Meet Laura, the blogger behind Ring Finger Tan Line (tagline: "maybe I'll be better at blogging than marriage. Or maybe I'll just eat some chocolate.") and the winner of this month's Shine Supper Club for her crazy-good Baked Rigatoni recipe (below). Peak inside the mind of this cook-comedienne:
What ingredient are you currently obsessed with?
I go through definite phases, as you can see on my blog. Chocolate mode. Bacon mode. Chocolate bacon mode. Right now I am on a serious cheese binge. I don't think anyone really needs a reason to love cheese, it just happens. But I suspect there is a new ingredient on the horizon. I'm not sure how much more I can test the lactose gods before they strike me down.
Favorite food memory?
I was on vacation with my ex visiting his Italian family. They took us to this tiny shack on the side of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. The view was gorgeous, and the only menu items were different variations of fresh mozzarella. We each ordered our own ball, a loaf of bread, and some sliced tomatoes. I ate all of it, then halfway considered throwing up so that I could eat more - though it sounded pretty unnecessary to eat more than one ball of cheese in a day, so I didn't. I did cry later that day, though - both because I was so full, and because there was no more cheese. It was a really confusing emotion to have.
What's your go-to easy dinner?
My refrigerator is probably one of the saddest things I come home to. Though it's competing with two puppies, so I guess that's really not fair. In any case, it pretty much only has eggs and condiments at any given moment, along with some frozen fruit in the freezer. So weeknight dinners usually just look like second breakfasts.
Ketchup or mustard?
Funny you should ask. I am dressing up as mustard for Halloween and my friend is going to be ketchup. It works because I'm zesty and she's sweet. We plan to ask unsuspecting men whether they'd like some condiments in a very sensual voice, and then spray them with red and yellow silly string in the face. We think we're hilarious.
Anyway, this question puts me in a weird position of choosing between me and my friend, so I feel like it would be really conceited to choose mustard now. So ketchup.
It's your last meal. What's on the menu?
I really hope I have no idea which meal is my last, because if I do, it means I am in prison and about to die and have taken a very terrible turn from food blogging to a life of crime. But I guess if that happens, some fresh pasta would be nice. And perhaps some tranquilizers before the blow.
Congrats to Laura, who won a copy of Weeknight Fresh + Fast!
from Ring Finger Tan Line
1 lb rigatoni pasta
6 oz Gruyère
6 oz sharp cheddar
8 oz fresh mozzarella
8 oz cremini mushrooms (buttons or baby bellas will work fine, too), sliced.
6 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c flour
2c milk (I used 2%)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
pinch of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375. Grate Gruyère and sharp cheddar, then grate or dice fresh mozzarella. Set aside. Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions on package, but undercooking by 3-4 mins.
While the pasta cooks, melt 1 Tbsp butter in an oven-safe skillet. Add 1 clove's worth of the garlic and stir until very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in sliced mushrooms and saute until they begin to release water and shrink, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Melt 5 tbsp of butter in the same skillet. Add remaining garlic, stir for 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes to create a roux. When golden brown, add milk and continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes. Set aside ½ c of grated cheese and half of the fresh mozzarella. Dump remaining cheese into the sauce and stir for 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce has thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add cooked pasta and mushrooms and toss thoroughly to coat. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes until top is bubbling and golden brown.
Serve immediately. Or if you're me, serve years later, after all the photos have been taken.