Vegan spaghetti with chunky tomato sauce


It's Sam's birthday and she asked for spaghetti. I would have wanted to prepare something really special and a bit more elaborate but, alas, a storm raged all day and access to everything was limited. Worse, for a few hours this morning, the tap went dry. When water service resumed a little before noon, I cooked in a frenzy trying to finish as many dishes as I could. I … [Read more...]

Garlicky pasta with mixed vegetables


A variation of the classic pasta aglio e olio, this version has chunky vegetables, a little tomato paste and thinly sliced basil. Very much vegetarian. Vegan, in fact, if you don't top with cheese.Sam likes spirals but any pasta shape will taste just as delicious. She was the one who got the broccoli and cauliflower off the grocery shelves so the decision about what … [Read more...]

The meaty version of the vegetarian eggplant, pesto and pomodoro spaghetti


Last month, I cooked a meatless pasta dish with a tomato sauce made chunky with the addition of chopped tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplants. Using the same sauce, I created another for the non-vegetarians in the family. In a nutshell, I cooked the vegetarian sauce and, after it was done, I scooped out enough for the vegetarian. To the remaining sauce in the pan, I added … [Read more...]

Eggplant, pesto and pomodoro spaghetti


Tomato (pomodoro, in Italian) sauce is great by itself especially to toss pasta with. It's rustic and comforting, and visually stimulating to boot. But plain tomato sauce can be even better -- tastier with layers of flavor that blend so seamlessly that you can't tell where the first one ends and the next one starts.How to do that? You start with tomato sauce, homemade … [Read more...]

How to make a delicious meatless macaroni salad


I made this for Sam but she's still having end-of-schoolyear fun with friends so she hasn't tasted it yet. It's really just macaroni salad. But because the usual chicken or ham in this very ordinary salad packs it with flavor, you take the meat away and you really have to do something, or a few somethings, to offset the loss. And it isn't just the loss in flavor but the … [Read more...]

My favorite mac and cheese


I used to obsess over the best combination of cheeses to use for my mac and cheese. Then, I discovered that my obsession was so unnecessary. The creamiest and tastiest mac and cheese does not need the most expensive cheese or combination of cheeses. The trick is to cook the pasta in milk. Seriously. Instead of boiling the pasta in water then tossing it in a mixture of milk … [Read more...]

Lacto-vegetarian lasagne with pesto and Mornay sauce


If Mornay sauce doesn't sound familiar, there's no need to draw back in fear. It's just white sauce, really, B├ęchamel sauce (Besciamella to the Italians) to be more precise with grated cheese stirred in. This is a very easy recipe, very tasty, very creamy. It's based on a recipe by Gabriele Corcos. Oh, yes, we are fans of Extra Virgin. We love Gabriele's cooking, we think … [Read more...]

How to cook: Baked mac with cheesy topping: the lacto-vegetarian version


My younger daughter, Alex, is celebrating her birthday today and some of her girl friends are spending the weekend with us. Tonight was the big birthday dinner and we're expecting a few more of her friends to arrive. Alex asked only for three dishes for her birthday dinner -- baked mac, chicken yakitori and tres leches cake.The baked mac recipe is among the top ten most … [Read more...]

Spaghetti with ham, veggies and white sauce in 20 minutes flat


Alex is having a small sleepover. I made roast chicken and bihon guisado (a no-meat version, actually, to go with the chicken) for a late lunch and I thought the leftovers would be enough for dinner. But Alex was craving for pasta. Having been baking all afternoon, I wasn't inclined to make something that would require a lot of prepping. I wanted to indulge her but the … [Read more...]