Peanut sesame noodles

Ingredients:

Peanuts, 1/4 c, roasted, cooled, and then crushed slightly

Spaghetti or some other noodles such as udon or fresh Chinese

optional: bean sprouts, tofu, cilantro, sesame seeds, and/or scallions 

Sauce:

Soy sauce, <4 T

Rice vinegar, 2 T

Toasted sesame oil, 1 T

Peanut butter, 2 T

sugar, 1 T

Ginger, 1 T finely grated

Garlic, 2 T grated or minced

Sambal olek, 1 T or other Chile paste

Miso, 1 T optional

Directions:

Heat water for noodles. 

Toast peanuts, cool and then crush with heavy rolling pin. Wrap/cover nuts with parchment paper to prevent scattering as you hit them with rolling pin. Put on dish and set aside.

Whisk together sauce ingredients. Can dilute with 1-2 T water if you like. 

Cut up peeled and seeded cucumbers into small batons. Additional options include: Bean sprouts, tofu, cilantro, sesame seeds, and/or scallions would be welcome accompaniments to top noodles for serving. 

Cook noodles. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drizzle with sesame oil and stir around to cover — to prevent noodles from sticking.

Mix in some of the sauce and coat. This is a good way to store for another day. 

Add in more sauce when ready to serve. Top with cucumbers, and whatever else you have in mind. 

Yum!

To serve with baked tofu:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Press tofu, and cut into slices.

Stop making sauce before adding peanut butter. Dip both sides of tofu slices in and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 15+ minutes, turning once. 

Source: NYT Sam Sifton’s Takeout Style Sesame Noodles

 

Pesto!   With spaghetti, new potatoes and green beans

This is Marcella Hazan’s Pesto presentation with “the full Genoese treatment” of adding potatoes and green beans. Perfect in August with basil, new potatoes and green beans freshly harvested!

Make pesto in the usual way. My usual way is to put basil leaves in a mini-chopper with some rough chopped garlic, sea salt (Maldon), olive oil and pine nuts. Process and add more oil if needed. Put into bowl and mix in 1 T softened butter and a few T water from pasta water later.

Ingredients:

Pesto

Grated cheese

Small new potatoes, washed

Green beans, tipped and tailed

Spaghetti

Directions:

1. Put up a big pot of water to boil. 

2. Boil potatoes until just tender. Remove and let cool. Then rub off skins with kitchen towel. Slice thinly.

3. Add salt to water. Boil green beans until tender. Remove.

4. Cook spaghetti al dente. Scoop out 1/4 or so of water. Drain when cooked.

5. Mix together: Spaghetti, potatoes, green beans, pesto, cheese and a bit of reserved pasta water.

Thanks Marcella!

Swiss chard, fresh onions, pasta and lots more in a summer bowl

Chard is a handy vegetable because it grows continuously throughout the growing season so when it is too hot for spinach and kale is not around, here are some leafy greens to cook and eat. Best when very, fresh, like from your CSA. I never buy it in the supermarket — I avoid like off-season tomatoes and zucchini. I tried the Sundays at Moosewood ziti and chard recipe but was underwhelmed and I lowered my regard for chard. But then I thought about it, and realized it needs some flavor accompaniments — a bass note and some high notes, which I did with ndjuda (which makes everything it touches better!) and lemon juice, and threw in some nuts for texture contrast.

Here is what I made on a mid-summer eve in late July, when there was chard, fresh red onions and smaller onions/scallions, and some early season eh tomatoes. I will do this again. Mangia!

Ingredients:

Fresh red onions & scallions — maybe 1 onion and greens and 2 scallions?. Sliced.

Chard — 1 bunch, rinsed and torn leaves, stems cut into smallish-pieces (if you want stems which I rarely do)

Garlic — several cloves, minced

Hot pepper flakes

A few small tomatoes if available, cut

nduja or perhaps anchovies (for a bass note), about 1 oz nduja or 3 anchoves

Lemon juice — about 3 T

Roasted garlic oil, if available — from this recipe.

Parmesan

Penne

Pine nuts or walnuts, preferably toasted, or not

Directions:

Wash and lightly drain chard. If you like, cut up stalks to use also. 

Sauté onions in olive oil in a large sauté pan (that has a lid) for a few minutes with salt and add half scallions, especially white parts. Add hot pepper flakes and kosher salt. Then add nduja or anchovies and cook for a couple minutes, mashing and smashing, then add garlic, cook for a minute. Stir in chard, sprinkle on salt, add a bit of water, stir around and cover and cook for about 5 minutes. 

You can let this sit while you cook pasta — penne or perhaps ziti.

In between stirring pasta, add some cut up tomatoes and stir into chard mixture to cook and break down for a few minutes. Toss in remaining scallions.

Grate cheese, and squeeze lemon. Add a few T of lemon juice to chard mixture. 

When pasta is just al dente, drain and add to chard mixture in sauté pan, and stir to combine. 

Serve:

Pasta mixture

Drizzle olive oil, preferably the roasted garlic oil(!)

Parmesan

Nuts

Yum!

Beans, tomato and pasta stew

When you have cooked beans on hand, this is a good use of them.

This is a hybrid of Amatriciana, tomato soup with pasta, and Pasta e Ceci

onion, 1/2, diced
Pancetta, 2 oz, approx
garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Hot pepper — fresh, seeded and diced
Dried red pepper flakes
Canned tomatoes, 1 c?
Vegetable stock, 2 c (or use water if needed)
Beans, 2 c?
Cooked pasta
Fresh oregano, chopped
Greens such as Swiss chard, spinach, lacinato kale or escarole

Directions:

Sauté onion in olive oil with salt, then peppers and then pancetta.
Add tomato and stock, and cook for about 15 minutes total with pepper, adding in beans near end, along with oregano. Then add greens and cook 5 minutes or so.
Cook pasta — penne in separate pot, or small pasta, such as ditalini, cooked in tomato/stock mixture

Toppings to serve:
Grated pecorino with sprinkles of olive oil
Leftover parsley/garlic/oil pesto

inspiration:
Colu Henry, Pasta e Ceci (Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew)

Pasta with butter and sage sauce

Pasta for when you are hungry and need to eat pronto with minimal effort.

Ingredients:
1/2 # rigatoni (or penne or fettucine) Even better: tortellini!

Optional: Roasted delicata or butternut squash (delicata in thin half-slices; butternut in small chunks, tossed w/ olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in 425° oven 12+ minutes until tender.)

3 T good quality butter
8 sage leaves

Parmesan, grated

Directions:

1. Put up pot of water for pasta. Roast squash.

2. Put butter into medium saucepan over medium heat near end of pasta cook time. Cook until foam subsides and before butter turns brown. Add sage leaves, toss and cook for a couple minutes and remove from heat when butter turns brown and smells delightfully nutty.

3. Reserve pasta water in heatproof measuring cup (<1 c)

4. When pasta is cooked, drain and put into saucepan with the butter. Add parmesan and some reserved water — not too much — and toss. Put squash on top. Serve with parmesan at the table. Not bad!

 

Origins: Marcella Hazan & Mark Bittman NY Times Cooking

Pasta with asparagus for the Spring

When asparagus is locally-grown and freshly-harvested, there are a myriad of ways to enjoy its fresh flavor. In the winter I prefer a cream-based Parmesan-loaded pasta dish because hey in winter who doesn’t appreciate indulgently fatty comfort foods (isn’t that the definition of comfort food?)

Here is what I came up with last eve when hunger struck and new asparagus was at hand: Pasta sautéed with butter and olive oil with spinach (or arugula), lemon juice and zest, topped by Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan if that’s what’s on hand)

Ingredients:

Bucatini (or spaghetti)
Asparagus, 1/2#, cut into 3/4” lengths
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Juice and zest of one lemon
Pecorino Romano, grated
Directions:

Put up big pot of water for pasta. Add kosher salt when it comes to a boil. Add pasta and cook to within one minute of being done. Scoop out some pasta water into glass measuring cup to use for sauce mid-way and when completing dish.

Rinse and cut up 1/2 # asparagus. Mince 3 cloves garlic.
Heat sauté pan and add butter and a bit of olive oil. Add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes, adding some pasta water to steam. Add garlic, sauté, and then add spinach on top with salt, lemon juice, and more pasta water. Set aside.
When pasta is almost done, drain and add to asparagus in pan, toss with lemon zest and some more pasta water. Season w/ S&P and cheese.

Pasta with roasted cauliflower

When there’s nothing in the house to cook but there is some cauliflower and perhaps njuda, you can make a quick and easy dinner. Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put up pot of water to boil pasta.
Roast cauliflower with olive oil, S&P 400 degrees about 20 mins. (Or newer technique: 425 degrees; leave cauliflower in place for 15 minutes. Then move around and cook for another 5 mins or so.)
Cook pasta: Interesting tubes are good. I used bronze-cut pipe rigate (from Aldi’s!).
Make a quick tomato-sauce with a smidgen of canned diced tomatoes (even better: fire-roasted) with 1 oz of njuda, broken up. Sauté in small saucepan for 10+ mins; adding some hot pepper flakes, oil, S&P. Optional: capers.
Chop up some fresh parsley

Remove cauliflower when cooked and set aside to cool a bit. Cut into bite-size pieces.
Cook pasta to al dente and drain, and put into large-ish bowl.
Mix in tomato sauce and stir with cauliflower. Sprinkle on parsley and serve. Yum!

Miso Mushroom Pasta

What’s great about cooking a lot is that we lazy-ish home cooks can find recipes that are easy-peasy yet delicious. Contra the two-dozen steps over three days recipes that turn out bleh. That’s why I write this blog — to record the recipes, adaptations and techniques I have used with success and would like to repeat.

When there is little in one’s pantry and no desire to shop, it’s very welcome to have a recipe like this one. The only fresh ingredients one needs are mushrooms and heavy cream. Fancy are good; cremini in a pinch will do. Browning the mushrooms I read increases the unami flavor. It’s like a Japanese fettuccine Alfredo — all comfort and deliciousness and okay, indulgence. Perfect for a cold winter eve. Stay home. Cook this. Relax.

Ingredients:

Dried pasta, 4 oz Bucatini is good
mushrooms, 3 oz — cremini, oyster, shiitake, any other exotic/Japanese type especially
Sherry vinegar, 1 t
Miso paste, 2 t White or red
Butter, 2 T, cut up to soften to room temp
Garlic cloves, 3, minced
Heavy cream, 1/2 c
Optional: scallion, finely sliced

Directions:
Take out butter to come to room temp; cut up to hasten process if needed.
Put up pot of water for pasta.
Cut mushrooms into large bite-sized chunks.
Heat large sauté pan over high heat, add 1 T canola oil, and sauté mushrooms until well browned, about 4-5 minutes, adding S&P. Add sherry vinegar to pan, toss and set aside.
Cook pasta until 1 minute underdone. Drain and set aside.
Whisk together butter and miso.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1 T oil and minced garlic and cook for less than one minute until fragrant. Add mushrooms, then add miso-butter mixture, then cream, and bring to a boil, stirring.
Add drained pasta to sauce, and stir. Add salt, and cook and stir until pasta is desired doneness.
Place into bowls, top with sliced scallion and pepper.

Source: Miso-Mushroom Pasta, by Yi Jun Loh, Food 52

August tomato dinner

Tomatoes are in their prime and plentiful. You have had your raw tomato feast. You have plenty o’ tomatoes sitting out on a platter. Perhaps some are starting to go past their prime. Time to cook ’em up! A speedy scrumptious dinner that screams: SUMMER!

Sauté garlic in oil. Add in some cut up tomatoes — perhaps you want to squeeze out and discard seeds which bring nothing to the party — and cook for about 10 minutes or so with salt until they wilt. Add in peeled shrimp and cook for about 4 minutes.

Throw some cooked pasta — campanelle (trumpets seem perfectly matched) into sauce with some reserved pasta cooking water, and plate. Top with chiffonade basil and perhaps some grated parmesan (though in Rome this would be taboo serving cheese with seafood!).

Or: instead of shrimp, top pasta with some fresh cubed mozzarella. Mangia! Fresh tomatoes with aromatic basil. Happy summer dining! And no sweat.

Summer pasta with shrimp and nduja

Quick and easy, truly! Sauce is made in less time that it takes to cook pasta. I know, many recipe writers state that but this time I can attest it’s true!

Ingredients:

shrimp, Frozen are fine, defrosted under running water (takes about 5 minutes or less)

garlic cloves, 2 minced

tomatoes, 2 small-ish, cut into chunks, or equal amount of cherry tomatoes, halved

nduja, 1 oz (no need to cut up; it will dissolve to create a luscious sauce)

lemon zest, and perhaps some juice

fresh basil or parsley, chiffondade

pasta, such as campanelle, 2 oz per person

Directions:

Defrost shrimp under running water.

Put up large pot of water to boil for pasta.

Peel and devein shrimp. Mince garlic. Cut up tomatoes into large chunks. Slice off a hunk o’ nduja.fullsizeoutput_1d92

Directions: When water boils, add salt and pasta. Stir, bring to boil and cook in usual manner.

Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, and then garlic and shrimp. Cook, stirring about 2 minutes. Add: tomatoes, nduja and lemon zest. Cook, stirring about another 4 minutes or so. IMG_6053If it’s dry, add in lemon juice. Cover and let sit waiting for pasta to finish cooking.

Dump the pasta into the sauce and give it a stir. IMG_6054

Chiffonade some basil if it’s handy. Otherwise parsley is good too.

Here I later found, is it’s cousin.