Almost nothing is off-limits when I bake. I let my mind go in many places and see where it lands. Often, it’s in the freezer.
Anyone who watched the Academy Awards on Sunday night knows singer-songwriter John Legend (aka John Stephens) and rapper Common (Lonnie Lynn) killed it with their rousing performance of “Glory,” from the film Selma, sparking a standing ovation from the audience and leaving some celebrity faces streaked with tears. Then they slayed it all over again when they collected their golden statuettes for Best Original Song.
But what you may not know is that Legend is also apparently handy with the morning meal.
One of the things I’ve learned since becoming an adult is that every family makes spaghetti and meatballs a little bit differently. When I was growing up, my mom used as many vegetables as possible and skipped the meatballs entirely, preferring to cook some ground turkey directly in the sauce. It was awfully good, but still, I found myself coveting other approaches.
When my sister got married, her husband introduced us to his family recipe, with basic beef meatballs and Parmesan cheese and tiny bits of chopped carrots in the sauce. My own husband’s childhood spaghetti night involved canned marinara and links of Italian sausage.
Being someone who is always in pursuit of the next great dish, I’ve not settled down into one particular approach to the classic dish of spaghetti and meatballs. Sometimes I make chicken and ricotta meatballs; other times I’ve opted for a trio of ground meat and Italian bread, lightly soaked in milk.
Leave it to Food Network’s own queen of Italian cuisine, Giada De Laurentiis, to transform a breakfast classic — bacon and eggs — into a rich, hearty pasta ideal for any time of day. While cooking for a packed crowd last weekend at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, in between answering fan questions and mingling with her onstage guest cook, Giada showed off how simple it is to make her carbonara, a next-level version of a traditional recipe featuring creamy eggs and Italian bacon. Read on below for her top-10 tips for making this silky, comforting pasta, then get her quick-fix recipe.
1. Instead of everyday bacon, Giada uses pancetta — an unsmoked Italian bacon — in her carbonara. When rendered, it becomes crispy and salty, and the drippings can be used to saute the onions.
2. Giada admits that while onions may not be an ingredient in the most-authentic carbonara recipes, they’re indeed a beloved element in her family’s recipe, as they offer sweetness, which offsets the salt, and promise “a lot of flavor.”
Get cooking this weekend with Food Network. First, on Saturday morning, watch The Kitchen for a variety of recipes that are perfect for a cold winter day, from chicken tortellini soup to healthy grain bowls and a maple-and-rum toddy for a warm finish. Then, on Sunday, gather around the bonfire with Nancy Fuller on Farmhouse Rules as she cooks up a comforting meal you don’t want to miss.
On Sunday night, tune in for three hours of competition starting at 8|7c. First, watch chefs rush through the aisles to figure out Guy Fieri’s favorite dish on Guy’s Grocery Games. Then, catch the premiere of All-Star Academy as Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon each pick two home cooks to guide to victory. Each rookie must compete for a spot on a mentor’s team, but not all of them will make it to the next round. And don’t forget to watch a new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen to see what wild obstacles the chefs must endure as they cook.
Though the staple of your youth may have been nothing more than American cheese on butter-smeared white bread, modern takes on grilled cheese consider that assembly just a starting point. Next time you get a hankering for the buttery, griddled goodness of an oozing grilled cheese sandwich, stack a few creative ingredients that can elevate the childhood classic to a satisfying, comforting main.
Get this: When you sandwich smoky roasted poblano peppers and creamy Monterey Jack cheese between two slices of bread, you’ll get a flavor reminiscent of classic chiles rellenos. Bring two cultural classics together for a Roasted Poblano and Mushroom Grilled Cheese, and don’t forget to brush the bread with a little chipotle in adobo for added heat.
The food you love to hate, chicken breasts often get a bad rap: On their own and without any seasoning, they can be bland, and if they’re boneless and skinless, then they turn from moist to dry in a matter of moments when cooking. But if cooked properly (as in, not scorched beyond oblivion) and flavored, even with just salt and pepper, the go-to chicken breast can save many a day in the kitchen. This culinary workhorse is a blank canvas that you can dress up with nearly any ingredients (think Italian, Asian, French and Mexican profiles, among others) for breakfast, lunch and dinner; plus, it’s an inexpensive cut of meat that the whole family will enjoy. You can count on that. Below, in no particular order, are 11 times you’ll realize the humble chicken breast is your best friend in the refrigerator.
When You Run Out of Tomatoes on Pasta Night: Who says pasta must be served with red sauce? Rachael’s 30-minute Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss is just that — penne noodles quickly and simply tossed with classic chicken piccata fixings, like buttery chicken tenders and a bold lemon-caper sauce.
When it comes to competition shows, everyone’s got an angle, a competitive strategy in hopes of winning. On All-Star Academy, premiering Sunday, Mar. 1 at 9|8c, each of the mentors has his or her own way of approaching the competition. As culinary instructors, they have different methods for teaching the mentees as they lead them through the many difficult cooking challenges, which test the home cooks’ resolve in order to find the single best one in the nation.
FN Dish recently caught up with Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon to find out their competition strategies, how they think they’re going to win and what sets them apart from their fellow mentors — and they didn’t hold back with their answers.
Much like simply grilled chicken and the classic hamburger, cauliflower is a culinary blank canvas that can be paired with myriad other flavors and textures, like creamy cheeses, bold spices and tangy hot sauce, depending on what you’re craving and what ingredients you happen to have on hand. The beauty of cauliflower is that this vegetable can stand to be cooked at high temperatures and it maintains its sturdy consistency even when crumbled, so it can even be turned into something new altogether, like a pizza crust. Check out Food Network’s top-five new twists on cauliflower to get must-try recipe ideas from Katie Lee, Guy Fieri, Ina Garten and more of your favorite chefs.
5. Cauliflower Pizza Crust — There’s no dough required to make Katie’s easy cauliflower-based pizza crust. She simply processes the vegetable until it’s fine, then adds eggs and a duo of cheese for moisture before shaping into a traditional circle and baking.
4. Cauliflower-Onion Linguini — Ready to eat in only 35 minutes, Food Network Magazine’s healthy pasta delivers on both taste and texture, thanks to a sweet sauce of toasted onions, fresh basil and plenty of tender cauliflower. For a bite of welcome crunch, fry the onions with panko breadcrumbs and finish the dish with a sprinkle of pine nuts.
Here’s something to file away for future first dates: If you’re out in a restaurant and your date orders something spicy, he or she may be a risk-taker.
The link between spicy foods and risk-taking, established by researchers at Penn State University, is interesting in and of itself, but here’s an added twist: The personality traits behind that craving for capsaicin – feel the burn! – may be somewhat different in men than in women.