Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fresh Fettucini with Pesto

Fresh Fettucini with Pesto
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
Another day, another lunch. How I enjoy vacation time!

I can never find the pasta dough recipe, but it is really easy:

Fresh Fettucini with Pesto

3.5c flour
4 eggs
olive oil

Add 3.5 cups of flour to a food processor with 4 eggs. Pulse until mixed, but not to where a ball forms. Add a little dash of water if necessary. Turn out and knead into a ball. Let sit for 20 minutes. Cut into 8 parts and roll out on a pasta machine. For this, I rolled the pasta out to "1", or the thinnest setting on my machine (which I broke in the process of making this pasta, but that is another story).

Once you have sheets of dough, let them sit for ~20 minutes to partially dry out. Dust the dough with flour on both sides and roll up like a cigar. Cut off the frayed ends then cut into thin rings - when you unwrap them you will have fettucini (or whatever shape's thickness you cut them to). Put into salted, boiled water for 3-5 minutes and its done!

For the pesto, I took a little olive oil and infused it with a clove of chopped garlic by chopping the garlic and adding it to the cold oil in the pan, then turning it on to medium. As soon as it bubbles, I turn it off. The result is garlic flavored olive oil, with cooked garlic but not browned. I tossed the finished pasta in the garlic oil, then added some pesto, which I bought from Nugget. Then I ate.

I only made ~10 stands of pasta for my late, so if you were making the whole recipe, I would add more than 1 clove of garlic.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Spaghetti with Peas

Spaghetti with Peas
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
This morning it was really cold in my lab. I went in to do some experiments, but it was too cold to even work - the aroma compounds in wine volatilize as a function of temperature, and my experiments are done at a warmer temperature. It was 14ºC in there - 57.2ºF. So, being that I couldn't work, I went to the library to pick up some books. One that I picked up was The Art of Modern Cookery by Auguste Escoffier. It's amazing that there are literally thousands of recipes in that book. #19 is a recipe for roux. A roux is a combination of flour and butter used to thicken sauces. It is the base for béchamel and hollandaise. I decided that my lunch would be thickened with a roux.

I spent a few hours at Mishka's (not-)studying, trying to do some work. On the way home I picked up some English peas from the Co-Op. I once had a dish at Chez Panisse Cafe of Campanelle with Morels and Peas. That was the inspiration for this. My lunch came nowhere close the the delicate beauty of that meal, but it was still very tasty.

Spaghetti with Peas

Spaghetti, enough for one
A few handfuls of peas, shucked
1 tbs butter
1 tbs flour
1/2 c milk

Cook the spaghetti according to the package. In the mean time, shuck the peas. Put the peas in a sieve and cook in the boiling pasta water for 5 minutes, until bright green.

For the sauce, heat up a saucepan to medium heat. Add the butter and flour. Stir constantly, until the flour cooks out and turns a very light brown. Add the milk and whisk until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper. Toss in half of the peas and cook a little longer. When the pasta is finished, drain off the water and add the pasta to the sauce. Mix through. Put on a plate, add the remaining peas, a dash of paprika and eat.

For a cold, rainy day like today, it was a nice warm lunch with a little bit of heft, but not heavy.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Leek and Mushroom Risotto with Shrimp

The quarter is finally finished. Now that I am done with classes and mostly done with my TA duties, I have time again to cook and take some photos.

On Friday night we had our annual "Repeal of Prohibition" party for our department. We decided this year to cater the event ourselves, so on Friday morning, 10 or so of us cooked for 150 people. If my calculations were correct, we made ~1800 pieces of food. The party was great; everyone seemed to have a good time. Of course, there was lots of wine - how could one celebrate the repeal of Prohibition without it?

After the party, it feels like I slept for 2 days. Finally today I was ready to start cooking again. Antonia and I went to the Nugget and I picked up some leeks and a few shrimp to make some lunch.

Leek and Mushroom Risotto with Shrimp

5 c hot chicken broth
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, sliced and rinsed
8 or so crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 1/2 c arborio rice
3/4 c white wine (I used a bit of Rd. 29 Chardonnay)
3 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil
3 16/20 shrimp
4 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up butter and 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Once melted, sweat/sauté the leeks and mushrooms until both are soft, about 7 minutes. Add in rice and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, just to coat the rice and let it heat up a little. Add the wine and turn down the heat to medium low. Once the wine is absorbed, start adding in the hot stock, 1/2 c at a time. Keep stirring. Add more stock once it is absorbed. After about 30 minutes, the rice will be tender yet toothsome and creamy. Take off the heat and add the cheese, stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Because the cheese is salty, it won't take too much salt. In a separate skillet, heat up the 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Season the shrimp and gently cook them. Do not over cook, if possible - they are so nice when they are still juicy and soft and just a bit crunchy.

I enjoyed my risotto with a glass of Rd. 29 Chardonnay. If you can find a bottle of this wine, you must know me :)