Category Archives: Pasta

Ramp and Basil Pistou

Last weekend was a blast. My wife and I (more so my wife) planted the vegetable and herb garden, and got all of our planting done. Not only that, but I was able to venture off and go on my first foraging adventure. I had signed up to go foraging for morel mushrooms with Braise restaurant some time ago, and I was really stoked to learn about mushrooms, and foraging in general. I was lucky enough to find three morels that weekend morning, along with a bunch of ramps, and violets. I donated the morels to the chef as he prepared a lunch after the hunt, but I did keep the ramps to be used in in pistou.

Ramp and Basil Pistou

Pistou is much like a pesto, however pine nuts are not used, and well, I’m a big fan of that. I actually prefer a pistou over a pesto as I like it’s texture much better. Pistou’s can be used in salads, sandwiches, or pastas to name a few, and they can also be made with a variety of herbs, not just basil.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 cup ramp leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup of fresh Italian basil, leaves only
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ~ 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt

Add the garlic, herbs, cheese, and salt to a food processor. Turn on and slowly start drizzling in the olive oil. Store in a sealed container until you are ready to use.

How to make pistou

I used mine in a simple pasta dish by adding about 1/2 cup to one pound of cooked penne pasta. It was super awesome, and simple. Who doesn’t love that right?

Ramps and Morel Mushrooms

The result is a sauce that had that subtle hint of onion and garlic, along with that great basil.

Linguine with Cauliflower and Green Olives

My wife and I were discussing the other day about how much we love cauliflower. I don’t think I could stand the stuff when growing up, but quickly fell in love with it later in life, especially roasted with a bit of garlic.  Then when I made the cauliflower pizza, that just escalated my love for it, especially when paired with green olives.  That led me to take those similar ingredients that were used on the pizza, but turn it into a pasta dish, and really hope that my pasta loving kids would dig in and begin their love for the cauliflower (I somewhat lost on that front).

Linguine with Cauliflower and Green Olives

This pasta dish is packed with awesome flavor, and is truly comforting.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup of capers
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 12 green olives, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tbsp additional olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Start by adding the cauliflower florets to a large mixing bowl. Add in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and give a  good toss.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Place onto a baking sheet, and roast for about 25 minutes, or until you get some nice color on it.

During this time, heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add in the pasta, and cook until al dente.

Linguine with Cauliflower and Green Olives

While these two are cooking, heat a small skillet and add in the 1/3 cup of olive oil. Bring to a medium heat, then toss in the garlic, capers, and chili flakes. Reduce the heat, and continue to cook, being careful not to burn the garlic. You are basically infusing the oil.

Drain the pasta, toss in the parmesan cheese and give a good stir. Add in the sliced olives, give a good toss. Pour in the capers, garlic, and olive oil, and give another good toss. Add the roasted cauliflower and breadcrumbs, and give one more good toss. Taste and season to your liking.

I fell in love with this pasta dish again. There is something about the flavor of the cauliflower that when paired with those olives, garlic, and capers that is just out of this world. My kid, the pasta loving eater? Well, he had a big bowl, and told me had had two florets. I guess I’m winning on that front. I hope you enjoy the linguine with cauliflower and green olives!

Linguine with Cauliflower and Green Olives
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup of capers
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • 12 green olives, sliced in half
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tbsp additional olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the cauliflower florets to a large mixing bowl. Add in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and give a good toss. Season with some salt and pepper. Place onto a baking sheet, and roast for about 25 minutes, or until you get some nice color on it.
  2. During this time, heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add in the pasta, and cook until al dente.
  3. While these two are cooking, heat a small skillet and add in the ⅓ cup of olive oil. Bring to a medium heat, then toss in the garlic, capers, and chili flakes. Reduce the heat, and continue to cook, being careful not to burn the garlic. You are basically infusing the oil.
  4. Drain the pasta, toss in the parmesan cheese and give a good stir. Add in the sliced olives, give a good toss. Pour in the capers, garlic, and olive oil, and give another good toss. Add the roasted cauliflower and breadcrumbs, and give one more good toss. Taste and season to your liking.
  5. I fell in love with this pasta dish again. There is something about the flavor of the cauliflower that when paired with those olives, garlic, and capers that is just out of this world. My kid, the pasta loving eater? Well, he had a big bowl, and told me had had two florets. I guess I’m winning on that front. I hope you enjoy the linguine with cauliflower and green olives!

 

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

It’s nearing winter time here in the great state of Wisconsin, and I still have a handful of butternut squash that I pulled from the garden weeks ago. Now don’t get me wrong here, but I am not the biggest fan of butternut squash. I really only grew it to make a couple of dishes for my wife, and to give some away to family and friends. This year I decided to make a stuffed butternut squash with some great local sausage, among other ingredients, and as I always walk by these squash I have in my kitchen, I knew I had to use them up, and hence when I remembered how much my wife loved a gnocchi I made here a few years ago.  I knew this recipe idea would be a win for both of us; she loves gnocchi and butternut squash, and I was able to use up the squash, while at the same time use up some fresh sage I had growing in the garden.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

If you have never had gnocchi, it is a must to try. Gnocchi is basically a thick, soft pasta, often served in a light sauce. This recipe will uses a few steps in order to get the dough together, as well as a bit of time to roll out the dough into gnocchi, however it is all worth it.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
  • water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, approximately
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (per serving)
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (per serving)

Start by preheating over oven to 425 degrees. Take a knife and make score marks into the flesh of the squash, about 1/2 inch down. Rub the skin with the canola oil, and place the squash onto a baking sheet, skin side up. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

During this time, fill a pot with the potatoes, and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer on the stove, and cook until fork tender.

Once the potatoes are tender, drain, and return the potatoes back onto the stove on medium-low heat until the excess moisture is removed, just a couple of minutes. Remove and let cool.

Remove the tender squash from the oven and let that cool.

Once the potatoes have cooled, put them through a ricer if you have one, if not, mash them into a mixing bowl.

Remove the squash from the skin and add them into a food processor. Process until you have a nice puree. Add this puree into a pot on the stove, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes to remove any excess moisture. Let cool, then add into the mixing bowl with the potatoes.

To the mixing bowl add the egg, salt, and the parmesan cheese. Start your mixer, and gradually add in the flour. You do not want to dump in all of the flour, but just enough to that it forms a dough, a non sticky dough. I do this in my KitchenAid stand mixer with a dough hook, allowing me to knead for a few minutes after the dough has came together.

Once the dough is kneaded, lightly flour your work surface, and add the dough onto it. Divide the dough into equal pieces, about 8 will work.

How to make butternut squash gnocchi with browned butter sage sauce

Lightly flour a large baking tray as well.

Take each small ball of dough and gently roll into a rope shape, about one inch thick.

Once you have your rope, cut into one inch pieces. Using the back of a fork, roll into a gnocchi shape, then place onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the gnocchi have formed.

Lightly cover with plastic wrap and place into your refrigerator to set up, about 2 hours.

Once you are ready to make the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

During this time, slowly melt the butter in a skillet. You are going to go for a browned butter on this sauce, so keep that in mind. We will raise the heat a bit as the gnocchi gets closer to finishing cooking.

Once the water is rapidly boiling, add in about 15-20 of the gnocchi. Give a gentle stir, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the gnocchi are floating to the top. As soon as they begin to float to the top, raise the heat of your butter to a medium-high heat, and let hte butter begin to brown.

Once the butter begins to brown, toss in the sage. It will crack and sizzle, and smell really, really good. If you have never had browned butter sage sauce, well, you will love it. Two of my kids really love it, and that is saying something.

Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and add into the butter sauce. Give a gentle toss, and let this cook for a couple of minutes.

Add more grated parmesan to your liking, and serve.

Repeat if you are serving more than two people, otherwise, you can place the baking pan into your freezer and flash freeze the leftover gnocchi (that’s what I did) for later use.

Plate and serve.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Not only does this particular butternut squash gnocchi look awesome with that light orange color, but it tastes like Fall as my wife had noted. Fluffy and soft pillows of pasta that have that light, not overwhelming, flavor of butternut squash, is perfectly balanced by that browned butter sage sauce. This is good, REALLY, REALLY good. I hope you enjoy.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
  • water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sauce
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, approximately
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (per serving)
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (per serving)
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating over oven to 425 degrees. Take a knife and make score marks into the flesh of the squash, about ½ inch down. Rub the skin with the canola oil, and place the squash onto a baking sheet, skin side up. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
  2. During this time, fill a pot with the potatoes, and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer on the stove, and cook until fork tender.
  3. Once the potatoes are tender, drain, and return the potatoes back onto the stove on medium-low heat until the excess moisture is removed, just a couple of minutes. Remove and let cool.
  4. Remove the tender squash from the oven and let that cool.
  5. Once the potatoes have cooled, put them through a ricer if you have one, if not, mash them into a mixing bowl.
  6. Remove the squash from the skin and add them into a food processor. Process until you have a nice puree. Add this puree into a pot on the stove, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes to remove any excess moisture. Let cool, then add into the mixing bowl with the potatoes.
  7. To the mixing bowl add the egg, salt, and the parmesan cheese. Start your mixer, and gradually add in the flour. You do not want to dump in all of the flour, but just enough to that it forms a dough, a non sticky dough. I do this in my KitchenAid stand mixer with a dough hook, allowing me to knead for a few minutes after the dough has came together.
  8. Once the dough is kneaded, lightly flour your work surface, and add the dough onto it. Divide the dough into equal pieces, about 8 will work.
  9. Lightly flour a large baking tray as well.
  10. Take each small ball of dough and gently roll into a rope shape, about one inch thick.
  11. Once you have your rope, cut into one inch pieces. Using the back of a fork, roll into a gnocchi shape, then place onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the gnocchi have formed.
  12. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and place into your refrigerator to set up, about 2 hours.
  13. Once you are ready to make the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  14. During this time, slowly melt the butter in a skillet. You are going to go for a browned butter on this sauce, so keep that in mind. We will raise the heat a bit as the gnocchi gets closer to finishing cooking.
  15. Once the water is rapidly boiling, add in about 15-20 of the gnocchi. Give a gentle stir, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the gnocchi are floating to the top. As soon as they begin to float to the top, raise the heat of your butter to a medium-high heat, and let hte butter begin to brown.
  16. Once the butter begins to brown, toss in the sage. It will crack and sizzle, and smell really, really good. If you have never had browned butter sage sauce, well, you will love it. Two of my kids really love it, and that is saying something.
  17. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and add into the butter sauce. Give a gentle toss, and let this cook for a couple of minutes.
  18. Add more grated parmesan to your liking, and serve.
  19. Plate and serve.
  20. Not only does this particular butternut squash gnocchi look awesome with that light orange color, but it tastes like Fall as my wife had noted. Fluffy and soft pillows of pasta that have that light, not overwhelming, flavor of butternut squash, is perfectly balanced by that browned butter sage sauce. This is good, REALLY, REALLY good. I hope you enjoy.

 

Spicy Garlic Noodles

The other day I had this vision of slurping noodles. I have no idea why. I was probably hungry, and as my oldest has been devouring ramen noodles lately, noodle slurping was just on my mind. This was around ten in the morning mind you. So when I got home I looked around and noticed I had a bunch of green onions to use, and had an array of pasta to chose from. I was looking to make a thicker style noodle in a spicy, yet awesome Asian style sauce. I’ll admit that one third of my refrigerator door is littered with Asian ingredients; everything from soy sauces, fish sauces, hoisin, sesame oil, gochujang, and mirin just to name a few. So with that said, I was going to setup a nice, thick Asian sauce, almost like a gravy, to be slurped with some nice thick cut bucatini.

Spicy Garlic Noodles Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bucatini, cooked al dente
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 generous pinch of red chili flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Sherry cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts, lightly crushed

Start by cooking your pasta. Drain and set aside.

Make the sauce by adding the soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, and sherry cooking wine to a small bowl, and give a good mix. Set it aside.

Add the chicken stock and corn starch to another bowl. Stir well, and set it aside.

Add the oil to a large skillet, or wok, and bring the oil up to temperature on medium to medium, high heat.

Toss in the garlic, ginger, and chili flakes, cooking for a few minutes. Add in the sauce, and cook for about five minutes, stirring along the way.

Spicy Garlic Noodles

Toss in the chicken stock and corn starch. This will begin to thicken the sauce after cooking for a few minutes. Stir.

Once the sauce begins to thicken, toss in the noodles and almost all of the green onions. Set a few aside to sprinkle on top of the noodles when serving.

Gently toss the noodles, incorporating the sauce, and warming the noodles.

Put the noodles into a serving dish, and shower with any remaining green onion and the crushed peanuts.

Slurp away. The bucatini noodles themselves are awesome. They are much thicker than a spaghetti, but they are hollowed ou which allows that sauce to get in there and penetrate the pasta. These noodles are pretty delicious. They had that nice spice from the garlic and chili flakes, but are balanced by the hoisin and sesame oil. These are also great hot or cold, so they are perfect for outdoor picnics and get togethers.

Spicy Garlic Noodles
Author: 
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
A simple Asian noodle dish that is great hot or cold.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb bucatini, cooked al dente
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 generous pinch of red chili flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Sherry cooking wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ tbsp corn starch
  • ¼ cup of roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your pasta. Drain and set aside.
  2. Make the sauce by adding the soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, and sherry cooking wine to a small bowl, and give a good mix. Set it aside.
  3. Add the chicken stock and corn starch to another bowl. Stir well, and set it aside.
  4. Add the oil to a large skillet, or wok, and bring the oil up to temperature on medium to medium, high heat.
  5. Toss in the garlic, ginger, and chili flakes, cooking for a few minutes. Add in the sauce, and cook for about five minutes, stirring along the way.
  6. Toss in the chicken stock and corn starch. This will begin to thicken the sauce after cooking for a few minutes. Stir.
  7. Once the sauce begins to thicken, toss in the noodles and almost all of the green onions. Set a few aside to sprinkle on top of the noodles when serving.
  8. Gently toss the noodles, incorporating the sauce, and warming the noodles.
  9. Put the noodles into a serving dish, and shower with any remaining green onion and the crushed peanuts.