Dining at Disney – Sanaa

Time for another disclosure, this is my second favorite restaurant at Disney World and there are days I have difficulty making that ranking decision between Sanaa and California Grill. They are dramatically different restaurants both in food and price, but the quality shines through in both locations. The food is so unique here that we verify all of our dishes are nut and fish free so that we all can share bites of everything.

I remember our first visit to Sanaa and encouraging my husband and boys to try the bread service with all of the toppings, they weren’t sure about it, but I had visited India and knew how good this could be. Sanaa executes this perfectly and we now order it every time we visit; yesterday was no exception and it vanished quickly.


We ordered a South African wine to pair with our food; most of the menu is African and Indian flavors and my husband and I learned long ago that a wine local to the type of food will pair well.


All of our dishes were amazing, and I have sincere compliments to the chef; that original visit inspired me to bring lamb into my own cooking. My eldest ordered the lamb shank, on our original trip it was the youngest, and I tought them both to make sure they get the marrow from inside the bone as well as the meat from outside. After the duration of cooking it’s perfect. The meat simply falls off of the bone when you pick it up: perfection.


I selected the duck; I can’t get it fresh and I haven’t had success reproducing recipes with frozen so this has not made it into my repertoire. It was served a perfect medium rare, with very crispy skin and duck confit (made from the legs and thighs) on the side. Like the lamb and other red meats, when cooked correctly it simply melts in your mouth.


My husband opted for the Braaivleis, a trio of grilled meats; the meats aren’t ever listed on the menu as they are subject to change. His came with pork tenderloin, lamb chops, and a boar meat sausage. All were perfect and flavorful, with the sausage as a clear favorite of my husband and boys due to the unique flavor profile.


My youngest selected the Spicy Durban Shrimp with Aloo Masala after researching all of the terms so that he knew what he was ordering. Again, another amazing dish, the shrimp were full of flavor, and we may have to start ordering extra bread to soak up the sauces.


When it comes to nuts, the desserts are different story and my eldest made sure he ate enough that he didn’t want dessert. My youngest got the Spice Trade Candy Bar and my husband and I split the Kenyan Coffee Petit Entremet. Both were amazing.

  

If you are willing to be a bit more daring in food options, definitely try Sanaa.


Dining at Disney – Kona Café

Decided to relax yesterday evening rather than finish this post, it is a vacation after all. 

Margaritas were the choice for this evenings accompaniment; I selected habanero lime, it had a very mild hint of spice. I would recommend that they allow it to be a bit hotter and ease up on the sugar.

As with all Disney restaurants they are very helpful when it come to allergies. They serve a Hawaiian bread made with pineapple juice and serve it with a house-made macadamia nut butter. For my nut allergy eldest, they brought real butter and kept the other off of the plate. For those without allergies, the macadamia butter is really good.


We had the Seasonal special roll for an appetizer, a California Roll with lightly seared Hamachi Tuna and our fish allergy eldest selected the Tomato Bisque topped with Bacon and Arugula Oil. The sushi was really good, definitely what a had a craving for. I did get to taste the soup, wow, another item I need to work on at home. 

  

For dinner, we had very varied meals, I selected the Tuna Poke appetizer along with another roll, the Hamachi Tuna-Cilantro Roll. I have to say it was too much for me, and I should have skipped the second roll even though it was really good. The poke was awesome!

My husband had the fresh fish of the day, a pistachio encrusted tile fish, which was really good and prepared well.


The boys selected the Duo of Pork and the Island Burger. The chili-rubbed pork loin elicited the only (mild) complaint; my boys are used to very moist pork tenderloin, as I cook mine until the center reaches 135, and then let it rest so that I serve it at 140-145.

  
Overall, it was a very good reasonably priced meal, I forgot to take a picture of the menu, but all Disney menus can be found, here is the one for Kona.

Grad Party – Success

It took a lot of work and our parents were amazing, it was a lot of fun and a great success. Our graduate is incredibly appreciative of both the party and the generosity of our guests. 

The cooking went as expected without a hitch and I had plenty of food. I would probably make a recommendation for those considering ribs for a large party to think about the type of ribs they have when calculating how many to make. All of my reading lead me to account for 3 ribs per person when serving other proteins. A typical baby back rib weighs 1½-2½ lbs., the ones I had were 3½-4½ lbs, I would have come closer to what I needed if I had done my calculation with the thought of 2½ ribs per person. 

On the day of the party, I started by getting the ribs and mac and cheese out so that they could come to room temperature for more even cooking. Everyone in the house chipped in; this included both boys, my mom, and my in-laws. Once everything was set, excluding the food, I sent my team on missions, boys to get the fried chicken, moms to get the cake, and men to get the beer. 

    
I set about to cooking and put the mac and cheese in the oven and started on the ribs. 

  

I took each pan of ribs out to my grill, and brushed one side with my glaze, and once they were on the grill I glazed the other side. 

  
I moved them through from one side of the grill to the other and ultimately transferred them to a cutting rack for my dad to cut them into single and double ribs and put them in the trays covered with foil to stay warm. 


Just before the party we set everything out and started the slide show. 


The recipes are as follows and can obviously be scaled as needed. I hope that you enjoy! Please ask questions if you have any regarding the recipes.

Thank you to everyone who helped!

Cole Slaw

Salads, Summer, Tested and Approved!

Makes Serves 10-12 ∙ Difficulty Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS
Shred cabbage. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage. Salt and pepper.

NOTES
Add red cabbage and carrots, or use other vinegars for altering flavors and adding color.
Sticky Balsamic Ribs

Entrées, Grilling, Pork

Makes Makes 8 Servings ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Gourmet | July 2009

INGREDIENTS
For ribs:

  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 8-12 pounds baby back pork ribs, (8 racks; see cooks’ note below)
  • 1 cup water

For glaze:

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed

DIRECTIONS
Marinate and roast ribs:

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt. Stir together with rosemary, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub evenly all over ribs and transfer to roasting pans. Marinate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Pour 1/2 cup water into each roasting pan and tightly cover pans with foil. Roast ribs, switching position of pans halfway through, until meat is very tender, about 1 3/4 hours. Remove pans from oven and transfer ribs to a platter.

Make glaze and grill ribs:

Add 1 cup hot water to each roasting pan and scrape up brown bits. Skim off and discard fat, then transfer liquid to a 10-inch skillet. Add vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).

Brush some of glaze onto both sides of racks of ribs. Grill, turning occasionally, until ribs are hot and grill marks appear, about 6 minutes.

NOTES
If you can only get larger ribs (4 racks), you will need more glaze; use 12 large garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.

Ribs can be roasted and glaze can be made ahead and chilled separately (covered once cool). Bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before glazing and grilling. 
Sally’s Mac & Cheese

Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Cook 30-40 minutes ∙ Makes 8-10 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Aunt Sally

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 eggs beaten, large
  • 24 ounces cottage cheese
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 4 cups cheddar, shredded
  • 4 cups macaroni, cook as directed in salted water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Mix the ingredients in order and salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, top with panko or crushed saltines.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

NOTES

Can be mixed in an oven proof bowl and baked directly or for more crispness on the top, bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Also scales well for large groups.

I have played with this recipe successfully including substituting Picolini for the elbows, dropping the cottage cheese down to 16 oz. and replacing with feta, and replacing half the cheddar with other cheeses such as smoked Gouda.

To make this as Bacon Mac & Cheese, use 3 eggs, and reduce cheddar to ~1 cup, and add 1 block of shredded sharp white cheddar, 1 block of shredded Boar’s Head 3-pepper co-jack, and ~1 pound chopped cooked bacon.
Sweet Rolls

Breads, Tested and Approved!

Difficulty Hard ∙ Source Grandma

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups milk, lukewarm (less amount of water used to dissolve yeast)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 envelopes yeast
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 7 – 7 1/2 cups flour

Icing

  • butter, soft
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • cream or half and half

DIRECTIONS

Dissolve yeast in a small amount of warm water. Mix milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and heat to ~105℉. When the milk is warm pour into a large bowl and mix in the yeast. Stir in the eggs and butter. 

Start mixing in the flour, stirring until thick and then kneading until soft and elastic. 

Allow to rise for 2 hours (until doubled) then punch down. Butter pans (allowing dough to rest) then make the rolls. Allow to rise until light. 

Bake at 400℉ for 15 minutes.

NOTES

Use light colored metal pans to bake the rolls, dark and glass pans can tend to over bake the bottom.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Breads, Tested and Approved!

Prep 2-2½ hours ∙ Cook 30 minutes ∙ Makes 3 loaves ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Mom

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 envelopes yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 – 5 1/2 cups flour

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, salt, and yeast. 

In a pan, heat water, milk, honey, and oil until warm. Pour liquid over flour mixture and mix for two minutes with a mixer. 

Add white flour until smooth and elastic; knead for 5 minutes. Raise for 60-90 minutes (until doubled). Punch down and shape into loaves. 

Let raise for 45-60 minutes. Bake 30 minutes at 400℉.

Grad Party – Part 1

My oldest is graduating from high school this year, so we have decided to have a grad party, as many families do. I considered having it catered or at least purchasing the food already made. As I reviewed the expense, I elected to make most of the food myself. I am buying chicken, because who wants to spend the day over a fryer and because I have a local market that uses all amish chicken to make their fried chicken. The biggest savings is from making my own ribs. 

I have built up a large amount vacation days so I decided to take the week off to do the ribs. By pre-cooking them in the oven, they will only take 6 minutes on the grill on the day of the party. I’m starting with my rosemary in my new food processor (I decided using the broken one was going to waste too much time. 


After chopping it, I added in the remaining ingredients for the wet rub. You can see I took some liberties for the bulk prep (I can’t even imagine the amount of time it would have taken to peel enough garlic cloves for 2 cups minced!)

    

The resulting sauce is thick and beautiful, my graduate decided the smell alone was amazing. 

The next part is prepping the ribs for the rub; you must remove the membrane/silver skin from the back of the ribs to ensure they are tender. 

  

And then 3 to a pan; I’ll be doing about 12 of these. 

    
To cook them, ½ cup of water goes into each pan and they are tightly sealed with foil and roasted at 425°F for 1¾ hours. 


Once cooked they are very tender. I’ll be keeping them cold in giant ziploc bags until the morning of the party. I’m reserving juice from the bottom of the pan for a glaze and I’ll have BBQ sauce too. 


More to come this week as I progress.

Red Pozole

I promised my sister another weeknight recipe. And this is certainly easy, the trick is it takes 2 hours to simmer. My son had a fundraiser for his lacrosse team on a night I had time to cook. The following day was karate with no time, so this was a perfect fit in the meal plan. 

I did all the work so that it could simmer while we were gone; the smell when we got home was amazing! We were already excited to have dinner the next day.

I saved this recipe a few years ago, and I’m very glad I did since the link I downloaded it from no longer contains the recipe. The recipe calls for either country ribs or pork shoulder, use a boneless pork shoulder if you are in a hurry, but otherwise the ribs add a unique element with a mix of loin and rib meat.

As usual, I gathered all of my ingredients.

And before cleaning the meat I used my cutting board and favorite knife on the veggies. The soup doesn’t end up hot, just flavorful, but the peppers can be hot; if you don’t want the residue on your hands, wear gloves to pull off the stems and shake out the seeds. 

The onion only needs to be coarsest chopped.

  

  
Then I seared the peppers in a hot dry pan and set them aside to cool. 

    

And when I could touch them I crumbled them into my blender and then poured boiling water over them to soften them. 

  

In the same pan that I roasted the peppers, I sautéed the onions and minced garlic.

    

When they were soft and nicely colored from the chili peppers, I added them to the peppers. 

  

Blending them to a purée, yielded a beautiful thick sauce.

  

I started to clean the meat while the onions softened, but had to stop a few times. Once you make the sauce it can sit while you finish cleaning the pork. You can see each had a wedge of bone in the middle; I used about 4.5 pounds of bone-in ribs to get 3 pounds of meat. 

  
I cooked the pork in 2 batches, each seasoned with cumin, salt, and pepper. 

  

When both batches were done I returned them all to the pan and added in the purée and chicken stock. (Hint: Use the chicken stock to rinse your blender.) Then add in the rinsed hominy and oregano. 

      

Once it came to a boil, I reduced it to a simmer and came home to this beautiful pot of soup. 

For toppings, I shredded a block of queso fresco and shredded a few radishes. 

  

  

When I finally got to taste it the following day with my cucumber G&T, it was perfect.


Warming Red Pozole

Soups Stews etc., Tested and Approved!
Makes 10 to 12 ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Epicurious.com | Food52 | February 2015

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 dried New Mexico chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder or country style ribs, cut into ¾” cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cans hominy, drained and rinsed
  • Water

Toppings:

  • Cabbage, shredded finely
  • Radishes, sliced thinly
  • Limes, quartered for squeezing
  • Avocado, cut into small chunks
  • Tortilla chips or corn tortillas
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Crumbled queso fresco or your cheese of choice

DIRECTIONS

Toast chiles in a dry pan over high heat for a few minutes until slightly browned. As you heat them, they should puff up, soften, and become fragrant. Remove from pan, let cool, and cut or tear roughly. Pour 1 cup boiling water over them to soften them for 15 minutes.

Add oil to a large, heavy pot and turn the flame to medium high. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions have softened and colored. Remove from heat and add them to the blender with the chiles and their liquid. Purée until smooth.

Put pot back on high heat and brown the pork in two batches. Add 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper to each batch as the pieces brown. 

Add all pork back to pot along with chile liquid, chicken stock, oregano, and hominy. The liquid should completely cover the pork. (Add more stock if necessary.) Bring to boil then lower to simmer. Cover the pot and cook the stew over low heat for 2 hours.

While the pozole cooks, get toppings ready.

To serve: Ladle pozole into bowl. Top with cabbage, radishes, and any other toppings. Squeeze a healthy dose of lime juice into your bowl and dig in!

NOTES

This recipe was originally published on Food52 as “Warming Red Pozole”.

Not Enough Leftovers

We had 10 boys for dinner on Sunday, I had about 5½ lbs. of flat iron steak that I marinated for fajitas. I also sautéed 3 large sweet onions, 3 bell peppers, and 3 poblano peppers. I was planning on using the leftovers to make steak wraps for dinner today. Only 1 problem with the plan, after dinner the meat was gone. No one was hungry, but my Tuesday plans were shot. 


I still had peppers and onions, along with my baked black beans and tomatillo guacamole. So when I finally got to think about what to do for dinner when I got in my car today, I really wanted to figure out how to use it. I thought, I’ll just do soft tacos, it’s easy. When I called my husband, he suggested I look for chorizo and my plan took form. 

I picked up chorizo and thin center cut pork chops, and I set to work dicing the chops. There isn’t much fat on these, but I removed it anyway. 

  

First I browned the chorizo, and it released beautiful, flavorful oil into my pan. 

  
I set aside the chorizo, and lightly sautéed the pork in the same pan with a bit of cumin, oregano, and chipotle chili pepper sprinkled on it. 

  

  

When it was done I set that with the chorizo until everyone was ready to eat. Tuesdays my older son is working and my younger son is training for lacrosse, so only my husband and I eat together. On a good note this meant I had the time to reheat in my skillet rather than the microwave (ok for lunches, but I prefer not to use). 

My boys ate individually and for each of them I prepped all in the skillet and used the stove to heat the tortillas. 

  

It was similar for my husband and me; we used both the corn and flour tortillas. 

Delicious, and no wasted food. 

Bacon Makes EVERYTHING Better

Sadly, I still don’t think my sister will try this recipe. 

The main ingredient is One of my faves, butternut squash. It falls in her least favorite foods, orange vegetables. 

A few years ago, I saved a Bon Appétit recipe for a butternut squash pasta. I hadn’t tried it because it called for half of a butternut squash (seriously…what do you do with the other half). 

When we went to pick up our Christmas tree from our corner farm market they were giving away a new butternut squash variety they had planted; it harvested late so they had extras for free. I grabbed a couple and kept them in the garage, each a perfect half squash. 

I started with the squash, peeling and then shredding with my food processor. 

  

And then I diced my pancetta. 

  

And sliced the sage.

That is all of the prep work before starting the water for the pasta. 

This includes a few modifications to the original recipe: pancetta (as mentioned, bacon makes EVERYTHING better), the length for browning the butternut squash, and freshly ground pepper (which I should have added to the squash during cooking instead of just at the end). 

While the water took its time coming to a boil, I cooked my pancetta. 

  

Once it was crispy I set it aside to drain on paper towels and added butter to the pan. I also used this opportunity to add the pasta to my now boiling water.

  

  

I cooked the squash and sage similar to how I cook hash browns, stirring occasionally and allowing the bottom to brown between stirring. 

  

When the pasta was done I added it to the squash with pasta water (ultimately about 1½ cups), the pancetta, and Parmesan.

  

  

Meanwhile, my husband washed some lettuce for a salad and used a loaf of roasted garlic bread to make a nice accompaniment.

And while eating was really the best part, I was very excited to use the new pasta dishes that I received from my MIL for Christmas. 

Ultimately an easy weekday meal. 
Pasta with Butternut Squash

Paprika Recipe File

Entrées, Pastas, Pork, Tested and Approved!

Makes 6 servings ∙ Source Bon Appétit | February 2013

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ lb. pancetta, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ~5 cups shredded butternut squash (from about 1½-2 lbs. peeled squash; shredded with the coarse grating attachment on a food processor or on a box grater)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh sage
  • pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 pound fiorentini, campanelle, or other short curled pasta
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano plus more

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

While it comes to a boild, cook pancetta in large skillet over medium-high heat. When crispy, set aside with a slotted spoon in a dish lined with paper towels.

When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook as directed for al dente.
Melt the butter in the oil and increse the heat to high. Add squash and sage, season with pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to brown, about 8-10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium.

Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

Add pasta and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to squash and stir to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Stir in ½ cup Parmesan.

Divide pasta among bowls; top with more Parmesan.

Ragu Sauce

I can’t say enough about making pasta and pasta sauces; yum is really the best word. If you don’t have time to make pasta, please buy good pasta, for the few dollars more it is the difference between a good meal and an amazing meal.

On Sunday it was all about the sauce, I wasn’t even going to post since I didn’t use a recipe. My mom and a good friend asked so here we go, enjoy!

At the end, I remove about half of the sauce from the pot, then add the pasta and mixed until well coated, then I put the pasta in the serving bowl and topped with as much remaining sauce as desired and shredded Parmesan. For the pasta below, I cooked ~1 lb. of pappardelle and had 1 quart of sauce to freeze.

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Ragu Sauce

Entrées, Italian, Pastas, Sauces and Marinades

Prep 30 mins ∙ Cook 2 hrs ∙ Makes Sauce for 1½ -2 lbs. pasta ∙ Difficulty Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup porcini mushrooms, dried
  • ½ cup water, hot
  • 1½-2 onions, sweet (can use some red)
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tsp. thyme, fresh
  • 3-4 tbsp. Italian parsley, fresh
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 oz pancetta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3-4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 28 oz. tomatoes, crushed or petite diced
  • ~¼ cup heavy cream
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

DIRECTIONS

Soak the porcini mushrooms in the hot water for 30 minutes.

While they soak, finely chop the onions, celery, carrots, parsley, and thyme (for ease use a food processor).

When the mushrooms are done soaking, strain through fine strainer lined with cheesecloth into a cup to remove the silt and reserve the soaking water. Rinse the mushrooms with cold water and coarsely chop.

Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once hot, melt the butter with the oil, then add the vegetables and garlic; cook until translucent, paying attention so that the onions do not brown, about 10 minutes.

Finely chop the pancetta (or, ideally, cut it into quarters and then pulse it in a food processor until ground). Once the vegetables are translucent, add all of the meat and increase the heat to high. Let the meat just brown, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

When brown, add the tomato paste, red wine, mushrooms, and mushroom water. Stir to combine then cook until the alcohol is mostly cooked out. Add the tomatoes, heavy cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring occasionally, to prevent it from sticking or scorching until very thick.

Paprika Recipe

BBQ Pork Brie Sandwich

I still have a number of posts to complete, my work days have been extending so long that I simply have been exhausted. Today, I got home 12 hours after I left this morning. My husband and I discussed going out for dinner, but we only had little over an hour before we would need to be home for our son finally getting home for his birthday.

He pointed out that we had Brie and pork in the fridge and a loaf of French sourdough. He wrapped my son’s presents and I set to slowly sautéing some thinly sliced red onions we also had in the fridge. I also thinly sliced my leftover bacon wrapped pork and a round of Brie. After the onions were done, I threw the pork in the same pan with barbecue sauce and a few splashes of smoked tabasco.

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I stacked the Brie, pork, some baby spinach, the caramelized onions, and more Brie onto the buttered bread and then carefully moved them onto the panini press.

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Perfect. It took 30 minutes, and my work day stress is gone.

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Happy Wednesday.

Paprika Recipe

Fusilli with Fresh Tomato and Olive Sauce

I have talked before about making pasta sauce, using fresh tomatoes is one of my favorites. On Labor Day after an enjoyable weekend with friends at their cottage, I did my shopping. It was very nice to sit in the sun by the water and make my list. By the time I got home it was close to 4 and then 5 to get back from the grocery. Thankfully pasta is quick.

One of the items I picked up was a pound of pancetta which I had sliced thick and diced when I got home.

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I also had several tomatoes, some from the farmers market and some from my neighbor.

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I started my pasta water boiling and used it to blanch my tomatoes so that they would be easy to peel.

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While they cooled, I prepped my other ingredients.

 

I started by browning the pancetta, until nice and crispy.

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While it browned I chopped my onion and Kalamata olives, and I peeled my tomatoes (making sure to stir the pancetta occasionally.)

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When the pancetta was done I set it aside on paper towels to drain and proceeded to slowly cook the onion.

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Meanwhile I opened my can of tomato paste, peeled my garlic, and coarsely chopped the peeled tomatoes.

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When the onions were done I added the garlic and the pepper flakes.

 

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Once they were fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, I added the tomato paste and the chopped olives to the pan.

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When the tomato paste began to darken I added the red wine vinegar and the chopped tomatoes, and then brought them to a boil. And then reduced it to a simmer and covered it up so that the tomatoes would fall apart.

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Part of my inspiration was the basil I keep in my flower bed which is growing out of hand. I cut several sprigs so that I would have one cup of chopped leaves.

 

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I also got out my remaining ingredients, and boiled my pasta.

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In the meantime my sauce had thickened.

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I added the pasta, Parmesan, pancetta, and basil to the sauce and stirred.

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With a little extra cheese on top and fresh bread with butter, dinner was served.

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Fusilli with Fresh Tomato and Olive Sauce

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Prep 15 mins ∙ Cook 45 mins ∙ Makes 6 ∙ Source Bon Appétit | August 1999

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½-2 pounds plum tomatoes (about 8 large), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. pancetta or small meatballs (optional)
  • 2 T. cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ⅓ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted, chopped
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound fusilli
  • 1½ cups Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot (suitable for the pasta) bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil. Cut a very shallow “X” (try to just cut the skin) in each tomato and then immerse in the boiling water for ~1 minute. Remove from the water with a sloted spoon and allow to cool until safe to touch. Peel the tomatoes, coarsely chop, and set aside. .
Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. (If using meatballs or pancetta, brown, remove from pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside to drain; remove excess oil.)

Add onion and heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Then add garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Stir in olives and tomato paste then continue cooking for a few minutes longer. Add tomatoes and vinegar, season to taste with ground pepper, then simmer unil tomatoes have fallen apart, at least 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce toss with 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, (meatballs or pancetta if using), and fresh basil then toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper (NO salt with pancetta). Serve with remaining Parmesan cheese.

NOTES

Stirring in the basil at the end keeps it fresh and green in your dish.

Paprika Recipe File