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Who’s Cooking: Ariana Moustakas, Sag Harbor

Ariana Moustakas, a recent graduate of Pierson High

Ariana Moustakas, a recent graduate of Pierson High School, with her farm stand pasta, at her home in Sag Harbor. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Ariana Moustakas, a 2016 graduate of Pierson High School in Sag Harbor, lives in Sag Harbor with her parents. She is heading off to Indiana University in the fall to study music education.

When did you start cooking?

I’ve been cooking pretty much since I was little. In preschool I was exposed to cooking while watching my parents cook. They’ve always included me in cooking even if it was just stirring a pot or putting something in. We tend to cook a lot of Mediterranean-inspired food, with a lot of ingredients from local farm stands. I like to cook healthy food but food that makes people feel good.

You are a serious musician. Do you think there’s a connection between music and cooking?

I think a lot of it is self-expression. The two are very creative things. They definitely tie together. But cooking is also something I’ve developed to help me take a break from music. I would practice for three hours, and then go downstairs to the kitchen and start cooking dinner, to relax. Then after eating, I’d be recharged enough to get going with schoolwork. It was always on my bucket list from high school to have a TV cooking show, once I retired from music.

How does your food Instagram work?

I just created one, @goodfoodandgoodvibes. A lot of family and friends have wanted me to share my cooking with other people. It’s just a way for me to be able to post recipes and things I eat. I’ll post about daily trips to the local farm, or things I’ve cooked at home, or healthy things that I might order out when I can’t cook.

What are your favorite restaurants and places to shop?

In Sag Harbor I go to Harbor Market — I love their falafel. The Golden Pear has great oatmeal. And at Provisions I get the tempeh Reuben. I primarily shop for vegetables at two places, Falkowski’s on Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton and Serene Green in Sag Harbor.

Will you be cooking in college?

I submitted an order for a fridge and freezer for my dorm room, and there’s a kitchen on my floor, so I definitely want to cook. There’s a health food store pretty close by that I’ve scouted out, so I can go shopping once a week, and make things like overnight steel cut oats for breakfast.



1⁄2 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets

1 yellow squash, cut into two pieces

1 zucchini, cut into two pieces

16 ounces ziti or other short, tubular pasta

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups Tuscan kale, coarsely chopped

3 to 4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup whole milk

1 cup whole milk ricotta

Zest of one lemon

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving

Pinch mustard powder

1 cup heirloom tomatoes, chopped

10 basil leaves

Pinch of nutmeg

1⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano

Ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the cauliflower, squash, and zucchini to the pot, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover and test with a fork to see if tender. Once tender, remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, placing the cauliflower in one bowl and the zucchini and squash in another.

2. Keep the water at a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the instructions on the box.

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan over low heat. Add the kale and garlic. Cover and cook until slightly wilted, scrape into another bowl and set aside.

4. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. In a blender, combine the cooked cauliflower, milk, ricotta, 1⁄2 cup pasta water, and remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil. Blend until smooth. Add the lemon zest, Parmesan and mustard powder and blend again.

5. Cut the squash and zucchini into bite-size pieces. Chop half the basil. In the empty pasta pot, combine the cooked vegetables, tomatoes, chopped basil and pasta. Slowly alternate adding the sauce and the remaining 1⁄2 cup pasta water to the pot, stirring until the desired consistency is reached. Add nutmeg, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the remaining basil leaves and serve with extra Parmesan on the side. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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