Everyone loves a sure thing.
As much as some people say they love change, we all love the comforts of the familiar. That’s why you reach for the same coffee mug when you have a cabinet filled-to-overflowing with them, why you hunker down to your Grandma’s chicken soup when you are feeling ill or even why our kiddos crawl into bed with the same ol’ stuffed animal until it’s raggedy and falling apart and you are almost coming to blows because you want to pitch the thing. Familiar, easy and guaranteed can be a good thing at times. And with that, today I’m going to offer you two recipes that are just that in my book. I’ve made them countless times (they are officially “in the arsenal”), they come out the same way each time AND are easy. Score! My gift to you on this lovely Tuesday.
Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus-Martha Stewart Everyday Food
2 bunches asparagus, tough ends removed (you know how to do this, right? Bend the spear and where it snaps, that’s where you should cut it)
3Tb. butter, cut into small pieces
12 oz. cavatappi or other short pasta
1 small log of goat cheese, softened (5 oz.), crumbled
2-3 Tb. snipped, fresh chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 450. Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Place asparagus on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and toss to cover all. Season with sea salt and pepper. Roast until tender, tossing occasionally, 10-15 minutes. Cut into 2-inch lengths.
While asparagus is roasting, generously salt boiling water. It should almost taste like salt-water for great pasta. Pretend you are at the beach. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Set aside 1.5 cups pasta water (don’t forget!!), drain pasta and return to pot.
In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, butter, and 1/2 cup hot pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Add goat cheese mixture and asparagus to pasta. Toss to combine. If necessary, add some pasta water to thin out sauce a little so that every last little noodle gets covered and smothered. Garnish and enjoy!
Espresso Biscuits-Martha Stewart, from a million years ago
(This is one of my favorite cookie recipes EVER. I have made it more times than I can count and it always sends folks swooning. Think of tricked-out shortbreads and you’ll start to get the picture)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch cocoa
1 Tb. finely ground espresso beans (OR just use good, strong, ground coffee. Works, too)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, cocoa and ground coffee. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until creamy-dreamy. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Scoop out by the heaping, tablespoon-full, roll into little balls. Place balls onto cookie sheet and press down into them twice with a fork (a la peanut butter cookies, when you make them). They should be about half-dollar sized or just slightly larger. These are rich cookies. Bake for about 13 minutes, until just firm to the touch. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve with coffee, tea or ice cold milk. Just watch out, they are completely addictive.
I hope you enjoy these, because my hoard and I sure do. Bon Appetit (said in my best Julia voice)!