Three Ingredient Pasta Sauce

It has been forever since I posted!

Work got busy.

We were travelling a bit.

And, we’ve been apartment hunting.

Which is incredibly time consuming.

Which has meant that I’ve been making really fast dinners.

And totally forgetting to take any pictures.


But this was so delicious and so easy that despite the lack of photos, I think you’ll still love it.

Three ingredient pasta sauce:

  1. cherry tomatoes
  2. Bacon
  3. Red Wine

That’s it. And whatever kind of pasta you want to toss it with.

I was in a rush at the store and trying to grab a few things and get out when I saw this gorgeous carton of multicolor cherry tomatoes for $1.99. The price! The beautiful tomatoes! I had to do something with them.

So i brought them home, sliced them in half and then rummaged in the fridge.

We had 4 pieces of bacon left over from when we had BLTs. So I diced up the bacon and fried it in a pot.

When it was cooked, i tossed the halved tomatoes into the pot with the bacon and let them cook down in the bacon fat. You can drain some of the fat off, but really, why?

Stir occasionally. The tomatoes will start to burst open and the juices will mix with the bacon.

I wanted a little more liquid so I looked around and grabbed the open bottle of red wine on the counter.

A few glugs, lowered the heat and let the pot simmer.

The wine added a richness that made it taste like the sauce had been cooking all day. Reality:20 minutes.

Boil water, cook whatever kind of pasta you want and toss with the sauce.

Don’t be afraid to plan a meal around one ingredient that just looks incredible in the store. Trust your senses. If it smells good and lookgs good, it’s probably in season and probably will taste its best.

Garlic Lime Rice and Old Bay Shrimp

After an incredibly brutal winter filled with sub zero temps and lots of snow, New Yorkers were so ready for the 70 degree day we were graced with over the weekend.

Rooftops were crowded, tables were dragged out onto the small sidewalk spaces in front of restaurants and, yes, ice cream trucks abounded!

The first warm day is my favorite day in New York. Not just because the sun feels glorious after a long winter of my face being buffetted by wind (why is the West Side so much windier than the East, by the way?) but because of the beauty of watching the city emerge from its chrysalis.

Al fresco dining. Rooftop cocktails. Breezy dresses. And finally, lighter cuisine.

I love the comforting pots of soups and chilis in the winter, but I crave the bright, fresh flavors of spring.

This dish begs to be made on a sunny day when margaritas are the only logical choice of drink.

This recipe is great for those warmer days too as there is little time at the stove and few ingredients needed, so if, you know, some friends find out you have a rooftop and happen to be in the neighborhood, you can feed them. If you want to.

I made this for my husband and I but wound up with leftover rice for lunches for the week, which was my intent. So feel free to half the rice recipe if you don’t want leftovers (but I don’t know what kind of person you would be if you didn’t want leftovers. Sorry no judging in this house)

For the rice:

  • 2 cups rice (I used arborio because that’s what I had, but you could use white or brown or whatever)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice of 2  llimes
  • 4 cups water
  • olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil in a high-sided skillet and toss in your onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or so on medium heat, stirring so garlic does not burn.



Add your rice and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. It will toast a bit and pick up some of the onion and garlic flavors.


Season with salt and pepper. Add the water and the lime juice. And bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer, cover and let it cook for about twenty minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.


You’s have fluffy rice, studded with red onion and garlic, and the scent of limes will be wafting in the air.

This is a great side dish for tons of main courses, but when it’s warm out, all I can think about is some shrimp slathered in old bay.




Simply toss frozen (straight from the freezer, no thawing), deveined shrimp (peeled or not, but always tail on) into a big skillet and douse it with old bay seasoning. Cook over medium until shrimp are done (they’ll turn pink).




Serve the shrimp alongside the rice. The rice will cool down the heat from the seasoning.



Then again, so will an ice cold beer.

Chicken Tortilla Soup


We’ve been on a soup kick lately.

It’s funny, when all he could eat was soup, we both grew tired of it, but with a wide array of dinner options, we now turn to it.

Go figure.

But it does make sense. It’s warm. It’s comforting. It’s easy. And there are just so many choices!


Chicken Tortilla Soup.

This recipe came from America’s Test Kitchen, but admittedly underwent a few tweaks.

You need

  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pablano pepper, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Avocado for serving

Start by drizzling olive oil in your soup pot and tossing in the onion, garlic and pablano. Cook over medium until the onions are soft.


Add the chicken broth.


And the chicken breasts, letting them simmer in the broth for about twenty minutes, partially covered.


The chicken will turn whitish when it is done.


Remove the chicken from the broth when it is fully cooked and shred it. Add the diced tomatoes and the beans to the pot.


And then add the shredded chicken back in.


Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for about ten minutes

Serve in bowls topped with avocado slices and strips of tortillas or crumbled tortilla chips.


Butternut Squash Risotto



That word conjures so many thoughts. I instantly think of all the amazing risottos I’ve had at restaurants.

That’s right. At restaurants. Because until now, I’ve always watched chefs make risotto and thought, fussy, time consuming, so easy to mess up.

And then. I found this little gem on Martha Stewart. Instead of standing over the stove and slowly adding liquid, everything goes in a pot and into the oven! This was itty bitty city kitchen style risotto.

And butternut squash is in season right now, so this is the perfect way to use that yummy fall vegetable!

Martha’s recipe uses kale and thyme, but I tweaked it slightly:

  • 1 shallot, diced,
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice
  • white wine
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a fairly large (all of the ingredients are going in it) oven-safe pot, drizzle some olive oil and add the shallots and the garlic.


When the shallot has softened, add the rice. Cook for 3-5 minutes to toast, stirring constantly.


When the rice is toasted, add in about a half cup of white wine. Season the rice with salt and pepper and let cook until the wine is reduced.


Meanwhile, peel and dice your butternut squash


The dump the squash and the vegetable stock into the pot and give it a good stir.


Bake, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed.


Dish out into big bowls and top with parmesan cheese.


Oven risotto? Life changing.

French Bistro at Home – French Onion Soup

There are few things in life for which I have patience.

French Onion soup is one of them.

It’s not a particularly complicated recipe, but it’s one you can’t rush. I’ve tried to speed up the process of browning the onions, or have not browned them for a sufficiently long enough time, and the results are just not the same.

If you really give it the time it needs in the pot, you will be comparing yours to the best bistro’s in town.

It’s a recipe that’s made from very simple ingredients, but that have a huge impact when cooked properly.

You will need

  • 5 yellow onions, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium so you can control the salt
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs de provence
  • a teaspoon of sugar (trust me)

Break out your heavy-bottomed soup pot. You’ll notice that I use this pot a lot. It’s one of those things that’s worth investing in up front because it will more than pay for itself in the long run. I actually got mine at Home Goods for a super reasonable price. So there are deals to be had.

Drizzle the bottom with olive oil. Resist the temptation to dump all the onions into the pot. Add only about half.


Let them start to cook and turn translucent and sweat a bit. Once they’ve released some liquid, sprinkle with half a teaspoon of sugar. The sugar will help the onions brown and caramelize – the key to French onion soup.


When the onions have cooked down some, as in the above, toss in the remaining onion ribbons. Give the pot a big stir so the new onions are on the bottom of the pot.


Give another sprinkle of sugar and stir again.


You’re going to want to stir every once in a while so the browned onions are brought to the top, allowing the rest of the onions to brown on the bottom of the pot.


Not going to lie, this takes some time. You want the onions to take on the rich dark brown color you see below.


Once they are that lovely color, season with salt, pepper and herbs de provence and pour in the chicken stoc k. Stir and let the pot simmer for about thirty minutes.


Top off your bowl with crusty bread and a healthy sprinkling of gruyere.


And there you have it – French bistro food you can eat in your pjs.

Stracciatella Soup

We just came back from a long weekend with both families.

That’s right, the Greek and Italians and Armenians wen away together and everyone came back alive!

The only problem is, I came back with more of me than I left with. Family gatherings always mean lots and lots of eating (and drinking). So I need to detox a little today.

When a light day is needed, I always turn to this easy and delicious soup.

Stracciatella is basically an Italian egg drop soup. It’s a few simple ingredients that, together, make a deliciously warming and filling dinner after a night or two of overindulging. It’s also a great meal when you are feeling a little under the weather.

You will need

  • Chicken broth
  • 4 eggs
  • Spinach
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of chicken broth to a slow boil.


I used a box of low sodium broth. You can use as much broth as you need to fill as many bowls of soup as you plan on making.

While the broth comes to a bubble, crack four eggs in a bowl, add salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese to the eggs. I used 4 eggs figuring 2 eggs per person. Adjust the number according to your needs.


Whisk the eggs and pepper and cheese until they are smooth.


When the broth is boiling, use a wooden spoon and stir the broth so the liquid is swirling.


As you stir, pour the beaten egg mixture into the broth, slowly.

The egg mix will catch in the broth whirlpool and the eggs will start to set in yellow, noodle-like strands. It only takes about a minute.


Once the eggs are set, toss in the baby spinach and stir until it wilts.


Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.


Dish up into big bowls and enjoy on the couch in your pj pants.


It’s a no cooking night



We all have days where we come home and just want to be able to whip something up quickly and with minimal effort. Maybe just boiling some water for pasta or light sauteing veggies to throw over leftover rice.

Light amount of cooking required kind of dishes.

Then, there are those nights when the last thing you want to do is cook. Boiling water, preheating the oven, heck even microwaving something is just too much.

But don’t you go reaching for those takeout menus and cell phone!

No siree.

Not wanting to cook doesn’t mean you can’t make dinner.

And anyway, a recent article in Chatelaine says that cooking at home makes you happy! For real, check it out.

So I’m not crazy when I say the kitchen is my happy place.

So what to do though when you don’t actually want to cook but want to make something for dinner? Well, you can reach for the box of cereal – don’t lie! you’ve all done it!- or you can take a page from Jeff Mauro The Sandwich King’s book and have a sandwich night!

Or, more specifically, a sub night.

I’m Italian, so I grew up with salami sandwiches in my lunchbox. Heck, sometimes there was even last night’s salami bread in my lunch box.

And my boyfriend, after many a salami sandwich at my parents’ house, is now an Italian cold cut lover too.

So why not have a make your own sub night?

It’s quick, it’s easy, it lets everyone make their dinner their own way, and it means making a meal without turning on a single appliance.

And there’s pretty much no clean up.

And, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

You’ll just need some good bread- we used a loaf of Calandra’s Italian bread (duh)- cold cuts of your choice – salami, provolone, pepperoni and pr0sciutto for us – and any extra topping you want – mustard, mayo, oil, vinegar, tomato, lettuce.

For a well balanced sub, I suggest some kind of cheese, paired with at least two meats with different textures or flavor profiles. Think turkey paired with capicola or, like we did, the sharp provolone against the spicy salami, salty prosciutto and fatty salami.  Roast beef and spicy monterey jack cheese.

The sky really is the limit here.

So, bread, cold cuts, toppings.

Set up an assembly line.

Slice your bread.


Lay out the cold cuts so everyone can see everything there is.


Slice up some juicy Jersey tomatoes. I think tomatoes are necessary on an Italian sub. They cut through all the rich, fatty flavors of the meats and give the sandwich some brightness. I also think you need some crunch factor in the form of lettuce. Romaine or iceberg are always good choices. We used shredded cabbage because we had a bag on hand.


Then, build your sandwich. I went cabbage first, then pepperoni, then provolone, then salami and prosciutto, then some tomato. I finished with a drizzle of balsamic.


He went tomato first, provolone, then salami, pepperoni, prosciutto and cabbage. He drizzled his with some olive oil and balsamic. I think he went mustard and mayo too.


Like I said, this is a great dinner because everyone can have it their way.

Rip open a bag of chips and enjoy.

Pepperoni and String Beans

You read that title, scratched your head, wrinkled your nose and said what?

No, this is not a joke.

This is pepperoni and string beans.

You’ve never heard of it?

I don’t think anyone outside of my dad’s family has really. It’s not an Italian dish. It’s not… well, I don’t think it’s any kind of dish.

Our guess is that my grandma had six hungry kids on her hands and only pepperoni, string beans and some tomato paste in the cabinets and she just shrugged and said, eh, why not?

Did I mention my grandma had six kids, no dishwasher and no driver’s license?

So if the kids were hungry and grandpa wasn’t home, whatever was in the house would have to become dinner. Somehow.

I’m guessing that’s how this concoction came into being.

My mom always makes this down the shore. I’ve never made it for my boyfriend before, not because I think that he’ll think it’s weird, but because I’ve never had it anywhere but down at our shore house.

Isn’t that weird?

There’s certain foods that have such a strong association with certain places that I just can’t imagine eating them anywhere else.

So while we were away with my parents over the weekend, mom decided to make it.

Our kitchen down the shore is equally as itty bitty, just not so city.

So this post comes to you from my mom in her itty bitty but not so city kitchen.

For this dish you will need can of tomato paste, canned string beans, pepperoni (sliced).

You can add as many cans of green beans and as much pepperoni as you need to feed your troop.

The only key here is that the tomato paste be added with water in a 3 parts water to 1 part tomato paste ratio.

Fool proof method? 3 cans of water (using the tomato paste can) per one can of tomato paste.

Ready? Dump everything in a pot.


Cover with a lid and cook over medium. Stir it every once in a while.

It’s the perfect thing to throw together and let hang on the stove while you hang on the beach. Whenever someone goes back to the house for a snack or a potty break, just ask them to give the pot a stir.

The longer it simmers, the spicier the tomato broth gets as the pepperoni seeps into it.

The next day it’s even spicier.


Spoon out into bowls and have some crusty bread ready.

A bowl of this always makes me think of summer at the beach.

What dishes have that kind of association with a place for you?

I’d love to hear them!

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cheddar Quiche

Is there a more perfect pairing than broccoli and cheddar cheese?

I don’t know who first put the two together, but I want to thank that person.

The crispness of broccoli paired with the rich, fatty melty sharpness of the cheese.


We’re heading out for the long weekend tomorrow night, so tonight’s dinner had to be fast (we have to pack and stuff) and require only a few ingredients ( I don’t want to have things in my fridge that will go unused).

Immediately my mind goes to quiche.

We always have eggs and milk in the fridge, so if I just have to get a few veggies on my way home, it’s not a big deal.

I grabbed some baby greens for a simple side salad and some broccoli and cauliflower.

I feel like if you make a side salad then even the simplest dish feels more like a meal.

So I whipped up some of the sunflower oil dressing and this yummy quiche.

Dinner on the table in about forty-five minutes.

And, you know why I love quiche. That’s right, dishwasher safe pie pan.


Preheat the oven to 400.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the broccoli and cauliflower. About a minute is all you need.


Drain and then dump the veggies into the lightly greased baking dish.


In a bowl, whisk together four eggs and some milk.


Pour the mixture over the vegetables.


Top the whole thing with slice of sharp cheddar cheese.


Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the eggs are set.


Throw the dish in the dishwasher, pack up the bathing suits, and one more work day to get through until vacation!      IMG_0771