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Pasta

Ramp Pasta

Pasta, Quick and Easy, Summer

RAMPS! So very seasonal! Their seasonality is sort of dramatic. Especially here in Los Angeles where ramps don’t grow locally.

Most ramps you’ll find in LA are from the Pacific Northwest because they need like forest-y type of terrain and they need a lot of rain and water.

They’re a spring time produce and they’re so delicious. They’re really good with so many things.

A few years ago was the first time I tried a ramp and I was, like, what is all the fuss about?!?! Well, if you’ve never had them I’ll describe them like this:

Think very garlicky but without the spice. They’re a very smooth flavor but strong. It’s hard to describe but they’re really just this delicious garlicky/onion-y type flavor but don’t feel intense or bitter or sharp. It’s smooth AF.

This meal obviously could be made without the ramps. This is a classic cacio e pepe pasta. Cacio e pepe is super easy to make. It’s all about technique tho and really the most important thing in this recipe is the pasta water and the black pepper and cheese.

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Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Thanksgiving, The Holidays, Winter

This Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese recipe is inspired by the classic Italian pasta, Cacio e Pepe. This has ground up toasted black peppercorns, lots of Parmesan mixed into a cheesy sauce that thickly coats your favorite pasta!

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

In my brain a few weeks ago, I was craving cacio e pepe but I also wanted it to be cheesy. Cacio e pepe enthusiasts and purists will scoff at this recipe but the rest of us who love cheesy cheese and black pepper, will love it. I can’t win them all.

What is Cacio e Pepe?

Cacio e Pepe is a pasta Roman dish that literally translates to “cheese and pasta.” It consists of simple ingredients: Pecorino-Romano, black peppercorns and pasta. It’s a truly simple dish but it requires technique and a bit of skill to nail.

This is the quickest weeknight meal and it’s also delicious to serve people on the weekends when you want something chill that will make everyone smile.

How to Make this Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Toast the peppercorns. And then transfer them to a mortar and pestle (or you could use a spice blender) and grind them up into small grounds.
  2. Cook the pasta. I used cavatappi. But you could use whatever shape you like! I like to cook it a minute or two under.
  3. Make the roux. Melt the butter and add the flour. And then, when everything is combined, you pour in the milk.
  4. Thicken the roux. When the roux is has thickened, you add the cheese. As a result, the sauce will become all delicious and cheesy.
  5. Add the black pepper. This is the “cacio” part.
  6. Mix in the pasta. And then, add the pasta. Give it a nice stir so the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce.
  7. Top it with more black pepper, Pecorino and serve! 

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

If you make this Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese, let me know on Instagram! 

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 402kcal
This macaroni and cheese recipe is inspired by the classic Italian pasta, Cacio e Pepe. This has ground up toasted black peppercorns, lots of Parmesan mixed into a cheesy sauce that thickly coats pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 pound cavatappi or pasta of choice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 ounces Parmesan-Reggiano, finely grated
  • Kosher salt

Directions

To Toast the Peppercorns:

  • In a small skillet, set over medium heat, add the peppercorns and toast for about 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer them to a mortar and pestle and grind them until they’re pulverized. If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, no worries! You can transfer them to a cutting board and smash them with the bottom of a clean pan. You can also use a large chef’s knife. Set the crushed peppercorns aside.

To Make the Macaroni and Cheese:

  • Bring a pot or Dutch oven of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (my pasta took about 7 minutes). Reserve about a cup of pasta water. I usually scoop it out with a dry cup measure. Drain the pasta and drizzle with a teeny bit of olive oil (this will prohibit them from sticking to each other).
  • In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, set over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer; cook until it’s thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the mozzarella, Parmesan-Reggiani and a few generous pinches of black pepper. If needed, turn the heat to medium-low to completely melt the cheese. Give it a taste and add salt to taste (I ended up adding about 1/2 teaspoon of salt but this will really depend on the salt content in the cheeses you’re using).
  • Stir in the pasta and add some more black pepper if you like. Toss until evenly coated. Mix in about a 1/4 cup of pasta water. This will give it a bit of a creamier consistency. Add a bit more if you like. I ended up adding about a 1/2 cup of pasta water in total. Divide amongst bowls and top with a bit more black pepper as garnish.
CourseDinner
CuisineAmerican, Italian
Keywordbaked macaroni and cheese, cacio e pepe, what is cacio e pepe
Serving: 4g | Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 308mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1024IU | Calcium: 364mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Looking for more pasta recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Meatball Pasta Bake

Dinner, Fall, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Winter

With mini meatballs tucked away in gooey cheese and saucy pasta this meatball pasta bake is an ultimate comfort food for any night of the week. Who doesn’t love a cheesy baked pasta with meatballs?

Meatball Pasta Bake

Do you like Instagram recipes? I always thought no one would ever make a recipe from a caption but that’s not true. I find that people actually save the recipes and make them. It blows my mind because I personally can’t imagine cooking from a caption—they’re so small. But maybe I’m just wrong?

Anyway, this recipe. Mini little meatballs are rolled and put on top of orecheitte and the entire thing is topped with cheese. It’s not baked for a super long time but it is so, so good. I love it so much.

I feel like I need to make more pasta bakes!!

Meatball Pasta Bake

 

How to Make a Meatball Pasta Bake:

  1. Portion out the meatballs. Combine all the meatball ingredients and use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to portion out the meatballs.
  2. Cook the meatballs. Brown the meatballs in a large skillet with a little bit of oil. Once they’re cooked remove them and set aside.
  3. Warm up the sauce. Heat up your favorite jar of marinara with some créme fraîche.
  4. Add the pasta. Once the pasta’s cooked, transfer it to the pan of sauce and stir to coat.
  5. Add meatballs and cheese. Place the meatballs all over the pasta then top with more cheese than you think you need.
  6. Bake! Let it bake up until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you want some golden brown on there place it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes afterwards.

Ingredients for a Pasta Bake:

The great thing about a pasta bake is that you can switch up just a few ingredients to work with whatever you have in your pantry.

  • The meat: I used mini meatballs here but you could also brown some Italian sausage. grilled chicken could also work if you had that.
  • The sauce: Use whatever your favorite jar of sauce is, and doctor it up if needed. I added the créme fraîche because I like the extra bit of richness and tang it gives to the dish.
  • The Pasta: I used an orecchiette pasta here but any short pasta will do. Anything from a penne to a rigatoni would work in this dish.
  • The Cheese: I don’t think that anything besides mozzarella would work here because it’s so melty but if you wanted to you could use less mozzarella and finish it with burrata when it comes out of the oven.

Tips and Tricks:

  • You can freeze this! Just make the dish up until it needs to go into the oven. Transfer it to a freezer and oven safe pan and let cool before topping with the cheese and transferring it to the freezer. When you go to bake just be prepared to bake it for around 45 minutes to an hour for it to cook through from frozen.

Meatball Pasta Bake Recipe

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0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serving Size: 5 Servings
Calories: 405kcal
Meatball pasta bake is one of those ultimate comforting dishes. Mini meatballs tucked away in gooey cheese and saucy pasta make this a comforting weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 pound ground beef, (90%/10%)
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4 yellow onion or red onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 23-ounce jar of marinara or homemade
  • 4 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 pound of pasta, I used orecchiette, cooked to al dente
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, Parmesan, onion, garlic, dried oregano, salt, crushed red pepper and egg.
  • Mix until combined.
  • Using a tablespoon (or small cookie scoop—my favorite tool for meatballs), scoop out the meat mixture, forming meatballs using your palms. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the meatball mixture.
  • In a medium skillet, set over medium heat, add the oil. When hot, cook the meatballs for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping them and cooking on the opposite side for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a bowl. Pour the marinara into the skillet, along with the crème fraîche and stir until smooth. Cook until warmed, about 5 to 7 minutes, seasoning the marinara sauce to your liking (I added a bit of crushed red pepper and some additional salt).
  • To a large baking dish, add the cooked pasta, marinara sauce and toss until combined. Add meatballs atop the pasta and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Transfer to the oven to bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until cheese is nice and melty. Garnish with Italian parsley, if you like.

Notes

Tips:
  • You can freeze this! Just make the dish up until it needs to go into the oven. Transfer it to a freezer and oven safe pan and let cool before topping with the cheese and transferring it to the freezer. When you go to bake just be prepared to bake it for around 45 minutes to an hour for it to cook through from frozen.
Equipment:
Le Creuset Braiser | Food Processor | Chef's Knife
CourseDinner
CuisineAmerican
KeywordPasta Bake
Serving: 4g | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 663mg | Potassium: 323mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Did you make this recipe? Let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more pasta recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Meatball Pasta Bake

Italy (Part I) + Creamy Sundried Tomato Sauce with Cheesy Tortellini

Adventures, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Ahhh Italy (part 1)! This was my very first time visiting Italy and it was really, truly a beautiful and memorable experience. I loved Italian culture, the cobblestone streets, aperitivo time, old buildings, shopping and of course, the food.

The first stop on our trip to Italy was to Verona, a small town that literally looked like Epcot straight out of Disney World. As we were walking the streets, I was like this all sort of looks familiar! But this is the legit real thing!

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