Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Roasted Cauliflower




Spaghetti alla Carbona is a classic pasta dish that requires only a few basic ingredients, comes together in minutes and is so wonderfully sinful it should be illegal.









There are only a few ingredients needed for this amazing pasta dish - pasta, eggs, cured pork such as bacon or pancetta, a hard aged cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  This dish is sooo much more than the sum of its parts. Steaming hot pasta is tossed with raw eggs and grated cheese resulting in a luxuriously creamy sauce, without the addition of  any cream. I  just love roasted cauliflower and I thought it would work well with this dish. I replaced the Parmesan with an aged Asiago cheese because that is what I had on hand.



Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Roasted Cauliflower
serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • olive oil
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated  Parmesan  cheese, plus extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss cauliflower with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast until golden brown - about 25 minutes. In a large pot of salted boiling water cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and cook onion in drippings until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 minutes longer. In a small bowl mix eggs, Parmesan, and a splash of pasta water. Off the heat, toss the pasta ( the pasta has to be very hot for this to work) with the egg mixture, tossing together until the sauce becomes creamy. Add the roasted cauliflower, cooked bacon/onion mixture and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Arrange on serving bowls and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan.





Tags: pasta, spaghetti, bacon, cauliflower, Asiago

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Homemade Pork Potstickers


My husband and I live in a fairly small Country/Western kind of town. A couple of years ago we moved from a large city with a population of 1.3 million to a charming, Norman Rockwell kind of town with a population of approx. 21,000. It was a bit of a cultural shock at first, but we have grown to love it. It is so nice to get away from the noise, traffic, and crime of the big city. That crazy homeless guy that used to camp outside our apartment building and would swear at me every time I walked past him -  I don't miss him one little bit. 

 Small town life is wonderful,  I love that we are within walking distance to grocery stores, shops, library, rec. center, restaurants, movie theatre, bowling alley and lots of quaint pubs and even a couple of saloons.






Our local saloon, of all places, makes the BEST potstickers. They serve them with a hot chili oil and they are so good they should be illegal. Anyway, one day I had a craving for pot stickers and I decided to make some at home. The only problem was I didn't have any pot sticker wrappers so I decided to improvise using homemade perogy dough.  This is a really nice dough to work with - very soft and pliable - and the potstickers came together fairly quickly. Best of all - this makes a huge batch of potstickers.


Pork Potstickers
makes 70 to 80 pot stickers

Filling:

1 cup finely grated green cabbage
1/2 cup onion, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
about 2 tsp. salt
2 lbs. ground pork
prepared dough or store bought potsticker wrappers

In a medium skillet heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. Add cabbage, onion and garlic and cook until cabbage is tender. 3 or 4 minutes.  Let cool. In a  large bowl, mix together, cabbage, onion, garlic, green onions, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, salt and ground pork. At this point, I take a little ball of filling and cook for 20 seconds in the microwave, just to see if it is seasoned properly. On a lightly floured surface roll out 1/4 of the dough, if using. Keep the remaining dough covered. Roll dough so that it is about 1/8" thickness. Using a round cookie cutter or a drinking glass cut out as many circles as you can fit. Scoop out one tbsp. of filling onto each cut out circle. Fold in half, pressing out any air bubbles. Take a fork and crimp around the edges.  As I am making these, I lay them out on a tray lined with parchment. Once I've finished making these, I freeze them on the trays. When frozen, put the pot stickers in a zip lock bag.

To prepare potstickers:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil to skillet. Cook pot stickers for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Add 1/4 cup of water to pan. Cover, and lower heat. Cook for 5 -7 minutes or until cooked  all the way through. Serve with hot chili oil or sweet chili sauce.


Dough:

5 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups warm water

Blend oil, water, egg and salt. Add flour slowly while mixing. Knead well. Let dough rest, covered for 30 minutes.




tags: pork, appetizers, Asian, potstickers