Homemade Farfalle Pasta ~ ElephantEats.com

Sadly, two weeks ago one of Nate’s closest family friends, Henny Ray Abrams, passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 58. In the years of knowing Nate, I had gotten to know Henny pretty well.

He had, as an adult, learned to cook and had taken to inviting us over to dinner parties in his brooklyn apartment fairly regularly. He always served us a delicious 3 course meal including freshly baked french bread. He and I often talked about cooking, comparing knowledge and recipes. So it was only appropriate that when we got married, Henny’s gift to us was the pasta maker attachment for my kitchenaid mixer. I decided to pull it out this weekend, in honor of Henny, who I know would have been excited to hear that it got put to use.

Because Nate knew Henny much better than me, I thought that I would invite him to take over before I share the pasta recipe, telling us a little more about the man that he came to know so well:

I first want to thank Amy for allowing me to write this post since there is never a good way to deal with a subject like this. Last week a very close, way too young, family friend passed away suddenly.  His name was Henny and he was basically like an uncle to me.

Nate and Ethan with Camerasm

Nate peering into Henny’s Camera….backwards

Henny was a well-known and respected photographer, working in news, sports, entertainment, but mainly he worked in motorcycle racing as a photographer and reporter.  When I got a go-cart for one christmas he supplied our helmets with some of his old motorcycle helmets. To say they looked ridiculous on us would be an understatement, but they did the job.

Christmas is the time of year that I most often associate with Henny, which is odd considering he was Jewish. But, until I was out of college every year we would all gather a couple of weeks before Christmas and do our annual Christmas picture. When we were younger these seemed like interminable exercises, with what seemed like hundreds of pictures being taken. As I aged, I noticed how much quicker the process seemed to take. Yet, this was a family tradition that Henny always took part in and really seemed to enjoy. He never married or had children of his own, so we were probably as close as it was going to get (along with all his other friends kids).

The other christmas tradition we had with Henny was him coming over on Christmas day for dinner. I have a feeling this is going to be the hardest part of all of this to face this coming Christmas. It was the one time of year we would have steak (I know, I never eat it otherwise) and he would always cook it. We started this tradition about 15 years ago, but it seems like it’s the way it’s always been.

Nate Ethan and Tess Couch sm

Henny’s annual family photo of Nate and his younger siblings

I’m more in shock than anything else right now, considering Henny was only 58 years old. There are a lot of things that don’t seem real, like we still have a batch of his amazing chocolate chip cookies in our freezer that he made at Christmas. When we’d go to his dinner parties, he used to always send us home with extra of whatever dessert he had served and so we still have a piece of his tupperware in our apartment that we had intended to return on our next dinner with him at his apartment. I’ll never get to have those things again and I’m not sure I know how to handle that.

I’ll end this post by telling a story that I think encapsulates what kind of guy he was. Henny came down for our wedding in October and was driving back up to NYC right after it ended (which was around 8pm).One of Amy’s bridesmaids, and my friend Kim, needed a ride back up to the city. I didn’t even have to ask, he just offered to take a complete stranger friend of mine back up to Brooklyn. I asked Kim afterwards how the ride back was and she said they talked the whole way back, despite having just met 2 hours prior. He would do anything for us and his other friends. At least I still have the photographs he took of us, but I will miss him.

Nate with Ethan and Tess on couch with soccer ball copysm

I’m so glad Henny gave us this pasta maker for a present. He knew how much I liked to cook and now every time I use it, I’m going to think of him.

Homemade Farfalle Pasta ~ ElephantEats.com

I have to say that making pasta was SO easy. Like, almost so easy that I might make it fresh every time I want it instead of getting pasta from a box. The only issue is the pasta maker attachments that I have can only make large flat sheets (lasagna), fettuccine  and spaghetti. If you want farfalle you make the large flat sheet and then cut and shape it, but it takes more effort. To make any noodles with a hole in them requires another attachment. Unfortunately for me, Nate doesn’t like long noodles, but the next time I make this I’m doing fettuccine because it’s just quicker.

Homemade Farfalle Pasta ~ ElephantEats.com

So many bowties. So many adorable little bowties. Right? If anything, I will make these again for the cuteness. Oh and speaking of cuteness, how cute are Nate and his siblings in those photos :)

Next up I’ll share a recipe I made using this farfalle!

Homemade Farfalle Pasta ~ ElephantEats.com

Homemade Farfalle (Bowtie) Pasta

Recipe from Lesserevillife, technique from various sources 

Print this recipe!

makes 6 oz. pasta– 3 proper (albeit small) servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Combine the flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, then add to the medium-sized bowl. Start mixing, then add 1 tablespoon of water. The mixture should be starting to appear doughy. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. The dough should be ready to take out of the bowl and onto a flat surface to roll. If it’s still feeling tough, add an additional 1 tablespoon of water.

Knead the dough with your hands a few times for a uniform texture. Cut dough in half and set one piece to the side. Follow directions below depending on whether or not you have a pasta maker.

With Pasta Maker Attachment:

Pat one of the pieces of dough into a rectangle about 3/8″ thick. Run dough lengthwise through pasta maker on setting 1. Fold dough in half lengthwise and feed back through pasta maker. Continue this folding and feeding back through until dough is smooth and is the width of the pasta maker.

Turn dial to setting 2 and run pasta through. Move to 3 and run through again, then 4 then 5. After running pasta through on setting 5, lay it out on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with other piece of dough.**

Without Pasta Maker:

Shape dough into a ball, then flatten slightly. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a large oval, about ⅛” thick.

**continue here for both:
Using a knife, cut the dough into strips about 1” wide. Take a strip, and use a pie cutter or knife to cut the strip into about 1 ½” rectangles. The ridges of the pie cutter will give the pasta ends the traditional farfalle zig-zag, but a plain old knife works fine

With the rectangle’s long side facing you, put your pointer finger of one hand in the center of the rectangle. Using your other hand, pinch the middle sides of the long edges of dough together, towards the center and your finger. Release your finger from center of dough as you pinch together so the pasta meets the other side. Pinch hard enough for it to stay shaped. *If you’re visual and need a tutorial for the bowtie-forming, visit http://www.pasta-recipes-made-easy.com/farfalle-pasta.html.

Dry dough for an hour. If making immediately, cook pasta in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

Otherwse, refrigerate or freeze in an air-tight container until ready to cook. Cook for 7ish minutes when ready.


Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

I just got back from visiting Nate in California again yesterday. It was another great, but too short, trip. I have to say that the weather out in LA is not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I can’t believe it gets as cold as it does! I guess I could live out there if I had to…let’s hope Nate finds something in the job department soon.

I got to see my uncle’s new puppy…she’s so tiny!!!

photo (8)

And I got to see one of my best friends, and bridesmaid, Barrie. Nate and I met her at the LACMA where there’s this really cool lamppost sculpture.

photo (9)

Anyway, since Nate’s been gone, I haven’t done that much cooking. I would cook a small amount but I just don’t like spending all that time and effort on a meal that will only last a day or two. So instead I only know how to make large quantities, but with only me eating it I can’t be doing that very often.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

So I’ve been forced to go back to some recipes I made but never posted. The photos aren’t great because I rushed to take them so we could dig in. I actually made this meal during the 4th of July weekend! But actually, I think this makes a great meal in any season :)

I don’t know why I never posted it, since it’s totally delicious. I guess it’s kind of similar to a couple other pastas i have on my blog already, but honestly this type of garlicky sauce with sausage is my favorite kind. I got this from my mom’s recipe box, but I think it’s from Gourmet or Bon Appetit or something.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

I promise I’ll cook up something new for you soon. I actually had high hopes for an oreo bundt cake I baked up while out in CA, but it didn’t come out as pretty as I thought it would. It was tasty, but nothing special in the chocolate cake department.

You guys looking for me to make any particular types of recipes?

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

Penne with Broccoli Rabe

Print this recipe!

Serves 5-7


1 lb penne
3/4 pound raw italian turkey sausage
2 bunches broccoli rabe (rappini)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp capers
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 grated parmesan plus more to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Cook penne in salted water.

While penne cooks, cut stems off broccoli rape. Cut remaining stalks and leaves into 1″ pieces.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet. Remove sausage from casings and cook, breaking up with wooden spoon until no longer pink.

Remove sausage from pan. Add another tablespoon oil and garlic. Saute garlic until golden.

Add broccoli rape, capers and white wine. Saute until leaves wilted and stalks are tender, 5 min. Season with salt and pepper.

When penne is al dente, drain and put in bowl. Add broccoli rape and cheese. Toss and serve with more cheese.

vegetarian lentil bolognese
I’m not a vegetarian but I find that I cook more than 50% of our meals meatless. This is in part because the only animal protein Nate will tolerate is poultry. He’ll eat seafood (though not shellfish), but it tends to be pretty pricey.

Anyway, I can only eat so much chicken and turkey, especially since I’m not particularly fond of either. Plus vegetarian meals are usually lower in fat and calories.

vegetarian lentil bolognese

Who doesn’t love a good Bolognese sauce? I make pasta sauce a lot for Nate and I usually use our go-to protein- Lean Italian Turkey Sausage. The sausage is raw and I squeeze it out of the casing and chop it up in the pan with a wooden spoon as it cooks. It adds tons of flavor and has much less calories than beef.

However after calculating the nutrition in the Smoked Cheddar Pot Pies that I made a couple weeks ago, I realized that turkey sausage, while healthier than ground beef, is still incredibly high in fat! I don’t usually care about these things but I figured it just can’t be healthy to eat as often as we were eating it.

vegetarian lentil bolognese 3

So I set out to make my usual pasta sauce completely vegetarian, without sacrificing the taste or texture. I thought about what I could add for heft, and I remembered that I had a pack of Trader Joe’s precooked lentils in the fridge. I also decided to throw in some mushrooms to add a nice chew. I think next time I might even use some reconstituted dried mushrooms for more chewiness and depth of flavor.

I think this sauce easily rivals a traditional Bolognese and it’s much lower in saturated fat and calories. The wine makes it feel indulgent. Enjoy it over a steaming bowl of pasta and a sprinkling of parmesan for a delicious, satisfying, well-rounded dinner!

This makes about 7 heaping cup servings at around 210 calories, 2g fat, and 10 grams of both protein and fiber per serving! I calculated the nutrition here.

vegetarian lentil bolognese

Lentil “Bolognese” Sauce

Makes about 7 cups

Print this recipe!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot (or two small), diced
1 rib celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
One 8-oz container mushrooms, chopped coarsely
1 lb cooked lentils (Trader Joes sells them in a vacuum sealed pack in the refrigerated section)
Two 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
salt & pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning
sugar to taste


Heat oil over medium high heat in a large, deep saucepan. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until onions begin to soften.

Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add mushrooms and mix together. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until mushrooms begin to soften. Mixture may look dry but the mushrooms will begin to release moisture after a minute or two.

While mixture is cooking, warm lentils according to package directions. Add lentils to pan. Add tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce head and simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally.

Season to taste with salt/pepper, garlic powder and italian seasoning. Add sugar to taste. This depends on the tomatoes. Sometimes they’re very acidic and other times they aren’t. Taste your sauce and see…if it seems to sour, add sugar starting with a Tablespoon or so.

Serve on pasta!


Gnocci with Spaghetti Squash, Spinach and Rosemary

I’ll have a festive Christmas brunch/breakfast recipe for you soon. Nate and I finally got into the holiday spirit. It’s my first Christmas season as an honorary (by marriage) Christmas celebrator.

Speaking of marriage, we got our wedding photos on cd today! And the photographers sent us one of EVERY photo!!! So so sweet of them. Can’t wait to pick out which we want for our album :)

Anyway, the first thing I did for our Christmas decorating was pick up a cute cotton ball and jingle bell wreath from Target. I didn’t want anything too Christmas-y since we are still a multi-holiday household. I thought the wreath was a little too boring though, so I bought a couple different sized berries branches from Michaels and I cut them up and hot glued them on. Muuuch better I think :)

Upgraded Target wreath

We have a tiny apartment and a michievous feline, so we knew we couldn’t get a full-fledged Christmas tree yet. Instead we went to Michael’s to see what we could find. We ended up getting the cutest miniature tree and there were all kinds of mini ornaments and garlands you could get to decorate it!!! Btw, I love anything in miniature. We also picked up a silver reindeer from Home Goods and I broke up some branches to make a little festive setting on our living room mantle dresser.

I have also since pulled out our gorgeous new menorah that we got for a wedding present. I’m so excited to finally have a nice menorah :)

All this holiday decorating was done in preparation for our little cookie-decorating party we hosted this past weekend. Since all my friends who came are cat lovers like us, I baked up some gingerbread cookie paws and cats in addition to the traditional gingerbread men. After we exhausted the possible decorating combos for the paws/cats, we decided to get creative. This was what I came up with:

cat paw cookie turned sideways and upside down!

LC even put on her Christmas best in honor of the party.

a most photogenic feline- photo credit, Erica Harmon :)

It was a fun weekend. Despite the fact that we both OD’d on cookies throught the day, Nate and I had this delicious gnocchi dish for dinner.

We eat a decent amount of pasta, but I never think to cook gnocchi. It wasn’t until I made this recipe that I realized how quickly it cooks (if you buy it rather than making it) and how much I love it’s chewy texture.

Gnocci with Spaghetti Squash, Spinach and Rosemary

I randomly came across a Food Network recipe and since I didn’t have any of the ingredients, I subbed in my own similar ones and it was a major hit. Nate and I couldn’t stop raving about how delicious it was.

Gnocci with Spaghetti Squash, Spinach and Rosemary

Gnocchi with Spaghetti Squash, Spinach and Rosemary

Adapted from the The Food Network

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

1 small-medium spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
11 oz package baby spinach
1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
3/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Cut squash in half, remove seeds, and put cut side down in a microwaveble dish. Put 1/4 cup water in bottom of dish, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 11 minutes (you want it cooked but still slightly “al dente.” Cool til you can handle it and scrape pulp out into a dish.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the squash, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan; transfer to the broiler and cook until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes. 


Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

I’m exhausted! I finally finished my wedding thank-you notes. But I’m mostly tired because I just spent 2 straight days baking Christmas cookies. I usually bring them to work and hand out to any friends we can find a time to see before the holidays.

My aunt kindly lets me “borrow” her kitchen for a weekend since she has two ovens and a lot of room. It makes for some fun time to catch up with her while I get everything done.

I like to go all out when I do these cookies. I usually make at least 8 varieties, and I like a good mix of shapes and flavors. I think this year I may have gone a little too far. Some of these recipes were more complicated than I realized, and given my strict timeline I barely had time to eat during the baking extravaganza.

Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

At one point I literally felt like I was going to faint. I texted this to Nate (since he was back in NY at our apt) and he replied “You don’t have to be a hero. It’s just Xmas cookies. You ain’t a cat surgeon.” L.C. is thankful for that, I’m sure. And my husband is obviously a wise, wise man.

I ended up finishing all but one type of the cookies that I needed to make. That’s a no-bake one so I can do it back at my apt. All-in-all, a productive two days!

Is it weird that I woke up with sore muscles today? I guess standing for 12 hours will do that to you, not to mention mixing by hand since there was no kitchen aid mixer (I did use a handheld mixer for some stuff).

Anyway, speaking of Nate and his sage advice, I think I’ve mentioned this before but periodically, he will email me recipes from the NYTimes that he “advises” me to make. I appreciate when he does this since the NYTimes recipes are usually very reliable (I’m trying not to hold it against them that they overlooked our wedding announcement!).

Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

So when Nate sent me a recipe the other day for Penne with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta, I knew that it would be as delicious as it sounded.

There are many foods Nate doesn’t eat, despite the fact that he claims to not be a picky eater, but luckily for me he happens to love brussels! After discovering what is now one of our annual family Thanksgiving recipes, my family has decided that brussels are much tastier when shredded. So when I saw this recipe I had no doubt it would be a winner.

Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

Penne with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

Slightly adapted from the NYTimes

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Sea salt
16 ounces penne
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta, diced
2 large rosemary sprig
8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
Freshly ground black pepper
20 ounces fresh brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shredded (i used the shredding plate on a food processor)
4 teaspoons butter
Fresh lemon juice, for serving
Freshly grated pecorino cheese (optional)

Bring large pot heavily salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until pasta is just al dente (do not overcook).

Meanwhile, heat large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the pancetta and rosemary, and sauté until the fat on the pancetta starts to turn translucent and very lightly brown, about 1 minute.

Add the garlic,and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and sauté until garlic and pancetta turn richly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, a large pinch of salt and a splash of water to pan, and sauté until sprouts just start to soften, about 2 minutes. Spread sprouts mixture in pan and press down to flatten. Let it sear for a minute, then stir it up and repeat. This helps brown the sprouts. Add the butter, and sauté for another minute.

Drain penne and add it to pan with brussels sprouts mixture. Cook, tossing, until everything is well mixed. Spoon into pasta bowls and top with a drizzle of oil and lemon juice, and a little cheese if you like.