Squid Ink Pasta

Food & Nostalgia 

 

squid ink pastaA relationship with a grandparent is very unique. They’re allowed to impart life lessons, without having to carry all of the burden or responsibilities of a parent, unless of course you were raised by your grandparent.  Both of my parents worked full time during my younger years, so my grandmother took on full parental responsibilities. As a result we have a very close relationship. I spent many summers living with her, sharing a room, and stories. She was my roommate, my best friend, my inspiration, my mom, and my grandma. She was stern with me growing up, but I am who I am today for fear of ever disappointing her.  Parents, want to know how you can get your kids to refrain from drugs and alcohol? Guilt! My grandmother has friends EVERYWHERE!! I never behaved badly, for fear of her ever finding out, and tarnishing how she thought of me.  While kids picked on me at school for being over weight, my grandmother always made me feel special, to her I was always #1.  She is a great cook, and it is because of her that I love to cook so much. Every time I cook, I think of her and our summers together.

My boyfriend often speaks of his grandfather, who sadly passed away a few years ago.  While his grandfather was a tough Italian man, my boyfriend’s fondest memories of him were made in the kitchen.  He loved his Italian cooking, and advice about food.  To take my boyfriend back to that special time, I prepared a dish his grandfather was known for, squid ink pasta.  While he used a squid ink sauce, I used fresh squid ink pasta.  The squid ink gives the pasta it’s dark color and unique shine.  This dish is simple to make, because most of the work has already been done for you.  I found the squid ink pasta at my local Italian market, Marios in Glendale, CA.  Many Italian markets carry specialty pastas with unique flavors.  The squid ink gives the pasta a seafood flavor, so you do not need to add much to the dish.  I added good quality olive oil, graded parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and capers.  I topped the dish with fresh parmiginao-reggiano and plated with prossciutto.  I surprised him when he got home, and he was taken back immediately to times with his grandfather.

Ingredients:

Parmigiano-reginao

Graded parmesan

Jarred capers

Squid ink pasta

Red Pepper Flakes

Olive Oil

Instructions:

Boil water. Add salt, and a drizzle of olive oil to boiling water.  Add pasta, and cook for 8 minutes or until pasta is aldente (has a bite to it)

Drain pasta. Add back to pot. Add olive oil, red pepper flakes, graded parmesan, and mix.

Add pasta to dish. Top with capers, and graded parmigiano.

Enjoy!

Food means many different things to different people, but for most it’s comforting.  Food can work as a time machine, taking you back to a time with loved ones.  I hope you enjoy this dish with your loved ones.

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What’s For Dinner? Simple & Fresh Flavors

Flavors From Your Past

Italian SandwichGrowing up in Glendale, California there was no shortage of Persian and Armenian markets.  It was convenient for me to get everything I needed to make the Persian dishes I grew up on.  For my boyfriend it’s been a little harder to find that taste of home.  He grew up on the East Coast with an Italian deli always in close proximity.  He went to college in Boston, where he could grab his Italian favorites.  Living in L.A. was an adjustment, but with the opening of Jersey Mike’s and Rita’s Italian Ice he felt a little more at home.

Anyone who cooks dinner multiple nights a week will tell you that it’s easy to run out of ideas.  Coming up with a new menu plan for the week can become challenging after a while.  I look for inspiration every where.  If we go out to dinner, and enjoy a meal I will attempt to recreate it at home.  While attempting to plan this week’s meals I looked for inspiration from my boyfriend’s time in Boston.  Many times he spoke of this amazing sandwich he loved from the East End of Boston.  The sandwich sounded simple, and easy enough to make.  To make this sandwich more than ordinary it would take fresh ingredients.  Fortunately I know of an Italian Deli in Glendale.  Mario’s offers many Italian imports, serving everything from fresh bread to gnocchi and homemade marinara.  I was able to pick up everything I needed, plus some extra pastas for just $20.

Follow the simple instructions below to make a light and easy meal.  This sandwich travels well too, making it the perfect meal for a lunch in the park or office.

031What you’ll need:

Fresh French Bread
Fresh Mozzarella
Organic Basil
Organic Tomato
Prosciutto sliced
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar

Preparation:032

Make sure to rinse all your produce and pat try with a paper or clean hand towel
Slice tomato into thin slices
Cut bread loaf in half
Slice Mozzarella
Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over your tomato slices, mozzarella slices, basil, and the inside of the bread slices.
Sprinkle pepper over the mozzarella and tomato.
Sprinkle garlic salt over the tomatoes.
Stack your sandwich any way you like, piling up your ingredients.
Slice and serve! It’s that easy.

Enjoy 🙂

For more simple recipes visit the Feed Me portion of the Meeshme.com website.

Happy Dining XOXO

Stuffed Me~shells

stuffed shells

Stuffed me~shells

Stuffed shells is a popular Italian dish.  The traditional stuffed shell is pretty simple, and easy to make.  Traditionally restaurants are home cooks, stuff cooked pasta shells with a ricotta (cheese) mixture, top them with marinara sauce, and serve.  Stuffed Me~shells are different.  I recently had the opportunity to serve a true Italian my version of the classic, my boy friend’s father in New Jersey.  He questioned my methods at first, but after tasting them quickly became a fan.  I have had the opportunity to serve these shells to a variety of guests, all who preferred them over the original recipe.  Here is how my recipe differs:

Ingredients:

1 package large pasta shells

1 package lean ground meat

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 bunch fresh spinach

1 small carton ricotta cheese

1 package shredded mozzarella

Parmesan Cheese

1 onion

salt, pepper, garlic salt

1 jar marinara sauce or make your own

Directions:

I always start by boiling the water.  Add salt to the water to add flavor to the pasta.  When the water comes to a boil, throw in the package of shells.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is aldente.  You will be backing the pasta later, so it’s better that the pasta be a little on the firm side.

While the pasta is cooking, empty the package of ground meat to a sauce pan.  You can add a small amount of oil to the ban, so that the meat doesn’t stick.  Season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic salt or powder.  Chop one white onion, and the bell peppers.  Add the onions and bell peppers to the meat mixture.  Brown. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the marinara sauce.  Mix.

Take the bunch of spinach, and remove the leaves from the stems.  Rinse. In a separate pan, throw in the spinach with a bit of salt.  Let cook until the leaves wilt.  Take the spinach and drain.  Mix the spinach with the carton of ricotta cheese, a few handfuls of mozzarella cheese, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Take a deep baking pan, and layer the bottom with the marinara sauce.  Take a pasta shell and fill it partially with the meet mixture.  Then add half a spoon full of the spinach and cheese mixture. Place the shell into the pan, and repeat.  Once you have finished stuffing all of your shells, top the shells with marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Set the oven to 325, and let the shells bake.  If you don’t want the top of the shells to get crunchy, put a piece of foil over the top of the pan while baking.

When the cheese has melted on the top your me~shells are ready.  Serve them with garlic bread, caesar salad, and wine.  Enjoy!