Pastina is Italian comfort food. I think everyone who was raised in an Italian household would agree. Pastina, tossed with butter, was baby's first solid. Pastina chicken soup was served as a hearty lunch, a quick and easy dinner on a Saturday night (after confession), and medicine to chase away a Winter cold. Each family recipe is a little different but the constant ingredient is the pastina, or little pasta. There are many varieties. For my recipe here, I used stelline, or little stars. Here's a chart with different shapes of pastina.Read More
They say you should never go the market when you're hungry because you will over buy. But I think you should always be a little hungry because your hunger gets the creative juices flowing. I've put together lots of interesting dishes while shopping on an empty stomach.
I found these great "rigatoni giganti" at my local market and thought they'd be fun to stuff like manicotti. The bite sized pastas would fit perfectly in my au gratin dishes and make a pretty presentation. So I splurged and bought the package. I knew I had goat cheese, parmesan and mozzarella at home, so I just needed to fill in with some ricotta and fresh herbs. And here's what I came up with.
Carbonara is a simple, traditional Italian dish. The origin of the name is unknown. Carbonaro means charcoal burner in Italian, and some say the dish is so called because of the black flecks of pepper liberally used in the recipe. Others say its because the dish was served to coal miners who needed a cheap and substantial meal. In some parts of the U.S. it is called "coal miner's spaghetti".
Traditionally it calls for guanciale, an unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's cheeks. I substitute bacon. I've also added some chicken, peas, onions and dried tomatoes. Because I don't serve multiple courses with my meals, like they do in Italy, I like the main dish to be a complete meal with protein, vegetables and carbs. A simple green salad, lightly dressed, is all you need to accompany this dish. Oh, and maybe some garlic bread.Read More
Ahhh....September is such a sweet time of year in California. Most days are still warm and sunny, but every once in a while Autumn breaks through with its cool crisp promises.
It's almost time to say goodbye to local fresh tomatoes. This dish is a great last hurrah to tomato season. It's fresh and light and sooo easy to make.
Here's how.Read More
On Sunday, we had a house full of family. They had come to help out during an all day yard sale and stayed for dinner. Because everybody eats when they come to my house.
I love cooking for company but needed something easy and satisfying for both vegetarians and carnivores. So I made this pasta salad, served it with a simple green salad of arugula, sunflower seeds and goat cheese, and threw some protein on the grill. I had enough pasta salad for a small army. Luckily, it keeps well, because we'll be having it for lunch for a few days.Read More
Every morning, Nonni would wake up before the sun, put on a pot of coffee in her percolator and sit at the window to watch the birds as the dawn broke. Then she'd start the sauce. I guess she'd get busy when the birds did. I don't ever remember a time visiting her when there wasn't something cooking on her stovetop. I'd often drag an old milk crate across the floor and stand on it so I could see what was cooking. She made her sauce the Old Country way, caramelizing the tomato paste first. And this is how I make my sauce now, from what I remember.