Pasta Fajioli…an easy way to empty the fridge

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Had great fun being back on AM Northwest last week (watch the clip, below), and got to talk about one of my all-time favorite subjects…comfort food. It’s getting chilly up here in the PNW, and nothing warms you back up like a good pot of soup.

One of my Facebook friends commented that whenever I’m on the show, I always do Italian recipes.

It’s true.

I love French food, and Asian food, and pretty much ANY food, but if I’m going to present the best version of something, something you can taste the love in, it’s probably going to be an old Italian Grandmother’s recipe.

The Home Chef's Guide to Frugal Fine CookingI love this recipe, not just because it’s delicious, and brings back great childhood memories, but because it’s one of those dishes that proves you don’t have to spend a lot, to make an amazing meal.  Pasta is cheap. Beans are cheap. Carrots, onions, celery? Cheap. Add whatever leftover meat and veggies from last night’s dinner, and presto…you have soup!

(For more tips, tricks, and recipes for great eating on a budget, check out my new book, “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” on Amazon.com!)

Soggiorno caldo!

~Chef Perry

Pasta Fajioli Recipe for AMNW
(pasta va-zool)

1 lb meat, cooked and chopped (roast chicken, sausage, hamburger, etc.)
36 oz “Quick and Easy Chicken Stock
28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained (or 6 Romas, freshly roasted*)
15 oz tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
4 celery ribs, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups beans (cannellini, kidney beans, etc,) rinsed and drained
2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp coarse black pepper
8 ounces uncooked pasta (ditalini, macaroni, etc.)
4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Additional veggies: Whatcha’got? Pretty much any leftover veggies will compliment this soup. Peas, corn, sauteed mushrooms, green beans, cabbage…empty that fridge!

Mirepoix for soup

Make the mirepoix: In a saute pan, heat oil over medium low, and saute onions, celery, and carrots until just beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, and transfer to a stock pot.

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Add broth, sauce, beans, oregano, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add pasta, parsley, and any additional veggies; simmer, covered, 10-14 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Stir in meat, and serve with crusty, warm bread.

Yield: 10-12 servings

*To roast your own: Place 6 Roma tomatoes on a very hot grill, under a broiler, or directly on above a gas burner. Char, rotating frequently, until blackened on all sides. Place tomatoes in a large zip bag and seal, allowing them to steam 20-30 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the bag, and peel off most of the charred skin (I ike to leave a little, for flavor). Dice the tomatoes, place in a bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and just cover with hot water. Allow to come to room temp before using the tomatoes and water in this recipe.

Here’s the clip from AM Northwest:

Pasta Fajioli Recipe AM Northwest
Click on image to be redirected to AM Northwest’s video page

 

Mother’s Day Chili Egg Puff

Green Chile Egg Puff

Here’s one of my all-time favorite egg-wonderful breakfasts…granted, it has to be started the night before, but the ‘fridge really does most of the work…

My mother-in-law, Dixie, served this on Christmas morning, after the presents were opened. She was kind enough to share the original recipe (jotted down before I was born), and gave me the okay to share it.

Easily, the best egg dish I’ve ever had, and it’ll be the traditional Christmas breakfast at our house from now on!

Light, fluffy, savory, ethereal…like eating an egg-flavored angel!

I’ll be preparing this dish this morning, on AM Northwest (9am PST, KATU2), if you want to see it made live!

Home Chef AM Northwest

UPDATE: You can watch the clip from this morning’s show, here, on the AMNW page!

Here it is…

Nana’s Chile Egg Puff
10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pint small-curd cottage cheese
1 lb Italian 5-Blend cheese, grated
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 oz can diced green chilies
 
12-24 hours in advance:
 
Beat eggs until a very light lemon color, add flour, baking powder, salt, fold in cottage cheese, cheese, & butter. Stir in chilies.
 

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to my free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

 
Pour mixture into a well- buttered 9×13 dish. Cover and refrigerate over night.
 
Preheat oven to 350′ and bake 45 minutes covered. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until center firms.
 
Note: the center of the dish will remain very “liquidly” until the contents reach a specific heat, and then will firm up very quickly.
 
Serves 12
 
PS- If you like a little spice in your life, Tillamook’s Hot Hananero Jack cheese launches this already-awesome dish right into the freakin’ stratosphere!
 

The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenFor many more delicious dishes to make Mom and family, which out “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen!”

Available in the Chef Perry Bookstore and on my page at Amazon.com!

Pasta alla Carbonara on AM Northwest

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As the saying goes, “a great time was had by all.”

Well, I can’t speak for all, but I can tell you, this guy had a blast cooking Pasta alla Carbonara (recipe below) on AM Northwest yesterday morning!

There were some oddities for this television newbie…(a prop sink with no water, and a kitchen counter on wheels took a little getting used to), but getting to work with the supremely talented and funny Helen Raptis at KATU, was awesome. 

(Thank you, Helen, for the second bite…that meant a lot!)

I can’t think of a better way to have launched “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen”, and the guidebooks, classes, and podcasts to follow.

Here’s the clip, if you didn’t get a chance to watch:

VideoImage1
Click here to watch

Thank you, again, to Helen, Janice, and every at K2 for this amazing opportunity, I can’t wait to come back!

~Chef Perry

Chef Perry’s Pasta alla Carbonara

(serves 4)
1 pound dry pasta (I used campanelle)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces guanciale (pork jowl bacon), cubed small
1 large shallot clove, finely chopped
2 Tbs sweet cream butter
4 large egg yolks
Roasted mushrooms (optional)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped

campanelle pasta
“Campanelle” means Little Bells in Italian.

Note: make the sauce while the pasta’s cooking so the pasta will be hot and ready when the sauce is done; the pasta needs to be hot when adding the egg yolks, so that the heat of the pasta cooks them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (“al dente.”)  Drain the pasta well, keeping a 1/2 cup of cooking water, in case you need to it in the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the guanciale and saute for about 3 minutes, until the meat is crisp and the fat is rendered, drain off all but about 2Tbs of the fat. Toss the shallots into the fat and saute for less than a minute to soften, add the roasted mushrooms and butter.

Home Chef Pasta alla Carbonara
Add the hot, drained campanelle to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the pasta in the fats. Beat the egg yolks and Parmesan together, stirring well to prevent lumps.

Carbonara with egg yolks

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but not scramble.

Adding pasta to sauce

Thin out the sauce a little with the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with a large pinch of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve with small bowls of extra cheese.

Chef Perrys Pasta alla Carbonara
“The Italian’s were eating with forks, when the French were still eating each other!”

~ Mario Batali