Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Well hi, strangers! How is the holiday season treating you? If your days are anything like mine, it’s been a whirlwind so far. But a lovely, twinkly, holly jolly whirlwind. This time of year it’s a challenge to eat healthfully. Between parties and preparation, cookies and cocktails, it’s very tempting to say “to heck with it”, indulge with abandon and vow to do better in the new year. The problem with that strategy, of course, is that we wind up feeling a little…less than stellar during December. And in a month where we’re more likely to see old friends and family than any other, it would be nice to feel (and look) our best. Luckily, wholesome meals can easily fit into this busy holiday season. This Super Simple Skillet Shrimp is ready in a flash and is so tasty and filling you may just find the willpower to say no to the cookie tray.

Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Over the past year I’ve come to favor shrimp as my go-to salad protein. It cooks quickly and seems more inspired than plain old grilled chicken. This method has become my favorite way to prepare it. Four simple ingredients- shrimp, salt, pepper and butter, are all it takes. Since shrimp is so lean, I splurge by cooking it in a little butter. The butter solids brown and stick to the shrimp, creating a delicious crust. You’ll swear that there’s more going on, but I promise, it’s that easy. Your protein will be done within 10 minutes total and ready for whatever you have planned- salad, pasta or platter. I like to make a big batch on Sunday to put on salads throughout the week. Lunches at my desk are not quite as sad when I have yummy, and healthy, shrimp salad to look forward to.

As always, a couple of tips to make sure you get the best result: Make sure the shrimp is dry when you put it in the pan- you don’t want any residual moisture when you put it in the skillet. The yummiest part of this recipe are the brown bits of butter stuck to the shrimp and those won’t develop if your shrimp is wet. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Next, allow the butter to sizzle before putting the shrimp in the pan. The shrimp cook super fast, so if you don’t let the butter come up to temp before placing the shrimp in the pan, you won’t get those delightful browned bits. Finally, allow adequate space between shrimp while cooking. You don’t want them on top of one another. If needed, you can do it in two batches and add a tiny pat more butter if the skillet looks dry. It cooks quickly enough that the first batch will stay warm while you cook the second.

How are your preparations for the holiday going? I’ll be sharing some cookies and indulgent recipes in the coming weeks. Please let me know if you have any requests! My Grandma’s Anise Italian Cookies are always a must have. Happy Holidays, guys!

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Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp, patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

Make sure shrimp is thoroughly dry by patting with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the shrimp.

In large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Once sizzling, add shrimp in single layer, being sure to allow adequate room between shrimp. Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes, until pink on one side and butter solids have browned and stuck to shrimp. Flip shrimp and cook an additional minute. Shrimp may be cooked in batches if your skillet is not large enough to cook them all at once.

Serves 3-4.

Super Simple Skillet Shrimp


Citrus Scented Cranberry Sauce

Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Sweet and tart cranberry sauce infused with bright citrus juice and zest, this cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to your Thanksgiving dinner. And your leftover turkey sandwich, too!

Can you feel it? I certainly can. The holidays are breathing down our necks, inching closer as we speak. No matter how eagerly I await this time of year, or how early I start listening to Christmas music (November 1, thankyouverymuch. Yes, I’m one of those people), I always find myself unprepared when the holidays actually arrive. I dreamt last night that it was Thanksgiving afternoon at 2 and my mom, sister and I had done zero prep for our Thanksgiving dinner, which was to be served at 4. Needless to say, I’ve been making lists and plans all day long. If you’re in the same anxiety-ridden boat as me, you’ll be glad to get at least one dish out of the way as soon as possible. Thus, today I bring you citrus scented cranberry sauce, to soothe your nerves and grace your Thanksgiving table. Make it over the weekend, tuck it away in the fridge and sleep a little more soundly leading up to the big day.

Citrus Cranberry Sauce

If you’ve always relied on a can of cranberry sauce to provide the obligatory pop of red on your Thanksgiving table, try making your own this year. It is incredibly delicious and really couldn’t be simpler. Of course, homemade cranberry sauce doesn’t make the same plop when it hits your serving dish, but one taste of this and you won’t even miss the sound effects. Homemade cranberry sauce is a fun way to add some variety to a table full of old stand-bys. You can make it as sweet or as tart as you like and the possibilities for add-ins are endless. I’ve experimented with adding different nuts, fruits and spices and have enjoyed just about every variation. However, I really love the simplicity of a basic cranberry sauce infused with just a little bit of citrus zest and juice. I cut back on the amount of sugar used in most recipes, less for health reasons (because, let’s be real, who’s counting calories on Thanksgiving?) and more because I really like the tartness of the cranberries to shine through. The rest of Thanksgiving dinner is very rich, so a bright, citrusy cranberry sauce provides a delightful contrast. And if you mix it with a little mayo on Black Friday (or Thanksgiving night), it makes a killer spread for your leftover turkey sandwich.

Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Citrus Scented Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

In medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Once boiling, add cranberries, orange juice  and salt and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes, until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened. Stir in lemon and orange zest and lemon juice. Allow cranberry sauce to cool before transferring to storage container. Refrigerate until cold, up to one week.

Serves about 10

 

 


Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Smoothy, creamy and oh-so-decadent mashed potatoes are the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving table. Extra credit for being able to make them the day before.

Well folks, we made it to election day. Our country has been been mired in dissension and bitter opposition these past few months leading up to the election. It certainly hasn’t been pretty. It seems that we can’t agree on anything. Maybe that’s why we’ve established holiday rooted in gratefulness, family and unity each November after the tension of Election Day. Because if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s a good meal. Particularly carbs. Especially carbs. We are one nation, indivisible, with liberty and carbohydrates for all. Or something like that 😉

Politics aside, it’s time to get down to the real business of November. Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away! It’s time to start menu planning, list making, grocery shopping and nail biting. That last one is avoidable. While Thanksgiving dinner is arguably the most important meal to cook all year, it does not have to be the most stressful. I’ve got a handful of foolproof Turkey Day recipes coming your way to ease the anxiety over what to make and how to make it. I can’t say I can provide much in the way of assistance for annoying family members, but I do have two suggestions: 1- seat them as far away as you can manage and 2- pour an extra glass of wine (for you. or them. or both!)

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

First up are Perfect Mashed Potatoes. Hyperbole? Nope. They are really that good. Velvety smooth, creamy, rich and slightly garlicky. Plus, they can be completely prepared a day ahead and put in the oven to warm through on Thanksgiving. My biggest secret for not going absolutely bananas on Thanksgiving is to do as much ahead of time as I can. So a dish that can be prepped ahead of time is a lifesaver. However, I’m not going to sacrifice deliciousness for the sake of cleaning one less pot or pan on the big day. Fortunately, that’s not an issue with these mashed potatoes. These are hands down the yummiest mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted. I ruined my supper the day I made these, because I couldn’t stop sneaking one more bite.

These are slightly more high maintenance than my standard method for mashed potatoes, which involves leaving the skin on and mashing in the pot in which the potatoes cooked. However, this is Thanksgiving and  you can make them in their entirety ahead of time, so I think it’s worth the marginal extra effort. And truthfully, peeling the potatoes is the worst part. So pick that annoying cousin and stick them in the corner with a potato peeler and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Once the potatoes have boiled until tender, pass them through a potato ricer (which I think is really fun, so save that task for yourself. It’s the little things.) Stir in butter, cream cheese, heavy cream and two heads of roasted garlic. Drum up your reserves of self control as you ladle the prepared potatoes into a baking dish. Cover with foil and stick in the fridge until the next day. Remove the potatoes from the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them, to take some of the chill off. Dot the top of the potatoes with a little more butter and stick into the oven for about half an hour. This works out well, as they can wait to go in the oven until the turkey comes out to rest. Of course, you can prepare them right before serving and skip the oven, if  you prefer. Either way, once they are on the table you can enjoy, unbutton the top button of your pants and accept the compliments that come your way. Gobble Gobble!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut until large chunks (1 1/2 to 2 inches)
  • 2 heads roasted garlic (instructions to follow)
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions:

Place potatoes in large pot. Fill pot with cold water until potatoes are covered by at least 1 inch. Bring potatoes and water to a boil and boil until potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander.

Pass potatoes through a potato ricer back into the now empty pot. Stir in 2 sticks butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, roasted garlic, salt and pepper. Spray 9×13 dish with nonstick cooking spray and pour potatoes into dish. Cover with foil and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Alternatively, you can serve at this point, dotting the top of potatoes with remaining butter.

If potatoes have been refrigerated, remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to baking. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove foil from top of potatoes and dot the top of the potatoes with remaining 1/2 stick of butter. Bake about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are warmed through.

To Make Roasted Garlic: Cut the tops off of two heads of garlic. Place garlic in the center of a piece of foil and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold foil over garlic to make pouches. Roast at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until soft and golden. When ready to use, squeeze garlic cloves from paper.

Serves 12-14.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

 


Lighter Chicken Salad

Lighter Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t eat it often, mostly because of the whole calorie bomb factor, but I want to eat it all the time. A couple of months ago, after a tough day, I decided to throw caution to the wind and ordered a chicken salad hoagie from Wawa. It was heavenly. That is, until the angel on my shoulder innocently wondered exactly how damaging my mayo based revelry really was. Wouldn’t you know, Wawa provides nutritional information on their website. All I can say is…ouch. I enjoyed the first half of that sandwich. The second half was just as delicious but not nearly as enjoyable. I hate that.

Today’s recipe is my solution. I think this chicken salad is perfection. The dressing is a perfect balance of creaminess, sweetness and acidity. The chicken is roasted on the bone to ensure it stays juicy and flavorful. Crispy and crunchy accents abound in the form of veggies, seeds and nuts. I’ve tried a lot of “light” chicken salad recipes and have been disappointed in many of them. Greek yogurt is almost always used as a stand in for mayo (and makes an appearance in my recipe, too.) But the problem is, I know the difference between Greek yogurt and mayo. Using Greek yogurt alone results in an overly tangy, distinctly yogurt-y salad. No thanks. I use equal parts low-fat mayo and nonfat Greek yogurt to reap the lower calorie, protein rich benefits of the yogurt while enjoying the luscious creaminess of mayo. The dressing is rounded out with honey, apple cider vinegar and poppy seeds. I’ve stuck to traditional add-ins in this recipe, such as finely diced celery, shallots and almonds. However, if you want to get creative, you could add diced apples, halved grapes, dried cranberries, carrots or any type of nut you prefer. You could also get creative with the herbs you use- basil or tarragon would be delightful.

Lighter Chicken Salad

The abundance of mayo in traditional chicken salad can hide a lot of sins, particularly dry chicken. We’ll make sure that’s not an issue here by roasting bone in, skin on chicken breasts. This way we ensure the chicken stays moist, but still get the benefit of lean breast meat (we toss then skin.) As the chicken roasts, whisk together the dressing, dice the veggies and toast the almonds. Once the chicken is done and cool enough to handle, shred either with two forks or your fingers. I like the chicken in my chicken salad to be finely chopped, so that’s what I do. If you like bigger pieces, you do you. When you’re ready to serve, you have a multitude of options. I think it’s adorable as a light lunch or hors d’oeuvre on top of cucumber slices. I’ve been packing this chicken salad for work lunches this week on a bed of greens. Or, you can take advantage of all those calories you’re saving and serve on a nice toasty baguette. That will be a sandwich you can enjoy start to finish without a shred of guilt after.

Lighter Chicken Salad

Lighter Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb bone in, skin on chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s Light)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat chicken dry and place on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper over chicken. Roast 35-40 minutes, until meat registers 160 degrees. Once meat is cool enough to handle, shred using hands or two forks, then finely chop.

While chicken is roasting, toast almonds, chop vegetables and prepare dressing. To toast almonds, place them in skillet over medium heat and toast about 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch closely to ensure they don’t burn. To prepare dressing, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds and remaining salt and pepper.

Once chicken is chopped, combine with vegetables, dressing and parsley in a large bowl and toss until ingredients are evenly coated with dressing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately or chill to serve later.

Serves 6-8.

 

Lighter Chicken Salad


Trick or Treat Cookies

trick-or-treat-cookies

Trick or Treat Cookies are a perfect solution to all of that leftover Halloween candy. 

Happy Halloween! I love Halloween. Granted, I hate scary movies, haunted houses, being scared and just anything scary in general, but still, I love Halloween. Holidays are always packed with memories and my memories of Halloweens past just make me happy. When I was  young, my Aunt Diane would make beautiful, elaborate costumes for us (myself, my sister and my cousins) each year. It was a huge production. Once school started, we would brainstorm ideas, then make a trip to the fabric store (Joann Fabrics) to choose a pattern and material. My aunt worked full time as a dietitian, so she must have put in some serious late nights making 4-5 fancy costumes each fall. But if she minded, she never let on. As a result, I have fabulous memories of being exactly what I wanted to be each Halloween. Cinderella in her blue, sparkly satin ballgown? Check. Cheerleader? Check. Fancy-pants gypsy with sequins galore? Oh yeah. Dorothy, Hocus Pocus-style witch, American Girl doll? Yes, yes and yes. No wonder I’ve been disappointed in every costume store I’ve ever entered. I’ve had my own fairy Godmother. (I really wish my parents were in town this weekend, as I would ask them to scan some old pictures of my Halloween costumes! Check Instagram this week…)

trick-or-treat-cookies

 

Now that I’m too old to pass as a trick or treater, my Halloween highlights consist of admiring the creativity and general adorableness of the trick or treaters who come to my door. Living in a semi-rural area, those trick or treaters are few and far between. We’ve lived in our house 5 years and I think our record high is 5 trick or treaters. BUT. Our light is on! And we buy candy as if we’ll have 100 trick or treaters! So please, please, please, if you are in the neighborhood, come to my house with your princess, ghoul or goblin and I promise handful after handful of good candy. No tootsie rolls, pinky swear.

Inevitably, no matter how generously we dole out the candy, we are left with a veritable mountain of the stuff. Like, we’re still picking through it come Valentine’s Day. These cookies are my solution to that problem…or situation. I don’t know that excess candy is every really a problem. However you look at it, these cookies are a delicious way to use up all of the extra Halloween candy laying around once November hits. They’re so yummy that you could probably convince your kiddos to sacrifice some of their hard-earned loot to the cause. That just means you’ll have to share.

trick-or-treat-cookies

Start with a soft and chewy sugar cookie base and add a few handfuls of some leftover candy chopped into bite sized pieces. I highly recommend using chocolate based candy for this recipe, but if you want to be a trailblazer and put Starbursts in your cookies, be my guest. The white and semi-sweet chocolate drizzles on top of the cookies are completely optional, but I think they add a fun air of both decadence and seasonality to the cookies. I think they look a little bit like really delicious spiderwebs. These cookies are super versatile. In the coming months the recipe can be repurposed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, depending on your add-ins. But let’s take one holiday at a time. I hope you and your family have a fabulous and not-too-spooky Halloween!

 

trick-or-treat-cookies

Trick or Treat Cookies

A great way to use up leftover Halloween candy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate based Halloween candy, chopped into bite sized pieces if large
  • 4 oz white chocolate, melted
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375. Line two rimmed baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add egg and egg yolk and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture in 3 batches, allowing each addition to become incorporated before adding the next. Turn off mixer and add candy. Briefly mix on low speed to distribute candy throughout dough.

Roll dough into balls (about 2 Tbsp per cookie) and place on baking sheet. You should get about 24 cookies total. Bake 14-16 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are lightly brown.

Cool cookies on sheer for about 5 minutes, then move to baking racks to cool completely.

Once cookies are cooled, melt white and semi sweet chocolate one at a time. To melt chocolate, either use double boiler or microwave on 50% power for 1 1/2 minutes. If chocolate is not melted after 1 1/2 minutes in microwave, heat at 30 second intervals, stirring after each. Use fork to drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.


Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato and Bread Soup)

pappa-al-pomodoro

If you’re living the low-carb life right now, you might want to look away. Here, look, this Veggie Breakfast Hash is a low-carb dream. But if you stick around, be prepared to break all the low-carb rules. Because…I went and put a loaf of bread in our soup. Not just on it, in it. And I’m not even a little bit sorry. It’s SO stinkin’ good. Pappa al Pomodoro is an Italian tomato soup thickened with, you guessed it, bread. While this may not sound like anything particularly special, please trust me when I say this soup will make you a believer. I love all tomato soup, but this is by far my favorite way to eat it. Day old ciabatta bread is browned with the aromatic soup base and whisked into creamy tomato soup until dissolved. It’s very rich and hearty, so while it’s not an everyday recipe, it’s a perfect “sometimes” treat. Save the grilled cheese for another night- this soup is a meal all on its own.

pappa-al-pomodoro

Start by sautéing onion, celery, carrots and garlic in a combination of butter and olive oil. Add in some cubed, day old ciabatta and toast the bread for a few minutes to let it absorb some of the oil and flavor from the aromatics. I used a full teaspoon of red pepper flakes because I like the way the heat stands up to the bread and cream. But if you are heat-sensitive, scale it back to a half a teaspoon, or a tiny pinch, or omit entirely. Use a blender or food processor to puree canned San Marzano tomatoes (this soup is made of humble, inexpensive ingredients. Spring for the fancy tomatoes, they’re worth it.) Add the tomatoes, some chicken broth and dry red wine to the pot along with a bay leaf and some basil. As the soup simmers away, the bread will soften in the liquid. When ready to serve, use a whisk to break down the bread, which will thicken the soup. Top it off with some heavy cream because: a- it’s delicious and b- at this point, why not? Serve with some homemade croutons, courtesy of the remaining ciabatta. Simple, hearty and so much more delicious than the sum of its parts, this Pappa al Pomodoro is sure to become a cold weather favorite in your household.

pappa-al-pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 loaf day old ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 2 28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, pulsed until coarsely pureed in food processor
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper

Croutons:

  • 1/2 loaf day old ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper

Instructions:

Heat butter and olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook 7-8 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute, until garlic is fragrant. Add bread and toss with aromatics. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, red wine and chicken broth to the pot. Stir in bay leaf and basil. Season with 2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Allow soup to come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook about 40-45 minutes. While soup is simmering, prepare croutons (instructions below). When ready to serve soup, remove bay leaf and use whisk to beat soup until bread is dissolved and broken down. Stir in heavy cream. Taste soup and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. Top with croutons and fresh basil.

To prepare croutons, heat oven to 375. On sheet pan, toss ciabatta cubes, olive oil, cheese,salt and pepper until bread cubes are well coated. Spread into single layer and cook until crisp, about 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Serves 6-8

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten

pappa-al-pomodoro


Truffled Pappardelle with Pancetta and Asparagus

truffled-pappardelle-with-pancetta-and-asparagusHave you carried over any routines from your childhood household to your adult life? I have retained so many that I’m 95% sure I have morphed into my mother. (Which is a pretty awesome thing, my mom is the best!) For example, like my mother before me, my Thursday nights are for cleaning the house while Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune play in the background. The first 15 minutes after arriving home from work are reserved for a fresh cup of coffee and a magazine. And Friday nights are “no cook” nights. While there were occasional Friday evenings where we had tuna noodle casserole, by and large our Friday nights were pizza nights. Nothing was so simultaneously thrilling (pizza!) or terrifying (I didn’t want to open the door and awkwardly pay the delivery guy) as seeing the Pizza Hut delivery car pull into the driveway.

For the past 5 years, my husband and I have carried on the Friday night pizza tradition. However, in the past few months pizza hasn’t really been hitting the spot. I want something…else. Sometimes we’ll pick up Chinese from the place around the corner. Other times, if I’m reeaaally nice, I can convince Justin to drive out to our favorite Thai restaurant to grab takeout. And no, I really don’t feel like eating out on Fridays. For one, I’m exhausted, and two, my cats have been home by themselves all week and need our attention, thankyouverymuch. Surprisingly, the most satisfying Friday night dinners in recent history have been the ones where I’ve gotten over my initial weariness, poured myself a glass of wine and gotten to work in the kitchen. Maybe it’s the little thrill of bucking tradition. More likely it’s been the phenomenal and phenomenally easy pasta dinners I’ve thrown together. Today’s Truffled Pappardelle with Pancetta and Asparagus is one such home run.

truffle-papardelle-with-pancetta-and-asparagus

This recipe was inspired by the meal I ordered at our anniversary dinner a few weeks ago at  Chow Bistro. It’s one of those recipes that is delicious and impressive and has the added bonus of being unexpectedly simple to make. Perfectly al dente pasta is tossed with crisp bits of pancetta, lightly charred asparagus and coated with savory, slightly funky (in the best way) truffle butter. Plus, it’s topped with a fried egg. Fried eggs = happiness in my book. If truffle butter is a deal breaker for you, or if you simply can’t find it, you can easily substitute browned butter. The result is a rich and special occasion-worthy pasta dish that is done within 30 minutes. Go ahead and invite some friends over for a weeknight or Friday night dinner- they’ll think you’re a rockstar with this meal.

Pappardelle is a medium wide egg pasta usually sold in adorable little “nests.” The cute factor obviously makes it that much more tasty. While the water is coming up to a boil and the pasta cooks, diced pancetta is browned in a large skillet. Once the pancetta is crisp, remove it from the skillet and rest in a bowl lined with paper towels. Toss the asparagus into the skillet and quickly cook it in the fat rendered from the pancetta. If you have time before the pasta is done, you can take the asparagus out of the skillet, fry the eggs and set them aside. Otherwise you can quickly fry them up after the pasta is plated. Once the pasta is done, toss it into the skillet with a generous amount of truffle butter, the asparagus and pancetta and toss until everything is coated in decadent, buttery goodness. Shave parmesan over the pasta, top each serving with a fried egg and eat! Give this a try one Friday night, or any night. The only loser here is the local pizza shop- they’ll miss you!

truffle-papardelle-with-pancetta-and-asparagus

Truffled Pappardelle with Pancetta and Asparagus

If you cannot find or do not like truffle butter, you can substitute an equal amount of browned butter. Truffle butter can be found near finishing butters in grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • 9-10 oz dried pappardelle pasta (1 package)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 1 bunch asparagus, about 1 lb, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 Tbsp truffle butter (or browned butter, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs

Instructions:

Fill large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add salt to water. Add pappardelle and cook until al dente, per package instructions (around 7 minutes.) When pasta is done, reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water and drain.

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add pancetta to skillet and cook until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove pancetta from skillet to bowl lined with paper towels. Add asparagus to skillet and cook until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Season asparagus with salt and pepper. Remove asparagus from skillet and add eggs. Season with salt and pepper and fry until the whites are set and yolk remains runny. Set eggs aside.

Reduce heat under skillet to medium. Add truffle butter, pasta, pancetta and asparagus. Cook until truffle butter is melted and all ingredients are coated. Taste and season again with salt and pepper. If the pasta looks dry, add reserved pasta water in small increments until you reach desired consistency. Note that this will not be a heavily sauced pasta.

Portion pasta onto plates and top each serving with parmesan and fried egg.

Serves 3-4

truffle-papardelle-with-pancetta-and-asparagus