greek orzo salad with mustard-dill vinaigrette

Greek Orzo Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette
This pasta is ideal for a potluck or picnic.  It will feed a large group and can sit out a bit at the buffet table.  But that’s not the only reason to make this Greek orzo salad.  It is easy to make and packs well for light, yet filling work day lunches.  It also makes a wonderful summer evening supper to be enjoyed outdoors, perhaps, with some crusty bread and a glass of wine.  Like many pasta salads, this one tastes better the next day, when all of the flavors have had a change to meld. Continue reading

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lime-cilantro pasta salad

Lime-Cilantro Pasta Salad

As a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that I am particularly fond of sugar and butter, which, unfortunately, is not good for me nor my waistline. That’s why I am excited to find recipes as healthy and tasty as this pasta salad.  With luscious mangoes, creamy avocados, sweet tomatoes and bell peppers, I’ve found a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

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orecchiette with mushrooms, chard, and ricotta pan sauce

I’ve been in a pasta rut lately, but thanks to the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I rediscovered the technique of making a pan sauce to give my tired old pasta a new twist and a boost in flavor.  This pan sauce is full of bold color and taste , made with bacon, mushroom, chard, and ricotta. Orecchiette, the oval-shaped pasta from the southern Italian region of Puglia, is a good choice for this dish because its slight bowl shape is perfect for catching the cheesy sauce which has a slight hint of spice from crushed red pepper flakes and nutmeg.  The orecchiette’s edges are thicker than it’s center for some added texture. Continue reading

porcini gnocchi with brown butter and sage

 

I was first introduced to gnocchi about ten years ago at Salumi, a tiny storefront and deli in Seattle owned by Armandino Batali, Mario’s dad. Salumi sells sandwiches filled with artisanal cured meats made in-house and other Italian foods.  Once a week, at a counter in a small nook at the front window, Izzy, Armandino’s older sister, made gnocchi from scratch.  She made it look so easy.  I would watch in fascination as her weathered hands deftly shaped the little dumplings. She would roll the perfect pieces of dough effortlessly on a gnocchi paddle and flick them right into a sheet pan a few hundred or, maybe, a thousand, times a day.  She stood there, mostly silent, yet always smiling, for she knew the secret of making light and tender pillows made of potatoes and flour. Continue reading

egg raviolo

Egg Raviolo with Pesto and Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

This egg raviolo was inspired by the Uovo in Raviolo ‘San Domenico’, a dish I had at Davanti Enoteca in San Diego’s Little Italy last weekend.  The raviolo, which I learned from the friendly waitress is the singular form of ravioli, was filled with an egg yolk lying on a bed of ricotta and spinach.  As I broke into the raviolo for a bite, the runny egg yolk oozed all over the pasta and melded with the brown butter to form a luxurious sauce.  It was a simple dish, but the creamy and silky texture of the egg mixed with the ricotta, butter, and sage was exquisite. I knew I had to replicate this stunning dish at home. Continue reading

pasta salad

 

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, Lucia, who is the consummate hostess.  She has an incredible knack for making everyone feel at home.  Her house in Palm Springs, complete with basketball court and swimming pool, is the perfect hangout for family and friends.  While we all know it’s hard work, she somehow makes entertaining seem effortless.  She disappears into the kitchen for a moment only to reappear with a casual, yet very tasty poolside spread that has something for everyone. Continue reading

meyer lemons: pasta with lemon, olive oil, and goat cheese

The meyer lemon is a key ingredient in this easy, yet delicious pasta dish. In less than 30 minutes and with only a few ingredients, you can make this totally satisfying meal.  It is another versatile dish that can be served simply as is with a side salad or a piece of bread, or dressed up with some chicken breast, grilled shrimp or salmon.  Lemon thyme, parsley, or basil would also make great additions to this pasta, not only for added flavor, but for color, as well.  The meyer lemon, less acidic and sweeter than regular lemons, shines through and brightens the flavor of this no-cook sauce and the goat cheese adds a tanginess as well as creaminess.  This recipe is a good one for me to have in my repertoire of quick and easy meals since it’s a good one to make especially after a long day at work and what feels like an even longer commute home.  It really can’t get any easier that this to prepare a home-cooked meal.

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baked sausage and spinach shells

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll notice that I like to cook dishes that are simple, easy to prepare, and readily adaptable to someone else’s tastes or needs.  Well, this recipe is all of that, and best of all, it’s absolutely delicious!  These baked sausage and spinach shells were exactly the type of food I wanted to serve my family and friends on Christmas Eve – finger foods that were filling and hearty. I was right because they were a big hit at my buffet table!  The shells held the filling together so my guests were able to pick them up with their fingers and eat them without making a mess.  I received compliments all night long.  Continue reading

classic comfort food: bacon mac and cheese


I have a confession to make.  I’ve never had mac & cheese from that iconic blue box.  While eating the neon orange concoction was a childhood rite of passage for most of my friends, Kraft’s version was never very appetizing to me.  However, this made-from-scratch mac & cheese, oozing with cheesy goodness, is a whole other story!  Adding bacon to this is just pure genius!  Thanks to my friend, Patti, who posted a photo of her mac & cheese on facebook, for reminding me that I had this recipe from Lori at RecipeGirl that I’ve been wanting to try. Continue reading

a classic combination: tomatoes and basil

Classic Combination: Basil and Tomatoes

Perhaps there is no better combination of flavors and textures than the classic pairing of tomatoes and basil, whether in a Caprese Salad or in a simple pasta dish.  This is specially true in the summertime when the tomatoes are at its sweetest and at its peak of flavor and the fragrant basil grows quite fast.  The small basil plant I bought at Trader Joe’s is very happy by my sunny kitchen window and has produced all the basil I need, and much more.  It was a much better investment than buying a bunch at the grocery store for the same price.

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i say kumato, you say tomato

Kumato tomatoes

I discovered these brown tomatoes at Trader Joe’s the other day. They are called Kumato tomatoes and they have an unusual brownish-reddish appearance. They are firm, juicy tomatoes that are sweeter than traditional tomatoes. The label says that they are distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s. I was originally drawn to its unusual color and I thought it would make for a unique presentation in a Caprese salad or a bruschetta.

Chris and I have been cooking from scratch lately and we came up with a decidedly un-Fourth of July dinner, using the newly discovered Kumatos – roasted tomato and basil pasta and rosemary-olive bread. Chris made the fresh angel hair pasta and we collaborated on the sauce. I roasted the Kumatos in the oven in olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar and garlic for about 15 minutes. I transferred it to a sauce pan with more olive oil and garlic and added red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, basil, and salt and pepper.

As Chris was draining the pasta, he saved some of the pasta water so I could add it to the simmering sauce. The starchy water and the olive oil simmered together, forming the base for the sauce. When the sauce was almost done, I added the pasta and mixed it to coat the pasta evenly with the slightly thickened tomato sauce. I seasoned generously with salt and pepper and garnished with more cheese and basil.

For the bread, I made french baguettes again, but this time added rosemary and diced Kalamata olives. From start to finish, it took a few hours to make dinner, but result was a simple and deliciously satisfying meal we enjoyed making together. It was a lovely way to end the holiday weekend.

Pasta with Kumato Tomato Sauce

© Daisy’s World. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

homemade pasta dough

Once again, Karen was an inspiration.  Actually her blog entry on Fettuccine with Fresh Basil was the inspiration for both our lunch and dinner.  We dusted off the pasta machine and leafed through my huge notebook from Intro to Cooking Class to find the basic pasta dough recipe I had made 10+ years ago.  It is truly amazing how four ingredients –  flour, eggs, salt and pepper can turn out to be delicate pasta.  We made the ravioli for lunch and Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner.  Yummy!

Pasta Dough

Ingredients:
1 cup Semolina flour
1 cup All-Purpose flour
2 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Water, as needed

Method:
Combine all dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center.  Mix eggs and pour into well.  With a fork, start incorporating the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.  Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to have the dough come together.  Once it comes together, knead the dough until it springs lightly when pressed.  Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Take out dough and cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size of dough.  Roll out, according to pasta machine directions.  Cook in salted boiling water until al dente.

Daisy’s World. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.