the rainy kitchen

cooking through the rain in southeast alaska

Category: pasta

a word on leftovers

We had a busy and fun weekend that included Sunday brunch to celebrate my dear sister’s birthday. She was not supposed to be in town so it was rather last minute and it turned into quite the unplanned feast with friends. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon!  So, last night I wanted to make a simple dinner, as I had dishes to wash, dogs to walk, and was kind of wiped out.  I had some leftover baked king salmon from dinner Friday night and more from the brunch. I also had some broccoli that needed to be used up. So, I made a quick and simple pasta sauce.  I think it’s great to make meals with leftovers. Meals using leftovers are generally simple to do and they feel good! You use up your leftovers and you don’t have to eat the same thing again and again. Perfect. What do you do to reinvent leftovers?

Pasta with Salmon and Broccoli

2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 large broccoli flower
2 tbls capers
2 lemons
1 cup baked salmon
fresh thyme
olive oil
dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lb pasta of your choice

This sauce only takes a short time to cook, so I would suggest putting your water on for the pasta when you start cooking the sauce. Coat a pan with olive oil and saute chopped garlic and olive oil. Meanwhile break the broccoli flower apart and cut the floret’s in half  or thirds length wise. Once the garlic and onion is translucent, add about a half a cup of dry white white wine. Let it cook for a few minutes before adding the broccoli. Add the capers and the juice of two lemons.  By now your water should be boiling, add the pasta. Right before straining the pasta, add a couple ladles full of pasta water to the sauce. Strain the pasta and drizzle with olive oil.  Add the leftover salmon to the sauce. Combine the pasta and the sauce, add the greens of a few sprigs of fresh thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and serve.


a simple shrimp pasta

The other night my dad came into town on somewhat short notice for a visit. It was great. I wanted to make something simple and elegant for dinner that would be easy to pull off without a store run, as Bret and I had a busy day of chores before my dad’s arrival. I was fortunate to have a couple pounds of frozen local shrimp in the freezer. My dad makes delicious shrimp pasta (in my senior high school year book I said my favorite food was dad’s shrimp pasta). I make it in a variety of ways, but the easiest way is with ingredients I always have on hand (besides the shrimp, as I don’t always have that). Pantry pasta!

Simple Shrimp Pasta

2 lbs fresh or fresh frozen shrimp
olive oil
crushed red pepper
dried oregano
4-6 cloves garlic
dry white wine
sea salt and pepper

Shell and de-vein the shrimp. Put a pot of water on for the pasta, this recipe will make enough sauce for about a pound and a half of pasta – I would use spaghetti or linguini, don’t forget to salt the water.  Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil and heat over low heat. Chop the garlic and toss it in with the olive oil. Add a couple teaspoons of crushed red pepper and a few pinches of dried oregano. Let all of this cook together for a while on very low heat, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the juice of two lemons and several splashes of the wine.  Right before straining the pasta, put a ladle full of pasta water into the sauce. Turn the sauce off once  the shrimp is done (when it curls up and starts to show some reddish pink). Once the pasta is strained, drizzle with olive oil and put in a large pasta bowl, put the sauce over the top and serve immediately with fresh grated parmesan cheese.




a simple tomato sauce

When I moved to northern California to go to college, I learned for the first time how truly amazing fresh tomatoes can be. Arcata had a great farmers market and I used to go and get fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh garlic to make a simple sauce with. I still love this and of course, had to take advantage of the delicious tomatoes down here to make some!

Fresh Tomatoes with Basil

3lbs pounds tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
two handfuls fresh basil
olive oil
sea salt
fresh pepper
crushed red pepper

Chop garlic and add it to a heavy bottom pan with an inch or so of olive oil in it. Saute on low heat until the garlic begins to simmer and permeate the oil. Add chopped tomatoes (I don’t bother to peel and seed them, but if you’re a purest, you can do that first). Let the tomatoes cook down and then add the basil, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper. Let cook while you boil the pasta water.

* A note on boiling pasta water that is especially important for simple sauces such as this, don’t be stingy on salting the water! It brings out the flavor in the pasta and will make the overall dish much yummier. *

spaghetti with roasted heirloom tomatoes

I cannot resist making pasta dishes with the delicious tomatoes that are in season right now. Even here in Juneau, our local health food store get’s a lovely selection of heirloom tomatoes this time of year. Here is a simple sauce that highlights these delicious fruits of summer.

Spaghetti with Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

6 large heirloom tomatoes (of various colors if possible)
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
crushed red pepper
dried oregano
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
handful of fresh basil
feta cheese
1 lb spaghetti

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place a baking rack on a cookie sheet, and lay the tomato slices on the rack. Sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with oil and put in the oven for apx 45 minutes or until tomatoes begin to caramelize. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil (about 1/8 of a cup) and saute minced garlic. Add about 2 tsp of crushed red pepper (more or less depending on how much heat you like), a large pinch of dried oregano, and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper.  Saute on low heat until the garlic is cooked. Add the tomatoes and chopped fresh basil, let cook on low heat while you boil water and cook the pasta. Before straining the pasta, add a ladle full of pasta water to the sauce and stir. Once spaghetti is strained, drizzle with olive oil. Serve sauce over the spaghetti with feta cheese.

seafood puttanesca

I grew up eating pasta at least once or twice a week (fish or venison usually on the other nights). My dad is Italian and even in bush Alaska, the meals in our house generally had a Mediterranean flair. I love pasta. Now, in my adult life, we eat it about once a week. I can make pasta sauce out of just about anything. One of my favorites that I nearly always have the ingredients for in my pantry, is pasta puttanesca; tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, olives, capers, anchovies and crushed red pepper. Often though, I add fish and lemon to make seafood puttanesca, it’s a great way to add protein and mix it up a bit, also it’s an easy way to impress guests! The other day our local fish monger had some Ling Cod, which is great in red sauce and very affordable.  I bought some and used it in the pasta for dinner. Feel free to use other seafood, or a couple kinds, whatever you like!

Seafood Puttanesca

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (I prefer organic and roasted)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil + some for drizzling on pasta
2 cloves garlic
2-3 cups fresh basil
1-2 tbs crushed red pepper
1 cup kalamata olives
1 cup good green olives (should be of a large variety)
4-6 anchovy fillets packed in oil
3 tbls capers
1 lb Ling Cod (or other; salmon, shrimp, or clams are very good)
1 lb linguine, spaghetti or rigatoni
juice of one lemon, extra for plating

Coat deep sauce pan with olive oil and turn on low heat.
Chop garlic and saute in olive oil.
Add can of tomatoes.
Rough chop fresh basil, add most of it to the tomatoes, keep out a small handful for later.
Add crushed red pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it) and let simmer.
Chop about half of the kalamata olives and cut the green olives in half and add them to the sauce.
Begin boiling water for pasta.
Cube fish into apx one inch pieces and set aside.
Add capers and leftover basil into the sauce.
Chop anchovy fillets and add them in too.
Let cook on medium heat while you cook your pasta.
Once pasta is cooked and strained, drizzle with olive oil and put in a large pasta bowl.
Now, turn the sauce down to low and put in the fish. Stir occasionally, and keep a close eye, it will cook fast. Should take about five minutes.
Meanwhile, cut one lemon into four wedges.
Once fish is cooked, turn off the sauce and add the juice of one lemon.
Pour sauce over pasta in bowl and serve with lemon wedges.

A couple of notes: I have found it’s important to put the anchovies in toward the end, otherwise, they seem to cook off and you don’t get that nice salty fish flavor that anchovies bring. Also, as I stated above, if you don’t have seafood on hand, you can make this entire meal and leave out the lemon and fish. Also, if you don’t have fresh basil on hand, you can use dried, just use lots of it! Enjoy!

Basil and Kalamata olives waiting for their home in the sauce.