Creamy Mushroom Risotto (Vegetarian Friendly)

In Ohio, everything is better with corn.

Hi, friends! So sorry for not posting much this week, I’ve been visiting family up in Ohio before I go back to school. Anyways, I am finally posting something that is vegetarian-friendly and can be vegan-friendly too! Risotto is an Italian rice dish. Risotto is actually the way of cooking the rice, not the name of the rice. It is very simple and, even though it is very creamy, no cream is necessary. As I’ve said previously, almost all Italian dishes don’t require cream. This risotto actually doesn’t even need butter or cheese, but butter and cheese are delicious.

Ingredients:

  • Arborio Rice (or another short grain rice)
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • Mushrooms
  • Shallots
  • Butter
  • Mascarpone Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Kale (optional)
  • White Wine

While I don’t measure much, I do measure the amount of rice used in this. Last night we had about 16 people for dinner, and I made 3 cups. 1 cup of rice will expand to 3 cups when cooked.

In a large, wide bottomed pot, add olive oil, chopped shallots, mushrooms, and a bit of butter. Let that all cook down before adding your desired amount of rice. Continue stirring until the rice has absorbed oil and is slightly toasted.

Once the rice is toasted and almost dry, pour enough wine in to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Deglaze means to remove the browned bits from the pan. Let the wine absorb and cook down. Then, add a small amount of broth to the rice until is about covered. Continue to stir until the rice absorbs all of the broth. At this point, just keep repeating this step of adding small amounts of broth. The most important step is to keep stirring.

The great thing about risotto is that you can flavor it almost any way that you want to. When the risotto is almost cooked all the way through, add a bit of mascarpone cheese, a generous amount of parmesan cheese, and a bit of kale. Don’t add the kale until the very last minute, so that it does not get soggy. Add enough salt and pepper until the flavor meets your preference. If you happen to have any truffle oil laying around, add a very small amount to enhance the mushroom flavor.

If you want to make this into a vegan meal, either bypass all of the cheese (add a lot of salt to make up for it) or, replace the butter and cheese with vegan replacements. Risotto is a creamy dish without cream, so excluding butter and cheese should not be too hard.

Risotto is a favorite dish of mine! Aside from the 30 minutes of constant stirring, it’s a very simple recipe that can be altered easily.

Apologies again for my lack of posts recently. Hopefully, I will be able to pick back up when I’m all moved in!

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Thanks for reading, be sure to subscribe and share!

Emily 🙂

Authentic Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara is, hands down, my favorite pasta dish. But, a lot of people are confused about what it is. If you’ve ever had this dish at an Olive Garden or another chain Italian restaurant, you make think that Carbonara consists of some form of Alfredo sauce with bacon. While this definitely doesn’t taste bad (who doesn’t like cheesy sauce and bacon?), it is so wrong.

Italian food often gets a bad reputation for being unhealthy, but that is a misconception. Often, American versions of Italian food are very unhealthy. Italians rarely use cream in their dishes. Which means that, yes, Fettuccini Alfredo is 100% an American pasta dish.  Cream is delicious and it is fine if you prefer it that way. Just know, it is not authentic.

I’ve seen dishes labeled as Spaghetti Carbonara that have any assortment of bacon, Alfredo, spinach, olives, peas, and tomatoes. However, real Spaghetti Carbonara consists of only eggs, pancetta, a small amount of olive oil, parmesan, and black pepper. Nearly every bowl of Carbonara will taste different, depending on the chef’s preference. I personally like mine to be heavier on the egg. Some people prefer much less egg and much more cheese. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to ratio of egg to cheese, so alter this according to your preference.

Ingredients

The ingredients I’ve used in this dish are so simple, I don’t feel that a picture is necessary.

For the pasta I used my Homemade Fresh Pasta, but boxed is absolutely fine. I usually opt for a thin spaghetti, but regular spaghetti is traditional. Bucatini is also a really good option for Carbonara.

Aside from that, I used pancetta. Pancetta is a salt cured pork, similar to prosciutto. Ask your deli to cut it thick so it can be diced. Bacon can be used as a substitute. Then, eggs, parmagianno-reggiano, salt, black pepper, olive oil, and a little bit of white pepper. White pepper is not traditional, but it gives it an extra pepper-y flavor.

The Recipe

The key to perfect Spaghetti Carbonara is all about timing. If you’re using regular boxed pasta, you’re going to want to start heating up the water right away. While that is boiling, put a bit of olive oil in a hot pan, then add your diced pancetta.

Let the pancetta bits brown on a medium-low heat, moving them around occasionally. While waiting for this and waiting for your pasta to boil, start on your egg sauce.

I typically like to stick to a ratio of 2 egg yolks to 1 whole egg, to keep the richness and to add the bright, yellow color. I make mine in a mug, just because its easy to mix and pour from, but a measuring cup would probably work better. Whisk your eggs together with a fork until they are smooth. Then add salt, cracked black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Then add a small amount of white pepper. Keep in mind that the pancetta and the parmesan are very salty ingredients, so don’t add too much salt to your dish until you taste it.

At this point, your boxed pasta should be almost done. If you’re using fresh pasta, add it in now. When it is done, strain it but save some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta in the pancetta pan with the heat turned off. It will sizzle a bit, add some pasta water if the pan is too hot. Get the oil from the pancetta to coat the pasta entirely.

Now, you can add the egg mixture to the pan. You want the pan to be hot enough that the eggs will render but not scramble. Pour it in but keep the pasta moving around the pan so the eggs don’t get too hard.

The eggs will turn slightly lighter in color, this is how you know you’re not eating raw eggs. Now, add salt, pepper, and cheese as needed.

Done!

I love this recipe because it is so simple. After having authentic Spaghetti Carbonara, you’ll have a hard time accepting the knockoff kind. If you love bacon (pancetta) & eggs, and you love pasta, you’ll love this dish!

Delicious And Easy Steak Without A Grill!

If you’re anything like me, you know there are few things better on this Earth than a really perfect steak-ribeye preferably. Coated with butter, thyme, and garlic, medium-rare, and a good sear. The best part about these steaks is that they are locally farmed, preservative free, and DELICIOUS. I got these from my local farmer’s market from a company called Solo Verdi. If you’re local, definitely check them out!

Ingredients:

Ribeye (or whatever your favorite steak is), Ghee-which is clarified butter that I use for the cooking oil. Feel free to use Vegetable or Canola or anything with a high smoking point*, One Garlic clove (smashed), a few sprigs of Thyme, and Salted Butter.

*A high smoking point in an oil means that it can reach a high temperature before it burns. This is important with steak because it needs a really high temperature for a good sear. Examples of oils with high smoking points include Canola Oil, Coconut Oil (refined), Ghee, and Extra Light Olive Oil. 

You will also need a pan that can generate a high amount of heat. My suggestion would be a good Cast Iron Skillet or a good Stainless Steel pan. If you only have a nonstick, you can still do this. You may have a harder time getting a really good sear, and you’ll probably need to get your pan a bit hotter. I also really recommend a digital meat thermometer, not the kind that is meant for roasting. You want one that you simply insert, and it will automatically tell you the exact temperature.

Cooking Your Steak

About 45 minutes before cooking, take your steaks out of the fridge and let them get to room temperature. Season them with coarse salt, to pull out all the moisture and pat them dry with a paper towel when they’re ready. Just before cooking, re-season with coarse salt and cracked black pepper. I also like to rub a smashed garlic clove and some thyme on the steak before cooking.

Heat your pan over medium heat until it is hot enough that if you put a drop of water in, it won’t bubble and steam out. It should just move around the pan in a ball.

Then, add your desired cooking oil to the pan and let that heat up for a moment.

Place the steak down and then don’t touch it for about four minutes or so. With tongs, flip the steak over. It should have a really nice color and crust, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay. Once you flip it, add a small piece of the salted butter and let that melt. If you didn’t have a nice sear already, the butter will help it for the next flip. Also, rub some more of the garlic and thyme on the steak if you like those flavors.

Once each side has cooked for about 4-5 minutes, flip it again. Continue the flip and butter process a few times. Make sure you are checking the temperature constantly. Be sure to check the temperature in the middle of the thickest point of the meat. I like to stop my steak around 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit, with the intention that it will keep cooking a bit while it rests. Here’s a good chart to help you know when to stop cooking your steak. 

When your steak is at your desired temperature (remember to take it off slightly before it reaches your desired temperature), let it rest on a room temperature surface, such as a cutting board, for about 5-10 minutes. This will help keep all the juices inside the meat. If you cut into it immediately, it will become dry.

When I let my meat rest, I put even more butter on it right when it gets off the stove. I then set a small thyme sprig in the melting butter to enhance the flavor. Just before serving, I sprinkle some more of the coarse sea salt on top of my finished steak. 

That’s it! I’ve found that butter + ribeye steak is the best combination, so don’t be afraid to use more butter than you think normal! For one steak I would use at least one tablespoon of butter.

I hope this helps you to be able to enjoy a great steak whenever you want! Grills are hard to use, and a lot of people don’t have them. This is how I always cook a steak and it’s actually how I prefer it now!

Thanks for reading, subscribe if you haven’t already!

Emily 🙂

Lowcountry Boil Pasta – A Twist On A Local Favorite

Lowcountry Boil, Frogmore Stew, Beaufort Boil. This dish goes by many names, but all consists of a stew of fresh shrimp, corn, sausage, potatoes, old bay, and lots of butter. This classic Lowcountry recipe is one that is easy to make and relatively cheap, considering our abundance of good quality shrimp. Native to Beaufort, I felt that I had to make some version of this dish.

I’ve chosen to make a different version of this by adding pasta with a creamy sauce. It’s pretty simple overall, and it adds another delicious dimension to the Lowcountry boil. As a fan of my hometown as well as my love for pasta, this dish was a no-brainer!

Ingredients:

If you aren’t lucky enough to live where you can easily get fresh local shrimp, try to opt for a higher quality shrimp from a fish market or the fish section of your grocery store. Using that, as opposed to frozen shrimp, will make the dish taste much fresher.

Shrimp

Once you have all of your ingredients, start prepping them. Start boiling a pot of water (for your shrimp) with a quartered lemon and a bag of crab boil. As this is boiling, start peeling and deveining your shrimp. Use this Shrimp Peeler & Deveiner Device to easily and quickly peel and devein. (It’s only $2!!). When the water is boiling, drop your shrimp in and let them cook until they turn pink. Take them out of the water just slightly before they are done, so that they can finish in the sauce.

Sausage

For the sausage, I chose a mild pork sausage, but andouille sausage or any other kind will work as well. Slice it into small pieces and sauté the pieces in a bit of olive oil. That’s about it for the sausage.

Potatoes

I boiled the potatoes in the same pot as the shrimp. Cut them into small pieces and boil until they are fork tender. Some of you may be wondering, “How can you put potatoes with pasta?” My answer to you is that this is a southern dish, and southerners don’t really care about having too many starches. Actually, we don’t think it’s possible to have too many starches. If you’re a bit more health conscious, feel free to ditch the potatoes.

The Sauce

For the sauce, I started with 4 table spoons of melted butter. I then added heavy cream in small increments. By the end, I had used almost the entire pint-sized box. I added one clove of minced garlic and let that cook down in the sauce. While continuing to add heavy cream, I added salt, pepper, and however much Old Bay you like. I also added about one ladle worth of salted pasta water (I was boiling the water for my pasta while making the sauce). Once you have the sauce to the flavor and consistency you want, add your sausage, shrimp, potatoes, and about half of the can of corn kernels. Let these heat up in the sauce, and crush the potatoes with your fork so that they can absorb some of the flavors.

When you’re at the point of reheating the items in the sauce is when you should add your pasta and let that cook. When the pasta is done, strain it and add it to the sauce. Add any extra salt, pepper, or Old Bay as needed. Mix it all together, and you’re done!

This Lowcountry Boil Pasta dish is a great way to eat a filling dinner that still very much resembles the classic Lowcountry boil. I can’t wait to remake this when I’m at school and feeling homesick! And, of course, I got the approval from the official taste tester: Bailey.

Overall, this dish is a relatively simple way to have a different take on a classic Lowcountry boil. And it turned out delicious! Just ask Bailey. Please subscribe if you enjoyed this post! Let me know how this turns out for you in the comments.

Emily 🙂

Five Easy Hors D’oeurves To Make For Your Next Party!

Hors D’oeurves are some of the most creative and fun little foods to eat and to make! Often confused with being synonymous of appetizers, hors d’oeurves are designed to be eaten in one bite. Typically you’ll see these as little “finger foods” served at a party. As opposed to appetizers which can be much larger than these.

I’m sharing with you not one, but five of my favorite hors d’oeurves recipes! These are all pretty easy, some requiring more work than others. But delicious all the same! Use one (or all) of these to bring to the next party you attend or host and impress everyone!

Caprese Salad Skewers

These skewers are the easiest of all the hors d’oeurves on this list. The only ingredients are Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, Small Fresh Basil Leaves, Snack Size Fresh Mozzarella Balls (or cut cubes from a large mozzarella ball), and Balsamic Vinegar!

Simple stack the basil leaf on top of the tomato, and the mozzarella ball/cube on top of that. Drizzle a bit of balsamic, stick a toothpick through the center and enjoy! If you want them to stand up on a plate, cut a small amount off of the bottom of the tomato to make it flat.

So simple and so yummy! Perfect for a summertime soiree!

Mini Meatballs in Marinara

These miniature meatballs are delicious but they require a bit more work than the previous.

I chose to make my own marinara sauce, but it’s absolutely fine to use store bought. If you’re using store bought marinara, you won’t need the Garlic, White Onion, and Tomatoes.

If you are making your own, go ahead and chop those ingredients up and start sautéing them in a pan with a white wine to help them reduce. Once they’re aromatic and seem to be cooked down a bit, put them in a blender or a food processor and puree, but leave it slightly thick. When you’re done with that, you can pour it back into the pan and let the excess water simmer out. I added tomato paste to my sauce for the color; mine turned out more orange without it.

Now, mix the ground beef with the egg and a decent amount of breadcrumbs. Then add your salt, pepper, seasonings, splash of Worcestershire, and splash of milk. Add  breadcrumbs until the consistency is less “wet.” Roll the meat into small meatballs and place in the sauce to simmer. Once the bottom has cooked, turn the meatballs over to cook the other side.

When they’re done cooking, plate them with sauce and a toothpick. Top with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

 

Two hors d’oeurves down, three to go!

Miniature salmon lox bagel Boats

These were a bit of a struggle for me because I could not find miniature bagels anywhere in the whole grocery store! So, I bought regular sized everything bagels and chopped them. I went to the fish section and got some Lox Smoked Salmon. Also, some plain cream cheese and some fresh dill.

Remove the inside of the bagel, so it is hollowed out. Toast it in a pan with some butter to get crispy edges. Then fill with the cream cheese and dill mixture, followed by smoked salmon.

Cut the filled bagel into small pieces, and top with a small dollop of dill cream cheese

 

 

Peach, honey, goat cheese Crostini

For this, I used a few slices of one of those skinny baguettes from the bakery, one ripe peach, some goat cheese, basil leaves, and honey.

I rubbed the bread pieces with unsalted butter and toasted them in the oven until they started to brown. Then I spread goat cheese on each one and put them back in the oven to melt a bit. Once melted, simply assemble the peach slices, small basil leaves atop the peaches, and a drizzle of honey on top of all of that.

My picky eater past came out when I made these- goat cheese usually disgusts me. But, I made myself try it, and they really were good. I was pleasantly surprised, so don’t knock these just because of the goat cheese. If you still can’t stand it, try ricotta cheese instead.

Arancini- fried risotto balls

Y’all. 

These are SO good.

They take a good deal of more effort than the others, but they are amazing. If you’ve never had risotto, the best way I can describe it is a really creamy and delicious Italian rice dish- but with no cream. For this recipe, I used leftover risotto from the night prior to making these. I’ll be posting my mushroom risotto recipe soon; so you can use that (or look up a different one). Or, you could simply buy risotto that comes in a box and cooks much quicker. Put it in the fridge for a few hours to let it stiffen up, and you’ll be good to go!

Once you have your leftover risotto, form them into small balls. I tried to put little mozzarella pearls on the inside of them, but that was pretty tricky. Feel free to try it though! Once they’re balled up, Start heating vegetable or canola oil and set up your “dredging station.”

From left to right: all purpose flour, whisked eggs, and seasoned panko breadcrumbs. Dip each ball in each spot until they’re fully breaded. Make sure you have a wet and a dry hand so that you don’t bread your fingers.

Drop them into the fryer until they float and turn golden brown!

Top with a sprinkle of salt, parsley, and some parmesan cheese.

These are a lot more work than the other recipes but They. Are. So. Good.

Next time you host a ~fancy~ dinner party, you’ll have some awesome finger foods up your sleeve! Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, add your email to my subscribers list in the side bar!

Emily 🙂

Super Simple Seared Steak Tacos!

Happy Sunday, Foodies!

 

My dad asked me if I was going to post recipes about something other than pasta and seafood (which is hard because these are my favorite foods). SO, here is something slightly out of my comfort zone!

While I love steak, I don’t typically go out of my way to eat Mexican food. Except for Moe’s, for Moe’s I’ll go out of my way. I’m reaching out of my food comfort zone a little, and making Steak Tacos. So many times when I hear Steak Tacos, I think of them being filled with ground beef (my least favorite thing), or some low-quality and over cooked steak bits. This recipe, I hope, will far surpass these expectations by using quality ingredients and preparing them properly.

Ingredients

Ribeye steak(flank or skirt work fine as well), Flour tortillas, Tomatoes, Onion, Cilantro, Lime, Avocado, Sour Cream.

These tacos will be built with steak, pico de gallo, and an avocado cream topping. Super simple!

For the Pico De Gallo:

Dice your onion(s) and tomatoes, chop the cilantro as finely as you can, and zest and juice one of your limes. Feel free to add jalapeño if you like spice!

Mix these all together in a bowl and set aside.

For the Avocado Cream:

Add ripe avocado(s) and sour cream to a blender with the juice of two limes, salt, and a small amount of water and olive oil until the consistency is right. This stuff is so delicious and will add a ton of flavor to your steak tacos!

For the Steak:

The steak is the most important part of the steak tacos, so we want to make sure it is good. Keep the flavors simple, season the ribeyes with kosher salt or sea salt and cracked black pepper. Let the salt sit for a few minutes to bring the moisture out and then pat them dry. Cook them in a very hot pan to your desired temperature. If you prefer to grill your steaks, that’s fine as well. Melt 1 tbsp of salted butter on the hot steak after it comes off of the pan/grill. Let rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice thinly.

 

The Tortillas:

For the sake of time, I left my tortillas as they were. However, if you want a warm tortilla, you can sort of roast it over a small flame or toast it in a pan on a medium heat before assembling.

The Assembly of the Steak Tacos:

Almost done!

Simply assemble your tacos by starting with the tortilla, then adding a few pieces of steak strips, then adding your pico de gallo, then the avocado cream on top!

That’s it!

These steak tacos are so so so delicious and so easy! As someone who almost always prefers Italian food over Mexican, I was very pleased with this recipe. I’ll definitely be making this one again!

I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I did, and feel free to add jalapeño or lettuce or anything else you want to this recipe!

Please let me know if you tried this and how it turned out!

Emily 🙂

Salmon Three Easy, Healthy Ways

Salmon is, in my opinion, the tastiest fish. It is flavorful, easy to cook, and it’s pink. Ask anyone that knows me well, and they’ll tell you I eat a lot of pasta and a lot of salmon. Seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me If I get mercury poisoning (although I limit myself to twice a week to try and prevent that). So often though, I feel like cooking a piece or two the same way every week can get very boring. If you are bored with your salmon as well, or just want to try something new, try these three easy, healthy, salmon recipes!

For starters, let’s talk about the main ingredient. Unless you live very far north and by the sea, you’ll have a hard time getting local salmon. There are a lot of different types; Atlantic, Alaskan, Sockeye, Chilean, Farmed or Wild. Typically, I don’t look into it too deep. I try to get one that has a lighter pink/orange color, and just overall looks fresh and is from a place that I trust.

These are the fillets that I got from Publix. I usually get the select cuts because they’re already cut into portion sizes.

#1, Seared Salmon with Sauce

(Extra points for alliteration)

This way of cooking the salmon is the way I do most often. It is pretty simple and only requires a few ingredients.

  • Salmon
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Garlic Salt or Garlic Powder
  • Butter, White Wine, Heavy Cream, and Thyme (for the sauce)
  • Lemon Juice

This recipe is delicious without sauce as well, so feel free to forego it if you don’t want it.

Also, for a good sear, I cannot stress enough the importance of a stainless steel pan. Someone told me once that you’ll never be able to get as good of a sear on nonstick as you will with stainless. I didn’t really think it made that big of a difference until I got one. Seriously, do yourself a favor and invest in one. Here’s mine- Le Creuset Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan, 10-Inch. And here is a cheaper one, Emeril Lagasse 62951 Stainless Steel Fry Pan, 8″, Silver.

Step One

Dry off your piece of fish with a paper towel, then add all of your seasonings. That’s it for step one! 

Step Two

Heat your pan on medium heat. Don’t add any oil until you get it hot enough that a drop of water won’t bubble up and evaporate. It should be a ball of water that moves around the pan like this:

 

This is also known as the Leidenfrost Effect. 

 

 

 

 

Add your oil and let that heat up as well, until it has ripples or “legs” in it. Then, place the salmon face down in the middle of the pan. Once it is down, DON’T touch it. To prevent it from sticking to the pan it needs to sit for anywhere from 2-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Flip the fish after it has formed a crust and no longer sticks to the pan. If it is very thick, you may need to let it cook on its sides a bit too.

Step 3

Take your salmon off of the pan. There will probably be brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and that’s great. Those make your sauce flavorful. Put two sprigs of thyme in the pan and let those fry for a minute. Add butter and let it brown (again, this works best in a stainless steel pan). Once your butter is melted and browned, add white wine and let the pan deglaze. When the steam subsides, add a small amount of heavy cream. Just enough to get the wine and the butter to combine. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to your liking.

 

#2, Salmon Ceviche

A lot of people think that ceviche is raw fish, but it’s actually not. Ceviche is when the raw fish is “cooked” in acidic substances like lime or lemon juice. It is a Peruvian dish that traditionally consists of only fish, salt, limes, onions, and hot peppers. I don’t like hot peppers, so I came up with my own version. Feel free to add whatever you like to this dish!

Ceviche does, however, still resemble raw fish. So, if that freaks you out, you may want to pass on this one.

This is definitely the easiest recipe because it requires no heat!

You can kind of do this however you want, so long as you have lemon or lime juice to “cook” the salmon. Here’s how I did mine.

Step One

  Isn’t that beautiful?

Chop the salmon up into small bite-sized cubes. Then chop the ingredients of your choice.

I used celery, shallot, chives, avocado, lemons, and limes.

Step Two

Mix it all in a bowl, add salt, and set it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

That’s it! 

It is literally that easy, and it is so delicious.

 

#3, Baked Salmon

Baked salmon is what I cook the least of the three. However, it is very delicious and easy. I just hate waiting for an oven to heat up. Baking salmon can be a much healthier way of cooking because it requires little to no oil. I like to make mine heavy on the garlic, butter, and lemon. But for this, I am going to make a Cilantro Lime Garlic Baked Salmon.

Since you won’t need to worry about a sear, don’t bother to pat down the salmon. I cook mine in a baking dish, but you can do it in aluminum foil just as well.

Start by chopping a small amount of fresh cilantro, zest one lime, and mince a clove of garlic. Mix together the lime zest, juice, cilantro, and garlic in a small bowl with a small drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Then, put salmon in a baking dish or aluminum foil and pour your mixture on top. Put four cubes of unsalted butter on top and put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Then take it out and enjoy!

Not the prettiest but still delicious.

 

I hope you all enjoyed this and now have some new salmon recipes to try! Please let me know if you tried it/ how it turned out!

Happy salmon eating!

Emily 🙂

How To Make Fresh Pasta From Home

If you’ve ever had fresh pasta, you’ll know why I’m so obsessed with it. Although it is relatively time-consuming, making your own fresh pasta will absolutely improve the texture and quality of your pasta dish. Fresh pasta is so easy to customize to make different flavors. The best part is that you most likely already have all of the ingredients! Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on making fresh pasta at home!

*This recipe will yield about two large servings. If you are making this for a side dish, it will yield about four servings.*

Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 tbsp. warm water
  • Salt
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
Step One – The Dough:

  • In a large bowl (a bowl is not necessary, I use one for an easier clean up) make a well with the flour. Make sure there is enough room for two large eggs. Before adding the eggs, add as much or as little salt as you want.

  • Fill the well with two large eggs. Having a furry friend to help makes for better pasta (kidding).
  • Whisk the eggs with a fork, slowly mixing in the flour until it is fully incorporated. The eggs may fall out of the well, and that’s just fine. Just make sure you mix it well. Once your dough starts to form, add the warm water and continue to mix. Then, add a drizzle of olive oil.

Eventually, you will get this beautiful ball of pasta dough! I cut my dough ball in half, and that half is one large serving. Now, start kneading it with your hands and get it as flat as you can with just your hands.

Sprinkle both sides with flour, so it doesn’t stick to your pasta machine!

Step Two – Rolling The Dough:

Speaking of the pasta machine, it is definitely not necessary, but way easier. A pasta machine is not too expensive and is such an important tool if you like to make fresh pasta often. This is the one I use, and it’s currently 55% off! Pasta Maker Machine (177) By Cucina Pro

Closeup of the fettuccini and spaghetti cutter inserts

Now, pasta can absolutely be rolled and cut without a machine. It will just be more difficult to make anything thinner than a fettuccini. If you’re using this method, consider making lasagne, ravioli, tortellini, pappardelle, or fettuccini noodles. With this method, you’ll roll out your dough with a rolling-pin to your desired thickness. Then, with a precise knife or a pizza cutter, carefully slice the shape of the pasta that you want! Make sure you’re adding flour throughout to prevent stickiness.

If you are using a pasta machine, start with the roller on setting number one. Roll your flattened dough through here twice (or more if needed), before moving on to setting number two. 

Here are the progressions of my pasta dough. I went through setting number five. The settings get smaller and smaller as the numbers get bigger, making the dough thinner. 

This is the thinness I chose, and so I stopped here. At this point, I cut the sheet in half so it would be easier to handle while cutting.

Step Three – Cutting and Drying The Pasta:

Once your pasta is at your desired thickness or thinness, it’s time to choose your pasta shape and cut!

I chose spaghetti just because I prefer a thinner noodle and spaghetti is more versatile in my opinion. You’ll put the pasta sheet into the cutter and turn the handle just like you did in the roller section. Once you’ve put both halves of your pasta sheet into the cutter, add more flour and pull apart any noodles that are stuck together. 

At this point, you can leave it how it is and put it right into your boiling water, or you can let it dry a bit.

To let it dry, I make little pasta “nests.” First, I straighten the noodles into long strands. Make sure there’s enough flour, so they don’t stick together while they dry. Then, just wrap them up in a circular motion. 

Pasta Nest

Another way to dry your pasta is to hang it over the back of a chair (or a Pasta Drying Rack) after you’ve straightened the noodles.

Congrats! You’ve made fresh pasta! To cook it, just fill a pot with a decent amount of water (enough for the pasta to move around freely), salt the water, and drop your pasta in once it’s at a rolling boil.

Making fresh pasta does take a lot of steps. However, it is not hard at all with the right tools! I, by no means, have any issue with boxed pasta (trust me, I eat plenty of boxed pasta), but the fresh pasta will take your pasta dish to a new level. So excited for you all to try this! Let me know what your favorite pasta dish is in the comments!

Happy Cooking!

Emily 🙂

She Crab Soup From Scratch

She Crab Soup, the signature dish of the Lowcountry. More specifically, Charleston. I decided to make this to use up my leftover crab meat from my Mac & Cheese Recipe. I questioned what made the difference between a She Crab Soup and just a regular crab chowder. So, I did some research.

According to the culinary historian John Martin Taylor, Scottish settlers brought a crab and rice soup recipe to the Carolinas in the 1700’s. What differentiates a crab soup from a She Crab Soup is the addition of crab roe (eggs). This addition came from a wealthy diner (supposedly William Howard Taft and R. Goodwyn Rhett) who asked for the chef to “dress up” their boring crab soup. The chef added the roe to give the soup its slightly orange hue and extra flavor. As interesting as that is, I’m a little bummed to find out that most of the She Crab Soup I’ve had before probably wasn’t authentic. And neither is this one!

Because any type of roe is typically hard to find, I discovered (courtesy of Google) that crumbled hard boiled egg yolks can be used instead. Weird, I know. I only used a little bit, and it seemed to be fine. Anyways, here’s my take on She Crab Soup.

Ingredients:

 From left to right: Jumbo Lump Crabmeat(1/2 pound), heavy cream, Worcestershire Sauce, Shallot (or onion is fine), Parsley (fresh is better if you have it), Lemon Zest, Ground Mace, Cayenne Pepper, 1/2 stick of butter, Hard-boiled Egg Yolk(optional).

Ingredients not pictured: Lawry’s Salt, Paprika, All-Purpose Flour, Shrimp Stock.

Start with a large pot. Melt a half stick of salted butter, once that is hot add the finely diced shallot or onion. I then added about 1/4 cup of flour to make a roux (pictured below).

You want to cook it enough so that you cook out the floury taste, but make sure you don’t burn it. Once it’s cooked, I added a homemade shrimp stock. (You can use any kind of stock, I would recommend a crab, shrimp, or fish stock. If you want to do a homemade one, I used a combination of this recipe and this recipe.) I added it in one ladle at a time, whisking the roux into the stock as I went. Throughout the whole process, I used about five and a half ladles of shrimp stock. Then, I added whole milk and heavy cream until I reached the consistency and flavor that I wanted. If you like a thicker soup, use more flour and less milk/stock. If you like it thinner, use less flour and more milk/stock. Make sure you are tasting along the way.

Once I had my soup to the consistency I wanted, I added in my crab and mixed it in. I then added, in no particular order, a splash of Worcestershire Sauce, the zest of an entire lemon, Mace and Cayenne and Lawry’s and Paprika. Add as much or as little of each of these as you like. For example, I am not fond of spicy food, so I only added a small amount of Cayenne Pepper. I added extra of the other seasonings to help with the red/orange color and to develop the flavor. Add them until you get a flavor that you like.

When your soup is where you want it, add the parsley and the egg yolk if you want to. Here is the end product!

Best of luck,

Emily

Decadent Crab and Truffle Mac & Cheese

There’s nothing better than a really creamy dish of macaroni and cheese, and then when crab and truffle oil is added, it becomes unmatched in flavor and decadence. This dish is something I came up with. I do not follow any particular recipe, and I really don’t like measuring ingredients. So, bear with me. Additionally, this dish is very easy to tailor to your preferences. So, if you cannot find a particular ingredient, it will be easy to find a replacement or do without.

**Disclaimer- The ingredients I used are relatively expensive. However, I will be referencing cheaper alternatives throughout the post. 

Ingredients-

Listed from left to right: Black Truffle Oil(from a local olive oil store), Cavatappi pasta, heavy cream, whole milk, chives, a shallot, Jumbo Lump Crab (1 lb), mascarpone cheese, cheddar cheese, Garlic and Herb goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Parmigiano rinds(optional).

Step One: Trust me when I say that your life will be SO much easier if you chop and prep everything beforehand. So go ahead and grate your cheese, dice 1/2 of the large shallot, and finely chop four chives completely. Below is the amount of cheese I used for the sauce (cheddar, pecorino, Parmigiano).

Blocks of cheese like this can be expensive. If you don’t use high-quality cheese very often, it is perfectly okay to buy pre-grated, packaged cheese. 

The Pasta: Fill a large pot with a combination of whole milk and water. I used about 1/3 of my half-gallon + some water, and it was way too much. You’ll want enough so that there is some left over when you strain it. To this, I added some salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic salt. When this begins to boil, add your pasta. The amount of pasta I used was about 3/4 of the box. Again, this was way too much. Make sure you add the amount to match your sauce. Doing it over, I would suggest using about half of the box. When the pasta is soft enough to bite, strain it. Place a bowl or a cup underneath your strainer to save some of the milk/water mixture for later. **If you have rinds of Parmigiano, it would be beneficial to add those in here until the water is boiling. If you don’t have these, that is fine too.**

Milk/water mixture with seasonings in.
Pasta pot next to sauce pan

The sauce: In a separate saucepan (one that has enough room for the crab and the pasta, and can also be put in the oven)**, start with a small amount of olive oil. Once your oil is hot, add the diced 1/2 shallot. Let that sizzle for a moment before adding 2 tbsp. of butter. Once the butter is melted (make sure your heat is low, so the butter doesn’t brown), add desired amount of heavy cream. The amount of cream added is going to indicate the amount of sauce you’ll have, so start small and gradually add more. Make sure you have enough to cover the crab meat and the pasta.

**If you don’t have a pan that can be put in the oven(one with a plastic handle will melt), I would suggest putting the contents into a casserole dish. This recipe can be eaten without browning the top also, that’s up to your preference. 

With a whisk, combine the butter and the cream and then gradually add the grated cheese in. Once this is combined, I added about a tablespoon (give or take) of mascarpone cheese and a garlic and herb goat cheese. These are not necessary for this dish. However, I feel that they add another flavor of cheese that contrasts with the others. At this point is when I added a bit of Black Truffle Oil. This stuff goes a long way with a minimal amount, so please use sparingly. Also, a small bottle of this stuff could cost around $30. If you don’t think you’ll use it again, consider a truffle salt or truffle butter or something that will add the flavor at a cheaper cost. 

Once all of the cheese is melted, and you have found your desired amount of heavy cream, add in the crab. Add as little or as much as you’d like, I used about 1/2 of a pound of Jumbo Lump Crab Meat. This crab meat is pricey as well. Consider buying a cheaper type of crab meat if needed. Mix the crab in with the sauce, then add your pasta. If you didn’t measure well (like me), then add it in small doses, so that you don’t run out of sauce. Now, mix in about half of the chopped chives. And, if your sauce is too thick, you should add the saved milk/water mixture (again, small doses) to reach the desired consistency.

Finally, Once all of the pasta and crab meat is combined with the sauce, add some more grated cheese (however much you like) to the top of the pasta. I chose to add a tiny drizzle of truffle oil here as well. Add the rest of the chopped chives. Then, put it in the oven to broil until the top starts to get little crispy brown spots.

That’s it! It seems daunting at first glance, but you will find that it is an easy recipe for a decadent, rich flavor. Needless to say, anyone you make this for would be impressed.

Good luck!

Emily