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Archive for the ‘Pastas’ Category

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola & Pecans

Posted by booksncooks on February 28, 2011

First impressions about Brussels sprouts…. and go….

Let me guess. First thought is “ew.” Followed by something like, “who eats that?” I used to think the same. When we were little my mom would steam them, stinking up the kitchen. My youngest brother was the only one of us fooled into eating the “baby trees” (no, wait, that was broccoli…. well, it was something like that).

Anyway, then one day, when I was in high school or college, my mom roasted the Brussels sprouts until they were crispy. The veggies were non-stinky, so I gave them a whirl. I was officially a convert. Roast ’em and you’ll get a slightly sweet taste and crunchy texture. Throw on some salt and maybe some bacon, and it quickly became one of my favorite sides, and the only way I’d eat Brussels sprouts.

Then this recipe came long. The Brussels sprouts were cooked pretty much the same – sliced instead of halved but roasted until crispy. Tossed with pasta, pecans, and a very light Gorgonzola-cream sauce, this recipe is sure to win over Brussels sprout-haters. Give it a try. Even a doubtful coworker cleaned his plate.

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola & Pecans

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 102 (p. 107)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground back pepper
  • 4 c. (20 oz.) Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. dried pasta, such as shells or orecchiette
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. Gorgonzola, crumbled

Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Place a heavy rimmed baking sheet on the rack and heat the oven to 500°F. You want the baking sheet hot before you roast the Brussels sprouts.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and a bit of salt, for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Prepare the Brussels Sprouts: In a food processor fitted with the slicing disk, slice the Brussels sprouts. When the baking sheet is heated, remove from oven. Place Brussels sprouts on baking sheet, and use a large spoon to toss with olive oil, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper, until Brussels sprouts are coated. (You can also toss the Brussels sprouts, oil, salt, and pepper, in a large bowl, and then spread on the baking sheet, if you prefer.) Make sure Brussels sprouts are spread out in a single layer before roasting, until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes (stirring halfway through).

Cook the Pasta: As Brussels sprouts are roasting, cook pasta according to the box, draining once cooked.

Make the Sauce: In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 Tbs. butter. Add pecans, cooking until pecans are toasted and butter is browned, about 3 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently. With a slotted spoon, remove pecans and place on a plate. In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter. Cook shallots until softened, another 3 minutes, still stirring frequently. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and add 3/4 c. Gorgonzola, stirring until melted.

Put it Together: In a serving bowl, toss pasta, pecans, Brussels sprouts, and Gorgonzola-cream sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. Gorgonzola. Serve warm.

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Posted in Fine Cooking, Pastas, Vegetarian, Veggies | 2 Comments »

Weeknight Bolognese

Posted by booksncooks on January 12, 2011

The Barefoot Contessa is one of my go-to recipe sources when I’m looking for something new to try. Like Fine Cooking, Ina has never failed me. That’s why I  was so very excited to receive five of Ina’s cookbooks for Christmas (I now own her whole collection).

This recipe was from Ina’s newest cookbook, How Easy Is That? This weeknight bolognese was certainly quick and easy, and a nice change from my hubby’s favorite meat sauce. The bolognese sauce was a little sweeter than we’re used to (perhaps because I used shiraz I had on hand, instead of a drier red wine) but still really good.

Weeknight Bolognese

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? (p. 154)

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground sirloin
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 c. dry red wine, divided
  • 1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 3/4 lb. dried whole grain pasta, such as small shells

Make the Bolognese Sauce: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add ground sirloin, breaking up with a spoon and cooking until browned. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes – stirring and heating for just a minute. Add 1 c. of the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 Tbs. kosher salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Start the Pasta: At this point,  start boiling water with a bit of kosher salt for pasta. Cook per directions on the box.

Finish the Bolognese: At the same time, add remaining 1/4 c. red wine, nutmeg, and basil to sauce. Stir and continue simmering until pasta is finished, about 10 minutes. (Sauce should thicken slightly).

Drain pasta. Toss pasta, bolognese, and Parmesan together.

Serve hot, with extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Nutrition: I eliminated the 1/4 c. heavy cream called for in the recipe (if you want to use it, add it with the nutmeg and basil) and whole grain pasta to make this dish a bit healthier. The above recipe, with 5 servings, was 560 calories per serving.

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Posted in Barefoot Contessa, Beef, Pastas | Leave a Comment »

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Bacon, Onions & Peas

Posted by booksncooks on November 7, 2010

Apologies but no story today – I’m in the midst of some traveling (hence why there hasn’t been a post in over a week) and am running about. This gnocchi will most definitely be on my menu when I return – it’s quick yet satisfying. Even the hubby likes it despite not having lots of meat in it. 🙂

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Bacon, Onions & Peas

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 85 (p. 84a)

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. frozen gnocchi
  • 3 oz. thick-cut bacon (about 3 slices), cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 c. thinly sliced or diced yellow onions (about 1 medium-small onion)
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and drain.

Meanwhile, in a large (preferably 12-inch) non-stick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside. Pour off any fat from the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are limp and golden brown, 10 minutes more. Stir in the peas and thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste, and transfer to a small bowl.

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel, and heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi and cook, tossing occasionally, until they’re lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Gently stir in the onion mixture, bacon, and Parmigiano, along with enough of the reserved cooking water to moisten and coat the gnocchi, about 4 Tbs. Serve immediately, sprinkled with additional Parmigiano.

Posted in Fine Cooking, Pastas | Leave a Comment »

Tortellini Salad

Posted by booksncooks on August 6, 2010

When I was little, I used to hate cheese. I was the weirdo that took it to the extreme, taking the cheese of pizza. But as I’ve grown, my taste has changed, and I’ve come to really enjoy some cheese. The formerly-dreaded cheese tortellini is one of those foods that I’ve recently taken a liking to.

This tortellini salad has become one of my favorite sides and lunches. With the veggies, it’s a wonderful accompaniment for a summer BBQ. Throw in some grilled chicken and you’ve got a filling pasta salad for lunch.

Enjoy!

Tortellini Salad

Adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Step by Step Cookbook (p. 328)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 pkgs. (9-oz each) tortellini
  • ¼ c. white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 medium red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 medium yellow pepper cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
  • Parmesan or asiago cheese

May also add grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula or spinach, or any other veggies of choice.

Prepare tortellini as directed and drain.

Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together white wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper.

Finish the Salad: Add peppers, tomato, and artichokes to tortellini. Toss with dressing. Garnish with grated cheese.

Serve at room-temperature or cold.

Posted in Pastas, Sides | Leave a Comment »

Chicken Scaloppini Saltimbocca with Sage Butter

Posted by booksncooks on January 5, 2010

Chicken Scaloppini Saltimbocca

served with French Bread and Sage Butter

Adapted from Veal Scaloppini Saltimbocca Bon Appetit, Sept 2002

Ingredients for Chicken Scaloppini Saltimbocca

  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. white cornmeal
  • 1 Tbs. herbes de Provence (I used Italian seasoning instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 4 chicken (or veal) cutlets, cut into chunks (or, pounded thinly and then sliced)
  • 1/2. c. thinly chopped prosciutto
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 c. dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. butter (1/2 a stick)

Mix cornmeal, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Seal and shake to mix thoroughly. Add chicken/veal, and shake again, ensuring that all pieces are coated.

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add chicken/veal, prosciutto, and sage. Saute.

Meanwhile, start boiling a pot of water for the spaghetti, and cook according to package. If finished before the chicken/veal, toss with olive oil and keep warm.

When chicken/veal is browned and cooked, add Marsala wine, chicken broth, and butter. Reduce.

Serve over spaghetti, with French Bread and Sage Butter.

Ingredients for Sage Butter:

  • 1-2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients so that butter is well mixed.

Sage Butter will keep for a week or two in the fridge.

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Chicken or Veal Scaloppini Saltimbocca

Bon Appetit Sept 2002

Ingredients:

§ 6 oz. spaghetti

§ 2 Tbs. olive oil

§ ½ c. white cornmeal

§ 1 Tbs. herbes de Provence*

§ ½ tsp. salt

§ ¼ tsp. pepper

§ 4 3-oz chicken or veal cutlets, pounded thin (or thinly sliced and then cut into chunks)

§ ½ c. thinly chopped prosciutto

§ 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage

§ 1/2 c. dry Marsala (Florio brand recommended)

§ 1/2 c. low-salt chicken broth

§ ¼ c. butter

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain & toss with oil. Keep warm.

Mix cornmeal, herbes de Provence, salt & pepper in a bag. Coat chicken/veal with cornmeal mixture.

Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add chicken/veal, prosciutto, and sage. Sauté.

Add marsala wine, chicken broth and butter. Reduce.

Serve over spaghetti.


* A combination of herbs typically including basil, fennel, lavender, marjoram or mint, rosemary, savory, sage, and thyme. Variations may include additional herbs (such as bay leaf, peppercorns, orange peel, and tarragon). These are all herbs grown in the Provence region of France and the herb mixture is used to flavor fish, meats, olives, potatoes, stews, soups, and sauces.

Ingredient Substitutions: For 2 tbsp herbs de Provence substitute the following mixture:

§ 4 tsp each dried thyme and marjoram

§ 1 1/2 tsp summer savory

§ 1/4 tsp dried rosemary and mint

§ 1/8 tsp fennel seeds

§ Pinch each of dried sage an lavender flowers

Posted in Condiments, Pastas, Poultry | Leave a Comment »

Artichoke Parmesan Pesto

Posted by booksncooks on December 12, 2009

Here’s a quick appetizer you can have on hand for unexpected guests. I have frozen this both when directed as well as the completely finished pesto (with the Parmesan), and it is good both ways. I serve this in a bowl, and let everyone help themselves, but you can also pre-spread the pesto onto toast or bread.

I’m hoping for leftovers, as I’d love to try this mixed in pasta with a little olive oil and red pepper flakes, or stuffed in a chicken breast. If you beat me to it, be sure to let me know how you liked it!

Artichoke Parmesan Pesto

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients (Before Freezing):

  • 1-8 oz. pack of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 c. fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. olive oil

More Ingredients (After Freezing):

  • 2/3 grated Parmesan
  • bread or cracker of your choice…. for grilling, toasting, or serving plain

Pre-Freezer Directions:

In a food processor, chop the artichokes, parsley, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, scraping the sides as necessary. With the food processor in, add the olive oil.

If freezing, transfer to an airtight container (or pre-portion into an ice cube tray and wrap tightly with plastic wrap). Freeze for up to 1 month.

Post-Freezer Directions:

Thaw pesto.

Mix in Parmesan cheese (2 tsp. per ice cube if you’re freezing it that way).

I served this as part of a platter of dips, breads, and crackers (including homemade pita toasts), and allowed everyone to “dress” their own bread or cracker. If you prefer, toast some bread, spread the pesto, and serve.

Posted in Appetizers, Dips & Spreads, Food Network, Giada, Pastas, Sandwiches | Leave a Comment »