Tag Archives: pasta

Gnocchi!

10 Aug

(Hee that word makes me giggle.)

Gnocchi is one of my trigger words on a menu (along with “mushroom” and “macaroni and cheese,” among other things). I tried to make it the other day with some potatoes that were threatening to sprout, with fairly positive results.

Next time, I’ll think I’ll add more flour because my dough was slightly too sticky. The pieces stuck as I pressed my fork into them, resulting in really ugly gnocchi. I was also a tad overenthusiastic with the size of my gnocchi…I had eat each piece in three bites. Bobby, of course, had no problem swallowing each one whole.

My ugly gnocchi reminded me a lot of this dish my grandma frequently made for me as a kid called 麵疙瘩 (literally, flour knot). She’d mix flour and water to form a paste and drop dollops of it into boiling water so that they’d cook as formless lumps. It would then be served in a thick soup. Try as I might, I could never reproduce this dish. My grandma is probably magical or something.

Gnocchi
Adapted from Mario Batali on Food Network

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, extra large
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). I didn’t have a vegetable mill as the recipe calls for, so I just mashed the soft potatoes up with a fork. This is probably why my dough was too sticky, because I probably broke some of the water-containing cells. Try using a potato ricer instead, if you have one.

Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.

Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.

Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Press fork tines into each piece to get the ridge-y shape.

Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath.  Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Serve with your choice of sauce.

Length of procrastination: 1 hour 30 minutes

revolutionary mac and cheese

16 Aug

when washington’s troops came to the delaware river, they knew they had to cross it in order to save the fledgeling nation of america. it was one of those things that weighted on general washington’s mind heavily night and day. so naturally, when the time came to actually do the deed, washington found himself procrastinating by cooking this revolutionary mac and cheese. would you rather wade through freezing water or munch on gooey cheesy goodness?

actually, the name comes ty: “o.O you have revolutionized my concept of mac and cheese!”

Baked Penne and Cheddar Cheese (adapted from alton brown)

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ingredients
1/2 lb penne pasta (or, as pictured above, macaroni)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 or 2 stalks celery, roughly diced
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp shredded cheddar
italian or panko bread crumbs
4 oz starkist tuna (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta in a pot of salted water to al dente, then remove from heat and drain.

While pasta is boiling, heat the butter until it melts. mix in the flour for about 5 minutes until mixture is smooth. add in milk, diced onions and celery and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Temper in the egg. (Add a bit of the hot liquid to the beaten egg mixture, then slowly add the egg mixture to the rest of the liquid slowly without cooking the egg into lumps.) Add about 3/4 of the cheese to the liquid. Fold in the pasta.

For a tuna mac & cheese, add the canned tuna to the cheese and pasta.

Pour the pasta and cheese into a casserole dish. Top with a layer of cheese, a layer of breadcrumbs, and another alternating layer of cheese and bread crumbs.

Let bake for 30 minutes.

This recipe was different from Alton Brown’s due to missing a few spices, and the addition of a few macro ingredients. Also, the pictured mac & cheese was from a different day and recipe, but both bring similar joy.

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Length of procrastination: 30 minutes of preparation, 30 minutes more of baking
Ways to prolong procrastination:
Three hours before starting mac and cheese, starting baking cookies. Make the following: 25 macadamia nut white chocolate cookies, 25 chocolate chip cookies, 25 oatmeal raison cookies, and one large brownie cake. This should continue for about another 30 minutes after the mac and cheese is done, for a total of 4 to 5 hours of not doing the pset, or crossing the delaware.

Cooking Without Bobby

21 May

I know. It’s incredibly sad. Agonizingly sad, really.

Somehow, I got over it pretty quickly.

While Bobby was busy creating the year-end slideshow for the TKD Spring Banquet, Mark (who was my partner in crime for the TKD Winter Banquet as well) and I concocted a delicious dish of mushrooms, spinach, artichoke hearts, tortellini, and cheese. Oh, the cheese.

tortellini-bake

Mushroom, Spinach, and Artichoke Tortellini Bake
Modified from Taste and Tell

This recipe was a little vague on measurements. For example, how much flour do I add into the roux? What the monkey is a “broiler”? After finding out what a broiler is, what do I do if my kitchen lacks one? I’ve rewritten the recipe the way I made the dish. The ingredients list looks daunting, but it really contains a lot of things you would find in a well-stocked pantry. And anyway, it’s nothing a ten-minute trip to the grocery store couldn’t sort out.

Ingredients
2 packs of tortellini (about 20 oz., I believe)
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 handfuls of flour (probably about 1 cup)
4 cups milk
4 shakes of nutmeg from the container
2 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (microwaved) and excess water squeezed out
2 cans artichoke hearts
5-8 button mushrooms, sliced
shredded “Italian Blend” cheese (includes Asiago, Mozzarella, and Parmesan, among others)
shredded Mozzarella
salt
ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Once boiling, salt the water and drop the pasta in. Cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and transfer to cold water to stop them from overcooking.

While the pasta is working, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the butter. Cook the garlic in the butter until aromatic, about 1 minute, then sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for another minute. Whisk the milk into the roux and bring up to a bubble to thicken. This took me 10-15 minutes on medium heat with constant stirring. If necessary, split into two pans. Add nutmeg, spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook until the veggies are heated through. Eat a slice of mushroom. Go on. It won’t kill you (hopefully).

Add the reserved tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat. Transfer everything to a large baking pan and sprinkle with the cheeses. Sprinkle liberally. Like, until you can’t see any of the tortellini anymore. Place on the top level of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serves a good number of hungry taekwondoists.

Length of Procrastination: 40 minutes

Ways to Prolong Procrastination: Try to study immunology while cooking…

veggie lasagna

23 Apr

ok it’s been a while. all this time we’ve been eating nothing but salad so it’s time to catch up with a delicious lasagna. this is the same one i made for christine in order to return her apple pie container. an added bonus: this lasagna is also pretty low fat and high in nutrients. just don’t eat too much if you are lactose intolerant.

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Spinach Lasagna with Summer Vegetables

Ingredients
6-9 strips of lasagna pasta
2 small zucchini
2 small yellow squash
5 white mushrooms or 1 portabello cap
1 red onion
1 bag of baby spinach leaves
2-4 cloves garlic
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 medium container (8 oz) fat free ricotta cheese
1 bag of shredded low fat mozarella
olive oil
oregano
thyme
salt
pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the lasagna strips. Place the strips in at different angles so they don’t stick together. When the lasagna is soft, drain and put the strips into a container of ice water.

Slice the zucchini, squash and mushroom into thin layers. Dice the onion and garlic. In a sautee pan, heat a small amount of olive oil. Add in garlic, and before the garlic browns, add the onion and mushroom. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sautee until the onion is starting to caramelize, then remove from heat.

In a sautee pan, add a thin layer of olive oil, and spread the slices of zucchini and squash around the pan. When the slices start to cook through and turn transparent, flip them and cook the other side. Add some salt and pepper to taste, as well as a sprinkling of oregano and thyme if desired. Remove from heat when the vegetables are tender.

Preheat the oven for 375. I used a thin pan that is usually used to bake bread, because i find the lasagna more interesting as a loaf. Using your fingers or a paper towel, thinly coat the bottom of the pan with a little olive oil. Cover the bottom of the pan with 2 strips of lasagna. If you are using a regular cake/casserole tray, cover with three strips.

With a spoon, spread ricotta cheese over the pasta. For our fat free ricotta, it was more like dropping spoonfuls until the bottom was covered. Above that, spread the mushroom and onion, then layer squash and zucchini. Cover that with a layer of baby spinach. Finally, pour a layer of tomato sauce over all the ingredients.

Repeat with another set of pasta, ricotta, mushroom and onion, squash and zucchini, spinach, and tomato sauce.

For the top, put a third layer of pasta and a layer of ricotta cheese. On top of that, cover with tomato sauce, then sprinkle mozarella thickly over the very top. At this point, you may have to compress everything so it fits into the baking tray, so compress using a second baking tray when you put the final layer of pasta but before the ricotta cheese is put on.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

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Total procrastination: about 1.5 hrs

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