Archive for the 'Pasta' Category

03
May
08

Menu: Dinner for Two

Inspiration: My husband often works late so on nights he arrives early I love to prepare an intimate setting. Dinner for Two is a simple and elegant dinner even for week night dining.

Creation:

  • Arugula & Prosciutto Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

  • Crusty Garlic & Herb Bread

  • Tortellini with Oregano Butter

           

 

What:

Arugula & Prosciutto with Orange Vinaigrette

  • 8 oz Arugula: washed, dried and roughly chopped
  • 4 slices Prosciutto
  • 1 large orange: zest & juice
  • 2TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 2TBSP honey
  • 1 clove garlic: minced
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4cup extra virgin olive oil

How: Preheat 350 degrees

  • Place prosciutto slices on baking sheet and bake until crisp approx 10 minutes. Let cool and crumble the prosciutto.
  • In blender or food processor combine the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt & pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • While processor is running slowly pour extra virgin olive oil & blend until fully combined.

Plate Up:

  • Place arugula in large bowl
  • Pour orange vinaigrette over salad and allow to wilt & toss
  • Sprinkle prosciutto crumbles & toss salad again

What:

Crusty Garlic & Herb Bread

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3 garlic cloves: minced
  • 2TBSP Parmesan: fresh & grated
  • 1tsp rosemary: fresh & chopped
  • 1tsp oregano: fresh & chopped
  • 1 sweet Italian loaf: sliced

How: Preheat 450 degrees

  • Oil the inside of the bowl of a food processor (will help the herb butter from sticking)
  • Add softened butter, garlic, Parmesan, rosemary & oregano
  • Pulse until well combined
  • Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread
  • Lightly toast the bread: approx 5-6 minutes

Plate Up:

  • Place bread on desired serving plate
  • Serve warm

What:

Tortellini with Oregano Butter

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2tsp dried oregano
  • Parmesan: fresh & grated
  • 1 pkg cheese tortellini (find in deli section or freezer section of market)
  • Kosher salt

How:

  • Bring large pot of water to boil: salt generously
  • Boil tortellini until translucent & puffed
  • Melt butter in saute pan over medium heat
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Add oregano and stir 2-3 minutes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Plate Up:

  • Using a pasta strainer or slotted spoon put tortellini into large serving bowl
  • Pour oregano butter over the tortellini
  • Toss & Sprinkle with Parmesan
  • Serve

The ingredient combination of Dinner for Two was superb. Each dish complimented one another with the key ingredient of oregano. Arugula Prosciutto Salad with Orange Vinaigrette cleansed the palate and offered a touch of sweetness which blended beautifully with the salty Tortellini with Oregano Butter & Crusty Garlic Herb Bread.

Ciao’

 

 

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27
Apr
08

Penne with Sundried Tomato Pesto

Inspiration: Two of my favorite ingredients: Pasta & Sundried Tomatoes

Creation: Penne with Sundried Tomato Pesto

 

What:

  • 8 oz Penne
  • 1 Jar Sundried Tomatoes in olive oil (If unavailable use 1pkg Sundried Tomatoes): chopped
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil: Chopped (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves: Minced
  • 1/2cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4cup Parmesan: fresh & grated + extra Parmesan for sprinkling on top (Amount depends upon pallet: I love Parmesan so I may use more…personal preference!)

How:

  • Bring large pot of water to boil: Salt
  • Add Penne boil 8-9 minutes: Al dente’ – Reserve 1/4 cup salted pasta water
  • In food processor: blend sundried tomatoes, basil, garlic & parmesan until well chopped & mixed
  • Add olive oil & pulse until well combined: pesto will be a bit chunky which is good for texture

Plate Up:

  • Pour Pesto into large bowl
  • Top Pesto with Penne & 1/4 cup pasta water to help create sauce
  • Toss
  • Sprinkle with desired amount of Parmesan
  • Serve

Simple creation & superb combination! What better combination can one create than sundried tomato, basil & garlic?!? If you love tomato based sauce this is an easy & elegant way to prepare sauce for pasta.

Ciao’

16
Apr
08

Penne & Arugula w/ Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Inspiration: Side dish for Grilled Ribeye & Parmesan Cheese Straws

Creation: Penne & Arugula with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

 

What:

  • 6-8 oz Penne: Vary amount for number of servings
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Arugula
  • 1 Lemon: Juice
  • 2 TBSP Dijon Mustard: Mild & Creamy w/ White Wine
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Gorgonzola: Crumbled

How:

  • Bring water to boil & then salt: use fair amount to best season the penne
  • Boil penne 8 minutes: al dente
  • Meanwhile, place Arugula in serving bowl
  • Whisk: Lemon juice, Dijon & Honey
  • Pour & Whisk Extra Virgin Olive Oil until fully combined
  • Remove Pasta with Pasta Strainer directly to the salad from the boiling water
  • Pour over the dressing
  • Sprinkle with Gorganzolla
  • Toss & Serve

The creaminess of the gorganzolla mixed with salty penne & peppery arugula blended beautifully with the fresh sweet & tangy Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette.

Simple & Savory!

Ciao’

11
Apr
08

Artichoke & Sundried Tomato Penne w/ Lemon Ricotta Sauce

Inspiration: Left over Artichoke from Artichoke & Tomato Panzanella

Creation: Artichoke & Sundried Tomato Penne with Lemon Ricotta Sauce

 

What: Serving One

  • 4 oz Penne
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: enough to coat saute pan
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 8 Sundried Tomatoes: Sliced & Cut in Half
  • 1/2 cup Artichoke
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan: Fresh & Grated
  • 1 Lemon: Zest & Juice
  • 1tsp Basil: Fresh & Chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

How:

  • Bring pot of water to boil & then salt
  • Add Penne: al dente
  • Heat Saute Pan on Medium Heat
  • Once hot: Coat pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Saute Garlic: 1 minute just fragrant
  • Add Sundried Tomatoes & Artichoke: Saute 5 minutes
  • Reduce Heat: Low-Medium
  • Stir in: Lemon Juice & Zest, Ricotta & Parmesan: Simmer while Penne finishes cooking
  • Add Penne directly from water to the sauce
  • Toss

Plate Up:

  • Pour pasta in serving dish
  • Sprinkle Parmesan & Basil

If you love artichoke as I do…Artichoke & Sundried Tomato Penne w/ Lemon Ricotta Sauce will soon be a definite favorite!

Simply divine

Ciao’

04
Apr
08

Ravioli & Balsamic Brown Butter

Inspiration: Adaptation of recipe I stumbled upon in Real Simple magazine

Creation: Ravioli & Balsamic Brown Butter

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What:

  • 1 pkg frozen Four Cheese Ravioli (can be found in deli section of market)
  • 3 TBSP Butter
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan – fresh & grated
  • 1/4 Walnuts – toasted
  • 1 TBSP Italian Parsley – fresh & chopped
  • Kosher Salt & Fresh Pepper

How:

  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil
  • Add Ravioli – boil 8 minutes or until they float (tender but still a bit firm)
  • Remove Ravioli from water with a pasta spoon & place in small bowl or on dish
  • Medium Heat: Melt butter in saucepan & allow to become translucent & golden
  • Stir in Balsamic Vinegar
  • Add toasted Walnuts – allow to coat
  • Dash of Salt & 3 turns of Pepper Mill
  • Toss Ravioli with the Balsamic Brown Butter

Plate Up:

  • Serve immediately
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan
  • Sprinkle with Italian Parsley

Salty Balsamic Vinegar with Butter & the toasted walnuts with the nutty flavor of Parmesan creates a creamy, sweet & salty sauce for Cheese Ravioli.

Dinner made simple & savory!

Ciao’

14
Mar
08

Comfort Food: Mac & Cheese

Inspiration: Ooey Gooey Goodness….Creamy Mac & Cheese

Creation: White Cheddar & Parmesan Mac & Cheese

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Preheat 375

Butter sides of medium baking dish 

What:

Bechamel Sauce

  • 6 TBSP Butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pasta

  • 16 oz box macaroni pasta
  • Kosher Salt

Cheese

  • 3 cups White Cheddar – grated
  • 2 cups Parmesan – grated

Topping

  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan – finely grated

How:

Bechamel Sauce         

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  • Melt butter in saute pan
  • Whisk in flour quickly until absorbed
  • Reduce heat to medium
  • Slowly pour milk – whisking vigorously
  • Continue whisking – sauce will thicken
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Add salt, pepper & nutmeg – keep warm

Pasta

  • Bring 1/2 large pot water to boil
  • Handful salt to water
  • Add macaroni noodles – boil 8-9 minutes
  • Drain – NOT rinse

Mac & Cheese

100_0330_600x450.jpg                   100_0331_600x450.jpg    

  • Pour cooked pasta into large bowl
  • Pour Bechamel Sauce over – mix well
  • Add White Cheddar & Parmesan – mix well
  • Pour mixture into baking dish
  • Sprinkle with bread crumbs & Parmesan
  • Bake 35-40 minutes – till bubbly & crumbs are brown

Process sounds intense….but it’s so simple & definitely worth every creamy bite!

Ciao’

13
Mar
08

Angel Hair Pasta di Lemon

Craving: Pasta, Lemon Sauce & Garlic

Creation: Angel Hair Pasta di Lemon

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What:

  • 1 lb box angel hair pasta
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 (8 oz) tub sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan – freshly grated
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 3/4 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Lemon – zest
  • 1/2 Lemon – juice
  • 2 TBSP parsley – chopped
  • 2 TBSP chives – chopped

How:

  • Melt butter medium high heat in saute pan
  • Add garlic – cook just a minute to bring out flavor
  • Stir – Sour Cream, Parmesan, Milk, Lemon Pepper, Salt, Lemon Juice, & Lemon Zest
  • Reduce heat & let simmer

Angel Hair Pasta 

  • Bring 1/2 large pot of water to boil
  • Salt water with good handful Kosher Salt
  • Add pasta cook – 8-9 minutes

Serve:

  • Drain Pasta – NO rinse – Keep the salt on the pasta
  • Place in large serving bowl
  • Pour Lemon Sauce over and toss with tongs
  • Sprinkle with parsley, chives & extra Parmesan

Bon Appe’tit!

Ciao’