Pasta not so fagioli

Hello friends. So I feel like in the past I’ve shared a ton of meat/poultry based recipes, and there’s nothing wrong with that, except for the teeny weeny fact that I don’t actually eat any of them. I’m a total vegetarian (Not vegan. Never vegan). But since I married a carnivore and then gave birth to little carni’s – most of what I make is non-veg (like the Desi’s call it).

But I do cook for myself too and I think going forward I’ll share that more. Although it might get boring. I’m not exactly making culinary delights for myself because, well, I’m pretty easy to please.

During Covid I was trying to make more Indian food, and I even tried some Thai recipes. But can we be honest about ethnic recipes? They’re a giant pain in ass. Ok not all of them. I guess making nachos is easy if you count that as ethnic (I don’t but you might). The recipes that I grew up eating are not exactly… speedy. I mean I’m starting with dried beans for gods sake.

Here’s another reason I tend not to cook too many Indian recipes. My kitchen is outdated. Sounds like an excuse right? I already see judging fingers typing a text to me about dirt huts in India with an open fire, etc. Take it easy. Let me explain why a dirt hut and open fire would be easier than cooking this in my kitchen…

I have no ventilation. None. I have an el fako vent thing on top of my microwave. Allegedly it “purifies” what it sucks up before releasing it right back into the room. Guess what? That’s a bunch of BS and it does nothing. And because our kitchen big and wide – the entire house basically smells like whatever I’m cooking. I love the smell of garlic and ginger… when I’m cooking and eating. I don’t love it while I’m trying to fall asleep or watching Netflix. It’s like lightening a vindaloo candle in the house. I’m not into it. Shoot me.

All that said, I do promise to share more Indian food. Just not today. Today I’m sharing Bon Appetit’s Chickpea Pasta, which is more like a soup because it’s made with a tomato broth (and you now know how I feel about a good broth). This is so easy and good.

I’m sorry for this long long preamble. There’s nothing more annoying than having to get through all this crap to get to the recipe. I didn’t plan on it. I just haven’t talked to you in so long so I’ve got shit to say, you know? For instance, I love rosemary. The herb. I hardly ever get to cook with it, which is why this recipe was even more appealing to me. It packs a rosemary punch. Hope you try it and like it!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 half small onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 6 oz. orecchiette or other short pasta
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Easy peasy ingredients
Olive oil, onions and garlic go first
Chickpeas drained and crushed red pepper go in once onions are translucent
After about 5 min, add in an entire stalk of rosemary and crush some of the chickpeas
Can of tomatoes goes in next – crushed by hand. Cook on medium for 10 min. Add 4 cups water
Add pasta – I used Campanella so the chickpeas would have a place to bury themselves into
Pasta will cook directly in broth in about 10 min and everything will reduce down
Once finished I added more red pepper… because, well, I’m me

It’s so good. Some notes:

  • Use a whole onion. I hate recipes that say 1/2 an onion. Use the whole thing
  • I have been using tubed garlic in the past few months… I think it’s fine but if you’re offended, use the real stuff
  • Salt as you go! Forgot to say that
  • I didn’t have any parsley so I skipped it
  • I did add fresh parm before serving and drizzled it with good olive oil
  • I skipped the black pepper in lieu of more red. Do what your heart tells you to

Pasta Non Pronto

I spent the day yesterday covered in flour (semolina and all purpose), and I was thrilled! A few weeks ago, at a neighborhood party, I found out that two of my lovely neighbors, Larry and Marcela, knew how to make pasta from scratch. I started asking a lot of questions and then blurted out,” would you teach me?” They agreed and our day of “not ready” pasta or pasta non pronto came together.

We did what any normal, food obsessed people would do. We had a meeting to talk through what we would make. The types of pasta, the sauces, the wine…. oh there would be wine!

There would be 3 different pasta courses. Ravioli, spaghetti, and fettuccine. The ravioli would be stuffed with pumpkin and served with a butter sage sauce. The spaghetti would be served cacio e pepe, which translates to “cheese and pepper” and the fettuccine would have a fra diavolo sauce – which means “among the devil”, it’s a spicy sauce with seafood. To break up the courses we’d start with salad, then some homemade meatballs as apps and then 3 courses of pasta. This is the anti-Keto dinner people. If you’re afraid of carbs… don’t come a knocking.

But before we feasted – we cooked! Oh boy did we cook… here’s a look at my favorite day this year! Words wouldn’t do it justice, so here’s the photos…

Humble beginnings
That filling was so good we could have just eaten it with a spoon and we might have.
Have you ever seen anything prettier?
Little pockets of perfection
My two fabulous teachers.
A pecan, sage, garlic butter sauce to die for, and the lovely chef who made it!

And now… we eat!

We ate the spaghetti cacio e pepe before I could take a pic… but it existed. And it was amazing.

This is my happy pasta face….

If you can, find some generous, loving people who want to spend a Sunday cooking pasta with you..that’s my happy face.

Ps. My 16 year old son opted out of the fresh pasta and requested this type of pasta for his dinner. Kraft pasta pronto 🙂

Something Fishy

Today’s post was going to be a mushy, gushy Valentine cooking post. A step by step of me making my husband’s all time favorite pasta –  fra diavolo.  Shrimp, bay scallops and squid. I was going to talk about my favorite shortcut. Rao’s tomato sauce. It’s $9 a jar – and yes, making real sauce is easy and it costs $2 – what’s your point? I was going to tell you not to be scared of shortcuts, or squid. That it’s no biggie. I’ve done it before. It cooks in a couple of seconds and people are impressed.  And I had pictures…tons of freaking pictures. I was going to show you how brave I am. Buying, cleaning, chopping squid like it was my business. I’ve done it before. No big thaang.  But then something happened.  (if you are my husband, for the love of god, stop reading this).

As I cleaned the squid…I found….gulp….a little baby fish inside!! 

Hold me.

After I stared at it for a few minutes and the nausea had worn off, I washed my hands and did what all smart people faced with oddities do – I YouTubed it, and googled it, and Wiki’d it, and Web MD’d it (just in case).  The people of the internet told me it’s normal. Happens all the time. Feed it to my cat, etc. But even now, hours later, I shiver when I think of it. Maybe the squid had a last meal and didn’t have time to finish, maybe it was the thing they used to lure the squid. Alls I know is, it ended up in my kitchen.

I’ve been changed people. Some sort of gross seafood cherry has been popped. I had to come to terms with it quickly. My kids or my hubby could not/should not ever see this.  You don’t understand. My husband, I love him, but he’s no adventurous foodie.  He gets really grossed out really quickly. And I couldn’t let my kids see it – the horror the horror!

So like every good mother and wife, I got rid of the evidence and pretended all was good.

Now, safe in my bed, I can finally come to terms with it.

Here’s what I went through folks. Happy f’ing Valentine’s day…

I’ll start with the harmless ones first.  Prepare yourselves. Here’s the shrimp/sauce/squid.  I forgot to take pictures of the scallops because – did I mention – I found food inside the food!! It’s like a bad M.Night Shyamalan plot twist. Back to my sordid story.

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Please note that my cutting board is…well..it’s all cut-up. These are not just props people. This stuff gets used!

Here’s the fresh squid. Yes, it looks slimy but there’s no smell and it handles easily. It also easily cuts into the calamari ringlets.

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And then, as I clean it. I notice this little guy or gal or it. Do you want to hurl like me?

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I want my mommy.

Reason number 8,222,329 to be a vegetarian: I’ve never found a carrot in the middle of my bagel. Or an almond in my banana. I’ll stop now.