Celebrating our Blogoversary with Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta!

Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta

I still can hardly believe it…..

Today, is our 2 year Blogoversary! And on 11.11.11 to boot!

Uni (Sea Urchin)

Over the past two years, I have loved this space that has allowed me to share my voice and Foodventures with you. But above all, I am so thankful for the overwhelming encouragement and support I have received from my family, friends, and the fabulous food community. Awww shucks gang….y’all are awesome.

By the way….stay tuned next week for a pretty neato giveaway I’ll be hosting to show my appreciation :)

Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta

In honor of our 2 year Blogoversary, I wanted to indulge and use one my favorite things in a decadent pasta—UNI!  And what better way to celebrate, right?

The super unctuous texture of the uni with its fresh sea flavor is the perfect pairing with linguine. Of course you could use any long strand pasta you choose but I like the slightly thick noodle so that it can hold more of the rich sauce. Sooo good! And you know what’s even better? This delicious pasta can be done in 15 minutes! Perfect if you need to make an impressive dish but not have a lot of time.

But be warned…this pasta is not for the faint of the heart. It’s the real–super rich–super decadent deal!

And with that Dear Friends….here’s to many, MANY more years of Foodventures together!



Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta
Serves 2


¼ Pound Linguine, or pasta of your choice
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
¼ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
5 Ounces Fresh Uni (or one tray)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, finely diced
1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
Seasoned Nori (seaweed), chiffonade
Kosher Salt and White Pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta to al dente.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the olive oil and butter together. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in chili flakes and heavy cream. Bring to a slight slimmer and add all but 4 pieces of the uni. Remove from heat and whisk items together until the uni has broken down into the sauce. Toss in the cooked pasta until the noodles have been evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Plate the pasta and place the remaining whole uni segments on top.  Sprinkle the tops with chives, sesame seeds, and nori. Serve immediately.

Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles

Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles

I was thrilled at the chance to participate in this month’s 24×24 with Foodbuzz—particularly since the theme was focused on budget friendly meals. And not only did our meal need to be budget conscience but we had to use items already found in our pantries. Sounds like the making of a good cooking show to me.

I began thinking of things that I ALWAYS have on hand either in my cupboards or fridge and came up with the following things:

  1. Dried pastas
  2. Fresh Garlic and Chili (whether chili sauce, paste, or even fresh chili peppers)
  3. Some type of protein in the freezer (usually shrimp or chicken)
  4. Canned vegetables
  5. Condiments (Remember, I’m a condiment monster.)
  6. Booze (Um……self explanatory.)

With that list, it became a no brainer for me………. I was going to make some type of pasta for this challenge.



Nini and Nina_9.24.11

I decided to make Ginger Peanut Noodles for lunch with my nieces and served it with some spicy grilled prawns. Stephanie and Nina are always such willing taste testers for my experiments. And don’t let their age fool you, they’ve got quite the refined palettes. Oh—and in case you missed the photo above, Bella was trying to squeeze in on the taste testing, too.  She heard “peanut butter” and came running.

I’ve made these Ginger Peanut Noodles on several occasions with just items pulled right out of my pantry. The type of noodle can be substituted with whatever you have on hand as I’ve used spaghetti, fettuccine, and even chow mein—anything goes! For this particular preparation we happened to have some red bell pepper which added great texture and freshness. However, thinly sliced cucumber, zucchini or even bean sprouts would be great in it, too.

Bella is still focused on the fact that I just said “peanut butter”.






As for the protein, I happen to prefer prawns with this but chicken, pork, or even tofu would be just as delicious. Just use the same marinade for whichever you choose.



Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles

This entire meal comes together in about 30 minutes and is perfect for a weeknight dinner or when you’re short on time during the weekends.

Fast? Budget friendly? Yummy?

Now that is a Trifecta of Goodness.


Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles
Serves approximately 6


1 Pound Prawns, shelled, deveined with tails on
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Chili Sauce, or chili sauce of your choice
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sesame Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

¾ Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/3 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1½ Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1½ Tablespoons Sambal Chili Paste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
1 Teaspoon Lime Zest
½ Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
¼ – ½ Cup Hot Starchy Water (from boiling the pasta)
1 Whole Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
2 Scallions, cut into 1 inch strips
1 Pound Linguine
*Top with ¼ Cup Toasted Sesame Seeds and ½ Cup of Crushed Roasted Peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Cook linguine noodles barely over al dente.

Combine the prawns with all of its marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

In a blender, combine the first 10 ingredients of the noodles together. Blend until smooth. Add the starchy liquid from the pasta water until you reach the desired consistency—about ¼ – ½ Cup. Set aside.

Bring a grill pan or a large skillet to medium high heat. Lightly cover with cooking spray and cook prawns for 1-2 minutes on each side until they are opaque and golden. Remove to a clean plate and cover.

When then noodles have cooked, drain well and return to the hot pot. Ladle in a few spoonfuls of the peanut sauce at a time until the noodles have been thoroughly coated. Toss in the scallions and bell pepper slices. Plate with a mound of the peanut noodles, prawns, and sprinkle the tops of each plate with sesame seeds and crushed peanuts.

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Pesto is one of those things that is so versatile and can be made a gazillion different ways.

By switching up the types of nuts used or greens/herbs, you can alter the flavor of the pesto—giving your old favorites a new makeover.

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

I happened to be strolling through my local farmers market the other week when one of the produce stands was getting ready to close up shop for the night. The vendor was selling the remainder of his produce for a ridiculously cheap price and I somehow managed to walk away with two HUGE bags of fresh arugula for only a dollar. A DOLLAR!!!!!

The arugula was so fresh and delicious but I couldn’t finish it all. Not wanting my arugula to go bad before I could use it up, I decided to throw some of it in to make a version of pesto for some pasta. DEE-LISH.

The arugula offered an additional peppery flavor to the dish— not to mention the extra Vitamin C and potassium I was getting by enjoying the dark leafy green.

In addition to using it in pastas, this pesto would be wonderful over grilled proteins, mixed in with hummus, or even over pizza.

Speaking of pizza and pesto— Watch out for my next post where I share another variation of pesto to make a delicious pizza!

Have a great week, Friends!


Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken
Serves 8


2 Grilled Chicken Breast
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely diced
¼ Cup Shallots, sliced
½ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
1 Cup Arugula Pesto
1 Pound Farfalle Pasta, cooked al dente, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Arugula Pesto:
2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves
1/2 Cup Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare Pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts. Add arugula, basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

In a large and heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute mushrooms, garlic, and shallots until tender. Add chili flakes. Add the freshly boiled pasta to the pan and toss. Add pesto and toss to coat all items thoroughly. Add in a few spoonfuls of pasta water if you want a “looser” sauce consistency (optional). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate pasta and top with sliced chicken breast. Optional: Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Chili Flakes.

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

A few years ago, I felt like every other word being thrown around in food world was “umami“.

From food critics, to journals, burger spots and heck—even soy sauce commercials. And it made me wonder, how the heck did we used to describe foods of similar taste profiles before?

Now, I highly doubt you’ll ever catch me using this phrase to describe foods, mostly because I don’t want to sound like a poser. But that’s not to say, I don’t love ingredients that are supposed to epitomize “umami“…..like mushrooms. Because y’all know, I am a mushroom fanatic.

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

This little number is ALL about mushrooms and its earthy flavors. I used a mix of criminis, shitakes, oysters, and porcinis and then slowly cooked them down to create a rich ragoût. And holy SHITAKE—-it’s makes this mushroom-lovin’-gal HAPPY!

Ah heck…….it’s freaking deliciously umami!


Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate
Serves 4

1 Pound Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (crimini, portobello, trumpet, oyster, etc.)
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Hot Water
½ Cup Red Wine
2 Cups Stock (vegetable, mushroom, beef, chicken, etc.), warmed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Cup Shallots, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Flour
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
½ Pound Fettucine, cooked according to directions
Kosher salt and Black Pepper

In a bowl, add the dried porcini to the hot water. Allow to reconstitute for at least 20 minutes.

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add garlic and red chili flakes and sauté for an addition 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until softened—about 10 minutes. Add the porcini mushrooms that were reconstituted in water, saving the liquid. Mix and sauté for an additional minute. Add in red wine and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated.

Pour in the liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in––be careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Cook until the liquid has reduced to half. In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour together with a fork. Add in the butter/flour mixture to the mushrooms, stirring it in well to combine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the stock and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened to desired consistency. Add in basil and season with salt and pepper.  Remove 1/3 of the mushrooms and toss in the hot fettucine noodles to the pan, tossing it in the ragoût evenly to coat the noodles. Plate the pasta and top with a spoonful of the remaining mushroom ragoût.

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Okay, I confess. I didn’t really come up with this pasta dish on my own. It’s actually my interpretation of Pasta Pomodoro’s Penne Portobello which I just L-O-V-E.

Italian Sausage, chicken, mushrooms—all in a garlicky cream sauce. How could it not be Delizioso?

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

In addition to the criminis, I used porcini mushrooms and its liquor for an extra level of earthiness to the dish.  I also threw in fresh arugula leaves at the very end for a bit of freshness and peppery flavor. And although this is technically a cream sauce, you’d be surprised how light it all was.

Bon appetito!


Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia
Serves 4-5


¾ Pound Penne Pasta
2 Links Spicy Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Boneless Chicken Breast, sliced
2 Cups Loosely Packed Arugula
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Hot Water
1 Cup White Wine
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tablespoons Shallots, chopped finely
3 Whole Garlic Cloves, diced finely
¼ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and cook the penne pasta just shy of al dente.

Place the dried Porcini in a bowl with the hot water. Allow the mushrooms to reconstitute—about 10 minutes. Squeeze out extra liquid from the Porcinis (saving the liquid) and roughly chop them.

Heat olive oil in a very large heavy pan (or pot) over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add Italian sausage to the pot and use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces. Once the sausage is barely pink, add the chicken. Continue cooking until both are done. Use a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate covered with paper towels.

Using the same pan, lower the heat to medium and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add garlic, chili flakes, and both mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender. Stir in wine and liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in–being careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the liquids until it is reduced by half. Stir in the cream and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Return the sausage and chicken to the pot and add the cooked penne. Stir until all the penne has been coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from the heat and toss in the arugula leaves. Toss until the leaves are just wilted. Serve and Enjoy!

Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta

Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta


In college, one of my dearest friends and I would often meander over to The Cheesecake Factory to grab some food, sip on a few cocktails, and catch up. We would always sit at the bar for our meal because let’s face it, no matter what time of day, the average wait for The Cheesecake Factory can be ridiculous! Why are they always so PACKED?!

But I digress…..

Despite their billion page menu, PB (as she will now be known) and I would always split an order of their Chicken Piccata. It was always tasty, a TON of food (even for two to share), and was well priced. Hey, we were college students on a budget after all :)


Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta


After college when I finally got into my own kitchen, I began making my own version of Chicken Piccata. I love the light, lemony sauce with capers and how it pairs so well with the tender chicken. As an added bonus, you can get away with eating a huge plate of it without feeling too weighed down. Now that’s a Nguyen-Win Situation!

Quick, simple—and delicious.

And yes, PB. A very large plate of this Piccata will be waiting for you with an extra large Gimlet next time you come into town :)

Note: Up for seafood instead? Switch up the chicken for some scallops or a lovely white fish. Follow the same method and it will be just as delish!


Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta
Serves 2


1/3 Pound Angel Hair Pasta
1 Boneless Chicken Breast
½ Cup All Purpose Flour, plus ½ Tablespoon
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest, freshly grated
6-7 Lemon Slices, very thinly sliced
1 Lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon Capers, drained
½ Cup Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
¼ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 ½ Cups Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chiffonade
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Place ½ cup of flour in a shallow dish. Using a sharp knife, slice chicken breast in half. Place a piece of wax paper on top of each piece of chicken and pound with a kitchen mallet until it is about ½ inch thin. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper.  Take the chicken and roll it into the flour, using your fingers to assist in adhering it to the meat. Carefully shake off excess flour. Repeat with second piece of chicken.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Slide chicken into the skillet and sauté on each side until it becomes golden brown—about 3-4 minutes each side. Once chicken is done, transfer to a clean plate and tent with a sheet of aluminum foil.

Begin boiling the pasta.

Using the same skillet, add remaining olive oil and sauté garlic until it becomes aromatic but not browned. Add chili flakes, capers, lemon juice, lemon slices, zest, and chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape off the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Raise the temperature to medium high heat and allow the liquid to reduce by almost half. While the liquid is reducing, use a fork to mash together remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and butter in a small bowl.  Whisk it into the reducing liquid and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Be sure to whisk out any lumps of flour. Check for seasonings and adjust with salt/pepper accordingly. Remove from heat.

Drain the cooked pasta, reserving a few tablespoons of the starch water. Toss the pasta in the lemon caper sauce, tomatoes, and basil–reserving a few spoonfuls of sauce. Add in a few spoonfuls of pasta water if you want a “looser” pasta consistency (optional). Check for seasonings and adjust with salt/pepper accordingly. Plate pasta and top each with a piece of chicken. Spoon extra lemon caper sauce over the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Linguine alla Carbonara

Linguine alla Carbonara


I’d like to think that I was Italian in one of my former lives.

Truly, it would help explain my love and addiction for Italian foods and all pastas.

In fact, most people make sandwiches–or even quick stir frys when they want something fast or need to empty out their fridges. Nope–not me. I make pastas.


Linguine alla Carbonara


And when something is as quick and yummy as this Linguine alla Carbonara, how can you blame me? Rich, simple, delicious—and there’s BACON!

Oh those Italians. Just Brilliant.


Linguine alla Carbonara
Serves approximately 2


1/3 Pound Linguine (or other long pasta)
4 Strips Thick Cut Bacon, diced
3 Tablespoons Shallots, chopped finely
2 Garlic Cloves, diced finely
¼ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
2 Fresh Eggs, room temperature
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Additional Parsley and Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and parmesan cheese. Once combined, mix in parsley. Set bowl aside.

Add bacon to a large pan and turn burner to medium heat. Slowly sauté the bacon until it becomes crispy and the fat has rendered down—about 10 minutes.  While the bacon is browning, begin boiling the linguine in a large pot of salted water. Once bacon is finished, use a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate covered with paper towels. Reserve one tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Sauté shallots in the bacon drippings until translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional two minutes. Add chili flakes and cook for an additional minute. Transfer shallots/garlic mixture to a bowl.

Once cooked, drain the hot pasta and quickly toss it in the eggs/cheese mixture until the “sauce” has thickened. Add all but two tablespoons of the crispy bacon and shallots/garlic mixture. Continue to mix until all items have been thoroughly incorporated. Check for seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper accordingly. Plate the pasta and sprinkle with extra cheese, parsley, and remaining bacon.  Serve immediately.

Note: It is important to use the freshest eggs possible when making Carbonara. The heat from the hot pasta will warm the eggs but not thoroughly cook it. If you are wary of eggs that are not fully cooked, then Carbonara may not be the dish for you.

Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle

Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle

I love a great Bolognese. There’s something about that rich sauce over thick noodles that is just so darn good. Let’s not forget to mention that you can sneak a fair amount of veggies into the sauce from the “trito”—and we all can use a little more veggies in our tummies.

For this Bolognese, I followed a cooking method laid out by Cook’s Illustrated but took my own spin for the ingredients. And before I get scolded, I will wholeheartedly admit that this Bolognese Ragu is far from traditional. I used ground turkey meat as the base of the sauce and substituted the pancetta for spicy Italian sausage. Why Italian sausage? Well, I needed to some fat in the dish since the turkey was so lean…..and I just love the flavor of a good spicy Italian sausage. I’ve also added several herbs and tomato paste—something you don’t find in most traditional Bolognese recipes.

However, the key to any great Bolognese comes down to a low heat and slow cooking time of the sauce. We’re talking at least 3 hours—so it’s definitely a dish you shouldn’t try and whip together. And it’s because of this slow cooking that makes the sauce utterly rich and meaty.

It’s also important to chop the veggies quite fine so that it can break down into the sauce. But you can just throw them into a food processor if you don’t want to fuss with the chopping. As for me, I’m often too lazy to wash my Cuisinart and I find something oddly therapeutic about chopping veggies and practicing my knife skills. :)

And best yet– Not only is this Bolognese Ragu so heartily yummy, it also freezes really well—–So be sure to make a double batch next time!

Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle



Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle
Serves 4


1 Pound Ground Turkey
¼ Pound Spicy Italian Sausage
1 Cup White Onion, finely minced
1 Cup Celery, finely minced
1 Cup Carrots, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon Dried Red Chili Flakes (or less depending on your heat preference)
2 Dried Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Cup Lowfat Milk
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Pound Pappardelle, cooked
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute until softened but not browned. Add chili flakes and sauté for an additional minute. Add turkey, Italian sausage, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces.  Once the meat is no longer pink, add thyme and bay leaves. Add tomato paste and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the milk has evaporated and only clear juices remain—about 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the wine has evaporated—about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes with its juices and bring to a boil, then place the heat at the lowest setting. Continue on this very low simmer for 2 – 2 ½ hours, stirring every 20 minutes until you get a rich, thick meaty sauce. Check for seasonings and add kosher salt and pepper accordingly.

Toss the cooked pappardelle in Bolognese sauce and serve topped with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with Italian parsley and Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi

Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi


There are days that I will happily labor for hours in the kitchen for a mere component to one dish. And then there are days that I can’t even look at the kitchen, let alone want to cook a meal.

But does that mean I should settle for something mediocre in taste?


This delicious and full flavored Shrimp Scampi will have you in and out of the kitchen in 15 minutes. True Story.

With its bright citrus notes (from the lemon and parsley) to the succulent-garlicky shrimp, you’ll never need take out again.

ps. And if you’re still feeling a little indulgent from the Holidays….throw in some sweet halved grape tomatoes, use whole wheat pasta and replace the butter with olive oil. :)


Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi
Serves 2


½ Pound Linguine
½ Pound Large Shrimp, cleaned and peeled
2 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, minced finely
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
½ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
*½ Cup White Wine (optional)
Lemon Slices or Parsley Springs for Garnish (optional)

Cook linguine according to the directions on the package, reserving a few tablespoons of the starchy pasta water.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and lemon zest. Cook shrimp on both sides until they turn pink—approximately 1-2 minutes on each side. Add lemon juice and parsley. Toss in cooked linguine, adding a tablespoon at a time of the pasta water until you reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional lemon slices or parsley springs.

**If you would like a more saucy pasta dish, remove shrimp from skillet once they have turned pink. Add in ½ cup white wine and turn the heat to medium-high. Reduce the liquids for 4-5 minutes. Return shrimp to the pan and follow the rest of the recipe.

Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle

Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle

The kitchen is a perfectly acceptable place for Do-Overs. You know, a chance to go back and remake/retry a dish.

When I first made Bobby Flay’s Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle, I was quite happy with the results. It was hearty and savory–comforting for the chillier months. There were, however, a few things that I wanted to change the next time I made it. And it was because of this that I called a “Do-Over“!

A few things that I did that I truly believe are a MUST include:

  • Constant skimming of the fat and oil
  • Addition of Red Chili Flakes
  • Shredding of the cooked meat to remove extra fat & gristle
  • Substituting Beef Broth for the Port

This recipe is not difficult to make but it does take time—especially with the extra steps I added (and trust me, those added steps were worth it). But once it’s in the oven for those 3+ hours, your house will be filled with such a lovely aroma that it’ll make you forget how much time you spent browning the ribs and chopping all of the mirepoix. :)

And on a random note, does any one else experience challenges when trying to snap photos in poor lighting, when you don’t want to use a flash, and when you need to do it quickly so that the food doesn’t become stone cold? My last few photos have suffered such issues and I debated on even posting the photos. But alas, photos are a better illustration than my words alone so they were included–overly yellow/orange cast and all.  Oh the trials of being a novice photographer…. :)


Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle
Adapted from Bobby Flay

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
4 Pounds Short Ribs, each about 2-inches long, cut flanken style, across the ribs
Salt and freshly Ground Pepper
2 Dried Bay Leaf
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Sprigs Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
4 Small Carrots, diced
2 Stalks Celery, diced
1 Medium Onion, diced
2 Medium Shallots, diced
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Flake
1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Cups Red Wine
½ Head Garlic, cloves separated and peeled
4 Cups Homemade Beef Stock
1 Pound Pappardelle
Chopped Parsley
Grated Pecorino Romano, for garnish

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place a 5-quart casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil, and heat until it is almost smoking. Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary, add short ribs to the hot oil. Cook ribs until browned on both sides. Remove ribs from casserole, and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare bouquet garni: Place bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in the center of a square of cheesecloth. Bring edges together, and tie with kitchen string. Set bouquet garni aside.

Add carrots, celery, onion, and shallots to oil in the casserole, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add chili flakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste to the casserole, and stir to combine. Add ½ cup beef broth; stir with wooden spoon until all browned bits have been scraped from the pan and the bottom of the casserole is clean. Add red wine, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Skim off any grease and discard. Add garlic, remaining beef stock, and the reserved bouquet garni.

Return browned ribs to the casserole. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Skim off any grease and discard. Cover the casserole, and place it in the oven. Cook until ribs are very tender, about 3 hours.

Remove the cooked ribs from the casserole. Set the casserole on the stove top over medium heat, and simmer to thicken sauce just slightly. As soon as the short ribs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, and shred into small pieces. Degrease the sauce and discard the bouquet garni. Return shredded meat to casserole, and simmer to reduce sauce by about half. Check seasonings and add salt/pepper if necessary.

Fill a large pot with water and add a few tablespoons of salt. Set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Salt well, and stir in pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta, and serve with short-rib ragu, sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with freshly grated Percorino Romano .