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Julia Child’s Provençale Tomato Sauce

20 Aug

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Flavours of summer! We added a splash of cream and poached shrimp in the sauce.

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Julia Child’s Provençale Tomato Sauce

¼ cup olive oil

⅔ cup finely minced yellow onions

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

5 to 6 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered

⅛ teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press

A large herb bouquet: 8 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf and 4 sprigs thyme, all tied in cheesecloth

¼ teaspoon fennel seeds

½ teaspoon dried basil, oregano, marjoram or savory

Large pinch saffron threads

1 dozen coriander seeds, lightly crushed

1 2-inch piece dried orange peel (or 1/2 teaspoon granules)

2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Sprinkle on the flour and cook slowly for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not brown.

Meanwhile, fit a food processor with the coarse grating blade. Working in batches to avoid overfilling the machine, push the tomatoes through the feed tube to make a coarse purée.

Stir the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herb bouquet, fennel, basil, saffron, coriander, orange peel and 1 teaspoon salt into the pot. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, so the tomatoes will render more of their juice. Then uncover and simmer for about an hour, until thick. The sauce is done when it tastes thoroughly cooked and is thick enough to form a mass in the spoon. Remove herb bouquet and taste. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and tomato paste, and simmer two minutes more. The sauce may be used immediately, refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.

 

 

Baked Ziti

23 Nov

Baked Ziti: a new Saucy Cherie house special?"

Baked Ziti: a new Saucy Cherie house special?"


Our obsesssion with baked ziti stems from every gangster movie we’ve ever watched, and seeing slices of crispy NYC pizza topped with the stuff.

So when Mother Nature lost her effing mind this week, plunging us into a deep-freeze, we knew it was ziti time.

Only we couldn’t decide which of our two hoarded baked ziti recipes to try. So we combined them AND IT WAS FREAKING FANTASTIC. A bit of a Bittman/Rachael Ray mashup — Bittman’s simple tomato sauce and sausage with Ray’s rich bechamel nestled on top. It was the perfect mix of red and white sauce.

We did make use of some chopped celery and carrot we had lying around, and a splash of red wine was a good excuse for opening yet another bottle…

We love how simple this is. No ricotta or eggs necessary. The secrets here are easy: undercook the pasta, and use cubes or curds of cheese in the middle so you get surprise pockets of molten cheese.

BAKED ZITI
Time: about an hour

Salt and pepper
1 pound Italian sausage, preferably bulk or ground meat of any type, or a combination
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic, optional
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, with liquid (we’re going to try adding a half a cup tomato sauce to make it clingier, although the sauce was great as is.)
1 pound ziti or other large cut pasta
1 pound mozzarella, grated and chopped
Olive oil or butter as needed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

White Sauce (although we halved this amount for calories’ sake.)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
Freshly grated nutmeg

Bring large pot of water to boil; salt it. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Distribute meat in large skillet over medium high heat and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir, cook another 2 minutes undisturbed, then add the onion and garlic, if using. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft; add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer while cooking pasta, stirring and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste; do not let sauce become too thick.

Once you have the red sauce working, make the white sauce: Place a medium-size saucepot over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the flour, stir to combine and cook for about a minute. Whisk in the milk, add the bay leaf and season with some salt, pepper and a couple of grates of nutmeg. Bring up to a bubble, turn the heat down to low and gently simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Cook pasta until just tender; it should still be too hard to eat. Drain it (do not shake the colander; allow some water to cling to the noodles) and toss it with the sauce and half the mozzarella. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spoon mixture into it.

Top with the white sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella and grated Parmigiano over the top, transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until top is browned and cheese bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Rosy Rooster

3 Nov

Rosy Rooster Pasta, captured in all its glory via ghetto bberry photo


This isn’t exactly a recipe in need of recording — it’s a pretty basic, straightforward pasta and sauce.

We are having a serious crush on the chicken/rose/pasta combo, especially Wolfgang Puck’s delicious looking chicken bolognese.

But in our quest to fine tune a rose sauce, we like the ratio for this one. And we loved how our Barilla linguini soaked it up. We like using whole milk for this, because the extra fat in cream gives us the shakes.

This is a worthy contender for our new project, House Special, wherein we devise half a dozen no-brainer dinners that can be thrown together with ingredients on hand (or in this case, a quick trip to the market on the way home for sausages and celery. The rest we had in the pantry and fridge.)

SAUCY CHERIE’S ROSY ROOSTER PASTA

We whipped this up fast by sauteeing finely chopped shallots, carrot and celery with shitake mushrooms and minced garlic in olive oil.

We deglazed with a cup of white wine and added three Spolumbo chicken/red pepper sausages before covering the lid to simmer. We also added a generous splash of chicken broth. When the chicken is cooked, slice into rounds and return to pan. The liquid should be low at this point.

While we waited for the linguine to cook, we added three generous tablespoons of roasted garlic tomato paste to the saute pan, and nutmeg and herbs, and thinned it with a cup of whole milk.

Once that was mixed, we sprinkled a handful of asiago we had in the fridge.

We drained the pasta, but not too well. Must remember to reserve a cup of starchy pasta water. We added the still dripping noodles back into their pot and topped with the sausage and sauce, mixing with tongs.

Top with parsley and more cheese.

Fusilli, you crazy bastard…

29 Oct

We always crack up when we think of this 1994 New Yorker cartoon by Charles Barsotti. So we thought it would be a good idea to use fusilli for The Mister’s first crack at homemade mac and cheese. A little aged white cheddar, a little asiago, some fried onions and crumbled bacon et voila:

Just look at him. In the kitchen. Trying. This is going to be easy!
We used this recipe but remain confused about the ideal cheese/milk ratio, as all of our hoarded mac and cheese recipes are different.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
3 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup or more shredded asiago
pinch of nutmeg, but wish we’d used 1/2 tsp
500 grams twisty pasta

Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add butter, when bubbly, add flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about three minutes.

Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in two cups of shredded cheddar cheese a handful at a time.

Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce.

Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top.

 

Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese
Best of Bridge Grand Slam

(try adding some bacon or ham to this)

2 1/2 cups macaroni (625 ml)

1/4 cup butter (60 ml)

1/4 cup flour (60 ml)

2 cups milk (500 ml)

1 tsp. salt (5 ml)

1 tsp. sugar (5 ml)

1/2 lb. processed cheese, cubed (250 g) (Velveeta)

2/3 cup sour cream (150 ml) (fat free is fine)

1 1/3 cups cottage cheese (325 ml)

2 cups grated old cheddar cheese (500 ml)

1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs (375 ml)

2 Tbsp. butter (30 ml)

paprika

Cook and drain macaroni and place in a 2 1/2 quart (2.5 L) greased casserole. Melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour; mix well. Add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add salt, sugar and cheese. Mix well. Mix sour cream and cottage cheese into sauce. Pour over macaroni. Mix well. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and crumbs over top. Dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. May be frozen at this point. Bake at 350F (180C) for 45-50 minutes.

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“This vibrant pasta, tossed with beet greens and creamy goat cheese, is an ode to Charles Barsotti’s 1994 New Yorker cartoon of a rigatoni noodle on the phone to a friend, exclaiming, “Fusilli, you crazy bastard!” Tarry Lodge chef Andy Nusser says, ‘Mario [Batali] and I saw the cartoon at the same time. It became the punch line to every joke.'”

Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard
Recipe by Andy Nusser
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fusilli pasta
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 pound beet greens, rinsed and coarsely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 pound soft goat cheese, thickly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Directions
1.Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts for 7 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool slightly. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.
2.Raise the oven temperature to 450°. On the rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots.
3.In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, beet greens and crushed red pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are just wilted, 3 minutes.
4.Drain the fusilli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

 

Pasta With Zucchini, Feta and Fried Lemon Recipe – NYT Cooking By Alison Roman

This is a less saucy, more pasta-salad-like pasta, which is to say it’s best served at room temperature after being carted to an outdoor location and eaten directly from the container. The zucchini mixture should be deeply flavorful and concentrated, rather than loose or watery. If you’re looking for something saucier, add more olive oil (not pasta water) as needed to coat each piece of pasta before serving.

8 ounces pasta, such as spaghetti or bucatini

Kosher salt

¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

½ cup walnut pieces (optional)

2 large shallots,

1 medium onion or 1 large leek (white and light green parts),

thinly sliced 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons capers

1 ¼ pounds zucchini (about 2 medium), thinly sliced

feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

1 cup parsley or dill leaves, or a mix, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

 

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and rinse pasta with cool water to stop cooking and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking; set aside.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts, if using, and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are toasted and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer the walnuts to a small bowl (leaving the oil behind) and season with salt; set aside.

Add shallots and lemon to the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until both the shallots and lemons are totally softened and have begun to caramelize, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add capers and stir to coat in the oil, letting them sizzle a minute or two.

Add zucchini and season with salt and pepper. (Do not be alarmed at the amount of zucchini in the skillet; it will cook down by about half.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until much of the water has evaporated from the zucchini and it has totally softened, become translucent and is beginning to brown at the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. (This mixture should be very flavorful and lightly saucy.)

Family Fettuccini

6 Oct

Our darling sister-in-law whipped up this gorgeous creamy pasta while we were visiting seaside.

We were excited to finally try it, as it has been elevated to family lore.

We were quickly won over — swooned, in fact — and days later began googling to find a similar recipe (Victoria’s ReBar published its version in 2001 for its wild mushroom ravioli with leeks, cranberries and citrus-sage cream).

Lo and behold, we discovered it is a creation close to home… from our own local Best of Bridge ladies.

FETTUCCINE WITH SAMBUCA AND CRANBERRIES
Best of Bridge: That’s Trump (2001)

1/4 cup butter
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (shrimp and scallops would be divine).
2 garlic cloves, minced (we used more)
3 cups (750 ml) whipping cream
1/4 cup Sambuca liqueur
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1 – 14 oz. can (398 ml) artichokes, drained & chopped
3 oz. pkg. (85 g) dried cranberries
1 lb. fettuccine
chopped fresh parsley & orange zest for garnish

In a large frying pan, heat butter and saute cubed chicken and garlic until barely cooked (do not over cook!). Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Add whipping cream, Sambuca and orange juice to pan and stir well.
Add Parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper, stirring until smooth. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add chopped artichokes, cranberries and chicken; simmer and stir for 10 minutes. That’s it for the sauce! Now, cook the fettuccine according to package directions.
Carefully fold sauce into pasta and garnish with parsley and orange zest.
Serve with garlic toast.
Serves 6-8
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Creamy Seafood Citrus Pasta
Thrifty Foods
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
* 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
* 250 grams halibut fillet, cubed
* 16 medium prawns, peeled with tail portion intact
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 16 mussels
* 3/4 lb. linguini or fettuccini
* Finely grated juice and zest of 1 orange
* Finely grated juice and zest of 1 lime
* Finely grated juice and zest of 1 lemon
* 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
* 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
* Salt and white pepper to taste

Method
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Heat the oil in very large skillet over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the halibut and prawns and cook, gently stirring, 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover and cook until they just open. Transfer seafood mixture to a large bowl. Cook pasta in boiling water.

Add the citrus juice and zest to the skillet and cook until almost evaporated. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Return the seafood to the skillet. Stir in dill, salt and pepper. Toss in the cooked pasta and serve.

Spaghetti Western rides again

10 Jul

We can’t lie: we are obsessed with our Spaghetti Western theme (check out our Stampede category for the evidence). We have amassed a small collection of beefy, beery versions of party-style pasta just perfect for Stampede.

COWBOY SPAGHETTI WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE SAUCE
Rachael Ray
1 pound spaghetti
Salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 1 turn of the pan
3 slices smoky bacon, chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce (eyeball it)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
1 tablespoon chili powder (a palmful)
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin (half a palmful)
1/2 bottle pale beer (eyeball it)
1 can, 14 ounces chopped or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped
Yields: 4 servings
Preparation
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt, then the pasta and cook spaghetti until al dente according to package directions.

Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon, about 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Drain off a little excess fat if necessary but leave just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the sirloin and crumble it with a wooden spoon as it browns, 3-4 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, and season with salt, pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire, chili powder and cumin. Cook for another 5-6 minutes. Add the beer, cook for 1 minute more then add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring up to a bubble and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
While the meat sauce is cooking, make the cheese sauce: Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat and add butter. When the butter melts, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and then the milk. Thicken for 2 minutes then stir in the cheese and melt, for another 2 minutes. Stir in the jalapenos and scallions. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Drain spaghetti, add to the meat sauce and combine.
Pour into a large serving bowl and pour the cheddar cheese sauce over the top.

It begins and ends with bacon

15 Jun

Our beloved spaghetti carbonara recipe is rivaled only by amatraciana.

We love this straightforward, simple recipe because it seems a little Seventeen-esque, if you ask us. Easy and delicious!

SPAGHETTI ALL’AMATRACIANA
10-12 strips of thick cut bacon
1 med onion, diced
2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes, pureed
3 1/2 tbls red wine vinegar or wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 cup fresh grated pecorino cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, flat leaf parsley extra
1 lb spaghetti, cooked

Chop bacon into bite sized pieces and brown it in a pan. Remove it and pour out all but a tablespoon or two worth of fat. Brown the onion with red pepper flakes then deglaze the pan with the vinegar. Add the tomatoes, black pepper, bacon back to the pan.
Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn off heat. Stir in cheese and basil. Add the pasta and stir to coat. Serve, garnish with more cheese.

Other pasta recipes here.

Spagballs

8 Jun

We love the lycopene, but our betrothed is not down with thick tomato sauce.
Fair enough — America’s Test Kitchen to the rescue.
The first recipe is a dreamy, creamy sauce for short pasta. We have prepared a vodka rose sauce we served with slices of chicken rosemary sausage tossed with papardelle.
Amazing.
The second is a great bolognese that tastes as if it’s been cooking all day long.

“Readily available, canned crushed tomatoes trumped canned whole and diced tomatoes—theyíre bright in flavor, easy to puree in the food processor, and contain just the right amount of juice. Before adding the tomatoes to the pot, we cooked a few tablespoons of tomato paste with some onion and garlic, and added sun-dried tomatoes, to deepen the flavor of the sauce. A pinch of red pepper flakes, a splash of wine, and a little minced prosciutto added depth and tamed some of the sauce’s sweetness; a bit of reserved uncooked crushed tomatoes and another splash of wine stirred in before serving brought the sauce’s ingredients together. As for the cream, traditional heavy cream can’t be beat; we added it to the just-finished sauce to enrich it without subduing the bright tomato flavor.”

PASTA WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce prosciutto, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small onion, diced fine (about 3/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
Pinch red pepper flakes
Table salt 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , drained, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes (from one 28-ounce can)
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

“Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add prosciutto, onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and beginning to turn light gold, 8 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
‘Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (spoon should leave trail when dragged through sauce), 25 to 30 minutes.
“Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
“Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard. Stir cream, remaining 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine into sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with up to 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Stir in basil and serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.”

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Our first try with a panade. Highly recommended!
Bolognese-style meat sauce in under 60 minutes. The meaty flavor comes from the mushrooms; the beef is NOT browned to prevent it from becoming rubbery. Do not be tempted to use a different fat-percentage. 80% lean beef will yield a greasy sauce. 90% lean will become chewy.

EASY MEAT SAUCE
America’s Test Kitchen
1/4 lb white button mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 slice white bread (high-quality sandwich bread)
2 tablespoons milk
table salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
6 garlic cloves, minced fine
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, juice drained and reserved
3 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Directions
Remove stems from mushrooms. Cut into quarters and toss into food processor. Chop finely, 8-10 1-second pulses. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it smokes. Add onion and mushrooms and saute until soft and very brown, 6-12 minutes.
Pulse milk and bread in food processor until it forms a paste, about 8 pulses. Add salt and pepper. Add beef and pulse until just combined, about 6 pulses.
Add garlic, red pepper flakes and tomato paste to saucepan. Deglaze with 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juices (discard or consume the rest). Add 2 tsp fresh oregano (if using dried oregano, add all of it now) and stir well. Add meat mixture and stir until no longer pink, but not yet brown. Add drained, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Stir well, and simmer gently 30 minutes.
6Add remaining fresh oregano and Parmigiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over pasta.

Pucker up

10 Apr

joelens.blogspot.com

A study of pasta and lemon:

We’ve been whipping up lemony orzo since teenhood. Citrusy chicken broth emboldened with black pepper and parmesan is spring in a bowl. It screams for something green: grassy parsley, sweet peas, steamed broccoli, tender asparagus.

Turkey cutlets with lemon thyme cream sauce even made an appearance on the pages of our beloved 1980s-era Seventeen magazine.

Meyer lemons are finally available in our vincinity, though they are a luxury.
We begin with the best of the web, courtesy joelens.blogspot.com:

ITALIAN CHICKEN WITH LEMON THYME CREAM SAUCE
4 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.

Mix dry ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.
Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp (2-3 min). Add more oil for each batch as necessary.
Place cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

LEMON THYME CREAM SAUCE
recipe adapted from Food Network
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 white wine
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 lb cooked angel hair pasta
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
2 ounces Parmesan cheese to garnish

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring often until the shallot is translucent. About 1-2 minutes.

Add the wine to the sautéed shallot pot. Cook over high heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and the thyme and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook until it reduces by half. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the hot pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Plate the pasta and top with chicken. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley.

LEMONY PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS
FOOD52
Sea salt
1 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
Grated zest of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)

1/2 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)

Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
4 tablespoons fresh ricotta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the asparagus where the tip and stem meet. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
Warm the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until softened on the edges. Add the asparagus and season with salt. Cook, stirring to turn and distribute the asparagus, until crisp-tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Remove from the burner.
When the water comes to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Scoop out about 1/3 cup pasta water, and set aside. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the asparagus along with the butter. Place over medium heat. Use tongs to toss and melt the butter. Add half the lemon juice and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if needed. If the spaghetti is dry, fold in some of the pasta water.
Divide among 2 plates. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with parmesan. Drop 2 tablespoonfuls of ricotta on top of each. Devour.


LEMON SPAGHETTI
1/2 pound spaghetti or angel hair or other
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.

 

Cilantro’s Lemon Conchigliette

Yield: 4

250 g dried conchigliette pasta shells*

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

1 poblano pepper, julienned

1 tsp garlic, chopped

8 prawns

8 scallops

3 Tbs + 1 tsp (50 mL) dry white wine

1⁄2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream 35%

2 Tbs chèvre (soft goat cheese)

2 Tbs chopped fresh basil

To taste salt and pepper

1⁄2 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Boil the pasta until it’s cooked al dente, cool and set aside.

Sauté onion, pepper, and garlic on medium–high heat for 3-5 minutes.

Add prawns and scallops, and continue to fry for an additional 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and continue cooking until the wine is reduced by half.

Add the cream and goat cheese, let simmer on low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes then add pasta shells and fresh chopped basil.

Toss and heat just until the pasta is hot, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan and serve.

(*) Cilantro makes their own conchigliette with lemon juice. Add 1Tbs of lemon zest at the end to achieve the same flavour.

New Year’s

31 Dec

AT NEW YEAR’S, we especially think of lobster although the mere thought of  this recipe makes our jeans feel tighter. Damn you lobster spaghetti. Damn you!

We have been hoarding saving two versions of this famous Montreal recipe. We have both the restaurant’s offering and a home version from Bonnie Stern. We are thinking that Bonnie’s might be the winner, as she goes the extra step of steeping lobster shells in the cream for more flavour. Also, peas? Really? We’ll stick with Bonnie’s version below.

JOE BEEF’S LOBSTER SPAGHETTI

3 lobsters, cooked, meat and shells reserved

3 cups (750mL) whipping cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tbsp (25mL) cognac or brandy

1 sprig fresh tarragon

½ tsp (2mL) Tabasco sauce

4 oz (125g) thick bacon, cut into 1″ (2.5cm) pieces

1 pkg spaghetti

1 tsp (5mL) salt or more to taste

½ tsp (2mL) freshly ground coarse black pepper

2 tbsp (25mL) chopped fresh chives or tarragon

Cut lobster in large chunks. Reserve. Place cream in a large saucepan and add garlic, bay leaf, thyme, brandy, tarragon and Tabasco. Bring to a boil. Add lobster shells. Cook very gently about 1 hour. Strain cream into a deep wide skillet or wok. Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Just before serving, cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water until almost tender. Add lobster pieces to cream and gently reheat. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup (250mL) pasta cooking liquid. Add spaghetti to cream. Add bacon. Cook gently until sauce coats noodles well. Season to taste. If mixture is too thick add some reserved cooking liquid. Serve in a mound with fresh herbs and additional pepper sprinkled on top. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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LOBSTER SPAGHETTI Recipe from Joe Beef’s

2 4 1-1/4 lb. lobsters, cooked, chilled and cracked

1/2 lb. spaghetti 8 slices bacon, diced

1/4 cup brandy

1 cup peas

3/4 cup 35% cream

3/4 cup half-and-half cream

Salt and pepper

Chopped chives Remove meat from lobster tail, claws and knuckles. Chop into large chunks. Reserve. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Drain and reserve. Meanwhile, sauté diced bacon in large frying pan over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove all but 1 tbsp of fat from pan. Add brandy and boil 15 seconds. Add peas and sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Add cream and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Add half-and-half and lobster meat and cook until heated through. Add pasta and combine well using tongs. Season well with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped chives.