Pasta alla Carbonara

This pasta alla carbonara recipe easy to make with 4 classic ingredients and tastes so decadent and delicious. Ok, I couldn’t spend a month in Rome studying and seeking out the best pasta alla carbonara the city had to offer without coming back to this post to share a few things that I learned. ♡ […]

This pasta alla carbonara recipe easy to make with 4 classic ingredients and tastes so decadent and delicious.

Ok, I couldn’t spend a month in Rome studying and seeking out the best pasta alla carbonara the city had to offer without coming back to this post to share a few things that I learned. ♡

First of all, can I just say how much I appreciate this city’s passion for talking about good pasta?! One of the first souvenirs I purchased during our month in Rome was this tote bag, and the number of nods and conversations it prompted with everyone from market vendors to our AirBnB neighbors to restaurant servers to local playground parents were downright delightful. “That’s right.” “All you need.” “Correct, no cream!” You also can’t help but love a city where everyone, when asked who makes the best carbonara, quickly replies with the obvious —“mia nonna” (my grandmother). Certainly true, I’m sure. But I have to say that the bowls of pasta alla carbonara that I had the pleasure of sampling in restaurants were also exceptional.

My favorite, no surprise, ended up being the pasta alla carbonara developed by the “King of Carbonara” himself, Chef Luciano Monosilio. Served with a supremely decadent and silky egg sauce, a few crispy and surprisingly large cubes of guanciale, and a perfectly al dente twirl of thick spaghetti, Chef Luciano’s carbonara tasted just as legendary as one would hope. And I was also intrigued to learn that he has a brilliant modern method for making it, which I’ve now wholeheartedly adopted.

Instead of tossing the egg sauce in a very hot pan with very hot pasta, a classic method that is notorious for sometimes accidentally scrambling the eggs, Chef Luciano first tempers the eggs in a metal mixing bowl with the guanciale grease and hot starchy pasta water. Then he transfers the pasta directly to the mixing bowl, places the bowl over the pot used to cook the pasta water (essentially creating a double boiler), and tosses the pasta with the sauce over the heat until it has cooked and thickened. It’s a simple method that I’ve found to be much more reliable when it comes to creating a perfectly glossy egg sauce and I have a hunch that all of you fellow carbonara lovers out there are going to love it too.

So today, I’ve updated my favorite pasta alla carbonara recipe below to include the double-boiler trick, along with a few additional tips that will hopefully be helpful. This recipe is definitely full-on rich, full-flavored, classic comfort food. So when you’re ready to indulge, grab a fork and let’s dive in!

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Pasta all’Amatriciana

This classic Pasta all’Amatriciana recipe is easy to make with 6 traditional ingredients and full of the best rich and savory flavors. This past summer during our month in Rome, I made it my mission to sample the four classic Roman pastas as often as possible. It’s no exaggeration to say that these four pastas […]

This classic Pasta all’Amatriciana recipe is easy to make with 6 traditional ingredients and full of the best rich and savory flavors.

Pasta all'Amatriciana

This past summer during our month in Rome, I made it my mission to sample the four classic Roman pastas as often as possible. It’s no exaggeration to say that these four pastas — Cacio e Pepe, Gricia, Carbonara and Amatriciana — are some of my favorite recipes in the entire world. (And one of the reasons I was so eager to return to Rome!) But while they will forever each hold a special place in my pasta-loving heart, it was pasta all’Amatriciana that stole the show on this trip. ♡

Maybe it was because we were traveling during the heart of Italian tomato season. But as the only one of the four pastas that features a red sauce, I’m convinced there’s just something extra-special that happens when tomatoes meet the other famous Roman pasta ingredients. Guanciale shows up to the party with its intensely-savory pork flavor, Pecorino brings the grassy and earthy notes, a splash of dry white wine helps to deglaze the pan, a pinch of hot pepper flakes add a subtle kick of heat, sea salt and black pepper round out the seasonings. Then when mixed with sweet San Marzano tomatoes and tossed with perfectly al dente pasta — well, let’s just say that there’s a reason that Amatriciana is the most famous red sauce in the capitol of Italy. It’s full-flavored, rich and hearty, and absolutely divine.

In Italy, Amatriciana sauce is always served with pasta that is just barely al dente (notably firm with a slight bite, which we learned apparently has the added benefit of giving the pasta a lower glycemic index and making it easier to digest). The versions I ordered in Rome were always served with either bucatini or rigatoni, with varying sizes of guanciale. But my favorites were definitely those that added in a generous amount of hot chili, whose heat was never overpowering but absolutely brings the sauce to life.

The good news for all of us is that classic pasta all’Amatriciana is relatively quick and easy to make. And, I might add, also much less finicky than the other three pastas in terms of technique, in case you’ve ever had issues with cheese sticking in your cacio e pepe or eggs scrambling in carbonara. I’d recommend serving the pasta with a fresh green salad and some roasted veggies, since the Roman pastas famously include zero greens. And if you feel like adding in a glass of wine, a good full-bodied Italian red would be perfect here.

Grazie mille to Italy for bringing the world all of these heavenly pastas. Now let’s make some Amatriciana!

Amatriciana Ingredients (more…)

Smoky Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Garlicky Breadcrumbs

This smoky pumpkin mac and cheese recipe is made with the most dreamy smoked gouda pumpkin sauce and sprinkled with crispy garlic-herb breadcrumbs. Ok, I know that we’re probably not supposed to pick favorites as food bloggers. But I feel the need to mention that my husband casually mentioned that this was one of his […]

This smoky pumpkin mac and cheese recipe is made with the most dreamy smoked gouda pumpkin sauce and sprinkled with crispy garlic-herb breadcrumbs.

Smoky Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Ok, I know that we’re probably not supposed to pick favorites as food bloggers. But I feel the need to mention that my husband casually mentioned that this was one of his favorite recipes I’ve made…“ever.”

I have to say that I agree. ♡

As someone who’s always had a soft spot for savory pumpkin recipes, I had a very good feeling about the idea of this mac and cheese when I was rounding up the ingredients. The combination of creamy smoked gouda, salty aged Parmesan, sweet pumpkin purée, chunky pipe rigate, fresh baby spinach, and a hint of smoked paprika sounded like it had great potential. But when stirred together until perfectly creamy and melty, and then served hot sprinkled with a crunch of garlicky rosemary breadcrumbs? This mac and cheese was next-level amazing.

The smoky, savory and slightly-sweet blend of flavors makes the pumpkin cheese sauce downright irresistible. And I will warn you now that you’re definitely going to be reaching for a second scoop of these magical garlicky breadcrumbs, which add the most perfect, buttery, garlicky “crunch” to every bite. We’ve kept this recipe vegetarian here in our house, but you’re welcome to add in some chicken or sausage if you’d like. And if you happen to be sensitive to smoky flavors, be sure to read the notes below for different cheeses that you’re welcome to use.

I can’t wait for you to try this one, so round up some pumpkin and cheese and let’s get to cooking!

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Homestyle Egg Noodles

This homestyle egg noodle recipe is incredibly easy to make by hand in just 15 minutes with 4 basic ingredients. Flour + eggs + water + salt. ♡ Chances are you already have everything needed to make a batch of my favorite homestyle egg noodles! This simple recipe is inspired by the bags of Reames […]

This homestyle egg noodle recipe is incredibly easy to make by hand in just 15 minutes with 4 basic ingredients.

Homestyle Egg Noodles

Flour + eggs + water + salt. ♡

Chances are you already have everything needed to make a batch of my favorite homestyle egg noodles!

This simple recipe is inspired by the bags of Reames egg noodles that we always used to keep stocked in our freezer growing up, ready to toss into a simmering pot of chicken noodle soup or a quick tuna casserole at a moment’s notice. But while I’m usually down for a good freezer-shortcut, I’m here today to try and convince that it is one-million percent worth it try making homemade egg noodles from scratch instead.

First off, this egg noodle recipe is sooo simple that it’s practically foolproof, making it a fun project for even for some of the youngest sous-chefs in your kitchen. All you need are 4 basic ingredients, 15 minutes of total prep time, and zero fancy equipment (just a basic rolling pin and a pizza cutter). Just stir the dough together and give it a quick knead by hand, roll it out to be as thick-and-chewy or melt-in-your-mouth-thin that you prefer, use a pizza cutter (or a knife) to slice the dough into your desired size of strips or shapes…and voila! A delicious batch of homemade noodles will be yours to enjoy in no time.

These homemade egg noodles would taste wonderful in any number of soups, stews, sautés, casseroles, stroganoffs and more. Or if you happen to be craving some retro buttered noodle, I’m telling you, a quick toss of browned butter, Parmesan and black pepper can’t go wrong. Truly, the fresh flavor and soft texture that these homemade noodles bring to any dish is genuinely worth the extra effort if you have 15 minutes to spare. So the next time you’re tempted to reach for a bag of frozen noodles, grab your rolling pin instead and let’s make a quick batch from scratch together!

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One-Pot Mac and Cheese

My favorite one-pot stovetop mac and cheese recipe is easy to make in 30 minutes with just 6 main ingredients and always tastes perfectly creamy, cheesy and so comforting. I’m a firm believer that everyone needs an excellent stovetop mac and cheese recipe in their back pocket. But I have to say I’m especially partial […]

My favorite one-pot stovetop mac and cheese recipe is easy to make in 30 minutes with just 6 main ingredients and always tastes perfectly creamy, cheesy and so comforting.

I’m a firm believer that everyone needs an excellent stovetop mac and cheese recipe in their back pocket. But I have to say I’m especially partial to this one because — as someone who eagerly avoids washing extra dishes at all costs — it comes together quickly and easily in just one pot! ♡

I’ve made plenty of mac and cheese recipes over the years that cook the cheese sauce separately in an additional saucepan. But the brilliance of the one-pot method is that you get the added bonus of super-concentrated starchy pasta water to work with, since you only use about half the amount of liquid typically used to cook pasta. This does wonders with helping the shredded cheese to melt and emulsify and cling to the pasta, creating an ultra-silky, creamy, cheese sauce. And even better? It all comes together in less than 30 minutes!

We’re “plain” mac and cheese fans here in our house, usually opting to serve this pasta with some roasted veggies and a simple green salad on the side. But of course, the options for stirring any of your favorite add-ins (proteins, veggies, herbs, seasonings, sauces, etc) right into the pot of mac and cheese here are limitless. I’ve included lots of ideas and tips below, so please feel free to take this base recipe and customize it exactly to your liking. And enjoy, enjoy!

Let’s make some macaroni and cheese!!

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Rainbow Peanut Noodles

This rainbow peanut noodles recipe is made with colorful fresh veggies, your choice of noodles, and the most irresistible peanut sauce. Delicious served warm or cold! If you’ve never tried my rainbow peanut noodles before, it’s time! ♡ I’ve been making this Thai-inspired peanut noodles recipe for nearly a decade now. And while the gorgeous […]

This rainbow peanut noodles recipe is made with colorful fresh veggies, your choice of noodles, and the most irresistible peanut sauce. Delicious served warm or cold!

Rainbow Peanut Noodles

If you’ve never tried my rainbow peanut noodles before, it’s time! ♡

I’ve been making this Thai-inspired peanut noodles recipe for nearly a decade now. And while the gorgeous rainbow of colorful veggies here always make this dish a showstopper at gatherings, there’s no denying that everyone falls in love with these noodles for one simple reason — that insanely irresistible peanut sauce. It’s perfectly balanced with the most delicious blend of sweet, savory, (slightly) spicy, tangy, nutty flavors and has this magical way of convincing even the pickiest eaters to enjoy a wide array of veggies.

I’m also a big fan this recipe because it’s easy to make and endlessly flexible. Serve these peanut noodles hot or cold, as a side dish or entrée, with or without meat, using whatever favorite noodles and veggies that you happen to have on hand. If you feel like adding in a protein, I’ve found that shrimp, chicken, steak and tofu mix in especially well here. I’m also especially partial to using these noodles for weekday lunch meal prep, making a big batch over the weekend and then portioning the extras into tuppers for the week ahead. And I’m telling you — the flavors in this sauce just get better and better as the week goes on.

I’ve updated the notes below to include new options for how to customize the noodles for gluten or, yes, even peanut allergies. Plus I’ve also added in suggestions for other fun ingredients (mango! Thai basil! fried garlic!) that you’re welcome to toss in too.

So round up your favorite colorful veggies and let’s make some peanut noodles together!

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Pasta alla Gricia

This classic pasta alla gricia recipe is easy to make with 3 main ingredients and always tastes so decadent and flavorful. For all of you carbonara lovers out there, have you ever tried its egg-free cousin, pasta alla gricia? ♡ I have to admit that I’d somehow never even heard of this classic dish until […]

This classic pasta alla gricia recipe is easy to make with 3 main ingredients and always tastes so decadent and flavorful.

Pasta alla Gricia

For all of you carbonara lovers out there, have you ever tried its egg-free cousin, pasta alla gricia? ♡

I have to admit that I’d somehow never even heard of this classic dish until we moved to Europe and spotted it on countless Italian menus here. As an avid fan of the other three of the four classic Roman pastas — cacio e pepe, pasta alla carbonara, and pasta all’Amatriciana — I was eager to give this lesser-known member of the fam a try. And now, many years and many (many) batches of pasta alla gricia later, I have to say that this simple dish has secured its spot as one of my all-time favorites.

Made solely with pasta, bacon and cheese, pasta alla gricia is basically like an egg-free carbonara or a tomato-free Amatriciana. But I’m telling you, it is three ingredient perfection. Guanciale (cured pork cheek) is the star of the show here, with its intensely rich, salty, savory flavor. And when fried to golden, chewy perfection and then patiently tossed with good-quality pasta and Pecorino cheese until a perfectly-emulsified silky sauce develops, you will see why pasta alla gricia has been an absolute favorite in Rome for more than a thousand years. It’s rich, comforting, and packs surprising layers of delicious savory flavors into every single bite. And here in our house, we can’t get enough of it.

That said, the key to all four classic Roman pasta dishes — with their famously short lists of ingredients — is learning the proper techniques to make them. I’ve experimented with a number of different recipes for alla gricia over the years (which mainly differ in terms of ingredient ratios and how long the pasta is simmered in the starchy guanciale sauce). And while I’ll be the first to point out that I am clearly not an expert in Italian cooking, I have landed on a ratio and method over the years that consistently works best for me, which I’m excited to share with you today.

I love this pasta alla gricia recipe because is easy to make in about 30 minutes from start to finish, it’s rich and bacon-y without being overly greasy, and it incorporates a few key steps that help the cheese melt perfectly into a glossy sauce (instead of sticking to the pan, which is always such a tragedy). I’m really, really, really going to insist that you try to track down some Italian guanciale in order to give this dish its authentically bold pork flavor, as well as some good-quality pasta and Pecorino-Romano cheese to make the sauce. But if those ingredients are unavailable in your area, I’ve included notes below for how to use pancetta (or bacon) and/or Parmesan instead, which won’t be traditional but will still definitely be delicious.

Alright, let’s make some pasta together!

Pasta alla Gricia Ingredients - rigatoni, Pecorino cheese, guanciale, salt and pepper (more…)

Pasta alla Boscaiola

Pasta alla Boscaiola (“woodsman-style pasta”) features a rich blend of mushrooms and bacon tossed with pasta in a silky garlic-herb tomato cream sauce. It’s earthy, smoky, creamy and unbelievably delicious. If I could gather all of my favorite things into a single pasta dish, pasta alla boscaiola would be it. ♡ Somehow I never crossed […]

Pasta alla Boscaiola (“woodsman-style pasta”) features a rich blend of mushrooms and bacon tossed with pasta in a silky garlic-herb tomato cream sauce. It’s earthy, smoky, creamy and unbelievably delicious.

Pasta alla Boscaiola

If I could gather all of my favorite things into a single pasta dish, pasta alla boscaiola would be it. ♡

Somehow I never crossed paths with this classic Tuscan “woodsman-style” pasta until a few years ago. But the moment I saw its ingredients listed on the menu of our favorite cozy neighborhood artisan pasta shop, I knew instantly that this pasta would be love at first, savory, al dente bite. I mean, a rich blend of mushrooms (including Italy’s beloved porcini), chewy diced pancetta (or bacon or sausage), loads of sautéed shallots and garlic, chopped fresh rosemary and thyme, all tossed together with al dente pasta in a rich white wine tomato cream sauce and finished with a sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmesan?

COUNT ME IN.

This dish is unapologetically rich and indulgent and packed with bold mushroom flavor. And while I’ve read that there are countless regional variations on ways to prepare pasta alla boscaiola around Italy, this particular recipe has become my personal favorite.

As I explain more below, boscaiola sauces are traditionally made with foraged mushrooms (hence the name, as bosca means “forest”). But since we live about as far away from the forest here as possible here in Barcelona’s city center, and fresh wild mushrooms can be difficult to come by, I’ve written this version instead using fresh baby bella and dried porcini mushrooms that are much more available to us here year-round. Dried porcinis also give us a double bonus in this recipe because, in addition to being chopped and added to the pasta, we get to add the leftover hot veggie broth used to soften them to the pasta sauce as well, which means SO much extra umami flavor for all of you mushroom lovers out there. Yum.

I also love the salty flavor and chewy bite that diced pancetta adds to this recipe, but smoky thick-cut bacon or Italian sausage would work well here too. Or if you prefer to make this dish vegetarian, you can omit the meat altogether and we can vouch that it will still be delicious. I’ve also included lots of options for variations in the notes below, including how to make your version gluten-free or incorporate other add-ins traditionally used in pasta boscaiola around various parts of Italy. But whatever variation you choose, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong here.

Pasta alla boscaiola is total comfort food that has become a total favorite here in our home. So go round up some mushrooms, and let’s cook a batch together!

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Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese features lots of zesty roasted cauliflower, a velvety cheese sauce, and a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs. So simple and so good. For those days when you’re craving a vegetarian comfort food hug. ♡ This simple roasted cauliflower mac and cheese recipe has become a new family favorite this winter. […]

This Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese features lots of zesty roasted cauliflower, a velvety cheese sauce, and a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs. So simple and so good.

Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

For those days when you’re craving a vegetarian comfort food hug. ♡

This simple roasted cauliflower mac and cheese recipe has become a new family favorite this winter. It’s loaded up with more than twice the amount of cauliflower as pasta, which is seasoned with smoked paprika and garlic and roasted until caramelized. The cauliflower is then tossed with your choice of pasta, folded together with the coziest cheese sauce, sprinkled with a shower of toasted breadcrumbs, and baked until perfectly creamy, crispy and cozy. And on chilly winter days, I’m telling you, a steaming cheesy helping served fresh out of the pan is guaranteed to warm you right up.

Like most of my mac and cheese recipes, this recipe is very flexible if you’d like to toss some extra veggies, greens or proteins into the mix. There are a number of different directions you could choose to go with the types of cheeses and seasonings used, as well as options for making the entire recipe gluten-free, so please don’t hesitate to play around with the recipe and make it your own.

Let’s make some mac and cheese!

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Lemongrass Coconut Noodles with Shrimp

This Thai-inspired noodle stir-fry is tossed with fresh veggies, tender shrimp, and a zesty lemongrass coconut sauce. Easy to make and full the best bright and citrusy flavors! Say hello to the lemongrass coconut noodle stir-fry that we have been loving here lately. ♡ It’s loosely inspired by Thai tom kha (coconut soup), which happens […]

This Thai-inspired noodle stir-fry is tossed with fresh veggies, tender shrimp, and a zesty lemongrass coconut sauce. Easy to make and full the best bright and citrusy flavors!

Lemongrass Coconut Noodles with Shrimp

Say hello to the lemongrass coconut noodle stir-fry that we have been loving here lately. ♡

It’s loosely inspired by Thai tom kha (coconut soup), which happens to be my husband’s all-time favorite soup and one that we’ve both been craving lately now that it’s finally cooling off and feeling like autumn here in Barcelona. Instead of simmering those classic creamy, citrusy, earthy, sweet and slightly-spicy flavors into a big pot of soup broth, though, they are condensed into a rich coconut stir-fry sauce and tossed with a simple stir-fry and rice noodles for this recipe. And the end result is bursting bright, fresh flavors and absolutely delicious.

Fresh lemongrass — with its uniquely citrusy, minty, earthy flavor — is the starring ingredient in this coconut sauce and one that you definitely won’t want to skip. So the next time you’re at the market, be sure to pick up a few stalks of fresh lemongrass or a tube of lemongrass paste to brighten up that creamy coconut milk sauce. Along with it, we will simmer a generous amount of fresh ginger, the juice of one fresh lime, your desired amount of brown sugar and a splash of fish sauce for extra umami flavor. To be sure, this list of ingredients is notably different than those used in the broth of authentic Thai tom kha gai (which traditionally uses galangal in place of ginger, kaffir limes in place of fresh lime juice, palm sugar in place of brown sugar, etc — any of which I would completely encourage you to sub into this lemongrass coconut sauce recipe if you’d like). I initially just improvised this recipe one evening with the ingredients that I already happened to have stocked in my kitchen, so the recipe is written accordingly below.

Since my husband is pescatarian, we’ve typically been turning to shrimp as the main protein for our stir-fry. But the lemongrass coconut sauce recipe included here is actually completely vegan (also gluten-free), so feel free to swap in crispy tofu to make this recipe completely plant-based, or you can of course substitute any other meat in place of the shrimp, such as chicken, steak or pork. Feel free to also toss in whatever veggies you love best that happen to be hanging out in your crisper drawer. And if you can, I highly recommend tracking some some fresh Thai basil to fold into the stir-fry too — it’s optional but so, so good.

Alright, grab that lemongrass and let’s get to stir-frying!

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