Pasta Recipes & Meal Ideas
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How Should I Cook Really Big Pasta?
Q: I am seeing more and more very large dried specialty pastas — ones that are sometimes about two feet long! They look beautiful and I would love to try them at some point but does anyone know how to cook them?I know that angel hair pasta sits out of the water for 30 seconds and then it softens enough to get pushed into the water, but these look daunting! I’m sure there is a way to cook them without boiling?
Feb 12, 2010
Try This! Spaghetti Squash Instead of Pasta
Whether you’re making an effort to eat lighter this month or just want something a little different for dinner, you’ve got to try this. We’re not sure why it took us so long to discover this buttery, tender, and yes, spaghetti-esque squash, but we’re glad we did!No, spaghetti squash isn’t exactly like spaghetti pasta. It’s more tender than it is chewy, for one thing. It also has a lighter and cleaner flavor somewhere between butternut squash and zucchini.
Jan 22, 2010
Seeking Suggestions: Ways to Use Up Leftover Tortillas?
We made a big batch of enchiladas over the weekend, but somehow we still have about a dozen corn tortillas leftover. Have any suggestions for what to do with them?At this point, we’re thinking of freezing them until the next time we get a craving for Mexican food. You can freeze tortillas separated by wax paper so that it’s easy to take out only the number needed, and we’ve heard that they re-heat well just in a dry skillet.
Jan 11, 2010
Word of Mouth: Pumpernickel
Pumpernickel, noun – An incredibly dense and strongly flavored dark bread made with a blend of coarse and fine rye flour originating in Germany.We love the heartiness and deep, almost bitter flavor of pumpernickel bread, especially with a little sharp cheese melted over the top! Making an authentic loaf of pumpernickel is one of our winter goals, plus we think it would look lovely on our Thanksgiving table!Do you like pumpernickel bread? Ever made it yourself?
Nov 11, 2009
Colorful Cooking: How to Make Colored Pasta
Want to add a little color to your plate?! Lovely ribbons of green, red, and yellow pasta really bring a dish to life. They’re also as easy to make as they are to eat! Here’s how:To color pasta, all you need to do is mix a few cups of vegetable puree into the eggs before you begin mixing the dough. This ensures that the color gets distributed evenly throughout the pasta.
Oct 28, 2009
Kitty’s Bocconcino and Sausage Pasta Quick Weeknight Meals Recipe Contest 2009
Recipe: Bocconcino and Sausage PastaHow long does it take? 20-25 minutesCategory: OmnivoreName: KittyWhy is it a favorite meal? This dish always comforts me. Most of the ingredients are almost always either in my pantry or fridge. I just have to cruise by the store for sausage and bocconcino. The flavors are distinct and the cinnamon adds great depth to the dish.
Sep 27, 2009
Andrea’s Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce Quick Weeknight Meals Recipe Contest 2009
Recipe: Spaghetti with White Clam SauceHow long does it take? 30 minutesCategory: OmnivoreName: AndreaWhy is it a favorite meal? This meal is healthy, takes under 30 minutes to make, and is most importantly, tasty and satisfying. I always keep these ingredients, sans fresh clams, stocked in my cupboard and refrigerator for a quick weeknight meal or impromptu dinner party.
Sep 23, 2009
Learning To Love Wheat Bran
Confession: we’re trying valiantly to overcome an aversion to wheat bran. Thanks to one-too-many encounters with dense tasteless homemade bran muffins in our younger years, this is definitely an uphill battle (sorry, Mom!).But we’re intrepid cooks and willing to be convinced! How do you use wheat bran in your cooking?Wheat bran comes from the dense, outer hull of the wheat grain and is a by-product of making wheat flour.
Sep 22, 2009
Heather’s Ribbons with Eggplant, Tomato & Blue Cheese Quick Weeknight Meals Recipe Contest 2009
Name: HeatherRecipe: Little Ribbons with Eggplant, Tomato and Blue CheeseHow long does it take? 30 minutesWhy is it a favorite meal? It’s a terrific way to use some of your late summer bounty! Simple, inexpensive, satisfying and ridiculously delicious!Little Ribbons with Eggplant, Tomato and Blue Cheese[serves 2]1/2 large eggplant, cut into 3/4?
Sep 11, 2009
Recipe: Vegetarian Naengmyun (Korean Cold Noodles)
During the boiling days of summer, conversations among my Korean friends inevitably turn toward cravings for mul naengmyun, a dish of buckwheat noodles and cold, tangy broth topped with crisp cucumber, pear, and even a few ice cubes for extra chill factor.Although it originated as a North Korean wintertime dish, icy mul naengmyun has become a favorite hot weather meal. Unfortunately for vegetarians like myself, the broth is traditionally made with beef.
Aug 14, 2009
Weekend Project: Make Gnocchi
What Are Gnocchi? While there are actually several different kinds of gnocchi (and we talked about some of them a few weeks ago), today we’ll just focus on potato gnocchi. This is a half-pasta, half-dumpling that hails from the northern part of Italy. As you can probably guess from the name, they’re made from cooked potatoes that get mashed, mixed with egg and flour, and kneaded into a dough.
Jul 10, 2009
Good Question: What is Polenta?
Susan is looking for some clarification on types of cornmeal. Can we help her out?I have a burning question! What is the difference between corn meal and polenta? Can I use regular corn meal (the stuff I use to make corn bread) to make polenta? Or do I have to track down a box that is specifically labeled “polenta”? And for the trifecta, what is masa harina? Could I use that to make polenta, or just tortillas?Susan, this is a great question and a tough one to answer.
Jun 25, 2009
What’s the Difference? Gnocchi di Patate, Gnocchi alla Romana, and Gnocchi Parisienne
When we think of gnocchi, our mind jumps straight to those soft little potato dumplings served in a lot of Italian cooking. But did you know there are actually several different kinds of gnocchi, each one very different from the next?There are three main kinds of gnocchi that we see called for in recipes and on restaurant menus:Gnocchi di Patate – This type of gnocchi is featured in a lot of Northern Italian cuisine and is probably what most of us actually know as gnocchi.
Jun 23, 2009
Tip: Boil Your Vegetables with Your Pasta
Last night we made a very simple, quick dinner—spaghetti, broccoli, and tomato sauce—and it was even easier because we put everything that needed to boil in the same big pot. It takes a little finesse with the timing, but it streamlines the process and eliminates another dirty pan. Boiling your vegetables with your pasta isn’t going to give you layers of different flavors and textures, like adding roasted vegetables would.
Jun 23, 2009
Product Review: Trader Joe’s All-Purpose Flour
Trader Joe’s certainly caused quite a hubbub when they decided to stop carrying King Arthur Flour and switch over to a store brand. We saw the new Trader Joe’s all-purpose flour on the shelves for the first time this past weekend and picked up a bag. Time to put it to the test!Reading the packaging information, we have to say that this flour looks promising. The flour is unbleached, which we prefer. Nothing too scary on the ingredient list.
Jun 17, 2009
Recipe Inspiration: Pearl (Israeli) Couscous Salads
We’ve been semi-obsessed with pearl couscous; it’s so attractive in early summer. It feels lighter than pasta, yet more substantial than traditional couscous, and it’s the perfect base for one-dish meals that involve fresh summer herbs and vegetables. Here’s one quick couscous dish we put together last week, plus ideas for several more.Hot or cold, warm or leftover, this deliciously chewy little pasta has been a total favorite.
Jun 11, 2009
Quick Dinner Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale
You know that our most basic go-to meal is a riff on pasta with meat and greens. It’s such an easy one-dish meal, and so satisfying. Here’s our latest exploration of the theme: a hearty, spicy, and bold pasta that is wonderful after a long day of work in the garden. This is just like our other pasta templates; it’s adaptable to whatever you have around. But the main thing is to really brown the sausage and also to cook the kale well.
Jun 5, 2009
Cooking By Feel: Baked Pastas
In this week’s Cure assignment, Cure-takers are planning a menu. All along I’ve been encouraging people to cook by feel a little more and use formal recipes a little less, so I hope these menus involve some cooking by feel. The way this is done is by arming oneself with skills, but you also need ideas. Here’s a great idea for making pasta: bake it. Baked pasta doesn’t need to conjure up memories of school cafeteria baked ziti.
May 14, 2009
What’s the Difference? Flour, Cornstarch, Potato Starch, and Arrowroot
Last week, we talked about how starches are used to thicken sauces, puddings, pie fillings, and soups like the one above. This week, we’ll check out the different kinds of starches that get used in cooking and why you might choose to use one over the other…Starches can vary widely in terms of how quickly they thicken, how much they thicken, the quality of the thickening, and their flavor after thickening.
May 12, 2009
Trader Joe’s Pasta Wins a Taste Test New York Magazine
May the cheapest pasta win! That’s what happened, anyway, when New York convened a panel to sample different store-bought, dried pasta. At 99 cents a pound, TJ’s was the least expensive pasta of the bunch, and it beat out some very fancy brands. Which grocery store staple came in last?
May 11, 2009
What’s the Difference? Light Rye, Dark Rye, Pumpernickel, and Marbled
As bread bakers, the differences between these four breads has been a real source of confusion for us. They often seem to be used interchangeably in restaurants, bakeries, and even some cookbooks. It’s quite distressing to expect one kind of bread and wind up with something completely different, we think! So is there a difference?We would argue that, yes, there is definitely a difference. Or at least there should be!
May 7, 2009
Recipe: Quick Pasta with Dried Morels and Fresh Ramps
Spring is progressing, and the season for early spring foraged treats like morels and ramps will be over soon. So eat them while you can still find them! This pasta takes these two spring delicacies and puts them together in one simple, quick pasta.And if these two good things are out of season already, or hard to find, then try dried mushrooms and leeks or scallions instead. In fact, I had to use dried morels myself.
Apr 29, 2009
Recipe: Rigatoni with Shredded Pork in Mustard Cream Sauce
Yesterday we showed you a basic recipe for cooking and shredding a pork shoulder. It’s a great recipe on its own; there are plenty of soft carrots, tomatoes, and caramelized onions to make it a stand-alone meal. But we like to set aside some leftover meat, free from its braising sauce, and save it for other meals throughout the week. This is a good one that’s super easy and has a really unexpected flavor.The idea of a mustard cream sauce came from a recipe in Food & Wine.
Mar 18, 2009
Look! Ravioli with an Egg Yolk Inside
How simple and elegant- a single egg yolk nestled into a ravioli shell. If you’re into homemade pasta and have steady hands, it certainly makes for a pretty presentation when you cut into the ravioli filling and a fresh, sunny egg yolk comes out.We saw this on Martha Stewart’s TV show last week; it’s from the chef of the Bedford Post restaurant in Bedford, NY. And in case you think eating an entire bowl of egg yolks sounds too rich, read on.
Mar 16, 2009
How To Dry Pasta Without a Rack
When I learned how to make fresh pasta (thanks to my Italian mother-in-law) it was so easy that I was definitely encouraged to try it again soon! But we did run into one little snag near the end: my mother-in-law asked if we had a drying rack. Well, no.Pasta has to be quickly laid out or hung to dry as soon as it comes through the machine or as it’s rolled and cut. The thin noodles will dry quickly so you want them in the right shape for that.
Mar 10, 2009
What Makes Bread So Special? Peter Reinhart’s Speech from the Taste3 Conference
If you’ve spent even a little time poking around the bread baking world, you have likely heard the name Peter Reinhart. As an instructor at Johnson and Wales and the author of several books on bread baking, he has built a career out of his love for bread!Our fellow Kitchn writer Dana recently sent us a link to Reinhart’s talk on “What Makes Bread So Special?” from the Taste3 Conference last July. This talk sums up everything we love about both Reinhart and baking bread!
Mar 10, 2009
Warm Breakfast: Who Still Eats Cream of Wheat?
Somewhere along the road to adulthood, Cream of Wheat got pushed aside for steel-cut oatmeal, tricked-out granola, or other fancy things in a bowl. But there are times (like a snowy morning in March) when a bowl of soft, sweet mush is really all we want.Cream of Wheat is essentially a bowl of flour. Appetizing, right? It was created in 1893 at a flour mill in North Dakota, when one of the millers made a breakfast porridge from some of the coarsely crushed wheat.
Mar 3, 2009
What To Make With Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
This whole wheat pastry flour called to us from across the co-op and we had no choice to buy a few cups for experimentation purposes. We have a few ideas for what we might make, but what would you recommend doing with this flour?Since pastry flour has a very low protein content, it’s best used in recipes that don’t rely on a lot of gluten and a lighter, crumblier texture is desired.
Feb 12, 2009
Recipe: Pasta with Brown Butter and Fried Sage
We ate this pasta twice last weekend—at both dinner parties. It’s not healthy. It’s soaked in butter. Delicious, toasted, slightly sweet brown butter with little bits of sage fried up in that buttery bath. Save it for the holidays, when you’re splurging on calories. Or, hey, eat it twice in one weekend like we did…We weren’t really adept at browning butter and took a completely uneducated stab at it. Guess what?
Dec 16, 2008
Good Product: Trader Joe’s Wild Rice
When we talked about our love of wild rice a few months ago, several of you mentioned buying it at Trader Joe’s. We looked for it the next time we were in the store, and sure enough, there it was!Finally, here is a relatively inexpensive and readily available source for one of our favorite grains. One 16-ounce bag goes for $4.99 – a good deal for this grain, we think!The rice grains are dark, slightly glossy, and uniform in length – all good signs of quality wild rice.
Dec 8, 2008
Chef Recipe: Pumpkin Ravioli in a Parmesan Fondue with a Red Wine Reduction
Looking for one more dish for Thanksgiving, or maybe a first course appetite-teaser? Maybe you should try this dish of pumpkin ravioli from chef Salvatore Corea of New York City’s Alloro. This is a very fun dish; we love pumpkin ravioli, and the sauces that accompany the pasta here are deceptively easy.Alloro is an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side – thank you to chef Salvatore Corea for this delicious dish! We’ll be trying it out soon.
Nov 25, 2008
Dinner for One: Sesame-Garlic Soba Noodles with Fried Egg
This is definitely one of those dishes that evolved from being home alone on a weeknight and having nothing in the fridge. Success! Who knew a handful of leftover soba noodles, the last egg in the carton, and a few condiments could make such a delicious and satisfying meal?!The best part about this meal is the fried egg, in our humble opinion. The runny yolk mixes into the sesame-coated soba noodles like a creamy sauce, adding richness and substance to the dish.
Oct 16, 2008
Look! Arborio Rice at Trader Joe’s
We’re not sure if this is a new product or if it’s been there all along, but we were excited to discover arborio rice on a recent shopping foray to Trader Joe’s!Arborio rice is a key ingredient – arguably the key ingredient! – in Italian risotto, and we often have trouble finding it outside of gourmet food stores. When we do find it, it’s often of dubious quality and fairly expensive.
Oct 7, 2008
Source for Stone-Ground Grits: Anson Mills
And since we’re writing about grits, we thought we’d give you a good mail-order source for an exceptional, stone-ground variety. Anson Mills in Columbia, SC, grows organic, heirloom corn and sells their products to chefs all over the country… We’ve never ordered from Anson Mills, but we’ve read good things.
Sep 25, 2008
What’s the Difference? Blue Corn Meal vs. Harinilla
Thanks for all the excellent blue cornmeal recipe suggestions, everyone! We think we’ll save it for something fun for the Fourth of July–stay tuned…As we were reading over the tortilla recipe on our bag of cornmeal, we noticed that the recipe called the flour “harinilla.”At first, we assumed that this was a Spanish term for blue cornmeal, but when we were looking up recipes, we learned that there’s actually a significant difference!
Jun 18, 2008
What Should We Make With This Blue Cornmeal?
A friend just got back from a trip to Arizona and brought us a pound of this blue cornmeal. We love its gritty texture and earthy smell, and we can’t wait to cook with it!The package comes with a tortilla recipe, but we’re wondering what other possibilities are out there. Any ideas?Tamales were our first thought, though we’re not sure if the cornmeal is ground fine enough. We might try running a cup through our food processor to see if we can get a finer grind.
Jun 16, 2008
Do You Cook with Whole Wheat Pasta?
We’ve blogged a taste test of whole wheat pasta before, back when new brands were popping up and the whole genre was still gaining steam. Now, it seems whole wheat and multi-grain pastas are everywhere, and yet so many people dislike them for their distinct taste and chewy texture.What do you think?When we were making our Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles a few days ago, we decided to use whole wheat instead of regular spaghetti.
Jun 11, 2008
Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce (with Optional Zing!)
For the sauce-hungry crowd, here is a basic tomato sauce, with some lemony and spicy elements for adding an optional zing. It’s easy, quick, and isn’t a boring old sauce. Basic sauces were one of the requested items from Cure-takers. This week’s assignment was to add a new skill to your cooking arsenal.
May 6, 2008
Look! Name that Pasta
Think you know your fusilli from your gemelli? Can you tell the difference between stellete and pastina? Looking for a ten-minute brain diversion, we stumbled upon this fun little quiz.AOL’s pasta shape identification quiz is harder than it looks. We were quite pleased to even get 19 out of 24, and that was with one or two lucky guesses. But even if you don’t do very well, it’s awesome to be reminded of all these shapes and textures of pasta.
Apr 3, 2008
Recipe: Ridiculously Quick Pasta al Pomodoro
But sometimes when I just want some dinner after a long day, I do need to be reminded of the basics. For this you need only a handful of ingredients: a big tomato, half an onion or a few shallots, garlic, olive oil, some fresh basil, sage, or rosemary. Some red wine really helps, but don’t knock yourself out. Swirl over some tortellini from Trader Joe’s, pour the rest of the wine into a glass and you have yourself a very nice dish of pasta – all in about 10 minutes flat.
Oct 24, 2006
Recipe: Pasta With Greens and Feta
Here’s a recipe from a reader, SarahW, for a simple pasta dish using Swiss Chard (it’s been a hot topic of discussion on the Open Threads for a while) and Feta cheese. With greens such as spinach about to come into season on the East Coast, this would make a great spring dish. Pasta With Greens and Feta 6 Tbsp. olive oil (or less) 4 cups chopped onion 8 cups packed chopped bitter greens (e.g.
Apr 7, 2006