Elote (Mexican street corn) is one of our absolute favorite side dishes to have during the summer. We have yet to find anyone that doesn’t like it and will find an excuse to squeeze it into any dinner menu that we plan. To change things up for our Memorial Day menu, we wanted to take everything that we love about elote and transform those flavors into a pasta salad to serve a bigger crowd. This recipe is the real deal. It’s cheesy, spicy, and has that hint of lime that makes it taste refreshing as well. We are obsessed with this recipe and hope it finds a way to your picnic tables this summer. If you’re already cooking on the grill, we encourage you the char the corn on there while you cook for a smoky flavor that can’t be beat.
Everything we love about Mexican street corn folded into a warm delicious pasta salad. Bring on the summer barbecues!
1 lb spiral pasta (we used fusili)
4 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 tbs olive oil
1 8 oz package queso fresco
juice from 2 limes
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp Tajin
1/2 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately put it back into the pot it was cooked in.
While the water is coming to a boil, heat your oven broiler to high (if you are already cooking on the grill, feel free to do this step on the grill). Brush the ears of corn with the olive oil and be sure to coat on all sides. Put the corn onto a cookie sheet and broil until lightly charred. Rotate the corn as necessary so that most of the sides have a light char. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Once the pasta has finished cooking and it back in the pot, immediately crumble the queso fresco into the hot pasta and toss everything well to coat. The cheese will start to melt and make a light sauce for the pasta. Use a knife to remove the corn from the cobs and add the corn, lime juice, paprika, Tajin, and cilantro into the pot. Toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. This dish is best served warm to room temperature.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we adore a good noodle recipe that incorporates lots of spicy Asian flavors. We love eating traditional Thai curry, but now that the weather is getting warmer, the idea of a big bowl of soupy curry isn’t quite as welcome as it is in the winter. To get all of those same flavors without the soup, we created this red curry noodle bowl that has all of the flavors of our favorite curry recipes but with a texture and consistency that is more similar to a stir fry. The noodles are sticky and exploding with flavor. The key to making this a one pan recipe is to find noodles that are pre-cooked (or instant) in the Asian aisles of your grocery store. They soak up the curry and thicken as they heat in the sauce for the perfect slurping consistency.
We love the combination of the spicy red curry, creamy coconut milk, and crispy tofu in this dish.
1 package extra firm tofu
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/4 cup red curry paste
2 tsp soy sauce
1 can full fat coconut milk
16 oz of your favorite precooked rice noodles- we prefer more of a ramen/stir fry noodle for this recipe
1 cup snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into small bite sized pieces
chili oil, for garnish
fresh basil leaves, for garnish
fresh cilantro, for garnish
Drain the tofu of any liquid in the packaging. Use a kitchen towel or paper towels to press as much of the water out of the tofu as possible without destroying its shape. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces and again, gently press the water out of the tofu.
Heat a large sauté pan with vegetable oil. Add the tofu to the pan and season the tofu with salt. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, rotating the tofu half way through, or when it is starting to brown. Remove the tofu from the pan, leaving behind any oil that is left in the pan after cooking.
Add the ginger and garlic to the pan. If there is no oil left from the tofu, add a tablespoon of the fat from the coconut milk to the pan. Cook the garlic and ginger for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the red curry paste to the pan and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the soy sauce and coconut milk to the pan. Stir well so that everything is combined and let the coconut mixture simmer for about 3 minutes, or until it reduces by about 25%. Add the noodles and snap peas to the red curry mixture and toss well to coat. Cook for a few minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through. Add the tofu back into the pan and again toss to coat.
Serve the noodles and tofu into large bowls for serving. Garnish the noodles with fresh basil and cilantro, and a drizzle of chili oil, if desired.
Try as we might, we have yet to find a store-bought pesto that tastes as good as a homemade batch. We love making homemade sauces and pesto is one that we make regularly in the summer. We love to drizzle it over sliced tomatoes and mozzarella for a caprese salad, throw it on a grilled flatbread with artichokes and burrata, or use it as a base for pasta like in this recipe today. As we move into summer and have basil growing like crazy in the garden, we like to make a big batch of pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays so that we can pop it out and throw it into a recipe later on. We love this basic creamy pesto pasta recipe because it is so versatile throughout the spring and summer. It is great as it is or can be leveled up into a complete meal with the addition of some sautéed chicken. Because this pasta is a bit on the rich and decadent side, we like to balance things out by serving it with a punchy side dish like our Simple Arugula Salad.
Our go-to recipe for a classic fresh pesto transformed into a creamy sauce that is perfect with pasta.
Ingredients for the Pesto
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tbs toasted pine nuts
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable or avocado oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Pasta
1 lb fettuccini
1 tbs olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
a small pinch of chili flakes, optional
3/4 cup pesto
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pasta water
toasted pine nuts for garnish, optional
Make the pesto. Place the basil leaves, garlic, and pine nuts in a small blender or food processor. Pulse to combine the ingredients until the garlic and pine nuts are mostly broken down. Add the olive oil and vegetable oil to the blender and blend until evenly combined and the pesto is smooth. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend for just a moment to combine it with the other ingredients- do not over-blend to the point of melting the cheese in a hot blender. Remove from the blender and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Fill a large pot with salted water and bring the water to a boil. Cook the fettuccini according to package directions for al dente, or about 13 minutes. Remove at least 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta and set the pasta water aside.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes to the pan and sauté about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Be sure to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. Add the pesto and heavy cream to the pan and gently whisk the ingredients to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce the heat to low until the pasta is ready to be drained. Add the pasta immediately from the strainer to the creamy pesto sauce. Use tongs to gently combine the ingredients and get the pasta well coated with sauce. Add the pasta water a few tablespoons at a time, as necessary, to make sure that all of the pasta is covered with pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a few fresh basil leaves and toasted pine nuts for garnish.
One of our favorite food markets in Columbus, Ohio is the North Market which features a number of restaurants stalls and food providers. In the past, we have only been in Ohio for a short stay so we were only able to try the restaurants, but now that we are living here for baseball season, we have been able to try some of the food providers as well. Our latest visit brought us to Pastaria, where we purchased their mushroom and pancetta ravioli. Admittedly, this was a bit of an impulse purchase, but it forced us to be creative in the kitchen to decide how to serve it. What we came up with was this creamy pancetta and mushroom cream sauce, which brings out all of the earthy and savory flavors in the ravioli. To balance out the decadence of this meal we serve this with our super simple arugula salad, which provides the perfect peppery kick to the dish. We know that most people aren’t going to have access to a ravioli as specific as this, but the beauty of the sauce is that it will pair well with any cheese or mushroom ravioli you can find at the store.
A great recipe to give store bought ravioli an elegant makeover.
24 mushroom and pancetta ravioli (any cheese or mushroom ravioli can substitute)
4 oz cubed pancetta
1 tbs olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
10 oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
fresh basil, for garnish
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Keep at a simmer until it is time to cook the ravioli.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, garlic, and shallot to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the shallot and garlic start to become fragrant. Add the mushrooms and thyme to the pan, along with a pinch of salt to bring out the liquid in the mushrooms. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have reduced in size by half.
Add the white wine to the pan. Cook until the wine has reduced by half (roughly 5 minutes) before adding the stock and heavy cream. Stir well to combine and reduce the heat to medium; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the ravioli according to package directions so that they are al dente. Gently remove the ravioli from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain any excess water. Put them directly into the mushroom sauce. Gently stir everything and cook the ravioli for a minute in the pan so absorb the sauce.
Serve the ravioli on each of four plates. Top with a generous amount of freshly chopped basil and the toasted pine nuts to serve.
We recently visited family in New York and were over served with delicious Italian food all week long. Our favorite kind of vacation. Kidd’s side of the family is well known for cooking up many specialty Italian dishes and we spent the week being spoiled with meal after meal of our favorite dishes. With grilling season on its way, we thought we would take some of the classic Italian ingredients we love – salami, pepperoni, and mozzarella – and combine them into a big bowl of pasta salad. This pasta salad is hearty, indulgent and everything you want in a savory side dish. It’s perfect to serve in the summer for a cookout or as a main dish for family dinner.
All of our favorite classic Italian ingredients combined to make a perfect pasta salad.
Pasta Salad Ingredients
1 lb bow tie pasta
1 lb salami, sausage style
1 lb pepperoni, sausage style
1 can black olives
1 can artichoke hearts
16 oz fresh mozzarella
fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbs Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pasta salad ingredients. Chop the remaining ingredients (salami through mozzarella) into bite sized pieces. Place the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, toss the warm pasta with the pasta salad ingredients. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh parsley. You can serve this pasta salad warm or refrigerate it if you are making it in advance. Bring it back to room temperature before serving.
Like some of our best recipes, this pasta first came about by accident. The week before Ryan’s triathlon, we were doing lots of carbo-loading and also trying to clean out the fridge before leaving town for the big race. As you know by now, we love a good cheese board, and for the sake of having enough food we often have quite a bit of leftovers. To solve two problems in one, we made a hodgepodge pasta with all of the cheese board leftovers and called it Antipasto Pasta. It was a combination of prosciutto, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and olive tapenade. The result was good… like really good. So many salty delicious flavors melding into one decadent pasta dish. We enjoyed it so much that we have made it a number of times since and hope to share it to your homes as well.
Some of our favorite recipes happen by accident, and this antipasto pasta is one of our favorites. We have used all of our favorite cheese board ingredients to make a savory, delicious pasta dish.
1 lb of your favorite long pasta (we use bucatini or spaghetti)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
2 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
2/3 cup olive tapenade
1 cup artichoke hearts, cut in half if they are large and drained of any oil or water
4 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced and torn into bite sized pieces
6 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Heat a large pot of water over high heat. Bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the water is heating, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and red chili flakes to the pan and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers, olive tapenade, artichoke hearts, and proscuitto to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, gently stirring so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add the spinach to the pan and cover for another 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Give everything a good stir to combine all of the ingredients.
When the pasta has finished cooking, remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot before draining the pasta. Add the pasta to the saute pan (or back into the pasta pot if you are running out of room). Toss all of the ingredients together well to combine, adding pasta water as necessary to make sure that the pasta is not dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in big bowls with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
We love Asian food of all kinds (seriously, we are pretty obsessed) and for those lunches and dinners where we want to cook in, we jump at the opportunity to cook with some of the Asian flavors we like most. These crispy sesame chicken bowls are the perfect recipe for an easy and flavorful family dinner that everyone will be looking forward to. We have put a lot of love into creating a crispy sesame chicken that is sweet, spicy and savory. The chicken is combined with mushrooms, edamame and carrots – but really you can use almost any vegetable you have on hand – and tossed with a sesame flavored noodles. The results are simply to die for. Our audience for this meal was aged 1.5 to 65 and everyone was equally pleased and satisfied.
An Asian inspired noodle bowl that comes together in under 30 minutes.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
1 cup corn starch
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbs hoisin sauce
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sambel oelek (garlic chili paste)
1/2 orange, juiced
Noodle Bowl Ingredients
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
2 cups fresh ramen noodles (if you can’t find fresh, dry noodles work just fine)
2 tbs sesame oil
1 lb white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shelled edamame (defrost in advance if you purchase frozen)
Prepare the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and cornstarch. Use your hand or a spoon to toss the chicken in the corn starch until the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sambal oelek and orange juice.
Cook the chicken. In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tbs of the sesame oil. Add the chicken and sauté for 5 minutes until the chicken is crisped and browned on all sides. Add the sauce mixture and continue sautéing for an additional five minutes. The sauce will thicken and the chicken will be dark and sticky.
Prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. Set aside.
Cook the noodles according to package directions.
While the noodles are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Using the same sauté pan as the chicken (you don’t need to bother rinsing it out), heat the remaining sesame oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through. Add the edamame and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
Bring it all together. Add the noodles and sauce to the vegetables and toss together so that all of the ingredients are combined and warmed through. Serve immediately in a bowl and top with the chicken.
You may remember a few weeks ago that we put our chef skills to the test and made homemade fettuccini. We have to admit that even after Jamie’s famous pasta fail in culinary school, the homemade pasta process is a lot of fun and really not too difficult if you give it your full attention. That is why we decided to make it the main event of our 2021 Valentine’s Day Menu! It’s a fun bonding experience for a couple’s night in and a great activity to do with kids of all ages. There is something so satisfying about seeing your homemade pasta on a plate, even if it looks a little less perfect than restaurant quality.
To take things up another notch, we have made this preparation of pasta by incorporating lobster and a decadent cream sauce. It is Valentine’s Day, right?! We are pretty much obsessed with this recipe and we know you will be as well. Adding lobster, an ingredient that we don’t cook with often, to our homemade pasta and a creamy lemon sauce… .. well, let’s just say we are overwhelmed with food joy. If you don’t have easy access to live lobsters, you can buy lobster tails as an easy option for this recipe. Be sure to also take a look in the freezer section of your grocery store; Whole Foods sells frozen lobster meat that is delicious and had quite a bit of claw meat – our favorite!
Our decadent lobster pasta for two! The perfect addition to your Valentine’s Day celebrations.
1 recipe of our homemade fettuccini, or 1/2 lb fettuccini
12-16 oz lobster meat (thawed if frozen), or 3 lobster tails (thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
4 tbs salted butter, divided
5 large sprigs of thyme
2 lemons (the second lemon is for garnish and optional)
1 shallot, minced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Put the white wine, 2 tbs of butter, and thyme in a medium sized sauce pot. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot and add the lemon rind to the pot as well. Bring the pot to a low simmer and add the lobster meat. If you are using lobster tails, poach the lobster tails in their shells to get extra lobster flavor. Poach the lobster tails for about 6 minutes – until just warmed through. It is okay if the lobster is undercooked at this point, as it will be cooked again later. After the lobster has warmed, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and set the lobster meat aside. Remove the lemon rinds and pour the wine sauce into a bowl and reserve it for later.
Use the same pot to heat the remaining 2 tbs of butter. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of the wine sauce to the pot and let that liquid reduce by 1/3 up to 1/2 over medium heat. When the liquid has reduced, remove any thyme or lemon that is in the pot, and add the heavy cream. Give everything a good stir and let the cream sauce come to a slow simmer. Add the lobster back into the sauce and let the sauce reduce again over the lowest heat on your stove while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. If you are using our fresh fettuccini recipe, cook the pasta for about 3 minutes, or until al dente. If you are using a packaged pasta, cook to the lower time of the cooking instructions. Reserve some of the pasta water before draining the pasta.
Put the pasta back into its cooking pot and add the lemon cream sauce to the pasta. Gently stir it to combine all of the ingredients and to let the pasta absorb the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta water to thin it back out to your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Serve the pasta in two large bowls. Top with fresh parsley and additional lemon slices, if desired.
As you may recall from the holiday season, one of our gifts to ourselves this year was a subscription to Master Class. For the month of January, Jamie has been working through Gordon Ramsay’s class, which includes a section about making pasta from scratch. Ironically, Jamie failed her first pasta making class in culinary school, so this recipe is a little bit of a redemption song from that fateful day in Philadelphia.
While making pasta from scratch might seem intimidating, it’s actually quite easy and a lot of fun. It’s a great activity for an at home date night or a fun way to include your kids in the kitchen. We are giving you step by step instructions (with photos) so that you can easily follow along if this is your first time making any sort of pasta from scratch. We have purchased this pasta roller and cutter from Amazon- there are a million to choose from but this one is pretty inexpensive and gets the job done just fine. Stay tuned for an exciting recipe coming Valentine’s Day week, where we use this fettuccini to make lobster pasta!
Step 1: Measure the flour and make it into a well on a cold surface. We have used 00 flour for this recipe (you can find it at Whole Foods and most grocery stores).
Step 2: Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add 1/3 of the egg mixture + the olive oil to the center of the flour well.
Step 3: Use a fork to start dragging the flour in towards the center and mixing it with the eggs. Be careful not to break through the flour wall to help avoid having the eggs spill out of the center… you’ll make a big mess if you do!
Step 4: Continue this process until the egg is mostly absorbed by flour.
Step 5: Add another 1/3 of the egg mixture. Repeat the process of adding flour with your fork until the egg is mostly absorbed with flour.As you get towards the end of the flour, the dough should start to form into a wet ball.
Step 6:Ditch the fork and cover your hands in a light layer of flour. Start to use your hands to form the dough into a ball. At this point you will have to gauge if you need any more of the egg mixture or if the dough is at a good consistency. In the many batches of pasta we made for this recipe, we never used all of eggs.The dough should be dry enough to start forming a ball but not so dry that it has no traction on your surface when you knead it. When it doubt, resist adding anything to the dough at first.
Step 7: Start to knead the dough by folding over the top corner of the dough into the center of the ball.
Step 8: Use the heel of your palm to push the dough from the fold back towards the top. Turn the dough 1/4 of a turn and repeat this process for 5 minutes or so. This is where the gluten in the flour develops so that the pasta holds its shape during cooking.It is around this point that you might decide you need to add a little flour if the dough is constantly sticking to the counter surface or a little egg if the dough is dry and very crumbly.
Step 9: The dough will start to become more smooth and form into a ball with little cracks. Continuing kneading for a few more minutes.
Step 10: You will know when you are done kneading when the dough appears shiny and very smooth. At this point, you can tightly saran wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 20 minutes to rest.
Step 11: After refrigerating, lightly flourthe surface that you want to roll the dough. Put a dusting of flour on a rolling pin and begin to roll the dough out into a long rectangle, keeping in mind that the pasta will have to fit through the width of the roller.
Step 12: Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can make it with a rolling pin. Don’t go crazy to make this super thin- that is what the pasta roller is for!
Step 13: It is time to use the pasta roller! This is our favorite part. Put a light dusting of flour all over the pasta roller. Begin to gently feed the dough into the pasta roller on its thickest setting (1). Be sure to pull the pasta out of the roller as it goes through the machine so that it doesn’t stick. Roll the pasta through the thickest setting three times before moving down to the next setting. If at any point the dough appears to be sticking to the roller or to itself as it comes out, give it a little dusting with flour and continue.
Step 14: For this recipe, we are making fettuccini, which is a rather thick pasta. While the rolling is fun, unfortunately we are only doing to roll down to a 2 or 3 setting on the pasta roller. Make sure you roll the pasta through the machine twice on each thickness setting, for a total of seven times through the machine (three times on the 1 setting, two times on the 2 setting, and two times on the 3 setting). At this point, it is ready to go into the cutting side of the machine.
Step 15: Cut the pasta dough into the length that you want your pasta for cooking – we suggest anything from about 6 – 10 incheslong. You will have about 3 segments of dough based on the quantity of this recipe. Make sure that the cutting side of your pasta roller is well floured and feed each of the segments through the pasta cutter.
Step 16: Gently separate any pieces of pasta that have stuck together, using an extra light coating of flour if necessary so that the noodles don’t cook in one clump. If you don’t plan to use the pasta right away, store it in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
Step 17: Cook the pasta and serve with any sort of sauce variation that sounds good to you! Remember that fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta; it may be in the boiling water for only 2-3 minutes before it is al dente.Our recipe for Creamy Lemon Lobster Pasta is coming Valentine’s Day week… stay tuned!
We are taking things up a notch in the kitchen and making pasta from scratch!
1 cup 00 flour + more for rolling the pasta dough
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp olive oil
Pour the flour onto a flat surface and make a well with the flour so that when you pour the eggs in, none of the liquid will escape.
Put the eggs and egg yolk into a bowl and whisk well to combine.
Add the olive oil and about 1/3 of the egg mixture to the center of the well. Use a fork to gently pull flour in from the edges to the center of the egg mixture. Gently mix the flour into the eggs, pulling more flour in as needed. When the dough is starting to get too dry from flour, add another 1/3 of the egg mixture. Continue to the process until all of the flour and egg are absorbed. Pay attention at this point before adding the remainder of the egg- err on the side of not adding the eggs and seeing how the dough forms before you make the dough too wet. After making a few batches of pasta, we never added all of the egg to the flour.
Lightly coat your hands with some extra 00 flour. Use your hands to begin to form the dough into a ball. The dough will be on the wet side, which is why it is important to have your hands coated in flour. Start to knead the dough into a ball, adding flour as necessary so that it starts to take shape. Knead the dough by taking the top corner of the dough, folding it down, and using your palm to knead it. Repeat the process many times, for about 5 minutes. The kneading helps the gluten in the flour develop and will help the pasta keep its shape while cooking. You will know you are done kneading when the dough has an almost glossy appearance and the forms into a smooth ball without any rips. Wrap the pasta dough tightly in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, up to overnight.
Assemble your pasta roller and toss a light coating of 00 flour all over the pasta roller and your counter work space. Remove the dough from the saran wrap and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough lengthwise as thin as you can get it with a rolling pin, making sure to pick up the dough every once in a while to make sure that it isn’t sticking to the counter. Flour as necessary to make sure this doesn’t happen. You want the dough to be in a long rectangle, keeping in mind that it has to fit through your pasta roller.
When the dough is as thin as you can make it with the rolling pin, begin the process of putting it through the pasta roller. Set the pasta roller onto “1” thickness, or the thickest width option. Roll the pasta through the machine, being careful to gently drag it out from the bottom as you continue to roll. Roll the pasta through the thickest “1” setting 3 total times before moving it down to the next setting.
For this pasta recipe, we are making a fettuccini. That means that we will only go down to a 2 or a 3 setting, as fettuccini is much thicker than other pastas. Roll the pasta through the “2” setting two times before moving down to the “3” setting. If you like the thickness of the pasta dough at the “2”, you can stop there and continue to the next step.
When you are ready to use the cutting portion of the pasta roller, lay the pasta dough onto your workspace and use a pairing knife to cut the dough width wise into about 8″ long sections. The pasta cutter that we have linked above has a spaghetti width and a fettuccini width. Make sure you use the fettuccini cutter – it will be the thicker shape – to cut each of the segments of pasta. Make sure you flour the pasta before putting it through the cutter so that the strands of pasta separate from one another. After you have cut the pasta, keep it in an air tight container until you are ready to cook it.
To cook the pasta, bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta and cook 1-3 minutes, or until it is the texture you desire. Serve with whatever sauce pairings you can dream up!
We love a good comfort food recipe and are particularly fond of this cheesy baked penne. We recently had a friend who was ill, and to lend a helping hand, we prepared this recipe to send to his house. In the days of social distancing, dinner on the doorstep is an easy gesture for someone that could use some TLC. We love this dish because it has a little bit of everything including sausage and loads of cheese. You can make it and bake it all in one batch as the recipe describes below, or you can refrigerate it before baking and either deliver it to a friend or save it for yourself for later. It appeals to even the pickiest of eaters, so it’s great if you are looking for a kid friendly meal to add to your recipe rotation!
Our version of comfort food! We love making this penne on cold nights or to leave for a friend to bake later.
1 lb penne pasta
1 lb Italian sausage, removed from the casing (spice level is up to you)
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup tomato paste
15 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
15 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large stock pot full of salted water to a boil. When the water is rapidly boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Strain the pasta and place the pasta back in the pot you cooked it in.
Heat a large Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook to brown, about 5 minutes. Use your spatula to break the sausage up into bite sized pieces. When the sausage has browned (it doesn’t have to be cooked through), remove it from the pan into a bowl for later use. You want to leave about 2 tbs of fat from the sausage in the pot, if there is any. If there isn’t add the 2 tbs olive oil and let it get warm.
Add the onion to the pot; sauté for 4 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste to the pan and sauté for another 3-4 minutes- this helps caramelize and bring out the sweetness of the tomato paste.
Add the next 4 ingredients (whole tomatoes – dried oregano) to the pot. Give everything a good stir and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce into an even consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the sausage back to the sauce. Remove 1 cup of the sauce and 1 cup of the ricotta and toss it with the pasta. It’s okay if the pasta is at room temperature at this point, as it is all going in the oven.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the pasta in the baking dish. Use a spoon to put dollops of the remaining ricotta cheese throughout the pasta. Top the pasta with the tomato sauce, shaking the pan or using a spatula to dig the sauce into all the crevices of the pasta. Top the sauce with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the baking dish.**
Bake the penne for 20 minutes covered and another 10 minutes uncovered. Top with fresh basil, if desired. Let the pasta rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
** At this point, you can refrigerate the penne and bake at a later time. If you are cooking the penne from a refrigerated temperature, bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes; 30 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered so that the cheese is melted and bubbly. Rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.