Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

fake-baked ziti: confessions of a carb criminal

Sometimes the weekend rolls around and I want to break all dietary rules. I know, I know, I am adult, female, American and it is practically illegal to eat carbohydrates, sugar, salt, and most definitely fresh, whole milk mozzarella cheese. But Saturday and Sunday are my days off from the gym regimen, and so, the gut craves a break too. Thankfully, I am the parent of young, thin, energy-crazed children and I can conveniently hide behind the maternal guise of feeding them and indulge in deliciously goopy pasta dishes. Luckily, no kid will turn down mountains of melted cheese plus mine are well trained to know they get chocolate at the end of their meal if they eat, no questions asked. Either way, I get carte blanche to indulge in my carb cravings without getting lynched.For these quick “kid” moments, I turn to Rachael Ray. I know Rachael has gotten her share of mixed reviews, and, perhaps I too was guilty of some unresolved issues regarding her extreme perkiness (I’ll blame that boundless energy on her not having kids). Still, I met Rachael several times during my brief writing stint on her magazine, and I can thankfully report to all you skeptics out there that she is a genuinely nice, cheerful person (without the need of caffeine). She certainly gets things done, and can whip up a fast and tasty meal, even if (and especially because) she does it in a non-conventional way. Her dishes aren’t complicated nor pretend to be. They are just easy and they work. And that is part of her perky charm. Baked Ziti is just the ticket to carb comfort. It has several steps to it, but they are all manageable and worth the gooey outcome. When you are done, simply draw the curtains so the carb police doesn’t see. If you have a couple of kids, add them to the formula to make the whole process more believable. Then, sit down with a nice class of red wine and a crisp green salad (for guilt’s sake) and enjoy! You’ll jog it off later.

sicilian pantry pasta: when your pantry saves the day

Day was slow. Rainy. Glum. Humidity promising right around the climate corner. I shouldn’t complain, I know. Flights are being cancelled left and right up north because of freezing cold weather and I get feisty when there is a trace of mugginessBut I can’t help myself. It is March and I’ve carelessly grown used to the two months when South Florida has pleasant weather: a short two months where you can actually roll down a car window, possibly walk somewhere without shvitzing. Who am I kidding. Who the hell walks in South Florida? But you get the gist. It’s the one time of the year my bra isn’t sticky, and that in itself is worth celebrating.So the crimp in the weather has put me in a bit of a fowl mood. It’s easy for me to lose perspective, I know. We have no food and I don’t feel like getting any. I just don’t feel like going out. So I open the pantry and peer. Hell, I have got a lot of stuff in there I never give the time of day. I open the fridge to find a few wilted items. Like watching a sorry Wimbeldon culinary match, my head moves left (to panty) and right (to fridge). Left. Right. Left. Right. Before I know it, I’ve got myself a matchpoint. And it only took 15 minutes.