I miei pasti per cinque giorni is a post that I have been wanting to do for awhile. Only because I love my new passion for cooking (and eating) and I have found out that I am saving a TON of money while still maintaining a fairly busy lifestyle (hey, it’s NYC – the city that never sleeps).
Taking time out of my day to have a meal with people I care about is one of the Italian cultural aspects that I truly love. It makes time for connection and relaxation. Preparing the food is something that is truly my therapy and cleaning up…well is cleaning up. It’s not much fun when you live in NYC and don’t have a dish washer. You actually learn to be mindful and at ease when cleaning the dishes too.
I love to create dishes out of almost nothing and when you look at the cost comparison, I can say that I’m completely shocked. I’m somewhat of an organized person and I have kept a close count on my expenses over the last year and I can say that I really only purchased my lunch out three times in New York. That is a huge win for me, as I used to frivolously spend money like a maniac and racked up some debt to show for it (I was in my early twenties, what can I say…)? Not counting food that sits around the office on occasion, but if I do the math in a more strategic way and take $10 and put it into my savings for each day I do not eat out, I’m at $2,400 for the year. That’s a LOT of cash. That is also a very rough estimate based on New York City lunch prices and glamorized salads.
For dinner, however, when I’m at home and prepping food with Roberto, we still manage to come up with wonderful dishes that have helped us save money, eat REALLY well, and taste even better than most of the restaurants we’ve been to. That’s one thing I can say, I really cannot recommend an Italian restaurant in New York City, because from what I’ve tried, it never compares to homemade cooking.
Here are a few of the dishes that we have prepared over the course of a week. They may all seem relatively fancy, but I assure you that they never break the bank. Also, eating at the table is something that is a must in our home. It is the time to come together during the day to be without distractions and speak about our day. What’s not better to pair with quality time than with quality food? Also, leave the phones off of the kitchen table, unless you snap photos like I do because Roberto has amazing presentation skills and I usually just spill sauce on the table cloth.
Linguini con gamberetti (small shrimp) e zucchine
Homemade Pappardelle con Tuccu (a sauce that is slowly stewed for over 8 hours); The key is longevity here, but the ingredients are basic: cans of fresh pomodori (tomatoes), sedano (celery,) carotte (carrots), cipolle (onion), fresh rosemary, aglio (garlic), sale, one large piece of beef.
Risotto al radicchio e parmesan (Roberto made this special dish for me on San Valentino) <3
Pasta alla Gricia (spaghetti with guanciale (thick bacon) and pecorino – extra pepper please 🙂
Buttera is a pasta dish that is perfect for warmer weather, but I still love to have this whenever we have fresh mozzarella in the house. It is very basic – some chopped garlic in olive oil (lots), chopped tomatoes, mozzarella and some salt. After the pasta is done cooking, at it to your pre-prepared bowl of deliciousness. Enjoy right away.
Ravioli alla ricotta e spinaci con sugo di noci is another dish that is simple, since these ravioli are actually from Giovanni Rana – which you can purchase as most grocery stores. We keep it in the freezer for a quick fix (although I really love when we have time to make fresh Pansotti – seen here. The sauce is “sugo di noci” (walnut sauce). It is also very simple and easy to make. The main ingredients? Pane (bread), garlic, marjoram spice, milk, garlic, and of course noci (walnuts)!
Trofie alla Pesto is one thing that will never be the same in America as it is in Genoa, particularly because the basil that is grown there is unlike any other. The leaves are very small and in combination with pinoli (pine nuts), fresh grana e olio and wow – you have a sauce. We paired our pesto with trofie, another particular pasta from the ligurian region. We get ours at Eataly (thank goodness for this store) in NYC 🙂
Vellutata di Zucchine, one of my favorites and staples in the house is made from Zucchine and is super healthy! The ingredients are simple: vegetable broth (dado star cubes), onion, olio e zucchine. That’s it – heaven.
These are just a few of the dishes that we regularly cook up for our daily meals. They are simple and also very delicious. I’m always looking for a new ricetta (recipe) to add to my book and I’m never afraid to try something new! Food is one of the best parts about the Italian culture because it is always bringing people together, and sharing a dish is always the best part! Having saved some money this past year and discovered one of my new favorite hobbies, I hope to bring more dishes to this blog to inspire you to explore in the kitchen as well!
Con un piatto di spaghetti e un bicchieri di vino (Buon Appetito),