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.
As the weather starts turning cooler, we find that we start craving warm and hearty meals. One of our favorite family meals is stuffed shells. There are so many different ways to customize a stuffed shells recipe; you can incorporate the protein of your choice or add vegetables to get your greens in. For this version, we have chosen to incorporate ground beef, pesto and ricotta. We love the flavor combination of pesto and ricotta. The pesto brings in an herby freshness and the ricotta adds creaminess and unctuousness to the dish. This recipe can be prepared in advance and baked just as your family or friends come over for dinner. Serve this with our Kale Salad: Autumn Edition and you have balanced, full dinner.
Pesto and Ricotta Stuffed Shells Makes: 8 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes
Ingredients for the Sauce:
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2, 28oz cans tomato sauce
1 cup of water
1 tbs salt
Ingredients for the Shells:
1 package jumbo pasta shells
3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup basil, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Make the sauce. In a large pot, sauté the ground beef until it is cooked through. Set aside in a bowl but do not drain the fat. Add the garlic and parsley and saute in the beef fat for a few minutes. Add the tomato sauce, water and salt and bring to a simmer. Add the beef back into the sauce and keep on simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook your shells according to package directions. When the shells are cooked to al dente, rinse them with cold water. You will want them to be cooled before stuff them.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Create the filling. Combine the ricotta, pesto, egg, basil and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper. Put the mixture in a large Ziploc bag and cut the tip off the corner of the bag. Use the bag to pipe the mixture into each shell.
Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with a layer of the sauce. Add the stuffed shells on top of the sauce in an even layer. Fill the rest of the dish with the sauce and top with the mozzarella. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
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.