Pasta all Gricia

A 15 minute dinner from beginning to end with few ingredients — super delicious and so easy to make. Be sure to save a cup of the water you cook the pasta in. I’m straight up licking every drop off my fingers, it’s that good.

IMG_7708

INGREDIENTS
Kosher salt, to taste

1 pound spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

7 ounces guanciale, cut into 1½-by-½-inch strips. I can’t ever find guanciale in the third world country of Silicon Valley, so I buy 4 slices of pancetta at the deli counter and ask them to cut it in about 1/4″ slices.

½ cup white wine

1 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish

a pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Season the water with salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. DON’T FORGET TO SAVE THE WATER!!!

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the guanciale and cook, turning often, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the white wine and red pepper flakes, and cook until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Pour in the reserved 1 cup of cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.

4. Add the pasta and the grated cheese and toss to coat. Cook, stirring vigorously, until a thick, silky sauce forms, 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Divide the pasta between plates and garnish with the minced parsley and more grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper, and eat it up!

Burrata and Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

I have been cooking . . . a lot. But work interferes with free time, and my recipes are stacking up.  Time to retire!  Eventually.

BS burrata

This is my new favorite pasta — 15 minute prep time and then put it in the oven. Delicious autumn-y, cheesy, lemony comfort food.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
One 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped and smashed
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (juice of ½ lemon)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
Two 8-ounce or four 4-ounce burrata balls

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.

2. Place the squash onto the prepared sheet tray and season the flesh with the olive oil and salt. Turn them so that they’re cut-side down and roast until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 7 to 10 minutes, then scoop the flesh into a medium bowl and set aside. Lower the oven to 375°. Yields about 3 cups. Make ahead: The squash and can be roasted and stored in fridge for up to 2 days.

3. While the squash is roasting, boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the jumbo shells to the water and cook until barely al dente, 9 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold running water for 1 minute.

4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, ¾ cup of the Parmesan, the egg, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and zest, oregano and cooled roasted squash. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Fill each cooked pasta shell with 1½ tablespoons of filling and snuggle the shells into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

5. Tear the burrata over the pasta, letting the curds and cream fall over and around the shells. Top with remaining Parmesan and bake until golden brown and bubbling, 30 minutes. Serve.

From Tasting Table

Baked Penne with Fresh Ricotta and Sausage

This is my favorite comfort food of the year.   You can make it any way that works for you, but it is only sublime with homemade ricotta which takes only 3 minutes of active time — 15 minutes of just letting it sit in a sieve to drain — and which tastes NOTHING like that cheese whiz gunk in tubs that you can buy at the grocery store.  I have made this for everyone I know.

penne

The rest of this recipe is super easy and the outcome is heavenly.  Make it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
  • One 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 3 cups Creamy Ricotta
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree, water, sugar, bay leaf and fennel. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the garlic, mash it to a paste and stir it back into the sauce; discard the bay leaf.
  • Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a slotted spoon, add the cooked sausage to the pasta, then add 1 cup of the tomato sauce and toss to coat the penne. 
  • Spoon the pasta into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the pasta and dollop large spoonfuls of the Creamy Ricotta on top. Gently fold some of the ricotta into the pasta; don’t overmix—you should have pockets of ricotta. Scatter the mozzarella on top and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake the pasta for about 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden on top. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

From Food and Wine magazine

Marcela Hazan’s Bolognese

A long lazy simmer on  a Sunday afternoon.

bolognese

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons butterplus 1 tablespoon for tossing the pasta
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  •  cup chopped celery
  •  cup chopped carrot
  • ¾ pound ground beef chuck (or you can use 1 part pork to 2 parts beef)
  •  Salt
  •  Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
  • 1 cup whole milk
  •  Whole nutmeg
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
  • 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds pasta (used pappardelle)
  •  Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table

PREPARATION

  1. Put the oil, butter and chopped onion in the pot and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.
  2. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble the meat with a fork, stir well and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color.
  3. Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add a tiny grating — about 1/8 teaspoon — of nutmeg, and stir.
  4. Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.
  5. Toss with cooked drained pasta, adding the tablespoon of butter, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

SERVES 6
This recipe is adapted from one in Claudia Fleming’sThe Last Course (Random House, 2001). Panna cotta means cooked cream.

1 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
7 tbsp. sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1. Soften gelatin in 1 tbsp. cold water in a medium bowl for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put cream and sugar into a small saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod into pan, then add pod. Heat cream over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, 3–5 minutes, then stir into bowl with gelatin. Stir in buttermilk, then strain into another bowl.

2. Divide custard between six 8-oz. ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. To unmold, dip ramekins into a dish of hot water, then invert custards  onto plates. Garnish with raspberries or other fruit, if you like.

Risotto Cakes with Fresh Chives and Fontina

  • 3 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
  • 1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 large eggs
  • Canola oil (for frying)
  • Additional grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh chives

Bring 3 cups broth to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep warm. Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add broth, 1/3 cup at a time, and simmer until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, and stirring often, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in 6 tablespoons Parmesan and butter. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread risotto in 13x9x2-inch pan and cool completely.

Mix 1/2 cup panko, Fontina cheese, parsley, chopped chives, and 1 egg yolk into risotto. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls; flatten to 2-inch rounds. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 250°F. Set another rimmed baking sheet in oven. Beat 2 eggs in shallow bowl to blend. Place 1 cup panko in another shallow bowl. Dip risotto cakes into beaten egg, then into panko to coat. Pour enough canola oil into large skillet to coat bottom; heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté risotto cakes until crisp and brown, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet in oven.

Serve risotto cakes sprinkled with cheese and garnished with chives.

Risotto with Butternut Squash, Pancetta and Sage

1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeds and strings removed,    and squash cut into dice no larger than 1/2″

1/4 lb. prosciutto, cooked until crisp

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large or 2 medium leeks, trimmed, washed, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into very thin slices

2 tbsp. scallions, white part only, cut into very thin rounds

Fine sea salt

1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage, or 1/2 tbsp. dried sage

1 cup Italian risotto rice, such as carnaroli, vialone, nano, baldo, or arborio

4 cups low-salt, low-fat chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine

1 tbsp. whole green peppercorns

1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese

1. Turn oven on to 350°. Lay the diced squash in a baking dish that can contain it all without overlapping. Pour in 1/2 cup water and put dish in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes. When cool, drain, then set aside.

2.   Pour 4 cups chicken broth into a saucepan and bring it to a steady simmer. Pour oil into a heavy 4–6-quart saucepan, add leeks and scallions, and turn on heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring from time to time, until leeks and scallions are very pale gold. Add half the squash together with some salt and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, turning it from time to time. Add sage and stir all the ingredients together. Add rice, turning it to coat well. Add half the wine, steadily stir the rice, and when all the wine has bubbled away, add the remaining half. Continue stirring to keep rice moving away from bottom and sides of pan.

3. Add a ladleful or two of the simmering broth. Stir constantly, adding simmering broth by the ladleful whenever the rice begins to dry out, threatening to stick to the pan. In about 15 minutes, when the rice is still hard and chalky to the bite, stir in the remaining squash. Continue to cook, stirring steadily and replenishing the broth when necessary, until rice has lost its chalky consistency and is tender, but still firm, to the bite. Do not let rice dry out completely when you are near the end, keeping its final consistency loose and flowing.

4. Crumble the reserved prosciutto, stirring it quickly into the risotto. Add green peppercorns and grated pecorino. Remove pan from heat and stir vigorously. Taste and correct for seasoning. Serve at once.

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