Posts Tagged ‘easy’

I love heirloom cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market. They are so sweet and flavorful, and I love to make a big batch of these slow-roasted tomatoes and keep them in the fridge to toss in everything. They’re also fabulous on their own, just on a couple slices of toasted baguette. The olive oil mixes with the tomato juices, and it’s delicious.

Roasted Thyme Tomatoes

1 pint assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes (or whatever ones you can get)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 thyme springs

salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients, making sure to coat the thyme in oil. Roast at 350 degrees for an hour. Spoon over toasted baguette slices or use in other recipes!


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This dish is named for a small town in Italy called Amatrice. It’s base is a pork product called guanciale, which is pig jowl, and it tastes like a porkier version of bacon or pancetta. The traditional noodle for this is bucatini, which is a thick spaghetti with a hole like a straw. It’s a messy one to eat, so don’t wear white! It’s a treat to find some guanciale, and I always have to make this when I see it at the store. You can certainly substitute pancetta or bacon, but if you can find guanciale you should try it. This dish is delicious and so easy.

Bucatini al’Amatriciana

1/2 pound bucatini

1/2 onion, chopped

1 can San Marzano tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (I prefer)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8- 1/4 pound guanciale, diced

Cook the bucatini in well-salted water a minute less than the package instructions. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, render the guanciale in a frying pan for a few minutes. I like to leave it a little soft, so I don’t wait until it gets crispy. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the red pepper flakes and stir to infuse the guanciale fat. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add the bucatini and some of the reserved pasta water and cook for the final minute together. Grate some parmesan or pecorino over the top and enjoy!

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Capellini (angel hair) is not used very often because it quickly becomes a gluey mess. The trick is to pull it directly out of the pot into this olive oil sauce and toss. I only use it in situations like this with a fresh, uncooked sauce because you don’t want to be messing around with it too much. It goes straight from the water to the sauce to the plate.

Capellini complements the fresh, simple flavors in this dish because it’s light and soaks up the sauce quickly. Of course, it relies on the best, most flavorful tomatoes and basil, so make sure to not refrigerate your tomatoes. I don’t particularly like raw garlic, so I always quickly saute it but feel free to use it raw if you like it. Use the good extra virgin olive oil in this one too, because it doesn’t get cooked at all.

Capellini with Tomato and Basil

1/2 box capellini

1-2 tomatoes, diced (preferably on-the-vine or other very fresh tomato)

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional: saute in a tablespoon of olive oil for one minute)

1/2 cup basil, julienned

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino

Cook the capellini in salted, boiling water according to package instructions. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cooked capellini with a little of the cooking water and stir to combine. Add the basil and cheese and toss. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a little more cheese on top.

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This is a perfect quick spring dish– I came home from work late and made it in 15 minutes. (That’s also why there are no “after” pictures– in those few minutes it got dark out.) You can do this with any kind of fish or any toppings you want (although it works better with less watery toppings).

I combine blanched fresh favas with farmstand grape tomatoes and some herbes de provence on a nice flounder fillet and fold the parchment into a pouch. It goes in the oven for a few minutes, and voila! You could be in the south of France. Or in my kitchen.

Flounder in Cartoccio

1 flounder fillet

a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

a handful of favas, blanched with the skins removed

1 teaspoon herbes de provence

1 tablespoon white wine

1 round of parchment or foil

Place the flounder on one half of the parchment so that you will be able to fold it over into a semi-circle with a couple inches extra around. Sprinkle the tomatoes and favas over the top. Season with some salt, pepper and the herbes de provence. Start folding from one edge of the semi-circle, repeating all the way around to seal the pouch. Just before the final fold, pour the wine in and seal the edge. Make sure the liquid is distributed. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes until the fish is fragrant and cooked through.

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I have been making this recipe for almost 10 years, which says a lot. It’s simple enough that I never have to look it up, and it’s always delicious. You could riff on it and add things like chicken or red pepper flakes or anchovies and it would totally work, but I like to keep it simple. I sometimes pair it with some chicken or veal saltimbocca and a side salad, but the options are endless.

Red Wine Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe

1/2 pound spaghetti

1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 bottle of a big red wine like primitivo or zinfandel

1/2 cup grated pecorino

2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the broccoli rabe in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes and then remove to a frying pan. Saute the broccoli rabe in a little olive oil. Add the garlic and continue to saute for a minute or two. Remove to a bowl for later.

Meanwhile, start cooking the spaghetti in the salted, boiling water. Start reducing the wine in the frying pan. About halfway through the spaghetti cooking, add it to the wine with a little of the pasta cooking water. Continue to cook in the wine until the pasta is al dente and the liquid has cooked away. If you need more liquid to finish the pasta, you can add more of the pasta cooking water. Add the broccoli rabe back in and the pecorino and stir through. Serve with a little extra pecorino and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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I am always a fan of pasta for a quick weeknight dinner, and so it’s not surprising that I already have several blog posts to choose from. I always love pesto and I have a recipe here, but I also loved this avocado pesto because it was a rich, creamy, and different version of the usual pesto genovese.

As you may have guessed, I LOVE meatballs. I’m pretty sure spaghetti and meatballs is one of my top 5 all-time favorite meals. In fact, just talking about it now makes me want it this weekend. These meatballs are light and flavorful, and the sauce gets extra depth from braising the meatballs in it. I think you’ll love it as much as I do.

This Spicy Pasta with Crab is a new favorite, and of course it’s a Mario Batali recipe. It’s so quick and easy and I just love crab in any form. Use good egg noodles like a tajarin or tagliatelle and it’s even better. You could even use fresh pasta for this one, it would be a great complement to the crab.

This one definitely makes my top 5 meals as well. I love a delicious bolognese, and these fresh spinach linguine were so wonderful with the meaty sauce. The slow cooked meat is so flavorful and it absorbs into the pasta, creating a heavenly dish that transports me to Italy. It’s a lot harder to get me to eat veggies when I could just have seconds of this…

And then there are gnocchi. I love these little pillows of pasta, especially when they are in pesto. They’re also great in other sauces, but they have a way of soaking up pesto that no other pasta does. I keep some in the freezer for a quick meal on a night when I don’t want to cook, and they work beautifully from the freezer directly to boiling water.

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This dish is essentially the same as marinated fresh anchovies, so you can use whatever is available. Your fishmonger will most likely fillet them for you, but I did mine myself and it wasn’t that difficult — and I used the scraps for fish stock. They are nice and tangy and make a delicious start to a very rich meal.

Marinated Sardines

4 fresh sardines, filleted

1 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

chili flakes

1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

8 crostini or toasts

Place the fillets in a baking dish and cover with vinegar. Let sit in the fridge for 4 hours. Drain the vinegar and add the olive oil, chili flakes, parsley, and garlic. Refrigerate for another 2 hours or more. Serve on toasts with a sprinkle of sea salt and a squirt of lemon over the top.

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