Spring Break is finally here for UCCS. Now’s the time to get reacquainted with the old you in the midst of school and work before finals rain down upon you. Whether you’re spending spring break in a tropical paradise or back in your parents’ house, you probably have a little downtime. What better way to use that time than with yours truly and a few recipes, rated by difficulty, to get the productive mood out of your mind?
The following is a collection of cooking and baking recipes, each given a beginner, intermediate or difficult rating. Happy cooking… baking?
Cacio e Pepe (kaa·chee·ow ee peh·pay)
I normally don’t include pronunciation for recipes, but this one needs a little help. Anyway, this recipe is so simple and adjustable for those looking to flex those cooking muscles with a simple yet elegant pasta dish. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make your own pasta!
16 ounces dried bucatini, or homemade
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (or to taste) of black pepper
3/4 cups finely grated parmesan
3/4 cups finely grated romano
Boil pasta according to package directions, saving one cup of pasta cooking liquid.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until foaming. Add the pepper and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Pour in 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and allow it to bubble. Add the pasta to the skillet and mix, allowing the bucatini to soak up the cooking liquid. Add in the cheeses a handful at a time, mixing thoroughly with each addition to avoid clumps of cheese. If the cheese is clumping, add more water to create a smoother sauce, while mixing consistently.
Serve with a grate of parmesan and a few cranks of black pepper.
Basil, prosciutto and provolone chicken roulade
A roulade is simply stuffed and rolled cuts of meat, usually chicken sauteed and finished in the oven. You can serve this one with a carrot puree or mashed potatoes with Brussels sprouts or your favorite vegetable. This recipe originally comes from Bon Appetit, except I took out the mushroom sauce because that’s not everyone’s thing. You will need a medium-sized cast iron skillet.
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
8 slices provolone
8 slices prosciutto
32 basil leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
On a cutting board, slice the chicken breasts horizontally, leaving the two sides of the breast attached to each other. Cover the breasts with plastic wrap and tenderize the meat with a kitchen mallet until they’re about half an inch thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Take a chicken breast and layer, starting with the provolone, then the prosciutto and ending with 8 basil leaves. Roll the chicken from out the outer edges in. Secure the roulade with three strings of kitchen twine.
Heat the cast iron skillet over high heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter stops sizzling, add the chicken and cook on each side until they have a nice sear all the way around, about 3 minutes each side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for ten minutes. Remove the kitchen twine and serve whole or sliced.
Raspberry cake with whipped cream filling
Just like every good meal, I end this edition of Swifty’s Eats with dessert, and I hope you’re ready. While this cake, like any layered cake, is difficult to execute, it is perfect for the changing season. This recipe is also featured by Bon Appetit, but I have, of course, adjusted it for high altitude. You will need a piping bag with the appropriate attachments.
5 large eggs at room temp, separated
1 tsp salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ sugar, divided
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups cake flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups freeze dried raspberries, plus more for topping
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup raspberry jam
2 cups fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two 8-inch diameter cake pans with parchment and cooking spray.
Beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and 6 tablespoons sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Starting slow to break up then eggs, then increasing the speed to medium-high to create stiff peaks, approximately 8-10 mins.
Whisk egg yolks and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, by hand in a large bowl with a whisk. Mix until the egg yolks are pale. Add the oil, vanilla and 1/3 cup room temp water. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold in the dry ingredients.
Fold in the meringue one ¼ at a time, gently mixing the batter with each addition. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 15 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 335 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes more. Depending on your oven, you may need to cover the pans with a piece of foil to prevent the tops from burning.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to completely cool, turning them out onto a cooling rack once they reach room temp.
Grind the sugar and raspberries in a food processor until it’s finely grated. Sift the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer to get rid of the seeds (be careful not to breathe in the dust). Add the cream, vanilla and salt and beat until stiff peaks form.
Mix in the jam in a small bowl and fold in the fresh raspberries.
Take a cooled layer of the cake and place on a cake stand with a spat of the frosting on the stand to prevent the cake from moving. Place a heaping amount of the cream on the cake layer, spread into an even layer, making a one-inch divot in the middle. Add the jam and raspberry mixture to the divot. Place the second layer on top, be careful not to smash the cream out the edges. Add the majority of the cream on top (saving some for the finish), and slowly start pushing it off the edges of the cake. Start smoothing the sides with an offset spatula, wiping off the excess cream with each swipe so as to create smooth edges.
When the cake is frosted to your satisfaction, add the remaining cream to piping bag fitted with the half an inch tip. Pipe small mounds on the edges of the top of the cake. Sprinkle a few crushed freeze-dried raspberries in the center and serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. Phew!