Pasta with Mushrooms and Prosciutto

With on already in college and the other headed there next fall, I find myself more frequently cooking for two. When we were just married, I didn’t have the skill set I do now, nor was I brave enough to attempt to use the ingredients I now love.

So this is new ground for me with my current repertoire. It’s also a mental challenge because I’ve been looking at recipes and determining if they are scalable, just in case we had extras stop by, trying to think about what I can reduce is different. I don’t frequently like to go out, but I find myself considering it.

In looking through my recipes today, I came across this gem. I have actually made it for about 12, it was a challenge, it came together very quickly for 2. I didn’t even go to the store until 5. I had to get the mushrooms and prosciutto along with a few things for dinner and dessert tomorrow.

When I went to select my mushrooms they had a great variety so I picked one I knew and one I hadn’t cooked with before, Shitake and Maitake. While the names are similar the appearance and taste are dramatically different. I removed the tough stems and did a few rough cuts with my knife and tore any large remaining pieces.

Don’t be tempted to increase the Proscuitto, the amount is perfect, it adds a richness to the dish, but you don’t want to overwhelm the mushrooms. Do make sure you use fresh thyme and definitely save some for the top. It was amazing.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Prosciutto

College Option, Entrées, Pastas, Pork, Quick Meals, Tested and Approved!

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 slices)

1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces

2 medium shallots, finely chopped

1 teaspoon thyme leaves, plus more for serving

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

12 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine

 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in same pot over high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 5-8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add shallots and 1 tsp. thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of pot, 5−7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.

Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Crumble half of prosciutto into pot. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more thyme and crumble remaining prosciutto over; season with pepper.

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Squash for Breakfast

My mom brought me a ton of squash from her garden; this is a treat for me. Unlike my sister, who opposes all orange vegetables, I love squash. I flagged this recipe immediately when I saw it in my October issue of Bon Appétit.

Aside from neglecting to mention the eggs in the recipe, it’s perfect. Definitely leave the egg yolks runny so that the yolk drips down into the hash.

Butternut Squash and Chorizo Hash

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbsp. (or more) extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz. fresh chorizo, casings removed

1 lb. butternut squash (about ½ of a medium squash), peeled, cut into ½” pieces (about 4 cups)

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

4 eggs

Lime wedges and cilantro leaves with tender stems (for serving)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Cook chorizo, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon; reserve skillet with fat.

Add butternut squash and onion to reserved skillet and cook over medium-high, adding more oil if needed and stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in chorizo. 

In a separate skillet cook eggs sunny-side up. Serve the hash, topped with an egg then squeeze a lime wedge over and top with cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges for squeezing over.

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

My husband has been posting more pictures of the meals I prepare that I do, this is an issue and I will try to focus on being more diligent with my writing.

I store in my recipe files a number of recipes for later, things that catch my eye that I want to eventually try. While doing my menu planning on Sunday I came across a recipe for Cajun Shrimp Pasta that I had saved; it was originally posted by another blogger, The Cozy Apron. I’ve tried a few of her recipes with good success. My only complaint on this one is that it’s a bit mild for my taste buds.

It came together very quickly, so definitely do your prep work first. Gather your ingredients:

I only had linguine, so I used it, but the fettuccine, a wider pasta, would have been nice. Bow tie pasta would have also been good.

Rather than a small onion, I had half of a red onion leftover from another recipe, I simply chopped them to a finer dice. I also only found diced fire-roasted tomatoes, a quick spin in the food processor converted them to “crushed”. Last but not least, I firmly believe that garlic cloves should all be large, the head I peeled open today was full of tiny cloves, so I used about 12 so that I had the right amount; they were wonderfully fragrant when I added them to the skillet, perfect.

Based on my earlier comment definitely use the cayenne pepper and the red pepper flakes.

After the prep the cooking is quick and dinner is served. I also made a quick garlic bread.

 
Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Entrées, Pastas, Shellfish, Tested and Approved!

INGREDIENTS

    10 ounces uncooked fettuccine
    1 pound medium peeled and deveined shrimp (16/20 count)
    Avocado oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons cajun creole seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
    Pinch cayenne pepper
    Salt
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 small onion, finely diced
    1/2 cup (about 4 ounces by weight) finely diced roasted red peppers from a jar
    6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
    Pinch red pepper flakes
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    14.5 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
    3/4 cup chicken broth
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

Cook the fettuccine about 1-2 minutes shy of al dente according to the package instructions, and keep warm.

Add the shrimp to a bowl, and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, and sprinkle in the cajun creole seasoning, the granulated garlic, and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, if using; toss to coat.

Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil; once hot, add the shrimp and sear it on the first side until golden-brown and crusty, about 2 minutes; flip and sear a minute or so more, until crusty on the other side; remove from the skillet and set aside.

To that same skillet add in the butter plus another small drizzle of the avocado oil if needed, and add in the diced onion along with the diced roasted red peppers, and stir; saute together for about 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly golden.

Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using), along with the tomato paste, and cook for about 30 seconds or just until aromatic. (I even like to sprinkle in an extra dash of the cajun creole seasoning that I used on the shrimp at this point as well.)

Add in the crushed tomatoes, the chicken broth and the heavy cream and stir to incorporate, and allow the sauce to gently simmer for about 2-3 minutes just to slightly thicken; then give it a little taste to see if any additional salt is needed.

Add the fettuccine into the sauce, along with about half of the shrimp plus about half of the chopped parsley, and gently toss to combine, cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the pasta is cooked.

If serving directly from the skillet, top with the rest of the shrimp and the parsley, and serve “family style”. Or, pour the pasta into a serving dish or platter, and then top with the rest of the shrimp and sprinkle over the rest of the chopped parsley.

Bowl Meal

Bowls seem to be the trendy thing right now – your whole meal in one dish, think of the time savings – you should read my sarcasm in that statement. Silly me.

As I was doing my meal planning this weekend, I scrolled across a recipe in Epicurious, I saw the picture and I was hooked. Then I read the ingredients and the amount of work and I was sold.

It’s August in Michigan, everything is in season, but most importantly CORN. Michigan corn is the best, I might be biased. If you live in another part of the country, I will say buy local corn if you can, it is less starchy and far more delicious. I bought mine today at 5:45, we had dinner at 8:15 when my son finished mowing the lawn.

The ingredients for both the bowl and the sauce are simple:

I don’t normally use quick barley, but I had it, and I wanted to see if it was any good for my college kid. He wants to cook, but needs easy meals that you can cook in a closet sized kitchen. I used skirt steak, flank would also work…you can see my preference. I trimmed it thoroughly before grilling; I also let mine sit at room temperature for an hour, steaks simply grill better when they are at room temperature.

I modified the bowl recipe a bit (way too much oil and barley, needs more cheese); otherwise the recipes are good as is. They were a huge hit tonight for dinner.

Grain Bowls with Grilled Corn, Steak, and Avocado

Beef and Lamb, College Option, Entrées, Grilling, Tested and Approved!

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour Servings: Yield 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

lb. skirt or flank steak

tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more

4 ears of corn, shucked

1 cups cooked barley

4 oz. crumbled feta

4 scallions, thinly sliced

cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 avocado, peeled, thinly sliced

Creamy Jalapeño Sauce (for serving)

DIRECTIONS

Season steak with 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Let sit at room temperature 30-60 minutes.

Prepare a grill for high heat or heat grill pan over high. Grill steak and corn, turning occasionally. Steak should be grilled until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of steak registers 120-125°F for medium-rare (~3-4 minutes per side for skirt; 4-5 minutes per side for flank). Transfer to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes or until cool. Meanwhile, grill corn until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let cool.

Slice corn off cobs into a large bowl. Add grains, feta, scallions, oil, lime juice, and 1/2 tsp. salt and stir to combine. Divide corn mixture among bowls.

Thinly slice steak against the grain. Top bowls with steak and avocado. Drizzle jalapeño sauce over; season with salt and pepper.

NOTES

Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Do Ahead: Steak and corn can be grilled 3 days ahead. Transfer to separate airtight containers and chill; allow to come to room temperature prior to serving.

If you don’t have access to fresh corn, frozen corn can be substituted, char it in a medium skillet over high heat in a neutral oil for 3-5 minutes until well charred.

Creamy Jalapeño Sauce

College Option, Sauces and Marinades, Tested and Approved!

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Servings: About 1 1/4 cups

INGREDIENTS

5 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup neutral vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or canola)

¾ cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems

DIRECTIONS

Pulse jalapeños, garlic, lime juice, and salt in a blender or food processor until puréed. With motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until a thick sauce forms. Add cilantro and pulse a few times until chopped and incorporated. Taste and add more jalapeño, if necessary.

Do Ahead

Sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.

NOTES

Sauce will be thin.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

It’s summer and the eldest will be headed back to college soon, with a new challenge: apartment living. Both of these are pushing me towards a simple food portfolio. For a recent Sunday dinner I elected to make an antipasto salad and linguine with clam sauce.

An antipasto salad is really simple and incredibly delicious, it can be served as a salad course or on its own. I found this recipe and modified it just a touch to make it perfect, the original recipe was a bit onion and pepper heavy, this allows you to taste all of the independent flavors. The “lettuce” of the salad is the basil, so the trick is to be gentle with the leaves when washing them so as not to bruise them.

Antipasto Salad

Italian, Salads, Tested and Approved!

Servings: 4 servings Source: bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

1 garlic clove, minced

cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ tsp. crushed dried oregano

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 Cubanelle or Shepherd peppers, thinly sliced into rounds

½ small red onion, thinly sliced, rinsed

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry, halved

8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces

¼-⅓ salami, preferably fennel, thinly sliced

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 lemon

2 cups basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

Mix garlic, oil, vinegar, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add sweet peppers, onion, artichokes, mozzarella, and salami and toss to coat; season with salt and black pepper. Let sit, tossing occasionally, at least 15 minutes.

Zest half of lemon over salad and add basil; toss to combine. Season with more salt and black pepper if needed.

Do Ahead: Salad (without lemon zest and basil) can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Linguine with Clam Sauce is a little more complicated, but there are some tricks to make it simpler. The biggest time saver is frozen clam meat: no scrubbing and they are typically precooked. With the eldest’s fish allergy, I skip the anchovies, but enjoy them if you can. With any pasta dish, the most important ingredient is the pasta, select a good pasta, Italian if available, and for a simple sauce like a clam, a rustic (rough) pasta that the sauce will stick to is best.

Linguine and Clams

Entrées, Italian, Pastas, Shellfish, Tested and Approved!

Servings: 4 servings Source: bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more

10 cups water

12 garlic cloves, divided

4 ounces sourdough or country-style bread, crusts removed, cut into ½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for serving

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving

cup dry white wine

2 pounds littleneck clams (about 24) or cockles (about 32), scrubbed*

12 ounces linguine or spaghetti

½ cup finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

Bring salt and water to a boil in a large pot.

Meanwhile, pulse 3 garlic cloves in a food processor until chopped. Add bread and pulse several times until fine crumbs form.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add breadcrumb mixture and cook, stirring often, until crumbs are golden and crisp, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add lemon zest, season with salt, and toss to combine; set aside.

Wipe out Dutch oven. Using a mandoline if you have one (if not, use a really sharp knife), very thinly slice remaining 9 garlic cloves. Heat ¼ cup oil in Dutch oven over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add anchovies, if using, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden all over and anchovies are dissolved. Quickly stir in wine and simmer until only a couple of tablespoons of liquid are left in pot.

Add clams and toss to combine. (If using clam meat, add and proceed to next step.) Cover and cook until clams are open, 5-7 minutes (about 4 minutes for cockles). Uncover pot and transfer clams to a medium bowl, leaving liquid in pot. If any clams are still closed, cover pot again and cook a few minutes longer, then transfer to bowl with others (discard any that have not opened at this point). Tent clams with foil.

Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes. Using a ladle or heatproof measuring cup, scoop out about 2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with clam liquid. Add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cook, tossing constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid a splash at a time if needed, until pasta is al dente and sauce is glossy and thick enough to cling to noodles, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add parsley and butter and toss until butter is melted. Sprinkle about one-third of breadcrumbs over pasta and toss to combine (you can add more or less depending on how much liquid is in bottom of pot-you want them to absorb some of the sauce but not make it dry). Give pasta a taste; you probably won’t need additional salt, but you can add some if you’d like. Divide pasta among shallow bowls and top with reserved clams, more breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of oil.

NOTES

*Fresh clams can be replaced with frozen meat: ¼ lb. frozen meat/ 1 lb. fresh clams

Time to Cook

I have been absent from my blog, I have sat down to write, in fact I have 9 drafts in my folder, but I haven’t seem to have had the time to finish any.

I have decided to write about a favorite I had forgotten, Roast Salmon with Sweet Chipotle Glaze and Hominy Purée. It was from a a Bon Appétit in April 2011, unfortunately it was a rarity that I got to make it since my eldest is allergic to fish. I was scrolling through my recipes to pick a menu for this week and came across this recipe; with him off to college it was an easy selection.

The recipe needed no modification, it scales easily to serve more as needed.

This is the recipe scaled for 4:

Roast Salmon with Sweet Chipotle Glaze and Hominy Puree

Cook Time: 10 minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4 servings Source: Bon Appétit | April 2011

INGREDIENTS

6 chipotle chiles, from canned chipotle chiles in adobo

4 Tbsp apricot jam or preserves

tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp ground cumin

4 salmon fillets with skin, about 6-7 ounces each (scant 1 inch thick)

30 ounces hominy, canned, drained, juice reserved

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450°F. Using back of spoon, press enough chipotles through fine sieve into small bowl to measure 4 teaspoons puree. Mix puree, jam, vinegar, and cumin in bowl; season glaze to taste with salt.

Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil then coat with nonstick spray. Arrange salmon on sheet; sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Spread one quarter of glaze over each fillet. Roast until just opaque in center, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree hominy and 6 tablespoons reserved juice in food processor until almost smooth. Transfer to skillet. Add butter and cilantro. Stir over medium heat until warmed through, mixing in more reserved juice by teaspoonfuls if too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide hominy between 4 plates, top with salmon, and serve.

Simple Pasta

I have been focusing a lot lately on recipes I have found and fixing them to something I like. Today, however, I approached dinner with my husband out of town for the week after all of us were gone for the weekend. You may have guessed, I have not been grocery shopping so it was time to test my other skills.

My examination of the the possibilities yielded 3 Italian sausages, two partial packages of farfalle pasta, and two cups of cherry tomatoes. I always have herbs outside (until the hard frost), cream, butter, and garlic…my idea formed.


It came together quickly. I minced my garlic, chopped the herbs, cut the tomatoes, and sliced the sausage while the water came to a boil.

    

After adding the pasta to the pan and setting it to cook a couple minutes shy of al dente, I heated a touch of olive oil in my skillet and added the sausage over high heat. It was already cooked, so I simply wanted to heat it through and start browning the sides of the slices.


I added in the garlic with a quick stir and followed with the tomatoes and herbs.

  
It only took a few minutes for the tomatoes to start to soften, at that point I added the pasta and a cup of the pasta water to continue the cooking. While stirring I added about ½ cup more of the water and just a dash of pepper flakes.

  
When the pasta was done and the liquid mostly gone, I added just a bit of cream and stirred in some Parmesan.

  
A tablespoon of butter and some fresh basil brought it all together at the end with a slice of garlic bread.

  
A perfect meal.

Chorizo and Shrimp Burgers

I started my planning for this meal yesterday while making my grocery list, I didn’t have a recipe for is simply the concept above listed as the title. Because my youngest says that everything is better with bacon, and that I have to have extra beyond what the recipe calls for just for him, I am starting with 12 slices of thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon.

And, typical for me, I am baked them at 400°F. I don’t preheat the oven, I simply put the tray in the cold oven and turn it on.
While they were cooking, I cleaned the shrimp.

      

I placed these in a bowl where I chopped them with my Pampered Chef Mix ‘n Chop.

  

Then I added in the chorizo and some basil from my garden which I chopped; I also set aside some basil to use as lettuce.

 

I mixed these together with a bit of salt and pepper.

 

After that, I took the bacon out of the oven.

I decided to make very thin burgers, with the intent of double stacking them. I placed each on a sheet of foil brushed with olive oil.

I also added some parsley to my basil “lettuce” and thinly sliced a red onion as condiments to go with my guacamole.

Then I shucked my fresh Michigan corn and waited for everyone to be hungry.

  

With the weather not cooperating, I elected to grill inside.

Knowing that the chorizo has a tendency to stick, I left the burgers on the foil to cook.

      

The burgers took ~2 minutes per side and the corn was done in 5.

 

Yum!!!!!

Tortellini with Pesto

It’s the second to last dinner for my eldest before he heads off to college so I picked an old favorite from his childhood. It’s one that we all love and has carried through as the years go by, of course it’s hard to go wrong with homemade pesto. 

When we found out that he was allergic to nuts I went on a mission to find one that I liked that was nut-free. This one has stood the test of time. 

I started with my basil: a mix of Thai and regular basil (any basil works, I had extra since I’m using it in my dessert tomorrow too). Once it was cleaned I pulled off my leaves and separated it out into portions.


The portion for the pesto went into the food processor with a few cloves of garlic. 

      

Then I started the grill and the water. The Italian sausage took 10 minutes so I started those first, then came in and blanched the basil for tomorrow in my pasta water.

.              

Then I cooked the pasta in the basil water and turned the sausage.

  
I blended up the pesto in the food processor just before the pasta finished, adding salt, pepper, and olive oil after the basil was chopped and finishing with the Parmesan.  

         

While the pasta drained I pulled the sausage off the grill.

  

Then I came in and tossed the pasta – dinner is served and I have a happy boy. 

    

Tortellini with Pesto
Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Cook 10 minutes ∙ Makes 4 ∙ Difficulty Easy 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups basil leaves, fresh, packed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Parmesan, freshly shredded
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1½-2 pounds tortellini, cooked

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, pulse the basil and garlic until roughly chopped. With the machine on, slowly pour in the oil until just blended. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper and mix until just blended. 
Toss the pesto into cooked tortellini. 

This can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Dinner for One

It’s been a long time since I prepared a dinner for only myself, in this typically busy house it’s more common to cook for extras. Today was an oddity, my eldest is off with his friends for the week enjoy the last bit of summer before they head in their separate directions, my youngest had an opportunity to go out with friends, and my husband is at a work event.

We had a busy weekend after arriving back from vacation, and today was actually my first full trip to the grocery store so I tossed my original plan for dinner and picked myself up something simple.


I chopped up my tomatoes, mozzarella, and olives, then brushed the naan with the oil from the marinated tomatoes and mozzarella.


I decided to cook on my grill pan over medium high heat, and after turning the bread I topped it with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and olives, along with my fresh basil and torn prosciutto.

    

At the end, I sprinkled it with cracked pepper and some pepper flakes and enjoyed it with my wine.


Perfect.