Tortellini with Pumpkin Sage Brown Butter

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Seasonal mood is in full swing! At least in my mind. Last week I happily put on a new sweater, only to realized it’s still 75 degrees outside. I have no shame. When fall’s in the air, I’m happy and I’m going to show it. All the pumpkin recipes are starting to surface. While there are some things I think we need to keep pumpkin out of (like this…really?) pasta is pumpkin’s partner in this dish. Sage and brown butter have a long time, awesome thing going. Throw them all together with cheese tortellini and Parmesan cheese and you’ve got an addicting pasta dish you’ll want to make all season long!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 lb fresh cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup up parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. To make the brown butter pumpkin sauce, add butter and sage leaves to a sauté pan over medium heat and swirl butter around in pan until it turns golden brown. A little brown bits are good! Don’t let it burn.
  2. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and pepper. Stir and remove from heat.
  3. Cook tortellini in boiling salted water according to package directions, drain, and toss into sauté pan with warm sauce. Stir in parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Food.com.

 

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Scrappy Pesto, Zucchini & Burrata Pizza

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Scrappy (adjective): to prepare a dish consisting of scraps, i.e. food that typically gets wasted or thrown away. Used in a sentence: “Hey, that’s totally SCRAPPY!”

I am so inspired by the Sur La Table TV show Scraps, (airs 10:30pm EST every Sunday night on FYI), where national chef Joel travels the country conjuring up new, exciting recipes using things that normally get tossed! Think beet greens, shrimp shells, and bruised apples. I’ve mentioned the show before on the blog, but today I tried my hand at a second scrappy recipe! My inspiration? CSA, aka community supported agriculture.

My friend and I went in together on a CSA share in Oyster Bay. So far we’ve gotten a TON of radishes, tri-color salad and arugula. This past week’s share finally had some summer zucchini. I snagged a few extra and decided to highlight them in a dish this weekend. On top of that, our adorable farmer gave me premature carrots with tons of greens on top. I saved them in water in my refrigerator and told myself that I MUST put them to good use! I could hear Joel saying, “save your scraps!”

I’ve tried pesto with other things before, like radish greens, and the results were not nearly as delicious as what I’m about to share with you: carrot top pesto. Leaves only (no stems) and blended with a little olive oil, toasted walnuts, and parmesan cheese. Carrot leaves on their own taste a little bit like carrots. When made into a pesto like this, you get an earthy flavor reminiscent of basil pesto. I was so pleasantly surprised by the flavor. Keep your carrot leaves and you can pat yourself on the back knowing that you saved food from the trash! I prefer walnuts or almonds to pine nuts, but you can absolutely substitute them if you don’t have walnuts on hand. Spread this magic on everything from toasted crostini, fried eggs or pasta. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 days.

Watch full episodes of Scraps here!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Pesto:

  • 1 cup loosely packed carrot tops (leaves only, no stems)
  • 6 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated, plus more for sprinkling on top

Pizza:

  • olive oil for greasing
  • 1 ball fresh or frozen pizza dough
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 ball burrata
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  1. If using frozen pizza dough, remove from freezer the night before using and defrost in the refrigerator. If using fresh dough or when ready to use, let rise at room temperature in a greased, covered bowl for at least 1 hour.
  2. Grease a dark baking sheet with olive oil. Stretch dough out on sheet pan as thin as possible. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  3. To make the pesto, add carrot leaves, olive oil, garlic clove, salt and walnuts to a food processor. Pulse until well combined, about 1 minute. Add in cheese and pulse for an additional 15 seconds.
  4. Spread pesto on to dough evenly. Add zucchini slices. Sprinkle extra parmesan on top and bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Break up the ball of burrata and dollop onto pizza. Bake for an additional 4 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is melted.
  6. Sprinkle with basil, a pinch of pepper and red pepper flakes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

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Creamed Beet Greens with Lemon Breadcrumbs

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Have you all been watching Sur La Table’s new show Scraps? If you haven’t, drop whatever you’re doing and head here for full episodes! FYI has partnered with Sur La Table to produce the new series Scraps, where national Sur La Table Chef Joel Gamoran travels cross country creating incredible meals using the things most people throw away: scraps such as bruised apples, shrimp shells and carrot tops. What they’re doing is so creative and inspiring. They’ve taught me to think twice about the things I would normally throw away. You’d be surprised how absolutely delicious something scrappy can be. Save your scraps!

I recently bought beets for a cake recipe. Left over with a bunch of greens, I immediately saw this as an excellent opportunity to get scrappy. I’m a huge fan of creamed spinach. The beet greens and stems have a similar flavor. AND did you know that there’s even more nutrients in the leaves and stems than in the beets? Packed with antioxidants, fiber, zinc, protein, vitamin B6, the list goes on! Paired with a cream sauce and crispy lemon breadcrumbs for crunch, this is a serious keeper recipe. I’m pulling it out the next time I host a dinner party. Scrappy is the new sexy, y’all.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

 

  • 1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt
  • 2 large bunches beet greens and stems, cut into 1/2″-1″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine breadcrumbs, oil, and lemon zest on a baking sheet and season with salt. Toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Cook beet green leaves and stems in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain and place into a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well and squeeze well between paper towels to remove excess water.
  3. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, beet greens and stems. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with breadcrumbs just before serving.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

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Fazzoletti Pesto with Asparagus and Burrata

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

I started this blog almost immediately after a close friend of mine suggested it a year and a half ago. That same evening I came up with the name Cuoco Contento. For those who don’t know, Cuoco is my married name. It translates to the noun “cook” in Italian. Believe it or not, I didn’t even know that when Joshua and I got married in 2014. I also didn’t like to cook before we were married. Actually, it wasn’t that I didn’t like to, it was that I simply never tried to. Living at home I commuted to college and, towards the end, lived off a less-than-stellar diet of boxed soup and sushi takeout. My wild passion for the kitchen began the very first night I cooked for Josh. If you are wondering, it was chicken parm. He approved.

With that in mind, the word “contento” translates to “happy.” It was simplest and most straight-forward word I could think of. No frills, no elaboration. Recipe planning, grocery shopping, food prep and cooking make me truly happy. The entire process is like therapy. Hosting guests in our my home makes me giddy. I am, quite literally, a happy cook.

Through my teen years and into young adulthood I’ve sought after contentment at different times. The word “content” means to be “mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.” What a virtue! I am far from perfect, a feeling we can all relate to. Life throws different things our way. How we handle them is up to us.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18 NIV). You can interpret this how you like, but on some level I believe this means that we need to look at the big picture. The bright future. No one can convince me otherwise: the best is yet to come. Always. How terrible would it be if we thought that today (or 10 years ago) we hit our peak? That our prime time was up and over with? I believe that we’re all ever-developing beings, constantly changing, growing and learning– even if you’re 85 years old. Often times we need to go through the storm in order to appreciate the sun. Having patience through the rain is the tough part. There is glory to be revealed in all of us.

I’ve been looking for a way out of a storm in my life for a while now. But every time I do, I feel God telling me that instead of getting me out of it, he will get me through it, if I only trust Him. Really trust Him.

I am a “working document.” Constantly making mistakes, coming under discipline, learning and growing. There will never come a day when I will wake up and say, “okay, now I’m perfect!” It’s just not possible. We are human. We fall. We are tempted. We try to hold the weight of our world on our shoulders. And we come back to the realization that we are not the one in control. And really…thank God for that.

It all boils down to one thing: trust. If I truly trust God, with my whole being, I would not worry about my job. I would not worry about money. I would not worry about my family’s future. Being content means being satisfied and happy with the way things are right now. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’ve struggled with it for years. You’re not alone if you do. There’s nothing wrong with having a hustler’s mentality, always wanting to reach higher levels. I believe God honors that ambition. But it is not healthy is to find it impossible to enjoy today because you can’t stop daydreaming about tomorrow.

There is a huge, bright light at the end of my husband’s medical school journey. We talk about our plans, even though there are about 200 different directions we could be lead at that time. Everything about our lives after his graduation is completely up in the air. Where we’re live being at the forefront of our minds. That part excites me even though it is so unknown. Yet, getting to a place where I can patiently wait for that huge, bright light has been one of the biggest challenges for me. I get why people say that patience is a virtue. So many times Josh has said to me, “you need to enjoy today.” And I know he’s right. I’m emotional just writing this, because it’s a message that hits me like an arrow straight to the heart.

Why is it so hard for us to wait? Why is it so hard for us to let go of the steering wheel and let God drive? The most interesting thing to me is that I have no problem having the biggest faith when it comes to Josh’s career. If ever even the smallest speck of doubt or fear enters his mind, I jump on it immediately and with such confidence tell him that God’s already worked it out. That God has made a way for him already. Look at His provision for you so far! Trust Him! I’m so sure of that, when it pertains to his life. So much so, it’s often frustrating when he doesn’t always see it for himself. How is it that we can be so sure of God’s provision in the lives of others but can’t seem to grasp it on our own lives?

God is watching over us. More than that, he is right there beside you, holding your hand, wanting so desperately for us to trust Him with our whole hearts. He’s the one who is saying to us, “I’ve already worked it out. I’ve already made a way for you. Look at my provision in your life so far! Trust me!”

Every day I am learning that nothing is too difficult with God’s help. What might seem impossible in our human weakness is not impossible with Him. I’m so fragile. So prone to complaining, to discontentment, to unhappiness if I let it take hold of my heart. Stand firm against it.

I pray that if you are struggling with being content that your heart would be filled with peace today. To rest and know that God’s timing is perfect. That he longs to give good gifts to his children who only trust him. Be happy today. Enjoy this moment, because you’ll never get it back.

Whenever I start to feel less than content with my current situation, I rehearse these things in my heart:

  1. Crush every fear. It has no place in my life.
  2. Trust God. His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts. Let Him take control of the things we can’t.
  3. Be still and know that He is God. He is good. He is love. His promises remain true for all of time.
  4. Be thankful for where you are, how you got there and what you have been given.

My dear friend Liz and I shared a quiet Sunday afternoon in my pint-sized apartment talking, laughing, cooking (and eating) as we reminisced about our college trip to Milan now five years ago. Liz is a HUGE talent, and so humble, check her out on Insta!

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Photo Credit: Liz Cuadrado Photography

Fazzoletti Pesto with Asparagus and Burrata

Serves 2

  • 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, plus more for shaving
  • 1 bunch asparagus tips, blanched
  • 1 ball fresh burrata cheese
  • course ground pepper
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour and salt. Add the eggs and yolks and mix just until a ball begins to form, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook and add a few drops of water if the dough is dry. Turn the dough out into a bowl, sprinkle it with a little flour, cover it with plastic or a cloth and let it rest for about 30 minutes. You may refrigerate the dough wrapped in plastic, until you’re ready to roll it out, for up to 24 hours.
  2. In a food processor, combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic and about half the oil. Blend, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container, and add the rest of the oil slowly. Add the toasted nuts and cheese. Pulse until relatively smooth, or you can leave it a bit more on the chunky side.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Divide the dough into four sections. Roll though through the pasta attachment on the number 1 setting about 10 times, folding the dough in half with each pass. Pass through the number 3 setting once or twice. Repeat this with the other 3 sections of dough until you have 4 pasta sheets.
  4. Cut the dough sheets into 3×3 or 4×4 squares. They can be rough, no need to break out the ruler. Gently add to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. The dough squares should rise to the water’s surface. Reserve the pasta water.
  5. Toss the pasta with the pesto and blanched asparagus tips. Add a spoonful of pasta water if pesto needs to be thinned out. Sprinkle generously with black pepper and shaved parmesan cheese.
  6. Divide burrata between two dishes and serve.

Pasta recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

There only a few meals I really crave. These tacos are one of those meals. If you’ve never had chipotle peppers, they are firey little guys. Full of flavor. I’m not big into spice, but these are more smokey than spicy. Chipotle peppers are actually smoked and dried jalapeños. Adobo sauce is a tangy, kind of sweet sauce. You can find chipotles in adobo sauce in specialty stores or in your local Whole Foods. The smoky pepper gives these tacos such a bold flavor that even Bobby Flay would give his stamp of approval. Chicken thighs make for the juiciest taco!! Give your tortillas a nice char and slice up an avocado. Chop up a little cilantro. Mix up a mojito (or a faux-mo) while you’re at it.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

4 servings — 1 hour total time

  • 4 large bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds (with skin for more flavor)
  • 3 scallions, left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme branch
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 2 cloves
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 or 3 chipotle chilles in adobo, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (use broth from simmered chicken)
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 cup monterey jack, shredded
  • 1-2 avocados
  • chopped cilantro
  • creme fraiche
  • lime wedges
  1. Put chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water. Add scallions, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove chicken and cool. Shred chicken with your fingers, discarding chicken skin and bone. Strain broth and reserve. You should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.
  2. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, season with salt and cook until softened and a bit browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more. Add chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Add shredded chicken, salt lightly and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened somewhat. Keep warm.
  3. Heat the tortillas over steam or by your favorite method, keeping them soft and pliable. I like to char tortillas over my gas burner for a few seconds on each side.
  4. Build the tacos quickly: Put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with avocado slices, shredded Monterey jack and a teaspoon of crème fraîche. Add a few cilantro springs. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.

Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.

Walnut Basil Pesto Pizza

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

One of my biggest kitchen struggles has been good pizza crust. I have an old gas oven (love it) but my crusts had time after time come out soggy. I tried a pizza stone but to my despair, it left all crusts limp. All I want is some crispy, browned bottomed crust! Too much to ask? I tried my faithful cookie sheet and I think that was 50% of the crispy battle. This lovely pizza dough recipe comes from the amazing Andrea Bemis’s new cookbook, Dishing Up The Dirt!!! So excited for this girl! Get yourself a copy. It’s a treat for the eyes and the stomach. It makes my heart so happy to see her in her element, getting down and dirty with real food. She’s seriously inspired me to live on a farm. I will have chickens one day or my name isn’t Cuoco!

This crust is super!! Thin and crisp. It’s almost focaccia-like. My favorite part is that you can do it all from the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook, so there’s little to no mess. All you need is time! While the dough is rising you can get other tasks done, so don’t worry. Look at you go, you multi-tasker! Own it. Be wonder woman in the kitchen and don’t let anything scare you. Thank you Andrea for this tasty dough recipe!!! Congratulations, lady! #DishingUpTheDirt #DUTD

Yield: A little less than 2 pounds of dough, enough for 2 large thin crusts

For the Dough:

  • 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water, more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
  • 1-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Pesto & Cheese topping:

  • 1-1/2 cups packed basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • wild arugula
  1. In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in water warmed to 110 F. Give it a good stir. Proof for 10 minutes or until frothing.
  2. Mix in the salt, olive oil, and the flours until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and knead it on low for 6 minutes. If the dough appears too dry, drizzle 2 tablespoons more water.
  3. Rinse out the large bowl, pat it dry, drizzle it with oil, and use a bowl to rub the oil all over the bowl. Return the dough to the large bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Transfer the dough back to you stand missed and knead it on low for 3 minutes.
  5. Return the dough to the oiled bowl, cover it with the damp towel, and set it aside to rise for an additional hour, or until it has doubled in size again.
  6. Slice the dough in half. Freeze one half for a rainy day! (see note below). Take the half you’re going to use and roll thinly onto a oiled baking sheet.
  7. Add basil, olive oil, walnuts, parmigiana region, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Grind until smooth, about 30 seconds. Taste it… devious all on it’s own! Spoon half of the mixture onto the pizza and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 500 F for 10 minutes. Top with wild arugula and serve.

*Be sure to transfer your frozen dough to the refrigerator the morning before you plan to use it. Remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you make your pizza so the dough can come to room temperature.

Dough recipe (Chesua’a Perfect Pizza Dough) is from Andrea Bemis, Dishing Up The Dirt, 2017. Pesto recipe is from Saveur Magazine.

Sunday Parmesan Marinara

My household eats a lot of pasta. Vodka sauce, meat sauce, alfredo sauce. Love it all. Marinara (aka classic tomato sauce) is my absolute favorite. Such fresh and vibrant flavor. San Marzano tomatoes (from outside of Naples, Italy) are ideal for this sauce. They’re sweet, low in acid and have a deep red, firm body. Make this recipe when you’ve got a little extra time on the weekend. Your pasta will thank you all week long. If you’re so inclined, double the recipe and freeze some! I’m all about the classics. This one’s a keeper for life.

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic gloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 28-oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot, peeled and halved
  • 2 fresh basil sprigs
  • 2 2-inch pieces of Parmesan rind
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium-size deep skillet or wide saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juices, red onion, carrot, basil, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for about 25 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Discard the onion, carrot, basil, rind, and bay leaf. Pass the sauce through a food mil or puree it with an immersion blender and chill completely. The sauce will keep for 4 or 5 days in the refrigerator, or transfer to freezer containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, Happy Cooking, 2015.

Classic Chocolate Brownies

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

You know that glossy, flaky top coat that magically appears on the surface of boxed brownie mix? I’ve been trying to replicate that effect in homemade brownies for years with little success. Recipes I’ve tried in the past are either too fudgy (yes, it’s possible) or too cakey and dense. I want that *perfect* brownie: decadent chew and that shiny top that flakes when you bite into it. Too much to ask for? Was it the dairy? The flour-to-egg ratio? I had no idea. Then suddenly it happened. The heavens opened up and Food.com asked me to photograph this recipe. The hunt is over. I kid you not, these are quickly becoming my new go-to! I adjusted a few small things and sure enough it hits all the right marks. The fudge factor is right on. A+, brownies. Bravo. Well done.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Yield: 28 brownies

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″x13″ pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick spray.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder. Remove from heat and pour mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. Add in sugar and vanilla until combined. Add eggs one at a time and beat. Mix in dry ingredients until fully combined. Be careful not to overmix. Fold in chocolate chips. Use a spatula to scrape all of that goodness into the lined pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into 2×2″ squares.
  5. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe adapted from Food.com.

Chestnut Fettuccine and Tortellini in Sage Cream Sauce

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Happy Sunday, all! A little encouragement, from one friend to another:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:2

The new year has me thinking a lot about my future and my family’s future. My husband is in medical school. A lot of our future is unknown. Just last week, I took a shot at something new in my life. I wanted so badly to believe it was meant to be and that I deserved it. When everything fell silent, I had thoughts like “this isn’t fair!” and “doesn’t God want me to be happy?” While God does want to bless us to overflowing, I didn’t have the right attitude in that moment. His plan is abundantly better that ours. He sees things that we can’t see yet. I’m believing that if this wasn’t the right thing, He has something else in store that is 100x better!

In my frustration during the last week, I opened up my Bible on Friday morning and read this about how Jesus calmed a raging storm (Luke 22:8-25):

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, weʼre going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

 

I thought to myself: Were the disciples crazy? There they are, with Jesus right there beside them. How could they have been afraid? How could they have doubted for one second that he would protect them and bring peace to the situation?

It hit me like a brick, and I cried. That boat is my life. I’m in the boat. Jesus is also in the boat, right there along side me. Through all of my frustration, my anger, the chaos around me– Jesus is there. He has always been there. Where was my faith? How could I have doubted for one second that He was in complete control? I had forgotten about simple faith. I was choosing anger instead of trusting Him wholeheardetly. In our weakness, God is strongest. Emotionally, I collapsed and humbly spoke out: “you’ve always been there.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s right beside us, ready to calm the storm if we only trust him. Have child-like faith. He’s in control and will never let you drown. No fear, no doubt. This is going to be a great year.

#NOODLEHOLICSPARTY!

I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe as a part of Soe @limeandcilantro’s #Noodleholicsparty! Head over to Instagram and check out our virtual noodle feast.

Around holiday time, my grandfather always brings a bagful of chestnuts with him. He brings his own pan for roasting, weathered and blackish-brown with age. A family tradition, we score the chestnuts, toss in a pan and roast at 425F for 45 mins to an hour. They come out sizzling and hot. We burn our fingers in impatience as we peel and eat. Inside, the chestnut flesh is tender and sweet.

In honor of our tradition, I used chestnut flour and chestnut puree to make pasta, two ways: fettuccine and tortellini filled with ricotta cheese and chestnut puree. I tossed both in a sage cream sauce. For me, this is ultimate comfort on a chilly night. The act of passing sheets of homemade pasta through the fettuccine attachment is THE most soothing thing for me.

I decided to toss it in a butter, sage, shallot, cream, white wine sauce. Well, because… these are a few of my favorite things!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Chestnut Fettuccine and Tortellini in Sage Cream Sauce

Makes about 20 tortellini and 1 lb fettuccine

Pasta Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur) plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup chestnut flour (You can find it at specialty Italian grocery stores)
  • 34 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 34 cup ricotta
  • 14 cup unsweetened chestnut purée*
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 2 pinches ground nutmeg

Sage Cream Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage or crumbled dried leaves
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

*chestnuts are naturally pretty sweet. Adjust the puree to your liking.

  1. To make the pasta, in the bowl of your stand mixer add the all-purpose flour, chestnut flour, and salt. Stir to combine. Form a well in the center and add the eggs and egg yolks. Begin to stir on low, gradually picking up speed to medium until the dough forms. It will be crumbly and thick.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and incorporate any crumbs from the bowl. Knead until the ball of dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Dusting lightly with more flour as needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  3. To make the filling, in a food processor add the ricotta, chestnut purée, salt, and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container up to 1 day. You will have filling left over, if you decide to also make the fettuccine.
  4. To make tortellini, set a small bowl of water next to your workstation. Slice the chilled dough into 5 pieces. Flour lightly. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the others refrigerated. Save 2 of the 5 pieces for fettuccine, if making. The dough will be thick, so roll out the first piece of dough into a small 1/2″ rectangle by hand with a rolling pin. Using a pasta sheet attachment, pass through the sheet roller on the 1, 3, and 5 settings until you have a nice thin sheet. (If it’s crumbling at first, keep folding and passing through until it holds together). Cut out rounds using a 2-inch cookie cutter. Working one round at a time, place 1teaspoon of filling in the center. Very lightly wet the rim of the round with water, then fold the ends over the filling to meet and form a half-moon shape. Press together firmly to seal. Lightly wet both of the pointed tips, then fold them together to meet and form a ring. Set on a lightly floured baking sheet and repeat with the remaining rounds and pieces of dough. (If not using that day, you can freeze the tortellini on the baking sheet; once frozen, store in resealable plastic bags or containers. Boil from frozen.)
  5. Using the same method, roll your thin sheets of dough through the fettuccine attachment. Be sure to flour so they don’t stick together.
  6. In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the pasta. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta floats to the top, about 4 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  7. To make the sauce, melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sage. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cream. Turn heat to med-high and reduce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Lower heat and stir in parmesan cheese. Taste and season carefully with salt and pepper. Parmesan is already a little salty.
  8. Toss pasta in sauce and coat well. Serve warm.

Pasta recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine.

Take a look at what our other fun partygoers have contributed:

Pho Ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup) by @beyondsweetandsavory
Alfredo Pasta by @mylavenderblues
Beef Ragu with Pappardelle by @cloudykitchen
Malaysian Laksa with Pumpkin by @vermilionroots
Vegetarian Tteokbokki by @husbandsthatcook
Shrimp Scampi with Tagliatelle by @upcloseandtasty
Vegan Jjajangmyeon by @the.korean.vegan
Duck Noodle Soup by @lindsaysfeast
Kuching Style Laksa by @passmethedimsum
Meatball Pasta by @insearchofwonders
Shanghai Onion Oil Noodles by @omnivorescookbook
Oak-Smoked Pasta Cacio e Pepe by @harvest_and_honey
Aceh Noodles (Mie Aceh) by @whattocooktoday

Persian Noodle (Reshteh) by @noghlemey

Thanks so much to Soe @limeandcilantro for setting up this fun virtual #noodleholicsparty! Be sure to check out the recipes from all the talented blogger partygoers on Instagram by searching #noodleholicsparty.

Roasted Mushroom and Kale Pizzettes

5Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

I was feeling under the weather today and took full advantage of my day at home. While I should have taken the opportunity to clean my apartment, I proceeded to make more messes in the kitchen. But remember: behind every messy kitchen and filled sink is an incredible dish or two (or three). I realize now more than ever that the kitchen is my favorite place to be.

Today I graduated from my old camera, a Fujifilm I had in college, to a shiny, new, sparkly (did I say already say shiny?) amazing, professional, Canon 6D and a 50mm lens! I did the happy dance all over the house today. I’d been hoping and praying to be able to upgrade this summer. When an exciting food photography job came my way, I decided it was time to step up the game. If I was holding a glass of champagne, I would say, “Here’s to the future of Cuoco Contento and may it be utterly delicious!” I wish happy cooking for everyone.

I’ve been a huge Giada De Laurentiis fan for a while now. I’ve never seen a girl more enthusiastic about cooking, never mind  a girl with such a killer smile. She is one energetic, passionate, and needless to say, happy, chef. She released her book Happy Cooking late last year and I pre-ordered it. It’s filled with all the kinds of things that make me swoon: pastas, soups, healthy snacks, party drinks and little hors d’oeuvres that make you want to drop what you’re doing and host a dinner party. I love the Italian in her and it always shines through her dishes. I’ve had my eye on a few of her recipes that I finally decided to tackle this week. We begin with these darling little things: roasted mushroom pizzettes (just a cute word for tiny pizza!) topped with mozzarella, roasted button mushrooms, ribbons of kale, and blue cheese. Giada’s recipe calls for gorgonzola but I had blue on hand. And if you’re a fan of blue like me, it’s t-a-s-t-y. I could hardly wait for these to cool before I ate three in a row. They’re small so who’s counting, right? These are so great for summer parties or game day eats. Add a little sophistication to the wings and guac table. Follow along with me this week as we delve into three flavor-packed recipes from Giada!

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz button mushrooms, de-stemmed, washed and sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ball store-bought pizza dough (12-16 oz)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 small bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves sliced into ribbons
  • 2 oz blue cheese (or gorgonzola) crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss mushrooms with olive oil and salt on a parchment-lined sheet pan and roast for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough to 1/4″ thickness. Using a 3″ round cookie cutter (or drinking glass) and transfer pizza circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the circles lightly with olive oil. Top each with a teaspoon of mozzarella, a little mushroom, kale and sprinkle of blue cheese. Drizzle a little more olive oil over each. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. Serve immediately.

Recipe/adaptation courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.