduce the time and my secret weapon is the KitchenAid mixer with the pasta extractor accessory.

The pasta dough is simple to make and then a small ball of pasta dough is placed in the extractor and in seconds beautifully shaped rigatoni (or 8 other shapes.)

This recipe is a great use for fresh pasta and yes even on a work night it is possible.

Lemon, Sage and Asparagus Rigatoni 

Prep Time: 30 Mins Cooking Time: 10 Mins Total Time: 40 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced into thin slivers
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 4 leaves of sage, chopped
  • 1 lb fresh rigatoni pasta

Directions:

  1. Heat a pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, fill a saute pan with water and add asparagus once it begins to boil.  Drain after 3 minutes of boiling. Wipe pan dry and add bread crumbs heating on medium-high heat for 4 minutes tossing to brown all of it without burning. Remove bread crumbs, set aside.
  2. Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and then heat garlic slivers for about 4 minutes then add  butter, sage and parsley. Let it all combine for a minute then add lemon juice.
  3. Cook pasta for about 2-3 minutes, if freshly made (follow instructions on package if using store bought.) Drain pasta and then add to saute pan.  Return the asparagus and bread crumbs.  Pour in the remaining olive oil and parmesan cheese.
  4. Toss it all together and serve.
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Bacon and Beet Fettuccine

On December 28, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This recipe is a bit of an adaption from a favorite Mario Batali recipe from Mario’s before The Chew Molto Mario show. Molto Mario was a great show that showcased how simple it is to make amazing Italian pasta that often featured a couple key tips:

1.) Use fresh pasta not dried

2.) Don’t over sauce

Mario’s Tagliatelle with Pancetta and Parsnips is a great recipe and one I’ve modified before. This version uses bacon and golden beets with a sage butter sauce. It also gave me an opportunity to break-in some new bowls I bought at the Ranch 99 Market last week after spending sometime in Torrance, California taking a Lexus LFA for a spin on the LA streets.

Bacon and Beet Fettuccine
Serves 2

Fresh Fettuccine past noodles
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup fresh sage, rough chop
3 slices bacon, diced
2 golden beets, diced into small cubes
fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano

Make your Fettuccine noodles using one recipe of basic pasta dough. Set aside pasta and start boiling some water with a dash of salt.

Add bacon to a medium-high heat saute pan. Cook bacon and remove from pan when done. Leave the bacon grease in pan.  Add the diced beets and cook for about 5 minutes turning often.

Cook your pasta for about 2-3 minutes and drain from water. Add the bacon back to the saute pan and the 2 tablespoons of butter and sage. Cook for 1 minute then add the cooked pasta. Toss and serve immediately adding some Parmigiano-Reggiano to finish.

Serve.

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Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu

On August 20, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Sunday night is always a special evening when it comes to cooking.  Not only is it the last evening before the work week where I can spend more time preparing and cooking a meal.  It is also a time to enjoy some twitter chat with fellow foodies on #SundaySupper chat. Tonight they were doing recipes made or paired with wines.  I had been planning on making a Korean beef dish with rice, but switched after seeing a Pappardelle dish my friend Chuck Hemann posted to his Facebook page yesterday and after noticing it was a wine theme on #SundaySupper.

Today’s Studio City Farmers’ Market had the pasta vendor there selling some freshly made Pappardelle noodles. There were also some amazingly beautiful organic local carrots too. In case you haven’t seen what a real carrot looks like; instead of all the perfectly colored and shaped carrots at the typical grocery store, here you go.

I modified a couple Pappardelle ragu recipes.  Most called for a combo or some version with beef, pork, veal and even ground boar.  I would’ve loved making something with all four, but I only had some grass-fed ground beef.  I also went with a California Red Wine blend that added a nice rich flavor to the ragu.

Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu
Serves 4

1 lb Pappardelle noodles
1 lb ground beef
2 cups red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
28 oz can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly slided
4 Sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large stockpot add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot then add the ground beef.  Add the dried oregano, basil and some salt and pepper to taste mixing it into the ground beef in the pan.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring often to evenly cook and get some browning of the meat. Set cooked beef aside in a separate dish.

Do not clean the stockpot and return to the heat adding the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chopped sage. Cook on medium-high heat for a minute then cover and cook on low heat for another 7 minutes.  After vegetables have cooked return ground beef to pot.

Crush the canned tomatoes in a bowl with your hands.  Pour tomatoes into pot with vegetables. Add the red wine and vegetable stock. Heat the pot to a boil and then cover reducing heat to a simmer cooking for 1 1/2 hours.

In the final 20 minutes of cooking the ragu, start the water for your noodles.  When ready, add the Pappardelle noodles to the boiling water and cook accordingly. About 5 minutes for fresh and follow the directions on the package for dried noodles.

Serve with large shavings of Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

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Orzo with Walnut Pesto, Olives and Feta

On July 27, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m only a week away now from ending my time cooking at the hotel.  The house is ready August 1st and while I’ve enjoyed the challenge of making meals with a limited kitchen I am excited about having a full kitchen soon.

If you haven’t figured it out, it’s fairly easy making pasta in a small kitchen.  All I needed for this recipe was a 4 quarter stock pot that I had brought with me; though, Extended Stay America does have a small pan you can use to boil pasta.

The thing I constantly find I miss as I cook in a hotel kitchenette are bowls – mixing bowls to be precise. To get around this I’ll cook my pasta then drain it and use the pot I just made the pasta in as a mixing bowl.  For this recipe I combined the drained pasta, pesto, feta, olives and lemon juice.

I really like this recipe, for hotel cooking, because it takes only 10 minutes to make. I recommend buying some pre-made pesto. I found some Walnut Pesto at the Studio City Farmers Market last Sunday which was a nice substitution.

One pound of pasta makes enough for three meals so you can easily use this for a couple dinners and a lunch or a couple lunches and a dinner. Enjoy.

Full Recipe: Orzo Salad with Spinach Pesto, Olives & Feta.

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Linguini with Pancetta and Golden Beets

On July 26, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Pasta dishes are a great option for hotel cooking. They require only a couple pans and Extended Stay America’s kitchen came with a rather large strainer, showing someone thought a simple pasta makes sense for small kitchen cooking.

Last night I modified a recipe I usually make with Pancetta and Parsnips and Taglietti noodles. I had picked up some beautiful golden beets at the La Canada Farmers’ Market and needed to use them before they went bad.  A quick stop at Gelson’s Market in Pasadena for some Pancetta the day before completed what I need for this simple recipe.

Linguini with Pancetta and Golden Beets
Serves 2

1/2 lb linguini noodles
2 small golden beets, diced into small cubes
1/4 lb Pancetta, diced into small cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the pasta noodles in boiling water per package directions or for 3 minutes if fresh.

While the water for the noodles is getting to a boil, sauté the Pancetta for 10 minutes turning frequently to brown but not burn the meat.  Add the beets and butter and continue cooking with the Pancetta for another 6 minutes adding some salt and pepper.

When the noodles are done, add them to the pan with the chopped parsley. Toss the noodles with the butter, Pancetta, and beets then serve on plates shaving some Parmesan cheese on top and a little more parsley, if desired.

 

Chanterelle Mushroom Cream Linguini

On July 16, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I had a great early afternoon at the Studio City Farmer’s Market today.  Our family had stopped here about a year ago when we were in town visiting family and taking the boys to Disneyland on that trip for their 5th Birthday.  It was one of the things I was most excited about when I thought about living again in Los Angeles.

The Studio City Farmers’ Market is full of wonderful vendors with everything from the usual bounties of fresh fruits and vegetables, many of them organic and all of them locally farmed.  Plus there are some standout prepared food vendors including a guy who makes the best meat and vegetable arabic pies that are a bargain at 6 for $5.  I also found an Indian family selling their homemade sauces and bought the masala to try later with some locally raised chicken also bought at the market.

This is the second meal I’m cooking at the Extended Stay America where I now have a nicely stocked fridge.  The pasta dish was a back up decision as I was going to make a lentil vegetarian meal tonight until I realized I need some measuring cups.  Tomorrow off to the market for some measuring cups and spoons.

For tonight’s dinner, I used some from fresh linguini and chanterelle mushrooms I picked up. A stop at the Glendale Whole Foods rounded up a couple additional things needed for this meal.

Chanterelle Mushroom Cream Linguini
Serves 2

1/2 lb fresh linguini
2 oz fresh Chanterelle mushrooms, rough chop
1 cup heavy cream
3 springs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon of dried
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
olive oil

Boil water for the pasta. While water is waiting to boil, add a little bit of olive oil to a sauté pan and cook the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes on medium-high until lightly brown.  Add the Chanterelles and the thyme and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and reduce heat to medium-high. Let the fresh pasta cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Pour the heavy cream into the sauté pan and let it boil a little bit and then reduce heat to low to medium-low stirring when it begins to bubble. You want to let it thicken but not burn over boil.  The sauce should thicken in about 2-3 minutes.

Top with your favorite grated parmesan reggiano cheese

 

Pappardelle with Leeks, Sugar Snap Peas and Lemon

On May 8, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Here is a simple, light spring pasta dish that is a departure from the typical heavy red or cream sauce.

The sauce here is pretty light that is if you consider a half a stick of butter light? It might be better to say it tastes light.  The lemon, sugar snap peas, and leeks do give it a great color everything adheres to the pappardelle noodles nicely. I’m sure you’ll find this a good option among your pasta recipes.

I know we’ll make a few more times throughout the coming summer.

Pappardelle with Leeks, Sugar Snap Peas and Lemon
Serves 4

Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ stick unsalted butter
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), cut into thin half-moons and rinsed well
2 lemons
½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1 pound dried pappardelle noodles
½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
¾ cup Pecorino Romano, grated

Heat a large pot of lightly salted water for the pasta.  While that is getting to a boil, melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and a small amount of salt, cooking the leeks until they soften for about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and finely grate lemon zest into skillet and add ground pepper.

When water is boiling add the snap peas and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from water but do not dispose of water.  Now add your pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions. Usually about 5-7 minutes for Pappardelle noodles.  Transfer noodles to pan, reserving some pasta water for the sauce.  Add sugar snap peas, ricotta and Pecorino cheese.  Add a few splashes of the pasta water to give it more of a sauce and coat the pasta then serve adding some more Pecorino Romano to each dish.

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Mario Batali’s Mint Love Letters

On April 21, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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If you are ever in New York City, I highly recommend Babbo.  It’s an Italian restaurant from celebrity chef Mario Batali.  It’s amazing.  I say Mario is a “celebrity chef” but he is the real deal and is by far my favorite chef. His approach to Italian food that used to be featured in his Food TV Network show Molto Mario, back when Food TV had good shows instead of all of this competitive reality crap.

My favorite two dishes of Babbo’s are the oxtail gnocchi and mint love letters.  I’ve tried making both but have been more successful with my attempts at the latter than the former.  Nothing I’ve made is equal or better to what I’ve had a Babbo’s.  That said this is a very impressive dish and it is definitely worth your time and effort, especially considering how Babbo’s isn’t around the corner from my home.

This dish took about a hour and half to make, so do it on a weekend, not after work.

First thing you’ll want to do is make the Basic Red Sauce. I did this the day before.. The recipe is simple and uses these few ingredients.

First start with making your pasta dough, I use a basic recipe that requires 30 minutes after the dough is made making sure it is not sticky and wrap it in plastic. Let it sit and make your filling.

For the Mint Love Letters, ie the Ravioli, you’ll want to start with the filling.  Blend peas, mint, Parmigiano Reggiano, heavy cream and salt and pepper using a food processor. I’d advise adding the heavy cream separately until you develop a thick paste that will hold as the filling in the pasta sheets.

Now work with your pasta creating two sheets of similar size and shape that you’ll use to create about 3 to 4 raviolis.  I run the pasta through the rollers starting at thickness 1 working down to thickness 5. You can go as low as 6, but you will have some rip. I recommend thinning the sheets to size 5 thickness.

Prepare each ravioli using two thin sheets of pasta dough and small dollop of filing making sure it’s not too large as you don’t want it bursting later when boiling.

Continue making your raviolis and dust with flour so they will not stick to each other. Also start heating your water to bring to a boil, lightly salt.

Start your sauce by lightly browning your spicy ground lamb. If you do not like lamb, use ground beef and add a 1 teaspoon of each of basil and oregano and add a few flakes of dried red pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook or undercook.

While the ravioli is boiling and the meat is lightly browned, add the red sauce and about 5 chiffon leaves of fresh mint before serving. Cook the red sauce and meat for about 3 minutes.

Add several raviolis to each plate and complete with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve.


Recipes:

Basic Red Sauce

Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage 

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Mushroom Pasta Divine

On April 1, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Since moving from Michigan, I have definitely missed the bounty of fresh pasta I could buy at Ventimiglia Italian Market. Tired of the occasional dry pasta I decided it was time to take action and by action I mean using some of my American Express member reward points to do some Williams Sonoma shopping.

A well-reviewed pasta maker kept coming up high in my research. The KitchenAid Pasta Press attachment looked like a great solution so I went ahead and ordered one. Today I finally had some time to use it.

Making pasta is quite simple and takes all of about 5 minutes. To make enough pasta for four people here is how I made some quick pasta dough.

I made some rigatoni noodles which was super easy and boiled a pot of water with a little bit of salt. Added the pasta and cooked it for 3 minutes.

This time I went with a mushroom cream pasta recipe I found on Pinterest at the Sweet Paul blog. It turned out great and was a wonderful debut breaking in for my new pasta shape maker.

Pasta Dough
Serves 4

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water

Mix first three ingredients in stand mixer. In a sparate bowl, mix the last three ingredients.  Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry with the KitchenAid mixer on a low speed. Let it combine. If a ball is not forming, add a little olive oil.  It should combine.

Now remove from mixer. If it is not sticky, then wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit for 20 minutes.  It’s ready then to use.

If it is sticky, just kneed with a little bit of flour on a cutting board, then wrap in plastic and let it sit for 20 minutes. Use after that.

Full Recipe: Mushroom Pasta Divine.

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Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

On January 30, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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A slow cooked pot roast, spicy chili, or a bowl of macaroni and cheese all say winter comfort food to me.  On a cool 65 degree day here in a Dallas, I was craving a hearty dish of mac and cheese.  My wife had come across a recipe from the blog White on Rice Couple.

The recipe uses a few ingredients where the noodles are cooked, stirring constantly, in milk.  It’s all done in one pot on the stove as opposed to most baked macaroni and cheese recipes.

I used two cheeses, a sharp cheddar from Whole Foods and a Fontina. About 3/4 cup of cheddar and 1/4 cup fontina was added after the milk reduced significantly leaving only a thick coating to the pasta.  The cheeses melt quickly and the dish is served immediately.

We added a few diced chives and the next day baked the leftovers spreading some lightly toasted bread crumbs.

For the full recipe: One Pot, Stove Top Creamy Mac and Cheese

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