Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Linguine with Bay Scallops and Pancetta
8 ounces linguine
1/3 pound pancetta, cut into large dice
1 pound bay scallops
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook until not quite al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet on medium low and add pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fat has rendered and the pancetta is well browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour the rendered fat into a separate bowl, leaving about a tablespoon in the bottom of the pan.
(Note: Try not to eat all the pancetta as you're cooking the rest of the dish. Me? I didn't touch a single piece. Not a one. *Whistles*)
Turn the heat up to medium high. Add scallops and cook until just browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove scallops to a separate plate and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of the pancetta fat to the pan. Add garlic and shallots and saute until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Add butter, parsley and basil. Cook, stirring, just until the butter melts, about 1 minute. Add the cooked scallops and pancetta back to the pan. Stir in linguine and toss to coat.
One of those "accident" meals. I knew when I bought the bay scallops that I wanted to do a pasta, but I thought it would be an old one I used to make with Meyer lemon, chervil and breadcrumbs. Instead, I remembered I had a hunk of pancetta in my refrigerator and some shallots, parsley and basil to use, so this dinner was born.
This. Was. Spectacular. I don't know about you, but when I combine shellfish and pasta, I don't think there is any better sauce to bring the two together than one made with garlic, white wine and butter. The pork fat as cooking medium was just an added bonus... to say the least. I am definitely doing THAT again.
Speaking of which, if you can buy it nearby, I wholeheartedly, enthusiastically recommend Fra'Mani pancetta. I used it in another scallop dish not long back and now I am a loyal customer. I never even liked pancetta before I had theirs. And no, they didn't pay me to say that.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Caprese. Pasta. There is virtually no better use of fresh tomatoes and basil than this simple dish. And when I say simple, I mean SIMPLE.
It's basic math:
I have my dear friend Krysta to thank for this, and thank her I do, profusely, multiple times per summer, since 2008 when I first saw it on her blog.
There are no set amounts here. It's all up to you. This is what you will need:
Fresh basil leaves
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions; drain well. Pour into a medium bowl, squirt a bit of olive oil on it, toss and let cool to room temperature.
Cut up the tomatoes and chiffonade the basil. Mix together in a large bowl, soak with olive oil, and add salt and pepper, to taste. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, perhaps while the pasta cools off.
Pour the cooled pasta into the bowl with the tomato basil mixture. Combine well, taste (try not to eat the whole bowl right then and there), and add more salt and/or pepper, if needed. Add shredded mozzarella and toss.
Funnel into mouth.
Have I convinced you yet that you need this in your life? Seriously? Do you need me to come over there and smack you around a little?
1. Use an appropriate pasta shape. Long noodles not recommended. After the first year of making this with all kinds of shapes, I declared medium shells my absolute favorite. Rotini and penne and orzo also work, but they all still rank far behind the shells, for me.
2. Use the best tomatoes available. And not Roma. Seedy, juicy vine ripe ones, in season. When I am a bit out of season, I use grape or cherry or, as seen in this post, baby heirlooms, which were just... oh man... refer back to picture of Homer.
3. Use shredded mozzarella. I love fresh mozzarella, but not in this dish. NO. I've seen this done with fresh, in recipes online or on TV, and I just don't get it. I made it with fresh myself, just to see, and learned the hard way - twice. Wrongity wrong wrong wrongness. Don't do it.
Variation: Try it as is first, then try it with chopped chicken tossed in. *Cries*
Saturday, June 18, 2011
1 pound strawberries, hulled
1 (59-ounce) container Simply Lemonade
Puree the strawberries in the blender FIRST. If you do the berries and juice together, by the time the berries are liquified, a huge foam head will have formed and you won't be able to fit a lot of it back into the original container.
Once the strawberries are pureed, pour in the lemonade to the top line of your blender glass, then press the lowest setting on your blender (mine is "Stir") for just a couple of seconds, to combine.
Voila. Strawberry lemonade.
Pour as much back into the container as will fit. You'll probably have just a bit left in the bottom of the blender. Drink it immediately, straight out of the blender glass. No, not really. *Cough*
One of my own brilliant (!) ideas. Do it while strawberries are in season; it's spectacular. It was a huge hit at my birthday party four weeks ago and I've been making it constantly ever since.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or venison)
1 pound ground pork (preferably pork shoulder)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
Place the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until nearly at a paste-like consistency. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the beef and pork. Cook until browned, stirring frequently, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
Add the vegetable mixture to the pot along with the salt, basil, oregano, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely soft and everything is well combined.
Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, milk and white wine and stir. Simmer over medium low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Season with salt, to taste, and remove from heat.
Serve with fresh pasta (store-bought or homemade) and lots of grated cheese at the table.
Absolutely delicious and one of our all-time favorites. Easy, too!
Traditionally, ragu Bolognese is made with veal, pork and pancetta; mine is modified for the sake of cost and convenience. I also use more tomato paste, and add tomato sauce, oregano and basil. To each his own, I say! I rarely condone the use of a food processor for vegetable preparation, in this case, I encourage it so that the vegetables kind of melt into the sauce after the long simmer. It's perfect.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
adapted just a tad from Smitten Kitchen
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan OR a 9- to 10-inch springform cake pan. Whatever ya got. Just don't use a regular 9-inch pie pan or it will overflow.
Sift flour into medium bowl. Lightly whisk in baking powder and salt. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture, gradually, until just smooth.
Pour into prepared pie plate or cake pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer.
Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
Bake cake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then reduce oven temperature to 325 and bake cake until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges (remove from springform pan first, if used). Sift/spank powdered sugar over the top, if desired. Serve with strawberry compote (see below).
1 pound strawberries, hulled and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Place strawberries and sugar in small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat (if cooking this small amount, it may start to bubble too violently; simply reduce temperature to medium low) until compote thickens slightly and just coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.
This cake is awesome and makes such perfect use of seasonal strawberries. It tastes of milk, butter and fruit, and is taken to new heights with a spoonful of the sweet compote on each bite.
If the batter seems too thick to pour into the pan, gently incorporate another splash of milk. Works beautifully.
The first time I made this cake, I crammed more strawberries into the empty spaces on top and served the cake with fresh whipped cream. However, I much preferred it the second time, which is pictured here. Less strawberries made it far easier to cut into pretty wedges and the compote adds that extra strawberry flavor.
Making ahead is recommended. Both times I found the texture and taste better after letting it rest at least half the day, even overnight (if keeping overnight, loosely cover with foil on a cool counter).
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I started making my own pasta last May, when Steve was ever so thoughtful and bought me a nice rolling machine for my birthday.
It took some effort the first time, the usual getting the hang of something new and all. After I did it once, though, I started finding a rhythm with it and then I wondered why I hadn't bought a roller sooner.
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
(this can be easily doubled, tripled, etc.)
Mix the all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of semolina flour together in a small bowl, leaving 1/4 cup semolina aside. Pour the mound of flour out onto a large cutting board (or counter) and make a well in the center. Break the eggs inside the well.
Take a small fork and whisk the eggs in the center, slowly pulling little bits of the wall of flour into the well as you go, until a batter starts to form. When it becomes too thick to keep using a fork, gather the rest of the flour in with your hands and knead it into a dough. Add more of the reserved semolina if it seems too sticky. If it seems dry, if bits of dough are scattered on the board, don't worry. As you knead, these bits should be able to be "picked up" by the ball of dough. If not, that's okay, too.
Knead until it becomes relatively smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, then let it rest under a bowl for at least 30 minutes. If you're making the dough ahead of time, you can cover it lightly with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. Just bring it back to room temperature first.
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Lightly flour the first piece, then roll it out a bit with a rolling pin, just until you're able to fit it into the widest setting on your roller.
Roll it through on the widest number, then turn it down one notch and roll it through again.
Continue passing the dough through, once per roller number setting, until it is fairly thin, but not on the verge of tearing.
My machine goes from 6 to 1 and I have never used the "1" setting since "2" seems to get it right where I want it.
Now you have options. You can do as I do most often and make tagliatelle. Lightly flour the dough sheet and fold it in half, then in half again.
Slice into about 1/2-inch strips with a large knife. Try not to press down on the dough with your other hand while doing this or the dough will resist and stick when you try to unfold it.
Now "shake" the dough out until it unfolds. You'll see what I mean if you grab it and flop it around... the best way I can describe this is imagine you were massaging or shampooing with your fingers, but just kind of grab and shake the noodles out with that motion. You may need to sprinkle the dough with flour to assist in the process.
Transfer the pasta to another lightly floured board or a baking sheet while you finish working with the rest of the dough. Small piles are best; otherwise, the noodles may stick together as they sit.
Repeat with remaining three pieces of dough. Voila. Piles of tagliatelle.
Or! Or, if you have an attachment for thin pastas, you can make spaghetti or linguini. Same process as the tagliatelle, except after rolling the sheets through the machine on the thinnest setting that you want, you simply run it through the attachment in its final pass.
And voila. Spaghetti.
There are other options, too - ravioli, bowties, tortellini, on and on. There are a lot of shapes I haven't tried yet, but I will.
To cook, bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Cook the noodles for just a couple of minutes, drain and add to pan with sauce to combine.
Note that if there is a visible white layer of flour on your waiting noodles, you may want to shake them out one more time before putting them in the water or else you could end up with goopy noodles. A little flour is okay, though. Mine is usually a bit dusted with it and I've never had problems.
Tagliatelle with ragu Bolognese:
Spaghetti with sausage and marinara, served with braided semolina bread:
Two main things here:
1. I go half and half with the flour, rather than use only all purpose. This isn't necessary, and AP works fine, but since I have semolina easily at my disposal, I use it. We had it with all AP the first time and we prefer the chew of the 50/50 blend.
2. A lot of fresh pasta tutorials tell you to flour the pasta sheets each time you pass it through the machine so it doesn't stick. I won't do that these days (thanks, Mario Batali!) because it adds too much flour to the dough and then, suddenly, you've changed the final texture. If you've made a good dough and you flour it in the beginning before the first pass, this really should be enough during the rolling phase.
Above all, have fun! Fresh pasta is a beautiful thing, but not a difficult thing, not at all. Don't be shy of it. The first time I did it, my "well" collapsed and I had egg running all over my board as I scrambled to gather it back with the flour... and I laughed and laughed the whole time. Sure, it can be a bit messy, so make it a Saturday afternoon project. Make it leisurely. Just MAKE IT. If you have the equipment (or are considering purchasing it) and you have the inclination, then make it. To say it's worth it is a huge understatement.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Chicken Tikka Masala
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into large cubes
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chile, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Crushed red chile (optional, can be found in most Asian markets)
In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, grated ginger, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook in oven for 25 minutes, until cooked through.
Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeno and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the ground coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin, paprika, garam masala and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the tomato sauce, half and half and water stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken with all the accumulated juices (don't omit that!) to the sauce and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro (and crushed red chile, if desired).
Serve over basmati or jasmine rice.
Man. Oh. Man. This is chicken tikka masala, *perfected*.
This is an almost 50/50 blend of two recipes - one from my friend Sarah that I used to have posted here for years and one from my friend Bev (who recently closed shop *sniff*). I blended the spices from both and used the chicken roasting method from Bev's and holy cow...
Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, intensely rich and savory. Tikka masala nirvana. I can't imagine it getting any better than this.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Beef and Broccoli
slightly adapted from Amy
For the beef:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 pound flank steak, sliced against the grain in 1/4-inch x 1-inch pieces (note: freeze the beef flat for 20 minutes first, for quick and easy slicing)
For the sauce:
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons water
For the rest:
1 large head of broccoli, cut up into stems and florets
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 scallions, chopped or sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Grapeseed or other neutral oil
Crushed chile flakes or chile garlic sauce for serving
In a medium bowl, stir together the cornstarch, baking soda, salt, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of water. Add the beef and mix until well coated. Set aside.
In another small bowl, add all the ingredients for the sauce; whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan with a steamer. Add the broccoli to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 5 minutes, or until a floret can just be pierced by a fork. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
Remove the beef from the bowl and pat dry with paper towels. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until very hot. Add the beef and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until just cooked through. Transfer meat to a colander to drain.
Add another 1 tablespoon oil and heat until very hot. Add the onion and scallions and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Pour in the rice wine vinegar to deglaze the pan. When it has mostly evaporated, add the sauce, stir, and bring to a boil.
Add the cooked beef and steamed broccoli and stir fry until the sauce thickens and everything is heated through, another 2 to 3 minutes. (If you want more sauce, add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and let boil for a couple of minutes before stirring and tossing through again.)
Serve over Jasmine rice with crushed chile flakes or chile garlic sauce on the side.
Amy gave this family favorite to me a long time ago and I'm upset with myself for waiting so long to give it a proper go. This is absolute perfection. Savory, sweet, beefy perfection. I didn't even want to add spicy sauce to it the first time... it's an Asian stir fry and I didn't want to add heat... now THAT'S love.