40 posts tagged Pasta/Grains/Rice

Fresh Pappardelle with PEI Mussels, Smoked Chorizo, Mushrooms & Tomato in a Saffron Broth

Preparing mussels at home has always intimidated me. I'm not exactly sure why; I've done pretty well at my first attempts at Beef Wellington and Risotto Tortes, so why would the thought of preparing mussels at home frighten me? Well, foodborn illness, for one. Overcooking them, for another. A laundry list of potential failures threatened my never-attempted mussels for years and years. Until I swallowed my fears and went for it anyway. On New Year's Eve 2011. And then again on New Years Day 2012. Dare I say that now I'm slightly addicted? To help clear the air about how to handle mussels and remove the fear, there are really only a few things you need to know before you start: *Scrub the mussels well under running cold water to remove any barnacles, etc. A very stiff cleaning brush comes in handy for this. *Tap on any mussels that are open (they responded quicker/more fervently using the back of the cleaning brush), and if they don't close, discard them. *Any mussel with a broken shell should be tossed out. *Each mussel has a beard which you can find sticking out of the side. Pull this out in a back and forth wiggling motion to ensure you get it all off. *Once the mussels are cooked, the shells should be open. Any mussels that are close at this point should not be eaten. I think the most important step to note is to not soak the mussels in water, and to not *accidentally* turn the tap water to warm and leave them for any amount of time in slightly tepid water. Because that might cause you to freak out and think you ruined your *entire* New Years Eve dinner when they all open and you think they've all gone belly up. Fear not, though! One rather strong rap on the shell with the back of the cleaning brush will quickly have those mussels closing up shop and you can then proceed to make this meal. Which is delicious, by the way. And quick! Continue Reading

Balsamic Vegetable Risotto with Pan-Fried Chicken Sausage

Since returning from our vacation last month, I haven't really been incredibly motivated to cook. But, now that we've been home for a few weeks, the creativity is starting to return. As we haven't had risotto in a while, I decided to empty the pantry one night by making a dish that included leeks, carrots, and peas and tie it all together with some saffron and good quality balsamic vinegar. Pairing the risotto with some chicken sausages makes for a nice homey weeknight meal. Continue Reading

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagne with Cannelini Beans

My husband is Garfield. I don't mean to imply he really is a large orange cat famous for his affection for lasagne, but my husband does love lasagne. And he had a large orange cat when we met, so perhaps there may be something to that. We had a very busy day of cooking over W's birthday this weekend. One of our friends who was coming over to help celebrate is a vegetarian, so along with the homemade pizzas we were planning on baking, I wanted to try something a bit different. Something that was a departure from the bechamel, bolognese, and pasta that I'm used to. Something without any meat. The answer was found in a lovely roasted butternut squash filling that had an assortment of vegetables and cannelini beans. Fresh pasta is the key to this dish, so I highly recommend rolling out your own. It's well worth it, and so incredibly easy to do, you'll wonder why you haven't been doing it all along! Continue Reading

Red Snapper en Papillote

Every single time I suggest making a fish dish, Weston sort of turns up his nose and suggests something else, often beef, lamb, or pork based. However, Alton Brown is a complete genius and I owe him a debt of gratitude for opening W's eyes to the beauty of fresh fish! While watching Alton's The Pouch Principle this past week, my dear, normally fish-isct husband suggested that he might actually eat Alton's Red Snapper en Papillote. Excited that I might be able to change his mind about fish in much the same way I was able to change his mind about pumpkin based dishes, we set out to gather the freshest and best ingredients we could find. One thing we did notice, is that often an entire fish is much less expensive per pound than a comparable fish filet ($19.99/lb. of filet, and our entire 2.8 lb whole snapper was $24.99 total), so if you don't mind a few bones, baking a whole fish in an envelope of parchment paper is probably a much more low cost option for a significant payoff! This dish is certainly impressive once the envelope is cut open and the lovely smells waft your way. I guarantee, if you have a fish hater in your house, they will surely change their tune if you offer this delectable buttery fish dish to them! I'm so glad we tried it, because you'll be much more likely to see more fresh dish on my blog from this point forward. Yay! :) Continue Reading

Lasagne Bolognese – 2010

When I think of comfort food, one thing that instantly comes to mind is Lasagne. My Mother made an amazing Lasagne, and I always cherish my childhood memories surrounding it. My husband and I went to Italy to celebrate our 2nd anniversary, and I have warm memories tied to my first sampling of a lovely Lasagne Bolognese in Rome. I absolutely love Lasagne of all kinds, and there seem to be 11ty different variations on recipes out there. I recently purchased Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and adapted the recipe in the book to fit what I had on hand, as well as to include fresh pasta. I prefer fresh pasta, but if time or material is not on your side, 8 ounces of dried egg lasagne sheets can work just as well. I hope that you do try to make some fresh pasta at some point, though. It’s something just so simple and rewarding, and the difference in quality is shocking. Continue Reading