Monday, December 29, 2014

Recipe #306: Beef, Stout, & Blue Cheese Pot Pies

This is immediately a favorite recipe, hands down.  I've had this one bookmarked from http://edible-ireland.com/ and finally got around to making it.  So wonderful.  Rich, hearty, filling, amazing flavors.... I can't say enough about this one.  The recipe would fill about three larger single rammekins, so I would double if feeding four.

Filling before adding the cheese.

I giggled when I got these out of the oven.

So good...

1kg (2lb) stewing beef (such as shin or cheek), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plain flour
rapeseed or olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
500ml (2 cups) stout
125g (3/4 cup) crumbled blue cheese
1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Put the beef in a large bowl and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the flour and toss the beef in it until it all has a light dusting. Heat some rapeseed or olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole and brown the beef in batches over a medium-high heat, making sure not to crowd the pot or the meat won’t brown properly. Add more oil in between batches if needed. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
Add another splash of oil to the pot, then add the onions and carrots along with a pinch of salt so that the onions don’t brown. Cover the pot and cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Add the garlic, thyme and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more.
Pour in the stout, scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Return the beef to the pot and bring up to a lively simmer, then cover and put in the oven for 3–4 hours (or simmer on the stovetop on a low heat with the lid on), stirring a few times. You will know it’s done when the beef easily falls apart when you prod it with a fork and the stout has reduced right down – it’s a pot pie filling, not a stew, so you want it to be nice and thick. Stir in the cheese, then taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Place one large ovenproof pie dish or individual dishes or ramekins onto a baking tray just in case any filling bubbles up and over the sides, then spoon the stew into the dish(es). Roll out the pastry a little on a lightly floured countertop, then cut to fit the top of the dish. Rub the edges of the dish with a little water or some of the beaten egg to help the pastry stick in place, then place the pastry lid on top. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg (not too much or the pastry won’t rise properly), then cook in the oven for 20–30 minutes, until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before digging in.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Recipe #305: Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Apple, & Gruyere Bites

Another winner from foodgawker.com.  I knew I had to try these as soon as I saw the picture.  It didn't make enough filling for all of the pastry, though. I would probably add more onion and mushrooms to balance out the apple more, but it was still delicious this way.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ granny smith apples, cubed into ½" cubes
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1½ oz. grated gruyere cheese
2 tbsp. chives, minced
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 package (1 pound) of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Set side.
2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and cook the onions (with 1 tsp. of salt) until they're
golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove and set aside in a large bowl. In the same skillet,
sauté mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside in the bowl with the
onions.
3. In the same skillet, melt the butter and add in the apples with the sugar. Cook until softened,
about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and add to the large bowl with onions and mushrooms.
4. Add the cheese, chives, and thyme to the bowl and stir to combine the mixture well. Season
with salt and pepper, to taste.
5. With a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 2­inch squares and place them on the lined
baking sheets. Using a pastry brush, brush beaten egg on the squares.
6. Using a tablespoon, place filling in the middle of each puff pastry.
7. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through and switching the baking sheet on
the top rack to the bottom and the bottom to the top, until the pastry is golden brown and
crisp.

Recipe #304: Tex Mex Taco Pasta

Super easy!  Makes great leftovers.  I think it could be tweaked easily too if you would want more spiciness.  I skipped the cilantro because I'm not a big fan of it.


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb ground beef (you could also use ground turkey or chicken)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning, low sodium
  • 1 (15oz) can Rotel, drained of excess liquid
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, drained
  • ½ lb farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a large pot, bring water a boil and prepare pasta as directed.
  2. In a high-rimmed skillet, brown ground beef on medium-high heat and drain off excess grease. Season with taco seasoning and simmer for 5 minutes. To the meat mixture, stir in Rotel, black beans, and corn. Turn the heat off and cover with a lid.
  3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add in the meat mixture and stir. Pour in the cream and toss in the cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese has completely melted.
  4. Ladle pasta into bowls and topped with chopped cilantro.

Recipe #303: Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Here was an easy Christmas Eve dinner.  The fresh avocado was so good with it.  I skipped the cilantro because I'm not a huge fan of it.

Ingredients
  • 5 small corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 8 ounces Greek cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup enchilada sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweet corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with chilies (such as Rotel brand)
  • Sliced avocado and cilantro leaves for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a 3-quart or larger Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the tortilla strips and fry until crispy, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken pieces and diced onion; cook 7-10 minutes until chicken is browned and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, puree the cream cheese, enchilada sauce, cumin, and cayenne pepper in a small food processor (or beat using a hand mixer).
  4. Add the broth to the chicken pot, followed by the cream cheese mixture. Stir in the beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, until warmed through.
  5. Serve topped with tortilla strips, cilantro, and avocado.

Recipe #302: On-The-Go Breakfast Muffins

These were fun to make and eat!  Another one I found on foodgawker, from www.thecookingjar.com.  I had one less egg than the recipe required and it still worked out fine.

INGREDIENTS
  • 12 large eggs, beaten  
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped / ½ cup bacon bits
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Mix together all the ingredients and whisk until smooth
  2. Grease a regular size muffin tin and fill each cup about ⅔ of the way full
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-23 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean
  4. Cool for 5 minutes before prying muffins loose
  5. Dish and serve hot

Recipe #301: Maple Sausage, Apple, and Sage Strata

I served this up for Christmas brunch.  I love the mix of flavors and textures.  I found this using foodgawker.com, which led me to thestayathomechef.com.


Ingredients 

6 English muffins, halved 1 lb ground maple sausage 1 sweet onion, diced 2 apples, cored and diced 8 sage leaves, minced 8 eggs 2 cups half and half 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 cup shredded provolone cheese  1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


 Instructions 


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with english muffin halves, cutting them as needed to fit.  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground sausage with the onion until sausage is brown. Add in diced apple and sage and cook another 3-5 minutes.  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper. Stir in shredded cheeses.  4. Stir sausage mixture into egg mixture and pour over english muffins. ***At this point you can cover the dish and refrigerate it over night.  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until set.  


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Recipe #300: Cranberry Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash

I wanted to do something grandiose for my 300th post, but really, that defeats the entire purpose of this blog:  proving that delicious meals aren't that difficult to make!  I was drooling over foodgawker.com when I came across this recipe, which is perfect for fall.  I was a bit skeptical, though, as I was making it, thinking it would turn out bland.  I was dead wrong.  So full of flavor, hearty, filling, while still being very simple.  Nick approved enthusiastically!  My only regret is that I couldn't get a nice looking photo of the meal that did it justice.  You'll just have to trust me here...

Ingredients
  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, plus some for brushing
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries  (I used a bit more)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped  (I added a bit more)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus some for sprinkling
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway  (I didn't have this, so I skipped it)
  • Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cut the top and the bottom off of the acorn squash, trying to cut off as little as possible. Carefully slice the acorn squash into 5 rings, cutting the acorn squash from side to side (not from top to bottom).
  3. Scrape the seeds and innards out of the rings and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Brush each ring with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle sea salt over the top of the rings and place them in the preheated oven. Roast the squash rings for 30-35 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. (I forgot to do this part.) The squash is done when it's lightly brown and fork tender.
  4. While the squash rings roast, heat the 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and cook, stirring often until the garlic gets soft and is just starting to brown. Add the dried cranberries and chopped rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes more, until the rosemary is very fragrant.
  5. Remove the herb-cranberry mixture to a bowl and add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook the ground beef just until no pink remains, then drain any excess fat.
  6. Add the herb-cranberry mixture to the ground beef, as well as the 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon caraway. Stir to evenly combine.
  7. When the squash rings have finished roasting, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Spoon the beef-cranberry mixture into each ring and place back in the oven. (I added some Parmesan here) Cook for 4-5 minutes more.  
  8. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, top the stuffed squash with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired, and enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Recipe #299: Foil-Baked Catfish

Plenty of times I buy a main ingredient with no recipe in mind, and then I have to find a way to make it with things already in my pantry and fridge.  Here's an example with catfish.  I changed a couple things in this recipe because I didn't have exactly the right ingredients, but it turned out great.  Super easy cleanup.  I had plenty of leftovers because two fillets was way too much.  I love the different textures and the citrus-y flavor.




Ingredients
1 cup couscous (preferably whole wheat)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 6 -ounce skinless catfish fillets
2 lemons (1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced)  (I used an orange because I didn't have lemons)
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley or mint  (I used dried parsley because I didn't have fresh)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved  (I used the same amount of chopped regular tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lay a 2 1/2-foot-long sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, letting the ends hang off. Lay another sheet of foil perpendicular on top. Rinse the couscous in a fine-mesh sieve under cold water. Mix the olive oil, paprika and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pile the couscous in the center of the foil; toss with 1/2 tablespoon of the seasoned oil and spread in an 8-inch-square layer.

Brush the fish fillets on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the seasoned oil and arrange side by side on top of the couscous. Toss the lemon slices, parsley, red onion, tomatoes, garlic and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon seasoned oil in a bowl, then scatter evenly over the fish and couscous. Drizzle with 2/3 cup water, then bring the opposite ends of the foil together, fold over and crimp closed to make a sealed packet. Transfer the foil packet (on the baking sheet) to the oven and bake 25 minutes.

Open the foil packet; divide the fish among plates. Toss the couscous and vegetables; serve with the fish. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recipe #298: Midsummer's Night Pasta

I absolutely love this.  So fresh.  I had to restrain myself from going back for....fourths.  It should be served room temperature, and is great to bring to parties, like I did.


INGREDIENTS:

4 cups very ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Kosher salt
4 cups rinsed and roughly chopped arugula
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 medium-size garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press or minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound penne
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and more for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Place the chopped tomatoes in a colander in the sink and toss them with 1 tablespoon of salt.  Let the tomatoes drain until the liquid draws out of them, about an hour.

Place the arugula, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, pepper, and oil in a large bowl and mix well.

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Drain well.

After the hour of draining, add the tomatoes to the arugula mixture and mix well.  Add the pasta and mix well.  Add the Parmesan cheese and mix.  Let cool to room temperature before serving.  If this is made ahead and refrigerated, let it come up to room temperature before serving.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recipe #297: Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Well, the weather wants to be fall-ish, so I decided to make soup!  Here's a simple delicious recipe that's even better as leftovers.  Copied from Allrecipes.com.


INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into small
pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped
7 1/2 cups beef stock
8 ounces pearl barley
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
DIRECTIONS:
1.Cook beef stew meat in a large skillet over medium heat until completely browned, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a large soup pot.  (I browned the beef in bacon fat with some garlic salt)
2.Heat vegetable oil in the same skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onion, celery, and carrot in the hot oil until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture to the beef in the pot.  (I left the fat from the previous step and didn't add any oil)
3.Pour beef stock into the pot.
4.Stir pearl barley into the stock.
5.Place soup over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is completely tender, about 2 hours.  (I did this for about 1.5 hours and tested occasionally for tenderness.)
6.Stir mushrooms through the soup; cook 1 hour more.  (45 minutes was enough.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Recipe #296: Crispy Braised Duck Legs

After five days in Paris, eating their delicious food, I couldn't come home and make something mediocre!  Here is a great recipe for super tender, flavorful duck legs.  I made a special trip to West Side Market to get these delicious things.  You could sub out chicken legs for this if you can't find duck- just adjust cooking times as needed.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 duck legs
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2” dice
  • 2 carrots, sliced in 1/2” rounds
  • 1 celery stalk ,cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
DIRECTIONS:

Trim excess fat from the legs, being careful to not pierce the skin.  Salt and pepper both sides.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large dutch oven/French pot, brown duck legs in a single layer, skin side down 7 minutes, then flip and brown another 2-3 minutes until all legs are done.  Set aside.  I browned it in butter and reserved duck fat from a previous meal.

Pour out most of the grease, then add oil and butter if desired.  Salt and pepper and then brown the garlic, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme for 6 minutes.  Add wine and reduce by half.  Add broth and reduce by half.  Add the tomatoes and heat through.  Layer the duck, skin side up on top of the mixture and nestle in the bay leaves.  Cover and put in the oven for 2 hours.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recipe #295: Skillet Meatballs with Creamy Herb Sauce

So, I had a pound of ground beef I thought I'd need but didn't, and I also had a pack of garlic herb boursin cheese that I bought with no specific recipe in mind.  After a quick Google search, I found this recipe.  DELISH!  It's a bit like Swedish meatballs, but with a lot more flavor.  Easy, hearty, and worth making again....  Don't let the sort of boring pic fool you- it is quite the opposite of bland and boring.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Pound - Ground Beef
  • 1 (5.2 Ounces) - Package Boursin Cheese with Garlic and Herbs, Crumbled
  • To Taste - Black Pepper
  • 1 - Small Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons - All Purpose Flour
  • 3 1/2 Cups - Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 8 Ounces - Egg Noodles
  • 1/4 Cup - White Wine
  • 1/4 Cup - Fresh Chives, Finely Chopped
Instructions:
  1. Combine beef, 5 tablespoons Boursin cheese, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in medium bowl and knead gently until combined. Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook meatballs until well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.
  1. Cook onion in reserved fat until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Add broth, noodles, and wine and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until pasta begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add meatballs and simmer, covered, until meatballs are cooked through and noodles are al dente, about 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining Boursin cheese and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Farfalle with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I've been super busy, but last night I finally made something new and blog-worthy!  I had a rare craving for pasta, and this was the result.  This is from Cooking Light magazine.  I had to adapt a little because the mix of wild mushrooms wasn't available, as noted.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)  (I used a 12oz package)
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 12 ounces presliced exotic mushroom blend (I used a mix of oyster, shiitake, and crimini)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion 
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine 
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Minced fresh parsley (optional)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  2. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 12 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the cooked pasta, whipping cream, cheese, and 2 tablespoons parsley, tossing gently to coat. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Garnish with minced fresh parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Recipe #293: Singapore Noodles

Well, of the month of June, I was home one week out of them all between vacation (Florida!) and work (Illinois and Kansas!) and even if I had time to cook, was too tired to try anything new or fancy.  This is my first post in almost a month.  Hopefully it inspires some more.

This one is from the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated (and copied from their site) and I'm happy with the results.  Spicy, plenty of curry, and the fresh shrimp is delicious.  Light enough for summer but still hearty.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/8teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 6ounces rice vermicelli
  • 2tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 12ounces large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt
  • 3garlic cloves, minced to paste
  • 1teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
  • 2large shallots, sliced thin
  • 2/3cup chicken broth
  • 4ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts
  • 4scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2teaspoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil, curry powder, and cayenne, if using, in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
    2. Bring 1 1/2 quarts water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles and stir briefly. Soak noodles until flexible, but not soft, about 2 1/2 minutes, stirring once halfway through soaking. Drain noodles briefly. Transfer noodles to cutting board. Using chef’s knife, cut pile of noodles roughly into thirds. Return noodles to bowl, add curry mixture, soy sauce, and sugar; using tongs, toss until well combined. Set aside.
    3. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp in even layer and cook without moving them until bottoms are browned, about 90 seconds. Stir and continue to cook until just cooked through, about 90 seconds longer. Push shrimp to 1 side of skillet. Add 1 teaspoon oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently until set but still wet, about 1 minute. Stir eggs into shrimp and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp-egg mixture to second large bowl.
    4. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add bell pepper and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shrimp.
    5. Return skillet to medium-high heat, add broth to skillet, and bring to simmer. Add noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add noodles to bowl with shrimp and vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Add bean sprouts, scallions, and lime juice and toss to combine. Transfer to warmed platter and serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Recipe #292: Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach

Here's a fantastic recipe from Cook's Illustrated magazine.  It somehow manages to be both creamy and cheesy AND light and fresh tasting.  Amazing.  The recipe calls for fusilli pasta, but I used rotini.  Perfection!  It's like unstuffed shells.


INGREDIENTS:

11 oz whole-milk ricotta cheese (I used a whole 16oz container)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound pasta
1 pound baby spinach, chopped coarse
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 c heavy cream
1 tsp grated lemon zest plus 2 tsp juice (I used more)
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving (I used more)

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk 1 cup ricotta, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot.  Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente.  Reserve 1 cup cooking water.  Stir spinach into pot with pasta and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds.  Drain pasta and spinach and return them to the pot.

While pasta cooks, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, nutmeg, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining ricotta, cream, lemon zest and juice, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt until smooth.

Add ricotta-cream mixture and Parmesan to pasta and toss to combine.  Let pasta rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats pasta, 2-4 minutes, adjusting consistency with reserved cooking water as needed.  Transfer pasta to serving platter, dot evenly with reserved ricotta mixture, and serve with extra Parmesan.