Four Clan Kitchen

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Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

Cold Sesame Noodles

Posted by fourclankitchen on August 19, 2012

Cold sesame noodles are a wonderful lunch or dinner for summer.  This recipe is modified only nominally from Diana Kuan’s blog: Appetite for China.  Any egg noodles will do for this recipe:  I bet you ramen noodles do too (just throw away the flavor packet).  The original recipe even proposes spaghetti, but nah…


8 oz egg noodles (the original recipe calls for 12 oz)

2 tablespoons peanut/vegetable oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1 cucumber, peeled and julienned  (or grated in the food processor)

2 carrots, peeled and julienned (or grated in the food processor)

2 teaspoons white sesame seeds

2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced

cilantro for garnish, optional

3 tablespoons Japanese sesame paste (the original recipe calls for Chinese sesame paste- I have no idea what this is, but I always have  Japanese sesame paste on hand.  The original recipe proposes 3 tablespoons tahini with an extra teaspoon of sesame oil as an alternative)
2 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chili paste (I used Maggi Asian chili garlic sauce)
2 tablespoons sugar (if your chili paste has sugar, you will want to take this down some)
½ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper (optional)


  1. Cook noodles for the minimum amount of time suggested on the  package. Drain and  rinse with cold water.  Toss with a tbs of oil and set aside.
  2. Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a small pan over medium heat. Gently cook the minced garlic and grated ginger until just fragrant, about 30 to 40 seconds. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the sesame paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili paste, sugar, and Sichuan pepper, if using. Add 3 tbs of water and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the cooked garlic and ginger.
  4. Pour the sauce over the noodles, add the cucumbers and carrots, and toss. Transfer to large bowl or deep serving dish and sprinkle the sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro on top. You can serve the sesame noodles at room temperature or chill in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours before serving.  To me, they taste better chilled.

Posted in Asian, Brunch, Chinese, Main Dishes, pasta, Side Dishes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pistachio Pesto

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 27, 2012

This is a wonderful variation on pesto.  You can use your favorite pesto recipe and swap out the pine nuts for the pitsachio nuts.  Or use the one below.  I had cilantro, so I used cilantro.  Parsley would have been fine too.  You just can’t sub out the basil, is all.   The pesto will keep in the freezer and if you add a film of oil on top, it will also mostly retain its color.  The pesto is great with pasta, as a dip, as a flavoring agent for soup, smeared on bread, you name it. So it is a really versatile little condiment to have in your repertoire.


2 cups basil leaves (tender stems and all), rinsed and drained

1 cup cilantro leaves (tender stems and all), rinsed and drained

2 sprigs mint

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup good olive oil

1/2 cup pistachio nuts (I used toasted, salted and shelled)

juice from 1/2 a lime

salt, to taste (you won’t need much since the pistachio nuts are salted)


1. Place the leaves, nuts, salt, lime juice, garlic  in a food processor and pulse till a paste forms.

2. With the processor running, drizzle in the oil till a smooth pesto like paste forms. Depending on how tightly you have packed the leaves, the amount of oil will differ.

3. Taste and adjust the salt.

Posted in Brunch, condiments, Main Dishes, pasta, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fresh Tomato-Basil Pesto

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 22, 2011

This fresh tomato pesto is inspired by watching a Lidia Bastianich PBS session from the corner of my eye.  It is yet another way to use the last of summer’s tomato bounty and  is made with tomatoes, basil, mint and spring onions.  It really has an incredible taste and combines the freshness of a salsa with the richness of a pesto.  Besides, once you have the ingredients assembled it takes less than 5 min. to put together.  So come home from work, get some water boiling for pasta.  By the time the pasta cooks, your dinner will be ready.  Any leftover sauce is great with some crackers or tortilla chips.


3 cups tomatoes, chopped or crushed in the food processor (any kind of tomato will do, I used Champagne tomatoes)

2 cups basil leaves, stemmed, loosely packed

1/2 cup mint, stemmed

tender (non-woody) stems of 1 bunch cilantro, about 1/2  cup total

2 sprigs spring onions, roots removed

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds)

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt to taste

black pepper to taste

pinch of cayenne (optional).

1/2 cup or more fresh asiago cheese (or a cheese of your choice)


1.  Set some water to boil for cooking pasta

2.  Place all ingredients except the cheese and the oil  in the food processor and pulse till pureed.  With the food processor running add the oil until a pesto -like sauce forms. Taste and adjust the salt and acidity.

3.  When the pasta is done,  drain and add the cheese.

4.  Add the sauce and mix well.  Serve some asiago alongside the meal, for those who like a more cheesy pasta dish.  The sauce will dress one pound of pasta and you will have some left-overs.  The pesto is also great on crackers or with good bread.

Posted in pasta, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Home-made Pasta

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 10, 2011

I received a Cucina-Pro 150 Imperia Pasta machine as a belated Christmas gift (see an Amazon Link here).  Despite some of the iffy reviews out there,  making homemade pasta turned out to be a fairly simple undertaking.  And compared to rolling and cutting pasta by hand,  pasta made with this machine produced a less chewy, thinner and considerably superior pasta.  So I will certainly do this again.

I thought I would recount the things that made this relatively simple.  First, I postponed using the pasta dough recipe that came with the machine since it had received mixed reviews (its probably  fine, I just haven’t tried it yet).  Instead, I went with a French Laundry Cookbook pasta dough recipe adapted by Smtten Kitchen.  However, instead of doing it entirely manually as recommended, I  began with the food processor and ended with hand kneading for a less messy process that produced very good pasta dough.

Pasta Dough

1 3/4 cups  all-purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon milk


1. Lightly beat the egg yolks and the egg with the olive oil and milk in the food processor.

2. Then begin incorporating a few tablespoons of flour at a time into the egg-mix.  This mimics the manual process or incorporating a little flour at a time into the egg mix.

3. Continue to pulse the food processor until the dough holds together into a shaggy ball.

4. Transfer the dough to a well floured surface.  Now knead for 10-15 min by flattening the dough with the heel of your hand, then folding the dough into a ball and repeating the process.  Do not underknead.. When you are done the dough should look silky and just a touch sticky.  Wrap the dough in saran wrap and set aside for at least an hour (counter is fine) or overnight (use a fridge for this).

5.  Allow the dough to come up to room temperature (about half an hour) if possible. Before beginning, set a pot of water to boil.
Flatten the dough into a disc on a well-floured surface and cut into 6 parts with a knife. Square the edges of each portion so that it forms a rectangle (this helps to form a rectangular sheet later).

6. The pasta machine has a dough rolling  and a dough cutting attachment (for making fettucini and tagliatelle). Generously flour all the grooves of your pasta maker that you will use and also both surfaces of the dough.

7. Run the dough through the widest setting of the roller. This will flatten the dough.  Repeat and then move the machine down to the next notch (making the groove narrower).  Pass the pasta dough through the machine again.  Continue to run the dough through the machine, moving to finer and finer settings till the dough is transluscent and you can almost see your fingers through the dough.

8. Now move the crank to the cutter of your choice (I used the fettucini cutter).  Pass the dough sheet through the cutter (well-floured).  Maintaining slight tension on the past sheet as you feed it through the rollers really helps.  Generously flour the emerging fettucini or tagliatelle and proceed until all the dough is used up.

9.  Boil pasta for 3-5 min.  Drain.  Toss with olive oil and salt.

10. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.  I went with Marcella Hazan’s simple tomato sauce, made with tomatoes, butter and  onions  (see link here).

11. Freeze unused pasta.

Here are things that I though made the process simpler:

a) Knead the dough well and make sure you allow the dough to rest for at least an hour before rolling.

b) Cut the dough into smaller portions for ease of handling.

c) Start with a rectangular block of well-floured dough.

d) If your dough gets too long as you run through the rollers, cut the dough into half for ease of handling.

e) If your dough is sticky, place it on a flat surface and flour both sides.  Then flour the machine. Do this over and over again.

f) Use a fat paint brush to clean the machine after any pasta stuck on it has dried. (It cannot be cleaned with water).  Discard the first batch of dough after you clean the rollers and cutters.

Posted in Main Dishes, pasta, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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