June 23, 2011

A savory break...

It's been a busy month!  Those of you with kids can probably relate.  There are quite a few events, activities, and general to-do's leading up to the end of the school year.  The little guy graduated from kindergarten recently - it seemed like yesterday when we were nervously walking him into his first day.  On top of the normal end of the school year activities, we've been busy planning and celebrating the little one's sixth birthday and enjoying Father's Day together.  I think we're now ready for the lazy days of summer...

Amidst the hustle and bustle, I've been comforting myself with chocolate.  For me, it's the ultimate treat and just totally comforts and relaxes me.  The molten chocolate cake has gotten my husband and I through some long days lately (I learned my mistake and made the full recipe for 4 cakes this time).  That being said, however, I think our waistlines could use a few days' break.  Or at the very least, we need some time to catch up and finish what we have around the house first.  So how about we take a short break and talk about something other than sweets? 

What do you love to eat?  Aside from chocolate, I love pasta!  I could eat it for lunch and dinner everyday and not be sick of it at all.  I love carbs in general - I yearn for the old days when I'd sit down at a restaurant and eat all the bread and butter I want without worrying about the scale.  Aside from bread, I love rice, and noodles are my passion - soup noodles, fried noodles, pasta, you name it!  I love going to the local Malaysian restaurant weekly to get my "noodle fix" but at home, I'm ultimately better at following a simple recipe, so I make a lot of basic pasta.  It's easy and generally a one-bowl meal.  Here are a few of my favorites that I make regularly at home.  I know almost everyone loves pasta - what are some of your favorites?

If I had to pick only one type of pasta dish to eat, it would have to be linguine with clam sauce.  So easy and delicious.  All you really need besides clams is some garlic, red pepper flakes, and white wine.

Spaghetti or linguine with white clam sauce
More pasta after the jump...

If we're talking about comfort food, I love spaghetti carbonara.  I make this every once in a while as a treat.  I like to use traditional pancetta instead of bacon.  The eggs and parmesan cheese become this creamy sauce that is just heavenly.  This is another dish that only requires a handful of ingredients: spaghetti, pancetta, garlic, eggs, and parmesan cheese (salt & pepper too, of course).  It cooks up so quickly and you want to eat it hot, preferably with a salad alongside.
Spaghetti carbonara
Speaking of simple and quick, this spaghetti with anchovies, garlic and oil packs so much flavor.  The anchovy is the ultimate secret ingredient.  It melts right into the oil and gives the pasta such a rich, salty, nutty, delicious flavor.  It tastes almost like clam sauce to me.  Really flavorful.  This is another sauce where you only need a few things: anchovies, red pepper flakes, garlic and oil.

Spaghetti with anchovies, garlic & oil (or spaghetti alio e olio)
Unfortunately, my son doesn't like seafood (yet) so I had to learn a basic spaghetti and meatball recipe early on.  He is a big-time meat lover and a fan of these meatballs.  This takes a bit more work since I start by making a simple red sauce from canned tomatoes.  Then, the meatballs are made, browned, and cooked in the sauce to finish.  I often use whole wheat spaghetti these days in this dish.  The hearty meatballs and red sauce hold up well against it.
Spaghetti and meatballs
And recently, I've been playing around and trying to replicate that Asian spaghetti dish my sister used to make us when we were kids.  It's basically spaghetti (you could use other noodles but we used to use spaghetti back then also) and some sliced marinated flank steak.  For a little sauce, I'll use some stock or just a little Asian oyster sauce combined with cold water and cornstarch to thicken.  A little dash of sesame oil at the end is nice too.  It's not as good as I remember my sister's version but we like it.  I'll tell you a little secret.  As a kid, I used to douse it with ketchup.  My sister would tell me it's really good and urge me to try it without ketchup first.  I'd try it and it was good but I'd immediately squirt on the ketchup.  And the thing is I still like it with ketchup today.  If you know me and happen to be reading this, there's really no need to bring this little tidbit up when we see each other...
Asian spaghetti with flank steak

These are some of our family favorites but there are so many others.  I love cream sauces (fettuccine alfredo!) but trying to be more health-conscious, I don't make or eat those too often nowadays.  For example, I love pasta with prosciutto and peas in a lemon cream sauce.  One pasta that I totally fell in love with late last summer is a simple one with roasted tomatoes.  We had gone apple picking and the farm had grape tomatoes for picking as well.  We got a couple of pounds, planning mainly to have it raw in a caprese salad.  But I also wanted to try roasting them so I sliced them in half and roasted them with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and a little basil.  It was out-of-this-world delicious tossed into some pasta.  It is simplicity at its best. 

That's it for today but I think I'll be making other savory posts in the future.  I love to eat and not just sweets! 


  1. u making me really hungry!!!

  2. you should do it all! from the looks of it here, you make completely delicious food!

  3. I'm hungry too! And thanks, Jaime! I've come to cook a lot more since moving to Jersey, where takeout is a bit less of an option. Pasta is pretty easy - doesn't require much skill to fix the simple dishes I make here. : )



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