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Farfalle with Sopressata and Ramps Recipe

Farfalle with Ramps Recipe | Umami Girl

Hi there from the tail end of ramps season. I woke up with a start earlier in the week vaguely remembering having written a piece for Serious Eats many years ago FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of ramps. Oh, the salad days of The Crisper Whisperer — pun fully intended — when all bets were off and you could talk like a vegetable. Anyhoo. That post also contained a pretty good recipe for farfalle with ramps and a pretty bad photo of the farfalle with ramps recipe. I’ve improved both and served the pasta for dinner last night, and now here’s me reminding you of it, too.

Continue reading “Farfalle with Sopressata and Ramps Recipe”

My Perfect Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

As with all of the recipes in the My Perfect series, the intent with my perfect spaghetti Bolognese recipe is not to brag or to argue, but simply to say that this dish has been with our family for many years, and over those years I've put a lot of love and effort into honing it. The My Perfect seal means it's our favorite incarnation of itself, and it's a real keeper.

Tip

Grass-fed beef tastes great, tends to be more ethically produced, and has a better nutritional profile than corn-fed.
It's rainy and chilly here in coastal NJ this morning, and I'm so glad. I do adore the moodiness of a nice gray day in its own right, but today I'm just using the chill as an excuse to share what you might consider a slightly unseasonal dish: my perfect spaghetti Bolognese recipe.Let's be honest: there's never a bad time for a really great bowl of spaghetti Bolognese. But whether the middle of May is the first time you'd think of it? I couldn't speak for you on that front. 🙂I'm 50 percent Italian but like 75 to 80 percent Italian Food. Don't try to do the math, just trust me on this one. Especially where comfort food is concerned, I so often turn to Italian or Italian-American, my OG comfort foods. Spaghetti Bolognese is hearty, rustic food, yet a version this good still feels a little bit refined.

Tips for The Best Spaghetti Bolognese

Use grass-fed ground beef if possible. It's got great flavor and a better nutritional profile.Embrace a little bit of browning on the bottom of the pot (from cooking the bacon and the veggies). Scrape it all up into the sauce when you add the wine. It adds a lot of flavor.Tossing a little bit of really good butter (like salted Kerrygold) into the mix when you stir the sauce into the pasta is never a bad idea. 🙂This sauce is great right away but only improves as it sits, so feel free to make it in advance.

My Perfect Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

As with all recipes in the My Perfect series, My Perfect Spaghetti Bolognese is a staple in our household which, over the years, I've refined to be what we consider the very best version of itself. This recipe honors its traditional roots with a lot of the classic ingredients (yes, WHITE wine!), but we've also made it our own in terms of both process and ingredients. It's in our sweet spot of super-deliciousness but doesn't take all day to make. This recipe serves 8, but the sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to a week and freezes well too, so feel free to boil up less pasta and divide the sauce into multiple meals. Bolognese sauce is also great with bucatini, rigatoni, and even cheese tortellini.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serves Serves 8

Ingredients

For the Bolognese sauce

To serve

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Set a heavy 5 1/2-quart pot (this is my favorite) over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. If there is more than about two tablespoons of fat at the bottom of the pot, spoon out the rest and discard or save for another use. Add onion, carrot, and celery and continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook two minutes more.
  2. Add ground beef, along with one teaspoon of the salt, stirring to break up the meat into small pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes, until beef isn't pink. Stir in wine and simmer for a few minutes, until liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining teaspoon of salt.
  3. Cover pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer while you cook the spaghetti. Stir in cream and leave pot uncovered for the last few minutes of cooking. 
  4. While the sauce simmers, fill a large, heavy pot halfway with well salted water and bring to a boil. Cook spaghetti al dente according to package instructions. Drain, return pasta to pot, and toss with several ladles of sauce. (Psst...I also sometimes throw in a big pat of really good butter while tossing the spaghetti with the sauce.)
  5. To serve, plate spaghetti in wide, shallow bowls and top with additional sauce. Pass grated cheese and a pepper mill at the table, along with some flaky sea salt if you like.

Notes

Nutritional information for this recipe includes spaghetti.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 778 Total Fat:: 29g Carbohydrates:: 82.4g Fiber:: 7.8g Protein:: 40g

Carne Asada Tacos Recipe

Carne asada tacos combine quick-cooking marinated skirt steak with lots of flavorful toppings. They're a classic for a reason. Our version incorporates refried beans and couldn't be quicker to assemble.

Tip

Marinate the steak overnight in the fridge or for two hours at room temperature. After that, these tacos come together in a flash.

Happy Monday, or as I like to call it, Taco Tuesday Eve. This week we’re grilling up super-flavorful carne asada tacos with refried beans and all the trimmings. You can marinate the steak for a couple hours at room temperature or prep it in the morning or even the night before and marinate in the fridge for up to a day. (See what I mean about Taco Tuesday Eve? It’s a real thing, people.) After marinating, this meal comes together quickly and easily.

What is skirt steak

Skirt steak is a flavorful, relatively inexpensive cut of beef (unless you buy it grass fed at Whole Foods like me — then it costs 18 million US dollars for two pounds). When marinated, grilled to medium-rare over a very hot grill and sliced thinly against the grain, it will be perfectly tender, too. In case you’re in the market, we’ve had this grill for a couple seasons now, and I love it.

Make your own tacos

You can assemble the tacos for everyone if you like, but we prefer to put all the ingredients out on the serving table and let people taco themselves. Kids always seem to eat better when they’re in control of the assembly process, and this goes for some adults, too.

Carne Asada Tacos Recipe

These carne asada tacos are super-flavorful and have a great mix of textures, too. Skirt steak is a fabulous quick-cooking cut that will be nice and tender from marinating, grilling to medium-rare over a very hot grill, and then slicing thinly against the grain after a nice little rest. You can marinate the steak at room temperature for two hours or for up to a day in the fridge if you want to prep in the morning or even the night before.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Serves Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds skirt steak

For the marinade

  • 1/4 cup safflower or other neutral oil
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves and stems, torn a few times to release flavors

To serve

  • 2 16-ounce cans refried beans
  • 24 taco-size corn tortillas
  • 2 ripe haas avocados, sliced
  • Pickled red onions
  • 8 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Pat steak dry with paper towels. If pieces are too long to fit on grill, cut into manageable sections. 
  2. In a gallon-size zip top bag, mix together the oil, orange and lime juices, garlic, salt, vinegar, and torn cilantro. Add meat and marinate at room temperature for two hours (or up to a day in the fridge), turning the bag over occasionally.
  3. 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, preheat grill to high. Grill the steak until nicely browned on the underside, 3 to 5 minutes. Then flip once and grill about 3 minutes more, depending on thickness, for medium-rare. Let steak rest for 10 minutes.
  4. While steak rests, warm refried beans and tortillas according to package instructions, and assemble toppings in bowls at the table. Slice steak thinly against the grain.
  5. Let everyone assemble their own tacos. Anything goes, but we recommend a nice schmear of refried beans on the bottom, a few slices of steak, and plenty of toppings. 

Notes

Nutrition information for this recipe does not include tortillas.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 522 Total Fat:: 31g Carbohydrates:: 20.9g Fiber:: 8.1g Protein:: 39.8g

How to Make Savory Tart Dough for a Rustic Tart / Galette / Crostata

This savory tart dough makes a delicious bed for allllllll of the things, from asparagus + leek + ricotta + buratta to chard + corn + taleggio

Tip

Most of the trick to making successful tart dough is simply in the bravery. But cold butter, ice water, and a light touch don't hurt.

The proof is in the produce

Look, I’ve been a little gun-shy about the arrival of spring this year. That’s understandable, right? Our kids’ 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. got snowed out at the end of March, and April had a STRONG game in the resting bitch face department. But today is May 9, which is practically mid-May. And although there were gusts of frigid wind and some weird fog coming off the ocean way too late in the morning for such things, I’m gonna go ahead and call it. It’s spring, motherfuckers.

The proof is in the produce. 

Savory Tart Dough Process 780 | Umami Girl
Savory Tart Dough Process 780 | Umami Girl

Whistle a happy tune

Okay, maybe some of the asparagus and strawberries are still coming to the northeastern U.S. from Mexico and Bolivia what have you, but I’m looking the other way and whistling a happy tune and being glad that it exists at all.

Here’s the real point: where there’s produce, will eventually be a little too much produce. An overeager buyer at the season’s first farmers’ market. A week whose busy-ness escalates, taking you by surprise. Whatever.

Shovel that extra produce into a crust and bake it. That would make a decent insult, but it makes an even better suggestion. Just sayin.

Protips for Making Savory Tart Dough

Use half all-purpose flour, half whole-wheat pastry flour for a nice combination of tenderness and flavor.

Use a food processor to keep things quick and easy.

Start with cold butter and ice water.

For the flakiest crust, don’t over-mix the dough, either in the food processor or by hand. Quit while you’re ahead and there are still some pea-sized pieces of butter in the mix. As long as the dough holds together when you pinch it, you’re good.

But most importantly, don’t stress about any of this. It’s spring and soon will be summer, and you’re making something whose very name implies imperfection, and ya gotta be chill.

Savory Tart Dough for a Rustic Tart/ Galette/ Crostata

Makes one large rustic tart (galette! crostata!) that serves 8 people. Watch the short video for some dough-making protips.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 16 tablespoons cold salted butter, diced
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water

Directions

  1. Place the flours into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand with some larger pea-sized pieces.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the water and process for a moment.
  4. Test to see if the dough holds together when you squeeze a bit with your hand. If not, add the remaining water and process again.
  5. Use your hands to quickly form the dough into a ball. Then flatten into a disk between two approximately 14-inch square pieces of parchment paper.
  6. Wrap in the parchment and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to 2 days) before proceeding.
  7. Remove dough from fridge about 20 minutes before you want to roll it out. Usually it's fine to pull the dough from the fridge when you start to gather the ingredients for your tart filling. 
  8. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on each side of the dough and then replace the parchment. Using a rolling pin and turning the dough a quarter-turn clockwise every so often, roll the dough out between the parchment into a 14-inch circle (which should be about the same size as the parchment sheets themselves.
  9. Remove the top sheet of parchment and slide the dough (still on the bottom sheet of parchment) onto a pizza pan or baking sheet.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 312 Total Fat:: 23.6g Carbohydrates:: 22.7g Fiber:: 2g Protein:: 3.8g

A Savory Tart Recipe for Spring: Asparagus Ricotta Burrata Crostata

Every culture that has both dairy and vegetables seems to work its way around eventually to the idea of a savory tart. Americans lean about equally on the Italian crostata and the French galette as excuses for our own tartlike behavior. I couldn't be happier about that. And this heavily rhyming asparagus ricotta burrata crostata is a big reason why.

Tip

A rustic savory tart is eminently flexible — that's kinda the point. You can swap ingredients in and out as you see fit. But boy, we really love this combination.
A few times a year, I go way deep into savory tart mode. Is that a thing? Feels like it must be. It’s a chef’s primal urge to take perfectly innocent ingredients — seasonal vegetables, all of the kinds of all of the cheese — and nestle them in crisp, buttery pastry. Let’s roll with that. 

Savory tarts to the rescue

During farmers’ market season every year, you’re bound to end up with a few instances of fridge overload. Savory tarts are up there with pasta and frittatas on the list of pleasing ways to pass off overabundance as a last-minute party. Sure, making a savory tart crust is a little bit more of a pain in the ass than scrambling a dozen eggs or boiling a pound of pasta. But.
Asparagus Ricotta Burrata Crostata Recipe 780 | Umami Girl-3

Making a rustic tart

If you have a food processor, it only takes a few minutes of pulsing time and then about an hour of chill time in the fridge, during which you can read a good book or sip on an Aperol Spritz or, ideally, both. I think tart crusts require a little bit of self-trust and bravery, too, if we’re being perfectly honest. A novel and an aperitif can help with that, too.Or — you know — just refer to this post about how to make a savory tart dough.

Asparagus Ricotta Burrata Crostata

This wonderful savory tart makes seasonal spring produce into a festive event to share with friends.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Serves 8

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F with a rack in the center.
  2. Slice off and discard roots and dark green parts from leeks. Slice white and light green parts in half lengthwise and then cut each length crosswise into thin half-moons. Wash and dry very well in a salad spinner to remove all grit. 
  3. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium nonstick skillet. Add leeks and a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust heat if necessary to prevent browning.
  4. After rolling out the dough as directed in the savory tart dough recipe, brush it with the olive oil, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around the outside. (In a few minutes you'll fold this part over to form a ring of crust around the ingredients.)
  5. Spread the ricotta evenly over the dough, still leaving a plain 1 1/2-inch border as you add all ingredients. Sprinkle half the pecorino evenly over ricotta. Lay asparagus over cheeses. (See note if your asparagus aren't pencil-thin). Sprinkle with remaining pecorino.
  6. Working in 6 to 8 sections, fold the outer ring of dough over the filling to form a crust, pressing gently to adhere the sections together. I like to use the parchment paper to lift and press the dough rather than handling it directly, especially if it's gotten a little soft. In any case, don't worry about making it perfect. Rustic is charming, you hear? 
  7. In a small bowl, beat together the egg with the milk or cream. Brush egg wash over outer ring of crust.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, until nicely browned. 
  9. While tart is hot, cut or tear burrata into pieces and distribute over filling. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

If you can't find extremely thin asparagus or just prefer thicker spears, partially cook them before adding to the tart by boiling for two minutes or so in well salted water. Dry well, then proceed with directions above.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 560 Total Fat:: 43.7g Carbohydrates:: 27g Fiber:: 2.7g Protein:: 17.2g