Easy From-Scratch Falafel.

I’ve made falafel at home using prepackaged falafel mix and canned chickpeas. Both were OK, but for the best falafel at home, you can’t beat making the mix from scratch using dried chickpeas. You should get a head start since the chickpeas need to soak overnight, but this recipe is every bit as easy as opening up cans of chickpeas or a boxed mix.

Method:
Rinse the chickpeas and put them in a large bowl or pot. Cover with cold water (leaving enough room for the peas to triple in volume) and let stand overnight at room temperature.
When you’re ready to cook, drain, rinse and dry the chickpeas (a salad spinner works well for this).
In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, herbs, scallions, garlic, cumin, coriander and salt. Pulse in the chickpeas until finely minced. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, as necessary. A handful of the mixture formed into a ball should just barely hold together. If not, process some more.
Transfer the falafel mixture into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Using a tablespoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of the falafel mixture and gently shape by hand into a ball. Place on a clean plate and repeat with the remaining falafel mix. You should end up with 16-18 falafel balls.
Fry the falafel balls, without crowding, in a Dutch oven, cast iron skillet or deep-fryer for about 3-4 minutes, keeping the temperature between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Transfer the cooked falafel balls to a paper towel-lined plate or a paper shopping bag to drain. Sprinkle with a little salt.
You can serve the falafel with pita or just by themselves. I like to top the falafel with tahini and hot sauce, preferably Sambal Oelek.

subhead_FALIngredients:
½ pound dried chickpeas
2 ounces fresh cilantro, parsley, mint leaves or a mixture of all three
6 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin (I like more cumin in my falafel)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Oil for frying

 

 

 


Easy Pasta Alfredo.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is pasta with Parmesan-cream sauce, usually called Alfredo. Some Alfredo sauce recipes call for cream, others don’t. I like both versions. Kids tend to enjoy the creamier style like this.
While it’s very simple to make, the key to making great pasta Alfredo is using top-quality ingredients. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a must, as is high-quality pasta, cream and butter.
You can use any type of pasta you’d like with the recipe, I just happen to like hearty pappardelle.
This dish can be made in a matter of minutes—no longer than it takes to cook the pasta, so make sure you have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you throw the noodles in the water.

Method:
In a large deep-sided sauce pan or skillet, melt the butter.
Add the cream and bring to a simmer.
Add ground black pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper in my Alfredo sauce)
Cook the pasta according to package directions until just
al dente in heavily salted water (2 tablespoons or so).
Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Drain the pasta well.
Add the pasta to the butter-cream sauce and toss well with the cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. If necessary, use the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta and sauce a bit.
Serve immediately with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.

subhead_pastaIngredients:
1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup whipping cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt
1 pound top-quality dried pasta, such as pappardelle
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,
plus more to pass at the table.

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