Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Linguine with Greens and Sausage

May 27, 2018

It’s Memorial Day Weekend!  For me, it’s the start to a whole week of staycation.  A time  for me to catch up on things, get the house in order, and exercise my creative brain – cooking, baking, gardening, sewing – heaven.  Often that means spending my evenings reading cookbooks.  Fortunately for me, more and more cookbooks these days have lovely stories as well as wonderful recipes.

I did a lot a running today:  running with dogs, running to the farmer’s market, running errands, making a grocery run.  So, I was pretty tired come dinner time.  I needed easy food.  Enter The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  What I love about this cookbook is that it’s an introduction to ways of cooking, basic sauces, kitchen equipment, and how to put foods and flavors together.  Not fancy, but hasn’t failed me yet.

I had some lacinato kale left in the fridge that was holding up really well for being in the drawer for a week.  I had half an onion in the fridge.  I had sausage in the freezer.  (I always have sausage in the freezer).  Simple food.  Good food.  Really good food.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 bunch of lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped (or whatever hardy green you have leftover)
  • 4 oz sausage cut into rounds, or crumbled (I used Della Nonna by Sausage Craft – it has cheese in it – yum!)
  • 1/2 onion sliced thin
  • 3-4 oz linguine (or whatever pasta you like; the recipe calls for fusili)
  • crushed red pepper

Here’s what you do:

  • Boil some water in a pasta pot; salt the water
  • Add the chopped kale, cook 6-8 minutes until the greens are tender
  • Drain into a bowl, reserving the water to cook the pasta in

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  • In a heavy bottomed pan, cook the sausage, set aside
  • Drain all but 1 t of the fat

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  • Add the onions and red pepper, cook until caramelized

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  • Deglaze the pan with a little white wine or water

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  • Simmer until slightly reduced
  • Cook the pasta in the greens water until al dente
  • Toss everything together

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Here’s how it turned out:

Food, more or less just heated up. I gave it an Intermediate rating just because it’s a bunch of cooking and setting aside and some pot swapping so not as straightforward as a lot of pasta dishes.  Tastes better than a lot of pasta dishes too!

All the pieces taste like themselves.  And together – magical.  It looks nice too.  Nothing fancy, but absolutely fit for guests, or not.  I’m looking forward to leftovers!

 

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Cacio e Pepe

April 12, 2018

Sounds fancy!  Really it’s the most grown up “macaroni” and cheese you’ll ever eat.  What do we love about it?  It has five ingredients.  And it’s so amazing that the idea of macaroni and cheese will not cross your mind once.

A couple of tips for cooking the pasta.  Once the water boils, salt it.  No, really.  SALT. IT.  This is the thing most people do wrong in cooking pasta (and potatoes and grits for that matter).  The thinking is that the sauce will have salt in it so the pasta doesn’t need to.  Not so.  In every bite what you’ll taste is yummy sauce on blah pasta.  The salt in the pasta actually brings out the flavor in the sauce.

The other tip for cooking pasta is not to use too much water.  You don’t have to fill up the pot.  Enough water that the pasta is covered and has room to move around so it doesn’t clump up.  That’s all it takes.  Why?  Because you often use the pasta water in the sauce.  The reason you do that is for the starch in the water.  Less water equals more starch, and that’s a good thing.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 6 oz  dry pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 3 T unsalted butter, divided into 2 and 1
  • 1 t coarsely ground pepper
  • 2/3 C grated parmesan
  • 1/3 C grated pecorino romano

You can grate your own or buy it already grated.  In this case the store grated is fine.  All I ask is that you don’t buy the stuff in the can.  When you only have a few ingredients the quality of the ingredients matters all the more.  Buy good cheese.

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Here’s what you do:

  • In one pot, boil water; salt it; add the pasta.  Keep an eye on it.  You want to drain it before it’s done.
  • When the pasta is still very al dente, in another pot melt 2T butter and add the pepper.
  • Drain the pasta about 2-3 minutes before it’s done, saving 1C of the pasta water.
  • Add 1/2 C of the pasta water to the butter and pepper.  Bring it to a simmer.
  • Add the pasta to the simmering pasta water and the last tablespoon of butter.  Add 2/3 C grated cheese.

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  • Stir the pasta so that the cheese melts into the water and distributes through the pasta.  Be sure you stir all the way to the bottom of the pan.  If you don’t the cheese will sink and stick to the bottom.
  • If the sauce gets too sticky add more pasta water.
  • When the pasta is done remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining cheese.

Here’s how it turned out:

What’s miraculous to me about this is that somehow this cheesy, buttery water turns into a wonderful sauce.  And this sauce coats all the pasta strands and still keeps them separated.  Even as I ate and the pasta cooled it never got gummy.  The pasta never clumped together.  It’s not fancy, but it is.  It’s perfect.

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Drunken Linguine with Spinach

March 30, 2018

It’s been a crazy week here, but One Woman’s Kitchen has an exciting addition!  I got a new stove!  I finally splurged on a 5-burner, dual-fuel, slide-in range.  I only have a 30 inch space to work with so it’s not super fancy, but I couldn’t be happier with it.  My old stove was gas, which was great, but the burners didn’t turn down nearly far enough.  I was always scorching stuff on the bottom because I couldn’t get the heat down low enough.  No more!  Check it out!

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My first meal done on the new stove was for my book club.  The electricians finally finished the install at 4:00 on Wednesday.  It didn’t leave me enough time to plan anything really fun and I had to make do with food I already had in the house.  And I really needed to use the half bottle of wine that was leftover from making the lamb shanks earlier in the week.  I know, leftover wine?  What’s that?  It’s rare, but when it happens this is a good way to use it!

Years ago I made a pasta dish with kale where I cooked the pasta in wine. Substitute spinach for kale and I was set to go.  Last time I remember combining the wine with water and cooking the pasta start to finish in that.  I like this way better.  You get a creamier finish.  Almost like the wine makes a sauce.

This is an easy one.

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 ounces of pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 1 T olive oil, plus more to finish
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 bottle of full-bodied red wine (I used Cabernet)
  • big bunch of spinach, stemmed

Here’s what you do:

  • Boil water in a large pot
  • Salt the water well
  • Add the pasta
  • Cook 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is just bendy

Meanwhile, in a large skillet

  • Heat the 1T of oil with the garlic and red pepper
  • Stir until fragrant
  • Pour in the red wine
  • Bring to a boil

Then

  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1-2 cups of the pasta liquid
  • Add the pasta to the wine mixture.  The liquid will not completely cover the pasta.
  • Stir the pasta frequently as it absorbs the wine.  If it starts to get completely dry add some of the reserved pasta water.  The starch will thicken the wine.

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  • When the pasta is al dente stir in the spinach with just a little more pasta water.
  • Salt to taste, finish with a little more olive oil to help keep the noodles separated

How was it?

Most people at book club had 2 servings!  This is a beautiful dish.  Pretty inexpensive to make.  Really easy.  Vegetarian.  Vegan even.  It would make a nice side for beef or pork as well.

I will say that the kale in the previous version held up better than the spinach here.  Maybe a heartier green is the answer.  Next time I’ll try some chard.

See how pretty it is?

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Pasta Carbonara Friday!

March 23, 2018

Yep, it’s Pasta Friday.  About 4:00 this afternoon I was combing cookbooks and websites trying to make a meal plan for the week so I could go to the grocery store.  I just couldn’t get it together.  I decided to settle for a plan for tonight.  I have no idea why I started craving carbonara.  I haven’t had this in an age, but I decided I had to have it tonight.  Off to the store I went.

Carbonara is a pretty simple dish really.  A smoky meat, onions, garlic, cheese, eggs, pepper.  That’s it really except for some pasta water.  And tonight I added some lemon. The cream is optional so feel free to leave it out.  I know some people feel uncomfortable about the fact that you don’t add the egg yolk until the end.  The key is make sure your pasta doesn’t sit long before you finish it with the egg.  You want the pasta to be really hot.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

Here’s what you need to serve 2-3:

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  • slab bacon (3 slices) or pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3-1/2 C grated parmesan / pecorino / romano cheese
  • 1/4 C cream (optional)
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 8 oz pasta

Here’s what you do:

  • Boil a pot of salted water and cook the pasta to al dente
    • NOTE:  Save 1C or more of the pasta water when you drain the pasta
  • While the pasta is cooking, brown the bacon in a heavy pan large enough to hold the pasta
  • Add the onion and garlic, cook until soft and golden

Tip  If you’re using bacon you’ll need to remove the bacon from the pan and drain most of the grease.  Have a mug nearby to drain the hot grease into.

  • Add the cooked pasta, 1/2 C of the pasta water, half of the cheese
  • Stir until the sauce coats the pasta
  • Stir in the cream if you’re using it
  • Remove the pan from the heat
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring constantly
  • Stir in lemon zest, juice and more cheese
  • Add pasta water as needed to create a sauce
  • Top with freshly ground pepper

Tip  The key to this dish is making sure that the pasta is hot when you add the egg.  If your pasta has been sitting to the side for a while because it got done earlier than expected, just heat the reserved pasta water and quickly reheat the pasta in it.

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Here’s how it turned out:

I might have licked the bowl.  Ok, I did.  So good.

And tonight there’s a BONUS!  The leftovers have been transformed into breakfast for the rest of the weekend.  Pasta Carbonara Pie!

I whisked 3 whole eggs into the 2 egg whites I had left over.  Poured the leftover pasta into a small cast iron skillet and poured the eggs over the pasta.  I baked it at 350 degrees, covered in foil, for 35 minutes and uncovered for 10 more.

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Pasta Friday

January 5, 2018

You may recall from my intro that I’m a runner.  That usually means a long run on either Friday or Saturday, sometimes both.  So, Friday night is for carb loading.  When I was training for my marathon I ate pasta on Friday night for 24 Fridays in a row.  24.  I didn’t eat pasta for a while after that.  I finally realized that Pasta Friday didn’t have to mean spaghetti with tomato sauce.  I do try to stay away from cheese sauces and things that are too spicy, but there are a lot of ways to do Pasta Friday.  You’ll see a bunch of them as we go through the year.  But for tonight, we’ll start with the old stand-by – spaghetti with tomato sauce.

Usually when I make spaghetti sauce I make a big vat of it and freeze it for later.  Tonight I just needed to use up one leftover beef and mushroom burger (uncooked) and half an onion.  I planned to make 2 servings, but the sauce keeps getting bigger as you add vegetables and I ended up with 3-4 servings of sauce.  It’ll never go to waste so that’s ok.

Spaghetti sauce is one of those things that a lot of people have a family recipe for.  It’s also incredibly flexible.  It’s an awesome way to use up vegetable odds and ends.  Sometimes you can hide them in a sauce and your non-vegetable eaters are none the wiser.  Tonight’s sauce starts with diced onion and garlic and then the burger thrown in, chunked up and browned.  Next I threw in half a diced yellow bell pepper.  When the vegetables are soft add the tomatoes.

Let me take a second on the tomatoes.  They’re the most important part of a tomato sauce. (Duh).  Use good ones.  If you followed me in the past you know that I can my own tomatoes in the summer.  Well, they aren’t my tomatoes.  I buy them by the bushel from a local farm.  But I do can them myself, in my own kitchen. I have dozens of beautiful jars stored in the basement to use in sauces and soups and curries.  I’m very spoiled by these tomatoes.  But there are store bought ones that are good too.  Use San Marzanos if you can find them and it’s not too hard on your wallet.  San Marzano is a type of tomato and not a brand.  You’ll have to read the can to know.  If the producer uses San Marzanos they’ll tell you on the label.

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I didn’t have time tonight to let these cook all the way down so I needed a little something to add some thickness to the sauce.  I used about 1/4 of a small can of tomato paste.  Small being 6 oz.  Then just let the sauce cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, while the pasta cooks.  If it gets too thick add a little water from the pasta pot.

In the summer I usually add some zucchini noodles to the pasta.  It gives me an extra vegetable serving and allows me to eat a slightly larger serving of dinner without adding more pasta.  I’ve always made my noodles by running a vegetable peeler longways down the zucchini.  You end up with something vaguely fettuccine like.  This year Santa brought me a spiralizer.  I never bought one because I don’t like spending money on kitchen gadgets that take up a lot of space, cost a lot of money, and only do one thing.  Santa found a very small one for cheap!

I did a side by side comparison tonight.  Half a zucchini with the spiralizer and half with the peeler.  The spiralizer is super easy to use and turns out noodles that really look like spaghetti.  You do have to cut them off every so often or you end up with impossibly long and unwieldy noodles.  There’s very little waste with this.  At the end you have a very narrow core and a small disc leftover.  With the peeler your noodles are wide, flat and thin.  They start to fall apart when you get into the seedy middle so the core you have leftover is considerably larger than with the spiralizer.  I don’t waste it though.  I dice it up and throw it in the sauce.

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When your pasta is almost done throw the zucchini noodles in the pasta pot and mix it all up.  Cook it for about 1 minute and drain.  Top each serving with sauce and grate a little cheese on the top!  We’ll talk about using good cheese another time.  Now it’s time to eat!

Pesto Pasta Frittata

April 7, 2013

Welcome Spring!  Today was the first real Spring day in Central Virginia.  I spent most of it knee deep in Spring chores:  dealing with the storm windows, cleaning the ceiling fans; tilling and weeding the garden.  No energy left for a trip to the grocery store.  So tonight’s dinner was kind of a “smoke ’em if ya’ got ’em” affair.  Pretty much everything is on the menu because I had it –  leftover, already thawed or on its last decent day.  And you know what?  It was a very good dinner.  I got to use the grill and everything!

The feature for tonight is the frittata.  I grilled a London Broil and sauteed some spinach to round things out.  I made the London Broil plain to make it as versatile as possible.  You’ll be seeing it for the rest of the week so stay tuned!

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A few days ago I made some whole wheat spaghetti with pesto sauce from my Summer 2011 garden.  If I was going to avoid tossing it in the trash I had to do something with it.  And I had some mascarpone and mozzarella leftover from the pizza triumph of last night.  When I looked in the vegetable drawer I discovered some forgotten parsley too.  This recipe let me use all of the above plus a bunch of eggs and some of my quart of milk that I too often end up dumping down the sink.  In case it hasn’t dawned on you yet what we’re really talking about here is little quiche muffins with pasta instead of crust. 

The original recipe calls for prosciutto (didn’t have any), cream (didn’t have any) and grated Asiago (used parmigiano instead).  I also cut the eggs from 7 to 6.  Seven eggs just seemed excessive.  The frittata muffins set up just fine so no loss there.  The original recipe called for plain pasta,  but the pesto more than made up for the absent prosciutto.  Good news for the vegetarians out there!

These are really easy.  The recipe makes a dozen.  Good for any meal.  My plan is to have them for breakfast all week.  Hard to beat them for protein, a few carbs, easy to heat and eat.  You can put pretty much anything in them.  I do recommend keeping the amounts of the basic ingredients the same so you’ll be confident that they’ll set up like they’re supposed to.  Other than that have fun with them!  Add some chicken and broccoli to leftover fettuccine alfredo.  Add some peppers and onions to leftover pasta marinara.  Add a little ham or bacon to leftover macaroni and cheese.  Yum!

Good? Really good.
Easy? Really easy.
Good for company? A terrific brunch option.
Special shopping? Definitely not.

Pesto Pasta Frittata

Ingredients

Cooked spaghetti cut into 2-3 inch segments, enough to measure 3 C
Pesto sauce to taste
6 eggs
1/3 C mascarpone cheese
1 C diced mozzarella
1/4 C grated parmigiana cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 T chopped parsley
3/4 t salt
3/4 t pepper
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the muffin tin.

In a blender combine the eggs, milk, cream, and mascarpone cheese. Blend until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Mix the hot pasta with the pesto sauce. Add the cut pasta, mozzarella cheese, Parmigiana cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until the ingredients are combined.

Using a 1/3 cup measure, fill each of the muffin cups until both the pasta and liquid are at the top. Bake until firm and cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes before removing from the tin.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers with Spicy Red Clam Sauce

March 18, 2013

Yet another cold and rainy Central Virginia day.  Seriously tired of this weather.  Since the weather was the same old, same old I decided that dinner needed to be something new and exciting.  I took a package of uncooked sausage stuffed banana peppers out of the storage freezer a couple of days ago and they were exactly the right thing to start with.  A little reminder of Summer as the peppers came out of my very own garden.  I needed something more interesting than marinara for these.  I decided to try them with red clam sauce, a new sauce for me as I prefer the white, which would have been awesome on these too.  You might be interested to know that “sausage stuffed peppers” is the most searched phrase on this blog.  I’m hoping you’ll like this one as much as I did!

Red Clam Sauce Stuffed Peppers and Clam Sauce

There’s nothing to the peppers except to halve them (or not); take the veins and seeds out and pack them with raw sausage.  This is a mild italian sausage from Faith Farm.  Banana peppers are so mild that you’d lose them completely with anything stronger.  I used my Food Saver to vacuum seal these and they’ve been in the freezer since August 2011.  I’ll say this for the Food Saver – it really works!  Not a  bit of freezer burn on these.

The sauce is easy too.  Since the real focus of this dish is the peppers I didn’t bother to use fresh clams.  The canned ones work just fine here.  I sliced the garlic instead of mincing it.  Bigger pieces seemed better.   I added some chopped onion, not called for in the recipe, because I don’t understand tomato sauces without onion.  If you’re like me and often burn the garlic (which then you have to throw out and start over because it’s so bitter), adding the onion helps prevent that too.  I used about four times the amount of fresh parsley.  With the salt in the clams and the sausage combined I thought some extra sweet, green-ness was in order.  Finally I added some extra crushed hot peppers because I like the heat.

So, how did it turn out?  It’s fantastic!  It’s bright and briny and green and wonderfully warm.  The flavors really balance each other nicely.  A tiny squeeze of lemon juice might be a nice addition.  I served it over a little orzo.  Nice time I might forego the pasta in favor of some crusty bread.  I also look forward to making these when I have fresh peppers on hand.  Having a little crunch left in the peppers will be a nice addition to an already yummy dish.  Bring on the Summer!

Good? So very good.  A perfect combination.
Easy? Absolutely.
Good for company? Absolutely.
Special shopping? Not at all.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers with Spicy Red Clam Sauce

Ingredients

6 large banana peppers, halved, seeds and veins removed
1/3-1/2 lb mild italian sausage

Two 10 oz cans whole clams
One 6 oz can chopped clams
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot peppers or more to taste
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes packed in juice, drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
<h3<Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peppers:
Stuff each pepper half with enough sausage to just fill it. Place the peppers in an 8×8 glass baking dish. Set the peppers aside.

Sauce:
Drain the clams reserving 1/2 cup of their juice and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the reserved clam juice and tomatoes, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Cover, and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cook for 15 minutes.  Stir the clams and parsley into the sauce.  Heat back to a simmer.

Pour half of the sauce over the peppers. Cover the dish lightly with foil. Bake 30-35 minutes. Serve over orzo or with crusty bread.

Freeze the remaining sauce for a future use.

Shrimp Arrabbiata

March 14, 2013

Got a late start on dinner tonight.  Part of the late start is because I went for a run in the sunny cold that brought on the need for a hot shower to clean up and warm up.  I decided to continue the warm up with dinner.  Frozen shrimp is a protein that thaws quickly so it’s an easy go to on nights like this.  An arrabiata is just a spicy tomato sauce so I pretty much always have the ingredients for that.  Jackpot.  I had all the stuff I needed for a yummy dinner.

Shrimp Arrabbiata

Believe it or not I made no substitutions tonight except for going the long way around when the recipe called for shortcuts.  The recipe called for pre-chopped onion and bottled minced garlic, but I chopped and minced myself.  It added about 5 minutes to the process.  Other than that I used dried basil from last summer’s garden; dried and ground hot peppers from the summer before; home canned tomatoes from two summers ago; and homemade fettuccine from two months ago.  I could hardly have asked for better ingredients, especially for such a simple dish where they really count.

This is so easy.  If you use shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined you’ll really cut down the prep time.  Next time I made this I’ll probably skip the step where you saute the shrimp first.  Since you boil this sauce until it thickens it seems to me that you could cook the shrimp in the boiling sauce.  It would add some nice flavor to the shrimp and save you a step.  Other than that your only adjustment is likely to be the amount of crushed hot peppers you add.  I added a little extra to continue my warming, but feel free to be conservative if you’re bothered by too much heat.

The next time you have guests unexpectedly or just want to have a few folks over on a week night keep this recipe handy.  It easy and so good and impressive enough to serve to company.  Enjoy!

Good?  Very good.
Easy? So, so easy.
Good for company? Absolutely.
Special shopping? Nope. Just start with good ingredients.

Shrimp Arrabbiata

Ingredients

6 ounces linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
10 oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cupcchopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

Directions

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with salt; add shrimp to pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done. Transfer shrimp to a bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add onion, minced garlic, basil, and crushed red pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or just until sauce begins to thicken. Return shrimp to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve over pasta.

Mini Penne with Peas, Peppers and Proscuitto

January 29, 2013

Here’s one of the pasta dishes from the No Football Sunday Dinner.  It’s easy.  It’s yummy.  It’s the lightest cream sauce I’ve ever had.  And you know how creamy cheese sauces usually separate and mostly seem oily when you reheat them in the microwave?  Not so much this one.  It reheats really nicely.  Good thing since I apparently made enough to feed a small village.

Peas, Peppers and Prosciutto Penne

There’s not much in the way of instruction or tips here.  I do roast my own peppers.  It requires planning ahead, but not much in the way of effort.  I think the flavor is more subtle than the ones you get from a jar.  This is about the only way you’ll get me to eat a green pea, but don’t skimp on them in here.  I’m sure fresh peas would be fantastic in this, but frozen ones work just as well.  They’re sweet and they stay firm in the pasta.  I bought the proscuitto already diced.  I’m not sure I’d do that again.  The flavor isn’t as good as when you buy slices.  Marcella Hazan says you can also use country ham in here so if you want to add a little Southern flair, there’s your chance.

This is light and sweet and salty and creamy and wonderful.  It’s a great way to eat pasta without feeling like you need to take a nap immediately afterwards.  It’s pretty too.  And also good at room temperature so easy to make ahead and take to a potluck of some kind.  This pretty much has everything going for it so give it a try!

Good? So good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Absolutely. Makes a ton.
Special shopping? Not at all.

Mini Penne with Peas, Peppers and Prosciutto

Ingredients

4 orange bell peppers, roasted, skinned and diced
2 T butter
6-8 ounces diced prosciutto
2 C frozen peas, thawed
2 C heavy cream
2/3 C grated parmesan
1 1/2 boxes mini penne, cooked to al dente
salt and pepper

Directions

Saute the butter and prosciutto one minute.
Add the peas and cook another minute.
Stir in the peppers.
Add cream, salt and pepper. Increase heat and stir until cream begins to thicken.
Remove from heat.
Stir sauce and parmesan into pasta.

Wild Greens with Lardo

January 28, 2013

Here’s the first recipe from this year’s No Football Sunday Dinner.  It’s hard to call a salad a recipe, but I have to tell you how good this is.  The original recipe in La Cucina calls for a wild green not widely available in the US.  They do offer arugula as a substitute.  When I went to the store the arugula looked horrible.  I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it.  I opted for a big clamshell container of Baby Spring Mix instead.  It’s a nice combination of lettuces, spinach, radicchio and arugula so you get a little sweet and a little bitter.  You want at least some bitter in this.  It’s a nice balance for the salt.

That brings us to the lardo.  This is also something you can’t exactly find here.  At least not in a regular grocery store.  It is, at least in part, the rump fat of a pig cured and seasoned.  I found something that said that fat back is a reasonable substitute.  I think that’s probably true, but I’m guessing it lacks a depth of flavor.  That said, I used fat back, rendered, and it was awesome.  Essentially you’re using the melted fat instead of oil as your salad dressing.  A few tablespoons of vinegar and some fresh pepper.  Done.  No other vegetables.  No other spice.  No need.  This is seriously good stuff.  Not that I recommend that you start using pork fat as the base for all of your salad dressings.  Certainly not.  But once in a while it’s worth it!

One note.  Eat the whole salad the first day.  The leftovers are disgusting.

Good? Much better than I dared imagine.
Easy? Absolutely.
Good for company? Mine certainly enjoyed it.
Special shopping? I have no idea if grocery stores outside the South routinely carry fatback, but around here it’s easy to find.

Wild Greens with Lardo

Ingredients

1 clamshell or bag of bitter salad greens
6 ounces fat back, rendered (melted into liquid)
2-3 T white vinegar
Fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Toss greens with fat back until the leaves begin to wilt. Toss with vinegar and pepper.