Posts tagged ‘pasta’
Tuna noodle casserole from a box was a staple in my house as a kid. I daresay I liked it then, but as an adult it’s rare that I even think of the stuff. But when I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit for a re-invented homemade version at this time last year, I tore it out right away and planned to make it. Surely even this humblest of casseroles deserves a second chance, right? I mean, you’ve gotta admit that creamy sauce + noodles + anything, baked until bubbly, has potential. Anyways, after I resolved to make the stuff I promptly lost the page and forgot about it for a year, but when I found the recipe yesterday I knew we would have it for dinner. It is time, my friends, to revisit tuna noodle casserole, sans box.
We recently discovered a local farm that produces ridiculously delicious chorizo, and have been enthusiastically exploring things to do with it. First we made tacos with it, and then scrambled it with eggs. Then we made chorizo sandwiches, and sprinkled it on salads. Finally, we were thinking it might be nice to try it with pasta, imagining something reminiscent of this, when I happened upon a recipe for a spicy pasta and sausage bake from America’s Test Kitchen. With a few tweaks, the dish became an amazing way to enjoy chorizo, pasta, and all the spicy, cheesy warmth of a good casserole.
Kale is one of those kitchen firsts where I’ve eaten the stuff a thousand times, but never actually cooked it for myself. You see, I kind of always thought that I didn’t like kale, or that it was ok but not worth my time or effort to actually cook at home. But in the name of getting back on the kitchen firsts wagon before the end of the year, it seemed high time to go and get a bunch of kale, and little did we know we’d be back to the market the next day to get some more.
You see, we got a bit distracted with our first bunch of kale, but were too excited about the prospect of this pasta to wait to make it. So another bunch came home with us, and I’m so glad that it did because this pasta was a kale revelation! I was a little skeptical about it, even up to the very moment that I tossed all the parts of the dish together, because tasting the parts separately (the spicy breadcrumbs, braised kale, pasta, and parmesan) it really didn’t seem like anything to write home about. But it is way more than the sum of its parts, and I feel confident saying that this dish would appeal to kale-lovers and kale-haters alike– the kale becomes mild and tender as it braises, the cheese gives a little rich nuttiness, the lemon gives a nice lift, and the spicy, garlicky breadcrumbs provide a nice aromatic crunch. All in all, a very satisfying pasta for a late autumn dinner, and one you can feel good about eating too!
Before anyone says anything, let me just say that I do indeed get that it is autumn now. It’s October no less, and posting a recipe that relies heavily on the sweetest, freshest, juiciest tomatoes you can find might seem a tad bizarre, or even, uh, rather embarrassingly late, especially when it is following a recipe using butternut squash. And perhaps it is almost too late, but I have also noticed that many parts of the country have been enjoying a bit of an extended summer, with warm temperatures and lots of sun, and at least around these parts there are still quite a few late-late-season tomatoes to be found at markets and in gardens. I meant to make a fresh tomato sauce for pasta all summer long, and unfortunately it took the last of the summer tomatoes hanging around in October to make me remember what I almost skipped. Pasta with a fresh tomato sauce is incredibly delicious, easy, and refreshing in a way that pasta almost never is, and I’m so glad we finally made this that I’m going to share even though it is admittedly almost too late! If there are any last tomatoes left in your neck in the woods that are worth eating, go get them, and make yourself this dish.