Tag Archives: Pasta

One-a-day Great Superbowl Recipes (Day 1)

28 Jan
Photo by Hans Gissinger

Photo by Hans Gissinger

Three-Cheese Pimiento Mac with Parmesan Crumbs

I created this recipe for Bon Appétit magazine and it became the cover photo. It’s a comforting, American-styled baked pasta loosely based on a southern favorite – pimiento cheese – whose red bell pepper-cheddar-y taste profile is totally satisfying. The secret ingredient is sweet-and-spicy peppadew peppers. The components can be prepped ahead of time, assembled, and baked 20 minutes before serving. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a crowd and perfect for a Superbowl gathering.

1 large red bell pepper, 7 ounces
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
12 peppadew peppers, drained
1 tablespoon peppadew brine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ teaspoon ancho chile powder
5 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar, in small pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
4 ounces shredded whole-milk mozzarella
8 ounces gemelli or medium shells
½ cup panko
3 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Cut the pepper in half and remove seeds. Cut pepper into 1 inch pieces and put in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water and 1-1/2 cloves garlic. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cover. Cook 15 minutes until peppers are very soft. Transfer contents (with water) to a food processor. Add the peppadews, brine, 2 tablespoons butter, chile powder and remaining ½ garlic clove. Process until smooth. Add cheddar and ¼ cup parmesan and process until very smooth.

Boil the pasta in salted water until tender, about 11 minutes. Drain under cold water and pat very dry. Toss pasta with the red pepper sauce. Stir in the mozzarella. Add salt to taste. Pack into a large soufflé dish.

Stir together the remaining ¼ cup parmesan and panko. Add the remaining tablespoon butter and, with your fingers, thoroughly moisten the crumbs. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle on pasta and bake 20 minutes until golden. Scatter basil on top. Serves 4

A Radically Delicious Recipe

2 May

Every Wednesday and Friday

Orecchiette with Fried Chickpeas, Cracked Pepper & Sage

This is an adaptation of a recipe from Little Meals which I wrote almost two decades ago!  It won me my first James Beard Award.  I have updated this recipe only slightly, using fresh sage and grated lemon zest.  I also cook up my own chickpeas but canned chickpeas are perfectly acceptable.  The dish is a riff on an old Italian recipe known as “Thunder & Lightning” — where “thunder” refers to the profusion of fried chickpeas, and “lightning” to the excessive amount of coarsely cracked black pepper.  As a bonus, sometimes I drizzle a bit of my best extra-virgin olive oil over each dish for extra complexity and “perfume.”  Nice with a bottle of Arneis (a white wine from northern Italy) or a simple Chianti.

12 ounces dried orecchiette pasta
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, very finely chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon finely slivered sage, plus sprigs for garnishing
1 cup good-quality chicken broth
2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper, “mignonette or butcher-grind”
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
grated zest of 1 lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil.  Add orecchiette and cook until al dente (about 12 minutes.) Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a very large skillet.  Add the garlic and chickpeas and cook over high heat, stirring, until the chickpeas begin to pop.  Add the sage, broth and pepper.  Continue to cook over high heat until the broth reduces a bit and becomes syrupy (about 5 minutes.)   Drain pasta well.  Put butter in a large warm bowl and add pasta.  Toss.  Add chickpeas and broth to bowl and stir well. Add 1/2 cup cheese and salt to taste.  Stir in the grated lemon zest.  Mix gently.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired, and dust with remaining cheese. Garnish with small sage leaves.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4

Summer Pasta with Smoked Salmon & Sweet Corn

19 Aug

Having a spontaneous dinner party this weekend? Here’s another 10-minute pasta you can make using super-sweet corn from the farmer’s market.  Made with fresh fettuccine that cooks up in minutes, this elegant, hassle-free dish might be just the thing to serve as your first course.  Follow with a side of bluefish resting upon a bed of thinly sliced tomatoes, onions and purple sage.  Just drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and blast it in a very hot oven for 15 minutes.  For dessert? Uber-ripe peaches from the farmer’s market bathing in red wine.  And some cookies, of course.

Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche & Sweet Corn
If you like, you may also add some snippets of fresh basil or cilantro. A must:  Creme fraiche.

8 ounces fresh fettuccine
1 cup sweet yellow corn, freshly cut from the cob
4 ounces best-quality smoked salmon, thinly sliced
8 ounces creme fraiche
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup finely minced fresh chives
1 large lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and corn and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.  Meanwhile, cut the salmon into 1/2-wide strips.  Drain the pasta well; shake dry. Immediately return the pasta to the warm pot.  Add the smoked salmon, creme fraiche, cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Warm gently for 1 minute over low heat, but do
not cook.  Stir in chives.  Transfer pasta to bowls.  Using a microplane, grate lemon zest on top and serve immediately.  Add snippets of basil or cilantro, if desired.  Serves 4

Linguine with Zucchini

17 Aug

Not only is this pasta dish fun to say, but it is delicious and wickedly simple to make. The rest of its title includes the summer words, “lemon zest & basil.” Since it is made with fresh pasta (the kind you can buy), it can be made in 10 minutes, as I promised yesterday.  It is a favorite go-to summer supper for us at home — often preceded by a Salad Caprese (but one where I swap watermelon for the tomatoes, goat cheese for the mozzarella, and cilantro for the basil!). The combination of flavors is divine, and the zucchini gets lightly floured and cooked until golden brown in olive oil. It would be very interesting to end this summer meal with another promised idea from our trip to Italy — chocolate eggplant!  But I’m looking for my photos and trying to find a good recipe to share. Stay tuned.

Linguine with Zucchini, Lemon Zest & Basil  (adapted from Radically Simple)
When thin slices of lightly floured zucchini are fried then tossed with bits of crispy basil and showered with fragrant lemon zest (oh, how I long for the lemons of Capri!), you gets lots of complexity for something quite simple.

2 medium zucchini, trimmed
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup Wondra flour
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
12 ounces fresh linguine
1 large lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Slice the zucchini into thin rounds. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a very large skillet. Add the garlic and discard the garlic when browned. Dust the zucchini with the flour. Add to the skillet and cook over high heat until dark golden and soft, about 6 minutes. Add the basil and cook 1 minute. Cook the pasta in the boiling water 3 minutes, or until tender.  Drain the pasta well and toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Spoon the zucchini and pan juices over the pasta.  Grate the zest of the lemon on top and squeeze a little juice over all.  Sprinkle with the cheese. Serves 4

Tortellini Gratinati with Parsnip “Bechamel”

16 Mar

I’ve invented a lot of recipes in my day.  Thousands.  A portion of those were for restaurant consulting projects around the world — including hotels and supermarket chains.  The others were for the hundreds of articles and twelve books that I’ve published since 1993.   I was the first to create olive oil ice cream, pesto-pistachio salmon, had the first watermelon-feta salad published in the New York Times, became famous for cooking short ribs in a concoction of prune juice and teriyaki sauce, and for frying capers in olive oil to pour over roasted asparagus.  There are too, too many to mention here:  Some have become signatures and others have been hijacked.  No matter.  But this month’s article  published in Bon Appetit –that featured my five baked pastas — has received more attention than most.  Permission was just given to publish the story in an upcoming issue of South Africa’s House & Garden, and I was just asked to be on Martha Stewart’s radio show to talk about baked pastas using seasonal ingredients.

Several  blog readers have also made requests:  one in particular was keen to try my Tortellini Gratinati with Gorgonzola, Rosemary & Parsnip Bechamel.  For some reason, the title was changed in the magazine to Tortellini Gratinati with Mushrooms and Parsnip “Bechamel. ” For me, some of the romance and appeal of the dish had to do with the flavor profile of the gorgonzola and rosemary.  No matter.  The most exciting component of the dish is my parsnip “bechamel.”  I was thrilled that this nascent idea came to life and was so delicious.  This original spin, based on the classic French bechamel sauce, is as creamy and rich as the authentic recipe (ever more so!) but is fashioned from boiled parsnips which give a luxurious mouthfeel, a bit of sweetness, and lots of good nutrition.  The parsnip puree takes the place of the traditional butter and flour used in making bechamel.   It has already become a “new favorite” in my repertoire.  This “bechamel” can be used as a warm cushion for roast chicken, poured over roasted eggplant and mushrooms for a great vegetarian main course, or used as a filling for a big baked potato strewn with bits of crispy bacon.  Loosened up with a bit more milk or chicken stock, it becomes a wondrous soup.

Tortellini Gratinati with Gorgonzola, Rosemary & Parsnip “Bechamel”

The recipe can be made in quick stages then put together right before baking.  I use a combination of large and small cheese-filled fresh tortellini from the supermarket.  Small ravioli or fresh cavatelli may be substituted.

2 large parsnips, about 12 ounces
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly-grated parmigiano reggiano
3-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in small pieces
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 ounces baby portabellos, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
1-1/2 pounds fresh cheese-filled tortellini or tortelloni, or a mixture
6 ounces imported gorgonzola dolce, in small pieces

Peel parsnips.  Cut into 1 inch pieces.  Place in small saucepan with salted water to cover by several inches.   Bring to a boil and boil 20 to 25 minutes until very soft.  Drain well.  Put in food processor with 1 cup milk and heavy cream and process until smooth.  With motor running, slowly add remaining milk.  Add ¾ cup parmesan, ½ to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on cheese) and pepper. Process until very smooth.  Return to saucepan.  Cook 5 minutes over low heat or until reduced to 3 cups.

Melt 2-1/2 tablespoons butter in large skillet.  Add garlic, mushrooms and rosemary.  Cook 6 to 7  minutes, stirring, over medium-high heat until soft.  Add salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add tortellini and cook until just tender, about 9 minutes.  Drain well and toss with remaining tablespoon  butter.  place in a 10-cup overproof soufflé dish or casserole.  Scatter mushrooms over pasta.  Pour béchamel over pasta to cover completely.  Dot with gorgonzola and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan.  Bake 18 minutes until bubbly, then broil 2 minutes until golden brown.  Serves 6

A Valentine Supper: Pasta with Truffle Butter

13 Feb

Few dishes evoke luxury so easily.  There are truffle butters on the market that you can purchase but the easiest way to prepare this dish is to simply stir a bit of white truffle oil into softened unsalted butter.  It keeps beautifully in the fridge.  You may use fresh or dried pasta, filled or plain.  Delicate half-moons of cheese-filled fresh agnolotti would be divine, as would a dried pasta, such as cappellini, also known as angel hair. If you don’t want to wait until Valentine’s Day to eat this, simply have it tonight for a pre-Valentine supper.  That’s pretty romantic. Follow with the gorgeous ruby beets below and get an early start.  Champagne, anyone?

9 ounces fresh or dried pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil
1-1/2 ounce piece Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions (depending on the shape and size of the pasta or whether it is fresh or dried). Cut butter into small pieces and place in a large bowl with truffle oil.  When just tender (al dente), drain pasta very well, shaking dry.  Add to the bowl.  Toss until butter melts; add salt and pepper to taste.  Grate cheese with microplane; scatter on top, then top with thyme leaves.  Serves 4

Ruby Beets with Balsamic Syrup, Mint & Walnuts

This recipe, adapted from Radically Simple can be successfully made with small canned beets or beets you roast yourself.  There were some large gorgeous specimens in the farmers market this weekend.  The radical idea here is my balsamic syrup, which adds a level of elegance to the earthy root.  Vibrant bits of mint, preferably spearmint, tie all the flavors together.  This can be served slightly warm, room temperature or chilled.

1 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves
2 (14-ounce) cans small beets, drained well
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
4 ounces firm goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Lightly toast the walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Put the vinegar in the skillet; add 1 clove garlic pushed through a press.  Bring to a boil; boil until reduced to 3 tablespoons.  Cut the beets in half; put in a large bowl.  Add the reduced vinegar and walnuts.  Put the oil in a small bowl; add the remaining garlic clove pushed through a press.  Toss the garlic oil with the beets.  Add salt and pepper.  Transfer to a small platter and top with the mint and goat cheese.  Serves 4

The $2 Little Meal

13 Dec

My husband and I have a funny routine when we make dinner.  We’re usually so exhausted after work that we don’t go shopping, so we challenge each other to make a meal from whatever is in the house.  The result of one very inexpensive “improv” dinner years ago was a bowl of “caramelized onions and pasta.”  That recipe wound up in my very first cookbook called Little Meals:  A great new way to eat and cook (Villard), and I affectionately named it the $2 Little Meal.   The cost of the entire dish was no more than 2 bucks and relied exclusively on things you would have in your kitchen: onions, salt, sugar, balsamic vinegar and pasta, and a smattering of thyme and basil leaves (that I had dried from the summer window box.)  Freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, always in my fridge, is actually optional here.  At the time, I made the dish with farfalle (bowties) because, as “house rules” dictated, it was all we had.  But it is quite good with any pasta shape, short or long.  Years later, the recipe morphed into a dish I created for my monthly column in Bon Appetit where roasted peppers and fennel seeds added a bit of complexity and sophistication.  You can find a version of that recipe by “googling” Caramelized Onion and Roasted Pepper Pasta.  But here, and now, I will share the original, humble dish.  A bottle of $2 Buck Chuck wine (now more expensive) would be just the thing to drink!

For more ideas on “improv cooking” you might want to look at Arthur’s Schwartz’s gem of a book called “What To Cook When You Think There’s Nothing in the House to Eat! A book that truly lives up to its title. 

The $2 Little Meal (adapted from Little Meals)
This can be served as a first course for four or a main course for two.  It is also a nice side dish alongside a simple roast.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1-1/2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 to 12 ounces dried pasta
freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Add sliced onions and cook over high heat until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes.  If they begin to burn a little, that’s okay. Lower heat and add the sugar, basil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring often, until onions are uniformly caramel-colored.  Add water and vinegar and cover pan.  Simmer while pasta is cooking.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta until just tender; drain well and shake dry.  Divide pasta among 2 to 4 warm bowls.  Top with cheese, if desired.  Serves 2 to 4

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