Israeli couscous may be Israeli, but it’s definitely not couscous. Couscous is ground semolina (crucially without being mixed with either egg or water) rubbed together with wet hands until tiny granules form and are then dried. Israeli couscous, on the other hand, is tiny balls (about the size of larger peppercorns) of true pasta made from both wheat flour and semolina then toasted.
Carbonara is such a quick supper. It is rich and creamy (without any cream), thanks to the egg yolks and mountains of cheese. Artichokes bring a slight citrus flavor that balances the richness of the sauce.
If you cook for others on a regular cadence, you’ll discover that not all the meals will be beautifully planned. Sometimes one thing leads to another and you forget to shop, or you forget that you need wood or propane or time to brine the meat. Sometimes you run out of time. Sometimes you run out of energy. Sometimes you just want to cook something simple and eat, toast one another, wash everything up, and take a long walk with the dog.
Shrimp spaghetti is to bayou kids what spaghetti and meatballs is to kids in the rest of the United States. This was my son Lucien’s favorite meal, which he would eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a near perfect meal—simple, sweet, perfectly balanced—and it’ll feed a big family or a crowd of friends. The recipe draws from the Creole cooking technique of smothering tomatoes long and slow. This version is made with store-bought sauce, but you can certainly make your own tomato sauce and cook it down in the same manner. Homemade tomato sauce tends to be thinner, so you might have to thicken it a bit with tomato paste to get the right consistency.
This Sicilian-inspired pesto is quick to prepare, refreshing, and delicious, and can also be eaten cold, so leftovers are perfect for your lunchbox the next day. It makes a delicious topping for crostini, too, so it’s worth making plenty. You can store it in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze to use at another time.
My mom made this during Thanksgiving on year and upon tasting it, we knew we had to have it every year for the rest of our lives. My family and I absolutely love Thanksgiving. I think it was because it was the only day of the year (aside from Christmas Eve) that my parents were forced to close the restaurant early. We embraced this tradition, making every Thanksgiving meal traditional with dishes like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. This green spaghetti (and our black bean puree) was how we made Thanksgiving our own, beginning a new tradition for our family that blended both cultures. I really hope it becomes one of yours, too.
I grew up in a fishing community in Brooklyn with a large Italian American population, so you can bet. I know my way around a shrimp scampi. It’s got to be garlicky and lemony and fresh and absolutely gorgeous, too! “Scampi” isn’t just a cute word, it’s a crustacean, and shrimp is actually a substitute for scampi. Thus, shrooms replacing shrimp makes total sense! Especially when they’re oyster mushrooms, which have a seafood-like quality. White beans add a li le heartiness, making this the sort of pasta dish I would have no reservations serving to a few Sheepshead Bay fishermen. Beyond being a vehicle to prove that I can cook for fishermen, this dish is also wonderful for new cooks looking to try out some very easy methods that yield big favors. Sautéing mushrooms releases their savory juices. You also reduce wine with lots of garlic, a method you will use again and again for a depth of flavor that tastes like you’ve been cooking all day. But, tee-hee, it’s only been like 30 minutes. Definitely serve this to company!
There are as many lasagna recipes as there are cooks in Italy, yet, with so much variation, there is one regional tradition that stands out among all the others: Bologna’s lasagna. It is the lasagna that all others aspire (and fail) to be. This particular incarnation of Italy’s famous recipe features sheets of spinach pasta layered with meat ragù and béchamel.
There’s nothing quite like this combo on a summer Pasta Night. Ricotta, basil, corn, and summer squash varieties. It’s good warm, but it’s really, really good at room temperature, when all the flavors have a chance to meld. So tonight’s a night when it’s okay if dinner gets cold—pour a glass of crisp rosé, set the table outside, and let everyone leisurely make their way to dinner.