Tag Archives: Pasta

Spring Risotto


It’s no secret to those devoted Food E. readers that I love risotto. It’s easy to prepare for company, it’s impressive to present, and it’s one single dish to make sure is ready by meal time instead of two or three separate dishes that you have to coordinate. Also, most people love it. This past weekend The BF and I had some friends over for dinner and I prepared this risotto with a small arugula salad with cucumbers to start. The original recipe calls for calamari and if you have a grill or a grill pan, I’d definitely suggest trying it. I went with calamari’s good friend, shrimp.

On the menu:
Spring pea and lemon risotto with shrimp
Serves 4 

6 cups chicken stock
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, sliced thin
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice, plus zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound fresh shrimp, de-veined and tails removed, patted dry and lightly sprinkled with garlic salt and flour

Heat chicken stock over medium-high heat until it simmers, lower heat and leave the stock on a low simmer.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sautee leeks until softened but not brown, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove leeks from the pot and set aside on a plate. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add rice. Stir rice for one minute until fully coated with oil.

Add white wine to the rice and stir until liquid is almost completely absorbed, around 3 minutes. Add one cup of stock and occasionally stir. Keep adding stock cup by cup until one cup remains, around 20 minutes*. Add lemon juice, zest, leeks, peas, and last cup of stock to the rice and stir until incorporated.

When you add the last cup of stock, heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and place shrimp in the pan. While the shrimp are cooking: add cheese and butter to the risotto and stir. Turn the heat off of the risotto. Flip the shrimp in the skillet after 3 minutes, cook for another 3 minutes on the other side.

Plate the risotto and place shrimp on top. Garnish with extra grated parmesan cheese if desired.

*Note: the best way to test your risotto for doneness is to taste it. Grains should be just barely hard in the center when you turn off the heat to complete the cooking process.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Flop

Guys, I did it again. Messed up a recipe. This is twice in two weeks, I want you to know. The first flop was when I thought I could make risotto without chicken stock. It was pretty disgusting. Not only did it taste bitter and weird, it came out a sick milky-purple color from the red wine I thought I’d try and use to flavor it up. This last mess up was bright green: usually attractive in a pesto, gross and bitter (once again) from lack of salty flavor. The risotto debacle was the result of me trying to “make do and mend” with items I already had in my house. The pesto travesty came from a shoddy recipe (or from someone who REALLY loves the taste of watered down arugula juice*).

The (lovely and patient) BF tried to force down both dishes, but in the end I think his response was, “I don’t know if I can eat any more of this…” I feel like I have some serious mac-n-cheese-ing to do to compensate for these lost meals.

In any case, the shrimp in that above dish were INCREDIBLE so I’m including the recipe here. Totally worth trying with a regular pesto recipe or your standard tomato sauce.

On the menu:
Garlic fried shrimp
Serves 2

1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined and tails removed
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Make sure shrimp are rinsed clean and patted completely dry. Sprinkle seasoning over the shrimp. Place shrimp in a plastic Ziploc bag, add flour, and shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Shake excess flour off of shrimp and place in the hot skillet. Cook on each side for around 3 – 4 minutes, or until they are no longer gray and translucent.

Add to pasta and sauce and grate cheese over the top.

*In case you’re interested, the sauce in question was arugula pesto: 6 oz. of arugula, 1 garlic glove, 1/3 cup of asiago cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup heavy cream, all blended together.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Cacio e Pepe

Someone recently asked for more commentary in my posts. This person may or may not The BF. No matter. A reader’s wish is my command!

One Saturday night I met my friend Celeste for dinner and we had no reservations. I don’t know if people outside of New York City realize what this means, but here in the Big Apple, that is dinner suicide. So we popped from restaurant to restaurant, hoping for an opening somewhere and finding nothing, except for Matthew Broderick at Morandi in the West Village. I bet Ferris Bueller doesn’t need a rez.

So finally, both of us having later plans, we found a little Italian spot and sat at the bar with glasses of wine and bowls of pasta and I tasted, for the first time ever, cacio e pepe. Let me break it down for ya: it’s noodles with butter, cheese, and pepper. It’s not rocket science. But holy… holy mackerel. I became obsessed.

So tonight I needed a little bit of my favorite. That… and I’m poor and had all the ingredients in my fridge. Hey rustic Italian!

On the menu:
Cacio e pepe
Serves 2 (…or 1)

6 oz. thin spaghetti
3 Tbsp butter, divided
2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated (WARNING: do not use the already-grated cheese you buy in a green shaker – that’s gross)

Boil salted water for pasta. In a non-stick pan, melt 2 Tbsp of butter. Add pepper and stir constantly for one minute. Add half a cup of pasta water to the pan and bring heat to a simmer. Once at a simmer, reduce heat to low and add cooked pasta. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and cheese and toss together with tongs until a thick sauce is formed, about 7 minutes.

4 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Sunday Sauce

A few weeks ago I pretended like I was a good Italian housewife and made sauce on Sunday. I have my go-to, easy-peasy red sauce, but I didn’t have a nailed-down creamy vodka sauce recipe that I really loved. I figured this was a good opportunity to concoct one.

Vodka sauce shown here with breaded chicken cutlets and penne pasta

On the menu:
Vodka sauce

1/4 cup butter
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 cup vodka (or 3/4 cup if you’re feeling particularly boozey)
1 (28 0z.) can tomatoes, crushed
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, sautee onion in butter until translucent. Add vodka and cook for 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Simmer for around 35 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook over low heat for another 35 minutes. Add half of the parmesan cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta to sauce, toss until coated, and garnish with remaining grated parmesan.

*Note: this sauce is good the day you make it, but it is KILLER after it sits in the fridge for a few days. You could easily double this recipe and freeze half for a rainy day. It’ll be even better when you rediscover it.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes, Uncategorized

Throwback to a More Glamorous Time


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m never really one to be on top of the newest and most exciting places. I view this blog as more of a way to bring you along on my journey of discovering “new to me” places and hopefully inspiring you to go or stay away from some of the thousands of restaurants in New York. So when the BF told me he had heard about a new bar located in Kaufman Astoria Studios (the film studio where Sesame Street and The Cosby Show film/filmed at), I figured he had stumbled upon an old article. Turns out the place has only been opened for 2 months. So… ahem… you heard it here first.

The Astor Room 34-12 36th St, Astoria, Queens. You enter the restaurant down a marble staircase, surrounding by gold-framed mirrors and peacock wallpaper. Enter to the left and a piano greets you, followed by a dark mahogany bar and a feeling that you’ve stepped back in time. The bar just reopened but in its hey day in the 1930s, it was frequented by silent movie stars that were filming at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The menu is a throwback, too, with dishes like Dover sole, lobster thermidor, and short rib stroganoff.

On the menu:
Crispy fried calamari over roasted tomato paste with green pepper shavings
Spaghetti carbonara
Double cut coca-cola porkchop
Smoked seven layer chocolate cake


Verdict: It’s aces! It’s keen! It’s swell! (I had to Google “1930’s slang”… in the interest of full disclosure, you know). This place is awesome. The food was SO well done; the pork chop was juicy but crisp and sweet, the spaghetti smooth and buttery, and the seven layer cake sprinkled with gold. Yes, gold. Edible gold. Old world luxury and glamour at its finest, gals and pals. I also have to give props to the amazing staff. I read many reviews of The Astor Room that criticized the service, but I could not have been more impressed. Our wine glasses were never empty, an empty plate never sat on the table for more than two minutes, and on our way out the maitre’d asked if we needed umbrellas to battle the rain. We were never smothered, always taken care of. Loooove love love this place.

2 Comments

Filed under New York Restaurants

The Return of Cheesy Pasta

Happy Monday, friends! Today’s post is a bit of a throwback but with a twist. Remember this? A Sunday dinner, to me, is always made up of some sort of pasta and carbonara sounded like just the kind of warm sleep-inducing dish I needed. And when The Boyfriend requested tortellini, I knew exactly what to make.

On the menu:
Tortellini carbonara
Adapted from Epicurious.com

1 lb. multi cheese tortellini
12 strips of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 medium sized yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Cook tortellini in salted boiling water until cooked, according to package directions. Drain. Save 1 cup of pasta water.

Saute bacon in a LARGE skillet until crisp. Drain bacon on a paper towel and reserve 3 Tbsp of grease in the skillet. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet and cook until mushrooms are softened. Add 1/2 cup pasta liquid to the skillet and raise heat so the liquid boils. Whisk egg yolks and cream together in a small bowl. Add pasta, cream mixture, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the skillet and mix together quickly so the pasta is completely coated. Keep constantly stirring the mixture and scraping the bottom of the skillet for ten minutes over medium-high heat until the egg is cooked. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more reserved pasta water. Add bacon and mix in. Cook for another 3 minutes. Plate pasta immediately and sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top.

And in case the cup of cream, 12 slices of bacon, and 4 egg yolks didn’t tip you off, this is not a particularly healthy dinner. Maybe don’t make this one twice a week.

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Inedible Delights

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted something completely self-indulgent, so I figured what better day than Friday to post such frivolity?

I don't want to know what it means that this peanut-hiding-a-knife speaks to my soul, but I think I have to own this.

Or you could wear a plaque that says, "I grew up in suburbia and if you have a block of Helluva Good I'm yours for life"

Who needs a Tiffany diamond? I'm hoping my future husband pops the question with this beauty.

Click the pictures to buy me these things! I mean… to find out where you can buy them for yourself. Ahem.

Leave a comment

Filed under Miscellaneous