Bolognese sauce

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OK, who doesn’t have a soft spot in their hearts for spagetti bolognese? It was one of my favorite things to eat growing up and usually consisted of canned spagetti sauce, some ground beef and frozen (amazing!), greasy garlic bread. It was delicious. My roomate in college raved about her Mom’s famous spagetti. It was a big deal when I finally got to try it for myself during a weekend trip home with her. And now, guess what? I get to rave about my very own spagetti recipe. After years of trying to find a good canned sauce for bolognese and lasagne, I’ve learned to just use canned tomatoes, building flavors and seasoning myself to find the perfect salty/spicy/sweet/herby balance. This sauce also has red wine in it, which gives it tons of body and depth. It’s best when you take your time, but it can be made in a pinch and do the trick. Continue reading

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Sautéed ricotta gnocchi

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Happy New Year everybody! I’m going to start by sharing these gnocchi with you. Just like the original recipe promises, these come together rather quickly and are actually quite fun to make. I made a batch for New Year’s Eve, served with golden bay scallops, a pink hard cider beurre blanc and some parmesan cheese. It was simple and fabulously good! The next day the leftovers were accompanied by some raclette that I found in the back of my fridge and some Canadian bacon. I honestly couldn’t tell you which version I liked better… These little pillows of dough are incredibly versatile and you could do whatever you wanted with them, which is why they are so amazing!

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Creamy carbonara

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One of the first things that I learned to cook upon arriving in France was something not whatsoever French: carbonara. I also learned how to make the Italian dish from a Colombian girl, so you can imagine that it was not necessarily the most traditional interpretation. Nonetheless, carbonara is great for so many reasons: I almost always have everything I need to make it on hand, it’s delicious, and it doesn’t cost much to make. Continue reading

Lemony fried risotto

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This, like the nutmeg and pepper popovers that I wrote about recently, was the star side dish of our New Year’s Eve menu. I know I’m a little late in writing about it, but culinary school pretty much put most of my blog posts on hold! I had fried risotto for the first time about a year ago at one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Normandy, Les Canisses. It’s kind of genius, actually. Take any ordinary risotto, flavored or classic, spread it into a pan or baking dish, let it cool and harden slightly, then cut it into slices that you can fry up in olive oil in a pan, or even in a deep fryer. The result is a perfectly creamy inside, and a lovely, crispy, outside. I love the texture of fried or overcooked rice, and I think one of my next projects will be to look into making breading for fish filets using rice! Continue reading

Fresh panzanella (Italian tomato and bread salad)

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Man, I love summer. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of it this year in my corner of France. My family came to visit recently and the first week was spent toting umbrellas and tightly tying scarves around our necks to keep the chill out. Luckily, the last week or so was amazing, culminating with the hottest and sunniest day of the year on my birthday.

It looks like that’s all over now, but I can’t stop myself from whipping up typically summer-friendly recipes that involve fresh, ripe produce and minimal cooking. I also can’t stop wearing summer dresses, even though technically it’s cold outside. I think I’ll just ignore those goosebumps for now, and keep on pretending like it’s still summer. Continue reading