Capellini al Pomodoro

(a.k.a. Presidential Pasta)

In 2021, Joseph R. Biden Jr. celebrated his first Presidents’ Day as the president of the United States. We Googled what some of his favorite foods were so we could cook them in observance of this national holiday. The Washington Post reported that capellini al pomodoro (angel hair pasta mixed in a tomato basil sauce) was his most requested dish when he went on speaking engagements for which he would earn up to $200,000US!!! Here are some headlines:

Eater.com: “Joe Biden just can’t get enough angel hair pasta”

TheWeek.com: “Joe Biden is contractually obligated to receive angel hair pomodoro at every paid speech”

Obviously, pasta pomodoro is the president’s comfort food. After all, his Italian-American wife, Dr. Jill Biden, cooked it for him throughout their marriage. So we cooked capellini al pomodoro, too, for a delicious dinner on Presidents’ Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Delish.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium tomatoes (around 4 cups), diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped finely (plus more to garnish)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta al dente or as directed on the package. Drain the hot cooked pasta but reserve about half a cup to make the tomato-basil sauce. Meanwhile, chop the onions and dice the tomatoes.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onions and minced garlic until soft and fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes and stir to release the juices. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Stir in the chopped basil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the pasta and mix well. Pour a little bit of the reserved salted pasta water and stir to make a sauce (add more or less to taste). Stir again to coat the pasta with the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and garnish with extra chopped fresh basil leaves. Serve hot.

Notes

  • We halved the recipe to feed just the two of us.
  • Search our blog under the Theme Menus tab for other presidential and patriotic recipes.

 

Spoonbread

February: Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)

The fifth U.S. president, James Monroe (April 28, 1758-July 4, 1831), was a Virginian who loved southern home cooking. But his American tastes were probably influenced by the French when he played an integral part in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase with Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century.

One of Monroe’s favorite foods was spoonbread, which is like a cross between a simple southern cornbread and a fancy French soufflé. This bread has a somewhat creamy consistency so is eaten with a spoon, instead of handheld like a firmer roll or bun.

In honor of President James Monroe, try spoonbread as a side dish on Presidents’ Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Fine Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 ½ cups milk, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for greasing the ramekins

Directions

Grease four half-cup ramekins with butter. Set aside on a baking tray. Crack the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal with ½ cup of milk. In a saucepan, scald the other one cup of milk. Add the cornmeal mixture, salt and sugar. Keep stirring over medium heat until thickened (about 5-10 minutes).

Remove from heat and mix in the butter and egg yolks. Fold in the egg whites. Divide batter between the prepared ramekins.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour or until the spoonbread is puffy with a golden brown crust. Serve hot out of the oven with a spoon and an extra pat of butter on top (optional).

Notes

  •  We halved the original recipe to feed just the two of us.
  • Avoid overbaking or microwaving the leftovers as the spoonbread will harden when cooled. It is best to eat this hot right out of the oven.
  • When Islander was a child, she and her family lived in President James Monroe’s home state for four years when her Daddy was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and served in the U.S. Navy.
  • Search our blog for other Presidents’ Day and patriotic recipes.

Bush Family Mushroom Quiche

February: Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)

Behind every good man is an equally good woman! Barbara Pierce Bush (June 8, 1925-April 17, 2018) was the wife of the 41st U.S. president, George H.W. Bush (June 12, 1924-November 30, 2018), and mother of the 43rd U.S. president, George W. Bush. A woman of her time, she devoted her life to care for her family and household as best as she can. That included cooking and making sure they were well fed and nourished. Mushroom quiche was a Bush family favorite so we have made it for our blog post in observance of Presidents’ Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from the Houston Chronicle)

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ pounds mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons oregano
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons basil
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3 stalks green onions, chopped (green part only)
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk or half and half
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Directions

Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, basil, salt, marjoram, black pepper, thyme and dry mustard.

Chop the green onions and mince the shallots. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium low heat.

Sauté the mushrooms until they are soft. Stir in the minced garlic, green onions and shallots.

Add the spice mixture and stir until liquid has evaporated. Remove from the stove top and let cool. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk.

Mix in the mushrooms. Pour into the pie crust. Place the pie on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until the filling has puffed up and is starting to set and turn brown. Remove from the oven. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • The sautéed mushroom mixture must be cool enough before adding to the eggs or the heat will cook the eggs prematurely.
  • Complete the Presidents’ Day theme meal with dessert. See the recipe for Barbara Bush cookies here.
  • The final food photo above was styled with a red carnation, white pearls (the late First Lady’s signature accessory) and blue checkered cloth.
  • Search our blog for other presidential and patriotic recipes.