Asian Paella

Classic dishes, new flavors.

A big pot of Asian Paella ready to be enjoyed!

That’s what I’m going for today with this super-duper tasty Asian Paella. I took the classic Spanish dish that I have for some reason been so intimidated to make and gave it my own Asian spin, and I am in LOVE with the result. I make a pretty darn good paella for an amateur, if I do say so myself 😉


Let’s talk for a second about that intimidation factor. I know I’ve said it before, but have you ever come across a dish that you’d die to be able to make on your own, yet that fear of the unknown holds you back? What if said dish takes an insanely long time to make? Or has some crazy involved technique that you have no idea how to do? Well, after forcing myself to tackle things like this Homemade Matcha Pasta and this Whisky Gravlax, I’m very happy to report that this is rarely (if ever) the case. I’m always amazed at how easy something ends up being after I’ve been so afraid to tackle it for so long!

So if there’s one lesson I want you to walk away with by reading this post (besides how to make an insanely delicious Asian Paella,) it’s that the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the kitchen are hardly ever so at all, so get in there and give a new dish or technique a shot. You’ll not only broaden your “foodie” horizons, but you’ll also both impress anyone you’re cooking for and help them feel more empowered to get in the kitchen on their own and make something out of the norm.

Up-close photo of the most delicious Asian Paella you've ever tasted!

Okay, enough preaching! Let’s talk about this Asian Paella. I first came up with this idea after the hubs and I had a date night at a fairly new Spanish restaurant here in Santa Barbara called Loquita. They have a huge selection of authentic tapas and main courses, and everything is served family-style so you pretty much have no choice but to share. Did I mention they also make amazing cocktails?

When the hubs and I went there, we decided to keep it fairly simple with just a couple of tapas and one order of paella, which really is enough to serve at least four people (but whoever complained about a few leftovers?) As I started tasting all of the different flavors in the dish – chorizo, chicken, fresh mushrooms and veggies – I realized that I could easily swap in some of my favorite Asian ingredients to give this classic dish a new twist.

I used the popular Chinese sausage lap cheong in lieu of the chorizo, and decided to go with easy-to-cook shrimp instead of the chicken. I also made sure to grab shiitake mushrooms and fresh snow peas along with the usual tomatoes and bell peppers.

All of the ingredients for delicious Asian Paella thrown into one big paella pan over the grill.

Because I was already using so many strong Asian flavors (namely the lap cheong and the shiitake mushrooms) I decided to keep the seasonings of the paella traditional, using smoked paprika and saffron. Be sure to use SMOKED paprika (which you can easily find at any grocery store, including Trader Joe’s) as it will help impart the delicious smoky flavor that will make your paella taste like you’ve been cooking it over open coals all day, rather than the gas grill I recommend using here. Also, if you’re hesitant to make the minor investment in very-expensive saffron, don’t be! As you can see from this recipe, a little bit really goes a long way so it will last you a while.

As far as the cooking process, I used my trusty Gourmet Today cookbook as my guide and followed their suggested technique of cooking the paella in an oven-proof paella pan (or wok, in my case) over a gas grill. Aside from the appliance that you cook the dishes on, from there the process is much like that of making risotto, if you’ve ever ventured into that territory.

You cook the proteins first (here, that means the shrimp and the lap cheong) and then add most of the vegetables. After those ingredients have gotten a good head start on cooking, you add the rice and then the chicken broth, stirring occasionally until the rice has soaked up nearly all of the broth and other delicious seasonings.

The protein, vegetables and broth for Asian Paella set to simmering before adding in the rice.

Asian Paella simmers over the grill, waiting for all of the delicious broth to be absorbed by the rice.

One other quick note RE: the rice. I did not use the traditional Bomba rice that most paella recipes call for, simply because I was too lazy to track some down and already had some sushi rice on hand, which still worked wonderfully! The only thing I did notice was that it got mushier the longer the paella sat, because it continued to soak up any sort of liquid that was left in the pan. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re serving your Asian Paella hot off the grill (which is THE best way, I might add) but perhaps stop the cooking process a little bit earlier (before all of the liquid is completely absorbed) if you’re planning on reheating the dish to serve later.

The recipe technique I followed in Gourmet said the entire cooking process would take about two hours, and they were spot on. If you ask me, that’s not too intimidating and means that this recipe is still totally doable for any night of the week when you need to serve a crowd.

Asian Paella for humpday dinner, anyone?

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

A big pot of Asian Paella ready to be enjoyed!
Print
Asian Paella
Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time
2 hr
 

The classic Spanish dish gets an oriental flair with the use of lap cheong, shiitake mushrooms, fresh snow peas and so much more!

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning shrimp plus 1 teaspoon salt for paella
  • 1/2 pound lap cheong, sliced
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, cut in half diagonally
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 3 cups sushi rice
Instructions
  1. In a large, oven-proof paella pan or wok, heat the olive oil over a gas grill set to medium-high heat. 

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shrimp and juice of ½ a lemon and season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to heated paella pan and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until shrimp begins to turn pink and opaque. Add the lap cheong and continue to cook until shrimp looks mostly cooked through.

  3. Move shrimp and lap cheong to the edge of the pan and add mushrooms, snap peas and bell peppers to the center. Cook these vegetables, stirring every so often, for about 4 minutes.

  4. Add tomatoes, garlic and one teaspoon salt to mixture in center of pan and stir until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and cook, without stirring, for one minute before stirring the proteins on the edges of the pan back into the mixture. Stir in stock and saffron.

  5. Turn grill heat to high, cover the grill with a lid, and bring the mixture to a boil. This may take up to 20 minutes depending on your grill. Once mixture is boiling, turn heat back to medium-high and sprinkle rice evenly into the pan. Stir until all rice grains are submerged.

  6. Cook for 10 minutes, stir, and then stir. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes more, stirring at 5-minute intervals, until liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente.

  7. Using potholders, carefully remove pan from the grill and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

(Affiliate) links for special ingredients:

Asian Paella | CaliGirlCooking.com

Greek Nachos

Figures I would come back from Italy just to share a Greek recipe with you…

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

I guess you could actually call these absolutely to-die-for Greek Nachos a Greek-Mexican hybrid recipe though, since we’re taking one of my favorite Mexican food dishes and giving it a Mediterranean twist. I’m really not sure why the Greek Nacho path hasn’t been traveled down more often, because when you basically sub in Greek-inspired ingredients for your typical nacho fixin’s, the result is show stopping. You may never want to eat regular nachos ever again.


Aside from these nachos, I don’t have too much other stuff to share with you today. More due to the fact that I’m a bit jetlagged (read: brain dead) from our trip and we’re driving back to Santa Barbara from the Bay Area today. Tomorrow, back to reality but at least we only have a few more days until the weekend! I fully intend on writing at least one (if not multiple) Travel Diary posts about my trip once I’ve had time to recover and soak it all in, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, let me tell you a little bit about these Greek Nachos. Because, yes, you want to know allllll about them.

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

We start in the most obvious of places: with the chips! We’re kicking off the Greek theme by replacing the typical tortilla chips with crispy plain pita chips, which in fact almost work better than tortilla because they tend to be thicker and sturdier – which means they can easily hold up to all of the tasty toppings we’re going to add!

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

The first matter of business in getting together said toppings is whipping up some healthy and tangy tzatziki sauce. I used a base of nonfat plain Greek yogurt and added lots of garlic, dill and cucumber. Make this the day before if you want, the flavors just get better as they sit.

We’ll also want to saute some eggplant as well as ground lamb with more garlic, olive oil, and some fresh lemon juice. And I’m going to take this moment right here to let you know that if you have never cooked with ground lamb before, you’ve REALLY been missing out. I love how it tastes so different than beef..It seems to give a whole new dimension to a dish (I’m also a huge fan of lamb burgers if you’re looking for more suggestions.)

Aside from putting together the tzatziki and cooking the eggplant and lamb, there’s very little involved in the preparation of our Greek Nachos. You’re going to need the requisite Greek ingredients (like tomatoes, garbanzo beans, red onion and fresh oregano) and you’re also going to track down some legit Greek cheese. I used a mix of feta and shredded Kasseri, which could also be replaced by halloumi or any other Greek cheese you’re able to find (I had the best luck at Whole Foods.)

To prep the actual nacho dish, you’re going to want to bring out your best cast iron skillet. Load up the bottom of the skillet with the pita chips, then pile on all of the prepared toppings that can stand up to a little more heat. We’re talking the lamb, beans, onions, tomatoes, and of course, cheese!

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pop all of that into the oven for about 15 minutes, top with the rest of the ingredients (like more fresh oregano and the tzatziki) and your Greek Nachos will be on the table in no time! Now how’s that for an easy Wednesday night dinner?

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Greek Nachos
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

All of your favorite Mediterranean ingredients are piled high atop crispy pita chips. The perfect quick and easy dinner for any night of the week!

Course: Main Course
Servings: 5 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the tzatziki:
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Persian cucumber, grated
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
For the eggplant:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or more as needed if dry)
  • 1/2 of a medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the lamb:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
All other ingredients:
  • 4-5 cups plain pita chips
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces shredded Kasseri cheese
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • Additional fresh oregano for garnish
Instructions
  1. First, make the tzatziki. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until well-incorporated. If you have time, cover and chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

  2. To make the eggplant, heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and garlic and stir to combine. Cook until eggplant is tender, adding more olive oil as needed, then season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Remove from pan and set aside.

  3. To make the lamb, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat (using the same saute pan.) Add the lamb, garlic and fresh oregano and cook until lamb is browned. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Turn off heat and set aside.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the pita chips evenly over the bottom of a medium cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the eggplant, lamb, garbanzo beans, cheese, cherry tomatoes and red onion evenly over the top. Place in the oven for approximately 12 minutes, and then turn the broiler on high for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese on top is starting to brown. 

  5. Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven, being careful to use potholders, and drizzle on tzatziki (you don’t have to use it all, just use however much you want.) Sprinkle with more fresh oregano before serving straight out of the pan!

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding

Of course I had to go and bastardize a perfect Italian dish.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

But how else would I celebrate the fact that at the very moment you’re reading this I’ll be arriving in Florence and heading up to the beautiful villa that we’ll be calling our home for the next five days? To me, there’s no better way to kick off our Italian vacation.


And let me tell you, this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding is so delicious that you won’t even mind that it strays quite a bit from the traditional dish. In fact, there really aren’t any similar techniques between the two, I simply took all of the ingredients you’d use for Eggplant Parmesan and, instead of drenching the eggplant in breadcrumbs, I decided to nestle it in huge chunks of crusty bread along with the other typical ingredients you use like tomatoes, basil and, of course, mozzarella cheese!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

But can we talk a minute about where I am right now and where I’ll be going over the next week and a half? Because I’m desperately looking for the best places to eat, shop and sightsee during our trip.

We’re spending our first five days in Tuscany, hopping around quite a bit to places like Florence, Montepulciano and Greve in Chianti. After that, we’ll take the train out to Venice and spend another few days there before flying home. I’ve been to all of these places before and have found a few hidden gems, but I’m always looking for more, so please, please, please send any suggestions my way if you have them. It’s my in-laws’ and hubby’s first time to Italy so naturally I want to show them THE most amazing time.

Oh yea, that’s right. This trip isn’t just the hubs and I. We’re dragging along BOTH of our parents and my aunt. My aunt and I took a similar trip (staying at the same villa in Tuscany) a few years ago, and I’ve wanted to take the parents back ever since. Fun fact: Chris and I even talked about eloping and getting married at this very villa! In the end, we couldn’t bring ourselves to exclude some of our nearest and dearest (which we would inevitably have to do with an international wedding) so you can imagine how excited I am to bring everyone that’s so special to me to this very special place.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Anywho, let’s get back to this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding because I clearly have more exciting things to be doing (ahem, packing) then slaving over the computer all day.

I love this recipe because there are only about 20 minutes of hands-on prep, and then you just throw it in the oven and 30-ish minutes later you have a well-rounded meal (we’re talking veggies, cheese and bread) ready to just plop down on the table and serve with a huge side salad. I’m definitely speaking from experience and let me tell you, the salad is a must. It’s the perfect complement to such a filling yet tasty dish and, hey, balance!

So the only prep you have to do is toast the breadcrumbs (which BTW you can also do up to a day in advance), give the eggplant and garlic a little saute and mix all of the “pudding” ingredients together in a big bowl before dumping it into your baking dish. That’s seriously it. Let me tell ya, it can’t get much easier!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Towards the end of our Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding’s baking time, we’ll want to pop on the broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to get that cheese on top a little golden brown (is anyone else as obsessed with slightly burnt cheese as I am?)

Straight out of the oven -> Onto the table -> Into the mouth. That’s my ideal dinner if I’ve ever heard of one.

Now excuse me while I undoubtedly go gorge myself on all of the delicious Italian food and drink I can find for dinner. You know you want to make this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding tonight and eat along with me in spirit!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

The classic Italian dish revamped in bread pudding form. Sauteed eggplant, fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella tucked into loads of crusty bread.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 5 cups cubed crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups cubed eggplant (about 1/2 of a medium eggplant)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 ounces cubed mozzarella
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup basil, plus additional for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the bread and toss to evenly coat. Let bread toast in the butter until golden brown, tossing occasionally to make sure it browns evenly, about 8 or so minutes. Place finished toasted bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

  3. In the same saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium. Once oil is heated, add the eggplant and then the garlic, tossing to combine and evenly coat. Saute until eggplant has softened slightly, again about another 8 minutes or so. 

  4. Add eggplant mixture and remaining ingredients (except for additional basil to garnish) to the large bowl containing the bread cubes and toss to combine. 

  5. Pour mixture into a medium sized casserole dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, keep an eye on the bread pudding to make sure the top is not getting too brown. Somewhere between 25 and 30 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is, turn the broiler on high. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese on the top of the dish is golden and bubbly. Remove and let cool just slightly before serving. Best served with a large green salad.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad

The perfect weekend recovery food!

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

This Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad is a perfect, healthy, filling meal if I ever saw one, and it’s oh so delicious. If any of you had a weekend like I had, you’re definitely ready to whip this up with your favorite lean protein for dinner tonight.


As I mentioned on Friday, we were up in Santa Cruz visiting my parents this weekend, which also happened to involve helping my little sis move into her new house and having an early Sunday birthday brunch for me. All of the family affairs, celebrations and craziness never make for the healthiest eating, but I never restrict myself (everything in moderation!) and just make sure to eat extra-healthy in the days leading up to and following all of the madness. That’s what balanced living is all about!

So when we rolled back into town late last night, all I wanted was a big bowl of whole grains and veggies. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of this Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad sitting around in the fridge, so we had to settle with takeout. Not necessarily the healthiest of options (although we still try to get a well-balanced meal even when we order out) but we knew we’d get right back in the groove of healthy eating today. Smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch. You get the idea! This should last all of two days since my birthday is on Wednesday, but we only live once, right?

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

It’s no secret that ever since I tried the most delicious grain salad in Napa, I have been obsessed with the idea of them. It was way back in May of last year that I made this Herbed Grain Salad with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans, so I figured now that we’re having some warmer “salad-friendly” weather here in California, it was high time for me to come up with another fun version featuring some of spring’s freshest produce. I’m very happy to say that this Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad is not going to let you down and, even better, if you don’t love butter as much as I do, you can easily make this dish vegan!

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

So let’s get down to the dirty details. First of all, if you live anywhere near a Trader Joe’s, you’re already in great shape. I got all of my ingredients for this salad there, except for the lemons because we have an abundance of them growing in our yard at the moment. That being said, you really shouldn’t have any trouble getting these ingredients at just-your-average grocery store, TJ’s just makes it soooo convenient.

I started out by sautéing some fresh leeks and garlic in a healthy dose of butter. It may seem like a lot at first, but keep in mind that we’re adding much more to this dish than just leeks and garlic, and all of those extra ingredients mean we need all of that extra butter. BUT, if you are trying to be uber-healthy or if you follow a vegan diet, you can swap in good ol’ coconut oil and this salad will still turn out amazing. Promise.

After our leeks and garlic have started sweating it out a bit, we add some fresh corn kernels. If you don’t happen to live in an area where you can get fresh corn year round, frozen kernels would also work just fine.

The corn kernels are followed by our cooked, shelled edamame, which Trader Joe’s conveniently sells prepped and ready to go in their produce section. Again, if you don’t have access to these, a frozen bag of shelled edamame would work just fine. Just be sure they’re already cooked!

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

The final steps are to throw in some pre-cooked barley (a great thing to meal prep on the weekends and throw into healthy meals all week) and some snipped fresh chives. The only sort of dressing that graces our salad is the aforementioned butter and a hefty dose of fresh lemon juice. I do want to mention one thing about the ¼ cup quantity I’ve called for here: we have Meyer lemons in our backyard, which tend to be more sweet and less tart than your average lemons. That being said, if you are using standard lemons, you may want to dial it back just a tad. Just remember to taste as you go and balance the acidity out with the salt. You’ll do just fine!

This Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad is full of filling carbohydrates (which I know some of you colder-weather readers are still totally craving right now) yet plenty of fresh, vibrant produce to remind us that spring is just around the corner. It comes together in under 20 minutes and tastes just as good hot or cold, making it perfect to have on hand for any situation that requires a healthy meal ASAP. It’s quickly become another go-to of mine and I hope it will soon become one of yours too!

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

This hearty and healthy grain salad is the perfect dish to usher in warmer weather - loaded with filling carbohydrates and vibrant produce, enjoy it alone or with your favorite lean protein!

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil, for vegan version)
  • 1 trimmed leek, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups corn kernels (about 2 small ears)
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled, cooked edamame
  • 2 cups cooked barley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Melt butter or coconut oil in a deep saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes, until leeks begin to sweat and become fragrant. Add corn kernels and turn heat up to medium-high.

  2. Let corn kernels cook for another 3 minutes, then add edamame. Let cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the corn and edamame begin to get golden flecks on their skins (a slight char.)

  3. Turn heat back down to medium and add barley and chives. Stir to combine.

  4. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper (tasting as you go) until you’ve achieved your desired level of balanced flavors. Serve warm or cold. 

Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto

What a fun week I have in store for all of you!

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

Today I’m excited to share this recipe for Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto that I created in partnership with JORD Wood Watches, and on Wednesday I have all of the details from the fun Spring Fling Brunch I hosted with some of my favorite Santa Barbara lady entrepreneurs. It’s going to be a great one!


Now that we’ve officially stepped into the month of March, it seems that there’s much anticipation of change in the air. The pressure of our New Year’s resolutions has died down a bit, if only for the fact that  “real life” has picked up again after the post-holiday coma we all fall into. I’ve personally felt a new sense of urgency, that I should always be doing more, more, more and that there is so much I should be doing that I should rarely be having any down time.

It’s a dangerous cycle we all fall into, and I try to stay conscious of not going too far down that rabbit hole. I strongly champion balanced living, after all, and how can I do so authentically if I myself am not taking the time to practice it?

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

Which is why I was so excited when JORD Wood Watches approached me to create a recipe having to do with time and how we should spend it during this turning of the seasons. As adventurous as I am in the kitchen, there are certain projects I’m hesitant to dive into, simply because I have never done them before, have a slight fear of the “unknown,” and just plain not thinking I have the time. Making homemade pasta has been at the back of my mind for quite a while, but I kept pushing it back because I thought it was complicated, required too much equipment, etc. After only a nanosecond of thought, I knew that this partnership with JORD was the perfect opportunity to set aside an afternoon in the kitchen and take the time to master this favorite carb of mine. I’m happy to say that my Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche was a HUGE success, and I have now made it three times in one week because it is just so good!

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

But before I get to the recipe, I want to talk a little bit about my JORD Frankie 35 Series women’s watch. Let’s just say that as soon as I saw the entire line of JORD Wood Watches, I knew this was a company I wanted to work with. All of their products are gorgeous, and the watches can go from casual to elegant, which means I can wear my watch both in the kitchen and out to a fancy dinner with my man. I love the wooden texture and the contrasting colors on the watch faces. I opted for the navy watch face with the zebrawood band, and I love that it goes with most of my wardrobe since I very much tend to lean towards all neutral colors. Even when I’m working in the kitchen all day and most likely wearing yoga pants, I can throw on my Frankie 35 and feel instantly put together.

Wearing my JORD Wood Watch in the kitchen is also a great reminder for me to be mindful and take my time when exploring new recipes and techniques. As a chef, photographer, social media manager and consultant, it’s all too easy for me to rush through my “”To Do” list for the day and, before I know it, it’s dark outside and time to wind down. I continually have to tell myself to take a second (or minute) or two to really enjoy the process and remember why I started my own business in the first place. Every time I look at this unique watch, it reminds me what I’m here to do – share my joy of food with all of you!

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

As I mentioned, this Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto ended up being the perfect dish for my first foray into the pasta-making world.  As soon as I finished my first test of the recipe, I texted my husband and said “If you have time, stop by for lunch. I just made homemade pasta and it’s the best thing I’ve made in a long time!” Really, nothing compares to fresh, homemade pasta. Nothing.

In order to make this “matcha” pasta, I simply whisked some culinary grade matcha powder into the flour before kneading the dough. It didn’t turn out quite as vibrantly green as I had hoped, but trust me, the flavor is allll there.

After the dough was made, I divided it into two pieces and used a rolling pin to make each piece of dough thin enough to pass through my Kitchen-Aid pasta roller attachment. You could also use a manual pasta roller, or even just a very long wooden rolling pin to get your pasta down to the proper thickness.

Once the pasta was rolled out thin enough to make fettucine, I cut each piece in half (I don’t know about you, but I hate SUPER long noodles) and then rolled each piece up like those good ol’ fruit rollups you had as a kid. This way, you can slice the dough evenly and the fettucine will turn out much straighter than if you were to just free-cut all the way down the length.

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

The next step is to unroll the individual fettucine and let them dry slightly before cooking (about 5 minutes is all you need, although you could let them dry for longer.) You don’t need a fancy pasta dryer to do this, I simply laid mine out along my marble slab.

Even though I went on and on about never wanting to make homemade pasta because I thought it would take too long, I’m very happy to report that my assumptions were wrong and I was able to get this entire dish made in less than an hour. The pasta rolling and cutting take the longest, but once those steps are complete, the rest of the components that make up Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto come together in a flash.

I crisped up some prosciutto in a large pan with olive oil, and whisked some lemon juice, olive oil and heavy whipping cream into my crème fraiche to make the sauce. Once added to boiling water, the pasta was done in seconds, and I added it to the pan with the prosciutto along with some minced garlic. The whipped crème fraiche and a couple of hefty handfuls of arugula were the finishing touches to this amazing, intricately-flavored dish.

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

To me, making this Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto was the perfect foray into my new world of homemade pasta-making, a fulfilling project that helped me remember why I love my job in the first place – because I can spend as much time in the kitchen as I want!

And now for even better news – you can become part of the wood watch family too! That’s right, I’ve teamed up with JORD to offer one lucky person $100 to use towards any product on the JORD Wood Watches website. But wait, there’s more! Anyone who enters will receive a $25 gift code to use on the site once the contest ends on March 12. So hurry up and enter now!

Click here to enter (and keep scrolling for the delicious pasta recipe!)


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Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A comforting, homemade pasta dish - fresh pasta is laced with matcha and tossed with a lemony creme fraiche, finished with crispy prosciutto and arugula.

Course: Main Course
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons culinary grade matcha powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups arugula
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and matcha powder. Pour onto a clean, dry surface and create a small well in the middle. Crack the eggs directly into the well, then whisk gently with a fork, slowly bringing in some flour from the sides. Once eggs are mostly incorporated, begin kneading the dough with your hands. Keep kneading and pressing with the palm of your hand until everything has come together. There will be some extra flour that doesn’t make it into the dough, but that’s okay. About halfway through your kneading, wipe off your workspace so there is no additional flour. The dough will be a bit tough, but that’s how it’s supposed to be!

  2. Cut the dough in half and roll out with a rolling pin until it’s thin enough to pass through the widest setting on your roller. Pass the dough through at this setting a few times, folding in half a couple of times if there are any holes. Once your dough passes easily through the widest setting, go up to the next thinnest setting and pass through a few times again. Continue this process until both of your pieces of dough have gone through setting 4, which is the recommended thickness for fettucine on the KitchenAid pasta roller. 

  3. Once again cut each sheet of dough in half so that you’re not working with super-long pieces of dough. Take each new sheet and roll it up like you would a fruit roll-up or tortilla. Slice each roll in ¼ to ½ inch pieces (the width of fettucine) and then unroll and spread out on a clean, dry surface to dry. 

  4. While your pasta is drying, prepare the sauce and toppings. In a large saute pan (one that will be big enough to hold all of the pasta and the toppings), warm one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped prosciutto and cook until crispy. Turn off heat. In a small mixing bowl, combine crème fraiche, the other tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, heavy cream, salt and pepper using a whisk. Set aside. 

  5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, slide in the dried pasta and immediately start stirring with a wooden spoon (this will help prevent it from sticking together.) Bring water back to a boil. The pasta will be done cooking 5-10 seconds after the water starts boiling again. Keep an eye on it, it cooks quickly! Drain pasta and add to pan with crispy prosciutto. 

  6. Add minced garlic to the pan with the pasta, and then add the whipped crème fraiche sauce. Stir to combine. Add a tablespoon of butter to thicken things up a bit. 

  7. Stir arugula into pasta right before serving. Enjoy!

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