Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Festival Recipe Exchange--Creamy Spaghetti & Chai

fall festival button

It's fall!  In all honesty, one of my least-favorite seasons.  I hate getting cold.  At least in spring you can look forward to getting warmer.

In any case, My Friend Amy is hosting a virtual fall festival where we share our favorite fall recipes!  One of my favoritest recipes that I always get a hankering to make when it starts getting colder is Creamy Spaghetti.  I got this recipe from Every Day with Rachel Ray, where it's described as risotto meets pasta e fagioli:

creamy spaghetti pic


  •     5 cups chicken broth
  •     2 tablespoons butter
  •     2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •     One 1/4-pound chunk pancetta or one 4-ounce package sliced pancetta, chopped
  •     1 onion, chopped
  •     4 cloves garlic, chopped
  •     2 carrots, chopped
  •     1 bay leaf (dry or fresh)
  •     6 sprigs thyme
  •     Salt and pepper
  •     1 pound spaghetti
  •     1 cup dry white wine (eyeball it)
  •     One 15.5-ounce can Roman beans or small white beans (sometimes I use canned corn)
  •     1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (hand-grated is a lot of work, but it produces the best results)
  •     1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently.
  2. In a wide, oval pot or a large skillet, melt the butter in the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the spaghetti. Lightly toast the spaghetti, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer until completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, then add a ladleful of the warm chicken broth. Keep adding the broth a few ladlefuls at a time, turning the noodles to absorb the liquid before adding more, as if you were making a risotto. Cook until most of the broth has been absorbed and the spaghetti is cooked until al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, then stir in the parmigiano-reggiano. Remove from the heat and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Serve the creamy spaghetti in bowls, topped with the parsley.

This is serious comfort food and is guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside!  Plus, it's delicious and simple to make, and you've never smelled anything better than pancetta frying in butter.  Mmmmmmm.  I would honestly eat this every other day if I could.

a cup of chai

Another comforting thing to consume in the fall is tea, and I love this recipe for Chai Tea from greentwiggy.  I know you can just get chai in a box, but making it yourself tastes SO MUCH BETTER!

  • 1/ 2 inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 6 bags black tea
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in medium saucepan
  2. Lightly bruise spices with the back of a large spoon
  3. Add water and bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat to low and partially lid and simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and add tea bags
  6. Steep for 5 minutes or so
  7. Discard tea bags
  8. Add milk and sugar
  9. Bring tea to simmer over medium heat, whisking until sugar dissolves
  10. Strain and serve

This recipe was a lot more work than I expected it to be, but it was worth it.  Plus you can save the leftovers and reheat them, so you can have yummy chai for days afterward (this is, if you don't drink it all at once).

In other fall-related news...

You might remember that in August, I posted a list of books I was excited to read this fall.  So far I've read four out of the five books, and liked three of those (Tempt Me At Twilight I'm hesitating to read because I keep hearing mixed things about it--especially the hero, Harry).  Not too bad! 

Now that the days are getting shorter, and colder, I've definitely been in a mood for romance and paranormal novels.  Why does the fantastic seem so much more believable this time of year?

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