Tag: Pasta

pasta alla norma

rigatoni alla norma

One thing I look forward to every week is making lunch for my mom at our house. I think she loves it too! 😉 She’s a pretty busy lady, so in the short time we have together I make sure to prepare a lovely 3 course meal – starter, main and dessert. This way, I know she’ll leave with a full and happy belly. Oh and I always send her off with a hot cappuccino to-go. I literally buy those disposable coffee cups with lids from Costco, just for her cappuccinos.

Two weeks ago, I made my mom a fresh zucchini salad, pasta all norma (eggplant spaghetti) and fruit salad of peaches, nectarines and plums. (All made from seasonal produce from the farmers market.) She liked the zucchini salad so much I made it again when the whole family was over for lunch. Although the eggplant spaghetti was tasty and looked pretty, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I was short on time and skipped 2 important steps in the recipe and well, while the eggplant should’ve broken apart and become creamy in texture, it remained intact and was quite watery. She didn’t seem to mind, but I told myself I’d have to make it properly for her the next time. (more…)

Italian afternoons with family

affettati misti

Over the weekend my brother invited us over to Ocean City to spend the day with his family – swimming, eating and taking in the … rain! The weather wasn’t the best, but when you’re with good company, it doesn’t really matter. We got in some waves, lounged by the pool, walked the boardwalk, ate loads of crabs and made new memories, especially with my nephews. Those cute little guys are growing up so fast! The other day I thought to myself ‘how weird would it be when they’re old enough to drink.’ Can you imagine? ‘Wanna grab a beer uncle Kevin?’ WHAT?!?! 😉 I’m getting carried away, they’re only in elementary school!!! HAHA.

To thank them for their hospitality, we invited them over for lunch. I had originally planned to make 3 pasta dishes, but Kevin suggested we do some meats, salad and pasta instead. Good call Kevin, but I couldn’t let him have the last word. So to compromise, I made a meat plate, a salad, and TWO pastas! We opened a really nice bottle of Amarone wine and enjoyed a lovely Italian themed lunch. Good food, great company and fabulous wine. That’s how we do it! 😀 (more…)

spring onion pasta with breadcrumbs

plating sp pasta 1

What a beautiful day! Today as soon as my alarm went off I jumped out of bed, went downstairs, opened all the windows then put on the kettle. Kevin asked ‘Who are you and what did you do with my wife?’ HAHA. Maybe I’ll even go for a light jog around the neighborhood…that’ll give Kevin an even bigger shock! Most of you will be reading this thinking…isn’t it normal to wake up when the alarm goes off? Of course it is! I just like to set my alarm a half hour early and hit snooze a few times, that’s all 😉

We’ve been eating pretty heavy lately, thought I’d make something light for lunch today (and the fabulous weather makes me crave a summery pasta). I should really learn to balance my meals. I doubt a light herby pasta will negate the 8 plates of Chinese food, jerk chicken and Korean braised short ribs we had over the past few days! But maybe if I keep telling myself it does…it actually will! 😉

I usually make light herby pastas to accompany fish, but it’s just as delicious served on its own. Like spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino, when I can’t decide what to eat, I make spring onion spaghetti. It’s easy peasy and really hits the spot. We also had some leftover baguette so I whizzed it up in the food processor and made ‘pan grattato’ or breadcrumbs. (more…)

sugo di pesce spada (swordfish tomato sauce)

swordfish pasta plated

Here is another fantastic summer pasta dish that I love making at home – pasta with swordfish (a typical dish from Southern Italy and Sicily). You can find swordfish at the fish counter in most supermarkets these days. Whole Foods always has them. If you tried the steak seasoning from my last post and have left over anchovies that you weren’t sure what to do with it, this recipe is for you.

Pesce spada is Italian for swordfish, literally fish spade. Whenever I hear the word spada, I think of my friend from university who studied abroad with me at Università per Stanieri di Siena. She was telling me about her excursion to San Galgano, a medieval city 30 minutes or so outside of Siena, famous for the legendary sword in the stone. They say it’s where the story of King Arthur and Excalibur originated. She told me that she saw the spade in the rock (spada nella roccia) and I could not stop laughing. I never heard it called that before – the sword in the stone sounds much cooler. 😉

Speaking of friends from Università per Stranieri di Siena, a good friend of mine, who I met there while studying abroad, is getting married this weekend in Oregon! So greetings from Portland guys! We’ll be here until the weekend and I can’t wait to share with you our experiences and all the great food we eat when we get back. (more…)

pesto genovese

pesto plated

I used to make pesto so often, anytime we had guests over for dinner, they’d assume I would be serving it. I couldn’t help it – It’s fragrant, tasty, and extremely easy to make. If you tried the spaghetti carbonara recipe I posted, you’ll know when I say something is easy – I mean it!

Pesto originates from Genoa (Genova in Italian) in Liguria. One of my Italian professors at university was from Genoa and she would tell us stories about how as soon as you land at the airport you can smell the fragrant basil in the air. How wonderful is that?! So one summer when Kevin came to visit me in Italy, we took the train to Cinque Terre in Liguria and I had my very first plate of pesto alla genovese. It was delicious and I try to replicate that exact dish whenever I make it at home.

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simple ingredients for lunch

chanterelle crostini

Trying to use up the last of the produce I have in my fridge before we go out to the markets again this weekend. Unless I’m throwing a dinner party, I don’t have meals planned out in advance. I usually open my pantry and my fridge and make something on the fly. Before you start thinking I’m some kind of Iron Chef, let me be clear – I’m not whipping up culinary masterpieces! When I say ‘on the fly,’ I’m talking spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino, rice and egg, pasta with tuna, lemon and parsley, poor man’s bibimbop (rice, stir fried carrots and scallions in sesame oil, can tuna, fried egg, with bibimbop sauce) …very simple and easy dishes. In order to do that, I pretty much keep these items in stock – onions (scallions, shallots, anything in the onion family), garlic, parsley, carrots, lemon, can tuna, eggs, pasta and rice.

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