Category Archives: pasta

Food Matters Project #35: Provencal Pasta Sauce

It’s another Monday installment of the Food Matters Project!  Last week we hosted the Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce, a perfect recipe for the upcoming grilling season.  This week’s host is Nancy, of Funkytown Foodies.  She’s one of three friends that have a food blog together- they all document delicious, healthy and local recipes.

Nancy chose the Provencal Vegetables with Chicken in Packets recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out Nancy’s recipe- she made a few changes to the original.  Also, all other ideas from FMP participants can be found here.

Thanks to the weather, I took a completely different take on this recipe.  It’s the second Monday in a row that DC has been gloomy and rainy.  Why Monday?  It’s such a hard way to start the week.  Since it’s cold and blah out, I wanted something comforting and saucy.  And due to poor planning, I forgot to defrost the chicken…had various vegetables that needed to be eaten in our fridge.

So I began chopping up the vegetables, hoping an idea would just pop into my head.  It did, once all of the vegetables were chopped up and mixed together- why not make a sauce to put over some pasta?  Comforting, warm, and full of flavor…making me wish for spring even more!  We didn’t have any parsley in our fridge, but it might be a good garnish on top.  This really reminded me of Sam’s Summer Sauce, and now I can’t wait for farmers market tomatoes!

Provencal Pasta Sauce

Provencal Pasta Sauce
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 464)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup black olives, halved
3/4 cup green olives, halved
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups of water
1/2 lb pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a large pot, heat it up.  Once it’s hot add all of the chopped vegetables, the herbs, salt, pepper and water.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, bring down the temperature to low, simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.

If you prefer chunkier sauce, then leave the sauce as is.  If you’d prefer a smoother sauce, then puree all of it.  If you’re like us, and you want it somewhere it the middle, puree about half of it in a blender or food processor.

Cook pasta per package instructions.  Drain, and divide between the plates.  Then spoon out the provencal sauce, sprinkle with parsley.  If you prefer, top it all off with some Parmesan or feta.

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Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad

I’m sure many of you having cravings for different foods.  About this time of the year, tomatoes tend to be in the top.  Definitely love fresh tomatoes (check out the latest tomato recipe), but right now I have also been craving eggplant.  And specifically- roasted eggplant- something about the crunchy outside, and soft inside.  Yum!

When I spotted this recipe in June’s Vegetarian Times, I had to make it.  It’s a great recipe that tastes delicious the day you make it, but this is a great cold pasta salad for some leftovers.  Most pasta salads do not have eggplant, so this is definitely a tasty difference.  It’s a little fancier than you regular pasta or pasta salad, but just as easy to make!  Great for those busy summer days!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad
Inspired by: Vegetarian Times (June 2012)

1 lb pasta
2 medium eggplants, washed
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
8 oz broccolini, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Heat up a large pot with water, once it’s boiling add in the pasta.  Cook the past according to the directions on the package.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Cut the eggplant into 1-inch pieces and spread it all onto a cookie sheet.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.  Then using your hands, mix the seasoning with the eggplant.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggplant is slightly browned.

Once the eggplant is done baking, spread the broccolini on a cookie sheet (can be the same one).  Sprinkle it with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.  Once again, using your hands (be careful if the cookie sheet is still hot) mix the ingredients together.  Bake the broccolini for 15 minutes at 425ºF.

When all of the ingredients are cooked and baked, toss them into a large bowl.  Then add in the grape tomatoes, regular tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Stir all of the ingredients well.  Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Rice Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

How come some weekends are mellow, where you have nothing planned?  That was more or less last weekend- we sat on the roof and enjoyed fresh bruschetta and fresh bread.  This weekend is crazy busy: birthdays, going away parties, celebrations, races and dinners with friends!

When those hectic (but fun) weekends creep up, it’s great to have some food prepared and ready for you in the fridge.  This way, if you need something to eat or snack on, you don’t need to worry about the preparation.

 

This noodle dish I is perfect for those kids of hectic weekends or weekdays.  It can be prepared ahead, and it’s best served cold (which makes it even better for this warmer weather)!

Rice Noodles with Eggplant & Mango
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (April/May 2012)

Although I had found this recipe originally in Vegetarian Times, it’s actually an excerpt from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I couldn’t get my hands on soba noodles, so we made it with rice noodles- equally delicious, and probably a little lighter.  This had fantastic flavors, and looked beautiful on a plate, perfect for a dinner party! 

1 1/2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
8 oz rice noodles
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 red chili peppers, chopped
1 inch cube ginger, grated
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 ripe mango, peeled, cut into thick strips
1 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup chopped basil

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Spread the eggplant cubes onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Using your hands, spread the olive oil and spices onto all eggplant pieces.  Roast eggplant at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  With salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Once baked, allow to cool and set aside in a large bowl.

Cook the rice noodles according to package.  Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water.  Drain, and set aside in the large bowl with the eggplant.

In a saucepan, heat the sesame oil.  Then add garlic, red chili peppers, ginger, sugar, rice vinegar and soy sauce.

In a saucepan heat sesame oil.  Then add: garlic, red chili peppers, ginger, sugar, rice vinegary, soy sauce.  Cook on low until the mixture thickens.  Add into the large bowl with the noodles and eggplant.

Lastly, add in the mango, cilantro and bail.  Toss all ingredients together.  Allow to chill in the fridge before serving.

Clams and Linguine with White Wine Sauce

I know there hasn’t been a post on this blog in a week!  We have been cooking, but we’ve been having problems with the photography.  Our little space is fairly dark, especially now that summer is coming to an end, so until we have some new camera equipment (on the way!), it’s difficult to show off the appetizing food.  Until then, try out one of Sam’s newest recipes. 

I have to say that I’m super proud of this one.  I thought it up all on my own and it turned out great on the first try!  The subtle sweet flavor of the clams with the rich white wine sauce over pasta is absolutely delicious.  For those of you who might be a little timid about cooking seafood, this is definitely a good one to try; it’s really easy!

Clams and Linguine with White Wine Sauce

5 lbs, littleneck clams (should be about 50 clams)
¼ lbs pork belly, cubed (you can substitute with bacon, just not the maple kind)
½ bulb of fennel, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lbs dried linguine
1 bottle of dry white wine, room temperature (chardonnay would work great)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (please don’t use that powdered stuff)
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper

First, rinse the clams in a colander under cool water.  Check to make sure that they are all firmly closed in their shells.  If you find any that are open or have cracked shells, throw them away.  Once they’re clean, set aside.

In a deep saucepan melt 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Then add the pork fat and cook until it begins to render a bit.  Now is a good time to start your boiling your pasta.  Next add the fennel and sauté until it becomes translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, you do not want it to burn.

Now add the clams, white wine, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and a pinch or crushed red pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until all of the clams have opened their shells.  When the clams are done, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the strained, cooked pasta in a large pot and cover to keep warm.

Uncover the white wine mixture and cook on high heat until it reduces by half.  Add ½ cup heavy cream and continue to cook until the mixture again reduces by about half.  Add the flour and whisk briskly for 1 minute.  Pour the mixture and the grated Parmesan over the pasta and clams and mix together thoroughly.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with a sliced baguette.  Enjoy!

Green Pea & Pancetta Linguine

We had a busy and exciting weekend.  My friend B* from Boston came to visit, and there were also friends from different places which were visiting D.C.  Some of the girls and I ran the Susan B. Komen 5K race.  It’s a great cause to support, although this isn’t my favorite running race.  I enjoy the company and support the cause.  In a running race aspect- it’s a bit crowded, so you just have to relax and enjoy the sights.

Whenever a group of us gets to spend time together, it reminds me to all of our fun days in undergrad.  It’s wonderful to know that the strength of the bonds we have made many years ago is still there.  It’s interesting to think that we spend only a few years getting to know each other.  And then everyone scatters all over- really all over.  It’s wonderful to know that great friendships can sustain the long distance!

But onto food!  We made this last weekend actually, when we didn’t have visitors.  Although I really do say this about many recipes, this one is easy and can be made under 30 minutes.  Talk about a time saver with a delicious meal waiting for you.

Green Pea & Pancetta Linguine
Adapted from: Cooking Light (April 2011)

Servings: 4
Time: 30 minutes

3 tbsp olive oil
3 oz pancetta, chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 lbs frozen green peas
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 lb linguine pasta
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated

Heat skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add the chopped pancetta and cook for about 10 minutes or until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally.  Remove pancetta from the pan, and put in a bowl on the side.  Leave the drippings, and add the shallots into the heated pan.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until they are tender, also stirring occasionally.  Then add the peas and garlic, cook for 1 minute.  Next, add wine and thyme.  Increase the heat to medium and bring liquids to a boil.  Cook until the liquid reduced (about 5 minutes).  Then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta per package directions.  Drain the pasta.

Finally, add the pasta, 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, black pepper and pancetta to the pea mixture.  Toss well.  Divide the pasta into 4 servings.  Sprinkle cheese onto each serving.