Our inspiration for this recipe came from a weekend trip to the farmers’ market. There are so many fresh vegetables available this time of year, and we took a few things we bought and turned them into an orzo salad. This pasta has everything we love about summer- zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh corn- combined and tossed together with a delicious brown butter sauce. The sauce gives the veggies a decadent richness and makes the dish really pop. We topped the orzo with fresh basil and feta for the ultimate summer side dish. We like to serve this warm right after it is finished, but it also refrigerates well and leftovers can be served at room temperature.
Brown Butter and Orzo Salad Makes: 8 side servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes
1 lb orzo
1 stick of butter
3 tbs garlic, minced
1 white onion, chopped
2 ears of corn removed from husk
1 green zucchini
1 English cucumber
1 pound cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 bunch of basil, chiffonaded
Cook the orzo per package directions; about 10 minutes for most varieties.
While the orzo is cooking, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once it is nice and bubbly, add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
Chop the squash, cucumber and tomato into bite sized pieces. Combine in a bowl with the orzo. Pour the butter sauce over the top of the orzo and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with the feta and basil. This dish can be served warm or be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.
We love mac & cheese more than most things in life. It’s our favorite accompaniment for any bbq menu and most family gatherings. In the spirit of keeping ourselves “bikini ready” this summer, we wanted to create our version of a healthier mac & cheese recipe. Our goal was to create an alternative that is healthier than most recipes without sacrificing taste.
To do this we used cauliflower as the base of our cheese sauce! It might sound like an odd choice, but steamed cauliflower is a delicious, mostly neutral, creamy base and often used for similar vegan recipes. Our mac is hardly vegan, and to help cut having a strong cauliflower taste, we used sharp white cheddar and gruyere to cheese up our macaroni. We chose to steam the cauliflower to preserve most of the vegetable’s nutrients, but you can save some time by boiling the cauliflower or buying frozen cauliflower florets. As long as the cauliflower is fork-tender, it is ready to be made into sauce. The results are pretty darn excellent and we don’t feel bad about digging in all summer long!
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Makes: 8 servings Prep Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes
1 lb pasta
1 large head cauliflower
12 oz milk or vegetable stock
2 tbs butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground mustard
6 oz block sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
6 oz block Gruyere cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the leaves and excess stem from the cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Fill a large steamer pot with about 2 inches of water and heat on high. Put the cauliflower florets into the steamer basket, cover, and cook the cauliflower for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower can easily be pierced with a fork.
While the cauliflower is steaming, heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
When the cauliflower is fork-tender, remove it from the steamer and place it directly into a large food processor or blender. Pulse the cauliflower so that it starts to break down. Add the liquid- the milk or vegetable stock- to the blender 1/4 cup at a time, until the cauliflower forms a thick and smooth sauce. Reserve any extra liquid that you did not use in case you need to thin the sauce after adding the cheese.
Heat the pot you used to cook the pasta over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot and give it a quick stir until it is melted. Add the cauliflower puree, garlic powder, and ground mustard to the pot and stir. Add about 3/4 of each of the cheeses to the cauliflower and continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted. If at any point you think the sauce is too thick, add more of the liquid to the sauce. When the sauce is completely melted and has a thick but smooth texture, give it a taste and season it with salt and pepper.
Add the pasta to the sauce and stir thoroughly to combine. Spray a large pyrex baking dish with cooking spray and transfer the mac and cheese from the pasta pot to the pyrex. Use a spatula to spread the mac and cheese into an even layer in the dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly, before serving.
We love serving pasta salad as a side dish for a cookout or barbecue. There are hundreds of recipes to choose from, but we tend to go with a veggie filled pesto version as we head into the heart of summer. Pasta salads can often time be filled with mayo which makes it a very bulky side dish. This version is made with quinoa pasta, pesto, and tons of veggies like zucchini and roasted tomatoes. It is filling, yet healthy, and goes with just about everything. We prefer to serve this pasta salad warm or room temperature; if you want to serve it chilled make sure you mix it well and season again with salt and pepper, as chilled foods tend to taste less seasoned than hot foods.
Summer Pasta Salad Makes: 8 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes
1 lb fusilli pasta (we used a quinoa based)
2 tbs olive oil
2 zucchini, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and diced
2 yellow squash, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup pesto
1/3 cup grated or crumbled Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 12 minutes to al dente. Reserve 3/4 – 1 cup of pasta water before straining the pasta into a sink.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes or until the garlic is starting to brown. Add the zucchini to the pan and saute for another 4-5 minutes, or until the zucchini also starts to brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the zucchini from the pan and add the tomatoes. Cook just a few minutes- you don’t want the tomatoes to turn into a sauce- you just want them to brown up.
Put the pesto in a large serving bowl. Add the hot pasta and stir everything well, adding pasta water as necessary so that everything is nicely coated and not sticky. Add the zucchini and tomatoes to the pasta and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
If it isn’t abundantly clear, we love ourselves a good noodle bowl. It was love at first bite when we first tried Momofuku in New York and have made it a point every time we go to the city to stop by for noodles, steamed buns, and any and everything else on the menu. One summer we tried their Chilled Ramen Bowl and Tate’s Dad couldn’t get enough. We have since been recreating this dish at our homes so we can enjoy it year round. This dish is the perfect combo of spicy, sweet and crunchy. We used spinach in this recipe but you can substitute for any green vegetable that you have on hand. Because it is served cold, you can make extras that will hold up extremely well in your fridge so you can have this all week long.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the cashews by combining the cashews, sugar, and water in a small bowl- stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a medium skillet over medium heat. Let the liquid and sugar start to bubble. When it starts to caramelize pour the cashews onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cashews are golden brown and crunchy.
While the cashews are cooking, start the pork. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork, ginger, thai chiles, and garlic to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until the pork is cooked through. Add the spinach, reduce the heat, and cook until the spinach is cooked through. Drain most of the fat from the pan, reserving 1/4 cup for the noodles, and turn the heat off the pan.
Cook the noodles. Heat a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles when they have finished cooking and rinse with cold water to cool. Toss the noodles with the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil; season with salt to taste. If they need a little extra liquid, use a bit of the reserved fat from the pork to give them a flavorful coating.
Create the noodle bowls by layering the noodles on the bottom of the bowl. Top with the ground pork and spinach mix and finish with the candied cashews. Garnish with chopped scallions if desired.
** You can skip this step and buy a number of candied cashew varieties at the grocery store and skip this step! We often use Trader Joe’s Sesame Candied Cashews as a quick replacement.
Keeping things simple in quarantine does not mean that the food we make has to lack flavor. This penne a la vodka has just a few ingredients, most of them pantry ingredients, and is a much more exciting dinner than regular old spaghetti. Not to mention we could all use a little extra dash of vodka these days! Our recipe is different from other vodka sauce recipes because we cook the vodka down separately before adding the tomatoes. This helps smooth out the vodka taste so that there’s just a hint of it compared to other bolder tasting variations. We love to serve this creamy pasta as it is, but also bulk it up with slices of chicken or chicken sausage for a complete meal.
Penne a la Vodka Makes: 4 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes
1 lb penne pasta (we used Trader Joe’s brown rice penne)
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup vodka
1- 28 oz can tomato puree
2/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 basil leaves, chiffonade
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large soup pot over high heat to bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 8 minutes depending on the pasta you have chosen. When the pasta has finished cooking, remove 1/2 cup of pasta water with a measuring cup and drain the pasta in your sink. Set aside.
While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
Add the butter and olive oil to the pan, letting the pan get hot and until the butter starts to bubble. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the vodka to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes to burn off most of the alcohol.
Add the tomato puree to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook another 7 minutes.
Add the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the cheese to the tomato sauce. Stir and keep over medium heat until the cheese is melted.
Add the pasta water and pasta to the pan. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve hot with chopped basil and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, for garnish.
Yesterday we posted a detailed recipe about how we confit cherry tomatoes during the spring and late fall to help give out-of-season tomatoes a flavor boost. We infuse them by cooking the tomatoes low and slow in the oven in a bath of olive oil, garlic, and herbs to help bring them to life. These little blistered gems are great for storing in the fridge and freezer so that they are available to us on a whim. One of our favorite uses of them is for pasta. The fresh tomatoes give a nice remix to traditional pureed tomato sauce and are already super flavorful from the garlic and herbs. We top the angel hair with fresh burrata and basil for the ultimate simple dinner. If you’ve made the tomatoes in advance, dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes.
Angel Hair with Confit Tomatoes & Burrata
Makes: 4 servings
Total Time: 20 minutes if you have made the tomatoes in advance; 1 hour 20 minutes if you have not
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan. Sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is starting to crisp and become fragrant. Add the white wine and confit tomatoes to the pan and cook another 3 minutes. Reduce the heat of the pan to low until the pasta is finished.
Heat a large stock pot with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook the angel hair according to package directions, about 4 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the water from the pot before draining the pasta. Drain in the sink and throw the pasta directly into the tomato pan. Increase the heat to medium high.
Use tongs to toss the pasta in the tomato sauce so that the pasta is coated with the sauce. Add the pasta water as needed if the tomatoes and oil seem too dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the pasta in a large, family style bowl. Top with the burrata, basil, and another drizzle of olive oil.
A few days of quarantine and social distancing has proven to be quite the challenge for our mental health. It’s hard to feel like we all aren’t going a little crazy in the midst of the world’s chaos. In order to bring some normalcy back into our lives, we created this ravioli recipe. It is simple in ingredients but elevated in taste and presentation. Just the act of eating a composed plate has helped us feel a little less out of our heads and more like we are participating in the real world.
This semi-homemade recipe involves just a few ingredients but really ups the game on what dinner looks like. We have taken pre-made lobster ravioli and combined it with shrimp, spinach, and a lemon cream sauce to create a recipe that feels a little more sophisticated in the days of freezer meals. As always with our recipes, substitute the ingredients you have on hand if you can’t find these in your grocery store. Frozen shrimp and frozen spinach are easy substitutes for fresh and any cheese flavor ravioli will be great in this recipe if you can’t find lobster ravioli in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, 1 tbs garlic, and spinach and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the spinach begins to wilt. You don’t want the spinach to wilt away completely, you just want to cook out most of the water. Remove the spinach from the pan onto a plate and set aside.
Add the second tbs of olive oil to the pan. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Cook the shrimp 3 minutes per side and remove them from the pan onto the plate with the spinach.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook according to package directions.
While the ravioli are cooking, add the remaining tbs of oil to the saute pan. Add the remaining 2 tbs garlic and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice and white wine to the pan. Whisk to combine and cook another 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Reduce the heat and add the heavy cream, Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the ravioli have finished cooking, remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and place directly into the lemon cream sauce. Toss well to coat before adding the spinach and shrimp back into the pan. Cook another 2 minutes so that the flavors can combine. Season as necessary before serving.
We love a good Asian-inspired noodle dish about as much as we love anything in this world. No matter what type of restaurant we are dining at, if noodles are on the menu, we will always partake. One of the problems with dishes like drunken noodles or pad thai is that they do not typically reheat well and creating these types of recipes for a crowd can be a struggle to cook everything at the exact right time so that it comes out tasting fresh and texturally correct. Our solution to this problem is to serve the noodles we cook for more than a few people chilled. This allows for a more relaxed preparation and on a day we are having friends over, we can actually enjoy the company and the food.
The key to any chilled dish is seasoning the heck out of the ingredients. A recipe served chilled tastes significantly less seasoned than the exact same dish served hot. For that reason our dressing packs a punch. If you are making these for a particular meal we suggest serving them at room temperature right after cooking the noodles. If you want to make them for meal-prep and have this as a weekday lunch, chill the noodles completely before adding the other ingredients. This will help the vegetables stay fresh for a day or two before eating.
1 lb noodles- we used pad thai noodles but soba are a great choice too
2 cups frozen edamame beans
1 cup shredded carrots
1 bell pepper, sliced in half horizontally and then into thin matchsticks
fresh cilantro, for garnish
sesame seeds, for garnish
For the Dressing:
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs+ Sriracha or other chili paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs fresh ginger, minced
salt to taste
Heat a large pot of water on the stove top. Bring to a boil and cook the edamame, from frozen, according to package directions (approximately 4-5 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans from the pot and set aside.
Cook the noodles according to package directions, about 6 minutes. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the dressing.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing (sesame oil – ginger) in a small mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine and season with salt. Set aside.
Drain the noodles from the boiling water. Run the noodles under cold water until they are luke warm to the touch if you are serving right away, until they are cold if you are making this to serve later.
Add the noodles and dressing to a large mixing bowl. Toss well to combine as the pad thai noodles can become sticky. Add the edamame, bell pepper, and carrots to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Season as needed and top with cilantro and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.
Fun fact. Tate’s mom made this pesto using the Beaba baby food steamer and processor. In this season of life, making baby food regularly, it made the most sense to re-purpose kitchen tools that were already in use. Regardless of process, we were able to create a pasta dish that is easy to make and tasty for the whole family. One of the best parts of this recipe is that it can easily be made dairy free by not adding any Parmesan cheese while serving. Healthy, simple, and delicious? We call that a weeknight win.
Broccoli Pesto Pasta Makes: 4 servings Total Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients for Pesto:
1 head of broccoli (feel free to buy a package of broccoli florets instead)
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp red chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Pasta:
1 lb of your favorite pasta (we used cavatappi)
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Steam the head of broccoli over a pot of water or in a steamer (or in the Beaba) for 15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender when poking with a fork or knife.
Transfer the broccoli to a blender and add the remaining pesto ingredients (cilantro – red chili flakes). Blend until you get a smooth consistency. Depending on your definition of “bunch”, you may need to add more olive oil. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Cook the pasta al dente per the package directions. Rinse the pasta with cold water and add back to the hot pot that you cooked it in. Add the pesto and toss so that the pesto thoroughly coats the pasta.
Place the pasta in a serving dish and add chopped tomatoes and Parmesan. Serve warm.
hen Tuck’s parents first started dating, Tuck’s dad did not eat Asian food. The Neistat girls (Tuck & Tate’s moms) believe they were Asian in another life, that is how much they crave dishes like pho, sushi, and Chinese dumplings on a regular basis. So, you can imagine, that when Tuck’s dad refused to eat Thai food late after a baseball game, Tuck’s mom nearly had a meltdown.
Over the years, Tuck’s dad has evolved his food palate immensely, and we think that is partly due to this Tofu Peanut Noodle recipe. The peanut sauce ingredients-soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chili sauce, and rice wine vinegar- are a 101 Intro Class into Asian flavors. Blending them with peanut butter tames their flavors and makes the sauce approachable for everyone. As with all of our recipes, feel free to modify the vegetables that we have added to the noodles so that you can use up what you have in your refrigerator. We love this recipe fresh off the stove and served hot, but we always make extra so that we can have it the next day for a quick lunch on-the-go. Tofu Peanut Noodles
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients For The Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sriracha or other chili paste (3 if you want to feel the burn)
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
salt, to taste
Ingredients For The Noodles :
1 package tofu
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs sesame oil
2 (2/3 cup) shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large handful of green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup edamame beans, thawed if frozen
7 oz (1/2 package) rice noodles, sometimes called pad thai noodles or pho noodles
1 cup pasta water
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish (optional)
Make the sauce. Combine all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce (peanut butter – ginger) in a large mixing bowl. If the sauce resembles a thick paste, that is okay. You will dilute the peanut sauce with pasta water after you finish cooking the noodles. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces and put into the large skillet. Let the tofu dehydrate and cook for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to flip the tofu every few minutes. When it starts to stick to the pan, coat the tofu with cooking spray and season with salt and the garlic powder. Remove the tofu from the pan into a second bowl; cover and keep warm.
Cook the rest of the vegetables (carrots – edamame) in the same skillet you cooked the tofu. Coat the pan with the 1 tbs of sesame oil and cook the vegetables until they are tender- 4 or 5 minutes. Season with salt and place the vegetables into the same bowl as the tofu and cover again to keep warm.
Heat a large pot full of water to boil the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions- which should be about 3 minutes. Carefully remove the noodles from the water with tongs straight into the peanut sauce bowl. This will help the peanut sauce dilute to reach your desired consistency. If the water from the noodles is not enough, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to add hot pasta water to the peanut sauce. Continue to use tongs to toss the pasta until the sauce is evenly coated on the noodles. As this point, taste the noodles and season with salt and sriracha as needed.
Gently toss the vegetables and tofu with the peanut noodles. Serve immediately.