Camembert Mac & Cheese with Zoodles

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Comfort food season has started, so a Mac & Cheese recipe was in order. I’ve been eating a lot of camembert lately and this time I added it to this pasta dish. I love the creaminess it gives. I also added zoodles to have some extra texture and add a bit of veggies.

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This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 zucchini, julienned without using the core

2 medium white onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of flour

800ml of milk

250grs of camembert, without the rinds

100gr of Gouda, shredded

300gr of the short pasta of your choice

10 sprigs of thyme

Salt

Pepper

For the crumb mixture:

½ cup of Parmesan

½ cup of breadcrumbs

5 sprigs of thyme

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the zoodles, I just used a mandoline with the julienne attachment. I stopped when I got to the core. You can also make them with a spiralizer or a potato peeler. If you use a potato peeler, just slice it into ribbons and then using a knife, cut it into julienne. Set aside.

In a large pot, add the olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes, until they become translucent. Then add the garlic and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and keep stiring for about 3 minutes. Then add the milk and stir for about 15 minutes until it thickens.

In the meanwhile cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Mix all of the ingredients for the crumb mixture in a bowl. Set aside.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the cheeses and whisk to incorporate them into the sauce. Once the cheeses have melted, add the thyme, salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta and zoodles to the sauce. Mix until they are evenly coated.

Grease an oven dish. Pour the pasta with the sauce in the oven dish. Evenly spread the crumb mixture over the top. Broil until it gets golden on top.

Serve right away.

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Summer Squash Pasta with Anchovy, Lime & Chili Pesto

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This is a super easy and zesty summer pasta dish. It’s great for those days where you don’t feel like spending too much time in the kitchen. We went shopping this morning, then ran some errands and after that, we went the park to enjoy the sun. By the time we came home, we were hungry for some carbs. Especially since we live in Amsterdam, we do everything by bike. I had planned to make a light salad for dinner but that wasn’t going to cut it tonight. So this pasta was it.

I love the combination of the anchovy, lime and chili. I could just eat this pesto with a spoon. Because of the pine nuts and anchovy, it doesn’t have the prettiest color but it is so tasty.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the pesto:

Zest of 2 limes

75gr of pine nuts, toasted

6 anchovy fillets

½ red chili, chopped (or more if you like it spicy)

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons of olive oil

For the rest:

1 yellow squash, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 purple carrot, diced (optional)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Dried chili flakes

Juice of 1 lime

250gr of fresh pasta, i used spaghetti

 

Dice the yellow squash, zucchini and purple carrot about the same size. I didn’t use the core of the squash just for presentation purposes, but you can just use the whole vegetable.

To make the pesto, just place all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste, it doesn’t have to be completely smooth. Set aside.

Cook the pasta as instructed in the package.

Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the garlic and carrot. Cook for 1 minute. Then add the yellow squash and zucchini. Add salt, pepper and some chili flakes. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Add the anchovy pesto and stir. Finally add the pasta and the juice of 1 lime. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve right away. I like to sprinkle extra chili flakes over each plate of pasta.

 

 

Spaghetti Alle Vongole

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This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and an Italian classic. I hardly ever order it at a restaurant just because it takes no effort to make at home. It is prepared in about 15 minutes. By the time the pasta is cooked, the vongole is ready and you just have to combine it all.

As cravings go with me, most of the times they don’t disappear like they do for my hubby. They keep hunting me until I satisfy them. A couple of years ago, we were in Italy on holiday. On our last dinner there, I saw this dish on the menu and all of the sudden I had to have it. Unluckily for me, they were sold out! As soon as we were back home, I went to get some vongole and made the dish at home.

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I’ve been craving vongole lately so I have made this dish 3 times in the past month. If you are not familiar with cooking vongole, make sure that the shells are not open when you buy it. You’ll discard of the ones that are open, so you want to get your money’s worth. I like to squeeze some lemon juice in the end, even though it is traditionally not added. I made it last on a Saturday in which after running errands all day, I didn’t feel like spending much time cooking. It was gone in less than 5 minutes. Yes, I eat very fast!

This recipe serves 2.

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Ingredients:

500gr of Vongole

2 cloves of garlic, minced

14 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

½ bunch of parsley, chopped

250ml white wine

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

260gr of spaghetti

Chili flakes to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lemon (optional)

 

Rinse the vongole under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

Mince the garlic, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and chop the parsley.

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large pan with a lid. Over medium heat, add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the vongole and the white wine. Cover with the lid and let it cook till the vongole start to open, about 4 minutes. Stir. Discard of any that haven’t opened. Turn the heat off.

By this time the pasta should already be done. Add the drained pasta to the pan with the vongole. Add salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste. Then add the lemon juice and parsley. Stir until everything is combined. Serve right away.

 

Farfalle Aglio e Olio with Charred Cauliflower & Breadcrumbs

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I’ve been craving a lot of charred cauliflower lately. I’ve been adding it to pasta dishes, salads and also just eating it by itself as a snack with some lime juice on the side. I love simple pasta dishes like aglio e olio. Adding charred cauliflower and spicy breadcrumbs, are nice little extras that give some more bite to the dish.  They say toasted breadcrumbs are the poor man’s parmesan but I don’t think there is anything poor about it. Toasted in olive oil with some salt, already adds a nice taste and if you want more, you can add any kind of herbs. It’s crunchy, salty goodness. An easy vegetarian dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner!

This recipe serves 3.

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Ingredients:

For the cauliflower:

1 cauliflower, cut into florets, then thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the breadcrumbs:

3 slices of toasted bread

Dried chili flakes, to taste

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

For the pasta:

400gr of farfalle pasta

1/3 cup of olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt

Pepper

For the toppings:

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of ½ a lemon

 

Place the cauliflower slices in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Then place it on a pan, over medium-high heat. Cook until the cauliflower gets charred, stirring from time to time. This will take about 7 minutes. Set aside.

While the cauliflower is getting charred, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

To make the breadcrumbs, place the toasted bread in the food processor. Pulse until you get crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, over medium heat. Place the breadcrumbs, add salt and dried chili flakes to taste. Cook until the breadcrumbs get a golden color. Set aside.

Add 1/3 of a cup of olive oil to a pan, over medium heat. Add the minced garlic cloves. Cook for a minute or 2 until the garlic becomes fragrant. Then add the cooked pasta, charred cauliflower, salt, pepper and toss to combine. Finish it by adding the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix it well. Taste for salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta into 3 plates and top each plate with some of the breadcrumbs.

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Pecan Pasta Sauce

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I love this rich pecan sauce. It’s not something I eat very often but when I do, it is so satisfying. Especially during these cold months.  It is one of those dishes that I would ask my mom to make me as a kid. But with time I kind of forgot about it.  It is not until a couple of years ago that I started to make it. It is super easy to make.This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

3 medium white onions, sliced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

4 sprigs of thyme

1 garlic clove, minced

100gr of pecans, chopped

250ml cream

½ cup of milk

40gr of grated parmesan

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

¼ cup of the pasta cooking water

400gr of the pasta of your choice

 

Over medium heat, add the olive oil to a large pan. Add the sliced onions and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Then lower the heat and cook for another 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, pecans, cream and milk. Stir and then put it all in a blender. Add the grated parmesan and blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.  Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce.

Add the reserved pasta water to the sauce and mix until combined.

Mix the cooked pasta with the sauce and serve it right away. If you want, you can add a bit of chopped pecans and some thyme leaves to decorate the plate.