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Roasted Tomatoes with Crumbled Feta

We were invited early Monday eve to sit on the beach while watching the sun go down with a glass of wine by new friends out on the island, Don & Betty. They also walked us around their abundant gardens and filled up bags of vegetables for us to take home. The above tomatoes part of the bounty of goodness and extreme generosity. We came back to WW and roasted them up super simply by dousing with extra virgin olive oil and a generous amount of sea salt in the oven at 400 just until they started releasing their juices, which becomes the sauce when combined with the oil. When done, toss with your favorite just cooked pasta and crumble feta over the top of it all. Truly could not be easier but it is just so darn good when tomatoes are falling off the vine fresh and plentiful. You could certainly add minced garlic to the tomatoes before they go into the oven. Chopped basil too. Fresh corn would be amazing, as well. But this supper we wanted the freshness of the tomatoes to be the star so they took center stage.



 

 

Pasta Mélange

Mister Sive is at the helm this fine morning for our Wine & Dine Wednesday post, whipping up a family favorite.

Readers of my husband’s blog know our love of barbeque. This dish captures that char and smokiness, here from veggies and sausages, and melds it with pasta and cheese. Yum! Like many of Ted’s and my favorite things, you can vary what you put in to capture whatever looks good at the market or strikes your fancy. This version highlights the local sugar snap peas which are so phenomenal this time of year—they take well to the BBQ, holding up to the heat and developing a wonderful caramelization.

Prepare your barbeque. You’ll want a full bed of coals, to fit a mixture of different foods cooking at the same time. Hot, but not super-hot. Don’t worry about a little bit of black char on the veggies; when mixed in it just adds to the BBQ lusciousness. As your foods finish cooking, wrap well in aluminum foil so they stay warm.

1 head of Romanesco, leaves trimmed, the large florets cut off the main stem, well brushed with olive oil.

1 head of Cauliflower, prepped the same.

1 pound of Sugar Snap Peas, with ends trimmed and the center string removed.

2 medium to large Sweet Onions, cut into 6ths, through the hard core (so the slices in each chunk stay together while cooking), rubbed with olive oil.

4 cobs of fresh Corn, shucked, and rubbed with butter.

10 links of good Sausage (these were Ulis from the Pike Place Market); we like a mixture with both some sweet and spicy Italian.

As you’re finishing the last phase of grilling, put your pasta pot on. When the water is boiling and before you add the pasta, dip 1 pound of English Peas, shelled, into the water for just a minute. Drain, put aside, and cover. Cook 1 pound of pasta; we like Farfalle, as it catches the bits and pieces so well. When the pasta is cooked and drained, add a couple good glugs of EVOO, and half of a 1/2 pound of grated hard sharp cheese, such as Asiago or Romano.

Uncover your veggies one at a time, and chop the larger pieces up a bit—you want big chunks, but nothing that needs a knife. Add to the pasta mix, covering the pasta mix between batches of mixing in veggies to keep it all warm. Cut the corn off of the cob and add. Slice the sausage and add. Add the second 1/2 of the grated cheese, along with 1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh herbs (I used used thyme and oregano from the WestWard herb pots). Lastly, top with the quick cooked English Peas.

We served this with a simple arugula salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and a caprese salad. Partnered with a glass of chilled rosé, you’re now ready for Summer!



 

 

Summmaaaa Pasta

20160620-083538.jpg With a nod to Summer officially beginning this evening, I thought I would share a super simple Summmaaa pasta dish with you. Easy to whip up with all the variety of great veg out now or coming our way in the next few months. Whatever vegetables you decide to put into this is up to you. Use what you like, and use what looks freshest at the moment.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, my magical number when cooking, so the oven is nice and hot for when you are finished cutting up the vegetables. Cut up an entire head of cauliflower, making sure the pieces are quite small. The idea is all the pieces of everything you add to this is close to bite sized. Put the cauliflower pieces onto a sheet pan, drizzle all with extra virgin olive oil, then salt & pepper liberally. Then cut up a large bunch of asparagus, spreading out on its own sheet pan and getting the same oil treatment. You want each veg on its own pan as things cook differently, so that way you can pull them out individually when done. Put both in the hot oven and cook until things get nice and golden. Stir along the way. Once done, add all to a large pasta bowl.

Now get the pasta water ready to boil. When boiling add a few ears of corn, take out when done. Cut the corn off the husks when cool enough to handle and add to the bowl. Salt the corn. Sorry, I forgot to add the corn to the above bowl before I snapped the picture. Bring the water back up to a boil and add the pasta and cook to desired doneness from the instructions on the box. I am a fan of Cavatappi pasta, but truly, use whatever shape pasta you like best. Salt the water liberally and add a few splashes of olive oil. While the pasta is cooking away in the hot water bath, shell sugar snap peas and add them to the pasta bowl with the other veg. I love using raw for this as the heat of the pasta will cook them ever so slightly when tossed in, but they will have the slightest crunch which I really quite like. Then grate a good amount of fresh Parmesan cheese and add to the bowl. Stand back and admire just how pretty that all is…

When the pasta is done, take a measuring cup and fill it with the corn/pasta water. Set aside and then drain the pasta well. Add the hot pasta to the beautiful awaiting bowl. Mix in as much of the pasta as you think works well with the amount of veg you have. FYI, you might not use all of the pasta, and that is ok. Then add a bit of the pasta water to the lot. Mix around again. Salt and pepper all. Have a taste. You might want to add more cheese. You might want to add a little more of the pasta water. You might want to add a little more salt and pepper. Or not. It might just be perfect. You decide. Now enjoy it just as it is. Or serve it alongside a piece of chicken or fish. Or crumble chicken, Italian sausage or salmon into the pasta for a truly one bowl meal. As said above, this can all be changed up by what vegetables look best this Summer. Roasting them in the oven caramelizes them a bit and really brings out the flavor which adds so much to this pasta dish. Enjoy!

20160620-092328.jpg And a happy start to Summmmmaaaaaa!!!



 

 

The Brilliance That is Spinasse

20150925-060633.jpg A plate of out of this world pasta is a reason to celebrate in my book. When those plates just keep coming and each dish is better than the next, my head starts spinning with delight. No, make that my stomach, not my head. This is the beauty of Spinasse.

20150925-061041.jpg I dined there last week with my friend we have known forever, Lissa, who loves her pasta as much as I do. You might be sitting in the Pike/Pine neighborhood, but you feel transported to Italy. To a little magical spot that just feels good–you see folks cooking, the space is divided into two which makes it cozy, and the staff is warm & welcoming. My favorite dining experiences tend to be when you feel like you are in someone’s home. They always hit the mark. Spinasse has quickly become a classic. Yum.

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