Tag Archives: pasta

Macaroni Salad

You may as well skip the formalities of a plate and grab the nearest fork.

Depending on where you hail from you might call this pasta salad or tuna salad. To us it’s macaroni salad, regardless of what type of pasta you use. This one is a quick and easy crowd pleaser where the most difficult step is waiting for the ingredients to cool once they’re done boiling.

Equipment Needed: 1 QT Pot w/ Lid, 3 QT Pot, 5 QT Pot, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Colander, Large Mixing Bowl or Container, Small Bowl, Fork

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8 – 10

Suggested Wine Pairing: Whatever you’re drinking, but keep it on the lighter side if you can.

Suggested Beer Pairing: Same as above. We’d avoid heavy IPAs or overly chocolatey stouts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta (we used shells but recommend anything on the smaller side) ($1/lb)
  • 3 eggs ($2.79/dozen)
  • 1 smedium onion (that’s in between medium and small for you laypeople) ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 10 oz package frozen peas ($1)
  • 1 5 oz can solid white albacore tuna (we highly recommend using the water-packed tuna) ($1.69)
  • 1-2 C mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz jar)
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 1 lemon ($0.50)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • This involves a lot of boiling, which is good because you can put everything on at the same time and prep the rest of your ingredients while things bubble away on the stove.
  • In your smallest pot, add the peas and just barely cover them with water. Put them on a burner over high heat and bring to a boil, the reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain and pop them into the fridge to cool off.
  • Put your eggs in your medium pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and continue to cook for 5 minutes. After that turn the burner off and let them sit for another 5 minutes in the hot water. Drain and put them in the fridge as well.
  • Fill your largest pot 3/4 full with water and put it over high heat. Once it’s boiling add a big pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil and throw in your pasta. Let it boil until it’s tender (about 8-10 minutes), drain and throw in the fridge with your eggs and peas.

See, three things boiling at once and your work is half done.

  • While your other ingredients are cooling, peel and finely dice your onion. Remove the tuna from the can and break it up as if you were going to make a tuna salad sandwich. The point is to have the flavor but not necessarily giant chunks of fish.

Break down that tuna!

  • Once everything has cooled to at least room temperature put the pasta in your mixing bowl and add the tuna and onion. Chop your eggs and ad them as well.

Chop those eggs!

  • Scoop in 1 cup of the mayo, your vinegar and lemon juice and stir everything thoroughly. Check the flavors and add salt, pepper and any of the other ingredients to your liking. Keep adding mayo until things are nicely bound together but not too creamy; the consistency should be just a little north of dry. When the flavors are right add your peas last, mix everything together well and pop it back in the fridge for about an hour to let everything meld together. Et viola!

Creamy Gorgonzola & Beet Pasta

A different kind of red sauce Italian.

For those of you keeping score at home we try to use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible and winter is no exception. With a generous gift of tasty beets from our friend Nette’s CSA we decided to recreate a pasta favorite of ours. Inspired by a dish at Locale, a great Italian joint in Astoria, this gorgonzola and beet bonanza is the definition of “not light fare,” but what it lacks in subtlety is braggadociously made up for by it’s sweet/earthy/tangy flavor.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot, Wooden Spoon, Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Vegetable Peeler, Colander

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6-8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Riesling, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ales, Witbiers, Brown Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb  gemelli pasta ($1.50/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 large red beet ($1.99/lb)
  • 2 C milk ($1.19/QT)
  • 6 oz gorgonzola cheese ($7.99/lb)
  • 1/2 C walnut halves (about $9/lb)
  • 3 TBSP butter, divided ($4.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar ($1.39/lb)
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (about $6/17 oz bottle)
  • 1/3 C flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Before you start any cooking, dice your onion, mince your garlic, mince your walnuts and peel and shred your beet; this will save you time later.

Don't wear white while you're doing this; beet juice will find a way to get on everything.

  • Fill one of your pots about 3/4 full of water and put it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and throw in about a palmful of salt. Add the pasta and a splash of olive oil, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until it’s soft but still has a little bite to it (a.k.a. al dente).
  • While the pasta is cooking put the frying pan over medium heat and throw in 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onions and garlic with a healthy dash of salt and pepper and cook them down for about 5 minutes. Once they’ve softened add the honey, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Stir everything up so it’s mixed well and drop the heat on your burner to low. Stir occasionally and let those puppies caramelize while you continue to prepare everything else.

Caramelized onions are the little black dress of flavor; a versatile addition for almost any occasion.

  • When your pasta is cooked drain it. At this point you should either grab another pot or just set your pasta aside for a few minutes while you reuse the pasta pot.
  • Put your pot back over medium heat and put in the other 2 tablespoons of butter. Once it’s melted, add about 1/4C of flour and stir thoroughly to start your roux (the thickening base for many sauces). Cook this until it’s a golden brown and stir in the milk.
  • At this point stir in the gorgonzola until it’s melted then add your beets to the mix. Mix together and toss the pasta back in the pot. Stir to coat everything evenly, add the caramelized onions and walnuts, stirring again to distribute. Serve with good bread and/or a light salad.

Add the beets once the cheese has incorporated into the sauce.

Southwestern Turkey Mac & Cheese

If this doesn't make you wanna put on footie pajamas, grab a spoon and eat by the fire then maybe it's time you started seeing other blogs.

If you know anything about the Brothers Brown you know that we love three things in life: silk sheets, long walks on the beach, and mac & cheese. This one came to us in a vision and had nothing to do with the fact that we had about five pounds of ground turkey in the freezer. Chipotle and pepper jack keep your tongue tantalized while the tomatoes provide a sweet contrast.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Dutch Oven (OR) 13 x 9 Baking Pan, 2 – 3 QT Pots (you only need one if you’re using a Dutch Oven), Wooden Spoon, Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Colander

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6-8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Rioja, Carmenere, Oaked Chardonnay

Suggested Beer Pairing: Dos Equis, Negro Modelo, Corona

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 lb  pasta shells (or conchiglie for all you Italians in the house) ($1.50/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 2 C milk (we kept it “healthy” and used skim) ($1.19/QT)
  • 1/3 C flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 2 TBSP butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese ($5.99/lb)
  • 8 oz pepper jack cheese ($5.49/lb)
  • 3-6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ($2.99/can)
  • 1/2 C diced tomatoes ($1.99/14.5 oz can)
  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • 1 TSP ground oregano ($2/2 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin ($3.50/2 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Fill one of your pots about 3/4 full of water and put it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and throw in about a palmful of salt. Add the pasta and a splash of olive oil, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the shells are soft. Drain the water and set the pasta aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, dice the onion and mince the chipotle peppers. We used 6 peppers and it came out with a pretty heavy kick to it so adjust the number according to how hot you want it. Put the frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the onions with a healthy dash of salt and pepper and cook them down for about 5 minutes.

Dice things quicker by making thin vertical and horizontal cuts in the onion before slicing it crosswise.

  • Throw the turkey in the pan with some more pepper and stir occasionally, cooking until it’s lightly browned (about 8 minutes). Pour in the minced peppers with about a tablespoon of the adobo sauce, cumin and oregano. Stir everything well and drop the burner to low for another couple minutes so the flavors meld.
  • Put your Dutch oven (or other pot) over medium heat  and add the butter. Once it’s melted, add about 1/4C of flour and stir thoroughly to make a paste. Cook until the roux (pronounced “roo,” that’s what you just created) is golden brown—like a perfectly roasted marshmallow—and stir in the milk. Begin shredding in your cheese and stir continuously until it’s fully melted in. Add more cheese and stir until you’ve used all the cheddar and half of the pepper jack.

Err on the side of less flour so the roux stays smooth. You can always add more later to thicken it up.

  • Mix the meat, pasta and cheese sauce in whatever you’re baking it in (either your baking pan or Dutch oven). Drain the tomatoes as much as you can and add them a bit at a time trying to avoid including any extra liquid. Stir again to incorporate everything.

Use a fork or slotted spoon to add the tomatoes to make sure you're not adding extra liquid.

  • Spread the rest of the pepper jack over the top and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes until it’s browned and bubbling. If you can control yourself, let it cool a bit to set up before serving.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Your new favorite way to eat bacon and eggs.

Sometimes the best meals can be made from the most basic ingredients. One of these hearty fail-safes is spaghetti alla carbonara, a creamy, deliciously savory pasta made from kitchen staples. Quick, easy and consistently satisfying, this classic Italian dish is easy to master.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Wooden Spoon, 3 QT Pot, Colander, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Measuring Cup

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Oaky Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Lager, Lighter Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb angel hair  pasta ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 small onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley ($3/bunch, you’ll need about 2 bunches)
  • 2 eggs ($2/dozen)
  • 6 strips bacon ($6.99/lb)
  • About 1C Parmagiano Reggiano cheese ($10/lb)
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Fill your pot 3/4 full with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta once it’s bubbling and cook 8-10 minutes until it’s al dente.
  • While the spaghetti is doing its thing put your pan over medium heat, cut the bacon into 1/2 inch strips and toss them into the fire, stirring occasionally.

Yes, it's another excuse to show a picture of bacon.

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic while the bacon is cooking; once it’s browned (6-8 minutes) add the veggies and continue cooking until they’re tender (another 5 minutes or so).

Dice the onions finely for this one.

  • Drain your pasta, saving some of the water. Add the pasta to the bacon pan and remove it from the stove. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta juice and the white vinegar, stir and let sit for a couple minutes to cool a bit (you don’t want to scramble the eggs).

Adding water back to the pasta will thicken things up nicely.

  • Mix the eggs together and stir in with the pasta along with plenty of grated cheese and fresh pepper to taste.

Whisking the egg first will help it incorporate with the pasta easier.

  • Mince the parsley and garnish the pasta liberally.

Buttermilk Garden Mac ‘n Cheese

If a bowl of this doesn't satisfy then there's nothing more we can do for you.

In our never-ending quest to plow through our CSA veggies we’ve combined the yin and yang of healthy and gluttonous. Buttermilk gives everything a tangy zip while the additions from the garden make it a mac attack to be reckoned with.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot, Steamer, 13 x 9 Baking Pan, Frying Pan, Spatula, Cheese Grater, Colander, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Spoon, Kitchen Shears (optional)

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir, Un-oaked Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc

Suggested Beer Pairing: Belgian Browns, ESB Ale, Dunkelweizen

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches broccoli (about $2.89/lb)
  • 1/2 lb kale (about $1.49/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 8-10 slices turkey bacon ($4.50/12 oz package)
  • 3 small serrano peppers (Thomas grew these but you should be able to get them for about $2/lb; substitute 2 jalapenos if you like)
  • 2-3 C low-fat buttermilk ($2.19/QT)
  • 3 TBSP butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 4 TBSP flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • Italian-style or Panko bread crumbs ($2.99/24 oz package)
  • 8 oz fontina cheese ($8.99/lb)
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni ($0.99/lb)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

Note: This recipe has a lot of moving parts so you can do them in almost any order you want, but we recommend making the cheese sauce last before throwing everything in the oven.

  • Start boiling water for your macaroni. As soon as it’s at a rolling boil toss in a couple pinches of salt, some olive oil and the pasta and cook it until it’s al dente (about 6 minutes or so). Drain and pour the pasta into the baking pan
  • Wash all your veggies. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets, trim the kale off the stems, dice the onion and peppers, and mince the garlic.

Bite-sized broccoli is easy to steam and even easier to eat.

  • Using the same pot you did your pasta in, add the steamer basket and some water so it’s just barely touching the bottom of the steamer. Bring it up to a simmer, add the kale and steam for about 15 minutes. Remove and drain the kale, add more water if you need to and repeat the process with the broccoli. Once the veggies are done, toss them in with the pasta. (NOTE: If you don’t have a steamer basket, or don’t have the patience to wait 30 minutes, you can saute the broccoli and kale.)

Steam the veggies to seal in the nutrients.

  • While your veggies are steaming, put the frying pan over medium heat and cut your turkey bacon into it. Fry up the pieces and about halfway through add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook them down. Add the entire mix to the baking pan with the rest of it.

Keeping it pseudo healthy with turkey bacon.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F about 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake the final product.
  • Again, reusing your pot put it over low heat and melt down your butter. Add the flour and stir together to make a roux. Cook it until it’s golden brown and add 2 cups of buttermilk. Stirring constantly, grate in the cheddar and fontina and heat the pot of gold until the cheeses are totally melted and incorporated. Add more buttermilk as necessary to thin things out; the final sauce should be slightly runnier than chocolate syrup.

A little roux will help thicken the sauce.

  • Pour the sauce over the baking pan mixture and, carefully, stir the whole thing so it’s all incorporated. Coat the top evenly with breadcrumbs and pop it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Serve and mow your way through the cheesy garden of goodness.

We'll just let you have a moment with this one.

The Morning After

The Menu

So is it just us or did things get a little…intense last night. Four courses comprised of four (or more) cuts of four different animals. We feel like we could use a cigarette, a little spooning, and maybe a call to know you got home okay and would you like to grab coffee sometime? It’s nice to splurge on the occasional feast; it’s even nicer when it’s funded by our friend Gina’s birthday present to Jake, a gift certificate to Ottomanelli & Sons butcher in the West Village. We didn’t get a chance to snap as many of the usual step-by-step pics that we typically do because we were busy pulling together a timely meal for our guests. Rest assured, we’ll post the recipes for each dish as soon as we’ve pulled ourselves together. In the meantime, peep the menu below for a preview. Now if you’ll excuse us we’ve got some phone calls to make.

Amuse BoucheFirey maple walnuts and a spicy Bloody Mary with house made tomato juice

1st CourseRoasted bison marrow from Elk Trails Ranch with a microgreens salad, toasts and truffle roasted garlic

2nd Course – Wagyu beef cheek ravioli with house made pasta

3rd Course – Drunken rabbit stew

4th CourseDry-aged Black Angus cowboy steak with parsley butter over parsnip hash

Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese

That popping sound is your mind being blown all over your face.

Normally we’d try to think of some witty intro but we’ll just let this one speak for itself. This dish is stupid-good.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot, Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, 13 x 9 Baking Pan, additional baking pan (just needs to be able to hold 3 chicken breasts), Mixing Bowl, Cheese Grater, Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6-8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Whatever you’re drinking. There are so many different flavors, this one’s a personal call.

Suggested Beer Pairing: See above (we had it with a delicious spring ale)

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($4.99/lb)
  • 1 lb fusilli (a.k.a. rotini or spiral) pasta $.99/lb)
  • 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese ($3/8 oz)
  • 11 slices of American cheese ($3/16 slices)
  • 6-8oz. blue cheese (about $7/lb)
  • 3/4 C breadcrumbs ($2.99/24 oz package) (use either Italian seasoned or panko)
  • 1/4 C flour ($3.39/5 lbs)
  • 1 egg ($1.99/dozen)
  • 3 C skim milk ($.99/quart)
  • Frank’s Red Hot ($2.89/12 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and take your cheese out of the fridge (if it’s room temperature it will melt easier).
  • Wash and trim the chicken breasts. Cut them into thin, 1/2 inch strips. Continue to cut each strip down until you’ve got thin little chunks (about 1/2 inch long and 1/4 inch wide).

Slice the chicken into bite sized pieces.

  • Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and toss with your flour and a couple pinches of salt. Once evenly coated, separate and egg and pour the white into the bowl with your chicken pieces. Mix it all together and make sure every piece is coated as evenly as possible.
  • Add the bread crumbs, toss to coat evenly (you’re gonna end up using your hands, deal with it) and pour the pieces into your second pan (the non 13 x 9). Put in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring once at 15 minutes.

Get in there for the good stuff.

  • About 15 minutes in, fill your pot about 3/4 full with water and put it on the stove to boil. Once it’s boiling, add your pasta and cook for approximately 5-8 minutes.
  • Put the frying pan over low heat and pour in your milk. Once it starts to heat up, add small chunks of American cheese about 2 slices at a time, along with grated cheddar. Stir everything together until the cheese has melted and repeat until you’re out.

It's the American way.

Cheddar makes it better.

  • Drain the pasta and pour into the 13 x 9 baking pan, pour the cheese mixture over top and stir together.

The most beautiful cheesefall you'll ever see.

  • Once the chicken has finished baking, pour it into a mixing bowl and toss with Frank’s Red Hot (no substitutions with this one, we mean it) until each piece is coated. Mix the chicken in with the pasta and cheese.

Coat each piece with this liquid gold.

Like joining two halves of a magical taste amulet.

  • Top the whole mess with blue cheese crumbles and place in the 350°F oven for 15. Serve and be prepared for spontaneous marriage proposals.

Lemon Butterflies and Scallops

Sweet, buttery goodness.

Neptune’s bounty unfolds with this sumptuous…oh who the hell are we kidding? Scallops were on sale and we wanted to eat them. Make it your own by using your favorite pasta; we used farfalle, hence “butterflies” (clever, we know). Whatever, stop judging and just make some.

Equipment Needed: Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, 3 Qt Pot, Frying Pan w/ lid, Colander, Spatula

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Crisp Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio

Suggested Beer Pairing: Light Lagers, Pilsners

Ingredients:

  • 1lb. bay scallops (market price varies, we got ‘em for $4.99/lb.)
  • 1 small onion ($.99/lb)
  • 10 oz package of frozen peas ($2)
  • 1/2 lb farfalle pasta ($.99/lb)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 tbsp butter ($4/lb)
  • Juice of 2 lemons ($.50/each)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Before doing anything, make sure you’ve rinsed the scallops.
  • Put your frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil until it coats the bottom of the pan. Dice the onion, mince the garlic cloves and toss them in the pan once the oil starts to shimmer. Cook everything down for about six minutes.

Make 'em sweat.

  • Fill your pot 3/4 full with water and bring it to a boil. Add your pasta and cook 5-8 minutes.
  • Once you’ve put your water on, add the frozen peas to the pan and throw a lid on the mix. Cook until the peas have thawed and are warm, another six minutes or so.
  • Make a well in the middle of your veggie mix and put the scallops in it. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, turning only once. You don’t want to overcook your scallops, especially these bite-sized beauties.
  • Just before plating, add the butter and squeeze the juice of two lemons over everything.  (give or take, depending on how citrusy you want it); salt and pepper to taste.

Apply some pressure and roll your lemons to free the juices before you cut them.

Let the juice drip through your fingers to catch the seeds. Make sure you've washed your hands, natch.

  • Drain your pasta, put in a bowl, toss the scallops and veggies on top and proceed.


Turkey Meatballs and Pasta

Meatballs that don't neccesitate wearing track pants.

Your nonna may frown on this non-traditional twist, but your taste buds will scream mama mia! Take your meatballs on a healthy and tasty trip by using ground turkey instead of beef. Finish things off with some homemade marinara and your favorite pasta to turn any night into a red-checkered tablecloth event.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, 3 QT pot, 5 QT pot, Large Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Colander, Cheese Grater, Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sangiovese, Chianti, Tempranillo, Malbec

Suggested Beer Pairing: Peroni, Light Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (about $5.99)
  • 1/4 C Italian style breadcrumbs ($2.99/24 oz package)
  • 1/8 C parmagiana cheese ($6/8oz)
  • 1 egg ($2.50/dozen)
  • 2 medium yellow onions ($.99/lb )
  • 6 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb dry pasta (we like penne or rotini for this one) ($1.49/package)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes ($2.99)
  • 8-10 leaves of fresh basil (about $4/package)
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper (about $2/jar)
  • 1 TBSP sugar ($1/lb)
  • 4 TBSP Italian seasoning (about $4/jar)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Balsamic vinegar (about $6/8 0z)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation

  • Mince three garlic cloves and set aside, then mince the other three and set those aside as well (half will go in the meatballs and half in the sauce).
Ok, seriously, this might be the last garlic-mincing picture we show. Just cut it into small pieces and call it a day.

Ok, seriously, this might be the last garlic mincing pic we post. Just cut it small and call it a day.

  • Put your pot over medium heat and pour in about 4 TBSP of olive oil. Dice 1 1/2 onions and set aside the remaining half. Throw half of the garlic cloves and the diced onions into the pot and stir regularly until softened (about 5-10 minutes).

Stir your onions and garlic until soft and aromatic.

  • Put the ground turkey in a bowl and add the breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, 2TSBP of Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic. Take your cheese grater and grate the remaining onion into the mixture.

Grating the onions make the pieces unobtrusive and release more flavor.

  • Now comes the fun part. Get your hands in there and mix everything together until it’s evenly dispersed (we recommend a squeeze and twist approach). Wash your hands thoroughly before proceeding (raw poultry can make you much sicko, so you want to make sure you’re constantly cleaning your hands and other surfaces).

Squeeze your meat (yes, it's a double entendre).

  • In the pot with your onions and garlic, add the tomatoes, about 3 TBSP of balsamic vinegar, a few pinches of salt and pepper, sugar and the crushed red pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer your sauce as you prepare to roll your meatballs.
  • Put your frying pan over lower-medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Make your meatballs by taking about a palm’s worth of the meat mixture and rolling your hands in opposite directions until spherical (think making snowballs). Put the meatballs into the pan and brown on all sides. [Brother's Note: Traditional Italian meatball recipes often tell you to put them into the sauce raw and simmer until cooked. Since we're using turkey in this case we want to be sure that things are cooked through. As we've harped on before, undercooked poultry is a mistake you only make once.]
  • Once nicely browned, slowly slip the meatballs into the sauce and simmer everything away for another 20 minutes or so to cook fully. Stir occasionally and slowly, making sure not to break your balls (sorry, we had to). About 10 minutes into simmering, fill your other pot about 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add your pasta and cook for about 5-8 minutes. Drain, add sauce and meatballs, and go mmmmmmmm.

Lower the meatballs into your sauce and simmer away.

School Spaghetti

 

Don't pretend you don't want to grab a spork and dive in.

Don't pretend you don't want to grab a spork and dive in.

 

As we start to settle into fall we decided it would only be appropriate to make some classic comfort food. “But Jake, Thomas,” you say, “I always hated spaghetti day in middle school.” Quit whining or we’ll give you a wedgie. This healthier version of the infamous cafeteria cop out (who knows what they used for meat, and what was that pasta made of, wallpaper paste?) is more Spaghetti alla Bolognese than slop-that-the-bully-dumped-on-my-head. Quick and easy to make, canned tomatoes and fresh basil lift take this dish from awkward memory to sure-to-please standby.

Equipment Needed:Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, two 3 QT Pots (or something close), Saute Pan (ok, frying pan), Wooden Spoons, Stove Top

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sangiovese, Chianti, Tempranillo, Malbec

Suggested Beer Pairing: Peroni, Lighter Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 medium yellow onions ($.99/lb )
  • 6 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb vermicelli (aka angel hair) pasta ($1.49/package)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes ($2.99)
  • 8-10 leaves of fresh basil (about $3/package)
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper (about $2/jar) 
  • 1 TBSP sugar ($1/lb)
  • 1-2 TBSP Italian seasoning (about $4/jar)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Sauce Preparation

  • It’s important to start this part first so you can allow the flavors to develop. Mince three of your cloves of garlic.
Mince that garlic!

Mince that garlic!

  • Then dice your onion. You want tiny pieces about a quarter of an inch each or less.
Dice that onion!

Dice that onion!

  • Place one of your pots over medium-low heat and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When it starts to shimmer add the garlic, onions and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir periodically until they’re pretty well softened (about 5 minutes).
Stir those ingredients!

Stir those ingredients!

  • Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and add the sugar, crushed red pepper and another dash of salt and pepper. Stir everything together and reduce the heat to low.
  • Rinse and stack your basil leaves on top of one another. Roll them into a tube like a cigarette (or just a tube for those of you that have never rolled a cigarette), and slice it crosswise into thin strips. congratulations! You’ve just done your first chiffonade (Google it)!
Chiffonade that basil!

Chiffonade that basil!

  • Toss the basil into the sauce and stir it occasionally.
  • Before you do anything else, add about two quarts of water to your other pot and place it over high heat. This will be for your spaghetti and you want to time it so that you can toss the pasta in to coincide with the turkey’s readiness.
  • Mince your other three garlic cloves and put your your saute pan over medium heat.
  • Pour in about three TBSP of olive oil an toss in your ground turkey and the rest of your garlic once that’s shimmering. Add a dash of salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning and allow the turkey to brown, stirring every so often so the meat cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. This should take about 10 minutes or so. 
Season and brown that turkey!

Season and brown that turkey!

  • At the same time, once your pasta water starts boiling, add a few dashes of salt and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil (if Italians do it, you should too). Toss in your vermicelli and stir occasionally (so much occasional stirring) so things don’t clump together. It’s done when the pasta is soft, but still has some bite to it (that’s al dente for you lay people). This should take about 5-6 minutes (the package will undoubtedly give a totally different time, but when was the last time you listened to a cardboard box?).
  • Your meat is cooked properly if  it exudes clear liquid, something you can check by putting a couple pieces on a paper towel. Anything else is too bloody when you’re dealing with poultry and trust us, you don’t want to go down that road. Once cooked, pour in the tomato sauce that you’ve had simmering on the side and mix everything together.
Mix it up!

Mix it up!

  • Drain your pasta (but don’t rinse it, again..Italians don’t, you don’t). Use a bowl to serve and spoon some of that delicious meat sauce over top. Scarf down, sigh contently and repeat.