Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

I’ve come to realize that I tend to be most inspired by seasonal food, but not all of it. Winter and summer really get my creative juices flowing–rich, hearty braises or light, fruity, delicate sources of refreshment seem to come to mind without difficulty. Spring though gets me stuck in the mud. I’m not sure why–I don’t have access to the full range of produce, but I know its right around the corner. This dish is me trying to break out of that rut by enjoying some of the best of what spring has to offer.

Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and a Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

The foundation of this dish is wild mushroom agnolotti (think criminis, portabello, and cheese stuffed ravioli), tossed with butter sautéed asparagus, peas, and prosciutto, all topped with a goat cheese cream sauce to bring everyone together. The total combination was excellent and very “springy” (yay, just what I wanted). A forkful of everything yielded a complex set of flavors I would best describe… click to read more…

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Mexican Inspired Paella Verde

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love paella. This Spanish cousin-of-risotto leaves itself wide open to modification and reinterpretation, and so in keeping with my recent interest in Mexican flavors, I decided to focus this paella on a bunch of my favorite green Mexican produce, grabbing peppers, limes, avocados, and tomatillos before seeing where this took me.

Mexican Inspired Paella Verde

I was originally worried this dish would come out almost too green in color, but instead, the rich, chili flavored stock colored the rice with a fantastic brown/amber that made the other components of the paella really pop out visually (and when it comes to paella, appearance matters since you typically serve it straight from the pan).

Discussions about appearance aside, what about the flavor? The paella was delicious! It had a surprisingly full, earthy, nutty, solid foundational flavor brought by a rich chili-centric… click to read more…

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Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a Greek pasta dish that is both fun to say and a joy to eat. I had only first learned of the dish after reading about it from Peter, one of my favorite Greek food bloggers. The dish somewhat reminds me of lasagna in that it’s a hearty blend of pasta, meaty sauce, and a creamy Bechamel sauce all baked into gooey deliciousness. However, the flavor and texture is quite distinct from lasagna but still has all the amazing comfort food properties that will have you making this over and over again.

Pastitsio

The first major difference: tubular pasta instead of big sheets. I couldn’t find the authentic bucatini, so I used ziti. Then, the meat sauce isn’t a traditional bolognese, but a quicker-to-make tomato and… click to read more…

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Beef Short Ribs Marsala Pasta

This dish came out of an odd craving. I wanted something like chicken marsala, but a lot fuller and richer. I also wanted beef. After far too long an amount of time transpired before these two cravings merged into one, the idea for this dish was born. I took one of my favorite cuts of beef (shortribs), and prepared them with all of the marsala flavors I was craving, and turned it into a pasta dish.

Beef Short Ribs Marsala Pasta

This really nailed the craving for me: a hearty, stewy version of marsala. It tasted rich, earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet. The sauce was simple: a reduction of the liquid used to braise the beef in. As such, it was really full flavored: beefy and clearly marsala. The pasta was a great body for the dish and since I think nothing goes with mushrooms like beef, I tossed in some sautéed shitakes to go with it.… click to read more…

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Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup

Garlic isn’t one of those things that gets the spotlight very often, and there’s no good reason for it because it seems that just about everyone enjoys it (have you ever met someone who doesn’t just love garlic bread?). I mean granted, your breath won’t be making you any friends for a while after, but you’ll feel happier for having indulged in your garlic craving, right? Whatever the case, this soup is where one my favorite supporting flavors (its probably in almost every meal I prepare 😮 ) finally gets its time in the sun: roasted garlic chicken soup.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup

I really enjoyed this soup. It was simple in flavor, but surprisingly interesting. You might think you have garlic nailed down, but the soup showcases it in such a way that you really get to appreciate a fuller profile of garlic than you might otherwise. There’s a combination of lightly sautéed cloves of garlic as well as slowly roasted whole… click to read more…

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Lamb and Red Pepper Paella

If you’ve never had paella before, you’re probably thinking what’s the big deal, its just another rice dish (or maybe that was just me). Well firstly, rice is awesome. Secondly, paella, like risotto is in a league all its own in the rice-world. This Spanish dish is not just “stuff” mixed in with rice–this is a hearty, vibrant class of dishes very open to experimentation whether it be vegetables, seafood, or meat–and technique is important. Like risotto, while the mix-ins and other flavors are important, the texture and method of cooking the rice itself is also a big part of what makes it so unique. In this particular rendition, the focus is red peppers, lamb, and chickpeas.

Lamb and Red Pepper Paella

This paella was really tasty–very fresh, slightly sweet, and enticingly aromatic (yay for saffron). Plus, I love the mix of colors and how it looks great in that big paella… click to read more…

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