Farfalle with asparagus, spring onions

So I’ve been derelict in my gourmet on a budget duties. I haven’t posted since January!  My bad. I struggle with what is “gourmet” enough for the blog. But here I have a lovely, lovely spring pasta dish (which I’ve adapted heavily from this recipe) that I made for friends and got rave reviews. It is super simple to make but tastes really wonderful. You can also make some of the components ahead of time. I’m using a lot of the stars of the farmers market this season, so make it soon!

Budget: $8, serves 6-8 ($1.33 to $1 a person)

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14th/U farmers market (courtesy of Andrew Bossi)

I’m ridiculously excited for this. The farmers’ market season is my favorite time of the year, I love the ritual of going every Saturday morning, of watching the seasons progress based on the produce available. May 1st will be first farmers’ market of the year, from 9-1.

Robin Shuster said to expect asparagus, spring onions, salad greens, leafy greens, as well as apples and pears from last fall to be available. There might even be some early strawberries from Garner’s (yay! I’ll be fighting you guys to get them). There’s also, of course, the great Copper Pot food stand, the bread from Panorama, gelato from Dolcezza, cheese from Keswick Creamery, and flowers from Faucher Meadows.

I think this deserves a NOM

I think this deserves a NOM

I’m in budget mode, I’m moving in a week, and between security deposits, paying movers, move in and out fees, transfer fees for utilities, and a bunch of fun, unexpected expenses, I’m feeling the crunch. I’ve been trying to think of decent, creative meals that I can make cheaply. Pizza is one of those things that came to me: you can buy frozen pizza dough for a few bucks, and then you can spend as much, or little, on toppings as you want.

After a trip to the farmers market (which I couldn’t say no to, even though I’m trying to save money) I came home with great looking asparagus and my favorite spring treat: spring onions (0r green garlic). So I use those as inspiration and come up with this U Street Girl original: roasted asparagus and spring onion pizza.

Budget: $10, serves 4 (2 slices each) – $2.50 a serving.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet dishes.

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From the farmers' market

From the farmers' market

A large bunch of asparagus, spring onions, 2 apples, 3 pears, a large bag of salad greens, and 2 stems of lilacs (sigh, I love lilacs).

Plans for these include an asparagus and spring onion pizza (stay tuned later in the week for more about that), a salad with the apples and salad greens, and some pears to snack on.

Also, it was nice to see that there was a new pasta and jam stand, made by Stefano Frigerio, formerly of Maestro and another stand that seems to be poultry based: eggs, chicken, goose, and duck (this would have helped immensely in December where I couldn’t find duck legs or duck fat anywhere).

And most exciting for me, the guys from Garners Produce let me know that they’d have strawberries next week. Joy!

Fancy mac and cheese

Fancy mac and cheese

I love comfort food taken up a notch, and it’s what a lot of restaurants like to do. They take your mom’s meatloaf and make it with veal and bison, and all of a sudden it’s transformed into something more than it was. A lot of chefs have done this with mac and cheese: a luxurious dish that can be made even more fancy by the addition of a few other ingredients. So I’m jumping on the bandwagon. And, while it’s warm today, the past few days have been cold and snowy, which left me craving comfort food like mac and cheese to warm me up. And apparently I’m not the only one.

I found the recipe on Epicurious, and modified it a bit (lobster doesn’t quite fit in with a gourmet on a budget dish). Truffle oil, my friends, is what makes this recipe especially amazing.  OK, it’s black truffle flavored olive oil, but it’s all I could find, and probably afford.

Budget: $15 for 4 to 5 servings; or $3 to $3.75 a serving.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet dishes. (more…)