food amongst family and friends

Lemon Olive Oil Pasta December 19, 2014

Filed under: Pasta,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:26 am
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This has been one of my go-to pasta dishes for a number of years. It is one of the few meals I make that actually came from peering into my cupboards and fridge and pulling together a “use it all up” meal. It changes almost every time I make it, but what’s consistent is that it’s easy and quick. My main theme.

IMG_3605Put pasta on to boil. Any kind will do, really. In the meantime, zest and squeeze some juice (about 2 oz, or whatever comes out) from a lemon, chop some garlic, cut some cherry tomatoes in half, drain some capers (I like a lot), and grate some cheese (Padano? Parmesan? whatever floats your boat). Lightly cook the garlic in lots of olive oil, and when the pasta is ready to be drained, throw the tomatoes, zest and a sprinkle or two of red pepper flakes into your frying pan. Warm the mix up, and add your drained pasta. Add the lemon juice and capers, some salt, pepper and basil (fresh or dried, your call) and your cheese. Add more olive oil to make it shiny and delicious, and adjust seasoning to taste. Enjoy! Ren


Fast and easy tagliatelle with Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and arugula May 21, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Pork,Quick and easy,Sausage,Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:07 pm
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I love pasta. I love especially love that it is fast and easy and everyone in my house eats it up. This recipe, from (surprise, surprise) Fine Cooking, is a nice departure from my usual go-to carbonara while still being super fast and easy. I think next time I will make it with half arugula and half spinach to satisfy my children (the arugula was a little bitter for them), but if you are into bitter greens, then don’t hold back because this is fantastic. Make it soon.

Image2 links (about 1/2 lb) hot (or sweet) Italian sausage, casings removed

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream (I think coffee cream would be sufficient if you are trying to lighten things up)

10 oz dried tagliatelle or fettucine

4 cups baby arugula (or spinach/arugula mixture)

1/2 cup freshly grated Grada Padano

1 big handful of fresh basil, thinly sliced

Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and fill a large pot with salted water, setting it on to boil. Add sausage to skillet and cook until browned, breaking up with a spoon into small pieces as you go. Make sure you have about a Tbsp of fat in the pan (you can top up with olive oil if needed), then add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. Add the peppers and cream and allow it to simmer over low heat for about 8 minutes. I added a little chicken broth here as well to stretch the sauce further, but its up to you.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well, put back in pot and toss with sauce, arugula, basil and cheese until the arugula is slightly wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.





Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange April 14, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Pork,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:45 am
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Pasta is the ultimate treat-night meal to me. I gravitate to pastas that use simple ingredients and are light on the sauce, but big on flavour. Don’t get me wrong, I like a big bowl of saucy spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next person, but I most often seek out recipes that come together quickly and rely on one or two key ingredients to make the meal sing.

I came across this Bon Appetit recipe a couple years ago, bookmarked it, and finally made it last night. It sounds a bit unusual – the two key flavours are orange and prosciutto – but fear not, the result is a salty and ever-so-sweet pasta that tastes interesting rather than unusual.

My tips are this: (1) Go to your nearest Italian market and buy a great quality, egg based tagliatelle. It doesn’t need to be expensive – mine was $2. (2) Find a super ripe, fragrant orange. (3) You want to serve this as soon as it’s ready. Once you get to the last step, call your husband/wife/kids/guests to plant around the table and fill their plates the minute the pasta is done.

Did I mention this is really easy? There’s hardly any chopping, the sauce only cooks for about 5 minutes and all the ingredients are easily sourced. You can have dinner on the table in the time it takes to boil your pasta. Hope you love it!


serves 4

12 oz egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (fresh or dry will work, just get a great quality pasta)
2 T butter
2 oz prosciutto OR 3 stips of bacon, sliced/torn into small pieces
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup whipping cream
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt, add pasta and cook until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto/bacon; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
To the saute pan, add half the reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest and cream; bring to a boil. (Now it’s time to get everyone gathered around the table.) Add pasta and cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the pasta and the pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, stir in cheese and taste – add more salt and pepper as desired. You can add more pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Divide among warm bowls and sprinkle with remaining orange zest.

Pasta with Prosciutto and Orange

close up


Odds and Ends Pasta January 4, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Quick and easy,Thrifty,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:48 am
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20130101_132427I’m a sucker for pasta. And for recipes that help me make use of things like stale bread and about-to-go-bad coffee cream. And especially for recipes so comforting and delicious that you’re looking for an excuse to make them again. So for me, this recipe is a win.

It’s not exactly a recipe, more of a guideline, so I’ll just talk you through it. The result is a steaming bowl of pasta that’s gooey, crunchy and fresh all at the same time. It’s exactly what you want to eat when you have the house and a movie to yourself on a Friday night.


makes 1 hearty bowl of pasta

Gather up all your nearly-empty bags of pasta  and throw 2 handfuls of dried/frozen/fresh pasta into a pot of boiling water. While the pasta cooks, melt a spoonful of bacon drippings or butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Finely tear/chop 1 stale piece of bread and add it to the now hot bacon drippings. (You could also cook up 1-2 strips of bacon and crumble it instead of, or in addition to, the breadcrumbs.) Cook and stir the bread until nicely browned and crispy, then remove from heat. When the pasta is 2 minutes from al dente, add a handful of fresh or frozen veggies (peas, edamame, asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower would all work well) to the pot. Cook until pasta is al dente, then strain, reserving 1/2 C of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta back into the pot. Drizzle in 2-4 T of cream, stir, then add a handful of grated sharp cheese, a generous pinch of sea salt and hammer it with freshly ground pepper. Give it a good stir and add some of the reserved cooking water to loosen it, if necessary. Mix in the bread crumbs, being sure to use all the nice bacon drippings from the pan. Taste the pasta and add more cheese, salt and pepper as desired. Because this is a bowl of starch and cream, I find you need to give it a good hit of salt.


Enjoy with a blanket, a movie and glass of wine!



Slow Roasted Tomatoes October 1, 2012

More idea than recipe, I have seen several mentions of this in magazines and on blogs, so when I found myself with an abundance of grape sized tomatoes from the garden I thought I would give this a shot. So far I have had them as the base of some really awesome pita/english muffin pizzas, as a side with a cheese board/charcuterie board, and just as a snack on baguette. I can’t wait to toss them with some fresh pasta and parmesan though.


Heat your oven to 300 and slice in half enough grape tomatoes to fill a 9×13 glass baking dish. Toss tomatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange cut side up, slightly overlapping. Bake for 2 hours. Let cool and freeze in ziploc bags to have on handy for however you choose to eat them.





Chicken Meatballs + Veggie Sauce + Homemade Spelt Spaghetti = Dinner Bliss September 20, 2012

I love it when my life manages to work out in such a way that I get to call this a Tuesday night dinner. Last week a few of us got together for an evening of cooking in which we made (possibly) thousands of meatballs, a vat full of pasta sauce and some marinated chickens that should be coming soon to a blog near you. A freezer full of that and a strangely lucid head the night before that inspired me to make the pasta dough before I went to bed and, Voila!, homemade spaghetti and meatballs on a school night. Super Mom Awards, here I come. The chicken meatball recipe comes from Gourmet Everyday (big surprise), which Katie also found on Smitten Kitchen. The sauce is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution one found on which is full of veggies that your family will never know about, but, more importantly, it tastes lovely, especially over meatballs (though I would add a little more salt than he says – it brings out the tomatoey flavour more). And what meatballs! So that’s the recipe you are getting here; try them in a sauce, make them big and have them with a salad, make them little and serve them as an appetizer with a roasted grape tomato skewered to the top, do what you will, but try them for sure!

Chicken Meatballs

3 slices Italian bread, torn up without crusts

1/3 cup milk

3 oz pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped (we used the food processor for this and the garlic)

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large egg

1 lb ground chicken or turkey

3 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes, then squeeze bread to remove excess milk and place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes.

3. Add pancetta mixture, chicken/turkey, parsley, and a lightly beaten egg to the bread and stir to combine. Divide into meatballs; ours made about 16-18 per batch and were pretty good sized meatballs for having with pasta, but if you want these on their own, 12 meatballs would probably be about right.

4. Bake in 400 oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on size) or until just cooked through. Freeze for later, or serve immediately.




Leftovers, anyone? Salmon in Vodka Dill Sauce August 15, 2012

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Pasta,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:56 pm
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I love when I can designate leftovers from one dinner for another one; it makes my week of meal planning soooooo much simpler. And nothing about this feels like leftovers, except for how quickly it comes together. This is a fresh tasting meal, the dill and lemon bringing out everything you love about salmon, and the cream and vodka making it rich and fancier, somehow.  No surprise then that this also comes from my Gourmet Weekday cook book. Keep this in your back pocket for the next time you have some leftover salmon, or be like me and go out of your way to plan on having leftover salmon, just so you can try this!

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup cream (I used coffee cream, but whipping cream would be amazing)

1/2 cup good quality vodka

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fresh ground pepper to taste

2 cups leftover cooked salmon, flaked

Pasta to serve on – I used spaghettini, but if you could find some fresh angel hair pasta, that would be ideal

1. Heat oil in a large (3 quart) heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add broth, cream, vodka, and salt to taste, bringing to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, about 10 -12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and get your pasta started, timing it to be done when the sauce is – if using fresh pasta, don’t add until after the salmon has been stirred in. Dried pasta will need to start sooner.

3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in dill, lemon zest and juice, and pepper. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce to toss with the pasta, then add the salmon to the pan and cook over medium low heat until fish is just heated through, about 2 or 3 minutes.

4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and toss with reserved sauce and cooking liquid. Divide equally between 4 bowls and top with salmon. Serve immediately with extra pepper.