Tag Archives: Pasta

The B.L.T. Pasta

I’m trying to remember how I came up with the idea for this meal but something deep inside me wanted it.  I remember we were talking with some friends who were having pasta for dinner and I had suggested having B.L.T sandwiches the week before so I think it somehow came together subconsciously.  It just so happened that the famous Chef John at Food Wishes had this planned out for me already.

I made a few substitutions to the recipe since I didn’t have any arugula or creme fraiche nearby.  Cause who really has those on hand?

I learned a bit about creme fraiche tonight.  First, I thought that yogurt or sour cream would be a good substitute, but read they don’t hold up under high heat and tend to separate.  I then read that Creme Fraiche is just heavy cream that has been soured and thickened.   Since I always have heavy cream on hand I decided to just use that instead.

While cooking the pasta and bacon (separately of course) I diced up the lettuce and tomatoes. Once the bacon was done I added garlic, lemon zest and heavy cream.  Once that had simmered a bit I threw in the lettuce and tomatoes for a minute and mixed in the pasta to create the final dish.  I let this cook for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld together and then it’s ready to serve.

B.L.T. Pasta

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Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

One of my favorite dinners to make is chicken fettuccine alfredo.  I found a recipe a while back that has never failed me and I felt like making it again today.  I asked The Mrs. if she supported this decision and she said “I don’t think we have fettuccine noodles.”,  to which I responded “We have flour and eggs right?”.  You see, not having a box of noodles shouldn’t hinder your ability to make pasta.   How do you think they end up in the box?!

This past Christmas I received a pasta press and about 2 months ago I took a class on handmade pasta.  Pasta dough is made up of flour, eggs, salt, and oil.   The ratio of flour to eggs varies widely.  Today I used 1 cup of flour and 2 eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and 1/2 tsp of salt.  I had to add a little water to make it come together though.   This made enough pasta for ~3 servings I would say.   I also changed up the flour a bit. I used 1/2 cup of regular All Purpose Flour and 1/2 cup of Semolina Flour and I thought the result was a much sturdier noodle.

Flour and Eggs

I decided to mix this by hand and knead the dough for ~15 minutes into this smooth looking ball.  You then let it sit for ~30 minutes to let the gluten rest.

Pasta Dough

Now it takes some time to knead the dough, press it out, and cut into perfect strips, but what else would I rather do on a Sunday afternoon?  The pressing and cutting are actually done for me thanks to the pasta press, so it was just the kneading that I labored over.

Pressed Flat

Cutting pasta

You’ll want to dust the noodles with flour so they don’t stick together.

Pile of Pasta

The alfredo sauce starts by making a roux, which is butter and flour.  I add garlic, onion power, and italian seasoning as the recipe calls for.  After the flour taste cooks off you add milk, heavy cream, and the cheeses (parmesan and cheddar this time).  This is when it starts to get good.  You see it thicken up and become that beautiful white sauce you know is going to taste so good.

Cheese sauce

You throw in the cooked chicken, tomatoes, and this recipe finishes it with sour cream.  I’ve seen others call for cream cheese at this point which is a great alternative.

Final sauce

I cut this particular recipe in half, which still serves 4, so we have leftovers for tomorrow.  It turned out a little more red than I remember, I must have used more tomato this time.

Yum

To make this dish even more hand made I’ll need to raise the chicken, make the cheese, and grow the tomato.  I’m working on it.


Pioneer Woman – Cajun Chicken Pasta

Day #4 of Pioneer Woman Dinner Week is Cajun Chicken Pasta. A couple years ago I experienced Yats in Indianapolis, Indiana and have been hooked on cajun food since then. Yats has an amazing Chili Cheese Etouffe that I highly recommend. I know I’ll be making that again so I’ll post it when I do.

As with most cajun recipes, the first step is cut, chop, and dice up all the ingredients. The holy trinity of cajun recipes are green pepper, onion, and celery. However, this recipe mixed it up and swapped the celery for tomatoes. I was working with a dull knife tonight so it wasn’t super fun, but I like getting all the prep work done first so it’s just combining, cooking, and stirring after that.

Vegetables

I used a single chicken breast from the whole chicken I dismantled on Sunday and added shrimp since that’s also a staple in most cajun recipes. Mmmmm… my mind often drifts back to a jambalaya pasta I had at the Yard House in Fort Lauderdale, FL about a year ago. It was the BEST jambalaya I’ve ever had.

Meat

Anyway, enough daydreaming, back to dinner. The garlic was diced by hand, although I think I prefer the garlic press. Not sure if there’s any difference in the results.  Definitely use fresh garlic though, not that powdery stuff.

Garlic

The meat is cooked first, on high, in some butter and oil.

Cooking Meat

Once that’s done we set it aside for later.

Cooked

Now it’s the veggies turn, peppers, onions (if you’re using them), and garlic goes in first. After the peppers have browned and softened add the tomatoes for a short stint.

Veggies in Pan

The sauce is white wine, chicken stock (hand made, from the same whole chicken), and heavy cream. It’s supposed to thicken up but I struggle with that part. Then you combine everything together in the pan and season to taste.

Combined

Here’s the final plated version that we both devoured. This was about a 45 min recipe I would say. I couldn’t decide if noodles or rice would be better here. I’m a fan of my cajun food on rice so I’ll probably do that next time. Rice helps soak up the extra sauce too.

Cajun Chicken Pasta


Pioneer Woman – Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Day 3 of my Pioneer Woman Week of dinners I decided to make Spinach Artichoke Pasta. Heidi and I love spinach artichoke dip and I thought the pasta version sounded great. I used rice noodles to reduce the amount of gluten we’re intaking, but still had 1.5 T of flour in the sauce to thicken it up.

Cooking Steps in a nutshell, see the original recipe for full details.

  1. Butter + garlic + spinach, set aside.
  2. Butter + artichokes, set aside
  3. Butter + flour + milk + cheese (parmesan and mozzarella)
  4. Combine everything together and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  5. Once combined, top with red pepper flakes and panko bread crumbs for a nice crunch.

 

Spinach

Artichokes

 

Here’s the final product.  I think I had too much pasta and could have used some more artichokes.  The red peper flakes gave it a good spice and the bread crumbs gave it some additional texture.   This meal was extremely easy to make and took ~30 minutes.

Finished Product