Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! We’re celebrating with the super Irish tradition of…pasta. Haven’t you ever heard of the pot of spaghetti at the end of the rainbow? The lucky four-leaf basil plant?
We’ve been using up some staple items this week. Half a box of pasta. Chopped frozen onions. Canned tomatoes. Freezer broth. Both pasta dishes we made this week were made from stuff we already had in the house and stuff we usually always have anyway. No special ingredients.
So all my friends can feel welcome to the pasta party we made one vegetarian pasta and one so NOT vegetarian pasta. Pasta should be inclusive.
The non-vegetarian pasta was inspired by a pasta from one of our favorite local spots, Indaco. This pasta is our take on one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had. It has a runny egg yolk on top, which upon being broken adds another layer of beautiful creaminess to an already bangin’ plate.
We made our own demi-glace from a combination of a recipe from Alfonso’s school, a few technique articles online, and finger crossage. I’ve added a link in the recipe below to another recipe for a good, classic demi glace. It is an involved process, so it’s nice to have a small reserve in the freezer for fancy-on-the-fly dinners. Traditionally the demi-glace is drizzled over meats. Not today!
Lemon Bacon Pasta with a Demi-Glace Cream Sauce
1/2 box of your favorite short pasta
1/4 cup homemade demi glace (here is an elaborate, but classic version)
1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
1/8 cup lemon juice, room temperature
1/2 package of bacon, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup parmesan reggiano cheese, grated
1.5 cups baby arugula
1 large organic egg yolk
salt and pepper
Boil water in a large pot. Add pasta and 1 T salt to water. Cook for 3 minutes less than package directions.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan to medium heat and add bacon. Sauté until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside. Drain all but 1 T of the bacon grease. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes until tender and slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the prepared demi glace and mix in. Add the heavy cream and mix in. Cook together for 1-2 minutes and then add the lemon juice, 3/4 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, 2/3 of the parmesan, and the cooked bacon. Let come together for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the pasta has 3 minutes left to cook add it directly to the warm sauce. Cook together over low heat until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. This should only take 2-3 more minutes.
Plate the pasta in a large, family style dish, layering a little pasta with a little arugula until you run out of both. Sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan and the lemon zest. Place the egg yolk carefully in the center. To eat, break the yolk and mix in. Salt and pepper to taste.
Life can’t all be pasta and cream sauces. You have to have a balance. All of the food groups.
- cream sauce
- sticky buns
What kind of people would we be if we just let you walk around out there thinking you needed kale and fiber and those kinds of things? So, we saved you with these sticky buns.
The recipe is basically the un-veganed version of Minimalist Baker’s Easy Cinnamon Rolls with walnuts and vanilla added. I used organic whole milk and organic butter, adding 1/2 t vanilla to the butter brushed on the inside and the walnuts over the sugar and cinnamon. My version also made 8, not 10, buns.
These were pretty easy to make, not very time consuming, and oh-so-delicious!
In part because I like to cook vegan/vegetarian from time to time and in part because we ran out of bacon, a super easy (but kind of snooty looking) vegetarian pasta was born.
It is creamy, which seems to be the theme, and flavorful. We highlighted the dried basil from last year’s summer basil harvest and it did not disappoint.
Creamy Tomato Basil Birds’ Nests
1/3 box of spaghetti
1/2 large onion, small diced
2 garlic cloves
1 t flour
1 can diced tomatoes
1.5 t dried basil, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 t dried oregano
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano cheese, divided
Boil a large pot of water and add the pasta and 1 T salt. Cook 4 minutes less than package cooking time.
Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil over almost medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until tender and slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 20 seconds to a minute more. Add the can of tomatoes with the juices. Use the juices to scrape up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan and mix well. Add the basil, oregano, 3/4 t salt, and heavy cream. Mix together and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes.
When the pasta is 4 minutes from being done add it straight to the sauce (drain first). Let the pasta and sauce cook together for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is thick and the pasta is done. Add in 1/4 cup parmesan and mix.
Using a large serving spoon and a large fork twirl the pasta in the spoon to make little nests. Carefully place the nests on a serving platter or serve them individually on dinner plates. Sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan and more dried basil.
What are you doing for St. Patrick’s Day? Are you as festive as we aren’t?
Hold on to your hats because this weekend I’m making my very first pie! Maybe it’s weird that of all the things we’ve attempted, pie has never been one of them. Pastry has always kind of scared me off, but after making the sticky buns, I’m up for the challenge. Follow us on Instagram (@thecastejons) to see either my triumphant victory or crushing defeat.