Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard

1 pound penne, rigatoni or medium shells
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat. Serve at once.

Penne with Smoked Chicken, Zucchini, and Green Beans

1 pound penne rigate
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound young green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths and blanched until al dente
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1 1/2 -by-1/3-inch sticks
2 shallots, thinly sliced 1 pound boneless smoked chicken breast—skinned, trimmed of fat and shredded
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the mascarpone and sherry vinegar. Cook over low heat until melted; keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive skillet. Add the green beans and zucchini and sauté until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened. Add the smoked chicken and crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook just until warmed through.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the vegetables and the mascarpone sauce; add some of the reserved cooking liquid if the pasta seems dry. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Macaroni Gratin

3 quarts whole milk
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 pound ridged penne pasta
2 trays of ice cubes
1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyère cheese (3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced chives

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and garlic. Warm the milk over high heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Measure out 1 cup of milk and reserve; set aside the rest.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, without browning, for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the reserved 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is completely smooth. Season with a large pinch of salt and generous gratings of white pepper and nutmeg. Return the pan to low heat and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it’s thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt.

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

3/4 pound spaghetti
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
Salt

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cheeses.

Return the pasta to the pot. Working quickly, add 6 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, 2 tablespoons at a time, alternating with the cheeses; toss well to thoroughly coat the pasta between additions. Sprinkle on the black pepper and season the pasta with salt; toss again.

Ravioli Lasagna

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 sweet Italian pork or turkey sausages (12 ounces), casings removed
One 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
1/2 cup water
Two 14-ounce packages fresh cheese ravioli
One 14-ounce package fresh spinach-and-cheese ravioli
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (3 cups)
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 pounds mixed roasted or grilled vegetables, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 375°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sausage meat and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and the water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the packages of fresh ravioli to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the ravioli and return them to the pot. Add the sausage marinara and toss gently with the ravioli to coat.

Spoon one-third of the ravioli and sauce into a 3-quart baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan. Layer another one-third of the ravioli on top, followed by all of the vegetables, 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan. Top with the remaining ravioli, spooning on any remaining sauce and sausage. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan on top and cover with foil.

Bake the ravioli lasagna for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Uncover and bake for 25 minutes longer, until lightly browned and bubbling. Let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. The baked lasagna can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Four-Cheese Spaghetti Bake

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
1/2 pound imported Fontina, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound mozzarella, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/4 pound Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and spread the spaghetti on a baking sheet; let cool.

In a large bowl, toss the Fontina with the mozzarella and Gruyère. Spread one third of the spaghetti in the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixed cheeses and half of the Gorgonzola over the spaghetti and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of spaghetti, mixed cheeses, Gorgonzola and salt and pepper. Top with the remaining spaghetti and mixed cheeses.

Basic Stir-Fry Sauce

1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a jar with a tight lid (must hold 2 cups of liquid), combine all of the stir fry sauce ingredients together and shake well.

This sauce should keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

To use:

MARINATE YOUR PROTEIN

Marinate 12 ounces of sliced beef, chicken or pork with:

2 tablespoons water
A pinch or more of baking soda (for beef only)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

PREPARE AROMATICS

Mince 3 cloves of garlic, grate a teaspoon of ginger, and perhaps slice 1 or 2 scallions into 2-inch lengths.

SLICE VEGETABLES

Prepare the vegetables ahead of time, slicing celery, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and/or broccoli. Use whatever you like and make sure to cut the vegetables small/thinly enough so that they’ll cook quickly (i.e. a couple of minutes).

PREPARE YOUR THICKENER

2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

SEAR MEAT

Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to your hot wok (it should be almost smoking). Add the meat, sear on both sides, and set aside.

ASSEMBLE STIR-FRY

Add another tablespoon of oil and add the garlic and ginger. (If you also sliced scallions, you can add the white parts of the scallion at this stage.)

After a few seconds, add the vegetables and stir fry for 1 minute or until just softened.

And add in the seared meat.

Bring to a boil and stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon (you may need a little more or a little less cornstarch slurry depending on how much sauce you added and how high your heat is). Add the green parts of your scallions (if using), and cook for another 15 to 20 seconds.

Serve over rice.

Sesame Noodles

1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused or Sugarmaker’s Cut Maple Syrup
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 lb spaghetti
3/4 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
3 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Put the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup in a blender and pulse until blended.

Boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti until just al dente. Drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking then combine with the sesame sauce.

In a smaller pot, blanche the asparagus by cooking in boiling water for two minutes then removing them to a bowl of ice water. Drain and add to pasta.

To serve, put room-temperature noodles and asparagus in a bowl and top with scallions and extra sesame seeds. Serve extra soy sauce on the side to taste.

*Adapted from a recipe for Peanut Sesame Noodles, Gourmet, June 2002

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

12 ounces fettuccine or other long pasta
Kosher salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

Transfer 1 cup pasta cooking liquid to a large skillet. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in butter, a piece at a time, until melted. Whisking constantly, gradually add cheese, making sure it’s completely melted and incorporated before adding more. Add pasta and toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce blankets noodles completely. Serve topped with pepper and more cheese.

From Bon Appetit.

Best Lasagna

Ragù Bolognese

2 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef chuck (20% fat)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. pancetta or slab bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
Béchamel

7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk
4 oz. Parmesan, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 1/4 lb. dried lasagna noodles (we like De Cecco since they are wide and short)
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil (for greasing)

Ragù Bolognese

Preheat oven to 225°. Mix pork and beef with your hands in a large bowl; season generously with salt and pepper, then mix again. Form into about 18 large meatballs (they don’t need to be perfect—you’ll be mashing them later).

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, cook meatballs, turning occasionally and reducing heat if bottom of pot looks in danger of scorching, until browned all over, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet as they’re done.

Reduce heat to medium. Add pancetta and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly completely evaporated, 4–5 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands, and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is jammy and reduced by about half, 8–10 minutes. Add broth and milk and return meat to pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover pot, leaving lid slightly ajar, and transfer to oven. Bake sauce (no need to stir, but check after 1–2 hours to ensure liquid is at a low simmer, adjusting oven temperature as needed) until meatballs are falling-apart tender, 3–4 hours.

Using a potato masher, break meatballs apart and incorporate into liquid (you should have about 8 cups ragù); season with salt and pepper. Reduce over medium-low heat if needed to thicken.

Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 4 days ahead; let cool, then cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.
Béchamel

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until flour begins to smell a bit nutty, about 4 minutes. Quickly whisk in milk and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until béchamel thickens, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking occasionally, until smooth and velvety, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in Parmesan, cayenne, and nutmeg (you should have about 6 cups); season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and use within 1 hour or chill.

Do Ahead: Béchamel can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Rewarm just enough to loosen before using.
Assembly

Preheat oven to 325°. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally and separating noodles so they don’t stick to each other, until just starting to soften but still snap in half rather than bend when folded; 3 minutes is the magic number. They will be so firm it will just seem all wrong, but this is what separates al dente lasagna layers from gummy ones. Transfer noodles to a large bowl of cold water to cool. Drain and lie flat in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, separated by parchment or wax paper.

Lightly oil a 13×9″ glass or ceramic baking dish. Spread 1½ cups ragù in dish. Lay a single layer of noodles over ragù (you will need to cut some noodles in half in order to fill all gaps). Spoon 1¼ cups béchamel over noodles, spreading in an even layer with a small offset spatula. Top béchamel with 1½ cups ragù. Repeat, creating 5 layers of pasta (or 6, depending on how deep your pan is) and ending with remaining 1 cup béchamel. It should come right to the top edge of the dish, and the top layer of pasta will get super crunchy when baked.

Cover with a lightly oiled piece of foil and set on a rimmed baking sheet (just to catch drips). Bake lasagna until bubbling gently around the edges, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 425°; carefully place rack in top of oven. Uncover and continue to bake until top is browned and crisp around the edges, 10–15 minutes.

Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Bon Appetit

Lasagna Bolognese

Bolognese Sauce

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 pound ground pork
4 oz. pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup whole milk
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
Fresh Pasta Dough and Noodles

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour plus more
4 large eggs, room temperature

Béchamel

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Kosher salt
Assembly

Kosher salt
Unsalted butter, room temperature (for dish)
2 cups finely grated Parmesan

Bolognese Sauce

Pulse onion, carrot, and celery in a food processor until finely chopped.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add beef, pork, pancetta, and vegetables; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until moisture is almost completely evaporated and meat is well browned, 25–30 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Add wine to pot and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, about 2 minutes. Add milk; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until moisture is almost completely evaporated, 8–10 minutes. Add tomatoes and 2 cups broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, adding water by ½-cupfuls if sauce looks dry, until flavors meld and sauce thickens, 2½–3 hours.

Let sauce cool, then cover and chill at least 12 hours or up to 2 days. (Letting the sauce sit will give it a deeper, richer flavor.)

DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Fresh Pasta Dough and Noodles

Whisk salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl, make a well in the center, and crack eggs into well. Mix eggs with a fork, then slowly mix in flour until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting lightly with flour if sticky, until smooth, about 5 minutes (it will be fairly stiff). Wrap in plastic; let sit until dough holds an indentation when pressed, 1–2 hours.

Set pasta maker to thickest setting; dust lightly with flour. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping remaining dough wrapped in plastic as you work, flatten dough into a narrow rectangle (no wider than mouth of machine); pass through rollers. Fold dough as needed to fit and run through again. Repeat without folding, adjusting machine to thinner settings after every pass and dusting with flour if sticky, until pasta sheet is 1/16” thick (setting 8 on most machines). Place pasta sheets on a lightly floured surface and cut crosswise into 16 8”-long noodles.

DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 1 day ahead; chill. Bring to room temperature before rolling out, about 1 hour. Noodles can be made 1 day ahead. Stack on a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper between each layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
Béchamel

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in warm milk, ½-cupful at a time. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking often, until the consistency of cream, 8–10 minutes; add nutmeg and season with salt. Remove from heat, transfer to a medium bowl, and press plastic wrap directly onto surface; let cool slightly.

DO AHEAD: Béchamel can be made 1 day ahead. Keep covered and chill.

Reheat the sauces. Combine Bolognese sauce and remaining 1 cup broth in a large saucepan over medium heat, and heat until sauce is warmed through.

Meanwhile, if you made the béchamel ahead of time, heat in a medium saucepan over low heat just until warmed through (you don’t want to let it boil).

Working in batches, cook fresh lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until just softened, about 10 seconds. Remove carefully with tongs and transfer to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain noodles and stack on a baking sheet, with paper towels between each layer, making sure noodles don’t touch (they’ll stick together).

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 13×9” baking dish with butter.

Spread 1/4 cup béchamel in the prepared baking dish. Top with a layer of noodles, spread over a scant 3/4 cup Bolognese sauce, then 1/2 cup béchamel, and top with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat process 7 more times, starting with noodles and ending with Parmesan, for a total of 8 layers. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake lasagna until bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 50–60 minutes. Let lasagna sit 45 minutes before serving.

DO AHEAD: Lasagna can be assembled 12 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Let sit at room temperature 2 hours before baking. Cook, covered with foil until the last 20 minutes, then finish cooking uncovered.

Homemade pasta is great: It’s rich and can be rolled very thin. But of course it’s not your only option: Fresh store-bought: Available in the refrigerated section of specialty stores and Italian grocers. Usually a bit thicker than what our recipe calls for but still a good choice. Buy 1 1/2 pounds. Sizes vary by shop; if needed, trim the noodles during assembly to fill the pan without much overlap. Dried: If you spot imported dried egg noodles, they’re worth the splurge, but standard supermarket durum wheat will work just fine (avoid no-boil, though). Supermarket noodles are thicker, so make fewer layers. Cook 24 noodles (1–1½ boxes) per package instructions; divide sauces evenly among 6 layers. Trim noodles as needed.

Source: Bon Appetit

Baked Pasta with Cheddar and Spiced Onions

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne, plus more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
3 fat garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 pound small pasta, such as rotini or shells
3/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro (or use a combination of cilantro and parsley), plus more for serving
8 ounces shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned in spots, 12 to 20 minutes. (Reduce heat if the pan starts to scorch.) Lower heat to medium, and stir in coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 more minute. Transfer half the onions to a bowl and reserve (leave the bay leaf in the skillet).

Add garlic, cumin seeds, pepper and allspice to the skillet, and stir. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the juice from the canned tomatoes. Use your hands or kitchen scissors to squish or cut the tomatoes into pieces and add to pan. Fill the empty tomato can with water, and pour into the skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste, and add more salt and cayenne if you like. Remove bay leaf.

As mixture cooks, heat oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just about 2 minutes shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain pasta.

Stir pasta, reserved pasta water, and parsley into skillet with tomato sauce. Top with reserved browned onions, Cheddar and Parmesan. Transfer to oven and bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. If you like, you can run the pan under the broil to brown the top, or leave it as is. Let cool slightly, top with more parsley, if desired, and serve with hot sauce, if you like.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

FOR THE MACARONI AND CHEESE:
1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar cheese, grated
12 ounces fontina or Gruyère, grated

FOR THE TOPPING (OPTIONAL):
1 cup coarse bread crumbs or panko
4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until it’s barely al dente. (It should be more al dente than your average pasta: It’s going to continue to cook in the oven.) Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium pot over medium heat. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is foamy and just starting to turn a light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk to avoid clumping. Add garlic, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly and paying special attention to the edges of the pot to make sure the flour mixture is totally incorporated.

Add grated cheese and whisk to blend until the cheese is completely melted. (The sauce will seem thick at first and thin out as the cheese melts; it will thicken while it bakes.) Season with salt and pepper and add cooked pasta, stirring to coat well.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (to catch any cheesy drips).

Make the optional topping: Combine bread crumbs, melted butter and Parmesan, if using, in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using your hands, mix well to ensure the bread crumbs are evenly coated.

Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to a 3-quart or 9 x 13 baking dish and scatter bread crumbs, if using, evenly over the top. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until macaroni and cheese is bubbling, thickened and creamy, and bread crumbs are evenly golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

1/4 pound diced Apple Smoked Bacon (optional) (we like Hobbs)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, (3-4 tablespoons if not using bacon)
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound Royal Corona or Cassoulet beans, soaked 6-8 hours
4 cups homemade chicken stock or your favorite canned chicken stock
6-8 cups water if necessary
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 cup pasta (your choice shape such as little tubes or broken papardelli noodles
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Da Vero Lemon Olive Oil to drizzle
Vella Dry Jack to grate to taste over the “fazool”

In a large heavy bottom soup pot, sauté bacon until browned. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Discard all but about 1-2 tablespoons bacon fat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or start with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil if you are not using bacon).

Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, stock, oregano, and return bacon to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until beans are tender, about 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on freshness of beans). You may add water if necessary.

Add pasta and continue cooking until al dente. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and allow the “fazool” to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to concentrate the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Drizzle individual bowls with lemon olive oil, and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup tomato sauce (you can use your favorite)
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans, or another creamy white bean
1 cup stock (Try chicken stock and bean broth, half and half)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 pound short, flat pasta (I broke up tagliatelle nests)
1 head escarole, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 3 or 4 as a light main dish

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, beans, stock, and rosemary sprig and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently for another 10–15 minutes to combine the flavors.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, using plenty of salted water. Drain the pasta.

Remove the rosemary sprig from the sauce, then mix in the drained pasta; add the escarole and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Classic Pasta Fagioli

Serves 4-6

1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians (Or try Whole Durum Wheat or Spelt pasta from Baia)
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
4 cups bean broth from the cooked beans (If you have less than four cups, make up the difference with chicken broth)
4 oz pancetta, cubed or roughly chopped
1 tbs of lard (or 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 carrot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

As you prepare the beans, make sure you have plenty of liquid on hand when they are done as this will be the basis for your sauce.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the soffritto. Melt the lard (or olive oil) in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Slowly fry the pancetta until fragrant and chewy. Once cooked, remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel. If needed, add more olive oil so there is enough fat to fry the aromatic vegetables.

Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft and the onion is turning golden colored.

Add the tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the paste is heated through and the tomato flavor is intensified.

Add the bean broth and rosemary sprig and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or so. The liquid should start to reduce.

Cook the pasta in a large stockpot in salted water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Add the drained pasta, beans, and reserved pancetta to the soffritto mixture, mix well and gently cook for a few minutes to marry the various flavors.

Serve immediately with a splash of peppery extra virgin olive oil. Pass around a bowl of grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese for the guests to help themselves.

New Year Noodle Soup with Chickpeas, Beans, and Lentils

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 long red chili OR green serrano, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 1/2 cups / 2 liters good-tasting vegetable stock/broth

100g / 3.5 oz yellow split peas or brown lentils
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if using canned
2 cups / 350g cooked borlotti beans

fine grain sea salt

120 g thin egg noodles, fresh or dried
3 1/2 oz / 100g fresh spinach leaves, finely shredded
1/2 cup finely shredded cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
juice of one lime

Toppings:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
100 ml sour cream or creme fraiche
50g / scant 2 ounces of toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat the oil in a large, thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the chile and cook until they soften, a few minutes. Add the spices and cook for another thirty seconds, just long enough for them to toast a bit, then stir in the stock. Bring to a boil and add the split peas/lentils to the pot. Cook until they are just tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and borlotti beans. Once the beans have heated throughout, season with salt to taste.

In the meantime, you can prepare the toppings. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat along with a couple big pinches of salt. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 8 – 10+ minutes. Set aside.

Just before you’re ready to eat, add the noodles to the simmering soup and cook until al dente. Stir in the spinach, and cilantro and dill. Add a big squeeze of lime to the pot or serve wedges along with each bowl of soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Serve right away, each bowl topped with a big spoonful of caramelized onions, some creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of walnuts.

Italian Meatball Soup

1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 cup carrots diced 1/4-inch
1/2 cup celery diced 1/4-inch
1/4 cup onion finely diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste optional
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
28 oz can diced tomatoes undrained,preferably fire-roasted
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or 1 tsp basil and 1/4 tsp of thyme and oregano leaves
Parmesan rind or 3/4-inch cube of Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
20 frozen, fully cooked Italian meatballs about 1 inch *see notes
3/4 cup ditalini pasta or other small pasta
4 cups baby spinach
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat on the stovetop. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, if using and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender (taste to be sure). Discard bay leaf.
Pour in can of tomatoes. Add Italian seasoning, Parmesan rind, if using, and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine. Add meatballs. Continue simmering soup another 15 minutes, to allow the flavours to come together.
Add pasta and simmer a further 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper and/or Italian seasoning, as needed. Remove from heat and stir in baby spinach until wilted.
Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.

Recipe Notes
Leftovers will thicken in the fridge. Thin when reheating with a little more chicken stock or water.

If you can’t find fully cooked frozen Italian meatballs, you can use fresh and pre-cook them before adding to soup.

Crockpot option! Add all ingredients except pasta and spinach to your slow cooker. Cook covered on low for 5-6 hours. Add pasta and cook, covered an additional 15-20 minutes. Stir in baby spinach until wilted, then serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

If you want to up the fibre quotient, some white or red kidney beans would not be out of place in this soup.

Like some heat with your warm soup? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes when you are sauteeing the vegetables.

Spring Pea Pasta with Lemon and Shiso

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces dried orecchiette or shell pasta (or two batches of this fresh orecchiette)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Vermont Creamery mascarpone (Greek yogurt or Vermont Creamery crème fraîche work well, too)
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup finely sliced shiso leaves (or mint, if unavailable), plus more for garnish

Combine oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic in a small skillet or saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add the orecchiette and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. (The pasta should still have quite a bit of bite; it will continue to cook in the sauce.)Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add the peas, lemon zest and juice, reserved garlic-oil mixture, and 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the pasta. Stir until pasta is well-coated with oil and no water remains in the bottom of the pot.

Add the mascarpone, Parmesan, and shiso leaves. Toss until the cheeses melt and evenly coat the pasta. If needed, loosen the pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.

Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper to taste, then serve, with extra Parmesan on the side and more shiso, if desired. Enjoy!

Pasta con Fagioli

8 ounces campanelle or other short pasta
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 15½-ounce cans Roman beans (see note), drained but not rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 ounces Pecorino romano cheese, grated (1 cup)

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water, then drain and rinse with cold water until cool; set aside.

Wipe out the pot and return it medium-high. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Add the tomatoes, then cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and have burst, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, sliced fennel and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, broth and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. If needed, add the remaining reserved cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time to reach the proper consistency. Off heat, stir in the lemon zest and juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the cheese and additional oil for drizzling.