Category:  Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains)

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Green Linguine with Asparagus & Tomatoes

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On March 13, 2018 0 Comments

On St. Patrick’s Day, all sorts of recipes turn up for green cookies, green muffins, green candy, green everything except pasta. So how about making a nice dish of green linguine for St. Pat’s Day?

Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh asparagus, bottom tips discarded & stems cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 pound (16 ounces) spinach linguine or fettuccine pasta variety
salt, to taste
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:
1. Set the cut asparagus aside in a bowl.

2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 4 to 6-quart sauce pot.

3. When water boils, add pasta and 3/4 teaspoon salt to the water.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions.

5. During the last minute of pasta cooking, add the asparagus to the pasta in sauce pot.

6. When pasta is “al dente” (crunchy-tender), drain the cooked pasta in a colander and quickly transfer it to a large glass or porcelain bowl.

7. Add the cherry tomatoes and olive oil. Taste and adjust salt and olive oil levels.

8. Serve pasta in individual bowls; ask guests to add grated cheese to their pasta bowls.

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or Cabinet Sauvignon
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Orecchiette with Rapini & Sausage

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On January 3, 2018 0 Comments

This pasta dish with rapini and sausage will comfort you all year round! Its main ingredient is rapini. Rapini are a green vegetable. The leaves, buds and stems are totally edible. Although the buds resemble broccoli, they do not form a large head. Rapini have a slightly bitter taste and we Italians use them in all sorts of recipes. However, this one is a big hit with all who sit around us at our dinner table!

Note: Call your local specialty supermarket and ask them if they carry rapini.

Prep time: 30 minutes (rapini & sausage) & 10 minutes (pasta)
Serves: 4 to 6

For the Rapini:
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled & whole
1 bunch fresh Rapini (found at Erewhon, Gelson’s & Vicente Foods supermarkets in Los Angeles), rinsed, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1. In a 4-quart saucepot, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the whole garlic cloves and stir-fry on medium high until they turn golden brown.

3. Immediately remove saucepot from hot burner; let cool for about 3 minutes.

4. After 3 minutes, add the rapini and cover the saucepot.

5. Cook the rapini on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, using tongs to stir them occasionally.

6. After 5 minutes, add salt to taste. Taste some rapini – they should be crunchy-tender. Set aside, covered.

For the Sausage:
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 turkey or pork sausage links (mild or hot)

Directions:
1. In a 6-quart saucepot, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the sausage links – be careful to avoid splatters by covering the saucepot.

3. Sauce the sausage links on medium-high heat, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. After 2 to 3 minutes, carefully uncover the saucepot and, using a fork, poke holes in the sausage links. STAND AWAY FROM STOVE TO AVOID SPLATTERS.

5. Turn the sausage links over and cover on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Repeat turning the sausage links over and cooking until they are 3/4 cooked.

7. When sausages are 3/4 cooked, lower heat.

8. Using shears and standing over skillet or saucepot, carefully cut the sausage links into 1-inch circles.

9. Cut circles in half and continue cooking sausage pieces for 1 minutes.

10. After 1 minute, stir in the rapini. Cover and set aside.

For the Orecchiette Pasta & Assembly:
1 pound orecchiette pasta
salt, to taste
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, as garnish
Crushed red pepper, as garnish

Directions:
1. Bring a separate 6-quart saucepot of water to a boil.

2. Add the orecchiette pasta and salt; cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until pasta is “al dente” (crunchy-tender).

3. Meanwhile, heat the sausage-rapini mixture through.

4. Drain the orecchiette pasta in a colander set over a sink.

5. Transfer the drained orecchiette pasta to the sausage-rapini mixture in saucepot; stir and heat through.

6. Taste the pasta mixture, adding more olive oil and salt, if desired.

7. Serve immediately in separate bowls, asking guests to add their own grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese and/or crushed red pepper.

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or Cabinet Sauvignon
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Tagliatelle Bolognese

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On September 16, 2017 0 Comments

It’s time to forget our summer salads and make great comfort food – try Tagliatelle Bolognese!

Prep time: 30 minutes (Bolognese Sauce) & 10 minutes (Tagliatelle)
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white or brown onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled & carrot finely chopped
1 celery stalk, peeled & stalk finely chopped
1 to 1-1/2 pounds ground, dark turkey meat
1 cup white wine
One 32-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes (pureed in a blender)
2 bay leaves
Dash grated nutmeg
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon granulated sugar or agave nectar
1 pound tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta variety
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions:
1. In a 6-quart saucepot, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the chopped onion, carrot and celery.

3. Stir-fry on medium high heat for about 2 minutes or until onion is translucent.

4. When onion is translucent, add the ground turkey meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

5. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until meat has turned gray -stir occasionally.

6. When meat has turned gray, stir in the wine & cook for an additional 5 minutes or until wine has almost evaporated in its entirety – you should see some liquid at bottom of saucepot.

7. After wine has evaporated, stir in the pureed, peeled tomates, bay leaves & nutmeg.

8. Cook/simmer the Bolognese sauce on medium heat for about 20 minutes – stir occasionally.

9. After 20 minutes, add salt and ground black pepper, to taste.

10. Cook for an additional 3 minutes and then taste the sauce. If it tastes acidy, add the sugar or agave nectar. Taste the sauce again. Adjust seasonings, to taste.

Prepare the Tagliatelle & Serve:
1. Bring a 4-quart sauce pot of water to a boil.

2. Add the tagliatelle to the boiling water and 1 teaspoon salt.

3. Cook on medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until pasta is “al dente” (crunchy-tender).

4. Drain the pasta in a colander; return fettuccine to the sauce pot.

5. Gently stir desired amount of Bolognese sauce into the tagliatelle.

6. Immediately serve the tagliatelle in individual portions and top with a half-ladle of Bolognese sauce.

7. Ask guests to add their own grated cheese to the tagliatelle.
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Pasta with Chickpeas (Pasta e ceci)

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On February 25, 2017 0 Comments

For the Italian cook, food ingredients from a working kitchen are never wasted or thrown out. While growing up, I watched my Nonna use whatever she found in her pantry – a pasta package that was partially used. She’d break up raw spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine into small pieces. After cooking the broken pasta, she combined it with chickpeas and tomato sauce. We called this comfort food pasta e ceci.

You can make this in minutes and call it Pasta with Chick Peas! If you want to feel like you’re standing on the Italian peninsula, then combine a few long pasta varieties (in leftover packages) and cook them all together in one pot.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pound spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine, broken into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
One 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained, rinsed & drained again
2 to 3 cups pre-made tomato sauce

Directions:
1. Bring a 4 to 6-quart saucepot of water to a boil.

2. Add the pasta and salt to the boiling water.

3. Cook the pasta according to package directions or until it is al dente (crunchy-tender), about 8 to 10 minutes.

4. When pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander.

5. Add the pasta back to the sauce pot; stir in 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce and the drained chickpeas.

6. Stir and heat through.

7. Serve in individual bowls. Ask guests to add grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese to their pasta with chickpeas.

Note: Enjoy this dish with a favorite Chardonnay (white) or Chianti (red) wine.
Text and Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Pappardelle with Meatballs

In Meats, Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On August 7, 2016 0 Comments

On weekends, I like to go back to my southern Italian roots. For example, today I was craving a good dish of pasta with traditional tomato sauce and meatballs.

Yes, you have to make the tomato sauce from scratch, prepare the meatballs separately and then combine the two together. But no worries – the recipe is fast, neat and healthy. I broil the meatballs instead of frying them.

The best part is that leftover meatballs and sauce keep up to 5 days, refrigerated. Buon Appetito!

Tomato Sauce Prep time: 20 minutes (while meatballs are broiling)
Meatball Prep time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium brown or white onion, peeled and finely chopped
One 28-ounce can Muir Glen Organic® Whole Peeled Tomatoes
Dash freshly-grated nutmeg
2 bay leaves (optional)
Salt, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon)

Directions for Tomato Sauce:
1. In a 4-quart saucepot, heat the oil. When oil is hot but does not smoke, add the chopped onion.

2. Stir-fry the onion on medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.

3. Meanwhile, in a blender, purée the tomatoes.

4. When onion is translucent, stir in the puréed tomatoes.

5. Add the nutmeg (just a dash), the bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt.

6. Bring the tomato sauce to a boil.

7. When tomato sauce boils, immediately set heat on medium-low and cook/simmer for approximately 15 minutes. During this time, you can start the meatballs (see below).

8. As the sauce cooks, stir occasionally.

9. After 15 minutes, taste the sauce. It should no longer taste raw. Adjust salt level, if needed.

Meatball Ingredients:
1 to 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef or dark ground turkey (organic, preferred)
1 small brown or white onion, finely chopped in a food processor
1/3 cup finely chopped, fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Dash ground black pepper
Dash freshly-ground nutmeg (a tiny amount)
1 to 2 large eggs, beaten

Meatball Directions:
1. Using plastic cooks’ gloves or your bare hands, in a 5 to 6-quart glass or porcelain bowl, mix together all ingredients.

2. Set meat mixture aside and wash your hands very well (if you do not use gloves).

3. Prepare an 18 X 12-inch baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. Oil the foil with a basting brush or with your hand. Set baking sheet aside.

4. Set a 2-cup bowl of cold water on counter. Dip your hands in the water so they are wet (this will prevent the meat from sticking to your hands).

5. Grab enough meat mixture to form a 2-1/2-inch ball and set it on oiled, lined baking sheet.

6. Repeat shaping the meatballs, wetting your hands in between every 2 to 3 meatballs. Continue this procedure until you have set all meatballs on baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart.

Broil the Meatballs & Add them to Tomato Sauce:
1. Set the top oven element to “broil” – make sure the top oven rack is set 6 to 7 inches below the broiling element.

2. Place the baking sheet with meatballs on the oven rack; broil the meatballs for approximately 8 to 9 minutes or until they look golden brown.

3. When meatballs have turned golden brown, using tongs, turn them over and broil the other side for 8 to 9 minutes.

4. When the meatballs have turned golden brown, take one at a time with tongs and gently drop it in simmering tomato sauce.

5. At this point, simmer the sauce with meatballs for an additional 10 minutes.

Ingredients for the Pappardelle:
1 pound pappardelle or other pasta variety
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (garnish)

Directions for Pappardalle:
1. Bring a 6-quart sauce pot of water to a boil.

2. When water boils, add the pappardelle and salt to the water.

3. Cook pappardelle for 9 to 10 minutes or until it is “al dente” (crunchy-tender).

4. Drain the pappardelle in a colander.

5. Return the pappardelle to the sauce pot and add 3 to 4 ladles of tomato sauce. Stir with tongs.

6. Divide the pappardelle among 4 to 6 pasta bowls or dinner plates.

7. Add 1 or 2 meatballs to each serving.

8. Serve immediately and ask guests to add a sprinkle of cheese, if desired.

Wine Pairing: Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon (reds) or chilled Chardonnay (white)
Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real