Pasta

Spaghetti with Alfredo, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Basil

I get tired of cooking even though I have a food blog. I can power through making work lunches or whipping out a meal from the empty fridge, but sometimes I hit a wall. Hard. 

Truthfully, this round lacking of motivation came from googling how many blogs exist online. For the love of Queen Bey, I'm still really not sure why I did that. I'm the first one to slap the mouse from the WebMD addict, but seeing 27 MILLION on my screen made me panic a little. 

I went into existential crisis mode - no need to worry about me, this happens a couple times a year - boiling down why anyone would want to be a tiny sardine in an unpredictable ocean. 

Writing this post means I got my bearings back. My husband requested a simple meal we usually make on a weeknight for his birthday. He's not a complicated person, which is why I think his food preference reflects that. I wanted to get back in that kitchen, but he let me know that it was also ok if we needed to order out again. 

I said a big "screw that" and off I went to the pantry. 

Spaghetti with Alfredo, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Basil

Brown Butter Rotini with Shrimp

Next to salmon, shrimp might be my favorite seafood. It's has a more welcoming texture and is an easier crowd pleaser then an oyster. 

The flavors are usually more delicate, so the warm nuttiness of brown butter romantically compliment the shrimp. Herbs are always a good idea in my book, so I've reached for thyme this time. Pun completely intended. Just like rosemary, this woody herb reminds me of being in a big old comfy chair, next to a fireplace, in a well stocked home library. As I do not own any of the aforementioned things, I like to transport however I can. 

Spaghetti and fettuccini noodles will taste delicious too, but today we're using rotini because the brown butter likes to hug and hide in every single curl.  

Brown Butter Rotini with Shrimp

Mac and Cheese

This is by far, completely, one-hundred percent, the husband's favorite dish I make for him. Birthdays. Celebrations. Holidays. I know what's a must on the menu. A little friendly heads up that the reason this dish is limited to special occasions, you can guess, is because it takes a few months to work off the caloric intake. 

Meh. Live a little. 

When roux is involved, there is an expectation of difficulty. But, really. It's just melted butter and flour. And I use rice flour because it doesn't usually make clumps. So this recipe's steps are really, make a cheese sauce, put it on cooked pasta, top it with something crunchy and crisp it under the broiler. Easy peasy.  

Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash with Rotini and Ricotta

When the cooler season comes, I tend to turn into a bear eating for hibernation. 

My dishes usually include all things pasta and hearty additions like luxurious butternut squash with pillows of ricotta cheese. What's equally enjoyable for me is using the sage from my garden, because I tend to save them for the holiday months. Running my fingers through this distinct herb in the summer floods my mind with memories of turkey and green bean casserole. With a side of rice and kimchi of course.

This dish can be a show stopper for guests, but is simple to put together for a weeknight meal. 

Butternut Squash with Rotini and Ricotta

Fresh Linguine, Tomatoes and Herbs

We’ve feasted on the lettuce and snap peas our spring gardens gave us, but now it’s time to start welcoming what summer has to offer. Cherry tomatoes are an early gift, giving us a teaser of what’s to come with their bigger cousins.

With summer comes heat, which is the best example of a blessing and a curse. With the garden loving the warmth - while I’m sweating more than I should be in Seattle - the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. Or make a salad for the thirtieth time. This is why the three-minutes-to-cook fresh pasta is my summertime hero, which also happens to make the perfect nest for all the tomato and herb freshness.

Fresh Linguine, Tomatoes and Herbs

Spaghetti Noodles with Mushrooms and Herb Oil

I love a good pasta. No matter it's form, it's pretty high up there on the comfort food scale. Add some capers and herb oil to coat all of the noodles? I'm a happy lady. And let's face it, sometimes you need a pause button during all of the holiday hub-bub. I like to take my breaks in Italy, thank you very much. 

I'm also thrilled to be partnering with the fine people of Benissimo Gourmet Oils from Hongar Farms, to give you this delicious recipe and a chance at winning a bottle for yourself!

With any product, I wouldn't share it with you if I didn't thoroughly love it myself. Scouts honor. This oil is easy to stand behind being 100% natural and full of flavor. I've used this on pastas, roasting potatoes, breads ... the savory possibilities are endless!

Spaghetti Noodles with Mushrooms and Herb Oil

Fettuccine with Bacon, Beet Greens and Capers

When I was younger, I never understood why some things were eaten, and some things were supposed to be thrown away. The ends of broccoli tasted fine. Parsley and cilantro stems had just as much flavor as the leaves. And there were the tops of beets. They looked pretty similar to chard, which is loved as a healthy vegetable. I needed to investigate.

Sometimes as home cooks, we just follow what the fancy chef with an unlimited budget tells us on TV. We also cut the turkey legs off every time we roast it because great great great great g-ma did it that way. They forgot to pass down the detail that g-ma's oven was tiny and there just wasn't room!

Fettuccine with Bacon, Beet Greens and Capers