It’s the fava bean season! I know that some of you will be like “fava what?” For some people the only way they have heard about it was when Hannibal Lecter served it with liver and Chianti in The Silence of the Lambs. I definitely grew up eating them differently. I was a little disappointed to see how hard it is to get them around the District, and once you see them at the Farmers Market, they can be quite expensive. They are full of vitamins and a great source of lean protein so it might be worth getting some now since the season for them is so short.

pasta27If I could I would eat a huge pot of cooked fava beans without adding anything, except for salt.  My husband witnessed that a couple of times when we were in Poland. But this time since I didn’t have a lot I decided to use them in a sauce. I have also been thinking for a while what to do with this basil that has been spreading in my garden and finally decided to make basil pasta with fava beans sauce. I know it may sound complicated but it’s really not, and if you have a pasta roller and cutter, that’s even easier and faster. The fava beans sauce complements the pasta quite nicely and highlights the basil. It is so fragrant that you might to try eating the pasta alone with only freshly grated parmesan and olive oil. More »

How often do you feel like the dinner you’re making is just boring and you and your family have already eaten it one hundred times? I think you will like this recipe. I recently saw Geoffrey Zakarian preparing Shrimp Fra Diavolo on the new Food Network show “The Kitchen” and I figured that this is a perfect combination of what I like a lot: pasta, seafood and tomatoes.

diavolo22

Even though it might seem like a traditional Italian dish, according to some Italian cuisine experts, this is rarely served in Italy and is considered a pure American-Italian creation.

I have changed the original ingredients a little bit simply because I didn’t have some of them in my pantry. However, I always have a bag off frozen shrimp in case I get tired of eating chicken, pork or beef. Thanks to the anise flavor from Raki, the dish gets an extra earthy flavor which conceals the extra fishy flavor from the shrimp. More »

ravioli

There are so many ways to fill ravioli that it’s hard to really pick my favorite. Since I love mushrooms and still have some Polish dry mushrooms from my mom in my pantry, I thought I would go for that. When it comes to Polish pierogi I am more of a traditionalist and like to stick to the fillings I ate growing up. So I see ravioli as a way to infuse ideas I would never use for pierogi :)
This time I also changed the dough recipe a little bit and instead of a mixture of olive oil and water I added only olive oil. The dough was super soft and elastic and so easy to knead. The only drawback was that if not covered by a kitchen towel it would dry out pretty fast and cause little cracks in the dough. But taste wise I think it was much better. It was rich and meaty, if you can say that about dough.
With this one I also wanted to make one larger ravioli with a poached egg inside as an extra surprise on your plate. When you cut through the poached egg it will add this amazing creaminess to the sauce. More »

ragout5

It looks like rabbit is quite a popular dish in many restaurants around Montreal, just like duck and venison. I had it in couple of places already and finally decided to make one. This meat is very lean and doesn’t need a lot of time to cook. My mom would usually use it in pate, which has always been something special in my family. When my dad used to go hunting, he would bring pheasants and hares we all knew there soon would be a pate on our table.
When cooking rabbit, you have to be very careful about timing because it’s very easy to overcook it, leaving the meat really dry. It’s nothing like pulled pork or stew when you can just leave it on the stove and forget about it for couple of hours. It’s a very hearty dish where the main star is the rabbit and sauce, not like a typical stew where you have a lot of veggies.
I strongly recommend making your own tagliatelle to serve with the ragout. More »

dish4Since I have some more butternut squash in my fall basket and the days are getting shorter and colder, it’s time for some comfort food that you can spoon out of your favorite bowl sitting on a couch under your warm blanket, watching your favorite TV show. I love pasta so what could be better than a bowl full of ravioli filled with butternut squash puree and ricotta cheese coated with sage buttery sauce. I really like using butternut squash because it’s more “meaty” and has fewer strings compared to other pumpkins.  Maybe it’s not a low calorie dish but it’s worth the sin.

I roasted the whole squash but for filling 30 ravioli I used only half of the puree.  This means I can freeze the other half and use it later for filling cannelloni or mixing with breakfast pancake batter, and saving a lot of time. More »