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While thumbing through the latest issue of Cooking Light over the weekend, I saw an “advertisement” for Norwegian salmon which included three recipes. I’ve never heard of “Norwegian” salmon, nor do I know where I could get it around here. Nevertheless, the recipe for chioppino-style Norwegian salmon looked delicious (and easy), so we put it on our menu anyway. (We used Atlantic salmon, by the way, and it still turned out delicious as ever.)

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 4
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, diced
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper
– 2 cups tomatoes, diced (we used half fresh tomatoes and half canned)
– 1/2 parsley, roughly chopped
– 1 cup clam juice
– 4 (Norwegian) salmon fillets

As a side note before we get into the recipe, we served this over pasta because it sounded (and looked, in the picture) like the tomatoes, onions and clam juice created a nice sauce. If you plan on doing this, bring a pot of water to a boil while you work on the sauce so the pasta can cook while the salmon is cooking.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan (you’ll want to use one that has a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they become translucent, about three minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then add the garlic to the pan. Continue to saute the onions and garlic until the garlic becomes fragrant, one to two minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and clam juice to the pan and stir to combine. Let the tomato mixture begin to bubble, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for five minutes.

After the sauce has been simmering for five minutes, raise the heat to medium and place the salmon fillets in the pan (this is also where you’d drop the pasta). Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon is completely cooked through (we flipped the fillets halfway through the cooking). Serve the salmon and some sauce over freshly cooked pasta or rice.

Cioppino-Style Salmon Over Pasta

This salmon was absolutely delicious. It was juicy and flavorful from cooking the the tomato sauce and it paired perfectly with a little angel hair pasta. The tomato sauce was very fresh and went well with the salmon (and it also made a perfect sauce for the pasta). This is a great recipe for the spring and summer months, as it was very fresh and light. It would also be delicious with added vegetables such as zucchini or mushrooms. This will definitely become a regular in our repertoire of recipes.

I was able to find a PDF of the “advertisement” with the recipe, but it can also be found in the March 2010 issue of Cooking Light.

For our first anniversary, we spent the day in Santa Fe, which is known for some really good restaurants (among other things) in this part of the world. We hard time deciding where to grub, but we knew we wanted something different that we couldn’t get around here. We ended up at Amavi, a regional Mediterranean restaurant. Our entire meal was delicious, but one thing in particular stuck with us — our appetizer of steamed clams, mussels and Spanish chorizo. Every bite was delicious, including the crusty bread that sopped up all the juices. We were determined to recreate the dish, and this was our attempt.

Our biggest task was finding Spanish style chorizo. Mexican style (ground, uncooked, seasoned pork) is everywhere around here, but we really struggled to find Spanish style (dried, cured, seasoned pork). We ended up finding some at Talin Market, so we picked up two packages and were on the hunt for sample recipes and ideas. We weren’t sure what else was in the appetizer we h ad at Amavi other than the obvious contenders — clams, mussels, chorizo and some kind of broth. We searched for a lot of recipes, and ended up using this one we found on another food blog (which I have subsequently fallen in love with), giving it our own little spin. (I’m the only fan of mussels in our house, so we used more clams in their place.)

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 4 (BTW, I’ve decided it probably makes a lot of sense to tell you how much of something you’re cooking, so I’m now including servings in my posts!)
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, diced
– 3 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 or 2 fennel bulb(s), thinly sliced
– salt and pepper
– red pepper flakes
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– 1 lb Spanish style chorizo, sliced
– 1 cup dry white wine
– 1 cup clam juics
– 3 dozen clams (you can use pre-cooked frozen clams)
– 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
– juice of 1/2 lemon

In a high-sided saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for one to two minutes until they begin to sweat out, then add the garlic and fennel. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika. Continue to saute until the onion becomes translucent and the fennel starts cooking down. Add the chorizo to the pan and stir to combine (you don’t have to worry about cooking time here because Spanish chorizo is already cooked). We let the chorizo brown a little, but it didn’t cook for more than five minutes.

Add the wine and clam juice to the pan and bring to a boil. As soon as the wine and clam juice comes to a rolling boil, add the clams. Stir to combine and immediately cover the pan. Steam for three to five minutes, or until all the clams have opened up, discarding any that may not have opened. Remove from the heat, stir in parsley and lemon juice and serve over freshly cooked spaghetti (make sure to get plenty of juice to soak up with a good loaf of bread).

Pasta with Clams and Chorizo

This wasn’t a replica of our amazing appetizer (I think we may have been missing some kind of tomato product?), but it was pretty damn good. The fennel, which wasn’t in the original, added a great crunch and flavor to the dish. The clams absorbed all the wonderful flavors of the wine and chorizo and were perfectly cooked. And the broth…it was amazing. The mixture of wine, clam juice and lemon juice really worked well together, not to mention all the flavors it picked up from the chorizo and fennel. It made a great light sauce for the pasta and was perfect for soaking up with bread — lots of bread. We’ll definitely be making this again, but next time there will be some type of tomato involved.

Make sure to check out Las Vegas Food Adventures for this and other great recipes (and restaurant reviews). And if you’re in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area, make sure to plan a meal at Amavi, you won’t regret it.

Despite the fact that Valentine’s Day is a totally commercialized holiday, we always seem to end up participating in all the festivities. For the last few years, though, we’ve stayed home and just made ourselves a special meal. In the last year or so, our culinary experience and perspective has changed a lot, so this year’s meal was extra special. In the midst of stuffing our faces, I told Billy that I really felt like we were in a restaurant — we pulled off restaurant quality food at home for a fraction of the cost.

We had decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to do some kind of veal dish, but hadn’t really figured out what. So we each looked for recipes that sounded perfect, and we ended up deciding on homemade ravioli. Tyler Florence has a recipe for chicken Marsala ravioli filling that sounded amazing, so we decided to substitute veal for the chicken. We made a mushroom-less version of his mushroom cream sauce to go along with the ravioli, too.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Ravioli Filling
– 4 ounces veal scallopini or stew meat, cut into small chunks
– 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
– 1 shallot, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1/8 cup Marsala wine
– 2 thin slices proscuitto, sliced
– 2 bay leaves
– thyme and parsley
– salt and pepper
– 1 tbsp bread crumbs
– 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
– 1 egg
– 1/8 cup heavy cream
Sauce
– 2 tbsp butter
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 5 sage leaves
– salt and pepper
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1/2 leek, chopped
(the original recipe calls for 6 oz. portobello mushrooms, sliced)

The filling has to cool before filling the pasta, so make sure to account for at least 30 minutes of down-time after cooking before you’re able to fill (this would be a good time to make the pasta if you’re making it fresh).

Heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat and brown the veal. After all sides are nicely browned (about 10 minutes), add the shallots and garlic. Cook for one to two minutes, until the shallot begins to sweat out, then deglaze the pan with the wine. (If you’re feeling brave, you can flambe, but it’s not necessary.) Once the wine has reduced, add the prosciutto, thyme, parsley, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs and 1/2 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese over everything.

Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and transfer the mixture to a food processor. Pulse the mixture together until all the meat has broken down, then add the egg, cream, remaining 1/2 tablespoon of Parmesan and tablespoon of oil. Pulse again until everything is thoroughly combined and chill for at least 30 minutes before filling ravioli.

The mushroom-less cream sauce only takes a few minutes, so it’s perfect to start up after you drop the ravioli in boiling water. Melt the butter over medium-low heat and once it begins to bubble, add the garlic and sage leaves. Season with salt and pepper and let the garlic cook out for two to three minutes, or just until it begins to brown. (If you’re following the original recipe and using mushrooms, this is where you would add them to the pan.)

Add the cream to the pan and let it come to temperature slowly, making sure it doesn’t start bubbling around the edges. Once the cream is heated through and the sauce had thickened a bit, remove from the heat and discard the sage leaves. Stir in the leeks and toss immediately with the hot ravioli.

Veal Marsala Ravioli

This was seriously one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. The filling was perfectly moist, a little creamy, full of flavor and had a little bite from the Parmesan cheese. You almost couldn’t tell the ravioli were filled with meat since everything was processed in the food processor, but the texture was just perfect. I really don’t have words to describe how delicious these were. They honestly tasted like something you’d expect from a good quality restaurant. Uh-maz-ing. We will most definitely be making these again and again, and I think you should, too!

The sauce was creamy and buttery, and the crunch from the leeks added a great component to the overall dish. I’m not a fan of mushrooms to begin with, but I don’t even think they were necessary in this dish — they would have taken away from the flavor of the filling.

Our Valentine's Meal

Both recipes can be found on the Food Network Web site, courtesy of Tyler Florence (each is linked separately above). We got the idea for heart-shaped ravioli from Annie’s Eats. To make them, we just used a cookie cutter to cut out each heart, put some filling on one of them, brushed some egg wash all around the edge, then pressed another heart over top.

P.S. That candle in the background…Billy made it!

After last night’s bearnaise sauce disaster, I thought I’d post a success story about something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. When I was a kid, the women in my family made everything from scratch, including our family staple — pasta. My mom still does it from time to time, but definitely not on a regular basis. For Christmas Billy and I asked for the pasta attachments for our KitchenAid and we finally put them to the test over the weekend.

I was surprised at how easy it was to make pasta dough. I knew from watching my family make it that it was a pretty simple mixture, but I had no clue it was literally just flour and eggs. I have to admit that Billy did the majority of the work while I took pictures and watched in amazement, but it was still a team effort. Besides, Billy has become one of the first men in my family to actually enjoy being in the kitchen, so I take advantage of it! Anyway, I digress. So the pasta dough was so simple that we’re planning on doing it again soon to make some type of filled pasta. Not to mention that the results were absolutely delicious!

Here’s what you’ll need:
(for 3/4 pound of pasta, as directed by Marcella Hazan)
– 1 cup flour
– 2 eggs

Yes, that’s really all you need. On a large counter or flat workspace, form the flour into a mound with a hole in the center. Make sure there are no openings, otherwise egg will sneak through (this really does work, I promise). Crack the eggs into the center of the mound and beat them gently with a fork.

Flour Mound and Beaten Eggs

Draw some of the flour over onto the eggs, mixing with the fork, until the eggs are no longer runny. Because you may not need to use all of the flour, push some to the side before mixing completely. Draw the sides of the mound together and begin to work the eggs and flour together using your fingers and the palms of your hand. Work the eggs and flour together until you have a smooth mixture. If it’s still moist, add some of the flour you set aside. Test the dough by pressing your finger into the center, if it comes out clean and it doesn’t feel sticky, no more flour is needed. Clean your work surface and begin kneading the dough.

Marcella, whom I trust with any Italian cooking that doesn’t come from my own family, makes a big deal about the “proper way” to knead. There’s no better way to put it than in her words, so here’s what she has to say: “Push forward against the dough using the heel of your palm, keeping your fingers bent. Fold the mass in half, give it a half turn, press hard against it with the heel of your palm again, and repeat the operation. Make sure that you keep turning the ball of dough always in the same direction. When you have kneaded it thus for eight full minutes and the dough is as smoother as baby skin, it is ready for the machine.”

After kneading for eight full minutes, it’s time to thin out the dough and cut it into the desired shape. Set up an area near your machine with clean, dry cloths to place the dough on once it’s gone through the machine. Cut the dough into six equal parts and flatten them with the palm of your hand (if making more pasta, the dough should be divided into three times the amount of eggs). Using the widest opening of the thinning rollers on your machine, begin feeding the flattened pieces of dough through the machine one at a time. Once a piece has been fed through once, fold the dough twice into a third of it’s length and feed it by the narrow end through the machine again. Repeat this process two or three times on the widest setting, then lay the flattened strips on the towel. Once each ball of dough has been flattened on the widest setting, close down the opening to the very next setting. Taking the first pasta strip you flattened, run it through on the lower setting one time, return it to the towel and run the next strip in the sequence. Continue this process, lowering the setting by one notch each time, until you reach the desired thickness. Once all the strips have been flattened to the desired thickness, let them dry for at least 10 minutes before cutting. The strips are ready to be cut when they’re still moist enough so they won’t crack, but dry enough so they won’t stick together.

Pasta Dough Being Flattened

Pasta Strips Being Cut

Once all the pasta is cut it’s ready to be cooked (or dried for storage). Place it all in one cloth and carefully slide it into a large pot of salted, boiling water. Fresh pasta will cook in five minutes or less, so make sure to keep a close eye on it. My suggestion for homemade pasta is to pair it with a light sauce, such as a scampi or fresh tomato sauce, but really anything will do.

Homemade Pasta with Shrimp Scampi

I’m in the process of writing this blog and I think it has tired me out more than actually making the pasta did. It’s a lot to explain, but it really is an easy thing to do — and the results are worth the little effort it takes. The dough came together easily, and using the KitchenAid attachments made flattening and cutting the dough really simple since there was no manual cranking of the machine. I was amazed at how much the final product resembled dried, packaged pasta. The fresh pasta tasted much…fresher…but the texture was pretty much the same as any dried pasta I’ve had. Overall, I think this was a great experience and I wish I had done it sooner. We’ll definitely be making fresh pasta again, and hopefully doing lots of experiments!

I love a good alfredo (or any cream-based, really) sauce. Problem with that is, not all of them are good. Despite being Italian, my family doesn’t have a hand-me-down alfredo sauce recipe…so I had to create my own. A few years ago, Billy and I looked at multiple recipes and sort of combined the ones we thought looked good. Since then, we’ve moved away from the recipes and come up with a pretty fool-proof alfredo sauce. It doesn’t hurt that it’s easy as pie, either!

Here’s what you’ll need:
(these measurements are good for one pound of pasta)
– 4 tbsp butter
– about 5 garlic cloves, minced (you can adjust this, based on how much of a garlicy flavor you want)
– salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
– 1/2 cup basil, chiffonade (you can substitute dried basil, just use way less)

This sauce literally takes less time than it takes to cook pasta. Whenever we make this, we don’t even start the sauce until after we’ve dropped the pasta. Usually the timing works out well, but it all depends on the type of pasta you’re cooking.

In a small saucepan, melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat and saute the garlic until it just begins to turn brown, two to three minutes. (If you’re using dry basil, add it to the pan at the same time as the garlic in order to release the flavors.) Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. When the garlic begins to turn, add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the pan and let melt. Once it has melted, pour the heavy cream in. Still over medium-high heat, continue stirring until the mixture just begins to boil. Reduce to simmer and, keeping a close eye on the mixture, continue stirring until the cream begins to thicken.

When the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, about five minutes, turn off the heat and whisk in the Parmesan and basil. Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Toss with freshly cooked pasta and serve with warm bread!

Bow Ties with Alfredo

I love, love, love this sauce. It’s not too heavy, but it’s got so much flavor. It’s garlic-y and basil-y and it really hits the spot when you’re craving something different than traditional pasta sauce. It’s so easy to make and really versatile — we add shrimp to it all the time, and it’s delicious. So…feel free to give this a shot and change it up to suit your tastes, it’s a perfect canvas for experimenting!

It’s been a while since I posed about Arabic food (actually, it’s been a while since we made Arabic food), so I thought I’d share something before we get rolling on all the Christmas goodies (yay!). Mugrabidi is a sort of soupy dish with tiny pasta, garbanzo beans and chicken. This is a perfect dish for a cold winter night — I promise it will hit the spot and warm you up instantly!

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 8 cups water
– 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
– 1/2 to 1 pound acini de pepe pasta (amount depends on what kind of pasta to bean/chicken/liquid ratio you want)
– salt and pepper to taste

This is a really simple recipe, but the end result is nothing but! First, add the cut chicken pieces to a pot of boiling water. Let the chicken begin to cook and when the water returns to a rolling boil, add the garbanzo beans. Meanwhile, saute the onion until it begins to turn brown then add it to the boiling water. Continue to boil for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is almost cooked through. Finally, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 15 more minutes. At this point the chicken and pasta should be done. Season with salt and pepper and you’re ready to serve! (There will be quite a bit of liquid left, the consistency of the dish is supposed to be soupy.)

Mugrabidi

Of all the Arabic dishes I’ve had, I would say this is the least Arabic tasting…if that makes sense. It doesn’t have any of the flavorings and spices found in most Arabic dishes. Nevertheless, this is a great dish and it’s one of my favorites. I love the soupy consistency and the flavor the beans give to the liquid. I think the best way to eat mugrabidi is to get a little of everything in each bite — you really get a great flavor and texture combination that way.

I love Giada De Laurentiis, I think she’s a great cook and a great TV host. We have two of her books and watch her show all the time, and any recipe of her’s we have tried hasn’t disappointed. For the first time ever I used mascarpone cheese in a savory dish, and it was delicious. After trying Giada’s orechiette with sausage, beans and mascarpone, I have a feeling I’ll be using it more often. We followed the recipe pretty close since this was our first time trying this dish, but there are some things we’ll try next time around (more on that later).

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 lb of small shaped pasta
– olive oil (for sauteing)
– 1/2 to 1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed (Giada calls for turkey sausage, and this is our preference as well, but any Italian sausage will work just fine)
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 2 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tbsp dried)
– salt and pepper
– red pepper flakes
– 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
– 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop the pasta. When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about one cup of the water for the sauce. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the sausage and onions, breaking up the sausage into small pieces, until the sausage browns and the onions cook through, about ten minutes. Season the sausage and onions with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if using dried oregano, add it at this stage too). Once the sausage is cooked through, add the beans (and oregano, if using fresh) and cook for about two minutes. Add the pasta water to the pan, using the liquid to help scrape the brown bits off the bottom. Once the water begins to simmer, add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it has melted and created a creamy sauce, about two minutes. The longer you let the sauce simmer, the thicker it will get. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce. Toss to coat, and you’re ready to serve!

DSC_0995(r)

Giada’s recipe didn’t call for any garlic or red pepper flakes (which is odd for Giada). We decided to add red pepper this time, but I think next time we’ll also add garlic. The flavor and texture of this dish was amazing. It was so creamy, but not heavy like an alfredo sauce. The sausage and onions gave the whole dish a great rustic flavor. Taking the sausage out of the casing gave it a different texture than just cooking it and cutting it into slices. I think it really made the dish what it was.

Billy actually found this recipe when we were putting together our menu last week, and I heard “peas” instead of “beans.” That got us thinking — next time we make this (which will be soon!) we’re going to add peas. I think it would give the dish a great flavor and a little extra burst of texture in every bite.

This recipe can be found in Giada’s latest book, Giada’s Kitchen, or on the Food Network Web site.

If you haven’t noticed, we have some kind of pasta on our menu almost every week. I guess I can’t get away from it, but hey, what can I say? Sometimes, though, plain old pasta with red sauce or alfredo can get pretty boring — especially for someone like Billy who’s favorite food isn’t full or carbs. Last weekend we went through some recipes from one of Billy’s favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver. He had a recipe for spaghetti with smashed olives, tomatoes and garlic with wilted arugula that caught our eye, so we gave it a shot.

Here’s what you’ll need for the sauce:
– olive oil
– salt and pepper
– 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 small dried chili (we just used red pepper flakes)
– 3 “good handfuls” cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
– 1 “good handful” of olives, crushed and pitted
– 3 “good handfuls” arugula, roughly chopped
(Jamie Oliver’s recipes are never very exact, but they’re really easy and you can make them the way you prefer without fearing that you’ll screw up the recipe.)

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat and fry up the garlic and chili until they start to turn brown. If the oil is hot enough, this should only take about a minute. Add the tomatoes and olives and let cook for four to six minutes. The tomatoes will begin the burst, creating a chunky sauce. Before draining the pasta, reserve about a cup of the cooking water. Toss the drained pasta with the tomato and olive sauce, adding the arugula while everything is still hot to give it time to wilt. Top with freshly grated parmesean cheese and you’re done!

This was definitely something different, but it was really tasty. The sauce isn’t very thick at all, but it coats each strand of spaghetti and you can taste the garlic, tomatoes and olives throughout. The arugula and olives give the dish an unexpected bite while the tomatoes balance everything out giving it a really fresh taste. Overall, a pretty good dish!

DSC_0399(r)

P.S. I couldn’t find a copy of the original recipe anywhere online (weird, right?), but it can be found in Jamie’s book The Naked Chef Takes Off.

Probably since the day I could chew food, my absolute favorite meal in the entire universe is my great-grandma’s macaroni and peas. I know what you’re thinking, “Macaroni and peas? What the hell is that and why is it so good?” Let me explain….

It’s nothing complicated or fancy. It’s basically a soupy pasta dish with some onions, tomato sauce, and peas. Literally. But the deliciousness of this dish is unlike anything I can describe, but I’ll try. It’s tomato-y, pea-y and full of old-fashioned Italian simpleness. The sauce is thin and watery, yet holds a lot of flavor.

I hesitate to give out the (not so) secret recipe, but I insist that everyone try this dish. So, here it is in it’s short entirety.
Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 pound of some kind of small pasta (small is a must)
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 1 small can of tomato sauce
– 1 can Le Sueur peas, with juice (it is most certainly important that you use Le Sueur peas — trust me on this one)
– Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper flakes to taste

This will be one of the simplest dishes you ever make. First, saute the onions in a little olive oil until the become soft and translucent. Season them with the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (you can omit the red pepper flakes if you prefer). Next, add the can of tomato sauce. Let this simmer away for a few minutes so the sauce has time to heat up and cook down a little. Then, add the peas and all their juices. Stir to combine then remove the pot from the heat and add water. You need enough water to boil the pasta, but not so much that it takes away the flavor of the tomato paste and peas. I usually determine how much water I want by the color of the sauce. My personal preference is for it to remain fairly red, but you can add as much water as you like. (A good way to determine how much water you want is to taste as you’re adding to decide how strong of a flavor you want.) Bring the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook to al dente and serve right away. (That’s right ladies and gentlemen…no draining of the pasta water here!)

Perfection....

Perfection....

Billy likes to cook some sausage on the side, but I think that’s sabotage. (Secretly I think it’s pretty good, but still not right.) My great-grandma always makes breaded and fried chicken cutlets on the side. Either way, it is imperative that you have bread to dip in the sauce.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

I literally could eat a whole pound of this in one sitting, and if you know me that never happens. While I don’t think my mac and peas will ever be as good as Nanny’s, they sure do come in a close second (sorry mom). I think they’d make her proud.

BTW, if you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out and what you thought of it! Since it’s one of my favorites, I’m always interested in other people’s opinions.

P.S. Don’t judge our heart-shaped bowls. :)

Since our tomato plants have started to produce a million (okay, maybe not a million, but close!) tomatoes per day, we’ve been trying to come up with lots of different uses for the little buggers. They’re delicious by the way…and if you’d like some, you’re in luck.

Anyway, last night we made quite the summery (is that a word?) pasta. It was really simple, but also tasty.
Here’s what you’ll need:
– 2 tbsp. butter
– 2 tbsp. olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
– 5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper to taste
– 3/4 to 1 lb. fresh cherry tomatoes cut in half
– 1/2 cup white wine
– splash of lemon juice
– 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
– 1 cup (about) reserved pasta water (take it out at the last minute before draining the pasta)
– freshly grated Parmesan cheese

The sauce will take no longer than the pasta will take to cook…so start the water and let it come to a boil before doing anything else. Heat the butter and oil together in a pan over medium-high heat and when it starts to bubble add the garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Let the garlic cook until it starts to turn slightly brown (be careful not to overcook it otherwise it will become bitter). When the garlic starts to turn, add the wine and let it simmer, reducing by half.

Tomatoes Simmering Away

Tomatoes Simmering Away

At this point, the pasta should be at least half way cooked. Add the tomatoes and continue to simmer until the tomatoes start to burst (yum). At the last minute, add the basil and stir together. The pasta should be done by now. Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce and as much of the reserved water as you’d like (depends on the consistency you’re looking for), and you’re done! You can add sausage or shrimp or whatever else you like to this and it would still be just as tasty. (This time, Billy and I tossed in some sausage.)

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

This is a typical “sauceless” pasta, so what you’re looking for is basically a little bit of liquid covering each strand of pasta. There’s n o real science to the whole thing, as long as it tastes good, that’s all that matters. I hope your variation comes out as good as ours did!