May 03, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese



Baked Macaroni and Cheese endures as a timeless favorite, but I haven't met many folks who bother to make it at home. Maybe the cheese sauce frightens them off. In the end, it's easy and comes together quickly. 

And it's WAY better than the blue box.

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August 29, 2011

Owen's Bowtie Pasta


Bowtie wearers can sometimes seem a bit too formal. Sometimes they can appear silly (think pee-wee). Sometimes indimidating (think Louis Farakhan). Sometims thought provoking (think C.Everett Koop). Sometimes annoying (think Tucker Carlson). As diverse as it's wearers are, the bowtie pasta (farfalle) is universal in it's appeal.  It's a great alternative to penne, or rigatoni, when you want to eat your pasta with just a fork (no twirling involved). It's also great for kids because for some reason, they love the idea of eating bowties.

This is a simple recipe with only a few ingredients:

  • farfalle pasta - 1 pound
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • one larg zuccini quartered and cut in small pieces
  • one red pepper - chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • fresh mozarella and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • basil


  • Heat large pot of water (with some salt)
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat with red pepper flakes
  • Add zuccini - cook for 5 minutes
  • Add red pepper - cook for 5 minutes
  • Add garlic
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Continue cooking sauce as water boils
  • If sauce seems dry- add some water from pasta pot
  • When water boils add pasta - cook according to instructions- usually 11 minutes.
  • Reserver half a cup of pasta water in case you need it for sauce
  • Drain pasta into large bowl and stir in sauce.
  • Add reserved pasta water if necessary and salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve in bowls with mozarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and shredded basil

enjoy-- and the next time you have pee-wee, Louis, C.Everett, and Tucker over for dinner, make a meal that they can all enjoy!!

December 04, 2009

Pasta - done risotto style!

  OK- so the basis for this recipe came from NYTimes dining section (12/2/09). You are cooking pasta slow, in a saute pan, with broth....similar to risotto. It is delicious, and an easy one-pan dinner. -3/4 (give or take) of a pound of small/medium size pasta - break up linguini if using it - 1 + 1/2 quart of stock (I used veggie stock, but any will do) - 1 package of mushrooms (slice these) - baby bell are great - small onion or 3 shallots - 2 garlic cloves - fresh parsley - fresh or frozen spinach (about 1 cup, or more) - pine nuts - toasted in dry pan (optional) - olive oil - Parma or romano cheese for serving Chop shallots (or onion) into small pieces, and saute in 3tbsp olive oil (medium heat). Add garlic. Cook both for 3 to 5 min. Add mushrooms, and cook down about 10 minutes. Next, add the pasta, and 1/2 cup of water - let the pasta get coated with liquid - about 3 minutes. Add stock, 1 cup at a time. Cook and let it get absorbed, then continue adding stock, little by little, until pasta is al dente (approx 30 minutes). Add spinach during the last 5 minutes. Add pine nuts, if desired. Garnish with fresh parsley and Romano cheese.

August 09, 2009

Rigatoni with Sausage, Peas, and Tarragon


Each July we rent a beach house and my wife and kids spend the month frolicking in the sand and surf. Given that I'm trying to keep my day job, I'm able to spend weekends with them but during the week I'm home - working during the day and trying to figure out what to do with myself during the evenings.

Because I get home from work so late, there's usually not much time to cook anything exciting, and my dinner usually ends up being a beer and a burger at the local pub (while I watch the Yankees), or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at home.

I did manage to cook twice this July, however. Once it was a ribeye on the grill - and if you don't know yet, let your steak come to room temperature before putting it over the hot coals. The second time was this dish. It was inspired by nothing, really, other than a memory of tarragon and trying to figure out how I could get into my dinner that evening.

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January 25, 2009

Lasagna Recipe


Lasagna really does require a lot of effort, which is probably why I don't make it that often. But The Drummer Boy was coming over with his family for dinner and he wasn't shy about submitting a menu request. Okay, so what if I asked him what he wanted? Couldn't he have made it easy on me and said "cheeseburgers" ?

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October 29, 2008

Tomato Sauce Recipe


My father called it Gravy.

I've always called it tomato sauce, and have fond memories of it simmering away every Sunday afternoon. The tomato sauce from my youth was always made with meat. Not that it was a "meat sauce," per se, but meat was first browned in the pot and then left to finish cooking in the pot. I like to use meatballs and sweet Italian sausage, but my mom will also throw in short ribs (beef or pork) and braciole on occasion. 

And so as the weather cools here in the northeast and my grill gets less and less use, you'll often find a pot of sauce bubbling on my stove on a sunday early evening. Feel free to call it Gravy if you like.

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October 26, 2008

Meatballs Recipe

It took me a long time to get my meatballs to come out tasting anywhere close to those my mom made when we were kids - and still does today. It's not that she held back on the recipe, but perhaps I was just trying to find my own way.

I use a mix of pork, veal, and beef while my mom uses all beef. And I've added fresh herbs and replaced the seasoned bread crumbs with plain. I have, however, stuck with the store-brought bread crumbs. I refuse to head down that "old-world" path of soaking Italian bread in milk and then squishing it into the meat mixture. My mother's recipe for meatballs, and HER mother's recipe for meatballs used store brought breadcrumbs. It was good enough for them, and it's good enough for me.

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September 01, 2008

Pesto Recipe


Have I mentioned that my youngest son is an unbearably picky eater?

I'm pretty sure I have. So I was more than pleasantly surprised when he declared that he LOVED pesto. My wife come home with a tub-full from a local farmer's market and he simply couldn't stop smearing it on bread and gobbling it down.

So I dusted off the food processor and whipped up a batch. I have a feeling I'll be making it fairly often.

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July 31, 2008

Ziti with Arugula, Smoked Mozzarella, and Grape Tomatoes

Ziti with Arugula, Smoked Mozzarella, and Grape Tomatoes

Some days I go to the grocery store without really knowing what I'm going to make for dinner and hope to get some inspiration. This dish grew from one of those aimless supermarket excursions. I was in the mood for the peppery bite that good, fresh, arugula delivers and thought the sweetness from the grape tomatoes would balance it nicely. I threw in the smoked mozzarella because, well, why not?

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July 22, 2008

Farfalle with Pancetta Saffron Cream Sauce

Farfalle with Pancetta Saffron Cream Sauce

Like the orecchiette I made a couple weeks ago, this recipe is inspired by a favorite restaurant dish. But this time, it's my wife's favorite and I figured I'd earn some points by leaning how to make it.

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