Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lemon Oregano Chicken Pasta

Here's another staple from the Ries household... a great beginner recipe.

Lemon Oregano Chicken Pasta

3 tablespoons butter
2 or 3 or 10 cloves of minced garlic, depending on who you ask
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup cream or half and half
1/2 cup lemon juice
dried or fresh oregano to taste
2 or 3 grilled chicken breasts
parmesan cheese
hot cooked homemade noodles

Saute the garlic in the butter for a couple minutes, then stir in the flour vigorously to form a smooth paste. Add the wine and stir til smooth, then add the cream a little at a time so the sauce stays thick and hot. Reduce slightly, finish with the lemon juice and some oregano. Toss with hot pasta and sliced grilled chicken. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

This is a simple cream sauce that is very forgiving. Add a little more cream to the sauce if you like, use more or less wine, or even stir some parmesan into the sauce as well as sprinkling it on top. The lemon juice gives it a nice bright flavor.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

Due to a very busy month of March, and a bunch of pictures on my camera being accidentally erased, I have had a dearth of pasta-sauce posts. But, due to a lazy weekend in which I had time to enjoy breakfast in bed, put together a 500 piece puzzle, and bake yummy chocolate awesomeness, I finally had the chance to make another Saturday night pasta dinner! (Also, I washed a lot of dishes, thanks to our 1880's house with no dishwasher... pictures of that later, maybe.)

Bruschetta is really a summertime food, but thanks to a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese, it tastes pretty awesome in the winter too. 

My Dad started making this pasta when I was a teenager, probably as a result of something similar he had in a restaurant somewhere. It's always been one of my favorites and has made frequent appearances at birthday dinners. This pasta looks impressive, but is really very easy to make. Plus, all of the prep can be done ahead of time, leaving only the assembly for the last minute.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Making pasta with your Kitchen Aid

If you're one of those cooks who has some amount of time greater than 7 minutes but less than 4,000 years to create your pasta dish, then this might be the route for you. It's the delicious taste of homemade noodles meets the beauty of technological advances.

Step #1. Get a fantastic mother-in-law who buys you cool stuff, like this:

Step #2. Mix together some flour and eggs as directed here:

Step #3. Remove that funny little knob on the front of your mixer that you always wondered about and attach your pasta maker.

Step #4. Turn your mixer on one of the lowest two settings and feed your dough through a few times until it's nice a smooth and a uniform thickness. Look, I can even make dough with one hand and take a picture with the other:

Step #5. Turn the dial to a progressively higher number as you run your dough through again and again until the pasta is as thin as you like. If you try to do it all at once, though, you'll end up looking like this. So feel free to cut it into workable lengths.

Step #6. Change the attachment to the cutter of your choice and once again feed the pasta dough through on the slowest setting. As it comes out, simply cut the noodles to your desired length.

I cut mine over a cookie sheet and let them drop right down into a pile. Then just toss them with a little extra flour if they are too wet and let them rest on the counter until you're ready to cook them. They can also be dried out most of the way and then frozen if you want to do all this work ahead of time.

Step #7. Drop the noodles into boiling water - they only take 3 or 4 minutes to cook through!

Step #8. Top with your favorite meat & sauce combination for a pasta creation that will rival an Italian restaurant.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pasta Month: Annie's Mac 'n' Cheese (aka: Nathanael remembers his bachelor days)

Nathanael Yellis

Most people do not have 4,000 years to make their own pasta. They go to the store and buy it. If they are bachelors, they forget to purchase sauce. Someone invented Annie's, and now people like this can buy pasta and cheese sauce in a handy box. Here's how to make it.

Goals: speed, minimization of dishes, and multi-tasking opportunities.


Also one pot--it could be a used tin can, if you are comfortable putting that on the stove.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hand-Crank Pasta

While you can spend an hour rolling and cutting your own pasta, a $35 machine can make your pasta in a fraction of the time. (Elizabeth will share later about how a more expensive gadget can make the process even faster-- but I'm happy with the cheap-easy version ;)).

A hand-crank pasta machine clips to your table, pull-out cutting board, or countertop. It rolls your pasta through one part of the machine, and cuts it through another.

Here is how it works:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Introducing: Homemade Pasta Month!

The month of March, along with warmer temperatures, spring rains, and flowers, also bring something exciting to Epicurable-- Pasta month!

I am fairly certain that there isn't a drop of Italian blood anywhere in our family's heritage, but for some reason, we do love our pasta. It can be made quickly for a weeknight meal, prepped ahead of time for dinner parties, or dressed to the nines for a fancy weekend dinner. What is not to love?

Well, ok, maybe not this:

Don't get me wrong, it will do in a pinch, and we certainly have a stock in our cupboard. But there is a much, much, much better way!

Homemade pasta tastes incredible, and requires just two ingredients: flour and eggs. This month, we will be featuring three ways to make homemade pasta -- by hand, with a hand-crank roller, and with a Kitchen-Aid attachment. We are pretty certain that once you try it, you will never go back to the box. 

Click below to find out how to make hand rolled pasta!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fig experiment, take 3: success!

At last, a conclusion: I like the taste of dried figs, but not the texture. The solution? Chopped dried figs!

Combine a little chopped figs, a few chopped apricots (for my husband, who decided after experiment #1 that he disliked figs...), some lemon zest, honey, and goat cheese, and you have the most amazing fig muffins to ever grace your Saturday morning breakfast table.

At this point, some of you are thinking "gee! that sounds too healthy for me," "goat cheese in muffins??" or "still not sure about those figs, Rebekah..."

Well, the muffins certainly are healthy. I found them in last month's edition of Eating Well. Goat cheese, honey, and figs did seem like an odd combination--but odd enough to be intriguing. The goat cheese has a cream cheese-like consistency, but a delicious tang. And trust me on those chopped figs--just chop them finely. I promise you won't lose any of the health benefit.