Wedding Bucatini with Peas, Spinach and Herb Ricotta + A Tieks Giveaway

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I doubt this will surprise anyone, but–I cared a lot about the food we served at the wedding. I wanted our guests to enjoy a truly delicious meal–not an easy task when catering to 150 people at once! I also wanted to showcase the season, at the expense of established “wedding food” favorites.

For months, I worked back and forth with our caterer (Hi, Matt, Maureen and Christina!) until we settled on the menu you see below. All the work was more than worth it–I loved the final product. I’ll never forget it. I wish I could eat these dishes over and over again!

This post is my effort to recreate one of our wedding dishes at home. My version deviates from the original in style, but it brings the same flavors to the table. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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I’m also really pleased to talk about Tieks in this post, since I wear them nearly every day. They are crazy comfortable, fold up for purse-sized storage, and come in a bunch of colors and patterns. (I actually gifted Tieks to the bridesmaids at the wedding, and spent most of my night rocking these.) I concede they’re on the pricier side, but I’ve had my current pair going on two years–I still love them, and I think they’re totally worth the investment. And something else–the people who work at there are just the absolute kindest.

As a gift to you, I’d like to give away a $100 gift certificate to one lucky reader. To enter: 1) Follow Tieks on one of their social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter). 2) Leave a note in the comments–what is the best or worst food you’ve ever had at a wedding? The contest will close Sunday, June 21st at 11:59pm. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Wedding Bucatini with Peas, Spinach and Herb RicottaThe Roaming Kitchen wedding menu

The Roaming Kitchen wedding ravioloThe Roaming Kitchen wedding raviolo

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Orecchiette with Peas, Ham, Herbs + Garlic Breadcrumbs

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Summer arrived in New York last weekend, suddenly and unexpectedly, like an uninvited guest. As I biked around our neighborhood, collecting ingredients for a Mother’s Day meal from more retailers than most would deem reasonable, I was struck by the outrageous greenery I think must have sprung up overnight, while we were all asleep. Asparagus just arrived at the market and I have not seen a single sugar pea, but still, all evidence suggests summer. Honestly, I feel a little gypped. I love spring, and there is a snap pea salad recipe I’ve been waiting to work out.

I have a friend who is happy. There is no other way to describe it–she is generally, genuinely, effervescently happy. Of course she is not without her troubles or hardships; when she is sad, she fully embraces sadness, a two handed hand shake. But she does not dwell in sadness or self doubt. She has a natural, easy ability to see the best in people. She is a loving friend. I often wonder–are some people born preternaturally happier than others? Or is happiness instead a conscious choice, or maybe a series of micro choices? Does it care where you’ve come from, or more about where you are going?

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Orzo Salad with Scallions, Hazelnuts, and Golden Raisins

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On Sunday, the Frenchman and I organized a picnic and barbecue in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We met friends, and friends of friends, on a grassy knoll tipping toward the water, an open view of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty off to the left. We sat together on a massive tapestry, played cards, and drank gin, basil, and grapefruit punch.

That afternoon, the first warm one in eons, reminded me of many picnics past, first in El Retiro in Madrid, where we ate potato chips cooked in olive oil and sipped cheap Spanish beer, watching the rowboats pass across the pond, and then later in Paris, on the Pont des Arts or in Parc Monceau, with a bottle of rosé and a game of tarot to celebrate early summer.

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End of Summer Tagliatelle

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This pasta is my little swan-song to the end of summer. It contains everything I’ve cooked like crazy this season: slow roasted tomatoes by the armful, sweet corn, and fresh cheese. It’s balanced, tasty, and simple.

I made this with (store bought) basil pesto (hey, the Frenchman is away on business this week, so I’m keeping dinner as effortless as possible), but you can use arugula, or really whatever kind of pesto you’re into. Also, the butter is not mandatory, but it helps to bind the sauce together, and pushes the tagliatelle in the direction of a restaurant-rich pasta dish. I think the taste of toasty hazelnuts complements the dish, but if you prefer, you can substitute breadcrumbs–the point is to give the pasta a little crunch for textural diversity.

My suggestion is to roast the tomatoes the night before. They need so little attention, it’s no hardship to forget them in the oven once you get home from work. Pour yourself a cocktail, or give your kid a bath. Before The Daily Show comes on, the tomatoes will be done–flavor concentrated and ready to burst. Read more »

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Spaghetti with Veal-Ricotta Meatballs

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This recipe came together the way many of my recipes do: After filling my bike basket to the brim with farmers market loot, I had to figure out how to tie all those ingredients together into something, you know, halfway cohesive.

Some ladies lust after designer heels, while I prefer the first first broccoli of the year. A shopping problem is still a shopping problem.

This weekend, I came home with: fresh ricotta, ground veal, purple spring onions, parsley, garlic, as well as the aforementioned broccoli. I laid it all out on the kitchen table, and got to thinking.

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Rigatoni with Fennel and Veal Sausage

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How much fennel can be worked into one plate of pasta? Quite a lot, actually. I like this dish, because it utilizes every bit of the fennel, with not an ounce of waste. It’s also easy and inexpensive to make, but tastes like a million bucks.

This pasta works well for the weather, too: the sweet-anise notes of fennel suggest spring, while the presence of pecorino and veal sausage remind me that it’s still gray and chilly outside. (Hopefully not interminably, although it’s starting to feel that way.)

Plus, it’s adaptable: the flavors are sophisticated enough to serve as the first course of a spring dinner party (serves 6-8). But it’s also a crowd-pleaser–spoon some right out of the pot for a family-style meal (serves 4). Read more »

Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

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A few weeks ago, I tagged along on a road trip to Kinderhook Farm, located a few hours north of New York City in Ghent, New York. The animals who live there are extremely well cared for. The visit was excellent for several reasons.

The farm is gorgeous: a mosaic of red barns, a trail of low wooden fences, bold against the white snow that currently covers the pastures. Heritage breed chickens roam where they will, producing eggs in shades of blue, pink, green, and beige. I was introduced to Luci the dairy cow, the only dairy cow on the farm and apparently a bit of a diva for it. (I also met Apple, poor Apple, Luci’s somewhat abused sidekick; it’s a love-hate relationship between the two of them.) A sea of sheep spreads across a field, guarded by a pair of Italian herding dogs, both animal’s coats the white of snow.

The farmers who operate Kinderhook are impossibly friendly, gracious hosts. After touring us around the farm, we were invited into the kitchen for warm cookies, milk (courtesy of Luci, I cannot begin to tell you how tasty this milk is), and grilled cheese sandwiches. The kitchen’s bay windows look out past the barns and across the fields, over small hills dotted with trees that rise and fall as far as the eye can see.

If it feels like I am romanticizing this farm, I’m sorry, but it’s no exaggeration. It was bucolically beautiful, beautifully bucolic, and the animals Disney-esque in their loveliness. The clean and quiet air proved an invigorating change from the city. Read more »

Spirals with Arugula Pesto and a Poached Egg

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After the laboriousness of those veggie burgers, I thought this next recipe should be decidedly easier breezier, lest you start to think I am some sort of kitchen masochist.

What separates this pesto from any other is a variation on composition: I”ve traded traditional basil for arugula, while toasted hazelnuts stand in for pine nuts. I think it”s a happy redesign. The arugula has a lemony bite, which the hazelnuts mellow and balance. A little roasted garlic, Pecorino cheese, and lemon juice, and you”re in business.

Because it makes a meal, I”ve added a poached egg to the dish. Mix the sunny middle into the pasta in your bowl and you have a sauce that”s more than the sum of its parts. A generous pinch of red pepper flakes takes it over the top. Read more »