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

Home » Archive by category "Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains)" (Page 5)

Couscous with Zucchini, Yellow Squash & Chili Peppers (Vegan)

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Vegetables On October 25, 2013 1 Comment

When I was introduced to Moroccan cuisine, I became addicted to couscous. It is a perfect side to meat or poultry – especially stews. Like rice, couscous is neutral, acquiring flavors from added ingredients or foods it is paired with.

Try this fantastic vegetarian couscous, made with stir-fried zucchini, squash, onions and chili peppers.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 (as a side dish)

4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced green zucchini
1/2 cup minced yellow squash
1/2 red chili, minced
1/3 cup minced yellow or white onion
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried, uncooked couscous

1. In a nonstick skillet, heat 4 tablespoons oil.

2. Add the minced zucchini, squash, chili and onion.

3. Stir fry the squash-onion mixture over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.

4. Transfer the cooked mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

5. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepot, bring 1 cup water to a boil.

6. When water is boiling, stir in the oil, salt and couscous.

7. Remove saucepot with couscous from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

8. After 5 minutes, fluff up the couscous with a fork.

9. Serve couscous immediately as a side to meat, chicken, lamb or fish. For vegetarian or vegan diets, pair the couscous with salads or other vegetables.

Text and Photographs ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

Summer Spaghetti

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On August 10, 2013 2 Comments

These days we’re all workin’ hard and getting home tired and hungry. Takeout is always a lifesaver, but after a while, it all tastes the same. For a quick one-dish dinner, all you need is a pound of spaghetti, peppers, onion, and one or two other seasonal veggies. Oh – and don’t forget to pour in some of that white wine you opened last night!

Treat yourself to this gourmet pasta in a quarter hour and … Buon Appetito!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

1 yellow summer squash, tips cut and discarded & flesh cut into chunks
1 zucchini, tips cut and discarded & flesh cut into chunks
1 medium yellow or white onion, quartered
1 medium green bell pepper, stem discarded, seeded and flesh cut into chunks
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, stem discarded, seeded and flesh cut into chunks
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (good olive oil brands are found at
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup water (to thin out the sauce as it cooks down)
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound spaghetti (you can substitute this with long or short pasta variety)

1. In a food processor, grind (but do not liquify) together the squash, zucchini, onion and bell pepper chunks. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring a 4 to 6-quart pot of water to a boil and set aside; keep it at a low boil.

3. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil.

4. When oil is hot, stir in the ground vegetables and sauté them, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. After 2 to 3 minutes and when sauce begins to cook down, stir in the wine.

6. Saute the sauce on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes.

7. After 2 minutes, add 1/2 cup of the water and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

8. Stir in the salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. If the sauce looks too dense or dry, stir in a little more water.

9. Turn off the stove burner, but keep the sauce warm.

10. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. When pasta is cooked, drain it.

11. Stir the drained pasta immediately into the sauce in skillet and heat through.

Serve Summer Spaghetti with grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

Fresh Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On October 1, 2012 0 Comments

On my September 2012 culinary trip to Italy, my husband and I enjoyed freshly made pasta with porcini mushrooms at a favorite hotel/restaurant close to the medieval hilltop town of Spoleto in Umbria.

Because dried porcini mushrooms have a bold flavor, they’re simply sautéed in olive oil – that’s it! Make this and enjoy true Italian flavors at home. The only problem is that you’ll think twice before spending $25+ for pasta in a restaurant. Buon appetito!

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes (cooking the pasta and making sauce)
Serves: 4

One pound ready made tagliatelle or fettuccine
2 cups dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 3 cups boiling water for 8 minutes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup cold water, set aside
Salt, to taste

1. Set a 6-quart sauce pot with water on stove burner and bring to a boil; set aside on simmer/boil.
2. Meanwhile, drain the porcini mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid.

3. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high setting. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the soaking liquid and simmer on low.

4. In the meantime, add pasta and 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until pasta is al dente (crunchy-tender).

5. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the porcini sauce in skillet. Stir the pasta while raising heat to high.

6. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pasta in skillet, stirring and gently lifting the pasta with tongs. If pasta mixture looks too dry, add a little more of the mushroom soaking liquid. The sauce should lightly adhere to the pasta and it should not be too runny.

7. Add salt, and if desired, a little more olive oil. Taste and serve immediately, dividing the pasta into 4 portions. Do not add any cheese, as it will conflict with the porcini mushroom flavors.

*If using the Homemade Tagliatelle recipe, add 55 to 60 minutes to prep time.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chianti or Barolo.

Note: Pappardelle variety pasta was used in photograph.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Tagliatelle with Fresh Tomato Sauce

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On September 15, 2012 0 Comments

Tagliatelle served with this sauce are to die for. And once you taste this fresh tomato sauce, you’ll never use canned tomatoes again. Don’t forget the red wine and buon appetito!

Make one recipe for Homemade Tagliatelle, previously published on this website.

Prep time: 55 to 60 mins for the tagliatelle & 25 mins for the tomato sauce
Serves: 4

8 to 10 large, vine-ripened tomatoes (boiled in water until skins crack; drained and cooled)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow or white onion
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Next, prepare the tomato sauce:

1. Set a medium pot filled with 10 cups water to boil. Add tomatoes. When skins crack, tomatoes are cooked.

2. Drain tomatoes and cool. After the tomatoes have cooled, peel them.

2. Transfer the tomatoes in a blender and pulse blend to obtain either a coarsely chopped or puréed consistency; set aside.

3. In a 5-quart sauce pot, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onion to the oil and stir-fry on medium heat until onion is translucent.

4. Remove the sauce pot from the hot burner and carefully stir in the blended tomatoes (stand away from sauce pot so as to avoid hot splatters).

5. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer on medium-low heat, semi-covered.

6. As the sauce simmers, stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and sugar.

7. Simmer the sauce for 20 to 25 minutes; taste and adjust seasonings.

8. Cook tagliatelle in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until desired tenderness.

9. Set a bowl of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese on table and ask guests to serve themselves.

Red wine pairing suggestion: Aglianico, Barolo, Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Homemade Tagliatelle

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On September 7, 2012 0 Comments

Tagliatelle is a type of pasta rooted in the tradition of Italy’s northern region of Emilia Romagna. The term “tagliatelle” means “to cut”. After this pasta is cut into ¼-inch thick ribbons, it is cooked and combined with your favorite sauce.

In Italy, the women who taught me to make this truly spoiled me. I mean, I make and eat homemade pasta exclusively. Enjoy these divine tagliatelle, and your pasta palate will change forever.

Prep time: 55 to 60 minutes
Serves: 4

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup durum wheat semolina
4 large eggs

1. In an 8-quart glass or porcelain mixing bowl, stir to combine the flour and semolina. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Add eggs to the well and beat with a fork. Gradually stir the flour mixture from the sides of the well into the eggs until almost all the flour is absorbed.

2. Using your hands, knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and cover it with an inverted bowl; let it rest 10 minutes.

3. After 10 minutes, cut off 1/4 of the pasta dough and cover the remaining portion (it will be cut into 3 more pieces later).

4. Using slightly floured hands, pat the pasta dough to a ½-inch thickness.

5. With the pasta machine dial on Setting No. 1, slightly push the blob of pasta into the rollers while turning the handle. Stretch out the pasta.

6. Fold the pasta in in thirds; lightly flour the pasta.

7. On Setting No. 2*, roll out the pasta. Fold the dough in half and lightly flour it.

8. On Setting No. 3, roll out the pasta and lightly flour it.

9. On Setting No. 4, roll out the pasta and lightly flour it.

10. Lay the pasta sheet on work surface and, with a pasta wheel, cut the pasta crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces (6 to 8 inches long). Lightly flour the pasta sheet.

11. On Setting No. 5, roll out the pasta. Lay it out on lightly floured, flat surface to dry. Continue rolling instructions with remaining pasta dough, breaking off a piece three more times.

12. As you work with remaining pasta, flip over the previous pieces that have been laid out to dry and lightly dust them with flour. This will speed up the drying process.

13. After all the pasta has been laid out, take the first pieces you worked with and roll them through the ¼-inch wide “tagliatelle” cutter. Place them on a lightly floured surface to dry. Repeat the cutting process until all the pasta has been cut into tagliatelle. Lightly flour the tagliatelle, gently picking them up and arranging them to dry in wavy shapes on a flat surface with some spacing in between the pieces.

14. Meanwhile, prepare your favorite sauce and bring a 6-quart pot of water to boil. Add the tagliatelle to the boiling water with 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and cook 5 to 7 minutes.

15. Drain the cooked tagliatelle in a colander and then transfer them to a large serving bowl. Add 2 to 3 ladles of sauce, gently toss.

16. Divide the tagliatelle among four pasta dishes. Place a bowl of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on table for your guests.

Serve with your favorite red or white wine.

*As the setting number of the rollers increases, the opening becomes narrower in order to stretch the pasta sheets.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real