Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pasta with Sausage and Tomato Sauce

[yet another disclaimer about lack of recent posts]

The lesson I learned yesterday was that I'd been undercooking my pasta sauces. This time, I waited an extra 10 or so minutes till the sauce was thick and, well, saucy, pretty much all the fluid evaporated and bits of crust were starting to form on the bottom of the pan. Level up! The scads of fresh herbs in the garden helped as well.

This recipe makes enough to very generously sauce 1/2 lb. of pasta, or barely sauce 1 lb.
  • 2 T olive oil (will reduce amount and render the sausages first next time)
  • 1 c onion, chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste (used about 1 t)
  • 1/2 package turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1" rounds (about 2-1/2 regular links or one long one)
  • 2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 3-4 long chive stalks, chopped, plus more for garnish
Boil water and cook pasta. Reserve about a cup of pasta water, just in case.

Meanwhile, put oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once it's hot, add the red pepper flakes and onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes, till onions begin to soften.

Add sausage. Cook till meat begins to brown, flipping halfway through, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Add tomatoes and some of their juice. Turn heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, till mixture is thick and saucy, 20-30 minutes.

Turn off heat. Stir herbs into sauce. If it's too thick, add some of the pasta water and mix well. Adjust seasoning then serve over pasta.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cooking from Cans: Pasta with Butter, Onions and Caviar

Technically, the caviar - not Beluga, just capelin from the corner store - came out of a jar, but the basic idea of a pantry-only dish applies. This super-easy dish will become a staple, I'm sure - it's filling, quick and luxurious without being heavy. I used good Amish butter for this, and may add a bit of sour cream next time. The measurements aren't hard and fast - I could see myself doubling them if I wanted something even richer.
  • 1 dry cup pasta (whole-wheat rotini in this case)
  • 1-2 T unsalted butter (used 1.3 T in this case)
  • 1/4 c onion, chopped
  • 2 T caviar
Cook the pasta in salted water. When it's ready, drain and set aside.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook till they're softened, 5-7 minutes.

Mix the pasta with the butter and onions. Add the caviar and stir till fully incorporated. Serve.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cooking from Cans: Pasta with Tomato-Clam Sauce

[insert disclaimer regarding lack of updates and backlog of posts]

One of the things I enjoy most about at-home comp days is making a quick lunch. This one consists primarily of stuff in boxes, bottles and cans, but benefits from the addition of a generous handful of fresh parsley. Our two plants have not only survived the admittedly gentle winter, but have managed to reproduce. The larger one produced several offspring, which are almost big enough to use themselves. Makes me even more hopeful than usual for spring.

  • 1 c whole wheat pasta of your choice (used rigatoni this time)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 c)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1.5 T)
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 6.5 can minced clams, drained (reserve some juice if you like)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T parsley, chopped

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in sit till al dente. Drain pasta and reserve.

Meanwhile, put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook till translucent, 3-5 minutes.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook till garlic begins to turn gold, 2-5 minutes.

Add clams and stir well. Add tomatoes and some of the clam or tomato juice, whichever suits you. Turn heat to medium-high and cook till tomatoes begin to break down and become saucy, 10-15 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasoning. When done, mix pasta into sauce. Serve garnished with parsley.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chicken Paprika

Chicken Paprika, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Had to use up a cup and a half of sour cream (bought for this New Year's Eve recipe) - lo and behold, I find this recipe in a text file on my desktop. But that bit of serendipity wasn't indicative of a completely smooth cooking experience. The version I'd copied from the Joy of Cooking was missing an ingredient - which I of course discovered at the crucial cooking point - and right when the internet was being unreliable, no less. So I improvised by adding a cup of liquid, which was thankfully the right thing to do. (I later found out the missing ingredient was 1-1/2 cups of chicken stock.) It turned out well - luxurious from the sour cream, but with a hint of gentle tang from the paprika. It's probably going to be a niche dish for me - for when I want something less tangy than afritada, but less all-out rich than coconut milk curry. The recipe below makes some changes from the original - a bit less meat, a bit more garlic.
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to season chicken
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, plus more to season chicken
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 3 c onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 3 Tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 c liquid (broth or water)
  • 1-1/2 c sour cream
  • lemon juice to taste
Melt the butter in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper then add to pan. Brown, turning once, till golden - about 5 minutes total.

Remove the chicken and reserve in a bowl. Add the onions to the pan. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, till they are very soft and have absorbed all the fond from the bottom of the pan - about 10 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, bay leaf and cooking liquid. Bring to a boil and mix everything well.

Return the chicken to the pan. Reduce the heat so the liquid barely bubbles, then cover and cook till chicken is done (180 degrees), about 25-40 minutes (mine skewed towards the latter because of a couple of giant thighs).

Remove the chicken and place in a bowl; cover. Turn the heat to high. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to a thick consistency (recipe said almost pasty, but I was too impatient and just waited till almost back-of-spoon-coaty).

Remove pan from heat. Whisk in sour cream. Return pan to heat and cook till sauce is thickened.

Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serve over rice.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Wonderful Winter Leek

One of the things I love about winter is that it's prime leek season. The gorgeous specimen pictured above was nearly two feet long, and so wonderfully sweet. This basic recipe went perfectly with a cup of rice and some sardines in tomato sauce.
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large, lovely leek, trimmed, washed and cut into 3-4 in. sections
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 T vermouth, more if needed
  • 1 T water, more if needed
  • lemon juice to taste

In a pan, heat oil over medium. Add the leeks. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Brown, turning occasionally (5 or so minutes).

Add liquid. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low. Cover and cook till easily pierced by a fork, about 20-25 minutes.

Drizzle with lemon juice and enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cooking from Cans: Tuna Curry

Given how often I end up sauteing garlic, onions, sundry spices and the contents of various tins in a frying pan, it's inexcusable this feature is so late in coming. At any rate, here's the first quick meal of 2012 - adjust the seasonings however you please (I may add some red pepper flakes next time), and make sure you brown the tuna to get maximum flavor.

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c onion, minced
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 2-3 t curry powder, to taste
  • 1 5-oz can chunk tuna, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley, chopped, for garnish

In a pan over medium-high heat, saute the onion till soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant, another minute or two more.

Add the curry powder and stir well. Add the tuna. Cook, stirring occasionally, till bits of the tuna begin to brown (2-4 minutes). Stir, then let sit till more bits get brown (another 2-4 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with parsley and serve over white rice.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Beef Stroganoff à la Bittman

Yes, there was another hiatus (family emergency). Yes, I'm back. Hi!

This quick but luxurious recipe was the perfect treat for New Year's Eve dinner, and went wonderfully with some rice and a glass of dry sparkling wine. I halved Bittman's recipe, but used the full 8 oz. of mushrooms, which produced enough for 2-3 people. I also splurged on a wonderful piece of beyond fork-tender beef from Canales. Perfect way to fortify myself for 2012.

  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • .8 lb. beef tenderloin, sliced into 1-1/2 in. pieces
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 c. beef broth
  • 1-1/2 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • dill or parsley, chopped, for garnish

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms. Season them with salt and pepper then cook, stirring occasionally, till the onions are very soft but not brown, about 10 min.

Add the meat and cook for about a minute.

Add the tomato, beef broth and mustard. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily, then cover and cook till the meat is tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Adjust seasoning, then garnish with your choice of herb.