Tag Archives: pasta

Totally Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s been a really busy summer. My floral endeavors have pretty much taken over my creative life and I have very little room for blogging.

After four weddings this weekend and barely cooking for my family, I finally had time to prepare a home-cooked meal.

I started by making a really rich chicken stock. After simmering it for about six hours I strained it and then decided to make chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles.

It was a hit!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup | The Best Chicken Soup Ever from Alaskaknitnat.com

Here’s how I made it from start to finish.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 6 or so

I’ve divided up this recipe into to parts: the stock and then the soup. You can of course start with store-bought chicken stock, but there is something so satisfying about creating your own opaque chicken stock. Plus it’s way more flavorful than anything found at the store.

Ingredients for the stock:

  • 2-3 chicken carcasses
  • 1-2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions for the stock:

Using pliers, crack the bones of your chicken carcasses. I actually do this after eating a chicken and freeze it until I have two or three. I also had some frozen skin-on chicken thighs that I added as well just to use them up.

Add the carcass – bones, skin and all – to a large stock pot. Add the onions, celery, carrots, parsley, peppercorns and bay leaves. Fill the pot with water. You don’t need to be exact here at all. Just fill the pot, whatever size it is.

Cover and set over high flame. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for several hours. I think I let mine simmer for six hours while I cleaned the house and made flowers for an elopement tomorrow.

Turn off the heat and let cool for 30 minutes or so.

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large liquid measuring cup and start ladling the stock into the sieve. Use the back of the ladle to mash up the solids so as much liquid as possible comes out.

Toss the solids and pour the stock into jars. Repeat until you’ve strained all the stock. Store the stock in the fridge for a couple of weeks or freeze for several months.

Ingredients for the noodle soup:

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pound chicken – if you have leftover chicken that works, but raw chicken is good too
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the noodles: (this is enough for two batches. Save the remaining dough and make some fresh pasta the following day. Or halve the recipe)

  • 300 g all-purpose flour (or 2 cups)
  • 100 g semolina flour (or 2/3 cup)
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

For the noodles, mix the flours together in the bowl of a standing mixer. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Whisk up the eggs with a fork until they are combined. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium-low until a dough is formed. Turn onto a table sprinkled with flour and knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and not sticky.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. I had three skin-on chicken thighs so I fried those up to render the fat instead of adding oil.

Add the onions and celery. Sprinkle on some salt. Sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and add the chicken. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to simmer while you make the noodles.

After the dough has rested for 30 minutes or so, cut it into two pieces. Place one piece in the fridge for fresh pasta tomorrow.

Cut the remaining dough into three equal pieces. Cover two with plastic wrap while you roll out the first ball.

Add the pasta rolling adaptor to your Kitchen Aid (or use the old-fashioned version). Flatten the piece of dough with your hands and flour on both sides. Run it through the largest setting. Fold the dough in half and run it through again. Repeat about six times and flour again on both sides if it’s feeling tacky. It should feel smooth.

Run the pasta sheet through the next setting just once. Repeat until setting 6 or until the desired thickness. I typically go to setting 8 on my Kitchen Aid but that’s for delicate pasta like vermicelli. For this dish I wanted something sturdier.

Hang the sheet of dough on a pasta rack (I find a laundry drying rack to be super useful for this). Repeat with other two balls of dough. Let the dough air dry for about 15 minutes. This makes it easier to cut.

In the meantime, remove the chicken from the pot and break it up with the whisk adaptor of your Kitchen Aid (or a fork would do). Place it back in the pot along with the green beans. Bring the soup back to a simmer.

Flour each sheet of dough and cut it into your desired noodle shape. You could run it through the fettuccini roller but I prefer hand-cut wide noodles.

Add your noodles to the pot and cover to bring it back to a boil. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until noodles are cooked through. Typically I prefer al dente, but for soup I let them cook a little longer.

Serve in bowls with freshly grated pepper.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup | The Best Chicken Soup Ever from Alaskaknitnat.com

Poor Man’s Pesto

Pesto was a staple in our household growing up. I had a love for garlic at an early age and there was no better dinner than linguine with pesto.

My dad is a pesto purist, as you can read on his verbose website entry on the matter. I followed in my dad’s footsteps – basil and pine nuts was the ONLY way – until I started paying my own bills and realizing how expensive pine nuts and real Parmesan cheese are.

Years ago I started using pistachios instead of pine nuts for my basil-only pesto recipe, which I had adapted from Marcella Hazan’s blender pesto. I really can’t tell the difference. I realized last year that I’m not alone with this thought. Maya Wilson of Alaska From Scratch also uses pistachios instead of pine nuts for her pesto recipe.

Then last summer, Julia O’Malley invited me over to test out an Alaska greens super pesto. It was then that I realized you don’t have to stick to only fresh basil to achieve that delicious pesto-y flavor.

Enter the giant Costco bag of spinach. You know the one – it’s like $4 and you tell yourself you’re totally going to get through the whole thing before it gets slimy? My husband fell for it again this week and bought the gigantic bag of greens and it’s my mission to get through it before it goes bad.

Last night I decided to try pesto using what I had on hand: a giant bag of spinach, pistachios, pecorino Romano cheese, lemon and the other usual pesto cast of characters. What I discovered is basil doesn’t matter a bit to me when it comes to pesto. It’s the garlic, cheese and olive oil that my tastebuds crave.

Spinach and pistachio pesto - a less expensive recipe with the same great flavor | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

This recipe was everything I wanted and so much cheaper than the recipe I grew up with. Adding melted butter makes up for the oils in the pine nuts that the pistachios lack. And including fresh lemon juice brightens up the pesto in a similar way the basil does.

I eyeballed all the ingredients, but this is a good place to start. Follow your tastebuds. If the mixture is too thick, add more olive oil. If it doesn’t have enough bite, add some more lemon juice or salt. If it’s too thin, add more cheese. You could also reserve some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce.

Spinach and pistachio pesto - a less expensive recipe with the same great flavor | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Spinach and Pistachio Pesto – a less expensive way to enjoy pesto bliss

Enough sauce for 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 big handfuls fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (about 3.5-4 oz.)
  • 3/4 cups pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter, cooled
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spinach and pistachio pesto - a less expensive recipe with the same great flavor | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

In a small food processor or blender, purée the pistachios, olive oil and garlic until smooth. Add in the spinach and blend until everything is evenly blended – about 20-30 seconds.

Place contents into a medium mixing bowl and add the cheese, lemon juice and butter. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. If pesto is too thin, add more cheese. If it’s too thick, add more olive oil. Serve with long thin pasta cooked al dente.

Spinach and pistachio pesto - a less expensive recipe with the same great flavor | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce

A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for a Spanish-style shrimp appetizer. I am pretty sure I’ve eaten my weight in shrimp since posting it.  One of my favorite parts of the dish is sopping up the flavorful garlic paprika oil with a piece of rustic bread.

The other day I didn’t have any crusty bread, so I decided to toss some linguine in the leftover oil. It was fantastic.

So I turned my tasty app into an entree. This is a wonderful way to impress your guests with a colorful, flavorful dish that takes very little time to make. It’s really easy! I eyeballed the oil and the pasta so these are approximate measurements. Feel free to play around with it!

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pasta with shrimp in a paprika chili sauce

Serves 3-4

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 dried guajillo or New Mexico chilis
  • 16 raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika (Hungarian will do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Splash of white wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 pound pasta

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the dried pepper into rings and place in a small bowl. When water is boiling, remove 1/2 cup and pour over the dried peppers. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside. While pasta is boiling, toss the shrimp with the paprika and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium. Add the garlic and softened chili and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Add the shrimp and any remaining paprika. Turn down heat if needs be to avoid burning the garlic. Cook until shrimp is pink, turning halfway, about 4 minutes.

Salt to taste. Add a glug of white wine and let it bubble away for a few seconds. Add the pasta and toss until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle in the parsley.

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Fresh Fettuccine with Hooligan Marinara Sauce

My local library was showcasing their newest cookbooks last week. I checked out “Passione: Gennaro Contaldo’s Italian Cookbook” because it looked authentic and, let’s face it, I liked the font. When I saw his simple recipe for pasta dough, I had to try it. Flour, semolina and eggs. It sounded more authentic than pasta dough recipes I’ve made in the past. That he provided the gram weight of the flours made me think it was going to turn out perfectly. And it did.

My friend Ivan came over with a jar of smoked hooligans he and a friend had caught and canned last summer. They tasted a little like anchovies so my thought was to make a simple marinara with the umami flavor of the hooligans in the background. After simmering the sauce for a few minutes I tasted it and knew it needed one special ingredient to make it just perfect – capers. The sauce instantly became a bright, flavorful combination that reminded me of my dad’s puttanesca sauce.

Combine that with the best homemade pasta I’ve ever created and we had a heavenly dish that I think Gennaro Contaldo would be proud of.

Fresh fettuccine with simple marinara from alaskaknitnat.com

Fresh fettuccine with a hooligan caper marinara

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for pasta dough adapted from “Passione: Gennaro Contaldo’s Italian Cookbook”:

  • 300 grams (or 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams (or 2/3 cup) semolina flour
  • 4 eggs

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 smoked hooligans, chopped (sub anchovies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped

Directions for pasta dough:

In a Kitchen Aid mixer, combine the flour and semolina. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients till combined and a shaggy dough forms. Turn onto a counter and knead for 3-5 minutes until a smooth ball forms. It should be firm and not sticky. Dust with flour and continue kneading if it’s too sticky. Divide into two balls. cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

For the sauce:

In a large skillet, add the oil and heat over medium. Add the garlic and sauté until garlic is soft and fragrant, about two minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, hooligans and capers. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, while you make the pasta.

Place a large pot of salted water to boil.

Using either a hand-crank pasta roller or a Kitchen Aid pasta roller, begin to make your pasta. Divide each ball of dough into four equal balls, covering the ones you aren’t working with. Flatten the ball with your palm. Run it through the largest setting on the pasta roller. Fold the piece into thirds and roll it through again. Do this about five times till the piece is evenly shaped and smooth. If it’s too sticky dust each side lightly with flour.

Move the roller to the next setting and run the dough through once. Continue running the dough through each smaller setting till it’s the thinnest it can possibly be. On the Kitchen Aid roller it’s setting 8. Drape the sheet of pasta on a laundry drying rack while you continue rolling out the remaining balls of dough.

When all the dough is rolled out, switch to the fettuccine roller. Roll all the sheets onto a tray dusted lightly with semolina. Boil the pasta for just a couple of minutes, until al dente.  If your pot isn’t large enough you may need to boil in two batches. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and add it to the sauce along with the chopped basil.

Drain the pasta and toss with a little bit of the sauce to keep the noodles from sticking. Grate some fresh pecorino Romano cheese over your pasta and serve with a simple salad.

Fresh fettuccine with simple marinara from alaskaknitnat.com

Squash and Spinach Ravioli

Sometimes a dish is too good to blog. I’m so busy eating it I don’t think to photograph it. But then some dishes are so good that I have to make them two days in  a row just to blog about it.

Last night a friend came over so I could show him how to make ravioli. I winged the filling by using ingredients I already had: delicata squash, frozen chopped spinach, cottage cheese and pecorino Romano cheese.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

These tender, flavorful morsels were so good, I just had to make them a day later and share them with my best friend, Kelly.

Squash and spinach ravioli

You will want/need a pasta rolling machine for this recipe – or a wine bottle and a lot of patience.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling:

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

  • 1 medium delicata squash (sub pretty much any other kind of squash here)
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (sub ricotta if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Cut each half in half. Scoop out the seeds and rub all over with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until flesh is pierced easily with a fork. Remove from oven and cool.

While squash is cooling, make the dough. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, milk and salt to the well and whisk together, slowly incorporating the flour until a shaggy dough forms.

Remove from bowl and knead on a floured surface for a couple of minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. If it is too wet, add more flour. If it’s too dry, add a little more milk. Continue to knead for a few more minutes, then wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Heat a small pan with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Place into a medium mixing bowl.  Squeeze as much of the liquid out of the spinach as you can and add to the bowl. Scrape the squash into the bowl and add the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

Set up your pasta roller and put it on the biggest setting. Take a palm-sized piece of dough and pat it flat. Run it through the pasta roller one time. It may be tough but it’s ok to press it through unevenly. You’ll be using this largest setting to knead the dough for you.

After the first time through, fold the dough in half and run it through again. Continue folding the dough and running it through four or five more times. Now advance your pasta roller to the next setting and run the dough through once.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Continue narrowing the roller and running the dough through once each time until it’s your desired thickness. Each pasta maker is a little different. With my KitchenAid roller I go to setting 6.

Lay your dough on a lightly floured surface or drape it on a bamboo clothes drying rack while you finish the other pieces of dough.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Now it’s time to assemble your ravioli. First, put a salted pot of water on to boil. Take one strip of pasta and place 1 teaspoon of filling across the bottom of one side, about one inch apart with a 1/2-inch space from the edge.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Fold the long side of the dough in half over the filling and start pressing lightly all around, pushing out air as you go. Press around all the filling so the pasta sticks to itself.

Using a pastry scraper or pizza cutter, cut your dough into individual ravioli. Be sure to cut the long edge because the cutting actually seals the pasta.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Boil your ravioli in two batches. Once the pot returns to a boil, simmer the pasta for just a few minutes until it’s al dente. I like to take a ravioli out of the pot and cut off a corner to test the doneness.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Use a large slotted spoon or spider to remove the ravioli from the pot. Place into shallow serving bowls. Top with a little butter, good olive oil, more pecorino Romano cheese, and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Serve with green beans and Italian sausage.

Squash and spinach ravioli | DIY fresh pasta recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Quick dinner: creamy pesto with chicken

Pesto. I love pesto. I’m a traditionalist and tend to prepare it in the classic Genovese way but recently a friend told me his method, with cream and white wine, and I thought I’d try it.

I loved it! Pesto can sometimes have an overpowering garlic taste (it does contain raw garlic) so this version provides the flavor of pesto but is a little smoother.

If you use the Costco basil pesto then it’s a super quick meal, just perfect for a weeknight.

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

Weeknight meal: creamy pesto with chicken

Ingredients:

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

  • 1 lb. spaghettini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2/3 cup pesto
  • 3/4 pound leftover rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon (optional)

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat. Add the wine and let simmer for about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the pesto and chicken.

Drain the pasta. Add to the sauté pan and toss till evenly coated with sauce. Add salt and pepper. Squeeze a lemon over the top. Serve with a side salad.

Chicken lasagna with artichokes and white sauce

Every once in a while I have the wherewithal to make lasagna with homemade noodles. This evening I decided to try something different. Instead of traditional red sauce and ricotta I made a creamy béchamel sauce and layered the spinach noodles with shredded chicken and marinated artichoke hearts. The marinade from the artichokes added a tangy flavor to the dish and the creamy sauce was pure deliciousness. You can of course use store-bought noodles, but there’s something fancy about fresh pasta.

Chicken lasagna with artichokes | the perfect Sunday dinner from alaskaknitnat.com

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