Creamy Pasta Risotto

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I don't think I've told you this yet, but I really love my comfort food.  I prefer my comfort in the form of cheese or chocolate.  A hot gooey brownie or a big bowl of mac and cheese has been known to turn my frown upside down on more than one occasion.

This Creamy Pasta Risotto is comfort food at its finest.  It's a bit more sophisticated than mac and cheese, a lot easier than a true risotto, and a guaranteed feel-better kind of dish.  And even though I'm in the middle of a string of good days right now - the kind that have me walking around with a mile wide smile - I still can't resist this pasta's cheesy charm.

This is an easy recipe to dress up or down too.  I make it for the kids for lunch and they love it.  I make it for friends for dinner and they love it too.  And when you start thinking of add-ins, the possibilities are endless.  Here are a few ideas for things that can be easily mixed in to this pasta:
  • bacon
  • butternut squash
  • broccoli
  • sauted mushrooms
  • fresh rosemary or thyme
  • roasted garlic
  • spinach
  • ham
  • leeks

Creamy Pasta Risotto


3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 2/3 cup fusilli or tubetti
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 oz cream cheese or mascarpone
freshly ground pepper


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat.  Add diced onion and saute until soft and translucent.  Add broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  When water is boiling, add the pasta.  Lower heat and cook pasta at a steady simmer until it has absorbed almost all of the water, approximately 25 minutes.

When there is less than a 1/2 inch of liquid bubbling in the bottom of the pan, pour in the cream.  Keep simmering for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until it thickens slightly.  Stir in the Parmesan and cream cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat, cover, and let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.  Top generously with freshly ground pepper and bread crumbs if desired.  Serves 6.

Adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

What are your favorite comfort foods?

Simple Autumn Candles

Monday, October 15, 2012

I love seasonal decorations, but if I don't keep it simple, it doesn't happen.  I think it would be fun to deck the house with spiders and pumpkins for Halloween or create a gorgeous autumn mantle to celebrate the season, but most of the time my good intentions are never realized and the season has passed before I've found time to do much decorating.

These Simple Autumn Candles are my solution to the decorating dilemma this year.  They will last through all the autumn months and they are a pretty seasonal touch on the dining room table, the living room mantle, and all the book shelves in the house.  Best of all, they cost next to nothing and take about fifteen minutes to put together.

Make your own Autumn Candles

Suggested Supplies

Mason Jars, any size
Glass Votives, any size
Yarn or String
Baker's Twine
Hot Glue Gun, or other craft glue
Leaves, Berries, twigs,

To make the candles, simply tie jute, or preferred material, around the candle holder and secure with a few dots of glue.  I gathered leaves and Pyracantha berries from around my yard to bring a little of nature's decor into the house.

A few more Simple Autumn Decorations:

Hanging Leaves | Martha Stewart
Beeswax Candles | A Beautiful Mess
Painted Acorns | Modge Podge Rocks
Natural Centerpiece | The Inspired Room
Autumn Branches | Pinterest

How do you decorate for Autumn at your house?

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday is the only day of the week that I don't have to run all over town.  It's not my turn to carpool, we don't have any lessons or sports, and I do my very best not to schedule anything on Wednesday so it can be my Home day.  If I had my choice, I think six out of seven days a week would be Home days because at heart, I'm a real homebody.  

Since we are home on Wednesday mornings without any rush, I normally make something special for breakfast.  These Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones feel very indulgent, even though they only take about twenty minutes to mix up.  

These scones are a particular favorite of my four year old.  When I asked her why she liked them so much, she explained that when she tastes them she thinks of the Honor of Gray scone.   I tried to explain to her that what She-Ra really says in those vintage cartoons is the Honor of Gray skull, but she didn't buy it.  Oh well.  It's a shaky endorsement, but she always eats the whole scone and asks for seconds, which feels like an honor to me. Good enough.

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones


1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1 large egg

For the Glaze

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.  Whisk in sugar and spices.

Using largest holes on a box grater, grate frozen butter into flour mixture and mix until it resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl, combine egg, pumpkin, and yogurt and mix well.   Stir yogurt mixture into flour mixture.  Using hands, shape dough into a ball, making sure to fold in all the loose clumps.

When dough is well combined and sticks together in a large ball, turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Shape into a 7 inch circle, approximately 3/4 inch thick, and cut into 8 equal pieces.   With space between each triangle, place on a parchment covered baking sheet.  (Alternatively, you can use a scone pan.  I have this one.)  Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden.   Allow scones to cool and prepare glaze.

In a small bowl, combine all of the glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth.   Drizzle glaze over cooled scones.  Eat and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

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