Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Unrecipe of the Week: Cooking with Garlic Scapes

June 24, 2013

Garlic scapes are the green leafy stalks of the garlic plant that grow above the ground shortly after the first leaves appear. They are long and curly at the ends, and are usually cut off, as they inhibit the growth of the plant, resulting in very small garlic bulbs. Most garlic scapes are tossed into the compost heap, but they are completely edible and delicious. The farmer’s market is full of them right now, but act quickly, as these are only available in the early summer.

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Think of these green stalks relating to garlic cloves, in the way that scallions relate to onions. They possess the same garlicky flavor, albeit a bit milder.
We experimented with some of these unusual stalks, and found them to be quite versatile.
Here are just a few ways to use garlic scapes:

Use them to make pesto:
Instead of using basil (or any other green vegetable you like) and garlic cloves, place chunks of garlic scapes into the food processor, with a large handful of pignoli nuts. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil until the sauce forms a smooth consistency. Add Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, or spread over grilled fish or chicken.

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Use them in dips and spreads:
Take 1 can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) and some garlic scapes (we used about 16”-20” worth, cut into chunks) and put them in the food processor. Add a handful of parsley if you like and process until finely minced. Add the juice of one lemon, and with the machine running drizzle in olive oil until it forms a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita, or grilled vegetables, or as a sandwich spread.
Use them in a traditional vinaigrette, with olive oil, Dijon mustard and either balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice.

Finely chop them and sprinkle them in salads, over pasta or vegetables.

They cook quickly, so if you are using them in a recipe, add them near the end to avoid them browning.

Now that we have gotten you started, surely you will come up with lots of great uses for garlic scapes.  Let us know in the comments what your favorite uses are.

Enjoy!

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Pastapaluzza!

January 28, 2013

I was at a dinner party last night, hosted by a lovely Italian couple. The hostess was a wonderful cook. Her food was simple and authentic, filled with the fresh flavors of her native cuisine; just the way I like it.

At some point, the talk turned to pasta, and rave reviews were given to Giovanni Rana, a popular pasta maker out of Verona,Italy, who recently opened an outpost in New York City’s Chelsea Market. Since I just live down the street from the market and shop there often, I immediately headed that way to check it out.

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The array of fresh, homemade pasta is beautiful to behold. There are about 30 different types, both plain and filled. The dough choices vary from the classic to more creative beet, pumpkin and squid ink varieties. The filled options are vast. There are vegetable and cheese versions, such as radicchio and gorgonzola, spinach and ricotta, and artichoke and smoked mozzarella ravioli. There was also lovely ricotta and fresh truffle raviolini wrapped in a poppy seed dough. Various meat combinations exist as well. In addition, every possible cut of unfilled pasta is available, in a plethora of flavors and shapes.

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The freshly made pasta is available by the pound to be prepared at home, or cooked on site and tossed with the sauce of your choice to go. There is also a 140 seat restaurant attached to the shop for a more traditional dining experience.

Giovanni Rana Pastaficio & Cucina 

p.s. We just finished dinner and the pasta did not disappoint. The dough was light and delicate, with the fillings just hearty enough to provide flavor and substance,without overpowering the feathery outsides. With just a touch of melted butter and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and black pepper, both the spinach and ricotta ravioli and the prosciutto tortollini were a hit!! They took just 2-3 minutes in boiling water to cook. It just doesn’t get easier than that!
Verdict:Delicious as advertised.

It’s Only Money

January 10, 2013

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While the world speaks of economic woes, some folks seem to have enough disposable income to indulge in whatever strikes their fancy.
In some cases, it could be this over –the –top pasta dish being served for a limited period of time at New York City’s Bice restaurant.

The dish consists of mixed wild mushrooms, 2 pounds of lobster and shaved black truffles over house made pasta. It’s served on a limited edition plate, signed by the late designer Gianni Versace.

While a single order of pasta costs $2,013, the diner gets to keep the plate as a keepsake.(such a deal!)

Hurry, it’s only being served until February 15th.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Bolognese Sauce

October 25, 2012

My family loves pasta with Bolognese sauce. I try to make it in a large batch, so that I can freeze the leftovers in small containers for a quick weeknight meal. It’s easy to make, and can be left on the stove to simmer for a few hours while you do other things.

Bolognese Sauce

Sauté a diced onion and several cloves of garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Add about a pound of ground beef and season with dried basil, dried oregano, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Don’t be shy with the seasoning, as some of the flavor will diminish during the long cooking time. Continue to cook until the meat is browned.

Carefully drain off any excess fat, and transfer the meat mixture to a large pot.

Add several cans (or boxes which are generally BPA free) of crushed tomatoes to the pot, along with a couple of bay leaves. Simmer gently with the cover on the pot, for a few hours.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Taste and correct the seasonings before serving.

Serve the sauce over cooked pasta and enjoy!

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Unrecipe of the Week

January 6, 2010

This is our go-to dinner option when we want it fast, want it delicious, and want it vegetarian. In the time it takes to boil the water and cook most dried pasta, the sauce is done. Want a yummy fast dinner? On your mark, get set, GO!

Pasta with Quick Rustic Tomato Sauce

Finely dice a couple of cloves of garlic and quickly saute them in olive oil

Add several diced fresh tomatoes (4 or 5) to the pan and continue to cook on medium heat, stirring often

Season liberally with salt and pepper.

The tomatoes will soften quickly and create a chunky sauce in about 10 minutes or so.

When the tomatoes are ready, add about a tablespoon of butter to the sauce and stir it in. (yeah, butter..it really makes a difference!)

Sprinkle in a large handful of chopped, fresh basil leaves.

Mix the cooked, drained pasta into the sauce until it is completely coated, and serve with freshly grated parmesean cheese.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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