Sambal Arrabbiata

In all fairness I owe a lot of what’s written to my brother, Sean. He’s basically my 24/7 hotline for bouncing recipe ideas off of someone, and getting editing suggestions. Sometimes he’ll even blurt out, “you know what would be cool…,” and then hit me with some nifty idea that I try and work up. This was one of those times.

He threw the idea of putting sambal in arrabiata sauce. For those of you who don’t know arrabiata is a pasta sauce that consists of tomato, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. That’s it. I tried making this with just subbing out the chili for sambal and it was fine, there just wasn’t any magic.

Then I decided to add a couple of flavor friends, fish sauce for salty funk and ginger for extra pep in my step, and the flavor profile felt full and packed with umami.

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Chocolate Pasta with Balsamic and Raspberry Sauce

Back in I want to say sometime between 1999-2001 I lived for when my parents would let me stay up late so I could watch the original Japanese Iron Chef. The drama, the chefs being themed on nationality, my dear sweet Chairman Kaga, and that fortune teller judge. What a time to be alive.

Those late (to a six-year-old) nights were pretty much my crash course in getting wild and creative. I remember they made ice cream out of EVERYTHING, namely squid ink, which I didn’t even know was a thing you eat, but now I adore. But this story leads to one place. And that is my first ever love/hero, Masahiko Kobe aka “Iron Chef Italian.” This dude made ravioli with chocolate pasta dough.

My. World. Was. Rocked. I went borderline rabid asking how is that possible, and if my mom would make it for me. She looked like I grew two heads.

Fast forward about 10 years. I’m a junior in high school. My mom, brother and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We stopped in a fancy chocolate shop. And there it was…a bag of chocolate fettuccine. I immediately flashed back to my Iron Chef days and tried to do everything to get that bag to go home with me, to no avail.

But guess what, mom? I’m an adult now and can make my own damn chocolate pasta! (I’m sorry mom, I love you.)

The biggest challenge was figuring out what sauce to make with it. I thought creamy, I thought mascarpone, and then I thought nah. I decided I wanted something that felt fresh to go with it. So I landed on raspberries and mint for freshness, with a punch of balsamic vinegar for intrigue.

This dish creates a bright, fresh, fun feeling that will have you asking if you’re eating chocolate for dinner, or pasta for dessert. Either way I promise you never had one like this before. Continue reading “Chocolate Pasta with Balsamic and Raspberry Sauce”

Eggplant Lasagna with Mushroom Ragu

In an almost Garfield level consistency my boyfriend and I crave lasagna. Do I really need to explain why??? I’m no stranger in trying to find slight ways to “health up” lasagna. But I wanted to take it even farther. So I came up with this version that promises no carb bombs or meat sweats.

Instead of a classic bolognese I made a mushroom ragu to give that meaty texture and flavor, and swapped out noodles with layers of roasted eggplant. The end result is kind of like eggplant parm meets lasagna. And. Im. Am. Into. It. And the best part? Despite eating a bowlful I still feel ready to take on the world, or in this case my house cleaning.

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Spaghetti Vongole

I think my ultimate food happy place is any kind of pasta and shellfish. Something about the sweet, briny flavors on top of a bowl of noodles gets me going every time. A particular favorite of mine is spaghetti vongole. This os a dish that clasically consists of clam and chili. What’s not to love??

Like my pasta puttanesca this dish uses the classic aglio olio consisting of anchovy and garlic as the flavor base for the sauce. The anchovy not onoy enhances the ocean flavor of the clams, but also adds a huge savory kick as well. So all in all we have sweet, salty, briny, spicy, savory, and bright. Just talking about it I wish I had a bowl in front of me.

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Black Magic Risotto

There’s something so magical about Halloween. From watching Hocus Pocus, to gorging on sweets it really is one of my favorite times of year. For this Halloween I wanted to come up with a dark and spooky dish to fit the season.

One ingredient came to mind, squid ink. Squid ink has become a really exciting ingredient for me. I’ve had it in nicer restaurants and enjoyed it. And of course we can’t forget my pasta for goths recipe that stars squid ink pasta. Squid ink gives a beautiful briny, ocean-like flavor to whatever you add it to. Squid ink used to be a hard to find luxury ingredient, but we live in the age of the internet and you can easily find it online.

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