Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spaghetti with Pea Shoots, Mint and Ricotta Salata

*Whole wheat spaghetti works really well with this.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Tomatoes and Tuna

Every summer I roast and freeze tomatoes to use when they are out of season. This dish is great with fresh tomatoes, but since it's December, I tapped into my reserve and used the roasted ones instead. It actually ends up saving time, since the tomatoes are already caramelized and you can just throw them into the sauce as is.

Boil pasta. Melt anchovies in a little olive oil, and add garlic (I just throw in whole cloves), capers and chili flakes. Add tomatoes, tuna*, smashed Kalamata olives, and a little pasta water. Season with black pepper. Toss with drained pasta and serve.

*I always use tuna canned in olive oil for cooking. I think it is more flavorful and moist than the kind in water, but you could use either.

Radicchio with Clementines, Green Olives, Feta Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Banana Tart Tatine

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver (with a few changes by me), and is delicious! I served it with dulce de leche ice cream.

2 oz butter
3/4 C sugar
4 large bananas
Ground cinnamon
Zest of one tangerine, or half an orange
1/2 lb puff pastry

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter and add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Cook over low heat until golden and caramelized (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, peel the bananas and slice them about an inch thick. Lay them carefully on top of the caramel (watch out- the caramel is very hot). Remove from heat and sprinkle some cinnamon and the orange zest on top. Lay the puff pastry over the top of the skillet, and carefully tuck it around the inside to make sure there are no gaps. Using a knife or fork, poke a few holes to vent the tart. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is puffy and golden.

When the tart comes out of the oven, place a serving plate on top and carefully (wear oven mitts!) turn it over. You want to do this right away or the caramel will harden and make it much harder to remove the tart from the pan. If the pastry's not quite cooked on the bottom, stick it back in the oven for another few minutes. Otherwise, serve!

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

This is based on a recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. If you can find pre-made dulce de leche, you can simply combine it with the hot milk mixture, chill, and freeze. If you prefer to make the dulce de leche from scratch, you can do that, too- here's a recipe on Apartment Therapy. But if you're like me and would rather not spend the time, condensed milk makes an easy shortcut.

1 2/3 C sweetened condensed milk
1 C cream
2 C whole milk
Vanilla (1 bean or 1 tsp extract)

Cook the condensed milk over low heat, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. In a second pot, bring the milk and cream to a boil with the vanilla. When the condensed milk has caramelized to a golden brown and is very thick, whisk it together with the milk mixture. If you used a vanilla bean, remove it from the milk now. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in an ice bath in the refrigerator until cold. Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker to freeze.


This is another recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.

2 lbs boiling potatoes
1 1/2 C flour
Pinch of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Pass through a ricer, or grate into a large bowl with the fine side of a box grater. Add the egg and mix together with a wooden spoon. Add the flour a little at a time until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a floured board and knead like you would bread dough (for about 3-4 minutes). Divide into 6 pieces and roll each piece with your hands into "ropes" about 3/4 inch thick. Chop into 1 inch "pillows." If you'd like, roll each pillow across the back of a fork to create the traditional shape. At this point you can boil the gnocchi (add to a pot of boiling, salted water and cook for about 1 minute after they have risen to the surface), pan fry them until browned*, or freeze them for later use.

*To pan fry, I boiled the gnocchi until they rose to the surface of the water, tossed them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and then threw them in a hot pan for a few minutes. They were delicious this way!

Chicken with Olives and Fennel

There was a recipe for chicken with olives in the most recent issue of Jamie Magazine, but when I examined it I thought it seemed sort of boring. I was inspired by the concept and decided to make up my own dish instead. This is sort of like a fricassee, but with a bit of a Southern Italian/Northern African spin on it.

1 onion, sliced
2 bulbs fennel, quartered (keep the fronds aside, chopped)
Parsley, chopped
6 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
4 chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 C green olives, cracked and pits removed
1/2 C Preserved lemon peel*, rinsed and diced
2 C chicken broth
4 Tbs flour
Olive oil
1/2 C white wine

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a heavy, oven-proof pot or dutch oven, lightly saute the onions with the bay leaves, thyme, and olive oil. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In the same pot, brown the chicken, and set aside. Add the white wine to the pot to deglaze it. When most of the wine has evaporated, add the flour and stir until all the oil and drippings are absorbed (you can add a little extra oil if there isn't much left). Gradually add broth to form a thin gravy. Add the chicken, onions and herbs, along with the fennel, olives, and preserved lemons. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with the fennel fronds and parsley.

*If you don't have preserved lemons, you can just use thinly sliced fresh lemons. Don't dice them- keep them in slices so they are easy to avoid when it's time to eat, as they will be very bitter.