Roasted Winter Squash Pasta

Mon, Oct 12 • 0

So I had this scheme to make pasta with the flesh from some autumn squash. It turned out pretty good, though I’m not sure if it was worth the trouble. In the end, I couldn’t really detect any flavor difference, though the pasta did have a nice golden-orange color, and I imagine it had more fiber than it would have otherwise.

hubbardI started out with a red hubbard squash, a variety of buttercup, which has a dark orange flesh and a mottled red-orange skin. I cut it in half, removed the seeds, and put a little olive oil on the exposed flesh. Then I put it on a baking pan, cut side down, and cooked it in a hot oven for about an hour, and then turned it over and cooked it for another 30 minutes. The flesh was quite soft, but still really, really moist — in fact, too moist.

So I scraped out the flesh from the skin, and mashed it with a fork. In my food processor, I put three whole eggs, and 3 good sized handfuls of semolina flour, and a healthy dash of salt, along with about a cup of the squash. I also added a teaspoon of smoked paprika, in hopes that I could maintain the red-orange color. Well, like I said, the squash was really moist, and I ended up adding quite a lot more flour. I sort of lost track with how much I added, but I ended up adding all-purpose flour along with the semolina. Despite that, the resulting dough was still quite sticky.

If I were to make this again, I would probably figure out some way to strain the squash of some of it’s excess liquid — though I’m not sure how, exactly. Maybe like you do for yogurt to make yogurt cheese.

Anyway, in the end, the dough was a beautiful golden orange. I kneaded it, and ran it through the pasta machine, making strips of dough ultimately at the #6 thickness, and then I cut it into rough ¼” fettucini.

I served it with brown butter and sage sauce. The pasta had a great consistency, and my wife was quite impressed because when I first told her about my plan to make squash pasta, she made a face like she didn’t think it would be that good, but she really liked it.

Tom’s “da bomb” Alfredo

Sun, May 31 • 0

“Hey why don’t you put MY recipe on your site instead of just listing me as ‘my “other” brother?’  The homemade pasta thing is da bomb and this sauce makes it that much’s basically your sauce with a few changes.  It’s turned out very well the last few times I tried it.  It is a Jeff smith recipe you showed us but with small, but important changes. I know You know how to do this recipe, but I was shocked at how much sweeter it was with the shallot not garlic.  Even when I watch it carefully, garlic seems to give some bitterness to it as the shallots and butter sweeten the alfredo really well.  When reduced, it makes a great sauce over the homemade pasta.  We added lobster that was already boiled earlier in the day.  (2 of them) and then added some sherry to make it more like a St Jaque recipe…mahvellous!”

3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 SHALLOTS (not garlic)
1 small red onion finely chopped
3/4 cups whole milk (light cream)
3 tablespoons butter
finish with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (handful)

Sunday Supper : Stovetop Spring Gratin

Sun, Apr 13 • 0

1½c orrachetti or capelletti
½ package frozen vegetables (spinach, asparagus, edamame, broccoli)
4oz diced cooked ham
chopped leeks
2T butter
1T dijon mustard
½t dried thyme
salt & pepper
¼c cream
4oz shredded cheese (I used jack)

So I start the well-salted water boiling for the pasta. Once that was going, I toss in the pasta and set the timer for 10 minutes. In a large frying pan, over high heat, I put in the frozen vegetables and some water, and put a lid on to let the steam thaw them. Meanwhile, I diced the ham, and the leeks, and stir them in to heat up, too, along with the mustard and thyme, mixing the mustard in with the water to loosen it. Once the pasta is done, I remove the lid and, using a spider, I put it in the pan with the butter. I waited until the water was almost gone, stirring frequently, at which point I turned the heat to low, and added the cream and the cheese, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Start to finish, 17 minutes, not counting the time it took for the pasta water to come to the boil.

Chicken Braciole with Pasta

Sun, Mar 16 • 0

I thought this recipe up on the way to the grocery store, as a fall back if nothing else looked appealing. I think I need to work more on the execution, but it had good flavor. I was lazy and used pre-cut thin chicken cutlets, jarred pesto and jarred pasta sauce. I think it might have ended up better if I pounded the chicken cutlets or used bigger cuts, because the innards just oozed out and burnt during the browning stage. I also think the jarred sauce was a little too much, and I probably could have gotten away with making a simple marinara with canned tomatoes in the food processor.  I also tied the cutlets into the round, but it probably would have been better to pin them with toothpicks, as it was tricky to cut the strings with the thick pasta sauce clinging everywhere.

a quantity of chicken breast cutlets, pounded flat
seasoning (salt, pepper, smoked paprika)
sliced mozzarella
seasoned flour
tomato sauce
cooked pasta

I sprinkled the seasoning on the cutlets, then rubbed them with pesto, added a slice of mozzarella  and rolled them up and tied them. I tossed them in a little flour while some olive oil and butter heated up in a skillet. Over medium heat, I browned the cutlets on all sides, then added the tomato sauce, and let them simmer for 10 or 15 minutes while the pasta cooked.

Broccoli and Orachetti

Mon, Mar 3 • 0

Although this recipe would probably work fine with any shape pasta, there’s something about orachetti that I just can’t get enough of… maybe it’s the way the tiny little cups grab onto the sauce. Anyway, I sort of slapped this together last night. It was satisfying and very tasty. I used Alton Brown’s idea to steam the broccoli in layers — the stem peeled and then sliced into planks and put on the bottom of the pan to make a sort of platform to keep the florettes out of the hot liquid and just steam. Since I had leftover roasted turkey breast, I added it and flavored it towards the end with crushed sage, but I bet it would be just as good started off with some rashers of bacon, or to go completely vegetarian. This recipe would serve 4, or two hungry people and provide leftovers.

½lb orachetti pasta
1lb broccoli, cut ala Alton Brown
¼c chicken stock or water
2T olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
½lb diced roasted turkey breast
2T butter
rubbed sage, salt, pepper to taste
shredded parmesan

Ok, first I got the water salted and boiling in one pot for the pasta. Then I cut up the broccoli in the manner I described above, and put that in a saucepan with a tight lid along with the chicken stock, and let that steam for a couple of minutes. By now, the water for the pasta was boiling, so I tossed in the orachetti. In a big frying pan, I heated the olive oil and  gently cooked the garlic, which I crushed … though I bet it would be just as good to slice them, and would reduce the chance of it burning. Before the garlic got too brown, I added a ladle of pasta water and a lump of butter. Once melted, in went the turkey and the sage. I let that simmer, and the pasta had become al dente, so I fished it out with a spider and added it to the frying pan, along with a little more pasta water. Lastly, I added the broccoli and the parmesan, and tossed gently, along with a little olive oil to make it “smile.”

Spaghetti Carbonara

Sat, Feb 16 • 0

spaghettiTwo recipes, very different techniques; similar but subtle flavor differences. I’ve had mixed results with the second version, but the vinegar adds an interesting tone.

Quick & Dirty

1lb spaghetti
8 slices bacon, diced (8oz)
1T olive oil
3 eggs, beaten
¼c whole milk (or half-and-half)
¾c shredded Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Boil salted water for the pasta, and cook 9-12 mins. Cook the bacon in the olive oil until browned and crisp, about 10mins. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Add the hot pasta to the egg mixture, which will cook the eggs. Serve on hot plates, and top with the bacon and a little more parmesan. Based on a recipe from Everyday Food.

More Involved and with Vinegar

¼lb bacon (2 slices)
1 stick butter
1c whole milk
2T wine vinegar
1lb spaghetti
2 eggs, whipped
½c grated Parmesan
salt & pepper to taste

Cut the bacon into little pieces, and cook in the butter until clear. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, and add the bacon and the butter. Add the vinegar; this will turn the milk into cheese. Simmer for 15 minutes, until smooth.

Boil your favorite pasta al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Immediately throw in the eggs, the bacon sauce, and the grated Parmesan. Add salt and pepper, toss, and serve. Source: The Frugal Gourmet by Jeff Smith.

Baked Manicotti

Sat, Feb 9 • 0

I’m trying a recipe for Baked Manicotti from America’s Test Kitchen. Instead of the premade manicotti tubes, they suggest using softened no-boil lasagna noodles. You soak them in hot water for 5 or 10 minutes to make them pliable, and it works really, really well. I managed to find some whole-wheat no-boil lasagna noodles, but they behaved exactly like regular ones.

They also suggest that when buying ricotta, you look for one without any gums or stablilizers.

I followed their recipe to the letter, deviating only in that I added some minced shallot to the marinara with the garlic, and that I added some chopped chives to the cheese filling along with the parsley and basil. It turned out very well, although I recommend you put a layer of parchment paper between the foil and the tomato sauce in the pan if your pan isn’t particularly deep.

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