Pasta con zucchine e ricotta

Adapted from Memorie di Angelina and Galbani

Ingredients:

  • 400g (14 oz) short pasta of your choice (I had De Cecco Rotelle)
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices
  • 2-3 shallots, finely minced (used a small brown onion)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 250g (9 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 50g (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, sauté the shallots in abundant olive oil and a knob of butter for a minute or so, until wilted. Add the garlic and zucchini and raise the heat. Toss them as they cook until the zucchini is just tender, about 5 minutes or so. Turn off the heat when the zucchini are done.
  2. Mix the ricotta and the grated Parmesan cheese, together with the basil leaves if using.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in well salted water until al dente.
  4. Drain the pasta, but not too well and add it to the skillet and toss it with the zucchini over gentle heat. Add the ricotta mixture and mix well.
  5. Serve while still warm.

Shallots and onions are not the same, I know. No fresh basil, although a student last week told me, in all seriousness, that I should just buy a basil plant. You’re absolutely right, M. I only had one zucchini, so I would get at least two or three next time. Not my best picture, but I didn’t balance the cheese to zucchini proportion right (only 1 zucchini, correct cheese + mozzarella). Will do better next time ^_^

~Jessica

Shaved Brussels sprouts and shallot sauté

Adapted from Bon Appétit and Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1020 g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
  • 85 g pancetta (nitrite free)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (truffle aroma)
  • 12 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1 medium-small red onion, minced)
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or whole)
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Rinse sprouts. Working in small batches, de-stem Brussels sprouts to speed up removal of outer leaves. Then slice thinly.
  2. Slice the shallots / mince the onion.
  3. I toasted the pine nuts while I cooked the chopped pancetta, beforehand, a few minutes.
  4. Melt butter with olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add Brussels sprouts; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pine nuts and all the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon pine nuts and serve.
Shopping ingredients (roast almonds and raisins for the Swedish Mulled Wine (Glogg) Recipe – NYT Cooking)

I wanted to contribute something to my college friends’ pot roast potluck for NYE this year. A friend from our Ladies League NoMan (Northern Manhattan) meet-up made this for our Friendsgiving potluck this year, so inspiration is all hers. I added pancetta (no nitrates), made in New England. Red onion is the healthiest onion — grocery was out of shallots, sadly! Ah well. Those pignolis — so expensive!

~Jessica

Bison strip loin steaks

IMG_20180422_183840.jpgAdapted from Sayers Brook Bison Farm and The Bison Council and North Fork Bison

Ingredients:
vegetable oil
sea salt
black freshly ground peppercorns
butter
4 large shallots
2 garlic cloves, chopped
thyme leaves crushed from 2 sprigs
button mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoon of oil on medium-high. Add steaks and season with salt and pepper or your favorite herb.
  3. Sear on high heat for 1½ – 2.5 minutes per side (top and bottom only!). Set aside meat for a moment.
  4. Add mushrooms to the pan is smoking. Cook, about 10 minutes or until a pleasing golden colour. Add thyme and garlic, salt and pepper. Add butter, shallots, and peppercorns to cast iron skillet, and sauté until browned and caramelized. Stir often to prevent burning.
  5. Transfer meat to an oven-safe pan and roast 3-4 minutes.
  6. Rest for 5-10 minutes under tin foil. Serve with carbohydrates of your choice (I used Giovanni Rana spinach & ricotta ravioli).

~Jessica

P.S. I overcooked mine so it wa tough and barely edible, although flavorful. Next time I would only sear 1.5 minutes per side, and only top and bottom, not the sides, then I would only roast at 375 deg F for four minutes total, not four minutes per side and flip. Revised above to save you the trouble!

Farfalle al salmone

IMG_20171008_220954.jpgAdapted from Cucinaconoi and Mediterranealicious

Ingredients, For 4 portions:

  • 500 g of fresh tagliolini (or 360 g dried pasta)
  • 500 g of fresh salmon
  • 300-350 g of heavy cream
  • 2 spoonfuls of grated parmesan cheese
  • 40 g of brandy (optional — I had sherry)
  • 15 g of minced shallot (I had red onion)
  • 40 g of butter
  • 1 beefsteak tomato (Roma would have been better)
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • a little branch of dill (I used parsley)
  • a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions for the salmon:

  1. Clean the salmon, removing the skin. Then slice the fish into strips or cubes.
  2. Add the butter to the saute pan, add a spoonful of EVOO and the chopped shallot and let it pan-fry at a very low heat.
  3. Then add the salmon and let it sear, stirring to evenly cook. If you have brandy, pour over the fish. 
  4. When the brandy has evaporated, I added some chopped tomatoes and diced zucchini and let that saute a bit.
  5. Then add the cream, then salt and pepper, and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Directions for the pasta:

  1. Set a pot of water on high heat for the pasta. Once the pot is boiling, salt the pasta water.
  2. Cook the farfalle for 15 minutes or until al dente.
  3. When the pasta is ready, add it directly into the pan with a sieve; then add in half a ladle of the pasta water to bind the sauce.
  4. Sprinkle on some chopped parsley, some salt if necessary and let it pan fry for a bit, stirring. Switch off the stove, add some freshly grated parmesan. Garnish with some parsley as desired. Serve.

This YouTube video is a fresh salmon tagliolini recipe, an alternative to the classic pasta with smoked salmon; if you want, you can use 100-120 g. of smoked salmon instead of fresh. I couldn’t find a good price on smoked salmon, so I picked up 1 lb. of fresh salmon from Trader Joe’s. Enough for 3 generous portions, or 4 modest ones.

~Jessica

Brussels sprouts in brown butter sauce

img_0345Adapted from smitten kitchen

Salt
200 g brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
50 g unsalted butter
3 shallots, very thinly sliced
3 spoonfuls of flour
500 mL hot chicken stock
2 spoonfuls of lemon juice
Ground black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
10 roasted, peeled chestnuts, halved if large (we didn’t have this time)

Boil sprouts in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse cold. Saute shallots in butter in saucepan until fragrant, over medium heat. Set aside strained shallots and brown the butter. Whisk in flour. Whisk in stock. Cook until sauce is thickened. Add lemon juice, salt, black pepper, nutmeg. Add chestnuts and brussels sprouts. Scatter shallots on top and bake at 225 deg C for 15 minutes. Serve.

(Optional: we fried up a little bacon, minced into the dish.)

~Jessica

Rapunzel’s hazelnut soup

Rapunzel’s favorite dish that Mother Gothel makes. Here is the Disney version :

Disney-version Ingredients:

  • 2 lb butternut squash, seeded and cut into 6 sections
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of chicken stock, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts (for topping)

but… The version I prefer (I do not do fruit in my soup, thank you very much) is this: Creamy hazelnut soup

Ingredients:

  • some hazelnuts
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, white only, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 3 small russet potatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 1 spoon flour
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • 220 g crème fraîche
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • handful of chopped hazelnuts, roasted

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Once butter is melted and hot, add the sliced leeks and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft.
  2. Add the garlic, parsnips, and potatoes and cook for about five minutes, stirring often. Make sure your parsnips and potato pieces are about the same size and not too big. Add a few sprinkles of salt and pepper to the veggies as you stir.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of the peeled hazelnuts to the pot and stir for a minute or so.
  4. Add the veggie broth and creme fraiche and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, at least until the parsnips and potatoes are soft.
  5. Remove the thyme sprigs and use an immersion hand blender.
  6. To Roast Hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 275° F. Place 1 cup of raw hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the hazelnut skins burst. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, roll hazelnuts between paper towels to remove skins. Place skinless hazelnuts into a small plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.
  7.  Serve soup in bowls, and top with the crushed roasted hazelnuts.

~Jessica