Site Updates and Risotto Style Spaghetti

2 Nov

Like the revamp?  It looks totally different right?!

I kid.  Making the domain name work with the new host takes a few days.  Buttttt…here’s a sneak peak at the new site! (Hopefully the link works, cause it’s looking good!!)

And a belated Halloween post for you, since I seriously worked on the new look of the site all day yesterday and didn’t get around to posting this:

I was always very shy as a child, so I never much enjoyed trick-or-treating.  The idea of going up to all of your neighbors houses, ringing the doorbell and asking for candy?  Not my idea of a good time.

Especially when people dress up as scarecrows or grim reapers, and sit on their porch perfectly still and jump out at unsuspecting children.

Trick-or-treating wasn’t my thing, but I do love Halloween.  I handed out candy. Overall, it was a lot of fun.  Decent costumes and the cutest kid gave me a high five instead of saying ‘thank you’ after her mom asked her ‘what do you say?’.  It was adorable.

Anyway, after the ghosts and goblins and princesses all disappeared, I made an incredibly easy pasta dinner…because I know you all are sick of all the talk of candy and goodies.

Spaghetti?  Oh no, my friends.  I’m quite confident you could make that on your own.  This is risotto-style broken spaghetti!  It takes just as long to make, but is a much needed update of the usual spaghetti dinner.

I saw the idea for risotto style pasta on 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray.  She is creative, but sometimes I just have to wonder what she was thinking. I once saw her cut up hot-dogs, mix them with ground beef, and make hamburgers out of them with like 5 cloves of garlic (she puts garlic in everything).  Enough said.


This dish is all about infusing flavors into your otherwise pretty ordinary spaghetti noodles.  The risotto method of cooking also concentrates the starches released by the pasta, creating a creamy ‘sauce’, which is pretty cool

Anyway…begin by heating chicken broth in a small saucepan.  Once it simmers, cut the heat.  It just needs to be warm and in an easily accessible vessel…I suppose you could also microwave it in a bowl or Tupperware dish.

While that warms, dice up your onions and break your pasta into small pieces.  Mine were about two inches long.

Also warm a large sautee pan over medium heat.  Then add in a bit of butter and olive oil to maximize flavor, and cook your onions with garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper until translucent.

Once your onions are cooked, stir in the pasta matchsticks

The bits tangled up with each other making it very difficult to toast every piece.  You may be able to see in the picture some of my pieces burned while some never toasted.  It still tasted good in the end, but I recommend breaking your pasta up into 1 inch or smaller pieces.

Ideally  your broken pasta will become all light brown and toasty.  It won’t take more than a few minutes.

Then pour in your white wine, stir, and let the remaining liquid evaporate. It will sizzle violently and steam when you first pour it in, so be careful.

You don’t really need white wine, but you do need acid for the flavor.  You can also pour a tsp or two of white vinegar or lemon juice into a quarter cup measure, fill the rest with water, and use that instead (I went with vinegar).

Next, start ladling in the chicken broth.  Pour in a half cup or so first, stir, and allow your mixture to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, then repeat, with smaller (1/4 cup) increments of stock, stirring frequently until your pasta is cooked.  This takes much less time than risotto with rice, only 6-8 minutes or so.

I always seem to run out of warm chicken broth when making any sort of risotto.  If this happens, just use any extra broth, or switch to water.  At this point, using room temperature (as opposed to warm) liquid won’t make much difference.

Once your pasta is cooked, remove from heat, and stir in the parmesan cheese.  This will really make your sauce creamy.

Serve immediately, with your favorite pasta sauce.

For a simple meal, these noodles pack some flavor…the onions, the subtle acid, and the chicken broth, plus buttery and nutty notes from toasting.  And the creaminess from the cooking style is a plus too.

Definitely an upgrade from your average spaghetti dinner, and nearly as easy to make.


Risotto Style Broken Spaghetti
Serves 2-3

2 cups chicken broth (may need more, and/or extra water)
Butter and olive oil
¼ cup diced onions
½ tsp garlic powder
4 oz spaghetti-type noodles (I used vermicelli)
¼ cup dry white wine*
3 T shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

  • Begin by warming chicken stock in a small saucepan.  Cut heat when stock begins to simmer.
  • While chicken stock is warming, dice onions, and break spaghetti noodles into 1 inch sized pieces.  Also begin warming a large sautee pan to medium-high heat.
  • When satuee pan is hot, cook onions with garlic powder in 1 tsp butter + 1 tsp olive oil (add more if needed).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stir and allow to cook until onions are translucent.
  • Once the onions are cooked, add dry noodles.  Stir frequently and cook until pasta becomes toasty and golden brown, 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in white wine (it will spatter a bit), and cook until evaporated, about a minute.
  • Once wine has evaporated, begin adding chicken stock to pasta like cooking a risotto.  Ladle in ¼- ½ cup of broth at a time, stir, and allow to cook until the majority of the liquid is absorbed, then repeat until the pasta is cooked.  The timing will depend on your pasta, but about 6-8 minutes.  If you run out of warm chicken stock, you can ladle in water or non-warmed stock to complete the pasta cooking.
  • Once pasta is cooked, remove pan from heat, and stir in parmesan cheese.
  • Best served warm, with your favorite pasta sauce.

*You can also pour a tsp or two of white vinegar or lemon juice into a quarter cup measure, fill the rest with water, and use that instead



1 Nov

Hey all!  I’m currently working on moving this blog from to being ‘self-hosted’ via

I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I believe the url will stay the same and all of my previous posts, recipes, and images are backed up.

I’m hoping to get this all done by the end of the day, but just in case things get wonky, that’s why.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

Not so Spooky Halloween’s Eve Cupcakes

30 Oct

I had every intention of making devil’s food cupcakes in honor of it being Halloween Eve.  I was missing some key ingredients though, so I turned to a much less spooky, more ‘angelic’ sort of cake.

But this one still got some candy corn devil horns =]

I was a bad blogger and didn’t take any pictures of the process, but I promise it’s totally easy.  And after a whole batch got gobbled up in a day, I knew I had to share the recipe with you.

Plus there’s a good story behind these cupcakes.

I always make cake for birthdays in my family.  But whenever I take a fancy cake over to my mom’s house to feed my little sisters (they’re 5 and 7 now), they never eat it.  I made a spice cake with espresso buttercream.  They didn’t eat it…fair enough.

So I made a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and raspberry puree in the middle.  Kids love chocolate, right?!  They didn’t eat it.  Really?

So then I decided to make the most boring, kid friendly cake I could think of.  Sure to impress even the pickiest of children: a vanilla milkshake cake.  A malted vanilla cake, filled with pastry cream (which is more or less a vanilla ice cream base), and frosted with a sweet vanilla buttercream.

The main problem with this was that there are very, very few malted vanilla cake recipes out there.  Chocolate malt cakes are all over the place, but vanilla? No dice.

So I was pretty proud at having to adapt this recipe from the one malted cake recipe I could find to taste more like a vanilla milkshake…

The cake still doesn’t taste like a vanilla milkshake, but it is still one of my favorite vanilla cake recipes.  These cakes rise perfectly, they are moist and spongy on the inside, and the malt powder gives a depth of flavor missing in your average vanilla cake.  Frost with a vanilla buttercream that ‘tastes exactly like vanilla ice cream’, and the milkshake is complete.

I’m sure these will make it through a few more trials…eventually I will create that perfect vanilla milkshake taste.  This batch got pretty rave reviews regardless, so for now, make yourself some delicious malted vanilla cupcakes.

Oh, and in case you were wondering…the kids still didn’t eat my vanilla cupcakes.  But I hope you will!


Malted Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from Annie Eats
Makes ~12 cupcakes

¼ + 1/8 cup all purpose flour
¼ + 1/8 cup cake flour
½ cup malted milk powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 T vanilla extract
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1/3 cup buttermilk

‘Tastes like Vanilla Ice Cream’ Buttercream
From Sweetapolita
1 stick of butter, softened
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
1 T heavy cream (or whole milk)
1 tsp  vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

I halved the frosting recipe and only had enough frosting for 9 out of my 12 cakes…so either make half a batch and go light on the frosting (not recommended), or make the whole batch and eat the extras with a spoon (you should do this)…or freeze for later use.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, malted milk powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside
  • In a large bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and oil, until well combined and light in color.
  • Alternate additions of the dry mixture with and the buttermilk into the egg mixture, starting and ending with dry.  Pour in 1/3 of the dry mix, stir gently until combined, then pour in 1/3 of the buttermilk, stir gently to combine, then repeat (ending with dry mixture).
  • I used a 1 oz ice cream scoop to measure out the batter evenly into 12 cupcake tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make frosting: On low speed, beat together butter and powdered sugar until well combined.  Add in vanilla extract, salt, and the heavy cream.  Beat at high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.