Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Pasta, Rice, and Doughs’ Category

Quick and Easy Salmon and Asparagus Penne

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on January 28, 2011 at am

Since I started taking professional courses outside of work, cooking regularly during the work week has been a challenge.  So I used this as an opportunity to try various foods that I wouldn’t normally buy.  For example, I discovered that I like canned Atlantic salmon.  It’s closer to fresh salmon than canned tuna is to fresh tuna, in my opinion.  I used it in this quick and easy, delicious pasta dish.  Even Ed liked it and he doesn’t usually like cream-based sauces.  Feel free to substitute the asparagus with any vegetables that you like.

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Gourmet Mushroom Risotto Recipe

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Pasta, Rice, and Doughs, Sides and Sauces on January 6, 2011 at am

I’ve made butternut squash risotto and pea and prosciutto risotto before, but mushroom risotto is my family’s favourite – so far (I haven’t made them seafood risotto yet).  Since this dish is so simple, the selection of mushrooms is critical to the success of it.  The secret to my mushroom risotto is the use of dried black trumpet mushrooms.  The texture of these mushrooms is thin and leathery, but they lend the most amazing flavour and aroma.  When my mother tasted this, she was so impressed with the mushroom flavour that she thought I had added some processed or artificial flavouring.  For texture and aesthetic appeal, I also used dried porcini and fresh oyster mushrooms.  (I love the dried mushrooms from Marx Foods (review here).  You can taste the quality of their mushrooms from the soaking liquid, which in this case, added tremendous flavour to the rice.)

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Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese (2 ways)

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on August 25, 2010 at pm

I gave up trying macaroni and cheese recipes years ago.  I never made one that people didn’t like, but I never found one that I could enjoy.  Recently, it occurred to me that maybe it’s because I don’t like what baking does to the texture of this dish.  So I tested that theory and made a stove top macaroni and cheese for the first time.  I liked it a lot more than baked macaroni.  The macaroni and cheese recipe is pretty standard, but I made it better in two ways:  The first was adding a crunchy panko crumb topping and the second was mixing in peas and canned tuna in olive oil.  The texture and flavour of canned tuna in olive oil is by far superior to canned tuna in water, and makes a world of difference in this dish.

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In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on July 13, 2010 at pm

Carbonara is a very interesting pasta dish that incorporates separated raw eggs.  When I had pancetta left over from making vinaigrette (recipe here), I decided to make carbonara for the first time.   The sauce is creamy but not runny or overly thick.  This is a simple dish and the flavour is subtle, and I love it.  Despite many of the “carbonara” recipes out there, note that authentic carbonara does Not use cream.

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Four Different Sauces for Mushroom Ravioli

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs, Sides and Sauces on May 27, 2010 at pm

I made ravioli from scratch for the first time (recipe here).  For the filling, I used porcini, chanterelle, and lobster mushrooms with ricotta, parmesan and goat cheese.  I wanted to make a sauce that would pair well with mushroom ravioli, but there were so many suitable (and delicious) options, that I couldn’t pick just one or two.  So, I made 4 different sauces.  They are all easy to make and range from simple and comforting to sophisticated and fancy.

Mushroom Ravioli Sauce Pairing #1 is a comforting and hearty tomato sauce.  It is the simplest of the 4 recipes.  The tomato contrasts the creamy mushroom filling nicely.

Mushroom Ravioli Sauce Pairing #2 is a rose sauce.  It is the only cream based sauce and it’s fun to make because it involves setting vodka on fire.  This sauce is very similar to the sauce that I make for my vodka penne (recipe here).

Mushroom Ravioli Sauce Pairing #3 is a white wine and butter sauce that goes really well with the mushrooms.  I like to serve this sauce over giant raviolis.

Mushroom Ravioli Sauce Pairing #4 is one of the simplest, yet the fanciest sauce that I’ve paired with mushroom ravioli.  If only I could afford white truffles to go with this, because that’s how they serve it in some parts of Italy.  I like to serve this browned butter over giant raviolis.

Photo above:  Giant raviolis in White Wine Sauce

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Wild Mushroom Ravioli (from scratch)

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on May 26, 2010 at pm

I’ve been wanting to make ravioli from scratch for a long time now.  When I received samples of dried mushrooms from Marx Foods (see my review here), I knew that they would be perfect in ravioli and, more importantly, I would finally get to use my brand new fluted pastry wheel.  🙂

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Lasagna Rolls

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on April 4, 2010 at pm

These are perfect for entertaining.  They taste great, they’re easy to make and they look incredibly elegant for lasagna.  Since the lasagna is rolled into individual portions, these are great for pot lucks too.

Picture below right: Before going into the oven.

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Prosciutto Pizza

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on February 25, 2010 at pm

A very nice coworker of mine gave me her pizza stone.  It totally made my week  🙂  So for my first time using a pizza stone, I decided to make a “gourmet” pizza.  If you don’t have a pizza stone, see the post here for baking instructions using metal pizza pans (link here).

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Vodka Penne with Prosciutto

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on February 13, 2010 at pm

This vodka pasta recipe differs from others where you actually light the alcohol on fire (as opposed to slowly simmering the sauce).  It’s a very easy and quick recipe and tastes really really good.  Just be careful not to get burned (or set your kitchen on fire) because the flames come up pretty high.

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Pizza Dough

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on January 27, 2010 at am

I love love love pizza – from the greasy generic Pizza Pizza to pretentious gourmet pizzas.  When I discovered how easy (and cheap) it is to make your own pizza dough from scratch, I went crazy with it, haha.  I even bought this “band saw” pizza cutter from Fred and friends.  I personally don’t like kneading dough so I prefer to use my food processor for pizza dough.  Some of the variations that I’ve tried include (but aren’t limited to):

– smoked salmon, mascarpone cheese, avocados, lemon juice

– mixed greens, goats cheese, basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, marble cheese

– chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, garlic cream sauce, spinach

– chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, goats cheese

– hot italian sausage, roasted red peppers, tomato sauce, red onions, mozzarella cheese

– hot italian sausage, pepperoni, tomato sauce, bacon strips, dried chilli flakes

– pepperoni, marble cheese, green peppers, tomato sauce, mushrooms, bacon strips

– steak, mozzarella cheese, cooked white onions

– pesto, mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes

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