Tag Archives: Capers

{ Lemon Caper Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes }

One of the most difficult aspects of planning a meal, aside from getting all the groceries together, is deciding what the heck your actually going to make! As is true of most hardcore foodies, I’m no basic meat and potatoes girl. I love elaborate side dishes and I practically live for condiments–the more, the merrier! So after I choose a protein to cook, I usually find myself flipping through the section labeled “side dishes” in my recipe binder (aka my bible), searching for the perfect partner(s) for my main dish. The standard garlic mashed potatoes and roasted veggies just haven’t been tickling my fancy as of lately, and tonight I wanted something different. So I turned to the end all be all recipe collection, the direct source itself, the food network.

After a great deal of searching, I resolved to try making this lemon, garlic, caper pasta created by Giada de Laurentis. My main dish was a simple herb grilled chicken breast (although my mom also paired it with a nice filet of salmon), and it complimented both dishes beautifully. There are very few ingredients used in making the pasta, so the tremendous flavor comes as quite a surprise, but it was more than welcomed by my plate tonight.

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
{ To Make the PastaBring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
Just before serving, add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine.

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{ Pasta Puttanesca }

Pasta Puttanesca with Grated Parmesan Cheese

After having dinner at La Stalla (read post below), I met up with my girlfriend Jennifer to go out and celebrate St. Patty’s Day in the typical fashion of chugging Irish Car Bombs and drinking pints of green beer! And since Jen and I are always looking for an excuse to dress up themed (cowboy hats to country concerts, Santa hats at Christmas time, ect…), we used St. Patty’s Day as an excuse to rob party city of everything green and sparkly. In major cities, where there are large celebrations for St. Patty’s Day, girls decked out in green apparel like this are the norm. However, we found out that in small rural towns (such as the one we live in), people are not as crazed about drinking holidays and don’t feel the need to get dressed up…at all. I didn’t even see people wearing green tee shirts! That being said, you can imagine just how much Jen and I stuck out in the crowd with our glitter green top hats! We got dirty looks from girls who wanted the attention, and free drinks from the boys giving us the attention. Long story short, our St. Patty’s Day shot glass necklaces were rarely hanging from our necks and certainly put to use, and we ended up requiring a ride home (top-of-the-morning to you dad!) after just two short hours at the bar.

Once we got home, I went scavenging for food and was bitterly disappointed that I had no leftover Puttanesca from dinner. Nothing other than more Puttanesca was going to satisfy drunk-food craving and so I set about to make my own from scratch (much to my mother’s dismay when she say the stove in the morning, with dried linguini caked onto the burners). I make this Puttanesca dish pretty frequently, because it is super easy and relatively inexpensive.

Puttanesca means “food of the whores” in Italian, because it was a staple dish among the poor made with cheap ingredients commonly stocked in the pantry. I choose to make my Puttanesca without anchovies, although they are commonly used in traditional Puttanesca dishes and can be added to my recipe. Tonight, I modified by recipe slightly by adding mushrooms and substituting arugala with baby spinach based on what I had available in my house. The dish turned out incredible, and certainly hit the spot.

If you want a little bit of protein, feel free to add some sliced chicken breast over top the dish! Otherwise, serve hot with Pecorino cheese and enjoy.

{ Ingredients }

  • 8 ounces linguini pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup pitted Spanish kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like spice)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh arugala (or baby spinach)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

{ To Make the PastaBring a large pot of water to a boil, and add 2 tablespoons salt. Add pasta and cook according to directions on package.

While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the parsley, olives, capers, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes to skillet and sautee for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juices and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in arugala (or baby spinach) and simmer for 1 minute more, until the greens wilt slightly.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the skillet, combining with sauce. Top with grated cheese and additional red pepper flakes for spice.

**Tip: Do not rinse the pasta after draining it because the sauce does not stick as well to the noodle. The starch is necessary and binding so do not rinse it off.

Tossing the Linguini in with the Puttanesca Sauce

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{ Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccine }

Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccine with Parmesan and Basil

(Adapted from Giada De Laurentis)

All week my mother has been pestering me to cook dinner for the family. She knows how often I cook for my boyfriend in Miami, and she gets jealous that I don’t cook as often here at home. Whatshe doesn’t seem to realize is that she is the reason I don’t cook at home. Why should I have any motivation to make a meal when she makes some of the most incredible food that I have ever tasted? If she was serving up Kraft Mac&Cheese every night, I might be more inclined to offer up my culinary services. But when her idea of a Greek dinner includes Kafta, tabouli, hummus, tahini sauce, cucumber salad, tzatziki, and fresh pita all made from scratch…well, I just step aside and play taste tester. However, tonight I was in the mood to cook and so I decided to make one of my favorite pasta dishes, which is Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccini. I got the original recipe from Giada De Laurentis, but I made many of my own modifications to simplify the recipe without compromising the flavor (the recipe below is my version). This dish is incredible and tastes even better on the second day, so if you are making it for company then I would make it the night before. It is very similar in flavor to a chicken cacciatore, but without all the time and work. I don’t like working with chicken on the bone so I used chicken breasts in my version, but for extra flavor you could use a couple of chicken thighs, as the original recipe calls for. If you are eating this the same day that you make it, one of my favorite aspects of this meal is that it is so quick yet tastes like it has been cooking for hours. Everyone can’t help but love this dish, so definitely try it….it’s one of my all time favorites.

Ingredients }

  • 1 ¼ pound chicken (I use chicken breasts)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons capers

{ To Make the PastaSeason the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is ot, cook the chicken until golden on both sides; about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the prosciutto and the peppers and cook until the prosciutto is crisp and the peppers browned (about 5 minutes). Then add the garlic and continue to cook for an additional minute, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the wine, and herbs, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Shred the chicken using two forks, and return the shredded chicken to the pan. Then add the chicken stock and capers and bring mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over fettuccini pasta and sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

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