This is what a good weekend looks like. Pasta and wine out with friends at Cashion’s. Lazy mornings in bed. Fresh fragrant roses. Reading a great quick book with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. Eating more pasta while watching a movie. This time: capellini with hot pepper oil, egg, parmesan, crushed pistachio.
This is my idea of a perfect weekend. Something that doesn’t happen enough. But I love how it transports me. To a quiet place of reflection. To Paris – books and movies that allow me to be there. To the kitchen where I can experiment with simple ingredients to make something new. These are my favorite places for my mind to go. Wandering, dreaming, creating. And I so appreciate these small weekend moments to get there.
Capellini with Hot Pepper Oil, Egg, Parmesan, Crushed Pistachio
Cook olive oil in a hot pan with red pepper flakes and minced garlic. Toss with hot cooked pasta, an egg yolk, and pepper. Top with grated fresh parm and crushed pistachios. Eat in heapfulls.
I spent several hours this weekend making these truffle cookies. Saturday night making the dough balls while watching Bridget Jones’s Diary, Sunday morning dancing in my kitchen listening to Christmas music. Maybe I’m a bit slow getting back to baking which is why it took me so long, but I didn’t mind. It felt calming and creative to work with my hands again. Others noticed and asked me “What’s the occasion?” “Who are you making these for?” “Oh, you’re giving these away as gifts?”
Nope. Just baking. Or non-baking really with this recipe. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard questions like those. I used to bake cakes just to see how many layers I could stack. Or because I was craving fudge frosting. That has certainly been rare recently.
I knew in my own time I would get back to this place. It’s funny, this recipe was actually posted on my blog two years ago but I never made them. They were a fabulous guest post by a blogger friend. I was sad to realize she no longer posts and has left twitter…even sadder that I didn’t notice.
But it’s the end of December so it’s time to celebrate. So cheers to finding a piece of you that you felt like you’ve forgotten. Cheers to all the bloggers, the creators, who have inspired me for over five years. Cheers to the holidays and celebrating all things sweet and joyful. Cheers to making cookie dough covered in chocolate and dusted in gold.
Cookie Dough Truffles
- 1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips for dough
- 2 cups any chocolate for melting (I used a combo of milk and dark)
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with an electric mixer) cream together butter and sugars on low speed until fluffy. Add in milk and vanilla extract. Slowly incorporate flour, salt, and baking soda until fully combined. Add in chocolate chips.
- Cover dough and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Once dough is firm, form 1″ balls and place on a wax/parchment paper lined baking sheet. (I used a 1″ ice cream scooper at this step so all the truffles would be close in size. A tablespoon would work fine too). Place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
- In a glass or microwave safe bowl, melt any dipping chocolate (or extra chocolate chips) according to package directions.
- Using a spoon, dip frozen dough balls into chocolate and roll until fully covered. Place dipped truffles on a lined baking sheet to cool.
- Sprinkle with toppings like nuts, colored sprinkles, shredded coconut, crumbled oreo
I’ve always been a pasta girl. My favorite meal growing up was rigatoni in red sauce. With a glass of milk. Sometimes my mom added chicken to the rigatoni, creating “chicken and pasta” and my most requested dinner dish ever. Mom’s pasta masterpiece.
Wanting to recreate it recently, I asked her about how it was made and she just laughed. No recipe. Sauce out of a jar of course. But the good kind. Never Prego. Maybe she baked the chicken? And then just added it to the pot of pasta and sauce? As few dishes to wash later as possible. Possibly every time she made it, it was a little different, she said. But I didn’t notice. Cause I loved rigatoni and red sauce. Today I love that it seemed so effortless to her. I’m sure it wasn’t. My mom the most dedicated and hard working woman…she taught me what hustle is all about. And how to love it too. She didn’t always have time or energy to make dinner (nor should she), but when she did, and it happened to be one of my favorite meals, I know she loved the work.
I’m pretty skilled in the 10-minute Sunday Pasta. Just need butter, cheese, parm, and angel hair which only takes 3 minutes to cook. I’ve been breaking this out a lot recently, in between thai/deli/pizza/burger takeout orders…to remind myself that I am a real person who eats real food when I’m not at work. (At least work feeds me good, real food, right?)
Well this Sunday I had time. To grocery shop. To let my sauce simmer. To chop an onion. To drink a great glass a wine and dance around to LFO while cooking. To taste as I was cooking. To actually eat with someone else. To do all the dishes. Ok, I didn’t make the grilled caesar salad to go along with it or sit at a real table to eat. But just like mom, I can’t do it all, but I can absolutely squeeze in time for my favorite meal, and a little feel-good, during a crazy week.
Since we never figured out the whole chicken part of “chicken and pasta” I added a mild Italian sausage instead. I probably wouldn’t have liked this when I was five. But I’m way into it at 27.
Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni With Sausage Ragu
In a dutch oven, sauté onion and garlic until onion softens. Add grated carrot. Open the casings of the sausage – I used mild Italian pork sausage – and satué until brown. Add herbs like rosemary and thyme + salt and pepper. When sausage is browned, add several cans of whole peel tomatoes to the pot. You could cook this all afternoon or just 30 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down. Add a splash of red wine and heavy cream. Toss with cooked rigatoni and grate fresh parm on top.
This one’s for the tomatoes. The ones that are so ripe right now they can be popped in your mouth whole or bit into like an apple. Even though I’ve already bought two new pairs of boots and a couple new sweaters, these tomatoes make me realize I want to slow summer down. Don’t forget to go to the market this Sunday. What haven’t I made yet? How can I savor these longer? The taste of late sunsets, feeling carefree, getting your hands dirty, everyday celebration.
This is an easy one….
Summer Tomato & Burrata Fettuccine
In a large pan, sauté tomatoes in olive oil and garlic until blistered. Make fettuccine. Toss the fettuccine and some pasta water with the tomatoes. Add ribbons of fresh basil. Top with burrata. Stir together. Serve with rosé and savor.
Sunday pasta has taken on new meaning this summer. It’s still my chance to cook, unwind, and zone out at the end of the weekend. But it’s also been a bit of a refresher too. A creative stimulant that’s just for me before the week starts. It’s helpful that it’s light out so late and the weather is perfect around dinner time. The day doesn’t have to end so quickly.
Taking my pasta up on the roof + reading a book + drinking a glass of wine + watching the sunset has become a new goal of my Sunday Pasta routine. Plus so much better than sitting on my couch in front of my TV – no matter what drama I’m into at the moment (Chasing Life on ABC Family and re-watching Brothers & Sisters on Netflix).
I love making this pasta in the summer. Mostly because it’s crazy easy. Also because when you have awesome tomatoes, why cook them? Just toss with some great olive oil and serve. I guess I really don’t need to add the pasta in there. A simple tomato salad is just as good. No doubt, healthier. But it’s my vehicle for my favorite things, for new ingredients, for rough days, for dates, for deciphering a book written in 1825, for Sunday nights (proudly) alone.
Simple Pasta with Tomato and Olive Oil
Dice tomatoes into cubes and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, herbs. Set aside. Cook pasta. Toss hot pasta with tomatoes, a little bit of the cooking water, and parmesan cheese. Damn that was easy.