Linguine w/ Pancetta, shallots, zucchini, and homegrown cherry tomatoes

Pasta has been one of my comfort foods going back to small kid time when we used to add bottled Ragu sauce to ground beef and ladle it on a big bowl of spaghetti, then top it with torn up Kraft American cheese slices. The ingredients have significantly improved in the House of Annie (as demonstrated by her recent Linguine alla carbonara). This time, she decided to kick things up a notch.

Instead of the regular bacon, Annie used pancetta. She also used shallots instead of onions. The cherry tomatoes were picked fresh from the garden, as was the basil chiffonade

How do you “kick up” your pasta?

Aloha, Nate

Foccacia w/ Poached Garlic

After my last foray into breadmaking, I thought I’d take another stab at it so I started looking through “The Bread Bible” for an easy recipe. This one looked interesting. Foccacia, studded with garlic cloves that have been poached in olive oil.

First I separated and peeled one head of garlic, put them in a small saucepan and covered it with olive oil. I poached them over low heat for half an hour before removing them to cool.

The foccacia recipe is a very wet dough and I almost thought I ruined it because it was so gloppy. But with a little more patience (and the right attachment for the KitchenAid), the dough got to the right consistency. I let it rise for 4 hours before pouring it out onto a sheet pan that was greased with the garlic-infused oil. I stretched it out, then studded the garlic cloves into the dough.

It sat for another hour then went into the oven at 475*F for 13 minutes.

I’d say it came out all right for a first attempt. The poached garlic is great – almost sweet. I’ll have to do it again…this time with more garlic! :-p

Aloha, Nate

Chicken Piccata

We were at California Pizza Kitchen with some friends one time. One of the dishes they ordered was Chicken Piccata. We’d never eaten it before (I usually don’t like capers) but Annie sneaked a bite and pronounced, “I can make this!”

So while out shopping she picked up a bottle of capers. A little later, she found a recipe off of Epiciurious and decided to try it. It’s a pretty easy recipe calling for chicken breasts pounded flat, lightly breaded then pan fried, laid over a mound of angel hair pasta and covered with a sauce containing butter, lemon juice, capers, and various seasonings. We threw in some mushrooms for fun.

It was very very good. We served it to our friend, who pronounced it better than CPK.

Aloha, Nate

Linguine alla Carbonara

Before I met Annie, I generally preferred my pasta sauces to be red – tomato based. I avoided “alfredo” type white sauces because…actually I really don’t have a good explanation of why I don’t like white sauces. Anyway, these days Annie usually makes pasta sauces with cream, olive oil, and vermouth, keeping it light so you can actually see all the other ingredients.

This linguine alla carbonara recipe (based on a recipe out of “Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen”), contains bacon, olive oil, onions, chicken stock, linguine, egg yolks, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and s&p. Our additions included portobello mushrooms, thyme, and some toasted onion powder from Penzey’s.

Oh, it was sooooo good. Made even better by that special onion powder.

If you can get your hands on some, I do recommend it.

Aloha, Nate

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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