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One of the more unexpected pasta dishes I first ate during that semester abroad in Rome was pasta with a walnut sauce. Although there are versions that make a walnut cream sauce, I prefer to make a ricotta-based recipe, which I find a bit easier. The most common shape for this is casarecce, but any medium pasta shape will work, such as shells or penne.

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I'm one of those people who clip recipes from magazines and pastes them in a small journal.

Some of the recipes are for reference; more of a how-to guide that I can easily find. Others are tucked away for a rainy day. Some will never get made, but should I ever want to gaze at the lovely photo and recipe, I have it. Some are ones I dream of making one day. Recently, I pushed myself to go outside my comfort zone and make one that I gaze at lovingly every time I open up my homemade recipe book — chicken liver ragù rigatoni.

Stuffed shells are doable on a weeknight if you take a shortcut and jarred tomato sauce rather than your own. Or, you can make this meal on th…