Tourist Tuesday: Rome

DSCN2678I don’t know how to start this post other than to gush. I love Rome. Being there makes me so happy. Yesterday was Ryan and my two-year wedding anniversary and we celebrated with a long weekend in Rome. It was wonderful. Yes, the traditional gift for this anniversary is cotton (in Rome he got a sweatshirt and I got a tea towel), but I think maybe the second year anniversary gift should be pizza and gelato instead.

Part of the reason I love Rome is that I studied abroad there seven years ago during my junior year. Living in Rome was the first time I was away from home for so long and the first time I lived in a city. I ate so much pizza, pasta, and gelato. My roommates and I also cooked dinner together almost every night and befriended the local shop owners. We’d buy the fresh pesto and the guys in the store would give us free chocolate. My roommate Inga became one of my best friends, and with our upstairs neighbors Charlie and Michelle, we tore up the city. Continue reading

The Return of Chocolate Pasta

DSCN1422So I decided to try chocolate pasta again. If you’re unfamiliar with my horrendous first experience with chocolate pasta, read about it here.

What’s changed since last time? I had a recipe. I found it in my cookbook Melt by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord. I decided I’d trust them and their recipe because I loved their chorizo macaroni and cheese. Last time I didn’t have a recipe and I was just winging it. But this time, maybe things would be different. Maybe the flavor combinations would be delicious. Maybe the pasta would redeem itself and not taste so nasty. Maybe I could eat a whole bowl.

And I did eat the whole bowl! And it was pretty good! Continue reading

Soup au Pistou

DSCN0394For Three Kings Day one of my presents was a DVD with six episodes of Julia Child’s TV show the French Chef. I was very excited because although I’ve read about her, seen clips and SNL skits, visited her kitchen at the Smithsonian, and watched Julie and Julia, I had never actually seen her cook. The DVD is in black and white so it’s hard to excited about how the food looks, but she is just lovely. She was the perfect balance between authoritative (where I trust her) and casual (where I feel like I can do it too). Continue reading

Pasta Taste Test

photo 1 (3)Making spaghetti was one of the first meals I made when I started cooking for myself in college. And I don’t think I’m alone. I bet spaghetti is one of the first things a lot of people learn to cook. It’s so easy to make a tasty end product, that I rarely thought about if there was a best way to do it. Sometimes I salt the pasta, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I let it come to a rolling boil and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I stir a lot, and sometimes I don’t. Continue reading

Baked Rigatoni

photo 5If your Thanksgiving was anything like mine, you might still be feeling stuffed even a few days later. Ryan and I had three Thanksgiving dinners: one with my college friends, one with my family, and one with his family. On Thanksgiving day during dinner with my family, I told them baked rigatoni was my next intended blog post, but then after all the eating I felt wary. Would anyone be interested in such a hearty dish right after Thanksgiving?

But I thought about it and said, why not?! Let’s lean into the holiday season of hearty foods, decadent meals, and rich desserts. Now, don’t get crazy and give up your exercise routine, but let’s wait until January 2nd to worry about our meals. So here’s a great meal that will make you feel cozy on a cold day, that’s great to serve to holiday house guests, and will provide you with workday lunches you’ll eagerly gobble up. Continue reading

Chocolate Pasta – A Horrible Disappointment

image (12)A while ago I asked for suggestions for what to do with chocolate pasta. I got a lot of great suggestions, and surprisingly most of them were savory options. I also did a lot of research and came up with one or two other ideas. The idea that stuck was to make a straightforward savory dish. A few people suggested bacon, oil, and crushed red pepper – so that’s what I decided to go with. It seemed simple enough and all of those things make pasta taste so amazing.

Last Saturday I was hanging out with my friends, Mala and Anna, and we decided to try out the chocolate pasta. I’m lucky to have very adventurous friends – although maybe now they’ll be more wary of my cooking. We decided to try the pasta, sans bacon, since I didn’t have any. We were going to go basic: oil, crushed red pepper, maybe a little Parmesan. Continue reading

Pici Pasta, Tomato Sauce, and Salad

It’s been a tough week in my kitchen. I made a couple of dishes I was really excited about and they both came out…fineThey were edible and tasted all right, but neither were blog-worthy. I tried out a carrot sambal salad I had eaten at Whole Foods. It came out both crunchy and soupy. It has the consistency of coleslaw, which I really don’t like. But, I should’ve known it wouldn’t be that good when the recipe called for “1/4 rice wine vinegar.” One quarter of what?! A teaspoon? A cup? A bottle?

And then I tried a roasted acorn squash stuffed with rice and lentils. It came out under cooked and under seasoned. That was probably a recipe that with a little tweaking I could get right, but I was still disappointed. Continue reading