Category Archives: pasta

asian noodle salad

 

asian noodle salad 5

it’s hot. i don’t know about where you live, but here in texas, we are approaching almost two week’s worth of officially oppressive 100 degree (and above) weather. i made the bad decision to bake a cake at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon the other day. i learned my lesson. no more cooking inside until this passes. i boiled the noodles for this salad at 8:00 o’clock in the morning and that’s the last of it. it’s officially salad weather. and this is a doozy. i found it on the pioneer woman‘s website, where she gleened it from jamie oliver. she says it’s her favorite salad ever. ever. ever.  and i have to concur. this is one sweet salad. i love the pasta to veggie ration. as i’ve said before, this is how i justfy eating lots of pasta. the ratio between pasta and veggies needs to be at least 1:1.

asian noodle salad

this is a versatile salad in that you could swap out the veggies for what you preferred or just what you had on hand. but please don’t leave out the cilantro. it was made for a salad like this. so cool and refresing. oh, and don’t leave out the brown sugar in the dressing, as the  pioneer woman points out. it needs it to balance out the other ingredients in the dressing. otherwise, it is too bitter and completely unenjoyable. i mean, don’t even bother, ya know?

asian nood;e salad 2

don’t you feel healthier just looking at all those veggies? i love napa cabbage. i don’t use it enough. how about you?

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you could use any pasta you prefer. i had fettucine so that’s what i used. i also added some cashews. just a few. as a treat. peanuts or almonds would also work well.

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asian noodle salad (makes a ton)

adapted from the pioneer woman and jamie oliver

salad:

1-8 ounce package pasta-cooked al dente, drained and rinsed (if made ahead of time, be sure to add a bit of oil to them to prevent fro sticking together)

1/2 head napa cabbage, sliced thinly

1/2 head purple cabbage, sliced thinly

several large handfuls of baby spinach

1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange) thinly sliced

1 small bag bean sprouts (i did not use these because i hate them more than life itself…)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)

1 cucumber, chopped or sliced as you like

 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

 

dressing:

juice of 1/2 lime

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds and ribs removed for minimal heat if you prefer)

more cilantro, chopped

1 cup cashews, peanuts, or almonds (optional)

 

prepare noodles and set aside. mix together salad ingredients in a very large bowl. whisk dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl and pour over noodles. add nuts, if using, toss to combine. mix salad and noodles with dressing together. can be made ahead of time but is best eaten within 24-48 hours.

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Filed under pasta, salad, side dish

crispy ricotta gnocchi with pine nuts and spinach (ricotta-part trois!)

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oh, you are gonna thank me for this one. pasta…that you can fry until crispy and brown? and add toasted pine nuts and cheese? and a drizzle of olive and some fresh baby spinach? oh my word.

the inspiration for this dish came from a blog i subscribe to called 101 cookbooks. in it, heidi swanson, the creator of this blog uses the golden gnocchi to add to a pasta salad, of sorts. given the fact that we are, well technically at least,  still in winter, i thought a warm application of this would be in order. you can use packaged gnocchi, if that’s all you can come up with, but buy or make fresh if you can.

 

crispy gnocchi with pine nuts and spinach

1 pound fresh gnocchi, cooked, drained and patted dry  (add to simmering water until rise to the surface, about 2 minutes)

1 TBSP olive oil (plus extra for drizzling-use the best you have)

1 TBSP unsalted butter

salt

pine nuts (you can toast ahead of time for 7-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven or throw them in towards the end of sauteeing the gnocchi like i do)

a few handfuls fresh baby spinach

freshly grated parmigiana reggiano

 

heat olive oil and butter in  a large skillet over medium-high heat. add gnocchi and toss to coat. allow to saute in a single layer, undisturbed until golden brown. flip gnocchi over with a spatula to brown on the other side. add pine nuts to pan when you have a 1-2 minutes left before gnocchi are crispy on second side. remove from pan and salt to tase. add spinach and toss, allowing spinach to wilt a bit with the heat of the gnocchi. grate parmigiana and drizzle good quality olive oil over top.

 

 


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Filed under main dish, pasta

ricotta, part deux (makin’ gnocchi!)

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remember all that ricotta i made several weeks back? did you wonder what i was going to do with all of that? well, I did. so who better to get some much needed lessons for making gnocchi from than mario batali. i love him. he is serious about his italian food but not snobby about it. and you gotta love the orange crocs.

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i already had everything i needed to make them. so i wondered that if i had anything to lose, i didn’t know what it was. maybe time…but as usual i would rather be nowhere else than playing in the kitchen.

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mix everything together by hand and form a ball of dough, adding flour as necessary to keep from being too sticky.

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i tried to form into the little gnocchi shapes using the ‘2 spoon’ method–i was not successful. i ended up rolling a large handful at a time into ropes, then cutting into about 1″ pieces. sorry i didn’t get any shots of that part of the process. there is a great tutorial on this method which i used from elise.

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then off to the boiling water they go. try not to overcrowd the pot. after about 2 minutes they should float to the top. that’s when you pull them out and add some more.

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you can toss these with your favorite marinara sauce (use the one on elise’s page) and freshly grated parmigiana reggiano OR you can wait and i’ll post a recipe next time that will blow your mind. 

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homemade ricotta gnocchi

1  1/2 lbs fresh whole milk ricotta, drained if you are not making this from scratch

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (i like king arthur)

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 TBSP freshly chopped parsley or spinach (optional)

 

if using store bought ricotta, place the ricotta in a fine sieve over a bowl. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. in a medium-sized bowl, stir the drained ricotta, 1 cup of the flour, the eggs, parsley (if using), salt, pepper and nutmeg together gently but thoroughly until a soft dough forms, adding a little more of the flour if the dough is sticky to the touch. forming the gnocchi: dip 2 tablespoons in cool water. using 1 spoon, scoop up a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and use the other spoon to form it into a smooth, pointed oval. alternatively, you can use elise’s method i used above (HIGHLY recommended!). place the gnocchi on a baking sheet lined with a lightly-floured kitchen towel.

bring 4-6 quarts of water to a gentle boil. add the gnocchi a few at a time, trying not to over crowd. as soon as they float to the top, they are ready to fish out with a slotted spoon or strainer. this should take about 2 minutes from the time they are put in. you can add more as soon as you take a few out.

these freeze well (before cooking, of course). lay in a single layer on a sheet pan in the freezer. then when they are fully frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer safe bag. do not defrost, put straight into boiling water from the freezer.

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Filed under main dish, pasta, Uncategorized