Pasta With Prosciutto and Whole Cloves of Garlic (Sep. 12th, 2011)

from mark bittman’s how to cook everything; also located here.

Pasta With Prosciutto and Whole Cloves of Garlic (Maccheroni alla San Giovanniello)

Yield About 4 servings

Time About 30 minutes

Mark Bittman
Ingredients

* 1/3 cup olive oil or butter
* 10 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
* 1/2 cup prosciutto or other salted ham or slab bacon, cut into cubes or strips
* 6 plum tomatoes, or 11/2 cups drained canned tomatoes
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1 pound cut pasta, such as ziti or penne
* 1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
* 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, or a combination

Method

* 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
* 2. Combine the oil, garlic, and ham in a medium to large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the garlic becomes deep golden, nearly brown, all over, 10 to 15 minutes.
* 3. Core and chop the plum tomatoes (or crush the canned tomatoes) and add them, along with salt and pepper, to the skillet. Stir and simmer while you salt the boiling water and cook the pasta.
* 4. Drain the pasta when it is tender but firm, re¬serving a little of the cooking water and adding it to the sauce if it appears dry (quite likely if you used fresh tomatoes). Toss the pasta with the sauce and most of the basil, along with the cheese. Mince the remaining basil, garnish the pasta with it, and serve.

some notes:
– i used butter, and just 3 tablespoons. it seemed like plenty, perhaps since i also used bacon, which had enough fat on it to never get this thing close to drying out. i also chopped a couple mushrooms and tossed them in with the bacon and garlic.

this thing is garlic-tastic, and completely delicious. i planned on having it for lunch during the week, but i instantly needed a bowl of it for dinner. i’m in love!

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Artichoke Spinach Lasagna (June 10, 2011)

getting rid of food items around carla’s house! what to do with those lasagna noodles? make lasagna!

here’s a nice little recipe from the allrecipes dot com.

Ingredients

* cooking spray
* 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
* 1 onion, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
* 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
* 1 (28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
* 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
* 1 (4 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, or until onion is tender-crisp. Stir in broth and rosemary; bring to a boil. Stir in artichoke hearts and spinach; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce.
4. Spread 1/4 of the artichoke mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 cooked noodles. Sprinkle 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese over noodles. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with artichoke mixture and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top.
5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

i didn’t use any fresh rosemary, and bought the kroger brand organic marinara as my sauce. i bought the four balls of mozzarella floating in water, which felt like more than 3 cups (not sure), but either way it was a pretty tasty lasagna. we are both big fans of artichokes, and it’d been a long time since i’d eaten them in anything. i find it hard to imagine a bad lasagna, but this one felt better than some i’d made in the past. garfield would be proud.

Revised Bobby Flay Spaghetti Sauce (April 18, 2010)

the bobby flay spaghetti sauce i’ve been making for a while has evolved a bit. i felt it would be wise to document it rather than just keep doing it from memory.

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, smashed with some kosher salt to make a paste
* 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender
* 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 small can tomato paste
* 1 bay leaf
* a bunch of chopped basil (i use the little container you can buy at Kroger)
* 1 cup red wine
* 1 small bunch Italian parsley
* 1 healthy sprinkling red pepper flakes
* 1 slightly less generous portion of oregano
* 1 Anaheim chile pepper, chopped
* 3-5 links spicy Italian sausage
* Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Chop and saute the sausage before hand, then set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup wine, bay leaf, parsley, Anaheim pepper, basil, sausage and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Eat.

a couple notes: i added the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and substituted wine for water in the original recipe. flay talks about meatballs, and you can use those too – i love the turkey meatball recipe we have on this blog. but i often don’t quite have the energy to do the meatball thing, and so the sausage is a bit faster.

the sauce clearly has a spicy zing to it, which i like. i think it’s a little more flavorful than the original, which was solid, but eventually got a touch boring.

a final note – my most recent making of this, and i forgot the sausage, and it wasn’t quite as good as i recalled. i think that it really does add something to the flavor, and so i wouldn’t leave it out in the future.

Spaghetti with Chickpeas (November 10, 2010)

In my pursuit of remaining unprocessed, I made this recipe. I made some modifications, as I will note. It was good. I really liked it, although I would add some additional pepper flakes and a few less chickpeas. I cooked chickpeas today from dried peas.

15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 2 cups, freshly cooked chickpeas (I made them from the unprocessed blog, see below.)
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces) (I used bacon – because I didn’t have any pancetta.)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped (I roasted my own tomatoes, instead of canned tomatoes.)
10 to 15 basil leaves
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned; a splatter screen will make your stove look better than mine did after this. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, or tastes like it could use an additional minute’s cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through, about one minute. If sauce still feels too thick add reserved pasta water as needed. Season again, as needed, and serve with grated Parmesan to pass. (I did have to use the extra water from the pasta, as the chickpea mixture was pretty dry.)

Cooking chickpeas: I soaked the peas for several hours. After soaking, I put the peas in water with a stalk of celery, bay leaf, garlic, half an onion, and dried rosemary, thyme, and cilantro. After the peas come to a boil, reduce the temperature to simmer and cook for about an hour and a half. I put a bunch in jars and put it in the freezer, and I used some for the dish.

Roasting tomatoes: I learned this from Rick Bayless. I put four medium sized tomatoes in the oven under the broiler. I cooked them for about 5 minutes, took them out of the oven and put a towel over for about 5 minutes. Then I peeled the skin off and chopped them. I added them to the recipe as directed.

Bobby Flay Spaghetti Sauce (February 11, 2010)

i made this one a couple weeks back, and was looking for it on the food blog. then i realized that i never posted it!

the problem was that the last spaghetti sauce we made just wasn’t quite on the mark. so i went looking for another choice, and found a recipe from bobby flay.

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, smashed with some kosher salt to make a paste
* 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender
* 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 small can tomato paste
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 small bunch Italian parsley
* 1 Cubano chile pepper, chopped
* Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup water, bay leaf, parsley, Cubano pepper, and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Add meatballs and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and meatballs are tender. Remove the bay leaf.

a couple notes:

– cubano peppers? i used a plain bell pepper.
– i also tossed in a healthy portion of red pepper flakes.

overall, i think this was a really nice recipe. it had good, strong flavor, and didn’t have the awkward sweetness of the prior recipe. i give it an A-. carla isn’t around to grade it, but i think she liked it too.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (November 21, 2009)

David and I are in search of a great spaghetti recipe.We have talked about it for awhile now, not being really satisfied with any of the store sauces available. Today we tried this one from Smitten Kitchen.

Sauce:

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup good red wine
1 (14-ounce) can pureed tomatoes (we used tomato sauce)
1 (14-ounce) can chopped or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

(We also added a teaspoon of sugar and about a quarter cup of parmesan cheese to cut back on the acidic flavor of the sauce.)

Heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

The meatballs were from a different recipe, because I don’t eat red meat.

Cooking spray
1 pound ground turkey meat
1 slice fresh whole-wheat bread crusts removed, pulsed into crumbs (we used 1/3 cup canned bread crumbs)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the turkey with all other ingredients in a large work bowl. Form into 2 1/2 -inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned and almost entirely cooked through.

We made Penne Pasta to go with our pasta meal.

David: I thought the meat balls were good. The sauce had a bit of the tomato-y sweetness. I would make it again. I would give it a B+.
Carla: I liked the sauce as well, but though it lacked the depth of flavor that I think I am looking for. There simply were not enough spices in the sauce, I think. I would also make it again, but will continue to scout around for additional recipes. B.

Penne a la Vodka (July 12, 2009)

I made this recipe a few weeks ago when I was staying with my sister. I thought it was really good, so I wanted to make it at home. From Smitten Kitchen.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces) – I used a 28 ounce can as I could not find one that was 32 ounces
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.

David: It was tasty. I would give it a A/A-. There could be something going it on with it, but it was good. I like it; I would have it again.
Carla: It was as good as I made the first time. I really liked it and would have it again. A