Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 61/138
We don't often cook with duck so when we saw this recipe, we headed to our regular grocery store, where they told us they don't sell duck. Turns out, they actually do. It was frozen, wrapped in white paper near the end by the turkey. I'm so glad we found it because we are both obsessed with this recipe.
This is by far the best pasta dish we've made this year. The sauce is so fantastic, I would eat it every day if I could. The duck is tender and delicious. Colin, who is not a big fan of red sauce, is also in love with this recipe. If I can recommend you make one dish that we've ever made, do this one.
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 61/138
This is my favorite pasta we've made so far from the Epicurious magazine. The amount of flavor in this dish really surprised me! The process of making this is a lot like making marinara sauce. Traditionally, this dish is served with bucatini (a long spaghetti-like pasta, with a hole through the center), but as this recipe suggested, we used rigatoni so all the pancetta and sauce could be scooped up in each individual noodle. Penne would also be a good option here. Heck, any noodle at all would be a great addition to this sauce!
We made one substitution, once again, in order to save time and money. This dish called for guanciale, which is salt-cured pork jowl. The internet suggested substituting this with pancetta, which is already in this recipe. So instead, we decided to get a pork chop and add that into the pasta, and it was a great decision on our part!
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 34/138
The photo above doesn't even begin to describe how absolutely amazing this gnocchi tastes. It's creamy and flavorful, and we devoured the entire batch before getting great photos. My bad.
Gnocchi is one of my favorite pastas and we've made it all ways, with potato, flour, and cheese. This one is ricotta based, which means it's messy to make and super soft to eat. When you have a dough that seriously melts in your mouth after cooked, then mix it with a brown butter sauce, and top it with a great cheese, you're in heaven.
Seriously stop what you're doing and go make this!
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 18/138
One of Colin's favorite pastas is a simple Cacio e Pepe pasta. Cacio means cheese and pepe means pepper in Italian. I decided that for Valentine's Day, I'd make my valentine this pasta dish, which I've never done before! It has only 3 ingredients and takes very little time to make. I loved how this turned out and how simple it was to put together.
This pasta dish has no real sauce element and the cheese truly makes the dish. If you're thinking of substituting the pecorino cheese in this recipe, choose something packed with flavor! I'm glad this challenge and this Valentine's Day gave me the excuse to finally make this pasta, something that we will make again often!
The only thing I didn't like about this recipe was how it's written. Part of the reason we wanted to start this blog in the first place was because many recipes are written in a way that just don't make sense some times. Sometimes it seems like they skip a step, sometimes the portions seem off. This recipe is the perfect example of this. It says to start with 2t black peppercorns toasted and crushed, but why when you can do that while the water boils?We tweak some recipes to how we love it before posting. All our recipes should be super simple to follow from start to finish and you can see how we work in a kitchen. Of course that's not for everyone, but it's how we cook.
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 14/138
Every time I think of bolognese, I think of my dad making it for us. I have this image of the slow cooker just sitting there cooking our dinner all day long. Although there is one big different between his and mine: his is WAY spicier! This was a new bolognese recipe for me, which used pancetta (um, yes) and I was excited to try it out.
My experience cooking this dish was a humble reminder that if you don't fully read the recipe, you may misunderstand the amount of time it takes to cook everything. It's not my fault. The part where it added an entire extra hour was written differently than the rest of the timings andddd whatever, it all turned out okay! So, I decided to write in bold the two large chunks of time required to make this pasta dish. We were prepared it would take a long time, and it did, and it was amazing.
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 13/138
Here's the last post for that dinner party we keep talking about! I realized before the dinner I had promised my friends an Italian style dinner and should probably serve them some pasta. Pasta is one of the first things I learned to make growing up - both fresh and from the box. But I wasn't going to overwhelm myself with making fresh pasta this time around!
This fettuccine is what Colin describes as "the best pasta I've ever had" so I guess you could say it turned out well! I like this pasta as a play on carbonara, but without any sort of pancetta or bacon, and served with fresh Brussels sprouts and shiitake mushrooms.
Side note: why were shiitake mushrooms so hard to find? Ralphs, Trader Joe's, and Vons didn't have them. Solution: Whole Foods.
We'll definitely be making this one again!
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 12/138
When we were home for Christmas, we visited some family in Cincinnati and had probably one of the most fun dinner experiences we've ever had. Thankfully we were in a private room so we could be as loud and rowdy as we wanted! We ate tons of bruschetta, delicious chicken liver mousse, salad, and 5-6 different pastas. One of the crowd favorites was this short rib pasta in a cream sauce.
I knew I wanted to make something similar at home so after making a few of our recipes for our Epicurious Challenge, I decided it was time to be inventive in the kitchen! The first step was looking at photos online to see what the pasta looked like and interestingly enough, the restaurant Sotto had posted some photos of them making the pasta. Their short rib mixture had the consistency of mashed potatoes and having no idea how they did that, I decided early on that I would simply braise the short ribs, dice them, and stuff them into pasta. It definitely won't be the same consistency, but I wanted to see what it would be like to keep the meat texture as is.
For the sauce, I remember tasting it knowing it was similar to a cream sauce we often make for pastas. Again, not knowing at all what's in the sauce, I made my own using shallots, butter, heavy cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and anchovy paste.
Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to both make and eat, which is why I chose it as the first recipe of my Epicurious New Year's Challenge! You can make risotto a million different ways and it will always feel light and full of flavor. It may look intimidating, but I promise it's not!
This recipe represents the region of Piemonte, which is known for fresh veggies and rice. This recipe taught me a different method of making risotto in two different ways. First, I cooked the asparagus in the vegetable broth, which I've never done before. This saves a step (and a skillet!) later on. Second, this recipe calls for the broth to be heated and for some of the broth to be kept aside to thin out the risotto at the end. This is why I love this challenge! I get to cook new foods or cook familiar foods in a new way.
A side note: the magazine called for morel mushrooms to be used. These mushrooms are so unique and flavorful... and expensive. On top of that, none of our stores (Ralph's, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Vons) had them (dried or fresh) in stock. We swapped them out for half dried porcini mushrooms and half fresh shiitake mushrooms. I encourage you to try the morels or keep it budget friendly with our substitution!
I made this dish for a potluck New Year's Eve party. I was able to make it in advance and reheat at the party on the stove. I kept aside the remaining broth and didn't mix in the cheese until ready to serve. The consistency stayed creamy and delicious and of course this dish can easily serve a huge group of people!
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 1/138
Two things that should come as no surprise: I love pasta and I love the Food Network. One day while construction was going on in the kitchen, I ended up watching Food Network pretty much all day. I caught the show The Kitchen where Geoffrey Zakarian made spaghetti agile e olio - which means garlic and olive oil. What is better than garlic, olive oil and pasta? The correct answer: not much. Okay, cheese. Cheese is better.
While we had no kitchen, I kept thinking about how easy and full of flavor this pasta seemed on TV so of course I had to try it as soon as the kitchen was ready. Last night, I finally made it and the result was just as I had imagined. We thrive on learning new recipes and challenging ourselves to learn more about food. Every day is a new lesson and we're happy to share that with all of you! See the recipe after the jump and mangia!
Our schedules have been quite busy recently and we've found it very difficult to squeeze in a good, home cooked meal. Joanna found this recipe online and not only did it not take a long time to make, it provided plenty of leftovers for us to take for lunch! This packs lots of flavor and will definitely be something we make again.
Pesto is one of my all-time favorite ingredients. We always keep some in a jar in the fridge and will toss it into any dish if we feel it needs a flavor burst. One of our favorite ways to use this is on top of a burger with a fried egg. Mmm!
Though we usually get basil at a farmer's market, we recently bought some plants for our balcony which was a great idea because we can now make pesto whenever we want. This recipe used up all of our plants so we are patiently waiting for them to re-grow.
This recipe is the same one my mom has used since I was a kid and it is my absolute favorite. When I was in college I used to bring containers of pesto back to school to have on hand whenever I needed them. One time a container of broccoli soup got mixed in with the others of pesto. I poured it over my pasta and couldn't figure out why it was so thick. After adding about a half cup of olive oil I finally realized it wasn't pesto! I was in college...and hungry...so of course I ate it anyway.
PS. This photo is taken with cold pesto. When it is put on pasta or gets to room temperature, it is a lot thinner.
Here's the first of our meal planning recipes we prepared last Sunday. To use our time efficiently when preparing so many meals at once, I always try to mix up the appliances we use. Of the five meals we cooked, one used the oven, one used a slow cooker, two were on the stove, and one (the salad) was prepared on the counter.
The mushroom lasagna roll ups was the oven recipe. I found this via Pinterest and was intrigued by the photo alone. When I read the ingredients, I was sold! It comes from Closet Cooking, an adorable food blog who makes me feel better about cooking in such a small kitchen.
The recipe made 8 roll ups. We froze 4 pieces and ate the rest last week! It was really delicious, creamy and healthy! We made a few changes by using spinach instead of kale (we aren't huge kale fans - don't hate us!) and cremini mushrooms instead of white mushrooms. The original recipe link is at the bottom in case you prefer the other ingredients.
I love pasta and one of my favorites is so unhealthy that I hardly ever order it! Carbonara pasta is also known as breakfast pasta because it's cooked with eggs and either bacon or pancetta. In most recipes, you toss the pasta in the leftover bacon/pancetta grease. It tastes fantastic! But again, so unhealthy.
I found this recipe for a lighter carbonara, which we've made a couple of times. It tastes fantastic! It's very light and refreshing and is also a perfect summer pasta.
This is my mom's Alfredo recipe that I've loved for years but honestly never made. She throws in some steamed broccoli which adds color, texture and some great flavor.
The recipe made enough sauce to split into four, two serving containers that we popped into the freezer. It is always great to have some extra sauce on hand when you remember you have to pack a lunch for the next day and don't have anything to take!
Hope you enjoy!
This is one of our go-to pasta and sauce recipes. Not only is it delicious, but there's always enough left over for us to take to work and reheat for lunch. The sauce also freezes well.
We learned this recipe at a ravioli cooking class at Sur La Table at The Grove. Definitely ate a lot of pasta that day... anyway... it helps to make the pasta dough in advance. You can freeze this and thaw for the future!
Here's how to make it!
Colin & Joanna