The World of Pasta Grows Beyond Wheat

Asparagus-Basil Pesto Move over wheat – the action in the pasta world is with “alternatives” made from vegetables, legumes, quinoa and grains like rice and corn.  These alternative pastas are only about 2% of the pasta category, but their growth is remarkable, up 19% annually.  Compare that to traditional wheat pasta, a “low growth” category, […]

Pounds and Pounds of Produce – A Visit to Kruger Pepper Farm

Sicilian Caponata This year, instead of being jealous of the people who rave about their extraordinary harvest of tomatoes, peppers and the like, I made a 2 1/2 hour road trip to the Kruger Pepper Farm in Wapato, Washington, a candy store for cooks who are not serious gardeners. Thanks to my husband’s Italian heritage […]

Radish Leaf Pesto

  Radishes are moving beyond the relish tray.    More and more home cooks and chefs use them as a vegetable – steamed, sautéed, stir-fried and more. Last night I dined at Artusi in Seattle and this extraordinary fresh sturgeon with a garlic confit sauce was served with lightly cooked French breakfast radishes.   In […]

Lentil Pasta Sauce

Lentil Pasta Sauce With or Without Meat   Pasta with tomato sauce is a classic comfort food.  There’s almost always a container of it tucked in my freezer for times when we need a cozy, home-cooked meal in a hurry.  This version is particularly easy and economical.  Lentils and umami-rich mushrooms stand in for meat […]

When Less is More

Angel Hair with Dungeness Crab, White Wine, Lemon and Herbs I often hear the phrase “life is complicated.”   Well, sometimes food is complicated.  Sometimes we crave something simple but still sustaining and satisfying – like fussier food.  This very light crab pasta dish is just the ticket when you’re taste buds demand simplicity. If your […]

Shopping for Whole Grains

My son recently called me from the grocery store with a question.  ”Hey Mom, what is the best source of whole grains –pasta, bread, cereal or brown rice?”  A fabulous question that is not easy to answer.   A college student, he explained that adding whole grain sources of carbohydrates to his diet made him feel […]

Poor Man’s Pasta

Spaghetti with Bread Crumbs, Anchovies and Parsley  OF COURSE we take for granted the fact that we live in a world with clean running water, fresh vegetables and an abundance of protein sources, spices and condiments to use each day.  Yet, sometimes it’s nice to strip away the extras and have an ultra-simple meal like this […]

Good, Simple Food – Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Humble Tomato Sauce Mundane as it is, homemade tomato sauce is a backbone of the Italian corner of our kitchen. It’s our supreme comfort food: pasta with tomato sauce settles us in after a long trip away from home; it’s food we celebrate with, cry over and dress up to entertain friends. I swear it […]

Layer and Build Flavors

 Pasta with Marinated Chickpeas, Grilled Vegetables and Sausage  This spring I had the pleasure of working with senior students at the Culinary Academy of Seattle Central Community College.  The project required them to prepare a meal that meets strict limits on calories, sodium, fiber, fat and saturated fat, use seasonal and nutrient-rich ingredients and employ […]