July 2015

Fregula sarda with butter beans and mushrooms

My Own Personal ‘Chopped’

I recently signed up for one of those grocery subscription boxes—you know, the service that mails you perfectly portioned ingredients and the recipes to cook 3 meals per week. It’s a luxury for sure when one plastic-wrapped garlic clove and the smallest bottle of olive oil you’ve ever seen arrive on your doorstep every week. I justified the cost of the service as a trial to be inspired by ingredients and dishes I wouldn’t otherwise spend money on at the grocery store or at a restaurant to try. I opted into the vegetarian subscription service—not because I’m vegetarian—but because I entertain a few vegetarian friends, and in my own attempt to eat a little less meat, I wanted to explore some heartier, non-meat sources of protein. It’s been a few months now, and so far, so good! I’ve discovered I actually like mushrooms and tofu (gasp!), and there are a TON of high-protein grains I never knew about, which is a huge relief for my pasta addiction, like bulgar, red quinoa, and fregula sarda (see below). However, I usually deviate from the recipes that the service provides and make my own creations, often adding other ingredients I already have on hand and subtracting some of the ingredients that don’t fit with the flavors I’m going for. So last week, I ended up with a few odds and ends that haven’t made it into any of my dishes. Wondering what to do with these mismatched ingredients, it dawned on me: wait, this looks familiar… it’s Chopped! This long-winded story was my way of sharing the inspiration behind this “whatever’s on hand” dish that turned out surprisingly wonderful! Nutty pasta, earthy mushrooms, both buttery and crispy beans, and a touch of lemon juice and grated cheese bring it all together into a light dinner or a savory side dish. I hope this recipe inspires you to star in your own personal episode of Chopped!

Fregula Sarda with Mushrooms and Butter Beans

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Spaghetti carbonara

“Bacon, Egg & Cheese” Pasta

Few things marry as well as bacon, egg, and cheese. In Italian, carbonara describes any sauce made with egg, cheese, pepper, and some kind of cured meat, whether it be bacon, Pancetta, or ham. For this recipe, we’re using Pancetta, an Italian cured pork belly that tastes very similar to your typical bacon. It’s a super simple, easy recipe that packs a powerful punch of flavor and comfort—the warm, cheesy saucy kind. This is definitely the type of pasta you indulge in sparingly, but when you do, savor every bite.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Pancetta

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