Sunday Pasta Dinner: Carbonara

February 09, 2015 | Posted by Rachel Kashon

Aside from design and papergoods, my other passion is cooking. More specifically — cooking pasta! I've taken it upon my self to learn how to make all of the dishes that Lupa and Pepi made when I was growing up. The latest dish that I've been perfecting is carbonara. As my husband says "fat equals flavor" and boy oh boy does this dish deliver!

I've been working with is Mario Batali's Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe and there are a few things that I've learned thus far. First of all — since there are only a few ingredients, it's imperative that each is high quality. This is what will bring the dish to the next level. Also, timing is everything with carbonara so have all of the ingredients grated, chopped and ready to go! 

INGREDIENTS clockwise from top left
– Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano: Grab a chunk of Parmigiano, a grater and get grating! While it's not as easy as opening a package and dumping it in the bowl, it will be so worth it!

– Pancetta: Skip the pre-packaged, already chopped up pancetta and hit up the deli counter. Ask the butcher to cut it as thick as possible. 

– Pasta: I usually would use something twirlable (e.g. bucatini) but in this instance, I'm using this bag of spaccatelli from Sfoglini. My husband recently surprised me with their pasta of the month (he knows the way to my heart!). Their pasta is fresh, super tasty and two bags arrive every month — perfetto!

– Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Key here is "fresh" — whether you have a spice grinder or a pepper mill, make sure that pepper is freshly ground!

– Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: I know I've been touting "quality, quality" but here is one ingredient in this recipe that doesn't need to be the best. Since it's getting heated up in the pan, it can be average joe olive oil. If you end up using any as a finishing, make that the good stuff!

– Eggs: This ingredient is the finishing touch on carbonara so if you're game, spring for the organic crazy expensive eggs and enjoy how delectable they make this dish!

One thing that feels missing to me in this recipe is garlic! My family usually adds it to the pan by the handful! Thus far I have not missed it because this recipe is so damn flavorful. That being said, don't be surprised if a couple Sundays from now garlic finds its way into my carbonara! Buon appetito!

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The Dream Team

April 23, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Kashon

Dream Team from Lupa & Pepi Wedding I snapped this photo during the final walkthrough of our wedding venue just a few weeks before Jason and I tied the knot. I'm so thrilled that I had the opportunity to work on my wedding with this talented group — a.k.a. my dream team! For the record, when I say "dream team" I mean that literally and figuratively — each of these people not only does phenomenal work that I love and respect, each was also just an absolute dream to work with! As Jason and I pieced together our vision for the Big Day, they lent their expertise and guidance, assembled the ingredients and then made it happen with grace, style and conviviality!

Now that you know the players and you've seen some pictures from the resulting wedding in the current issue of The Knot (still swooning about that!!!), I'm taking things wayyyyyyyyyyy back to the very beginning. In the coming months, I'm going to blog about all of the oooh's and ahhhh's of the planning and design process for our wedding — from engagement to "I do" and everything in between! Andiamo!

Pictured above, left to right: Megan Grey - Honey & Poppies, Amber Cowell - The Love Riot, Jesi Haack - Jesi Haack Design, Daniel November - Heirloom LA, Nicole - Classic Party Rentals, Talmadge Lowe - Pharmacie, AnnaMarie Kostura - Villa at Sunstone Winery. Not pictured but still very much a part of the Dream Team: Annie McElwain - Annie McElwain Photography, Max Cutrone & Molly Jenson - Max & Molly Films, Erica Buekelman & Katie Mueller - 10.11 Makeup, Keith Brunsmann & Jonathan Wolper - The Lighter Side

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At Long Last...

April 21, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Kashon

Lupa & Pepi wedding in The Knot Magazine Summer 2014
After months of biting my lip and resisting the urge to Instagram, blog, post and tweet, I'm beyond excited and so incredibly thrilled to announce that my wedding has been published in The Knot magazine!!! If you can't wait to get to the newsstand, there are a few photos from our nuptials on The Knot's website too! Phew — so glad to get that out!!!

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Figs

March 07, 2013 | Posted by MamamiaRita

Many Italians have an obsession with figs — including me.

When I lived on Georgia Avenue in “Ducktown” our entire back yard was cement except for this 3 feet by 6 feet piece that was cut out. We filled it with dirt and planted a fig tree. It produced dozens of figs every summer. It was cut back after the season, then covered with burlap during the winter.

Fig Tree Rita Joe Planting Italian

me & my good friend, Joe, planing a fig tree in my backyard

Figs are good for you & can be prepared in many different ways:
* Wrapped in prosciutto
* Cut in half & stuffed with your favorite cheese (gorgonzola is great!)
* Melt dark chocolate, dip figs then chill
* Chop figs, sprinkle with honey and put on top of vanilla ice cream
* Cut in half, sprinkle with brown sugar and broil a few minutes. A wonderful topping for yogurt or custard.
* Chop figs and mix into a salad. They taste delicious with balsamic vinegar.

These are only a few ways to prepare figs. Just use your imagination.

Last summer I thought my fig tree had died. The weather was warm but the branches had no leaves let alone figs. I cut it way back in an effort to pull it out of the ground easier. I never got around to removing it. My laziness was rewarded by the tree sprouting leaves & giving me the best crop of figs ever. It is now twice the size. Go Figure!!

Mangia!

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