Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Summer Vegetable Cavatelli with Fresh Corn “Cream” – Corn Not Cows!

There’s a restaurant near us that features a burrata-filled tortellini, served in a cream sauce fortified with fresh, sweet corn. It’s a wonderful dish, and was the inspiration for this simple, summer vegetable cavatelli.

I was going to use reduced cream, with fresh, pureed corn stirred in at the end, but then I had a thought. What if skipped the dairy altogether, and made the sauce 100% cob-based? I was also out of cream.

So, I blended the fresh corn with some chicken broth, and ended up with what looked like corn milk. At first, I thought I’d made it too thin, but after a few tests reducing some in a pan, I realized it was thickening up beautifully.

While I was very happy with this, in hindsight, I’d do a few things differently next time. I went with pancetta, but I think the smokiness of bacon would have made this even more delicious. I also think you should probably add the corn cream to the vegetables, and bring it to a simmer before the pasta is added.

Of course, this recipe will work with whatever fresh seasonal vegetables you happen to find at the market, as long as its something that tastes good with sweet corn. In related news, everything tastes good with sweet corn. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:

For the corn “cream” (will make more than needed for the recipe)
2 ears fresh white corn, or other sweet corn
2 cups chicken broth or water

For the pasta:
2 cups cavatelli
1 tbsp olive oil
4 ounces diced bacon or pancetta (sausage would also work nicely)
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
1 1/2 cup diced zucchini
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 to 2 cups corn “cream,” or as needed
1 cup halved sweet cheery tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp finely sliced basil leaves
grated Parmigiano Reggiano
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

One-Pot Chicken & Sausage Orzo – Tastes Like You Used at Least 3 or 4 Pots

There’s something extra satisfying about a recipe like this one-pot chicken and sausage orzo, where you just basically dump the ingredients in a pot, and wait until it’s cooked. Sure, you have to stir it a few times, and it helps if you add stuff in the right order, but for how delicious this comes out, you’re doing very little actual work.

Having said that, there are a few variables involved, so you will have to really keep and eye on the pot for the entire 10-15 minutes, or however long it takes. The size of the orzo “grain” can really vary, so be sure to check for doneness early, and stop when it’s 95% tender, as it will continue to soften as you complete the final steps.

I like to keep a little extra broth on the side, in case my mixture gets too dry, and the pasta is not yet cooked. Just splash some in and keep on stirring. On the other hand, if your pasta is cooked and there is a little too much liquid, well, that’s life. You’ll just be enjoying an extra “saucy” dish that day.

Of course this will work with countless combos of sausage, veggies, and other small-sized pastas, so go forth and multiply. By the way, the nice thing about using a very flavorful sausage, like a spicy Italian, is that most of the seasoning is done for you. Or, go with fresh ground meat, and you can flavor it any way you want. No matter what you use, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 (6 ounce) spicy Italian sausages, casing removed
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces, OR 2 chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
3 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese to garnish
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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Oxtail Ragu – Worth the Wait

Other than a completely unnecessary braising step right in the middle of the video, this oxtail ragu came out amazingly well. My thought was to roast the oxtails in the sauce, in a slow oven to see if I could achieve the tender-sticky meat I know and love, while slowly reducing the sauce at the same time. I couldn’t. 

Well, actually, it would have eventually gotten tender, but I wasn’t prepared to find out how long that was going to be. Like I said several times during the video, I want you to roast your oxtail and onion until nicely browned, but then transfer everything into a pot, add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer until the meat comes off the bones with minimal effort.

The only way to screw up this incredibly succulent cut of beef is to not cook it long enough, which is why I better not read any 3-star recipe reviews that say, “Good flavor, but wasn’t as tender as I wanted.” Just remember to not braise, and keep simmering until it yields completely to your fork. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
(Pro tip: since this does take so many hours to simmer, it's almost always best to make this the day before you serve it)
3-4 pounds oxtail, cut into 2-inch sections, rubbed with olive oil, and seasoned generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
-- Roast at 425 F. for 45-60 minutes until browned
-- Transfer into a sauce pot, and add the following
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
4 cups tomato sauce or puree, or more if desired
2 cups chicken broth, or enough to cover the oxtails
* You can add as much sauce and/or stock as you want, as long as you have at least enough to cover
1 sprig rosemary
2 springs thyme
2 springs oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Simmer on low, many hours, until tender
- Should be enough sauce and meat for 1 pound of pasta
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Friday, September 9, 2016

Rigatoni alla Genovese – Maybe the Best Meat Sauce You’ve Never Heard Of

I have no idea why this amazingly flavorful Genovese-style meat sauce isn’t way more popular than it is. It’s quite simply one of the best pasta sauces you’ll ever taste, thanks to a very slow cooking process, and massive amounts of onions.

So, I just thought of two really good reasons why this isn’t way more popular. The recipe takes you a good 10 hours to make. In case you haven’t heard, this is roughly 9.9 hours longer than your typical Millennial is willing to spend doing something.

Also, slicing six pounds of raw onions by hand is no one’s idea of a great time. And no, you can’t use a food processor, or veggie cutting gizmo you bought at 2AM. These machines will crush and bruise the onions, releasing harsh compounds that negatively alter the taste. Cut your onions by hand, with a sharp knife, or not at all.

As I suggest in the video, cut them one or two at a time, near a breezy window, while you brown the meat, and you’ll be done in no time. Once everything is prepped, the recipe couldn’t be easier. Simmer until the meat and onions melt into each other, and serve. I really hope you give this very old, virtually unknown, but very tasty meat sauce a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for enough sauce for 2 pounds of dry rigatoni (8 servings):
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces pancetta or salt pork, diced
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, seasoned with 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup white wine
4 pounds yellow onions, sliced
2 pounds red onions, sliced
water or broth as needed to adjust liquid level during simmering
salt to taste

-- To serve, simmer finished sauce with al dente pasta for a few minutes until pasta is cooked through. Finish with fresh marjoram, cayenne, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Basil Ricotta Gnocchi – The Other (Better?) Gnocchi

One of these days, I’ll do a proper potato-based gnocchi video, but it’s hard for me, since I enjoy this style so much more. Sure, once in a while, with the help of perfectly cooked potatoes, and trusty ricer, you’ll nail the classic technique, and achieve beautifully light, tender dumplings; but, that’s how these come out every time. Besides, I’m pretty sure since these don’t use potato, or as much flour, we get to call these “low-carb,” which is nice. 

Anyway, the point is these are easy to pull off, and great for a dinner party, since you can shape/boil your gnocchi ahead of time, and then simply brown them up in some butter when you’re ready to serve.

I tend to keep the plating fairly basic for these, but any of your favorite pasta sauces should work. They're great as a main course, especially if you accessorize with some seasonal vegetables, but "as is," they also make for a stellar side dish, or first course. I really hope you give this basil ricotta gnocchi recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Portions Basil Ricotta Gnocchi:
12-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese (1 1/2 cups), *drained well
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, blanched in boiling water
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 not-packed cup)
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 unsalted butter for optional browning

Note: Cook a test piece of dough in salted water, and check for seasoning. Add more salt if needed

*My fancy basket ricotta tends to be low-moisture, so if you’re using the much wetter supermarket brands, be sure to drain in a strainer in the fridge for a few
hours to allow the excess water to drip out.
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