Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Thanksgiving With A Twist

It was Thanksgiving for our friends in the States a couple of days back.  And although we normally do not celebrate this holiday in our family, I thought it was a good idea to ride the “thankfulness wave” this year and give this decidedly western holiday some Pinoy flair. 😉

I was pretty excited with the simple spread we came up with since it became a “kitchen comeback” of sorts for me – that is, after nearly five months of being mostly a “spectator” in terms of food planning, prep and cooking.

Without further ado, allow me to let you in on what we all enjoyed for our first-ever Thanksgiving meal. Frankly speaking, I think I wouldn’t mind doing something like this again next year… time, skill, and resources-permitting, of course.

For starters, I followed the lead of my sister-in-law, Ayn, who served up two kinds of pasta during a recent birthday party for her son two days before – one in red sauce and another in white.

Here’s the red…

 …while this one is the white. 

Having two pasta bases was a brilliant idea, if I may say so, since I found that more grown-ups preferred the red pasta while the kids gravitated towards the white.  In other words: everybody happy! 😀

This, on the other hand, was the “main event” (in lieu of the usual turkey – which I admittedly still need A LOT of  practice in preparing and baking!). 

Of course, the chicken wouldn’t be complete without these yummy sides…

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take any  “decent” pictures of the desserts – Sans Rival and Mango Bravo cakes – since we were probably all too stuffed already to think straight (think blood flowing more to our stomachs to aid digestion vs going to our brains – hahaha!).

Inspite of our “dessert photo waterloo”, I would say that the evening was still a “success”.  After all, a good meal coupled with the love and laughter of family are always blessings we should remain ever-thankful for.

Bon appetit, everyone, be grateful and stay blessed! :mrgreen: 

Fab French Fungi

Before all of you let out a collective “Eeeeewwww!” at the title of my post, please do read on… I’m sure most of you will hopefully see how close to reality this “claim” is later on …  😉

As mentioned in my previous entry, thanks to my sister’s good friend (our fave French monsieur also known as “Louis Pierre”), we got over our initial biases and were pleasantly acquainted with traditional French cuisine.

Although admittedly a bit pricier than the usual “plate of the day”  in Spain or in Portugal, our gastronomic adventure led us to a quaint and cozy restaurant in the heart of Paris – Truffes Folies – where, you guessed it – the specialty is the so-called “diamond of the kitchen” – the fab fungus that is the truffle.

Sure, I’ve heard of truffles before – why, I’ve even tasted its chocolatey version! 😳  Little did I realize though how chocolate truffles were in a totally different league till I tasted the delicate flavor of the “real thing” – that I too would inevitably fall prey to the charms of this “fungal fruit”- especially after sampling these savory truffle-ized culinary creations…

Too bad I never got around asking the chef what the creamy, sorbet-like scoop was… 😦 It was delicious nonetheless!

How’s this for upping the status of the lowly omelette? 😉

My order. Y-U-M-M-Y.

Hubby’s order. Y-U-M-M-I-E-R!

And for those of us (i.e., my brother) who weren’t huge truffle fans that adventurous with their food, there’s always this…

Still tasty and delish!

Of course, if, for some weird reason, you feel that flavor was still wanting, you can always have dashes of these…

or this  – to ultimately “level up” the “delish factor” of your dish!

Needless to say, our traditional French lunch that day will set the bar “way up” for our future foodie adventures.

And if only for this, I can definitely say, “Vive la France!” 😎

Birthday Boy’s Blessed Bash

Unlike the “bigger” celebrations (in terms of venue and number of guests) of previous years, hubby’s birthday this year was much simpler – yet, if I may say, more personal and intimate. 😀

We just celebrated at home with me cooking/baking…

Fresh from the oven, savory goodness…

Chicken ala King – for the “king of the house” 😉

And what better way to say, “Long live, the ‘king’!” than with this long-life pasta dish – Baked Spaghetti!

Hmmm… something missing from your simple spread?

…and him going to our newest favorite bakeshop, Saadedin, to grab the requisite cake(s).

Oh yes, the birthday boy had – not one, not two – but  5 different kinds of birthday cake! :mrgreen:

Yum, yum!

Since he was spoilt for choice for his birthday cake(s),  wonder which cake will he choose to blow? 😳  It came down to these two “finalists”…

Caramel?

Or chocolate? 🙄

Whatever the party or wherever we may be, I’ve always believed that birthdays are meant to be “grateful days” – a perfect time to take stock of what has happened in one’s life thus far, to count blessings and to look hopefully to the future… And if we could do this with the ones we love,  then all the better, right? 😉

 

Incidentally, he chose both! After all, birthday boy knows best! 😆

Belated happy birthday, Hon! Your life is truly a blessing. Looking forward to spending more blessed birthdays with you and the gremlins. Love you!

 

Spaghetti with Pancetta, Mozzarella and Eggs

When I need to have lunch ready in a snap, this is one of the dishes I usually come up with.  I got the recipe from the very useful Treats Spaghetti recipe book given to me by my sister-in-law, Ayn.

Another “kid-friendly, mother (and hubby too!)-approved”  winner, if you ask me! 😀

After all, when you get down to brass tacks, how can you go wrong with bacon, eggs and cheese in pasta, right? 😉

WHAT YOU NEED*: 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil, 3 small eggplants, cut into small cubes, 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 4 oz (125g) chopped pancetta or bacon, 2 (14 oz/400g) cans tomatoes with juice, 1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped, 4 oz (125g) fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and cut into small cubes, 1 lb (500g) spaghetti, salt and ground black pepper to taste

*Some substitutions or minor revisions: 1 eggplant instead of 3, store-bought pre-shredded mozzarella instead of the fresh one, turkey bacon instead of pancetta

HOW TO:

  1. Place the eggs in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook for 8 minutes from the moment the water boils. Drain and cool eggs under cold running water. Shell the eggs and chop them. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the eggplants and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggplants to a layer of paper towels to drain excess oil. Set aside.
  3. Add the garlic and pancetta to the frying pan and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and chili pepper and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is thick, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta per package instructions.  drain and add to the frying pan along with the mozzarella.  Toss over high heat for 1 minute.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish. 
  7. Arrange the cooked eggplant on top of the pasta and sprinkle with chopped egg.  Serve hot.

Preparation time is about 15 minutes while cooking time takes about an hour.

 

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

I’ve been meaning to give this dish a go ever since my sister posted her own version of it  on her site a couple of weeks ago…

However, for one reason or another, I never seem to have all the ingredients on hand!  What to do?

After bloghopping like crazy, I finally found  a similar (and most worthy, if  I may add!) recipe  and combined the “best of both worlds” to make a shrimp scampi dish that is distinctly my own – yipee! 😀

Curious?

Here’s how my long-overdue Shrimp Scampi Pasta looked like…

Paired off with the usual garlic bread – or, in my case, mini cheese mozarella pizzas made from leftover bran bread – it was simply scrumptious! 😎

Many thanks to the Happy Tummy Kitchen for providing the inspiration for this delish dish.

This will definitely have an encore in my kitchen soon! 😀

 

Bunsoy’s Birthday

Nope…am not talking about our own dear little “princess” here but yet another “bunso” (youngest in the family) who is just as loved (and sorely missed too!) – my only sister, Rina, who celebrated her “quarter-of-a-century (and then some! 😆 )” birthday two days ago.

Of course, birthdays are always causes for celebration and thanksgiving, right? And being true-blooded Pinoys, what indeed is any celebration without food?

So, even though we are miles apart, I made it a point to prepare something “birthday-ish” on dear sister’s special day.  Here’s what I came up with…

Spaghetti with Fried Eggplant and Tomato – In our family, there always just has to be long noodles on birthdays to wish the celebrant long life! 😉

This recipe is again courtesy of the Treats Spaghetti Book I mentioned in my earlier blog.  I liked this pasta dish as it was so easy to make and yet still racked up points in the taste department.  What’s more, although its sauce is practically vegetable-based and so unlike the “sweet-ish” spaghetti sauce most of us are accustomed to, even the kids loved it – yipee! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to post the recipe at the end of this entry. 🙂

Baked Chinese Chicken Wings

Again, I ask: what is spaghetti without chicken? 😉 I googled the recipe for this from a great find of a food blog – Blog Chef!  Since I only had 900 grams of wings, I just halved the recipe ingredients.  I also substituted the garlic powder with fresh crushed garlic (about 4 cloves) and the sugar with honey.  I must say, these wings turned out very tasty and delicious! 😀 It does pay to marinate 24 hours (or more!). 😎

All in all, even without dear birthday girl being physically present to celebrate with us, it was a fun party nonetheless!

Here, have a (virtual) bite! 😀

Happy, happy birthday, Rina! Hope you enjoyed your “handa”… see you very, very soon!

PS As promised, here’s the pasta recipe. :mrgreen:

YOU NEED: 1 large eggplant (aubergine), thinly sliced; 2 tbsp coarse sea salt; 1 cup olive oil, for frying; 500 grams spaghetti, cooked per package instructions and set aside; 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the Tomato Sauce: 1 kg firm-ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (I substituted this with 1 large can peeled, whole tomatoes plus two large, boiled and peeled, fresh tomatoes); 1 red onion, thinly sliced (I used the yellow variety); 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped; leaves from 1 small bunch basil, torn (I used dry basil), 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; 1/4 tsp sugar; salt to taste

HOW TO: Place the eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.  Let drain for 1 hour.  Shake off as much salt as possible.  Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan until very hot. Fry the eggplant in small batches until golden-brown, 5-7 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels.

For the sauce, stir together the tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oil, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until the tomatoes have broken down, about 15 minutes.  Uncover and simmer over low heat until reduced, about 40 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor and chop until smooth (I skipped this step though! 🙂 ).

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well. Top with the fried eggplant and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Serve hot.  Yields 4-6 servings.

LaPiS: Tri-colore (Three-Colored)

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the theme for this week (apart from Neapolitan ice cream, that is… 😉 ) is definitely pasta.

Good thing I remembered to grab a bag of Tricolore Fusilli during our last grocery trip…

And tried out the carbonara recipe from this recipe book that sis-in-law Ayn gave me during our last home leave. 😎

This is what came out of my first carbonara attempt…

Not too bad 😐 …though I honestly wanted it saucier! Next time, I probably should stick to spaghetti (per the original recipe) since  the fusilli seemed to absorb the sauce more thus drying the dish out (*sigh*). 🙄

For anyone who may be interested, here’s the recipe I used:

YOU NEED: one finely chopped onion, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/3 cups diced bacon (I used turkey bacon in mine), 6 egg yolks, 1/3 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, 1 lb spaghetti, salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO:  Cook and drain pasta as per package instructions until al dente and set aside.  Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned.  Add the bacon and saute until crisp.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Beat egg yolks and cream in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan. Mix cooked pasta with sauteed bacon and return to high heat, add the egg mixture, and toss briefly so that the eggs cook lightly but are still creamy.  Serve immediately.

Bon appetit!  :mrgreen:

To see the other tri-colored yummies from our LaPiS buddies, click on the Lasang Pinoy Sundays icon on my sidebar.