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Pinning for pasta!

I’m perpetually pining for pasta on Pinterest and there is no shortage here in Argentina. They really get me. 🇦🇷🤗 I decided to do a pasta tribute in the spirit of this newfound bounty.  Disclaimer: I’m not Italian or proclaiming to be a pasta expert. I’m actually part Scottish but have no forking clue what a Haggis is, much less how to cook one. I’m simply a fan and want to showcase my pasta inspirations, experiences and different ways of preparing this “gem”elli of a dish! 🙈😍🍝

The beauty of pasta is it’s stand alone, star quality. It doesn’t need many other ingredients to help it shine. It’s also versatile in it’s ability to meld with any flavor profile that your tummy desires. Pasta only needs a little imagination to bring out it’s best self. Funny, that’s kind of how I’m feeling about life right now. 😁👍🌈

Spaghetti is often one of the first dishes that people learn how to make. It was also the first dish that my husband made for me when we started dating. 🥰 You can do this “classic American style” with ground beef and your favorite sauce and it will surely be tasty. Some plucky folks branch out from the jar and make their own sauce from scratch. I haven’t made it that far yet in my spaghetti journey but it’s on my foodie to do list. Right next to homemade pasta (and haggis).😝

You can also switch it up with different types of tomato varieties, meats, veggies, spices; the list goes on. Some variations include sausage and peppers, meatballs, spaghetti pie, chicken or even Rotel spaghetti. My mom’s go to version was “sweet and sour” with bacon that was truly yummy. Spaghetti’s accompaniments are also fun and just as customizable to include salads, vegetables and garlic bread.

Another fun decision is choosing what type of cheese to sprinkle on top, if that’s your thing. Parmesan is good, but for me cheddar is where it’s at! My grandma used to grate a whole block of it just for spaghetti night. She also served it with turnip greens and cornbread. Sounds crazy, I know, but trust me it was delicious and frequently requested.

Then there’s spaghetti’s slightly more sophisticated sister, lasagna. I have a special affinity for this Italian casserole because it was one of my favorite meals growing up as well as my first culinary accomplishment. I watched a friend’s mom make it when I was in high school and repeated the same steps and ingredients from memory in my college years (this was before smartphones for a quick google). 🦕☎️🦖 It was really scrumptious and boosted my cooking confidence. As a bonus, it also makes great leftovers for lunch the next day! 💼

It’s also fun to veer away from your tried and true method with a more unique route. I found a recipe for buffalo chicken lasagna on Pinterest and it….was…..amazing! 🤤 I’d like to give a shout out to you Mom needs Chocolate! However, the second time that I made it, I didn’t have any buffalo sauce in the house. 🤫🤦‍♀️ Instead of going to the store, I decided to substitute this with straight up hot sauce. Woo hoo, won’t make that mistake again! 🤬😝🔥

Macaroni and cheese, oh how I love thee! It’s one of my desert island foods that I just couldn’t live without. It goes with practically every main course to include steak, chicken, pork, etc. It can also transform into a yummy cheeseburger dish by simply adding beef. 🍔 You can spice that up even further by adding taco seasoning and Rotel for a more Mexican feel. (Props to TamileeTips). 👊 By the way, it’s ok if you tap into the liquid gold of velveeta shells and cheese for a week night dinner. It’s fabulous and do not feel ashamed. 🙋‍♀️

For a more grown up vibe you can make stove top Mac with bacon and pepper jack cheese or broccoli and Vermont cheddar (😉Budget Bytes). I’ve toyed with instant pot macaroni which has yielded some very creamy results. My true north, however is baked macaroni and cheese. I continue striving to achieve the perfect marriage of pasta, cheese, spices and cream. Or would that be considered macaroni polygamy? 🤔☺️ My efforts have all been a solid pass but not yet a true victory. My aim is to really knock it out of the park. I’ll get there one day and will be sure to blog all about it.🤞🥇

Pasta salad is a dish that you can really play around with in terms of ingredients. Any type of pasta could work from penne, rotini, orzo, cavatapi, fusilli, shells, or if you are feeling particularly fancy, farfelle.💃You can also make it warm or cold, sweet or spicy, ranch and bacon, BLT, ham and pea, caprese, Tuscan, Cajun, Greek, Asian, Amish, southwest, healthy, deviled, buffaloed, Dijon, Caesar, creamy, lemony, summery, pesto, bbq, seafood, veggie and even dill pickle. Wait, what?!?? 😤Hmmm that may not be too bad of an idea….💡🧐🥒

My favorite profile is of Mediterranean descent with green olives, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil and red wine vinegar. 😎 I initially got the idea from MyRecipes and then made it my own by using basil infused olive oil and a Mediterranean garlic pepper spice blend. I also found a Tuscan style recipe for my daughter’s first birthday party from MidgetMama that was a hit! Pasta salad is lovely as a side or as an easy to eat desk top lunch. 

I’ve tried two new pasta dishes since moving to Argentina that were inspired by TV shows. First up is pasta carbonara which was made by Antoni for a “hero” on Queer Eye: More than a makeover. 😍 I’ve always wanted to try this and he made it look fairly easy. I took note of the necessary ingredients and sourced them on our next grocery trip.

I researched a pin for a shoulder to lean on because I wasn’t so sure about the raw egg component. It turned out fine. I must point out that the dish is beautiful with vibrant, green peas and brick colored pancetta sitting atop a bed of silky noodles. However, taste wise it’s not a repeat just yet. Verdict: visually appealing but needs a little work. 🚧😏🔜

My second venture turned out to be just as attractive on the inside as the outside: Cacio e Pepe. It sounds intimidating but don’t let the moniker fool you. It’s Italian for cheese and pepper and it only requires a few ingredients. I originally got a taste for it while watching Homecoming and seeing Dermot Mulroney make it for Julia Roberts. He was beaming with pride to serve it to her when she got home from work but she (gasp) was too preoccupied and ignored it!?!? 😱🤯

So one day I was looking around the kitchen, brainstorming lunch ideas and realized that I had all of the necessary elements to make it: parmesan cheese, pepper and noodles. I didn’t look up a recipe or history of the dish because I wanted to improvise with ingredients on hand and trust myself to cook by taste. Also, it would be kind of difficult to mess up as you’re essentially just melting cheese over noodles, right? (insert famous last words here)…

I even added a little butter and milk for a more creamy consistency. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to do that but it felt right to me. The final result was bellisima 😘👌However, I’m renaming my rendition so Mama Italy doesn’t come after me with her wooden spoon! (I don’t think purists use milk and butter). 😳😂 Please see below for the recipe and keep following for more foodie goodies. Also, feel free to share your pasta stories or ideas in the comments.✌️💜🍴

Sardo pepper noodles

Ingredients: 1 cup freshly grated Sardo cheese + more for topping, 1/4 cup milk, 1 T of butter, a pepper grinder, 2 dashes of salt, a handful of spaghetti noodles

To prepare: Bring noodles to a boil. When done, remove from heat and drain. Place in pan on medium low. Add cheese, butter, milk, a dash of salt and very liberal amounts of pepper. Stir gently until noodles are smoothly coated. Remove and plate. Grind extra pepper over the top, sprinkle with a dash of salt and the extra cheese. Bon apetit! 🍽

Note: You will have chutter lips while eating. 🧀+ butter

Serving size: enough for mom, baby and a little leftover

Calories: 🤷‍♀️🤫

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Mood Ring Kitchen

I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.

The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩‍🍳👩‍💻

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