When I first saw this artwork, I immediately had one thought and one thought only. Pasta. It’s probably because it’s my favorite food. And because I eat it several times a week. But seriously I can’t get it out of my mind when I see this piece.
My pasta routine usually includes sautéing farmer’s market veggies in garlic and olive oil, adding a little cream, tossing in some capellini, and topping with a heap of shaved parmesan. It’s simple, quick, and always delicious. But this piece got me thinking of other kinds of pasta I’m craving to make this summer. Corn in pasta? Yes please!
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It’s Sunday, so that means Farmer’s Market day for me in DC. Probably my favorite thing about where I live is my proximity to the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market. I can roll out of bed and right into all the greatness of the market…fresh produce, flowers, croissants, happy people and happy vendors. The thing about the market is that through the winter it gets a little dull. I’m sure I could be more creative there. But really, there’s only so much squash you can buy.
I’m not in DC right now, so I didn’t go over to the market this morning. But I would like to share a fantastic winter recipe featuring my favorite winter market pick: butternut squash.
I found this butternut squash lasagna recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks: Giada’s Family Dinner. All of the recipes in the book represent everything I love about food: comfort, family, tradition. Anyway, I love this creamy lasagna recipe and I definitely recommend it while it’s still cold outside. The best part about making a lasagna (especially when you live alone) is that you get to enjoy it all week long. It holds up great in the fridge and freezer and makes an excellent work lunch.
You can find the recipe here. I add ricotta cheese, because really I don’t feel like lasagna is complete without it.
While we’re on the topic of lasagna….I made a wonderful meatball lasagna a few weeks ago for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately I got deathly ill with the flu that night so I didn’t get the chance to photograph it. You can find that recipe here. I highly suggest this lasagna too….my only regret is that I didn’t get to spend the whole week eating the leftovers! Just perfect winter comfort food.
a few food memories from Christmas dinner…
Antipasti made from meats, cheeses and veggies from Claudios in Philly.
Red and golden beet, orange, blood orange and fennel salad.
Fresh pasta with the best sauce ever.
Meatballs in the best sauce ever.
Christmas cookie tray...the pignolies were our favorite this year. YUM.
Here’s to food this good in 2011!
two things I’m really excited about right now are squash and taking some time to cook a good dinner. (Both seen in this recent post.) One of my new year’s resolutions is to cook more dinners (aka lunch leftovers!), which is just so difficult during basketball season, but I’m going to try. And farmer’s market squash is a great inspiration.
So for the second night in a row, I made dinner inspired by squash…Butternut squash and spinach pasta in a cheesy cream sauce topped with ricotta. I love the combination of the creamy squash and healthy spinach (even better with whole wheat pasta – not so much with the cream and butter though) and the notes of garlic and thyme.
- For the squash: Preheat oven to 400°. Cut off top and bottom of squash, peel, cut into cubes. Spread out on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Toss around to make sure every piece is coated. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing once to rotate.
- For the spinach: Sauté frozen spinach leaves with butter and garlic. After spinach has cooked through, add in a splash or two or three of heavy cream. Mix in some parmesan cheese. When squash is done roasting, add it to the spinach mix.
- Toss spinach, squash and cream sauce with whole wheat pasta. Mix in some ricotta cheese for extra creaminess.
What are your favorite winter meals?
I had a foodie faux pas this weekend. I admitted that I had never heard of ramps before. (omg! you’re kidding me?!)
All of a sudden, like they appeared out of nowhere and were the most anticipated thing since the release of No Strings Attached (ok, maybe only I understand that excitement…). After hearing about ramps all over Twitter and reading about their spring debut on Metrocurean I felt like I was missing out on something. I didn’t have to wait much longer until I got to try my first ramps at Poste that night. Eh, they tasted like spinach. Nothing special. (I was focused more on the incredible strawberry rhubarb crumble that was made to order. yum!)
I didn’t expect to give ramps another chance, but when I came across them at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market on Sunday (and was so surprised there were any left at 11am with everyone talking about buying them all up) I bought a bunch. Why not, I’ll give it a shot. Ramps are sooo the “in” veggie right now.
So I made creamy parmesan pasta with sautéed ramps and tomatoes. And I think it was some of the best past I’ve ever had. Seriously. Win.
I could really taste the garlic that makes ramps so special. It was a perfect spring dish and although it has heavy cream in it (gotta stop keeping that in my fridge!) it was really light.
I hope there will be more ramps again at the market this Sunday, but if not and the window has closed, I’ll be prepared and waiting for next year.
I couldn’t really tell you the recipe, because I seriously just improvised as I was cooking…. but here’s an idea:
- Cook pasta in salted water.
- In a separate pan, sauté grape tomatoes in olive oil until they start splitting.
- Cut off the bottom white parts of the ramps and sauté in butter until translucent. Add the leafy parts and a little water and continue to cook. Mix in some heavy cream and a lot of parmesan cheese.
- Add the tomatoes to the ramps and cream sauce and pour over cooked pasta. Add a little more cheese on top.