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Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Arugula

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Arugula

What could be more appropriate for this season than a pasta dish that uses ingredients that are fresh and readily available?  This is another quick dish to serve on a busy weekday evening.  And the ingredients are simple enough to find, I might even send the hubby to the store while I’m at work today and whip this up later!

INGREDIENTS:

2 pints grape tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

3 shallots, cut into eighths

2 TBS fresh thyme leaves

2 TBS EV olive oil

coarse salt and ground pepper

8 oz rigatoni pasta

1/3 cup pitted olives such as Niçoise, coarsely chopped

3 cups baby arugula or spinach

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450º.  Place tomatoes, garlic, shallots and thyme on rimmed baking sheet.  Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast until tomatoes burst, shallots are browned and garlic is soft, 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente.  Reserve 1/4-1/2 cup pasta water.  Drain pasta and return to pot.

Peel roasted garlic and mash flat with knife.  Add to pasta pot along with vegetables, olives and pasta water.  Cook over medium-high until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then toss in arugula

Recipe from Martha Stewart EveryDay Food

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Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest

Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest

Perhaps you didn’t read yesterday’s blog about a Month of Sundays;  Besides the mundane explanation of the expression, I intended another nuance to the meaning as it relates to this blog.  Sundays were often “the” family dinner day and a big bowl of macaroni with Sunday Sauce was the norm.  A true Sunday Sauce contains more than one meat and often three.  Sunday was the day of special treats – the extra meat in the sauce and for me growing up, ice cream for dessert!  So I got it into my head that I would do a  month of  Sundays(not literally) of  pasta recipes, nicknamed The MacaroniMarathon.

If you have never experienced pasta with vegetables, you don’t know what you’re missing!  Not only are the ingredients fresh and healthy, the meal is also economical.  With doctors and nutritionists across the country advocating at least one or two meatless meals a week, a pasta dish with vegetables solves your dilemma as to  what to cook.  Roasting the cauliflower brings out the sweetness and the lemon zest adds just enough zing to counterbalance the saltiness of the capers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 lbs) cut into small florets (about 7 cups)

1 red onion cut into 1/4 ” slices

1/4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

coarse salt and ground pepper

8 oz orecchiette or small shells

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley

2 TBS finely grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450°.  Toss together cauliflower onion, capers and 2 TBS olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread vegetables in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  

Roast, stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and browned, about 40  minutes.

Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil.  Add pasta, and cook until al dente according to package instructions.  Drain

Toss hot pasta with remaining 2 TBS olive oil, the parsley, and lemon zest.  Add cauliflower mixture and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living, November 2009

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We’re not talking Jersey Tomatoes here – No sir, this is all about those red plump stuffed cloth tomatoes.  My grandmother had one, my mother had one and I had one.  It ends here no doubt.  I know my daughter doesn’t have one and wonder how many of her friends do?  Not likely!  Wonder if any of them have the pins or needles or thread that also go into this homemaker’s essential salad?

Well be that as it may, I was surprised to receive an email extolling the virtues and the origin of this at-one-time-ubiquitious household tool.  The Sourcerer strikes again – twice in one week!!! Thanks to Gail who tipped me off about my mentor Martha’s article about pin cushions, tomato pin cushions to be exact and her take on 21st century examples.  

The following is excepted from Martha Stewart’s web site:

Pincushions come in all shapes and sizes, but the tomato is the design that prevails as the classic. But why a tomato of all things? Turns out it’s not random: There’s actually a reason for the tomato design, and it dates back to the Victorian era.

The first-ever documented mention of a generic pincushion dates back to the Middle Ages. Of course, in those days, they were more whimsically called “pimpilowes,” “pyn pillows,” and “pin-poppets.” The pincushion was invented as a practical aid for storing pins and needles, but it also showcased one’s collection of pins and needles. (Needles were costly, after all.) But the less-iconic shapes of dolls, birds, and prettily-packaged boxes left something to be desired.
Enter the time-honored tomato. According to tradition, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new home ensured prosperity by warding off evil spirits. When tomatoes were out of season, people weren’t totally out of luck: They simply improvised with red material, sawdust, and a little bit of ingenuity.

A lady of the Victorian era would take immense pride in a parlor room stocked with shelves upon shelves of pincushions, but the tomato was always the crowning acheivement of her collection. Since then, we’ve been piercing our pins into stuffed fabric tomatoes without question. But it’s “sew” much more fun to know where they come from, am I right?

In this case a picture is really worth 1000 words:

NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S PIN CUSHION

                      NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S PIN CUSHION

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This Tasty Tidbits Tuesday I have two delicious Spring soup recipes I want to share with you.  The recipes are simple and easy, using only fresh ingredients and you can make them fairly quickly!  Lately in my house, we’ve been discussing eating only whole foods and trying to keep processed food out our diet.  For me, it’s because I truly do believe that your body doesn’t know how to process chemicals and the calories go into fat storage  and in general I think the more chemicals we ingest the more likely we are to get cancer or heart disease.  Anyway, I’m trying to follow the simple rules of not buying anything that has more than 3-5 ingredients and nothing that contains something I or any other cook would not have in their pantry.  

Now that I’ve given my nutrition lecture and believe me, I’m not one to really speak since I love Salsa and that’s good for you BUT I  like it on Multigrain chips and who am I kidding with the word Multigrain in the label!!

Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onion Soup   Prep time: 10 min. Total time: 60 min  Serves 4

Spring onions look like scallions but have a larger rounder bulb.  If unavailable use yellow onions.

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

2 lbs spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 1/2 tsp coarse salt

1 1/4 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cups of water

8 pieces of crisp flatbread, for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not brown, about 15 minutes.  Stir in salt, stock and water.  Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, and let cool for 20 minutes.  Working in batches, purée in a blender, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, blending until soup is smooth.  Divide soup among 4 bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with flatbread on the side. 

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living 

Spring Green Soup

Spring Green Soup

Spring Green Soup

This soup can be served straight from the blender, when it’s still frothy or well-chilled during warmer months.  Use sorrel as a garnish; its bright, lemony flavor is a wonderful accent.

1 cucumber, peeled

1/2 lb. pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed**

2 cups cold water

1/4 lb. spinach, rinsed well, tough stems removed

4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves plus more for garnish

2 TBS lemon juice

3/4 tsp coarse salt

freshly ground pepper

4-6 sorrel leaves for garnish (optional)

Halve the cucumber lengthwise; cut one half into eighths and the other into 1/4 inch dice.  Set aside.  Cut asparagus spears into  2 inch lengths.  Purée in a blender with 1/2 cup cold water.

Add spinach, scallions, cucumber eighths, and another 1/2 cup water.  Blend until thoroughly puréed.  Add avocado, mint leaves, and lemon juice; purée until smooth, adding the remaining water a little at a time until soup is desired consistency.  Add salt, and season with pepper.  Scrape down sides of blender with a rubber spatula and blend 5 seconds more.

Divide soup among four bowls;  garnish each with diced cucumber, and a mint spring (and sorrel if using).  Serve immediately.

** If you can’t find pencil thin asparagus, trim thicker stalks with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

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Tasty Tidbits Tuesday has been missing in action more often than I would like to admit.  I made the pasta dish I featured a week or so ago – the Penne with Cauliflower and Swiss Chard.  OMG, I have to tell you it was sooooooo delicious.  It had a delightfully light flavoring yet strong enough that you could savor every bite.  I admit I couldn’t taste the  Swiss Chard but since it added a different texture and the goodness of a dark leafy green vegetable, I was happy it was in it.

Actually it wasn’t the ingredients as much as it was the cooking technique that brought such flavor into every mouthful.  If you recall, the cauliflower was blanched for 3 minutes in the pot of boiling water that would also be used to cook the pasta.  So when the pasta was cooking in the water that the cauliflower had been in, it absorbed a light flavor that was as I said, delicious!  

Well my passion for pasta got me thinking about how many of my Tuesday recipes were pasta dishes and so I’ve decided to make a new category on the blog; We Called It Macaroni.  And I’m going to be publishing a LOT of pasta recipes! I’m no Lydia however, I’m taking on the job of educating my readers to the joys of Italian cooking, particularly PASTA, and taking them beyond red sauce and meatballs!  You can now search the blog category We Called It Macaroni for any of the pasta recipes published previously.  “Mangia”

Lovely light and flavorful pasta dish.

Lovely light and flavorful pasta dish.

Orchiette with Brocolie Rabe, Oregano and Lemon

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3/4 orchiette or other small pasta shape

1 bunch broccoli rabe (1 lb) – trimmed, cut into 1 1/2 ” pieces

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 TBS fresh oregano leaves, for serving

2-3 TBS fresh lemon juice , for serving

In  a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to directions, adding broccoli rate 4 minutes before the end of cooking.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle, 2 minutes.  

Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot.  Add oil mixture and toss to coat;  season to taste with salt and pepper.  * I always sprinkle a little Peccorino-Romano or other Italian grating cheese on top of my pasta dishes

To  serve, sprinkle oregano over pasta and drizzle with lemon juice.

** As you can see, this recipe uses only olive oil as the sauce for the pasta dish;  Therefore you should definitely use the small pasta shapes such as orchiette and secondly when I see a recipe calling for so little sauce I often save a cupful of the pasta water to add to the sauce. Also I would use as many garlic cloves as I wished and just shake the red pepper flakes in and not measure.

***  You can also add cherry tomatoes with the garlic and cook them till they burst, add yet another dimension of flavor and texture to your dish.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food

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English: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and ...

Sweet potatoes, onions and garlic

This is the last of the BEST Thanksgiving Side Dishes because tomorrow I will be preparing the foods I’m bringing to our dinner.  I made this dish one Thanksgiving spent at my parents house when they lived in Florida.  Trust me, it is yummy.

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES and ONIONS with ROSEMARY & PARMESAN

2  3/4 lb sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in 1 ” cubes

8 TBS Canola oil

3 garlic cloves minced

2  1/2 tsp salt

1  1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1  1/2 lb red onions (3 medium), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise in 1/4 ” slices

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 TBS chopped fresh parsley

Set on rack in center oven and one on lowest position.- preheat oven 375 degrees

Line 2 large baking sheets with foil.  Place sweet potatoes on one; drizzle with 6 TBS oil.  Sprinkle with garlic, 1  1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Toss to coat, then spread in single layer.

Place onions on second baking sheet, drizzle with 2 remaining TBS oil, sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.  Toss to coat, spread in single layer.  Place potatoes on center rack and onions on lower. Roast until potatoes are tender and onions are tender and brown around edges, stirring every 10 minutes, about 30 minutes total for potatoes and 35 minutes for onions.

Can be prepared 4 hours ahead of time, let stand at room temperature, covered loosely with foil.  Rewarm in 375 degree oven about 10 minutes.  Combine potatoes and onions in shallow bowl.  Sprinkle with Parmensan cheese and rosemary and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Whole Living

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

 

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Well, it’s Monday, 3 days left till the big feast day and this is a good time to go over your recipes and grocery list to make sure you have all the ingredients you need.  I needed about 30 pecan halves for some cheddar biscuits I’m making to bring to our dinner.  Wow, the price of nuts has really gone up!  I found a 4 oz container for $7.99 and a big bag at Costco for about $15.00 and almost gave up until I remembered that Wegman’s has a bulk food section of nuts, grains and seeds.  So even though the cost per pound was a whopping $12.95, I was able to get about 40 pecan halves for $3.95-yes I am excited about that.  As an aside and I know it’s a minor digression, have you noticed how much almost everything has gone up in price??? I’m looking at items that I purchase in order to save money and those things have risen in some cases over a dollar more!  I really can’t imagine what it must cost to feed a family of four these days….  Okay, so you know maybe I’ll do a whole blog on the rising cost of food and really get myself depressed, but not this week BECAUSE this is the week of harvest and plenty and bountiful and thanks for all the good food and here’s another recipe for you to consider.

CAULIFLOWER with HAZELNUT BROWN BUTTER

1 cup hazelnuts (filberts)

3 small or 2 large heads of cauliflower (about 3  1/2 lb)

Coarse salt

10 TBS unsalted butter

2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 TBS finely chopped chives

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Place hazelnuts on baking sheet; toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes.  Transfer nuts to a kitchen towel; rub off loosened papery skins.  Coarsely chop nuts; set aside.  

Trim stems of cauliflower so they sit flat, keeping head intact.  Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large steamer or in a pot fitted with a rack; add salt to taste.  Steam cauliflower until just tender, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to platter.

Combine butter and hazelnuts in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until butter turns brown, 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat, and add lemon juice and chives.  Season to taste with salt.  Whisk to combine.  Pour over cauliflower and serve immediately.

Serves: 12 – 14  Recipe from Martha Stewart Whole Living 2001

Haselnuss

Hazelnuts also known as Filberts

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