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Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

Spring Is Here And So Are The Asparagus Photo by Andrew Scrivani

Spring Is Here And So Are The Asparagus
Photo by Andrew Scrivani

Spring is here, asparagus are aplenty and we love them in our house.  I was about to toss out last Wednesday’s Food section of the NY Times when the headline, Breaking the Pasta Myth caught my eye.  I started to read the article which seemed to  be  pretty focused on fresh pasta and I’m not a fan.  I like my pasta secca or dry pasta;  the cooking time is so much more reliable and in many cases the amount of time it takes to reach al denté state, gives you plenty of time to finish up your sauce.

However, at the end of the lengthy article there was a recipe for this Pasta Primavera and as I read it, I could imagine just how good it would be and the perfect Saturday night supper for my husband and me.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 lb. sugar snap peas, stems trimmed

1/2 lb. asparagus, ends snapped

2 TBS unsalted butter

3/4 cup English peas

1/4 cup thinly sliced spring onion or use a shallot

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

12 oz fettuccine or tagliatelle

2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano at room temperature

1/2 cup crème fraîche or whole milk Greek yogurt at room temperature

3 TBS finely chopped parsley

1 TBS finely chopped tarragon

DIRECTIONS

Bring large pot of heavily salted water to boil over medium-high heat.

While water is coming to boil, slice snap peas in half and asparagus stems into 1/4″ thick pieces; leave asparagus heads whole.

Melt butter in large skillet or braising pan over medium-high heat.  Add snap peas, asparagus, English peas and onion.  Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3-4 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Cook pasta, drain well, transfer pasta to vegetable mixture. Toss with vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, yogurt  and herbs.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Recipe from NY Times

** What I did;  I increased the amounts for the ingredients because I wanted to cook a whole pound of fettuccine.  I used fat free Greek yogurt because that’s what I had.  I think next time I will use crème fraîche or whole milk yogurt because the dish was a bit dry.  And I actually had reserved about 3/4 cup pasta water which I also added.  When I reheated the leftovers, I drizzled some basting oil on top before popping into the microwave and it was very good and moister.

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You’re going to want to “catch” this fresh green sauce, so I’m suggesting you use fusilli because the sauce will cling to the ridges in the spiral cut pasta.  This is a quick and easy weeknight dinner, the whole process should take about 35 minutes!  Orrechiette or penne rigate would also work well.

Photo from Martha Stewart EveryDay Food

Photo from Martha Stewart EveryDay Food

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch spinach (about 1 lb) trimmed and washed

3/4 cup walnuts, toasted

3 TBS EV olive oil

1 TBS finely grated lemon zest

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 lb fusilli

1/4 cup shaved pecorino cheese (1 oz) for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Add spinach and 1 TBS water to a large skillet set over medium-high.  Cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.  In a food processor, combine spinach, walnuts, oil and lemon zest.  Process until mixture forms a smooth paste, scraping down bowl as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente.  Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta.  Return pasta to pot and add pesto, tossing to combine and adding enough pasta water to create a sauce that coats pasta.  Transfer to a serving plate, top with pecorino, and serve immediately.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s EveryDay Food March 2011

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Broccoli Pesto and Pasta

Broccoli Pesto and Pasta

If you love broccoli and really who doesn’t unless you’re President Bush or under the age of 18, you will think this recipe for pasta sauce is the greatest thing! Though this sauce is made with broccoli, it resembles pesto because it calls for garlic, basil and pine nuts.  Its color is as pretty s anything pesto has to offer and it has far less fat.  The only step in this recipe that takes much time is the boiling of the water for the pasta.  The broccoli cooks in 5 minutes and is then tossed in the food processor with all the other sauce ingredients.  You could use the broccoli pesto for a dip but it’s so good you will want to eat it in large quantities on linguine.  A plate of sliced tomatoes would  be lovely as a side dish…BUT since there are no plump red juicy tomatoes available at this time of the year, my advice is to skip that idea because it will only detract from the freshness and flavor of your pesto.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb whole broccoli or 8 oz (4 cups) broccoli florets

2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano grated  cheese

1/2 cup packed basil leaves

1 medium clove of garlic

2 TBS olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

8 oz fresh egg-less linguine (I will surely use dry)

1/8 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Bring water for pasta to boil.

Trim stems from broccoli and cut into florets.  Steam for about 5 minutes, until  tender but firm.  Reserve 6 TBS  cooking liquid. 

Wash and dry basil leaves and pack into measuring cup.

Mince garlic in food processor.  Add basil, olive oil and pine nuts to the food processor, and process until minced.

Cook linguine to package directions

Add steamed broccoli to the other sauce ingredients and process until smooth.  If mixture is too thick, add another TBS or so of water.  Add cheese and process to blend.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve over freshly drained pasta.

Recipe from Marian Burros, New York Times

 

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Pasta alla Genovese

Pasta alla Genovese

The temperature at 8:00 am this morning was 8 degrees in Manhattan and baby that’s cold outside when you’re walking to work!  I’ve been posting a lot of vegetarian pasta recipes lately but today calls for a heartier dish.  It would make a delicious  meal this evening BUT only if you’re home from work early or are lucky enough to be home all day.  If that’s the case, this is more of weekend dish because of the amount of time required.  This recipe is decidedly different from some other versions I’ve come across.  Perhaps I’ll post another incarnation tomorrow.

INGREDIENTS:

4 1/4 lb. red onions

1/3 cup EV olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 celery rib, trimmed and roughly chopped

1/4 lb bacon or pancetta

2 1/4 lb beef chuck, cut into 2 inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine, plus more if desired

1 lb pasta like ziti, rigatoni or tortiglioni

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Place the onions in the boiling water, and cook, covered, 15 minutes.  Drain the onions, and let cool a bit, then slice very thinly.

Heat half the oil in a large heavy pot (braising pan) over medium heat; stir in the carrots, celery and bacon, and cook 4 minutes.  Add the beef, then cover with the onions.  Pour the remaining oil over the onions, then sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper.  cover, bring to a simmer and cook gently until the beef is tender, about 2 hours;  the onions will release a good deal of liquid.

Uncover the pot and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring more frequently as the liquid reduces and lowering the heat as necessary to prevent scorching, until the meat has fallen apart and the sauce is creamy, about 45 minutes.  Stir in the white wine and taste, adding more wine if desired.  Reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook stirring frequently, until the sauce is glossy and quite thick, about 15 minutes more.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and toss with the sauce.  Stir in Parmesan to taste, then serve.

Recipe by Mark Bittman NY Times

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This Isn't Your Nonna's Macaroni

This Is Not Your Nonna’s Macaroni

PASTA WITH FRIED LEMONS AND CHILE FLAKES

Well not exactly because in this cook’s kitchen, Barilla pasta reigns supreme.  I love the flavor of their macaroni products.  I worked late tonight and I still have to pack for my long-awaited trip to Florida to see my daughter and my grandchildren.  I knew I wanted to make a simple pasta dish so tonight I made yet another version of a vegetarian pasta dish.  And referring to it as vegetarian is a bit of a stretch.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lemons

1 lb. linguine or spaghetti

4 TBS EV olive oil, more for drizzling

1 tsp kosher salt, more as needed

Pinch of sugar

3 TBS unsalted butter

3/4 tsp. chile flakes (could not find so I used crushed red pepper)

2/3 cup Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese, more to taste

Black pepper as needed

1/2 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)

1/3 cup parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)

Flaky sea salt, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Finely zest 2 of the lemons and set aside.  Trim the tops and bottoms from the other 2 lemons and cut lengthwise into quarters;  remove seeds.  Thinly slice the quarters into triangles.  Blanch the lemon pieces in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a dish towel.  Blot dry.

In the boiling water, add pasta and cook until just barely al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/2-1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet ( I used my braising pan), heat 1 TBS olive oil over high heat.  Add the dried lemons pieces and season with a pinch each of salt and sugar.  Cook until the lemons are caramelized and browned at the edges, 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Melt the butter with the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat.  Add the chile flakes and zest of both lemons;  cook until fragrant.  Whisk in the reserved pasta water.

Toss in pasta, juice of 1 lemon, cheese, black pepper and the remaining salt.  Cook until pasta is well coated with sauce.  Toss in the caramelized lemons and the celery leaves and parsley if using.  Taste and add lemon juice if needed.  Serve, topped with a drizzle of oil, more cheese if you like, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Recipe by Melissa Clark, New York Times

This was an amazingly different, delightful and very delicious dish.   My husband was astounded, he had wondered just how these pieces of lemon were going to taste in his favorite pasta, linguine!  He was so surprised;  about every 5 minutes he said, how tasty the pasta was and how delicious the lemon pieces were.  Quite frankly, although I pride myself as someone who can discern a good recipe just by reading it – well even I was pleasantly surprised at the flavors melding in my mouth.

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hot-italian-sausage_300

I truly think pasta, well of course I meant to say macaroni is my favorite food.  The ways to prepare it are endless and seasonal too.  I know because I make it in all the seasons.  My sister-in-law, Stacey, brought this recipe with her when she and Matt visited us in Ocean Grove.  When she told me to buy just 1# of Gemelli, I thought to myself that we would never have enough food BUT I was wrong.  I was also concerned about the heat because our air-conditioners are not in yet and I was afraid this was going to be a heavy meal BUT I was wrong!

Hands on time – 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of Gemelli pasta (recipe calls for fettucine)

3 TBS olive oil

1 medium red onion, sliced

2-3 garlic cloves, smashed

4 hot Italian sausages, casings removed – we used hot turkey sausage and used the whole package of 6

1 pint of red or yellow cherry or grape tomatoes

2 TBS red wine vinegar

3/4 tsp Kosher salt – I don’t measure

1/4 tsp black pepper – I don’t measure

1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves – we used close to a cup

1 cup of arugula, torn

1/2 cup grated cheese (Peccorino, Parmesan, Romano)

Directions:

Heat oil over medium-high  heat in braising pan or deep skillet.   Add onion and garlic and cook till onion softens 2-3 minutes. Add sausage, using wooden spoon to crumble sausage, cook about 5 minutes.  

Once the water is boiling, add the pasta.

Add tomatoes and cook until the skins burst, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper.

Once pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the sausage mixture.  Add in the basil and the arugula.  Toss gently to combine and sprinkle with the cheese.

We used the braising pan as our serving dish (which is why I LOVE my braising pan)

Original recipe from Martha Stewart

 

 

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For the past several days, I’ve been planning on making the Spring Pasta recipe I posted earlier this week.  However every evening one thing or another prevented me from making it.  And before you read any further, I still haven’t made it!  BUT I did make another pasta dish utilizing seasonal vegetables.  

I gave my husband a choice between a wok stir-fry of chicken and vegetables or pasta.  He picked pasta probably thinking he might get an Arrabiata sauce and meatballs, NOT!  I sent him to Fairway to buy some ingredients but being the non-cooking man/husband that he is, he didn’t put it together that what he bought would be what he ate.

This recipe comes directly from Barilla’s web site and after reading through it I knew it would be easy to make and hopefully tasty  too.  I’m telling you all this because I altered the recipe slightly and will explain along the way.

Rotini with Braised Fennel, Carrots & Scallions

Rotini with Braised Fennel, Carrots & Scallions

Barilla’s Whole Grain Rotini with Braised Fennel, Carrots & Spring Onions

Ingredients

1 box Barilla Whole Grain Rotini (he forgot and bought regular)

4 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 Clove garlic (I used 2 and could have used at least one more)

2 Fennel bulbs

1 Medium Carrot (he brought home a bag of small carrots) (I used several >1 medium carrot)

1 bunch of Scallions

1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (I used all I had in the house but was somewhat short)

1 TBS Fennel fronds chopped (I used a lot of the fronds)

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil

Sauté minced garlic in oil in a large skillet, until garlic turns slightly yellow, about 3 minutes ( I used a large braising pan)

Cut the fennel bulbs in half, then in thin slices – I cut the cores out first

Add to skillet, along with the carrot cut into roundels (rounds) about 1/8″ thick.

Braise for about 10 minutes, covered, over medium high.

Season with salt and black pepper; keep covered and cook through, stirring occasionally. I cooked longer judging when fennel was cooked and slightly softened.  At this point I thought there would not be enough sauce so I added chicken broth or to keep it vegetarian, use vegetable broth.  

Cook the pasta according to box directions

Stir the scallions cut on a bias 1/2″ long, cook an additional 3 minutes. I also added a shake or two of red pepper.

Once the pasta is done (I put aside a cup of the water) and drained, add it to the vegetables and toss to coat.

Stir in the grated cheese and the fronds.

We both thought the dish was tasty but it could have been more so!  It needed the full amount of cheese and possibly more offered on the table. The red pepper gave it some zest and I think it would have been very bland and dry without the chicken broth.  By the second helping we both said how delicious it was.

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