Pasta with Clams & Sausage

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On Instagram a few weeks back, The Kitchn announced that they were creating a virtual cookbook club (ie: a book club, but with cookbooks…). I got really excited! I love cookbooks, trying new recipes, and getting inspired from different sources, but honestly sometimes I’m a little lazy about it. Frankly, a lot of times it’s easier to browse Pinterest or google “what should I make for dinner tonight?” I always am telling myself that I need to use my cookbooks more and trying to reign myself in from buying all the beautiful new ones. So, I joined The Kitchn Cookbook Club and have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of the first selection. And finally it arrived!

The first book selected was Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. I was excited, like most of the group – Salt Fat Acid Heat has become a little bit of a cultural phenomenon. Ms. Nosrat now has a Netflix show, a column in the NYT magazine, and obviously a very popular book! This cookbook is less of a cookbook than most. It’s mostly an educational manual of food science with recipes and some general guidelines. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book – I learned a lot about some of the science of cooking! Honestly, I need to reread some of it to get these principles ingrained in my head even better. Now for my unpopular opinion – I found it a little disappointing as a cookbook. And really, she’s not going for traditional cookbook here so maybe that’s the point. But I was hoping for a bit more in terms of recipes. None the less, I really enjoyed the recipe I selected and had fun making it!

{Side note: if you’re interested in participating in the cookbook club, you can either request to join the FB group “Kitchn’s Cookbook Club,” or use/follow the hashtag #kitchncookbookclub on Instagram.}

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I love clams and have always loved traditional spaghetti alle vongole! My favorite part of the recipe section of the book is the fact that she shares variations of many of the recipes – the addition of the sausage was a variation that sounded excellent to me! I made a handful of adjustments, based on our tastes and my laziness (only cooking the clams one way instead of two). Most dramatically, I made homemade pasta, which was delicious in this recipe, but definitely makes it more of a two person endeavor and adds to your cooking time. [If you don’t want to make your own pasta with this recipe – skip all of the pasta-making steps, cook it in boiling water until just less than al dente, and then add it to the sauce as below.] I also added the lemon zest and omitted the lemon juice, added a little Aleppo pepper, and cooked the sausage in a separate pan. I was concerned that the sausage would release too much fat if I kept it in the main pot, but it probably would have been fine in retrospect. I really loved this dish! It has a great briny flavor without being too salty! I think I did a good job with all of the elements and can definitely see why she uses this recipe in the book about salt, fat, acid, and heat! They were all in beautiful harmony here!

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Pasta with Clams & Sausage

(Adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat)
Ingredients: 
  • Pasta
    • 2 cups AP flour
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Clams & Sausage
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced & reserving the root ends
    • 1 bunch parsley (3 whole sprigs & 1/4 cup finely chopped)
    • 4 lb littleneck clams
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 1/2 lb ground spicy Italian sausage
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
    • 1 lemon, zested
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 2oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
    • Salt & pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Prepare the pasta: on a clean, dry counter-top or in a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt and form it into a volcano (a mound with a crater scooped out in the middle). Crack the eggs into that center well/crater.
  2. Using a fork, slowly mix the egg into the flour. Try to keep the eggs within the crater, pulling in more and more flour. (If you fail, don’t worry, life will go on.) Once the egg is mixed into the flour enough that it’s not trying to run away anymore, switch to use your hands. Fold together until well combined. Now add the olive oil.
  3. Continue kneading the dough, stretching and folding, for at least 5 and up to 10 minutes. By this point, the dough should be smoother and elastic, so that you can form into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, and up to two hours.
  4. Once the dough has set, roll out and divide into quarters. Using the pasta roller attachment on the stand mixer, flatten out (to #5 if using KitchenAid’s model). Let the flattened dough rest on a floured surface.
  5. Cut into spaghetti (or linguine or whatever pasta shape you desire). [Follow your particular pasta roller/cutter’s instructions for doing these things.] Tip: keep your hands and the surface of the dough lightly floured during this process.
  6. Now get to work on the clams/sausage/sauce. In one pan, cook the sausage until cooked through. Then remove to the side and drain of excess oil.
  7. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat in another large pan. Add the root ends of the onion, 3 sprigs of parsley, and one layer of clams. Pour in the white wine and cover. Steam for 3-4 minutes, until clams open.
  8. Remove the clams to the side with tongs or a slotted spoon and repeat until all of the clams are cooked. Discard any clams that do not open.
  9. Strain cooking liquid and set aside. Once the clams are cool enough to handle, remove from shells and coarsely chop. Place the chopped clams into the cooking liquid.
  10. Now, generously salt and bring another pot of water to a boil.
  11. Rinse the pan, then heat another 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion, a pinch of salt, and several turns of fresh ground black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Follow this with the garlic and pepper flakes. Cook for just another 2 minutes.
  12. Now return the chopped clams and liquid to the pan, along with the lemon zest and sausage. Allow to cook together for 5 minutes over medium heat and then taste.
  13. Once the pot of water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for only 1-2 minutes. After this time, move the noodles into the pan with the clams, sausage, and liquid. (Reserve the pasta water.) Allow the noodles to continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring to coat the noodles with the liquid and spread out the. Add additional pasta water if needed to keep it nice and juicy.
  14. Taste and adjust for salt, acid, and spiciness as desired. Add butter and Parmesan cheese, stir them to melt and coat the pasta.
  15. Serve topped with chopped parsley and more Parmesan if desired.
Serves 4-6

Lemony Chicken & Orzo

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After I typed up the recipe portion of this recipe, I looked up at our most recent posts and apparently we’re going a little overboard with the lemon (Lemon Blueberry Muffins, Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake)! So sorry, but we’re featuring lemons again tonight. This is one of those recipes that got passed around because it’s just so good! My sister saw it on Half Baked Harvest and made it for my parents earlier this summer. My mom thought it was so good (and easy!) that she decided to make it for us in the week or so after we came home with the baby. We loved it too and now I have to add it to my repertoire (and share it on here…)

It’s a great dish that feels a little fancier than what we normally have on weeknights, but really isn’t that much work! It uses one pot and takes maybe 30 or 40 minutes to completely come together. And your protein, starch, and vegetable are all right there in the one pot! Win, win, win!

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Lemony Chicken & Orzo

(Adapted from the always delicious Half Baked Harvest)
Ingredients: 
  • 2+ tbsp neutral oil
  • 4 (bone-in, skin-on) chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bunch kale, destemmed & roughly torn
  • 2 lemons (1 zested & juiced, 1 sliced)
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or another stove & oven – safe dish over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the chicken thighs, starting with the skin-side, for ~5 minutes on each side. Then remove the chicken to the side.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium. [If there isn’t enough oil/chicken grease, add another tbsp. We had plenty!] Add the garlic and orzo and cook, tossing frequently, for just 2-3 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Follow this with the chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, and kale. You might have to add the kale in batches, pushing them into the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  5. Return the chicken to the pan. Nestle them into the liquid with the skin exposed and top with lemon slices. Place in the oven and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with an additional sprinkle of salt if desired.
Serves 4

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Happy Labor Day Weekend! The unofficial end of summer has arrived. You’d be hard-pressed to know that here though, given that it’s going to be sunny and in the upper 80s. We’re spending our weekend at “The Land” as we call it – in rural Amherst County. While we still have the last remnants of summer with us, here are some bright, summery muffins with summer favorite blueberries. These muffins come together pretty easily and are juicy and tart, not overly sweet. The perfect thing to have available for snacking over a long weekend!


Lemon Blueberry Muffins

(Adapted from here!)
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large lemon (zested & juiced)
  • 6oz fresh blueberries
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the first four dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, as the mixer is running. Mix until well-combined.
  5. Gently stir the blueberries in by hand.
  6. Spoon into lined muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to sit until cool enough to handle.
Makes 12 muffins

Pork Tenderloin with Honey-Goat Cheese Sauce

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I love this blog. I love that we’ve kept up with it for a few years now. I love that I can look back on some of the fun dishes we’ve made and especially that I have a record to refer to when I want to remake a recipe. What I don’t love? Actually writing these posts. I feel like I don’t have all that much to say. And that I frequently say the same thing over and over! (“This dish is amazing!” 🙄🙄) But even though the blog is more for us as a culinary diary than for anyone else, I still feel like I have to say something each time, instead of just posting the recipe. Oh well – we can’t all be brilliant and insightful all the time!

This dish came together quickly and easily. Definitely do-able on a weeknight. I may or may not have set off the smoke detector while searing the pork, despite having the vent hood on high, but otherwise it took me less than a half hour from prep to serving. One tip: keep the goat cheese sauce warm and stir frequently until serving. When goat cheese sauces like this start to cool, they get a little gritty. Still tastes good, but the texture is less desirable. Speaking of tastes good… For some reason I always want a sweet and savory combo when eating pork like this. Just me? This fits the bill, as does pretty much every other pork recipe we’ve shared here (see: Maple & Mustard Pork with ShallotsPork Tenderloin with Fig ChutneyBraised Balsamic Pork with Grapes).

 
Pork Tenderloin with Honey-Goat Cheese Sauce

(Sauce adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
Ingredients:
  • ~1lb pork tenderloin
  • Salt & pepper
  • 6oz goat cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Season all sides of the tenderloin with salt and pepper. Sear all sides in a cast iron skillet over high heat for just 1-2 minutes on each side.
  2. Once the tenderloin is seared, move it in the skillet to the hot oven for ~15 minutes. (You want an internal temperature of 145 degrees, at minimum.)
  3. Whisk together the remaining ingredients (or combine in food processor). Heat in a small saucepan over low heat while the pork is cooking.
  4. Allow the pork to rest for ~5 minutes before slicing. (If you prefer pork on the medium-rare side, remove it at an internal temp of 135-140, since it will cook a little more while resting.) Serve with sauce on top!
Serves 3-4

Dill & Goat Cheese Risotto

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I’ve had this idea for a risotto with dill and goat cheese to yield a dish with a rich and creamy texture like a normal risotto, but with a tangy, less heavy flavor. This is one of the best things about risotto in my opinion – it’s one of those kitchen sink dishes that can be modified in pretty much any way. A blank canvas! We’ve gone several different ways with risotto on the blog before – Risotto Recipes! This is the most in depth dish I’ve made since the baby was born. Baby-wearing is life-saving, let me tell you! Makes chopping a little awkward, but we’re getting it done! I personally think this recipe is better as a side dish than an entree. The flavors are pretty bold to eat a heaping serving and there’s also the lack of vegetables or protein in the dish. Side note, the color of my risotto is due to the richly colored vegetable stock that we use, not an additional secret ingredient it looks like we might have left off the ingredient list.

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Dill & Goat Cheese Risotto

Ingredients: 
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4+ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 6oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Place 2 tbsp butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions to the pan. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and a few turns of black pepper. Stir to coat in the butter and then cover and sweat for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the lid and add the garlic. Cook another 6-8 minutes. Garlic and onions should be soft and fragrant.
  3. Pour the arborio rice in with the onions and garlic. Toast for just 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally so the rice doesn’t burn.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the stock. You can either keep the stock in a small pot on low on an adjacent burner or microwave it.
  5. Now add the wine. Lower heat of the burner to medium-low
  6. . Cook stirring almost continuously, until all of the wine has been absorbed by the rice.
  7. Now add the warm stock, one ladle-full at a time. Continue stirring until all the stock is absorbed. Repeat this pattern until the rice is softened, but still slightly al dente. [This will take at least 30-45 minutes.]
  8. Add the goat cheese and stir in thoroughly.
  9. Continue adding ladles of stock until rice is fully cooked. With the last ladle-full, add the dill and remaining tablespoon of butter. Remove from heat and stir until well-combined.
  10. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.
Serves 6-8.

Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake

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Today marks my first full week of being home with the baby on maternity leave alone and Selim’s first week being back at work. I’m learning that neither is easy. Selim has to get up early, after having frequently interrupted sleep all night, go to work all day, and be separated from this little baby he loves so much. Me, I don’t have to do most of those things, but my life completely revolves around this little 8 pound dictator. We’re lucky though – from what we understand, she’s a really good baby. (Of course, we think she’s the best baby in the entire world…!)

But I wanted to celebrate our first week back at work/home alone and have been thinking about making this cake all week. We have some lovely summer blueberries and several lemons that have been staring at me from our kitchen all week. I got this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Seasons & Suppers (as I’ve mentioned several other times on here… Other recipes of hers that we’ve tried & shared here: Prosciutto & Basil Topped Lemon Ricotta Pappardelle & Maple & Mustard Pork with Shallots). Every recipe from this blog looks amazing, partially due to her gorgeous photography, and every single one I’ve been has turned out wonderfully! The original recipe is just for lemon cake; I added the blueberries after thinking about the combination of lemon and blueberry for the past week. Most of the blueberries sunk to the bottom while baking, making this feel like halfway between a crumble and a cake at the end. It’s moist and flavorful; definitely a keeper even if it doesn’t exactly look like a cake in the end! Also, don’t be alarmed when your pour the liquid “sauce” over the cake batter at the end. It seems like a lot of liquid and maybe a bad idea and maybe you misread the recipe – don’t worry!

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Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake

(Adapted from Seasons & Suppers)
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter + extra
  • 1 cup sugar (divided)
  • 2 lemons, juiced (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 {heaping} cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Hot water
  • Powdered sugar
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet (or a similarly-sized baking dish) with some extra butter.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Once combined, add in the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the 2 eggs together, then add them to the mixture. Follow this with the vanilla and milk.
  4. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this into the mixture. Once combined, gently stir the blueberries in by hand.
  5. Now, spoon the batter into the greased skillet and spread out evenly.
  6. In another bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the cornstarch. Place the remaining juice from the other 1 1/2 lemons in a measuring cup. Additionally, fill to the 1 1/4 cup mark with hot water. Whisk this in with the sugar and cornstarch mixture.
  7. Once combined, gently pour over top of the batter and immediately place in the oven.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar prior to serving.

Lamb Meatballs with Minty Pesto

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Here’s our first guest chef post courtesy of Ally’s mom! How this hasn’t happened before is mind-boggling because she is an amazing cook. Ally was super lucky to grow up with a mom who made homemade dinner essentially every night of the week. As a typical ungrateful teenager, Ally used to not appreciate this as much as she does now, instead being jealous of her friends who got to order pizza for dinner. But we definitely appreciate it now! Ally’s mom has a repertoire of her classic dinners that they ate growing up, that her kids salivate over now. But she also has started experimenting and trying new recipes, now that she doesn’t have four whiny kids to cook for every night.

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Last night we were definitely the grateful beneficiaries of one of her new attempts. Hopefully it becomes a family classic because it was so delicious! The recipe originates with Bon Appetit magazine; she made very slight changes to that recipe. The meatballs are flavorful and juicy, and the pesto is an interesting change, with the minty flavor and a sharp bite of garlic. This dinner is also a nice option for a dinner party as it can be scaled up easily, it can be pre-assembled up until the point of rolling out and baking the meatballs, and it looks pretty!

Lamb Meatballs with Minty Pesto

(Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine)
Ingredients: 
  • Meatballs
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 lb ground lamb
  • Pesto
    • 1 cup fresh parsley
    • 1 cup fresh mint
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 3 tbsp raisins
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Greek yogurt for serving
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk the egg together with all of the other meatball ingredients, except the lamb. Once combined, work the lamb in with your hands.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Blitz until herbs are finely chopped and the sauce is well-combined. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
  4. Using your hands, roll the meat into golf-ball-sized meatballs. [This should yield ~20 small meatballs.] Place the meatballs on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until browned.
  6. Serve meatballs with pesto and a dollop of greek yogurt. Rice or couscous is a nice side to go with these meatballs.
Serves 3-4