Cooking for Billy and Emily

September 23 – September 30 ,2019

Monday:        Grazing – too tired to cook

Spaghetti al Limone 2

Tuesday:        Spaghetti al Limone

Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas

Wednesday:   Brothy pasta with Chickpeas

Thursday:      Leftover Pasta (Andrew in town), appetizer of Saucisson Spread

Friday:           Pan-Roasted Chicken

Billy and Emily 2

Billy and Emily

Saturday:       Engagement Party catered by The Cornerstone / Bar Nuts and Saucisson Spread

Marisa's Wedding Soup

Sunday:         Marisa’s Wedding Soup

There is nothing more pleasant for a cook than to someone enjoy his food.  And Billy and Emily being athletes and very busy are always hungry and, if you’d like to see someone enjoy your food, cook the recipes at the end of this post and invite Emily and Billy over for dinner (with work and workouts, they can’t get there before 8:30)  I wouldn’t plan on any leftovers.  And, unless you play sports several times each week, run marathons, coach a soccer team and work six days a week, don’t expect to eat like them and stay in the shape, either.

Last Saturday we hosted our favorite party to introduce Emily’s family to Billy’s (ours).  Many of us had met before, but under different circumstances – Billy and Emily weren’t engaged until July.

I should mention that extended family, including some friends of the kids were also involved as well. I should also mention that the food (Brisket Sliders and Crab Cakes) was catered by The Cornerstone and that the super-competent Paula, helped us to set up everything and clean up at the end.

Other than a slight disagreement over sports teams, everyone got along well and, no wonder, we’ve been waiting for Billy to pull the trigger for a long time.  He certainly hit the Bull’s Eye in this instance – Emily is a spectacular young woman.  And her mother and brothers and sister and grandmother, and various uncles and aunts are interesting and friendly and – you know what?  They get to come back.  We had fun.

If you want brisket sliders and crab cakes, go to The Cornerstone, but if you are feeling like a change of pace from party fare and entertaining 34 people, here are two recipes for past dishes that will warm your soul during these wet, chilly, autumn days.

Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas


(adapted from bon appetit, March, 2019)

This is my favorite dish from last week, because Andrew, who flew in for the party, liked it and complimented us on getting so much flavor into a simple dish that didn’t take all day to cook.  This is hearty, but also healthy, calling for pasta, chickpeas and whole tomatoes, with a bit of seasoning.  If you cook this, you’ll want to cook it again.

Timing:                                                40 minutes

Ingredients:                                         Serves 4

16 oz. orecchiette or similar pasta
2 x 15 oz. cans of chickpeas
28 oz. can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (we used 1 clove, grated)
2 sprigs rosemary
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (we used ½-3/4 teaspoon)
4 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan and more for serving
Ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
Kosher salt
4 cups of water or chicken stock (we used chicken stock – a richer taste)


Chop the onion and grate or slice the garlic

Crush the tomatoes by hand – do this in a deep bowl, unless you don’t mind tomato stains on your clothes.

Measure out the other ingredients


Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium.  Add the onion, season with salt and cook, stirring from time to time to soften – about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook maybe another 5 minutes – be careful not to burn the garlic (i.e., turn down the heat, if you need to).

Now add the rosemary and the red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds.

Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and cook, stirring from time to time, until tomatoes are a bit thickened, about 7 minutes.

Now add the pasta and 4 cups of either the water or the chicken stock.  Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer and then cook, stirring from time to time, to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick, for about 14 minutes (until al dente).

Stir in the parsley and the 3 tablespoons of Parmesan.

Season with salt and serve with more olive oil, Parmesan and black pepper.

Spaghetti al Limone


(adapted from bon appetit, September, 2018)

This was also a favorite dish from last week, just like the one above.  Look, we’re talking food here, not logic.  This pasta is simple and quick and very rich.  Just add a salad and you’ve got dinner.  You’ll want to cook this one again, too, but not for a couple of weeks.

Timing:                                    15 minutes or so

Ingredients:                                   Serves 4

1 lemon
12 oz. spaghetti
¾ cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons of butter
3 oz. finely grated Parmesan (3/4 cup)
Ground Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

Prep and Cook:

Put a large pot of water over high heat to bring it to a boil.  Salt it heavily and add the pasta.

Remove two long sections of lemon zest from a lemon using a vegetable peeler.  Slice each of these, lengthwise into long, thin strips. Grate the rest of the zest on the lemon into a  large pot (Dutch oven). Cut the lemon in half and squeeze 2 tablespoons of its juice into a small bowl – set aside.

Add the heavy cream to the pot with the lemon zest and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until just simmering – maybe 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time until melted and sauce is creamy.  Remove from the heat.

Just before the pasta would be al dente, according to package instructions, scoop out 1 ½ cups of pasta cooking liquid.  Add about 3/4 of that to the cream sauce and return the pot of sauce to medium heat.

Now, using tongs, transfer the spaghetti to the sauce.

Cook, tossing often and add the parmesan in small amounts, again tossing often, until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.  If sauce looks too thick, add more cooking liquid.  Stir in the reserved lemon juice, season with salt.

Divide among serving bowls or plates, season with pepper, top with lemon zest strips and serve.

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