Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Penne’

PENNE with HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, BASIL, GREEN BEANS and FETA

I haven’t posted a recipe in quite a while, but tonight’s dinner was so damn good, I really want to share it with you.  It was an easy dish to prepare, with a little earlier in the day prep.

Before I post the recipe I just have to extoll the virtues of using fresh ingredients;  Spending some summer time at the Jersey Shore affords me with an unbelievable assortment and supply of fresh vegetables and herbs.  I don’t have a garden in my yard because I’m not here consistently to keep it watered and weeded.  NO PROBLEM!  I have my own basil plants and peppermint and my neighbor who is growing oregano, thyme and rosemary has told me to help myself any time, any day.  And for the vegetables themselves, I love going to Matt’s Farm Stand.  We have been feasting on the corn so sweet, it’s like sugar on a stick, tomatoes so sweet and juicy that adding basil, is like gilding the lily.  Matt grows a lot of his own vegetables and obtains the rest from farmers around the Garden State.

05recipehealth_600-articleLarge

Penne with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, Green Beans and Feta Cheese **

That’s enough about that, here is the recipe.

2 Cups chopped fresh tomatoes (I used regular tomatoes)

6-8 oz. green beans, trimmed, strings removed and cut in half if they are long

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 plump garlic clove, minced

2 TBS slivered basil

Sea salt and ground pepper

3/4 # penne

2 oz. crumbled Feta cheese

Combine olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Let sit for up to 4 hours or less (I put it together and went to the beach for a couple of hours).

Put a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the string beans and boil for about 5 minutes.   Prepare a bowl of ice water.  Remove the string beans with a slotted spoon and put into the ice water.  Once cool, drain and put aside.

Bring the water back to a boil, cook the pasta till al dente per package instructions;  A minute or so before the pasta is done, drop the string beans into the pot with the pasta.

Drain and toss with the tomato mixture, add the Feta, toss to mix and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Easy, delicious, vegetarian, perfect for a summer supper!

** The photo is from the NY Times recipe.  I strongly advise using plump juicy red tomatoes instead of Heirloom which are not as juicy.  I also chopped my tomatoes much smaller so I would get a more sauce-like consistency. I cut the beans in half and slivered the basil.  This photo looks like Food photography and not at all like mine looked.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.

Photo from Wikipedia

I promised to get up early on Tuesday so we could go to the grocery store (nothing like LAST minute shopping) and buy the ingredients needed to make desserts for Christmas Day.  We are ALL invited to Chiara’s friend Laura’s house for Christmas dinner!  When I say ALL I mean we are 13 plus 3 kids and heading to a household that presently has at least 6 adults and 2 kids of their own.  Whoooo eeeee!

Well, I didn’t get up that early at least not by Clark family standards but I was fortunate enough to get up after my nephew Justin did,  because  he made me a great high-protein breakfast which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Poached eggs, lentils and some salsa and it was delicious.   Tom suggested he go to Starbucks and was swiftly informed that was NOT happening.  Time, this was all about time!  We had to grocery shop, Justin needed to go to a store, and Chiara needed to go to Home Goods to buy a trifle bowl.  A couple of weeks ago, I suggested to Chiara if she told me what she was preparing for Christmas Eve dinner, perhaps I could bring a recipe or two and make something for her and I would tell her what to buy before I arrived. I never heard.  I did pack a few holiday recipes  (hey, you never know) .  A half hour after I arrived, Chiara informed me that we were responsible for desserts to bring to the Christmas dinner and luckily two of the recipes I had with me were for two lovely desserts.  BUT she didn’t have half the ingredients which was the main reason we had to shop TODAY, Christmas Eve – Just sayin’!

Tom, Brad and I hop into Tom’s Audi and immediately make a blood pact of omertà and head to the nearest Starbucks.  First things first.  Needless to say it was packed and we probably lost at least 15 minutes  that we were going  to have to  make up at the grocery store.  Fueled with appropriate amounts of caffeine, we headed to Publix.  Brad decided he was going to wheel the cart, I had the grocery list and we never really knew what part of the store Tom was in until perchance we met him in an aisle.

The problem lay with the Lady Fingers.  I hunted through the store asking clerks where might they be.  The bakery area was all out but why didn’t I check Aisle 11 and sure enough there was something  passing itself off as  lady fingers when really all they looked like were small tube-like sugared cookies.  I had to make do with these, we were running out of time.  And because we were sort of rushing, I realized as I was checking out that I hadn’t brought in the canvas shopping bags – going green and all that jazz.  So we just  put the groceries in the cart, a few plastic bags had already been filled and I would repack the cloth bags in the parking lot.  In the 85 degree heat, that didn’t make a lot of sense and  was quite a sight.

Next stop, Walmart, we still need to buy ice and a cooler and just maybe Walmart might have the right Lady Fingers.  Naturally they did not.  I wasn’t surprised because when we were in Publix and I asked 3 different employees about where might I find the marscapone cheese, they looked at me like “What?”  That and the fact that the store didn’t  carry Ziti, did not carry DeCeco brand pasta, very little Barilla and a lot of Muellers, I knew I was in Florida!

We got the cooler and the ice that Chiara had ordered and somehow on the conveyer belt 3 yoga mats and a soccer ball  – uh huh, Tom!

Back at the house as I’m unloading groceries in a fury and trying to rearrange the refrigerator for the third time to make room (consolidate, consolidate), Dennis is chopping lemons and limes, Juanita is working on something and Belle is making quinoa.

I have Chocolate Pumpkin Tiramisu and a Cranberry Trifle to whip up.  I start with the tiramisu and discover there ‘s  no Confectioner’s sugar in the house!  Now I have to send someone out to the grocery store again and maybe they’ll even find the correct lady fingers.  In the meantime in case they don’t, I assign Peter to figuring out how to slice these  cracker-like cookies in half lengthwise.  I try one knife, Dennis suggests another knife because they are crumbling as they are being cut.  Peter to the rescue!  He goes into the garage and comes back with a hacksaw.  We all looked at him aghast!  However, the saw precisely cut the cookies and they laid in wait to see if the others would show up.

Meantime two bags of cranberries were bubbling on the stove and hopefully popping open.  Teamwork prevailed and Peter took out the big Sunbeam mix master because there wasn’t a working hand mixer in the house and he whipped the marscapone and heavy cream.  I thought I could put the trifle together forgetting that the cranberry filling actually had to be cool, so that get’s shoved into the refrigerator. So now everything has come to a screeching HALT!  No sugar, no tiamisu, no trifle really underway.  And I still had the baked ziti to make.

By the time Laura, Jim, Addie and Collins arrive, we have put together apps, dessert, tableware, pork loin, cooked the brussels sprouts and chopped the lettuce.  They brought so much food: sausage and peppers, Meatballs in gravy, and a lasagna and some Italian desserts.  I baked the ziti and put it in the refrigerator lol.

People came, people left, beer pong was played, the music never stopped, glass piled up and it was time to do some clean up. Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you that the dishwasher was not working!  This afternoon it was in cycle and Tom opened the door and that was that. It wouldn’t drain, it wouldn’t reset, it wouldn’t make a sound.  All the Dads tried to fix it, Tom called the 800 number to see if we could get service – uh  really now, it’s Christmas Eve!  So all the dishes were taken out and washed by hand and tonight even though we ate on disposable plates, there were platters and bowls and pots to wash well into the evening.  

JUST before we were about to pack the little ones off to bed, Finley is stricken  with the thought that OMG we didn’t make the cookies to leave out for Santa! That did it, NOBODY was going to bed till we baked cookies.  Laura’s mother-in-law stepped in and supervised the slice and bake process and soon we had a batch of peanut butter cookies topped with M&M’s.  OK now, it’s time for all good little girls to go to bed with admonitions that nobody is to get up and go downstairs till we all get up.  

Personally I couldn’t wait to snuggle in bed and have sugar plums dance in my head.

Merry Christmas to all to all a good night!

Read Full Post »

Sweet Tomatoes, Creamy Mozzarella!

Sweet Tomatoes, Creamy Mozzarella!

Sunday night supper!  A few days ago I happened across one of Lidia’s recipes and it seemed simple enough and was just perfect for simple supper after a day at the beach.  I thought the season was perfect for Garden State ingredients but I was slightly off.  I called one of our favorite Market Stands and I was told that it’s still too early for native plum tomatoes.  As you know I’m a huge fan of Wegman’s but there are some vegetables that I will only eat in season and bought from a fruit and vegetable stand and tomatoes are definitely in that category.  Well, at least I had the fresh basil growing in my backyard!  Lidia allowed for the fact that you might not be able to get your hands on 2# of fresh plum tomatoes so she suggested you use a 28 oz can of peeled Italian tomatoes – so I did.

This really is a quick and easy recipe  and so damn good!  

1/4 cup olive oil

8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

3 # fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded or 28 oz can of peeled Italian tomatoes

2 sprigs of fresh basil

pepperoncino (crushed red pepper to taste)

1 # Ziti

2 cups of mozzarella cubes ( 1/2″)

1/2 cup granna padano grated ( I used shredded Parmesan/Peccorino)

1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded and packed loosely

Bring a pot of  salted water to boil for the pasta.

Add the oil to a medium size saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook till lightly browned – about 2 minutes.

Carefully add the tomatoes and their liquid.  Add the basil sprigs.  Bring to a boil and season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper.  

About 10 minutes after the sauce has been up on the stove, add the ziti to the boiling water.  Reduce the heat for the sauce to a simmer and break up the tomatoes. Sauce should get chunky and thick – anywhere from 10-15 minutes.

Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings  Lydia says to remove the garlic and the basil sprigs.  I didn’t.

Drain the ziti and add to the sauce – toss till pasta is covered with sauce.  Turn off the stove, add the mozzarella cubes and the grated cheese.  Serve immediately and garnish with shredded basil leaves.

Recipe by Lidia Bastianich

 

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »