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...]

Meatless misua soup with broccoli and cauliflower


Misua (also spelled miswa or mee swa) is a thin Chinese noodle made from wheat. In Chinese and Chinese-influenced cultures, it is often cooked as a stir fry for special occasions especially on birthdays to symbolize long life. The best stir fried misua I have ever eaten was served at the birthday party of a Chinese businessman, a friend of Speedy's. The dish was a … [Read more...]

Chicken and pasta soup with B├ęchamel sauce


I was about to start this post by saying that that's ziti in the photo and not penne but that wouldn't really be accurate. Ziti is a variant of penne and what distinguishes it from penne is its size -- ziti is a wide variety of penne. But then I realized why bother splitting hairs about pasta variants when I'm going to say anyway that you can use any pasta shape for this … [Read more...]

Pasta with mixed vegetables and yogurt


The vegetables are cooked in butter, yogurt is poured in to create a creamy sauce then cooked pasta is added and everything is tossed together. The dish is garnished with chopped parsley and toasted nuts. So tasty. I know that Sam loved it because she finished everything in that bowl in a very short time.The obvious question: what vegetables are ideal for a pasta dish … [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 very “meaty” pasta sauce with very little meat


When Sam announced a couple of weeks ago that she would be inviting some half a dozen friends to spend the weekend, the announcement came with a "preferred menu" -- sinigang na baboy, the immortal baked mac, and butterscotch and chocolate fudge combo brownies. Considering how hot summer has been so far this year and it looks like it's going to stay that way for the next … [Read more...]

Glass noodles (sotanghon, vermicelli) with Sriracha and Chinese broccoli


If you're a fan of the Korean japchae (jabchae, chapchae or chapchee), this is a simpler version. Less steps to perform, less ingredients to prepare, shorter cooking time. But the perfect blend of spicy, hot, sweet, salty and tangy that really makes Asian food stand out is still there. I just wouldn't have it any other way.I used pork for this noodle dish but you can … [Read more...]

Spaghetti with ground pork and black olives


I learned two valuable lessons today. First, when you run out of sausages to cook with your pasta, use plain ground pork and season it as though you were making sausage. Brown the meat well over medium heat so that the cooking is prolonged a little, giving the ground pork more time to absorb the seasonings and for flavors to develop.Second, if you run out of 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...]