Posts tagged ‘Pasta’

September 8, 2015

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad

If you’ve been reading this blog for much time, you probably know that I’m a big fan of culinary challenges. Unusual ingredients, strange kitchen set ups – you name it. Recently though, I completed a trial like no other.

I spent two weeks as a vegetarian.

Yes, it’s true. Your humble blogger and avowed carnivore went fourteen days without a single bite of meat. It was part of a deal that my girlfriend and I made to “eat healthier,” because meat is “bad for you.” In exchange she agreed to give up sweets for two weeks. I think I got the raw end of the deal.

(For the record, there is ample evidence to suggest that eating less meat contributes to better overall health. There, I admitted it.)

So what did I learn from the experience?

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January 24, 2013

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pear and Prosciutto

Butternut Ravioli

At first glance this may not seem like there’s anything extraordinary about this dish.

Butternut squash ravioli? I can get that at Safeway.

Prosciutto and sage? Practically as close as peanut butter and jelly.

But then you taste it.

All the ingredients together truly become extraordinary. They’re an irresistibly compelling spectrum from sweet to savory: starting with sugary pear, then moving to butternut squash, crossing the savory threshold with sage, then moving to nutty Parmesan and ending with salty, crisped prosciutto.

You could certainly make this recipe with store-bought butternut squash ravioli, but unless you’re in a real rush for time I wouldn’t recommend it. Beyond the satisfaction of making your own pasta, there is a clear difference in taste.

This is a wonderful winter entree that isn’t too rich, thick or unhealthy. With a nice white wine or pale ale, this dish will see you through even the coldest of nights.

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April 29, 2012

Cajun Carbonara

Contrary to popular opinion, real carbonara doesn’t involve cream, milk, or flour. The silky sauce is created by slowly heating eggs so that they thicken without scrambling. The result is a relatively rich dish with a unique texture that remains nonetheless quite healthy.

So how can you make it better? Infuse it with Cajun flavor!

The onions and peppers add sweetness and crunch, while the lineup of Cajun spices add heat, zest and a depth of flavor to the sauce. The intermittent hints of parsley break up the richness and spice with cool, refreshing notes. Add that to the chicken, pasta and carbonara base and you have a filling, vibrant dish.

This recipe tastes great, but to be honest one of my favorite things about it isthe color. The red, yellow and green of the peppers and parsley pop against the pasta to make a bright, vivid plate. A great meal for your eyes as well as your stomach!

Cajun Carbonara

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 chicken breast, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, julienned (I recommend one red, one yellow)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and cut into ribbons
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons pepper
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 1/3 cup wine
  • 3 ounces pasta
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

 

  1. In a large skillet, heat the butter to high. Season the chicken breast, bell pepper and red onion with the spices. In a large pot, begin boiling water to cook the pasta.
  2. Add the chicken breast to the skill and saute until crispy and blacked, approximately 6-8 minutes. Set the chicken aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the bell pepper and red onion and saute until both begin to get tender, approximately 6-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and saute for another three minutes. Set the vegetables aside with the chicken.
  4. Cook the pasta according to instructions. Reduce the heat of the skillet to medium-low. Use the wine to deglaze the pan, being sure to loosen any stuck on spices, chicken, or veggie bits.
  5. Add the eggs and Parmesan cheese to the deglazing liquid and whisk until combined. Add the cooked pasta and toss vigorously. The egg mixture should thicken, but not scramble.
  6. Toss the pasta with the chicken and vegetables. To serve, sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan cheese and top with parsley.
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