Al Forno’s Five Cheese Pasta

From Al Forno, the wonderful restaurant in Providence, RI. This is a delicious pasta that comes together very quickly. I usually make it in the morning of the day I am going to eat it and bake it for dinner. I use Parmesan cheese instead of the Pecorino but you can use whatever cheeses you like. I reduced a can of diced tomatoes with some tomato paste to get a thicker sauce to add to the cream, cheeses and pasta. **Note-I gave the leftovers of this to my neighbor, Hannah and she added the rest of the 16 oz. ricotta, chicken and peas and said it was delicious! I think it is a brilliant idea!

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes in heavy puree
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely shredded (1 1/2 ounces) Fontina cheese
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, (1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
6 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pound penne rigate or conchiglie rigate
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, sliced thinly Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the pasta and butter. Stir well to combine. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine. Divide the pasta mixture among six to eight shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2 cups in capacity) or place in a shallow (1-inch) layer in larger baking dishes. Dot with the butter, and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.

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Corn Risotto

From the NY Times. Our corn in CO is almost gone so I had to make this at least once this season! Making the corn stock from the cobs is so easy and adds great flavor. I love fresh marjoram on my corn risotto but my husband prefers basil so I garnish them separately. I am not sure that the softly whipped cream is necessary but it adds to the beauty and texture! I did not have a leek so I used shallots.


FOR THE CORN STOCK (OPTIONAL, YOU MAY USE CHICKEN STOCK):
2 corn cobs (kernels removed and reserved for risotto)
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
Dark green leaves from 1 leek (reserve white and light green parts for risotto)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
FOR THE RISOTTO:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
6 cups hot corn stock or chicken stock
1 ½ cups raw corn kernels (from about 2 ears corn)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced chives (optional)

FOR THE STOCK:
Combine all ingredients with 6 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so liquid is simmering; cover pot and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Add enough water to bring liquid up to 6 cups.
FOR THE RISOTTO:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent.
Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until it has all been absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Add a ladleful of hot corn stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed all of the stock. Continue cooking, adding ladlefuls of stock whenever rice mixture looks dry and stirring continuously. When half the stock has been added, stir in corn. Continue cooking until all of the stock is incorporated, corn is tender and rice is creamy and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes total.
Remove risotto from heat and stir in Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream at high speed until it holds stiff peaks. Uncover risotto, stir vigorously and season to taste with salt and pepper. Immediately before serving, stir in the chives, if using, then gently fold in cream.

Pommes Anna

I have been enticed by this recipe for years but have never attempted it! Another winner from Melissa Clark and the NY Times. I made a mini version of this with 3 Russet potatoes and my 6″ cast iron pan and scaled the recipe down accordingly. It did not disappoint -it was so delicious and I can’t wait to make it again. I am even considering it for Thanksgiving potato-as it is crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle. Do not be intimidated to try this recipe-you will be so happy that you did!

5 ½ to 7 pounds russet or all-purpose white potatoes, as needed
¾ cup clarified butter, melted
Fine sea salt, as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
2 to 4 garlic cloves, sliced paper-thin on a mandoline (optional)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place a rack in the middle and set a rimmed baking sheet on top of it.
Trim potatoes into cylinders, peeling any skin left after trimming. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice into 1/8-inch slices and blot dry with paper towels. You should have about 8 1/2 cups.
In a heavy 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons clarified butter over medium heat. When hot, carefully place 1 potato slice in the middle, then quickly place more slices around it, overlapping them clockwise to make a ring. Place a second ring to surround the first, going counterclockwise. Continue to the edge of the pan, alternating the direction in which the potato rings overlap. Sprinkle with a generous 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with another 2 tablespoons butter.
Create second layer of potatoes, just as you did the first. Dot a third of the garlic slices, if using, on top of this layer of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with butter.
Continue layering potatoes, garlic, butter and salt until everything is used, making a dome of potatoes in the middle (they will sink as they cook). Occasionally shake skillet gently to ensure potatoes aren’t sticking. When finished, there should be enough butter that it can be seen bubbling up the sides of the skillet.
Butter the bottom of a 9-inch pan and one side of a piece of foil. Push the pan down firmly on top of the potatoes to press them. Remove pan, then cover potatoes with the foil, buttered side down. Cover the foil with a lid. Set skillet on the baking sheet in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven, uncover and remove foil, and again press potatoes down firmly with the 9-inch pan. (Rebutter bottom of pan, if necessary, before you press down.) Return to oven and bake uncovered, until potatoes are tender and the sides are dark brown when lifted away from skillet, 20 to 25 minutes.
Once more, remove skillet from oven and press potatoes down firmly with pan. Tip the skillet away from you to drain off the excess butter into a bowl (this can be reused for cooking), using the lid to keep the potatoes in place. Run a thin spatula around edge and bottom of skillet to loosen any slices stuck to the pan. Carefully turn out the potatoes onto a serving platter.

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Herbs and Capers

A simple wonderful way to cook pork tenderloin from Melissa Clark of the NY Times. I served it with a Vegetable Slaw from Tartine All Day and rice. Delicious!

1 ¾ pounds pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, minced
2 ½ tablespoons minced capers, plus a splash of their liquid
2 ½ teaspoons chopped sage
1 ½ teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 ½ teaspoons chopped thyme, more for serving
1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
1 tablespoon dry white wine or vermouth (or use more stock)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup pork, chicken or other meat stock
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
Nutritional Information
PREPARATION
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice pork tenderloin lengthwise to butterfly it, but don’t quite slice all the way through: The 2 pieces should remain attached. Season with salt and pepper, then let sit while you prepare filling.
In a large, oven-safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Stir in shallots, 1/2 tablespoon capers, 2 teaspoons sage, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Stirring frequently, cook until shallots start to brown, about 5 minutes, then stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. (Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.) Transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Wipe out skillet and reserve.
Spread cooled filling evenly on pork, then close pork, along the hinge, like a book. Then fold the thinner end up against the thicker portion so that pork is the same width all over. Tie with kitchen twine at 1 1/2-inch intervals.
In the same skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Place tenderloin seam-side up in the skillet, then transfer to oven and roast for 15 minutes. Flip pork over and continue roasting until meat reaches 140 to 145 degrees in the center, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer meat to a cutting board to rest; reserve skillet and juices.
While the meat rests, make the sauce: Heat skillet over medium-high heat, then stir in vermouth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each sage, rosemary and thyme, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan. Cook until vermouth is almost evaporated, then add orange juice and stock, and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and syrupy. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons capers, their liquid and the butter; season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce tastes too sweet, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
To serve, slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices and top with sauce and fresh thyme.

Lamb Kofta

I am working my way through the new Tartine All Day cookbook and am so excited about all of the recipes that I have tried so far! I highly recommend this cookbook and think it is one of the best new cookbooks for sure! It is a book to be used and has so many great recipes! Upon receiving it, I went through the book and wrote down all of the recipes that I wanted to try. I made the lamb kofta and served it with what the author suggested-tzatziki and a fattoush salad. The plate could not have been prettier or more delicious! It is a manageable meal to serve for a party as you can do so much of the prep ahead of time. Lamb Kofta can be made and cooked on skewers or as patties, cooked in a skillet with olive oil.

1/4 c. quinoa
1/2 c. water
large pinch of sea salt
Rinse the quinoa very well, 3 or 4 times. Combine the quinoa, water and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Watch carefully! I burned my first batch! Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and let cool.
1# ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. sea salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/8-1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 T. chopped mint leaves
1 t. ras-el-hanout * I found this in the Spicely Organic little boxes of spices at WFds* see note below for substit.
1 t. red pepper flakes

8 bamboo or metal skewers
2 T. olive oil, for pan frying (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, lamb, onion,cumin, salt, pepper, parsley, cinnamon and ras-el-hanout and red pepper flakes. Gently mix just until the spices are evenly distributed but take care not to overmix. Mixture can be made ahead and stored covered up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Shape the kofta around skewers to grill or shape into patties for pan frying. Divide the mixture into 8 portions.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Fry until browned and cooked through 6-10 minutes.
Grill skewers until browned and cooked (optional).

Baked Cod with Bouillabaisse Sauce and Green Olive Tapenade

A wonderful sauce that is delicious with cod but would also be great with chicken. And you can make it ahead! It is elegant and exotic with the flavors of fennel, pernod, saffron. The recipe is from the April, 2017 issue of Food and Wine. I did not have **fish bones for the recipe so I skipped that step and added the water with a vegetable bouillon cube to make up for the fish bone stock.

6 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided up in recipe
1 large fennel bulb, 1 #, trimmed and finely chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 t. saffron threads
2 T. Pernod or Pastis
3/4 c. dry white wine
3/4 c dry vermouth (**I used white wine as I did not have but will get for the next time)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halved and smashed
1/2 t. cayenne
2 # white fish bones
2 t. lemon juice, plus more for drizzling
salt
4 six ounce cod fillets
Green Olive tapenade

1/4 c, pitted brined or oil cured green olives, finely chopped

2 T. rinsed and drained capers, finely chopped

2 T. finely chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper

In a large enameled cast iron casserole, heat 2 T of the olive oil. Add the fennel, leek, onion, celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Pernod and cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes. Add the wine and vermouth (**) and cook until the liquid is reduced by half about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cayenne and simmer over moderate heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet, and add the fish bones, cooking over moderate heat until browned, turning once, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bones to the casserole with 2 cups of water ad simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, covered. Let the sauce cool slightly and remove the fish bones. You can puree the sauce at this point with an immersion blender or leave as is.

Combine all ingredients for olive tapenade and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the fish with salt and refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. Heat remaining 2 T. olive oil in a ovenproof skillet and cook the fish until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes until opaque and cooked through.

Ladle the sauce into four shallow serving bowls and top with each fish. Spoon the tapenade over the fish and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

My niece Rachael introduced me to this fool proof Tenderloin from the one and only Ina Garten. It is so easy and everyone loves beef tenderloin! It is a wonderful dish as is or for a large party I served it with mini brioche rolls with horseradish sauce. Always a hit!
beef-tenderloin
2 1/2 pounds filet of beef, trimmed and tied
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Place the beef on the sheet pan. Combine the mustard, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on the filet and brush it evenly over the top and sides. Sprinkle the cracked pepper evenly all over the meat.
Roast the filet for 30 minutes exactly for medium-rare (25 minutes for rare and 35 minutes for medium). Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow the beef to rest on the pan for 10 minutes. Slice and serve hot or warm.
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Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/balsamic-roasted-beef.html?oc=linkback

Ina’s Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

My friend Flo made this a few weeks ago and raved about it. I made vegetable lasagna today in anticipation of a much awaited cold front and it is wonderful. I used zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and basil from my garden. I only used one 32 oz. jar of marinara sauce as I roasted some cherry tomatoes and garlic that I had on hand and pureed it to add to the marinara. I think the herb goat cheese makes a wonderful addition to the ricotta but I would substitute if you have kids that don’t like goat cheese. I love that you can make it ahead and refrigerate or freeze. I think this and a salad would serve a party of 12-14 easily.
Ina's vegetable lasagna
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
3/4 pound zucchini, unpeeled, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
2/3 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
10 ounces lasagna noodles, such as De Cecco
16 ounces fresh whole-milk ricotta
8 ounces creamy garlic-and-herb goat cheese, at room temperature
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 1/2 cups good bottled marinara sauce, such as Rao’s (40 ounces)
1 pound lightly salted fresh mozzarella, very thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange the eggplant and zucchini in single layers on 3 sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Brush them generously with the olive oil on both sides, using all of the oil. Sprinkle with the oregano (I crush it in my hands), 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, sprinkle the garlic evenly on the vegetables, and roast for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 350°F.

Meanwhile, fill a very large bowl with the hottest tap water and add enough boiling water to bring the temperature to 140°F. One at a time, place the noodles in the water and soak them for 15 minutes, swirling occasionally so they don’t stick together. Drain and slide the noodles around again.

Combine the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.

Spread 1 cup of the marinara in a 9×13×2-inch baking dish. Arrange a third of the vegetables on top, then a layer of the noodles (cut to fit), a third of the mozzarella, and a third of the ricotta mixture in large dollops between the mozzarella. Repeat twice, starting with the marinara. Spread the last 1 1/2 cups of marinara on top and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan.

Place the dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the lasagna is browned and bubbly. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve hot.

Make-Ahead Notes
Assemble the lasagna completely and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost (if necessary) and bake before dinner.

Vietnamese Caramelized Grilled Pork with Rice Noodle Salad

This recipe is from Gourmet Easy Dinners and it is stellar!! I was a little intimidated by caramelizing the sugar but as long as you have a super clean pan, there should be no problem. I marinated the pork in the morning and grilled it for dinner, although it is so fast that you could do it all at once. The caramelized shallot glaze is phenomenal!
Vietnamese Pork
6 1/4″ thick boneless pork loin chops (you could also use pork tenderloin)
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. finely chopped shallots
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. Asian fish sauce
1/2 t. salt
Pound the pork until less 1/8″ thick. Make several slits around the edge to prevent from curling. Cook the sugar in a dry 1 quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, undisturbed until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a dry wooden spoon, until it is melted into a golden caramel. Add shallots and cook over medium low heat, stirring 30 seconds. Add lime juice, fish sauce and 1/2 t. salt and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly for a minute. Pour over pork in a bowl and toss until well coated. Lightly oil a grill rack, grill pork 1-2 minutes each side. Serve on top of rice noodle salad.
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
4 oz. thin dried rice noodles
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 T. Asian fish sauce
1/4 t. salt
1 carrot, coarsely shredded
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 c. mixed cilantro, mint, and/or basil leaves
1/4. chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts
Cook noodles according to package directions for salad-be sure to taste as I seem to cook my rice noodles for at least 2-4 minutes longer than the package suggests. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pat dry. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, fish sauce and 1/4 t. salt until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add noodles, carrots, scallions, herbs, and peanuts, tossing to combine.

Orange Jalapeno Shrimp with Broccoli and Brown Rice

It is wonderful how available recipes are! A friend had this recipe torn out of the newspaper and it was missing amounts of honey and soy but I googled the title and found it! Simple and delicious!
Orange jalapeno shrimp
Orange Jalapeno Shrimp with Broccoli and Brown Rice
1 pound raw deveined shrimp, tails on (The man of steel likes tails off, so I removed them)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 3 navel oranges (3/4 cup juice)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or another light vegetable oil like canola)
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 navel orange, peeled and sectioned
2 cups cooked brown rice

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Over high heat, boil the orange juice, honey and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Boil until it’s reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, Toss in the shrimp and cook until it starts to turn opaque (not totally pink) and toss the shrimp with tongs to cook them evenly. Add the orange juice reduction and cook for 3–4 minutes. Lift shrimp out of the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid in the pan, and put shrimp on a plate.

Add the broccoli florets and orange sections to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, until broccoli is just tender. (Be sure to not cook too long or the orange sections will fall apart. Don’t ask how I know this.) Add the shrimp back into pan. Stir to combine. Serve hot over brown rice.