After attempting to make French macarons, I had plenty of egg yolks left over (and no cookies!). Sure, I could make ice cream or pudding with them, but I didn’t feel like it. So even though I don’t have a pasta roller, I decided to make pasta dough and roll it out with my rolling pin. When the dough was finished, I was scared to ruin it, so I took my pasta over to my parents’ house, instructing my sister to bring her Kitchenaid pasta-rolling attachment there as well, and we teamed up to serve our family the best pasta dish ever! Continue reading
I’m pretty obsessed with my Crock Pot right now. I love to come home to the smell of a slow-cooked meal and to not have to cook dinner when I come home. It’s win-win. It’s pretty amazing how everything I make in there turns out delicious. I don’t even have to cook meat in it, vegetable stews work great, too. I always tell myself I will use it more often, then go through a slow cooker phase, and then put it away and leave it there for a couple of months. I hope this phase lasts longer!
I’ve been making a lot of stews to eat over rice lately, and I was in a pasta mood, so I decided to cook up a tomato sauce to serve on top of spaghetti, though it would be equally delicious with rice.
A while back, Stephanie posted about kelsonnes, a traditional Syrian stuffed pasta dish. While many people use pre-made dough, making it from scratch is not so hard. It’s pasta that you can make without a pasta maker, so it’s totally worth it. The stuffed pasta is so giant that you get a ton of cheese, which is amazing. We usually eat these with egg noodles baked with butter. The buttery noodles get nice and crispy, mmm.
The recipe said that it yields 60 kelsonnes. I made 50. It really depends on the thickness of the dough. And no, I don’t serve/eat all of them at once. I usually make about 4 per person (of course we serve this alongside other traditional Syrian foods) and freeze the rest for an easy dinner later in the week.
I made individual bowls of noodles and kelsonnes here. You really don’t have to do that, but I like to take advantage of my oven proof bowls, so I do. If doing it this way, reduce the oven time and watch them closely. You don’t to burn the noodles too much!
Kelsonnes, adapted from the red Deal Delights cookbook:
For the dough:
- 5 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- About 2 cups water
For the filling (I cut the original recipe in half for you – otherwise there is WAY too much leftover cheese):
- 1 pound meunster cheese, grated finely (I use the grating disc in my food processor), about 5 cups
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1. Make the dough: combine flour, eggs, and salt. Add the water in a slow stream and mix together until you get a soft dough.
2. Combine filling ingredients, set aside.
3. Split the dough in half and roll out each half of the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.
4. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture every 3 or so inches on half the dough (make sure you have enough room to close the dough between – see picture).
5. Cover the mounds with the other half of the dough.
6. Cut out the rounds with a round cutter (about 2 1/2 inch).
7. Repeat with remaining dough.
To assemble the dish:
For 4 people you will need:
- 1 pound bag egg noodles
- 12-20 kelsonnes, depending on how much your eaters like them
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Some salt
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
3. When boiling, add the kelsonnes. Boil for 5 minutes before adding the pasta.
4. Boil according to the time written on the package. Drain.
5. Combine butter, a pinch of salt, noodles and kelsonnes in a large casserole. Mix until the butter melts.
6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until the top noodles begin to brown and get crispy.
Chicken and spaghetti was always a Friday night staple in our home. Though Poopa Dweck’s book states that it’s a Syrian custom to not eat this dish for Shabbat dinner because it’s a sign of bad luck, my family’s been eating it for years, and I don’t think we’re any less lucky than other people out there. So If you’re superstitious, make it on a weeknight. It’s a good meal with just a small side salad or vegetable. If you’re not superstitious, or just want to make a main course that consists of a carb and a protein (does the tomato sauce count as a vegetable?), then make this for Shabbat dinner. Your guests and family will fight over the crispy burnt edges.
When my mother makes this, she always leaves the chicken pieces whole. This way, it’s easier to eat just the spaghetti, which I often like to do (especially when there’s chili on the table – chicken and spaghetti chopped with some chili is awesome). I sometimes shred the chicken into the spaghetti, so that every bite has a little bit of chicken and a little bit of spaghetti. I find that the chicken also stays more moist this way and soaks up the flavor of the sauce more. Try it both ways and let me know which you prefer. Remember if you’re shredding to be careful to remove all the bones and stuff. No one wants a mouthful of spaghetti and chicken bones!
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 chicken, cut into eighths (bone in, skin on)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Place chicken on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 – 45 minutes, until cooked. Then let cool and shred, cut, or leave whole. Save the chickeny oil and juice!
3. While chicken is roasting, boil spaghetti in very salty water for one minute less than stated on the package.
4. Drain the spaghetti.
5. Place spaghetti in roasting pan and add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, spices, salt, and some pepper. Mix well.
— Now you have what we like to call “And Spaghetti” which is the BEST Friday afternoon snack ever.
6. Add the chicken (pieces, shreds, whatever you decided) and the chicken juice and mix well.
7. Cover and roast in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, until the edges are crusty and the middle is soft.
Here’s something you should definitely put on your Shabbat menu for tonight: Keskesoon is not a complicated dish. In fact, it’s really just a pasta dish with chick peas in it. But no one makes it better than Grandma Sally, which is why we invited her to our kitchen JUST to make her specialty.
As you will see, the ingredient list isn’t so extensive. You probably have everything on hand, except maybe the teeny pasta, which you will find in most supermarket pasta aisles. Never seen it before? You probably just glanced over it because you prefer little stars in your soup than these crazy peppercorn shaped pastas. These are much better. The secret to this dish is toasting the pasta before adding the water. It adds a nutty flavor that you don’t ever associate with pasta, but just works. It also makes some of the kernels browner than others, which makes it prettier on the plate, of course.
Keskesoon was always a Friday night and holiday staple in my Grandma’s house. We ate in in our chicken soup instead of rice. We put sauce and meatballs (and eggy-surprise!) over it. We used it as a base for our Hamud, peas and kibbe, and kibbe mushroom. Basically, you won’t run out of ways to eat this stuff. Some people even enjoy it plain, and why not?
My family really only eats this with meat meals. We always make it pareve, and with oil. When I consulted Deal Delights (the red one) for the recipe, I was surprised to find how different their recipe is from ours! Theirs calls for about 6 tablespoons of butter, and baking it in a dish with grated cheese on top – keskesoon, mac and cheese style, sounds awesome. They also spell it keskasoon. I guess since it’s not an English word there is no one proper way to spell it. One day I will have to try that version, but for now I’m sticking to our traditional way of eating and spelling. How does your family make keskesoon?
Keskesoon, recipe adapted from Grandma:
- 1 box acini di pepe pasta, #44
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 can chick peas
- 3 1/2 cups water
1. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil.
2. Open the can of chickpeas. Drain and rinse.
3. When the oil is hot, add the pasta. Swirl and mix, making sure each piece is coated in oil. Stir constantly until toasted.
4. Add the water and the chickpeas.
5. Bring to a boil, then lower, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed.
When my brother-in-law Ralph found out that I was having trouble using up all of the summer squash I’ve been getting in my CSA, he told me about a delicious pasta dish he made with browned zucchini, lemon and ricotta cheese. I was intrigued. When his mother-in-law told me it was the best pasta dish she had ever eaten, I knew I had to make it for dinner as soon as my next pickup, filled with two pounds of farm-fresh summer squash, arrived. Continue reading
Here is a meatless yet satisfying dinner for Meatless Monday:
This was the first time we’d ever cooked with fresh peas; we usually use the frozen variety. But since peas (as well as asparagus) are in season, this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook seemed like a perfect recipe to try. We used Alton’s recipe for the pasta.
I really like pasta, and lately I’ve been eating the homemade kind. With homemade pasta, of course I need homemade sauce! The traditional garlic and oil was getting boring, and I don’t really love tomatoes, so unless they’re cooked for a really long time, I don’t like making sauce with them (sometimes I do, anyway). I do, however, like red sauces. And I really like pink sauces, and I used to only have them in restaurants. But now I’ve found a way to replicate the restaurant flavor at home…and it didn’t even take THAT long. True, the sauce had to simmer in the oven for an hour and a half, but if you have laundry to fold, a paper to write, or some TV to watch, then do it when the sauce is in the oven. Oh yeah, and you’ll definitely have to do some dishes, too.
Jessica bought a pasta roller attachment for her KitchenAid! So obviously we both wanted to use it right away. It was great to have two people to feed the dough into the machine and catch it as it came out (and take pictures of the process!) but you can do it alone, too! The machine is doing most of the work.
We used Tyler Florence’s recipe for pasta dough. He uses it to make ravioli, but works just as well for spaghetti and fettuccine. The recipe makes a pound of pasta, so if you want less, half it. Or learn how to dry and preserve it by making a nest. I’m still working on that skill.
If you grew up in the Blanco household and it was a Monday night, you would know what you were having for dinner: spaghetti & meatballs, of course! Now, I don’t actually remember the last time all six of us actually sat down on a Monday night and ate spaghetti & meatballs, but I know we all remember that’s what we’re supposed to eat.
Well, mom’s recipe for meatballs is exactly what a meatball sounds like; ground beef shaped into balls. I wanted to make mine a bit more sophisticated, so I took the advice of my Food Network friends (okay, maybe they don’t know who I am, but I feel like I know them so well!) and used two kinds of meat and some seasonings before cooking them slowly and for a looong time in garlic-y and wine-y tomato sauce.