A Miscellany of Pasta

I’m still cooking and and taking pictures, but for some reason lately it seems like a great effort to translate that information into a timely blog post. Consequently, I’ve got a backlog of post fodder building up, and I’ve decided to just unleash all of it on you at once.

Beef and broccoli with noodle pancake

A week or so ago I was really wanting some beef and broccoli: not just any beef and broccoli, actually, but the version I used to have at a now-closed Vietnamese restaurant, which had little wedges of noodle pancake tossed in with the rest. I used a recipe from Cooking Light, and sort of made up the noodle pancake thing using some boiled chow mein noodles. It turned out pretty well. The beef was thinly sliced flat-iron steak, and it was incredibly tender; the sauce tasted alright, but I found the presence of ginger really distracting and unlike local restaurant versions; the noodle pancake was too thick and a bit charred on the outsides. If I tried this again, I would leave out the ginger, and make a thinner noodle pancake with rice noodles. But if anyone has a more authentic recipe for beef and broccoli, share the love!

We’ve been making lots and lots of pasta this past week, since it’s my go-to meal when I haven’t made advance plans and gone grocery shopping. We had Noil’s Noodles for lunch one day (that recipe deserves its own post when I can get some pictures; it’s like my ultimate comfort food) using rotini because we were out of plain egg noodles. Also, Jeremy seems to have developed some sort of snobbish dislike for ordinary wide egg noodles. I don’t get it. Another night, I made a version of Jaden’s garlic scallion noodles, using Barilla Plus angel hair pasta, our last two chicken tenders, half a tiny Napa cabbage that I found in the bottom of the crisper (surprisingly fresh for its age), and some julienned carrots. Turned out to be a really tasty something-out-of-nothing meal, and one I’ll keep in mind for similar occasions.

I should note that I’ve been using a lot of the Barilla Plus pastas lately because they have a boosted protein and omega-3 content, and we like them a lot. We can’t tell the difference at all as far as flavor goes, which is great. We have tried several types of whole wheat pasta also, and while they are very tasty, they definitely have a noticeable flavor and texture difference that doesn’t work equally well with every sauce. So I would recommend the Barilla Plus option, but I’ve noticed that it wants more of a flavor boost than your standard pasta, so be sure to taste it and up the sauces and seasonings a bit if you find the same.

Linguine carbonara with peas

Finally, and more recently, I made a linguine carbonara for dinner at the end of the week, based on Mario Batali’s recipe in Molto Italiano. We didn’t have spaghetti, so I used linguine, subbed in bacon for guanciale (although I would happily use the latter if I could just find it somewhere), added peas to the pasta for the last two minutes to give the dish a veggie component, and didn’t bother separating the yolks out to nest on top of the dish (maybe another time, though). For a tense moment I thought I had scrambled the eggs instead of carbonara-izing them, but it all worked out in the end, as you can see from the photo.

Soon to come, I promise: our Labor Day dinner of roast duck, spaetzle, and haricots verts. Mmm, duck…

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