Tag Archives: rigatoni

Monthly Review: December 2012

The last monthly review for 2012!  What photos did I capture on my iPhone this month?

Interested in what we did in the past months?  Check them out for 2012: May, June, July, August, and November.

December 1

I love walking and running in DC, views like this don’t let me forget how lucky I am to be in such a great city!

December 2

Our friend Brittany celebrated her 30th birthday with a brunch at Granville Moore’s.  It was the first time for Sam and me, and we really enjoyed it- hope to come back to try the mussels and Belgian beer!

December 3

My friend Carrie and I went to the screening of Honor Flight, at DAR Constitution Hall, it’s a documentary about a network that brings World War II veterans to see the memorial in D.C.  If you haven’t seen this, please do- what a great organization!

December 4

Holiday Parties, I’m pretty sure everyone had many this month.  This is my attempt at one of them to decorate my cookie.  I don’t think Christmas dessert decoration is my thing…maybe next year!  If you’re as decorationally-challenged as me, try making this Creamy Winter Veg Soup.

December 5

We’ve had a number of friends find new homes the past couple of months- congrats to all!  I just thought this card was really cute!

December 6

For those that follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I run with Back on My Feet in DC.  This is a great organization helping homeless attain various personal goals (school, homes, jobs, etc) while using running as a platform.  If you’d like more info about it, don’t hesitate to ask!

This was during our huddle right before the group ran the Jingle All the Way 8K!

December 7

During our last visit to the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market we got: spaghetti squash, cheeses, sausages and brussels sprouts.  The market will be back in March, until then we’ll try to stop by the Dupont Farmer’s Market on Sunday’s!

Recipe ideas for the foods above: Leafy Brussels Sprouts with Nuts & Rigatoni with Vegetables Figs and Blue Cheese.

December 8

There have been a couple cold nights in December, so we like to stay in and enjoy some cheese, crackers and pear slices!  And we got to usa a wedding gift- a new cheese board (thanks to Steph and Jack!).

Other appetizer ideas: Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey; Beet Chips with Pistachio Dip; Fig & Arugula Flatbread; Roasted Mushrooms with Parsley; Tomatoes with Mozzarella & Basil.

December 9

Although we have had delicious dinners at Zengo DC, we had yet to try it for the new brunch option.  When our friends Josie and Nathan wanted to hang out, we suggested this $35 bottomless brunch!  Wonderful food, good service and those churros at the end were delicious!

December 10

With Back on My Feet DC I got a chance to visit the White House when it was beautifully decorated for the holiday season.  Check out my post on this little adventure!

December 11

Great photo of the Mall on Christmas Day!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

December 12

When I’m sick, the only thing I crave is pho.  Does anyone have any favorite places around DC/NOVA?  I’d love to hear where you all go!  This one was takeout from Pho DC.

December 13

DC recently opened up its first gin distillery.  Green Hat is open for tours, but we snagged this in our local liquor store.  Have you tried it yet?

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Food Matters Project #4: Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese

I’ve had Mark Bittman’s book now for over a year, and I’m very upset I had not picked it up more often to find new and fun dishes.  As each week passes, I love this project since it’s a great way to go though a book.  And I love seeing what people pick out as their dish.

We’re in week four of the Food Matters Project.  This week’s host was Marcia and she chose a delicious dish- Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Blue Cheese.

Remember when I made the fig flatbread this past summer?  That was the day I fell in love with figs!  Once they’re in season, I might have to remake this dish- it was absolutely delicious.

Unfortunately, figs are not in season in DC at this time of the year.  So I used dried figs which I found at Whole Foods.  Although, you can use cranberries, dried cherries or any other dried fruit in this recipe.  It’ll all work well.

When making this dish, we used more brussels sprouts, and added mushrooms and onions.  We also didn’t bake the dish, but that is all preference.  This is definitely one you can impress all of your friends with, or enjoy it as an easy weeknight meal.

Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 221)

1 tsp + 1 tbsp salt
1 lb rigatoni
1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
10 dried figs, sliced
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp salt.  Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Meanwhile, mix the brussels sprouts, garlic with the olive oil and 1 tbsp salt.  Bake this mix for 20 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are tender in the middle.

Melt butter in a skillet.  Then add the mushrooms and onions.  Sauté the vegetables until the mushrooms and onions are soft.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot.  Add in the figs and blue cheese, stir together so the cheese starts to melt.  Then add in the mushroom and onion mix.  Stir well before serving.

Sam’s Summer Pasta Sauce

One of the first meals that Sam had made for me was this sauce, and I loved it!  He’s been perfecting this baby for years, so it is delicious.  I couldn’t wait until the tomatoes were in season, since this pasta is significantly better with deep red fresh tomatoes.

It’s finally tomato season!  Hopefully, my pasta sauce recipe will help you figure out how to use them.

It looks like a lot, but really, this one is pretty easy.  I developed this recipe over a couple years of trial and error.  Originally, I prepared the sauce as noted below, but then simmered it for about an hour over the stovetop.  I’ve found that omitting this last step and serving it with the tomatoes and herbs in their raw state gives the sauce a really nice, fresh-from-the-garden flavor.  I hope you like it.

Sam’s Summer Pasta Sauce

1 box, dry pasta (I recommend penne or rigatoni)
3 large, ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 zucchini, slice length-wise & chopped into chunks
2 squash, slice length-wise & chopped into chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
5 garlic cloves, minced
handful of fresh basil
6 sprigs of fresh oregano
¾ can, drained, pitted, black olives
Dry red wine (a nice Chianti works well)
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter together with the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Then add the squash, zucchini, and onion together with the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Now is a good time to start boiling your pasta.  I recommend cooking in liberally salted boiling water until al dente.  When done, drain and rinse in cold water to ensure it doesn’t continue to cook.

When the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms and garlic.  Continue to sauté until the mushrooms soften but still have a bit of a bite.  Remove from heat.

In a large food processor, add quarter of the sauté mixture together with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, olives, and a splash of wine and olive oil.  Pureé and add more salt, pepper, and olive oil as necessary.

Serve the sauce with the remainder of the squash mixture over the cooked pasta and top with a little fresh, grated parmesan (not that powdered stuff!).  Oh, and don’t forget to drink the remainder of that wine!

Buon appetito!