Worth Her Salt


Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Swedish Meatballs

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

swedish

Hi everyone, remember me? It’s been a while! I’ve had some technical difficulties with my computer lately. Namely, with my free photo editing program, Gimp. Fo some unknown reason, it keeps crashing on me whenever I try to adjust the levels on any photo. Quite annoying. I’ve even reinstalled it a couple times. Anyone got a copy of Photoshop they’d like to share with me? (Hey, it’s worth a shot!) As it is, I edited this photo at work, since I’ve got all that Adobe goodness there. Shhhhhh! (I’m also having issues now that the sun is setting so early. I have no place to put a makeshift lightbox at the moment.)

IKEA is one of my favorite places. It’s cheap. It’s kitschy. It’s colorful. It’s cheap. Did I mention it’s cheap? Of course, with cheap prices comes cheap manufacturing, but I’ve had the Poang chair for many years and it’s good as new. I’m on my second garlic press from IKEA, though. The little holey part on my first one broke a year ago…The metal actually cracked into pieces. Weird. But I soon got a replacement!

Of course, I eat Swedish meatballs there almost every time. It’s just one of those things you have to do (unless you opt for a giant $1 cinnamon roll instead). Anyone remember when they still had the Manager’s Special? I think it was 9 meatballs, potatoes, a soup and a soda for $5. Ridiculously awesome.

Since I’m not living in Chicago anymore, I hardly ever get to IKEA now. So that meatball craving got pretty strong after a while. And then I ran across a recipe for IKEA-style Swedish meatballs, supposedly translated from a Swedish language IKEA cookbook. Score! And I must say, these turned out better than the frozen, reheated ones you get at the cafe (though, you’ll probably miss the plastic ambiance and tray carts). Instead of potatoes, I like egg noodles. And I mixed in some frozen peas, since you know, somewhat fatty meat on top of starch isn’t exactly the best meal health wise. I didn’t have lignonberries when I made the recipe, but I’m happy to report that since making these, I picked some up at IKEA. Not necessary, but tasty. I imagine Swedish meatballs would also be tasty with leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving.

Swedish Meatballs

3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg
~1/2 c cream or milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 c breadcrumbs
2 small potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed and cooled
1/2 t allspice
oil and butter for frying

For sauce:
1 15 oz can beef broth or stock
2/3-1 c cream
3-4 dashes worchestershire

1. Saute the onion in a small amount of butter until just browning.

2. In a large bowl, combine well all meatball ingredients except beef and pork. Add meats, then mix gently to combine without packing the meat down. Season the mixture generously with salt. You’ll use more than you think you need. If you’re unsure, heat a pan and cook a pinch of the meat to taste, then reseason the mixture. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.

3. Heat oil and butter combination in a large skillet over medium heat, and fry meatballs on all sides until brown and cooked through. You’ll have to work in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Remove the meatballs from the pan.

4. Remove any excess oil from the pan, then deglaze with the beef broth, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced a bit, then add the cream and worchestershire. Simmer gently until slightly thickened, then season to taste.

5. Add your cooked meatballs to the sauce and heat through. Serve with egg noodles, potatoes, lignonberries, etc.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Monday, June 8th, 2009

bucatini1

This is a case of do as I say, not as I do. (Though, if you do as I do, it’ll still turn out extremely tasty.) Traditionally, this is made with guanciale or pancetta, but I used leftover bacon from carbonara a couple weeks ago (which, coincidentally, should also include guanciale or pancetta over bacon). If you can’t find, or don’t want to bother using either of those, just use bacon. Traditionally, this recipe calls for romano cheese, but I use parmesan because I always have it on hand. It’s still good, just not authentic.

I love this pasta because it’s one of those Italian dishes that’s so simplistic. A few ingredients, a quick pan sauce, and dinner’s ready. The quality of those ingredients really matters though, so don’t skimp and use Kraft cheese or crappy canned tomatoes.

Unfortunately, while I love this for it’s simplicity, Nick finds it boring and lacking in the meat department. But don’t listen to him, this is perfect for summertime when it’s hot out and you want something fresh tasting that won’t heat up the kitchen for hours on end. You can easily keep all of the necessary ingredients on hand for a quick, cheap meal.

Bucatini — a fat strand of spaghetti that’s hollow like a straw — isn’t necessary, but we both enjoyed it. Takes you by surprise when your first instinct is to slurp like spaghetti, but it doesn’t work because of the hole!

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

1 lb bucatini or spaghetti
1/2 lb guanciale, pancetta or bacon, in 1/2 inch chunks or strips
1 large white onion, slicedbuc
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes
28-32 oz can whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
Pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. While the pasta water is coming to a boil, saute onions in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and guanciale, pancetta or bacon and continue to cook over medium heat until meat is rendered and becoming slightly crisp on the edges, 6-8 minutes more.

3. Add canned tomatoes and juice, breaking tomatoes up with your hands. Simmer until pasta is done, at least 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Combine sauce and hot drained pasta. Serve topped with romano or parmesan cheese.

Picnic time! – Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

cilantropesto

When I was in college, we had a little cafe in one of our academic buildings that served cilantro petso pasta salad. I love regular pesto, but I really love cilantro, so it’s a perfect fit. I made a standard cilantro pesto and added some veggies for crunch and color. Tasty!

Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad

1 lb pasta, I used campanelle
~3 c cilantro (about 1.5 bunches)
5 T olive oil
juice of half a lime
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/3 c parmesan
1/4 c skinned almonds or walnuts
1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 c sweet corn

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, but slightly undercook (it will soften more as it chills). Rinse under cold water and let sit at room temperature until ready to make the salad.

2. Put garlic, cilantro, nuts, olive oil, lime juice and parmesan into blender. Pulse until smooth. Add water if necessary to thin.

3. Combine pasta with pesto and veggies. Add S+P to taste. Chill until ready to use!

Shortcut Pasta Arrabiatta

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

pasta

Sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking. (Gasp, right?!) Or I just plain don’t have much time to cook. In those cases (and when I’m feeling rich), I go and buy a bottle of Rao’s brand arrabiatta sauce. Yes, I know it’s $8/bottle, but it’s so good. I don’t do this very often, only when it’s on sale. If you don’t want to spend that money, you can easily substitute canned crushed tomatoes (san marzano, please), along with some garlic, lots of red pepper flakes and a bit of dried oregano and basil.

Cheating Pasta Arrabiatta with Sausage

1 lb short pasta, I used Barilla gemelli
1 jar arrabiatta pasta sauce, I use Rao’s
1 lb hot Italian sausage, links or bulk
1 red bell pepper, sliced
fresh basil
parmesan

1. Boil water, add salt, and cook pasta to al dente, timing it so the pasta is done cooking about when the sauce is ready.

2. For sauce, add bell pepper strips to pan over high heat and sear until small black marks appear on the skin. Remove from pan.

3. Remove sausage from casings if in links, and brown in the same pan. Ad jar of sauce once sausage is cooked through, and simmer over medium-low for 5 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.

4. Drain pasta, then return to the pot. Add sauce and sausage, along with bell pepper strips and fresh torn basil. Stir to combine. Add parmesan on the plate to taste.

Serve with garlic bread and/or salad. (My garlic bread is simple and slightly ghetto…Halve French or Italian bread, spread with warmed butter, sprinkle with garlic salt. Pop under the broiler until browned and crisp.)

Chipotle Chicken Pasta

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

chipotle

This is not exactly what you would consider a healthy dish. Though, it does get veggie-haters to eat a good amount of veggies. So maybe the veggies even out the massive amount of heavy cream….right?!

Chipotle Chicken Pasta

1 lb short pasta, I use penne
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c heavy cream
1 c milk
4-6 chipotles in adobo
1 small onion
2 T tomato paste
3 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 large handfuls frozen peas
To garnish: chopped cilantro, green onions and parmesan

1. Cook pasta to al dente, timing it so the pasta is complete around the same time the sauce is ready.

2. Using a stick blender, or a blender jar, combine the seeded chipotles and milk until thick and foamy.

3. Clean and chop the chicken. Brown over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove from pan. Add onions, garlic and red bell pepper. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Add tomato paste  and cook until caramelized, about a minute. Add milk and chipotle mixture and bring to a simmer.

4. When the pasta has 6 or 7 minutes of cooking time left, add the asparagus and the chicken to the pan with the chipotle mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream and peas, simmer until asparagus is tender and sauce is thickened slightly. Adjust seasoning to taste. Combine the sauce with the drained pasta. Top each plate with green onions, cilantro and parmesan, to taste.