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Pappardelle with Sardines, Romanesco & English Peas

This Wine & Dine Wednesday post is a quick supper I whipped up a few weeks ago out on the island. We often keep cans of tuna and sardines there for an easy meal. They are super versatile, convenient and hugely flavorful to anything you mix them with. This is really about assembling as much as cooking as it is a one bowl meal that comes together quite quickly.

Cut the Romanesco into bite sized pieces, laying them on a sheet pan sprinkling with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven until some of the edges turn brown. Set aside. Salt a big pot of water and cook the pappardelle according to the package instructions. While that cooks away, shell the peas. Crack open a tin of sardines packed in olive oil, straining out most of the oil. Grate a few handfuls of Parm. Once the pasta is done, drain, put it all back in the hot pot that it cooked in. Add the peas. The heat from the warm pasta will cook them ever so slightly. Add the sardines, the Romanesco and the cheese. Toss. The sardines will break up and coat the strands of pasta. Add a bit more cheese if needed. Finish with a heavy hand with the pepper and taste to see if salt is needed. Enjoy!



 

 

Risotto with Fresh Asparagus & Peas

Fresh asparagus has been popping up at tons of places we have been shopping this last week. I grabbed the best looking bundle from the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store the other day, as a hankering for risotto had set in. Little did I know that the day I was going to make It world be close to 90 degrees. The process of stirring was a bit like being in a sauna, but by the time the sun set, the back screened porch had started to cool down and we enjoyed our meal out there while the crickets serenaded us. Was not finding fresh peas yet, so went with my old stand-by of a really high quality frozen bag. Opt for the larger, non-petit size. They really work pretty wonderfully in risotto. If you can find fresh, by all means use them. For the asparagus, chose the thicker the better. They hold up nicely when mixed into the hot rice. I cut them up first and roasted on a sheet pan at 400 degrees mixed with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Pull out while still a bit firm, as they will continue to cook later in the risotto. I took out all the tops and reserved in a separate bowl, as they look nice on top of the individual risotto servings at the very end.

Heat up the 8 cups of stock to not quite a boil, then turn down the heat a bit, but the stock should remain hot thru the entire risotto cooking process. Next, and here is where I like to use a good sized Le Creuset pot for cooking the risotto in, add a liberal dose of butter and cook a diced onion and shallot till they are not quite brown. Then add a good amount of olive oil to that, along with 2 cups of Arborio rice. Coat the rice with the butter and oil mixture, and sauté for a minute or two to cook through, but don’t brown the rice. All of the above is done over medium heat, but stove tops vary greatly, so adjust accordingly.

Now the liquids begin. Add one cup of white wine to the mixture. I like to use a white that we will be serving with the meal. Stir rice till the wine is absorbed. The depth of flavor the wine adds to the finished product is really noticeable.

Now the waiting hot stock takes center stage. Add one cup of stock to the mixture, stirring till the stock is fully absorbed. What holds many folks back about making risotto is there is a good amount of stirring involved. A constant stir is not necessary, but pretty close. This is where the white wine you opened comes in quite nicely. Sipping a little white wine during the risotto making process is a personal favorite–it is my break from stirring. Continue adding the hot stock one cup at a time, and the rice will become creamier as you go, as it releases the natural starches. Add the 7th cup of stock. At this point, you will be about 20 to 25 minutes into the rice cooking process. You are almost there.

Now add the bag of peas. It does not need to be completely unfrozen as the peas will defrost the moment they hit the hot rice. Stir. Now add the waiting asparagus pieces on the waiting sheet pan. Add a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir. Turn off the heat. Add another cup of stock. Stir. Add a dusting of salt & fresh ground black pepper. Stir. Put on the lid. Let sit for 5 minutes, have another sip of your white wine, as we are almost done. Once that 5 minutes has passed, give it one last stir, adding a bit more stock so it is nice and creamy. In a bowl add the risotto mixture, then add the asparagus tops to each bowl and finally a few sprinkles of the grated Parmesan. A bit of work, but that will all fade away when you have your first bite.



 

 

Parmigiano-Reggiano & Roasted Cauliflower Frittata

A frittata is one of those dishes you can make with just about anything you have in your fridge. I also love them for supper in a pinch. Last eve TPS was away and I whipped this up for a solo meal. We had part of a seeded baguette that was in need of eating before it went stale. A piece of Parm and a head of cauliflower spoke to me as I stood at the refrigerator door. We always have eggs so I knew a meal was soon at hand.

Cut up the cauliflower so you are left with small florets. Spread out onto a baking pan, douse with EVOO and a dusting of salt. Into a hot 400 degree oven, shaking the pan every 5 minutes until the cauliflower starts to brown in spots. Take out of oven, set aside. Turn your oven broiler on to heat up while you get the eggs ready.

Whisk 2 to 3 eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk. Add salt and pepper. Grate the piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano as well as cube some of it. I like the variety. Then heat up a skillet that can also go into the oven, with a knob of butter. Add the egg mixture. You want the heat on the stovetop to be medium low so the bottom of the eggs cook slowly. When it starts to set, add the cubes of Parm and the cauliflower sprinkling all around the frittata. Then add the grated Parm to the top. Now put whole thing into the oven under the broiler, making sure to watch it the whole time. It is so cool to watch it rise and bubble and cook right in front of you. When it starts to take on a slight brown, it is all done. 

This can easily be made in a larger pan with more eggs for a larger group. Add a salad if you want to make it a bigger meal. Tasty really any time of the day. 



 

 

Kale Salad with Maple Vinaigrette & Cherries

20140223-054152.jpg Just can’t seem to get enough kale. Love it. So healthy for you. So filling. What I also love about it is how well it keeps in the fridge. I bought a good sized bunch the day we got back from New York almost 2 weeks ago. Still was going strong when I took it out yesterday to make a little salad to take to the shop. Kale is also so great as it does not wilt easily, making it super transportable for salads for lunch, picnics, whenever. I just put the vinaigrette in the container first on the bottom and put the kale directly on top. When I am ready to serve it, I just shake the whole thing around, and the salad becomes perfectly dressed.

For the vinaigrette, maple syrup helps tremendously to add a bit of sweetness and take away any bitter the kale might have. In a bowl add a big dollop of Dijon mustard. To that add a few good glugs of maple syrup. Then the juice of one lemon. Salt & pepper. Then whisk in extra virgin olive oil until it all incorporates. Finally add Parmesan that has been grated super fine. Combine all for a flavorful vinaigrette.

I most times like to add dried cherries or cranberries to the salad. Yesterday it was cherries. Tear up kale into bite sized pieces, being sure to omit the tough spine. I just tear around the spine and discard them. Once all is mixed together, add another sprinkling of Parm to the top of the salad. I had it alongside Beecher’s mac & cheese, for a hearty, tasty lunch on a rainy day at the shop.



 

 

Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Butter Over Parmesan Croutons

20130505-070425.jpg Ahhhh, simple luxuries. The above white truffle butter is one of those things I like to have sitting in the fridge waiting for a big steaming bowl of pasta or a big bowl of popcorn. A few spoonfuls can transform both. Of course, buying truffles can set you back quite a few bills, but this truffle butter (and there are several fab brands out there, this is a current favorite) is not expensive by comparison, usually around $6 to $8. It lasts quite awhile, packs a serious truffle punch, and you really only need to use a little to really infuse the truffle essence. TPS was at a fundraiser dinner the other evening that I was not able to attend. When I got home from working late, I knew I really wanted a hearty, comforting meal after a long day. We still had some of the amazing fresh eggs that were a gift that I wrote about a week or so ago, as well as a baguette that was needing to be eaten that night. Scrambled eggs it would be! Growing up, my Dad would make us scrambled eggs for supper on occasion. It always makes me think of him when I have them for dinner. Here is a quick take on making eggs a simple luxury meal really at any time of the day.

Turn oven to 400 degrees while you cut up the baguette to bite sized cubes. Scatter on a baking pan. Dose with a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Put in oven, keeping a close eye on them, being sure to turn them every so often to ensure they don’t burn and that they brown evenly. When they are close to the brown-ness you like, sprinkle a generous portion of freshly grated Parmesan over the whole lot, letting that melt into the cubes. Take out of oven and set aside while you scramble the eggs. Yes, these make a very good thing to snack on as you scramble said eggs. Next, break 3 eggs into a bowl and whisk adding a splash of milk, S&P. On very low heat, add the egg mixture to a waiting buttered pan being sure to fold often with a spatula so the eggs don’t overcook. Cooking them on a low heat really helps that process of not overcooking them. Once done, take off of heat and add a big dollop of the truffle butter and mix throughout the scrambled eggs. I like both the white and the black truffle butter, but this go round, we had white in the fridge. Spoon over the croutons that you have put onto a plate. Get ready for some flavor explosions. I adore this combo. The earthiness of the truffle mixed with the fluffiness of the eggs mixed with the sweetness of the Parm on the croutons with a hint of the olive oil that has infused into the bread. Just so darn good. Pairs beautifully with a glass of champagne or white wine.

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Brioche and Parmesan Croutons

20130223-064615.jpg We had a marvelous loaf of brioche that for whatever reason did not get finished before it started to get a tad stale. This is the perfect time to whip up a quick batch of croutons. Easiest damn thing really. I had made a pot of pea soup and thought the brioche croutons would be tasty heaped on top for a little extra flavor. That was also the reason to polish up the English soup spoons from the post yesterday.

Heat oven to 375 while you cut up the brioche into bit sized pieces. Layout on a baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Take a chunk of Parm, and with a microplane or grater, grate a layer over the bread. With a spatula or large spoon mix all around. Repeat above process so everything is nicely coated. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, checking along the way, for the level of crunchiness you desire. I don’t love my croutons super hard, and the sweet softness of the brioche lends itself to these being on the softer side. Your call. Once out of the oven and into a bowl, grate another layer of cheese on top. These are also a great addition to a salad, or just ‘as-is’ for a little snack if you are feeling a bit peckish. Enjoy!

Happy Saturday, TKW



 

 

Crazy for Kale

20130121-084029.jpg I have just been seeing the most glorious varieties of kale this past month. Kale makes such a hearty salad, I thought I would make one to go with chicken cacciatore last night. Not only is kale tasty, it is really healthy, a ‘superfood’ as of late. As are walnuts, which are a particular favorite in our house. Here is what I made to have alongside our chicken dish.

Cut or tear kale into bite sized pieces and put into a large bowl. Be sure to omit using the hard, long spine of the kale. Add a handful of chopped walnuts. I like to dry pan roast the nuts for a few minutes to bring out the oils. Not necessary, but I think it adds flavor. Add a handful of whatever type of raisin you like to the bowl. Then microplane a good amount of Parm. I like the lightness it adds. Fine to use a grater too. The Parmigiano-Reggiano adding the perfect balance to the slightly bitter kale.

For the vinaigrette, add to a small bowl 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, a big dollop of Dijon, along with 2 pinches of salt and a pinch of pepper. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil to the consistency you desire. Add all to the kale mixture and toss.

For this salad you really can mix & match. Use pecans or hazelnuts in place of the walnuts. Use dried cherries or cranberries in place of the raisins. It is such a hearty, satisfying salad to whip up. Enjoy!