Summer Stuffed Shells with Creamy Fontina Sauce

Stuffed Shells with Fontina Sauce

Stuffed Shells with Fontina Sauce

This post is sponsored by Cakebread Cellars. Thank you for supporting Nerds with Knives’ sponsors!

Whenever we cook for a crowd, baked pasta is our go-to. All the prep can be done ahead of time, so all that we have to do is pop the pan in the oven, make a quick salad and open the wine. This time of year, the farmer’s market is bursting with early summer vegetables like Swiss chard, baby peas, spring onions and basil. So to celebrate the season, we made our stuffed shells with a mix of our favorite greens and paired them with the most delicious fontina cream sauce. And then popped the corks on a couple of bottles of white wine and enjoyed the sunshine!

Our wine of choice to pair with a beautiful early-summer outdoor dinner is something light with a subtle floral and fruit character. We’ve paired up with Cakebread Cellars’ Napa Valley Chardonnay and our garden peonies opened up just in time to help us celebrate the season.

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Blood Orange and Hibiscus Curd Tart with a Gingersnap Crust

A round curd tart on a platter

Blood Orange-Hibiscus Curd Tart

Our ruby-hued blood orange and hibiscus curd makes a delicious and luscious filling for this beautiful seasonal tart. The crust is made from crushed gingersnap cookies, and couldn’t be simpler. With a great balance between sweet, tart and spicy, this is a real showstopper of a dessert.  

When blood oranges are in season, we just can’t get enough of them so when we found a local shop selling a big bag of them for under 5 bucks, we knew we couldn’t pass them up. But what do you do when life gives you lem… oranges? Make curd! 

We are legit curd crazy in this house. Curds with knives, they call us (no one calls us this). Lemon curd is pretty much a bi-monthly event in our kitchen. We’ve made blueberry-lemon curd, strawberry curd, even rhubarb curd. In fact, it was our experience with rhubarb curd that led us to add an extra ingredient, hibiscus, to our blood orange version (more on this later in the article). 

Blood Orange-Hibiscus Curd Tart

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Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian-style Roasted Chicken)

Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Chicken)

Growing up in New York City, you learn a few very useful things. One, never get into the empty carriage of an otherwise packed train. Two, don’t even try to find a yellow cab between 4:30 and 5:30pm. And three, the very best food is usually the cheapest. For example, back in the day, you could get a roast pork bun from Hop Shing for less than $1. A big bowl of curried vegetables with roti from Punjabi Grocery & Deli went for a whopping $4. And at Pio Pio, a quarter of a golden-skinned Pollo a la Brasa, with aji verde sauce and a few maduro (sweet fried plantains), was about $7 (I’m sure it’s more now, but probably not much).

But the one bad thing about living in a cute Hudson Valley town is there are no funky little Peruvian chicken joints nearby (although we hope soon to get over to Machu Picchu, a Peruvian restaurant over the river in Newburgh). So when we get a craving for these flavors, the only thing left to do is make our own version.

Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Chicken)

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Tofu and Charred Broccoli Bowls with Kimchi–Miso Dressing

Charred Broccoli and Tofu Bowl

We’ve never claimed to be on the cutting edge of any particular food trends. In fact, the trendier something is, the more we tend to side-eye it, like a goth kid at a unicorn-themed prom. But you know what? Sometimes dishes we love just happen to also be eminently hashtaggable, as is the case with this bowl of charred broccoli and spicy baked tofu – topped with a vegan miso-kimchi dressing so luscious, we want to drizzle it on just about everything we make from this day forward. So go ahead and call this a Buddha Bowl, a Grain Bowl or a Rice Bowl; it doesn’t matter when dinner is this delicious. 

Charred Broccoli and Tofu Bowl

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