Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

12 April 2011

Pasta swimming in a tomato cream sauce should be a go-to weeknight dish for everyone; it’s comforting, simple, and if you have some pantry basics, quick to throw together at the last minute. This very adds Spanish or Portuguese chorizo for flavor, complementing it with peas and black olives. The addition of rosemary to the sauce lends some complexity and brings the dish back to Italy.

This will give you enough for two (with plenty of leftovers for lunch!!!), or four if you serve it with some greens and a light dessert or glass of wine. Tradition would suggest a high-acid red wine to counter the richness of the cream sauce, but I liked this with a pleasant California chardonnay, in my case the 2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbera Chardonnay, a great value for $15.

Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 12 ounces (roughly a package) of whole wheat rotini, such as Bella Terra Organic
  • 2 shallots, sliced into rings ~1/8″ thick
  • 4 oz Spanish or Portuguese chorizo; the cured kind, not the fresh Mexican stuff, sliced into 1/4″ discs
  • ~18 pitted and roughly chopped black olives (I used Kalamata for their brininess but if you adjust your seasoning at the end … and I know that you will … use whatever kind you like.)
  • one sprig rosemary
  • 1 cup peas, fresh, but frozen if not in season
  • 1 cup basic red tomato sauce, like the kind you would already have in the fridge if you looked at the second recipe in this Italian Wonton post.
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • kosher or sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil

On to the mechanics …

  1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Drizzle some olive oil into it, it doesn’t affect the taste, but it’ll help keep it from over boiling and making a mess.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and stir. Reduce the heat — you just want to sweat them a bit.
  3. When they’re limp, add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until that beautiful red oil begins to leech out and the chorizo is heated through.
  4. Add the olives, rosemary, and peas. Continue to cook, stirring off and on, until the peas are starting to cook.
  5. Remove the rosemary and add the red sauce and the cream. Stir everything together, and drop your pasta in what should be your boiling water. Continue stirring the sauce every so often.
  6. After the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and transfer to a bowl.
  7. When the sauce reduces to a texture that you like, add the butter and stir to integrate it into the sauce. Check your salt and pepper, adjusting as necessary, and remove from heat.
  8. Dress the pasta by adding just enough to coat the rotini. This is quite rich, so will take less than you think. Make sure you include the chorizo, peas, and olives. The rest of the sauce will keep for a few days. It’s good over scrambled eggs, though perhaps a bit decadent.
  9. Plate and serve. Top with some fresh Parm if you’re in the mood.
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Light Lunch: Leftovers Salad

07 February 2011

The concept is simple: use what you already have before it’s too late.  The benefits are that you feel thrifty, creative, and healthy.

Pasta and Green Leaf Lettuce Salad with Red Peppers, Onions, and Chicken

Leftovers Salad: Pasta and Green Leaf Lettuce Salad with Red Peppers, Onions, and Chicken

We had leftover roast chicken, green leaf lettuce, a red bell pepper, a red onion, a lemon, and some cooked farfalle. We covered the bottom of a salad bowl with the pasta and dressed it with some extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. We washed the lettuce and tore it into reasonably-sized pieces and heaped it over the pasta. We washed, cored, and seeded the red pepper, sliced both it and the onion into thin rings, and placed it on top of the lettuce. Next, we removed the breast from the (cold) chicken, sliced / tore it into 1/4″ strips, and placed it on top. Finally, we hit it with some kosher salt and white pepper, and squeezed a nice portion of lemon juice over the whole thing. Toss and enjoy, ten minutes start to finish.

We all hate waste — what clever techniques do you use for dealing with leftovers?

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Sunday Green Board: Pasta with Veggie Marinara

06 February 2011

Yeah, I know, it’s a cop out. It’s pasta in marinara sauce with some veggies thrown in … but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome, and when the clouds are hanging heavy and the streets are covered with an inch of salt and three inches of slush, it can really hit the spot and help you forget about all that.

Basic Pasta w/ veggie loaded marinara

Farfalle in Marinara with Seitan, Crimini Mushrooms, Onions, and Basil

Forgive the picture, it doesn’t do it justice.

The exact amounts you need will depend on how much you want to make, but you’ll have to collect the following:

  • a basic marinara sauce, like we talked about in part one of the Italian Wonton post; we used about two cups
  • some chopped onion; we used half of a medium-sized yellow onion
  • around 4 ounces of ground beef-style seitan; we used Upton’s Naturals, but substitute anything you want, even real meat if you aren’t committed to the idea of the Sunday Green Board, or just like it better that way
  • some crimini or other tasty mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced, equal in volume to the amount of onion you are using; we used 8 baby bellas
  • some olives, about 1/2 the amount of the mushrooms; we used 8 pitted kalamata olives
  • fresh basil and freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese to taste; we used a dozen basil leaves and a good 12 tablespoons of cheese
  • your favorite dried pasta, or at least something you have in the cupboard already; we used around a pound or so of farfalle from Trader Joe’s. It would have been better using fresh pasta, but we were lazy today … it is Sunday, after all.
  • a bigger pot than you think you need, 2/3 full of boiling, salted water
  • sea or kosher salt, freshly ground black or white pepper, and decent olive oil

On to the business …

  1. Get that water going in the big pot … the more water, the better. Salt it so it tastes salty like the ocean, but not briny like something you would see in a grade school chemistry experiment.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, add the onions, reduce the heat a bit, and sweat them for a couple minutes. Add the seitan, mushrooms, and olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, so that everything heats evenly.
  3. When the onions are soft, add the marinara, stir, and cover. Continue heating, stirring every so often. Taste and then adjust the seasoning if you need to, but keep in mind that with the olives, you likely won’t need any more salt.
  4. After around 20 minutes, drop the pasta into the boiling water and hit it with a splash of olive oil to help reduce the odds of an over boil.
  5. When the pasta is cooked al dente (read the label but usually between 8 and 12 minutes), remove the pot from the heat and drain, allowing the pasta to dry for a few minutes in the colander or strainer before returning it to the empty and now dry pot. Hit it with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and stir if it’s sticking together.
  6. We’re serving 1970’s Italian-American style, so for each serving, plate a cup or so of pasta (more or less depending on whether it’s a starter or a main course) onto a warm plate, spoon over some of the veggie marinara, and top with torn or chopped basil and some grated cheese. Pour a chianti or some other rustic, tomato-loving red wine to keep it company.

Note: If you have a red checkered tablecloth, now is the time to break it out.

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