Al dente

Pasta Cacio E Pepe

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This  most simple dish of pasta, black pepper and cheese confirms the genius of classic Italian cuisine once more.
Good quality pasta, cooked al dente with just the right amount of salt, fresh ground black pepper, grated  caciocavallo cheese  and a bit of the cooking liquid, it is pasta perfection at its finest. I enjoyed it tonight as a second course after a first course of a sexy salad of Romaine, Radiccio Rosso and  Bresola  with  Prepared Horseradish.
A truly wonderful dinner , fit for a king.
(And a Queen – Bella couldn’t get enough of both the pasta and the bresola) 🙂
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Buon Appetito !   Life is Good !
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Pasta Cacio E Pepe

Pasta Cacio E Pepe

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Romaine,  Radiccio Rosso, Red Radish and  Bresola  with  Prepared Horseradish In Raspberry Vinegar Vinaigrette

Romaine, Radiccio Rosso, Red Radish and Bresola with Prepared Horseradish In Raspberry Vinegar Vinaigrette

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Casarecce Gorgonzola

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I was  going to make a quick salami and gorgonzola sandwich, when I realized that I felt I had to treat myself to a better lunch than a simple sandwich, so I checked the larder for a few available goodies and the following is what I came up with. By the time the pasta was cooked al dente, I had all the other ingredients prepped and it took only about another five minutes to complete the dish. While I love a good sandwich, this dish was a far more rewarding lunch and it took only slightly more time to prepare.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Casarecce Gorgonzola

Casarecce Gorgonzola

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Casarecce Gorgonzola

Casarecce Gorgonzola

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Penne Rigate In Merlot/Vodka/Yoghurt Sauce With Pepperoni & Fresh Basil

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Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

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My neighborhood supermarket  charges $ 3.50 for a small twig of maybe 7 basil leaves.
They sell this beautiful basil plant for $ 4.50. Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it 🙂

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Penne Rigate In Merlot/Vodka/Yoghurt  Sauce With Pepperoni & Fresh Basil

Penne Rigate In Merlot/Vodka/Yoghurt Sauce With Pepperoni & Fresh Basil

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Ingredients :

Penne rigate,   al dente, reserve some of the cooking liquid
Pepperoni sausage,   julienned
Grape tomatoes,   quartered
Greek yoghurt,
Olive oil,
Vodka,
Merlot,
Parmigiano reggiano,   grated
Garlic,   paste
Basil,   fresh
Kosher salt,
Cayenne pepper

Method :

Saute pepperoni until starting to change color, add garlic, saute until fragrant. Add merlot and vodka, simmer until most liquid has evaporated. Add  yoghurt, tomatoes, a bit of the grated cheese, salt, pepper and the pasta,  mix well. Adjust seasoning if necessary. If too thick, add some of the pasta cooking liquid. If too thin, ad some grated cheese.
To serve, sprinkle with more cheese and basil leaves.

Note :
I am aware that most cooks will chiffonade the basil. However, personally I don’t like the texture this will give me. It reminds me of hair in the food which is not very appealing to me 😦
Therefore I like to add whole leaves which become soft and tender immediately  as they touch the hot food and give you a much more pleasant texture / mouthfeel 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

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Pot Au Feu

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My  butcher had these beautiful, fleshy beef neck bones which begged me to take them home and transform into a tasty dish. Since I had some nice baby carrots and beans in the fridge, what else then a rich “pot au feu” with pasta.
As usual, simple is best 🙂
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Pot Au Feu

Pot Au Feu

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Pot Au Feu

Pot Au Feu

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Ingredient’s :

Beef neck bones,
Penne rigate
Baby carrots,
Baby beans,
Onion,   large dice
Bell pepper,   large dice
Cilantro,   finely chopped
Garlic,   paste
Ginger,   grated
Cayenne pepper,
Kosher salt,
Maggi seasoning,

Method :

Cover neck bones with cold water, add salt, pepper, garlic and ginger  and slowly bring to a simmer, skimming of all scum and most fat which surfaces.
Meanwhile, blanch and shock all vegetables. Cook pasta until al dente, drain. When beef is very tender but not falling of the bone, add vegetables to heat through. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
To serve, place pasta in bottom of serving dish, ladle pot au feu on top and sprinkle with cilantro.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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” Mock Pappardelle, Chorizo, Asparagus, Carrots & Gorgonzola “

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My dilemma is:
I love pappardelle, but I seldom make fresh pasta
at home and I have never seen pappardelle on a store shelf,
at least not here in South Florida. The solution?
Use lasagna sheets. Break them into irregular shapes before
you cook them. The result was very satisfying for me and I will
resort to this many times to come, if, for whatever reason, fresh
pappardelle are not available or impractical to make from scratch
at the time.  ( For whatever reason ) .
Don’t knock it before you try it !      🙂
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Ingredients :

Pappardelle,                  cooked al dente, strained  (or substitute pasta)
Chorizo,                          thinly sliced
Asparagus,                     blanched
Carrots,                           blanched
Gorgonzola,                   coarsely crumbled
Garlic,                              paste
Black Pepper                  freshly ground, to taste
Salt,                                  to taste
Olive oil

Method :

Saute garlic and chorizo in olive oil until garlic becomes translucent,
Add all other ingredients except gorgonzola,  saute until all ingredient’s
are well combined. To serve, top with crumbled gorgonzola.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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” Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese “

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Today I did not feel for meat or seafood for lunch,
so a vegetarian bolognese over pasta seemed just fine. 
Pasta and sauce ! What could be wrong ? Nothing  🙂
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Cook the spaghetti until al dente, strain.
Sautee carrots, celery, onion, garlic and oregano in butter,
add crushed tomato, salt, cayenne pepper, maggi seasoning
and simmer until veggies ar done.
Add pasta, generous amounts of butter and grated parmesan cheese.
mix until a light sauce coats your pasta. The texture should be such
that when you plate your pasta there should be no water separating
from the sauce.
(Alternatively, top pasta with sauce as in picture)
If consistency is too liquid, add parmesan cheese.
If too consistency is too thick, add pasta cooking water.

Below find a link to a cooking video of mine where I cooked “Fusilli Bolognese”

Fusilli Cooking Video
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Bon Appetit ! Life is Good !
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” Conchiglie A La Mode Du Hans “

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Last night’s midnight snack.
I guess that was one pound straight to the rib’s  😦
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Boil pasta shell’s until al dente, drain, reserve some of the cooking water.
Sautee steak cubes in very hot oil until still rare in center. Remove from pot, reserve.
Sautee vegetables in olive oil very briefly. Remove from pot, reserve.
Deglaze pot with red wine and let it slightly reduce.
Add pasta, beef, veggies, all the accumulated juices from the beef and veggies, a good amount of soft (not melted) butter, plenty of grated parmesan cheese and some of the cooking water from the pasta. Mix all until the sauce coats the pasta lightly.
If consistency seems too thin, add more cheese. If consistency seems too thick, add more pasta water.
To serve, sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola and scallions.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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