Category Archives: Pasta

Cantinetta Bellevue

Almost 4 year-old Italian pasta house on Main Street Old Bellevue, Cantinetta wowed GB.

photo 2[We sat outside, and did some people watching. New gas heaters kept the chill-prone (me) warm.]

The local-vibe & small menu make the restaurant seem landmark, especially with local ingredients & handmade pasta. Being our first time, we ordered a salad to share & 2 entrees. GB ordered the Vermicelli (braised veal, pea vines, cipollini, pickled chili), and I the bolognese (of course!).

photo 1[Tuscan kale salad (strawberries, roasted oats, honey vinaigrette) in a mini wood bowl]

The portions were tiny (and thus pricey for the size!). However, the food was fresh and GB LOVED the vermicelli pasta. I’d recommend for special occasions, or if you’re not famished.

 

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Eggplant Gratin

We went home for father’s day and (I) came back with good west-side groceries, including an eggplant that my mom had no idea what to do with. Bake it, I say! (courtesy of Ina, a very rich, delicious dish!)

(…yes, my gratin was baked in a pie dish)

Ingredients

  • Good olive oil, for frying
  • 3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.

Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.

American Chop Suey

GB might the best cook ever, maybe. Out of the two of us, he thinks he is, that is. He always talked about making this recipe, one of his signatures- and finally did- it was delicious! I absolutely loved it.

You will need:

  • 1 Ib ground beef
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 18 oz of macaroni
  • one 14 1/2 can of tomato sauce
  • one 14 1/2 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • cheddar cheese

Cook beef. Set aside. Cook onions in oil,add bell pepper, celery. When soft, add garlic. Once done, add beef, then add chicken stock, tomatoes and sauce, incorporate. Then add macaroni and cover. Cook until macaroni noodles are al dente, about 30 minutes. Top with cheese and enjoy!

Enjoy!

Clam Spaghetti

Last summer GB sent me a letter with a recipe for clam spaghetti. He made it for dinner last week, and it was delicious- filling and not in the least bit fishy!

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp
  • 1 dried red chili pepper, finely chopped (or use 1 tsp of flakes)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, or 1 Tbsp dried
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 cans (4/12 oz) chopped clams, drained, with liquid reserved
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 box of spaghetti (we used angel hair, it was good)
  • parmesan cheese
  1. Put the olive oil in a large skillet and heat slowly. Add the chili pepper, copped onion, and garlic. Cook slowly for 30 minutes or until onions are soft.
  2. Add to pan the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and liquid from the clams. Simmer until liquid is reduced.
  3. Cook spaghetti with 1 Tbsp oil, al dente
  4. As pasta is cooking add clams, parsley, and 3 Tbsp cheese to sauce and simmer at low heat, about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain pasta, add to sauce. Enjoy!