Thirty Minute Thursday: Pappardelle ai Piselli~

3 03 2011

For Thirty Minute Thursday this week, I selected a recipe I never thought I’d try…Tagliatelle ai piselli…or Taglitelle with peas.  Peas?  As a pasta sauce?  I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one very well.  What a combination!  And I mean…What a great combination!!  I subbed pappardelle for the tagliatelle, otherwise the recipe is the same.  I also halve almost every recipe I cook.  There are just 2 of us.  That’s another thing I love about this book, Thirty Minute Pasta…the recipes are easily increased or decreased to suit your family.  Now…back to the pasta…

I had my heart set on having a roasted pork tenderloin for dinner.  No matter what I did all day, I kept ending up back at the pork tenderloin.  I even decided to make Chicken Yakitori at one point today…came home and promptly cut open the cryovac on the pork.  Decision made!  Now…what the heck to have with it?  I had settled on a bacon wrapped tenderloin recipe I found on line, which was really on the savory side.  What could I put with it?  And it’s TMT too…so I went to Thirty Minute Pasta.  After a bit of diligent perusal, I decided this recipe solved several interests for me.  1)  A recipe for TMT, 2) a side dish for the pork that would complement the savory pork, and 3) it added a vegetable to our meal.  What more could any (in)sane working woman ask for on a Thursday night??  Onions, peas, oil, and seasonings added to freshly cooked pasta…nirvana!

Tasting notes ~
I was so very pleasantly surprised!  The onions are caramelized, the peas cook just to sweet tenderness, a little seasoning magic and toss with pasta…wide, flat pasta!  This dish is incredibly sweet, but in a nice, fresh way.  The colors absolutely pop!  It’s pretty…it’s tantalizing…and it foils a savory dish that’s a bit on the salty side extremely well!  We both enjoyed this dish and agreed it was a keeper as a side dish.  I think we could both enjoy it as an entree, but it serves better as a side or as a primi course.  Who knew??

Look Who’s Cooking! ~
I’m joined this week by Chaya from Bizzy B. Bakes.  Chaya chose a vegetable-sausage-pasta soup recipe this week, and it looks hearty and filling…just the thing for a chilly late winter day!  Like me, she works…and she’s found that this cookbook is a working woman’s friend!  Quick, nutritious, and fresh pasta meals hit your table in just about 30 minutes!

Care to join in?
If you’d like to join me in cooking my way through Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta, please drop me an email (the link is in the sidebar), pick up a copy of the book, and choose a recipe!  I want you to have fun, and cook what works for you at any given time.  We all have different tastes and seasons…it makes it easier for everyone.  *Ü*  I’d love to have you cook with us!

Thirty Minute Thursdays: Linguine al Gamberi (Linguine with Shrimp)~

24 02 2011

I have to tell you that it feels good to want food again and feel like creating some!  That was a rough one! LOL!  We both had it…upper respiratory guck with body aches and fever…no fun!  So…it’s good to be back in the kitchen again!

This week, I’ve made Linguine with Shrimp, from a different Giuliano Hazan cookbook, Every Night Italian.  Although the recipe doesn’t appear in Thirty Minute Pasta, it still requires only 30 minutes to put together.   That 30 minutes will yield lots of compliments afterward…so relax and enjoy!

The recipe calls for just a few ingredients…tomatoes with a flicker of red pepper flakes, garlic, olive oil for the pan, linguine, cream and shrimp.  That’s all.   It goes together really fast and it was wonderfully creamy and full of full tomato flavor.  I did depart from the recipe ever so slightly…  I found I had no linguine in the pantry, so I used fettuccine.  It was a little heavy, but the sauce was solid enough to hold up to it.  The other departure had to do with subbing home canned tomatoes for insipid, out of season tomatoes from the grocery.  I have San Marzano tomatoes canned from last summer.  I don’t hesitate to use them!

Tasting Notes~
This sauce is close to a vodka sauce, but not quite.  It’s incredibly creamy rich, and so full of tomato flavor, with just a hint of garlic and underlying heat that stays in the mouth just a tiny bit.  We both really enjoyed this dish, and agreed it was a keeper.  I keep frozen shrimp around…usually uncooked so I can cook them fresh and the way I want to…so this works together in mere moments.  In the time it takes to heat cold cooked shrimp in the sauce, you could be having fresh.  It’s that quick.  I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this to guests.  It’s really light in flavor and without tremendous spice or oil.  The cream in the sauce is minimal…just enough to change the color and texture.  Make this.  Eat it with a friend or loved one, and let them pat you on the back…you deserve it!

Look Who’s Cooking!~
Welcome to our newest guest chef, Chaya from Bizzy B. Bakes!  Chaya just found us, and we’re thrilled to have her join up with us!  Her first dish is Fettuccine with Zucchini and Onions.  Yumm!!  Chaya uses alternative pasta which is gluten free.  Chaya…it’s great to have you with us!  I can’t wait see what you select to cook next!  The recipes in this book are indeed, low in fats, and full of fresh flavors!  I got hooked when I had way too many tomatoes all coming ripe at one time.  I could manage to avoid canning on a work night by cooking up a batch of something with a tomato sauce.  We fell in love!  I hope you do too!

Anyone else out there this week?  Let me know…I’ll add your link as well!

Until next week…Let’s remember our friends in New Zealand, and in Christchurch in particular…so many have lost so much…

On Sick Leave…

19 02 2011

We apologize for any inconvenience…however our kitchen is currently closed due to the flu.  We’ll be fine…as soon as these bugs get out of our bed and go live with someone else or DIE!  There just isn’t much cooking going on..and I’m totally off schedule with everything, and I do mean everything! I made it to work one day this week…  Quickie soups are about the extent of my energy level.  We play thermometer roulette for major chores…the one with the lowest temp gets to do the chore of the hour!  We feel lousy, but we’re managing to survive!  We’re being doted upon by our loving and protective dog, Jasmine.  If I could only teach her to do some of the other chores too… Right now, she specializes in bed-warming and pillow stealing.  But she’s a love…until she kicks me in the face in the middle of the night! *giggle*cough-cough-cough*  Wish I could kick the symptoms!  I’ll be back on deck, cooking up a storm as soon as I can…

Anyone with TMT posts is still welcome to send them in to me for round-up!!  I can manage to round up the participants meals, even if I can’t toss one together myself just yet!  That will probably be one of the first meals I attempt though…something easy and soothing…  See you back here real soon!

Thirty Minute Thursdays: Fusilli with sausage and cream~

4 02 2011

Whenever I’m pressed for time, this recipe comes to mind… Fusilli with sausage and cream from Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta… The sausage is made by hand with few ingredients…I wouldn’t worry about having a meat grinder.  Finely chop some pork in your food processor.  If you put it in the freezer, just until it gets firm but not at all hard, it will chop beautifully.  Mix the pork with the remaining ingredients and set aside.  I know Giuliano recommends letting it sit overnight.  That’s best, but it still works out great if it gets just a short marinating time.  This is another recipe that cooks very quickly and will be finished inside the 30 minutes, easily!

Tasting Notes~
As I said, this is a great quick supper meal.  It’s soothing…the cream makes it so comforting on a cold night!  I added a few mushrooms to this particular pan…we had fresh mushrooms from a kit, and it seemed like a nice place for them!  The cream and the cheese blend nicely into a sauce that pulls in the homemade sausage, and the fusilli captures a nice bit of sauce with a few bits of sausage for a lovely, creamy, soul-satisfying bite.

Look Who’s Cooking!
It’s official!  Abby has joined us for Thirty Minute Thursdays!  Welcome to you Abby!  Your dishes have been looking marvelous!  This week, Abby made Fusilli with Sausage and Zucchini, and it looks scrumptious!

Kayte from Grandma’s Kitchen Table made Penne with four cheeses… Kayte said, “my oh my oh my is this one decadent and delicious.  Did I say it was good?  Oh yeah, and by the way, this is really good.  Great really.”  If that’s not a huge recommendation for a recipe, I don’t know what is! LOL!  Love it Kayte!

If you’d like to join us, drop me an email, and send me your URL, if you’re a blogger.  Pick up a copy of Thirty Minute Pasta, and choose a recipe!  It doesn’t matter which day is your “30 minute” day.  I collect everyone’s posts for a round-up on Thursdays.  Tuesday is my “30 minute” day.  Check the sidebar for my email, and come cook with us!

Thirty Minute Thursday: Fusilli with Butternut squash and Pancetta~

27 01 2011

I’ve cooked a lot of Giuliano Hazan’s recipes from Thirty Minute Pasta this week.  I don’t know if it’s because of time constraints or being budget conscious, but we sure have been eating well!  LOL!   My husband says he always eats the best when our budget is tight…I wonder what that means?  Without regard, before the winter gets away from us, I really wanted to try a recipe using butternut squash.  This one really caught my eye!

Fusilli with Butternut Squash and Pancetta was a really easy recipe that might just come in a few minutes under 3o minutes!  Although this is my first experience using butternut squash with pasta, I was quite pleased with the results, and the recipe got the rating of “Keeper!” on our list.  The pancetta provides just enough spice and salt for the dish, and the butternut comes out being buttery and nutty…a rich, primarily vegan meal for sure.  Sacrifice the pancetta and you’re there.  The squash simmers and softens while the pasta cooks…couldn’t be easier!

The fusilli is a great choice (also known as rotini or corkscrews) because the ridges in the pasta grab onto the sauce so you get a little almost sweet, buttery sauce in each and every bite.  It’s also a beautiful color!  This would make a gorgeous Autumn dish!  Hazan’s directions are so easy to follow.  He guides you every minute of the way!

Tasting Notes~
We really did enjoy this dish.  I’d like to try it with some of the other, firm winter squash varieties.  The butternut was just wonderful…but I have a load of acorn squash to use!  I think the acorn squash is too fibrous for this application.  Other orange squashes might work ok, such as banana squash…certainly pumpkin!  The butternut cooked down to a smooth consistency with no trouble at all, and the sauce was completed almost before I knew I’d gotten started.  Don’t hesitate to snitch a little of the pasta cooking water if your squash cooks dry too quickly…it helps the squash mash more smoothly.  A little texture is good, so don’t get too carried away trying to smooth it out completely.  I’d make this recipe again without hesitation…and soon!

Look Who’s Cooking…
You should really visit Kayte at Grandma’s Kitchen Table…  She created Spaghetti ai Gamberi, Pomodoro e Capperi (Spaghetti with Shrimp, Tomatoes, and Capers) for her dish this week!  And it’s beautiful!  I haven’t made this particular dish yet, but Kayte says, “Simply delicious, definitely a repeat.”  That works for me!

Another Blog-Chef who’s cooking the same book, Abby of Stir it! Scrape it! Bake it!, has created Rigatoni with onions, pancetta, and pecorino. I know this one is good!  I’ve made it a few times when I’ve already had pancetta in the house.

Please don’t hesitate to join us here!  If Thursday isn’t your 30 Minute day, that’s not a problem!  I just gather the posts to post on Thursday.  My actual 30 minute day is almost always Tuesday.  That doesn’t stop me from picking up Thirty Minute Pasta other times though!  LOL!  Just drop a post, or email me (the link is on the sidebar) to let me know that your post is  up with your URL and I’ll link you up!  No desperately hard and fast rules here…I just want to enjoy cooking and eating the food!

Thirty Minute Thursday: Penne with asparagus and prosciutto

20 01 2011

My selection for TMT this week is the Giuliano Hazan’s Penne with asparagus and prosciutto.  I can sum this up in one word…KEEPER!  Maybe it’s because it’s been so foggy and the world seems so colorless in the fog, day after day…  Maybe it’s because thin spears of asparagus just seem to whisper…Spring is coming soon!  Maybe it’s because rather than using penne, I used “gigli”…*giggle*  Sorry…couldn’t help that one!  Aren’t the little trumpets cute?  They served the same purpose as the penne…catching and holding the creamy sauce…  I don’t know exactly what it was, but this is a fabulous dish!

Here we are with the sauce just before adding the cheese and pasta…  I swear, this fit inside 30 minutes with photo time included.  I was amazed!  I usually manage to dink away enough additional time to cost me 45 minutes on most 30 minute nights.  I usually chalk that up to not having a stop-watch going, and laugh it off.   I confess that I used a slightly different prep method…  I sauteéd my onions, added the asparagus, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces, reserving the thinnest stalks and all the tops to be cooked last, and the prosciutto to the pan.  I added 1/3 cup of water to the pan after the prosciutto had lost its raw color and simmered the asparagus while the pasta cooked.   When the water was mostly evaporated, I stirred in the cream and the cheese.  By that time my pasta was done.   Gigli pasta, meet fresh creamy sauce!

Tasting Notes~
In a word…KEEPER!  Seriously…the prosciutto gives just the right amount of seasoning to the sauce, and the asparagus…with that special natural essence that makes everything you eat after it taste just a little sweeter…ends up making the creamy sauce just a bit on the sweet, nutty, creamy side, and it’s heavenly!  It sings of Spring days to come.  I admit, the photos would have been prettier had I used white pasta, but…c’mon…could you resist something called “gigli”??  Obviously I couldn’t!  It was too fun!  I’m glad I only made a half recipe…that way I can have it again, nice and fresh!  This was heaven after a really challenging day in the office!

Thirty Minute Thursday: Spaghettini with Olive oil and Garlic~

14 01 2011

My selection from Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta this week is  an adaptation of Spaghettini with olive oil and garlic.  The recipe calls for hot pepper flakes, but I wasn’t feeling particularly in need of the heat, so we subbed off freshly grown and harvested with my very own hands button mushrooms!

Over at Grandma’s Kitchen Table, Kayte prepared Fusilli with Sausage and Zucchini.  You should follow the link.  It’s simply gorgeous!  Very Italian with the red (tomatoes), green (zucchini) and white (pasta)!   I also know from experience, that the taste is fabulous!

Back in our own kitchen, I chose the spaghettini with olive oil and garlic because I had roasted a chicken and some squash.  We had a bumper crop of acorn squash here.  We shared a LOT, still could share a LOT, and still have plenty for us to eat. There are still only two of us.  These were actually way too large for servings, but…what the heck.  It’s good for ya!  Chicken was at a record low price this week…77¢ per pound…that’s half what they’ve been running!  I bought 3…so far.  Chicken is pretty versatile, and I’m pretty flexible.  At that price, I can cut and wrap 3 or 4 birds and have some great soup stock base too…but that’s another post!  The purpose of telling you that was to explain why pasta became a side dish this week!  We were roasting chicken, and our very own, garden grown, almost 100% organic acorn squash!

I really do love being able to bring food from my garden to my table.  Right now, it hardly looks possible…  The garden is at it’s most bleak…dark, foggy, leaf strewn…abandoned.  No sign of hope or life…well…a few signs of life.  The garlic is sprouting….and the strawberries are spreading their leaves across their bed.  Flower bulbs are sending up leaves, but no flower spikes yet.  I ordered some seed yesterday.  Nothing too crazy, but just a little sensible.  I ordered some herbs and tomatoes I’d like to get started.   With some concerted effort, we could start some things next month…peas, lettuce, spinach…anything that can stand some cold…if we protect it some.  But let’s get back to what we do on Thursdays!

This is one of the easiest, quickest little pasta dishes there is.  Saute a little garlic…toss in a bit of this, some of that, toss your pasta in, and serve.  What could be easier?  The spaghettini cooks fast…use thin spaghetti instead, or even angel hair, although angel hair or capellini is a bit more fine even that this is.  Spaghettini has just a bit more body than angel hair.  Like I said, I used mushrooms this time, off the recipe.  I sauteéd them in olive oil, and cooked them until almost all their water had evaporated off…then added the garlic in so it infused into the mushrooms.  When the pan dried, I added the remaining olive oil for the pasta and let it heat.  Simply yummy.  I cut all recipes in half if at all possible…and I did the same with this one, if my quantities look off to you.  That’s another thing I love about Giuliano’s recipes…they’re easy to reduce by half!

As always, anyone who would like to cook along with us is welcome!  You’ll need a copy of Thirty Minute Pasta by Giuliano Hazan, and 30 minutes or so to prepare a dish!  It takes longer to write the post up! *giggle*  I’m excited that Giuliano has visited us and knows we’re here!  If you’d like to cook along, please email me with your post and I’ll include you in the weekly round up!

Buon Appetit!

Thirty Minute Thursday: Penne with Mushrooms and Ham~

6 01 2011

I was torn between two different recipes this week.  For a couple of days I thought I was going to do a farfalle dish.  When it came right down to it…I selected Penne with Mushrooms and Ham from Thirty Minute Pasta this week.   I just happened to have a bit of leftover ham, and a package of dried porcini mushrooms, and several ounces of freshly grown white button mushrooms from Farmer Bruce’s Christmas Mushroom Log.  You have a love a Yule Log that gives back!  Although not the most photogenic of dishes, this has the most incredible, earthy flavor!  Neither of us was particularly hungry tonight, and this piqued our appetites just enough.  This is the first time I’ve worked with porcini mushrooms.  The aroma was really intense.  It’s understandable why they’re used for risotto!  But..that’s another dish!  The sauce is thick and very full of mushroom flavor.  Mmmmm!

Kayte from Grandma’s Kitchen Table made Linguine alla Sorrentina (Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella) at her house.  Way to go Kayte!  I loved that recipe!

I’m excited that we’ll be having another friend join in occasionally too!  I’m Not a Foodie, Maria, will drop by as time allows her.  She’s got a busy schedule too.

That’s the fun of TMT…I’m not fussy about hard and fast rules.  I just want to cook as close to the right time as I can and have fun with it.  Life is too short for too much insanity!  Anyone is welcome to join in…just pick up a copy of Giuliano Hazan’s book Thirty Minute Pasta, and meet me here on Thursday!  I’d love to have you!

Thirty Minute Thursday: Bucatini al Amatriciana

29 12 2010

First off, let me start out by welcoming my friend Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table to TMT!!  So far we’ve cooked LCB French, Marcella Hazan Italian, and any number of other happy goodies across the miles with each other.  I’m tickled to have Kayte join in…these recipes are easy enough to teach her college bound son!   This week Kayte made Linguine with a pink shrimp sauce.  It looks as wonderful as I know it was!

My dish for the week is Bucatini all Amatriciana, which is a Roman dish made with spicy red peppers in the sauce.

The list of ingredients is short…onion, butter, red pepper flakes, pancetta, tomato, freshly grated cheese and bucatini.   I made this dish for Cooking Italy once too.  I loved the sauce, but I couldn’t find bucatini at the time, and bucatini is an experience in and of itself!  LOL!

Bucatini is a really different pasta.  It’s really long, about 24 inches, I’d say, and has a hollow center.  It’s not as hollow as rigatoni or penne, it’s got a tiny hole in the center.  However, as the hot pasta begins to cool, it creates a vacuum, and the sauce is pulled into the center of the pasta.  Do be ready for this pasta to take a while longer to cook though.  The deeper the pot of boiling water the better with this pasta as well.

Tasting Notes~
I was afraid the pasta would be kind of chewy, but it wasn’t.  It was pleasantly tender without being soggy or too chewy.  The big surprise was how the sauce got all the way into the center of the pasta.   I was a little heavy handed with the red pepper flakes this time.  It wasn’t bad, it was just a little spicier than I usually make it.  Although the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, don’t hesitate to use a good canned variety.  I used the tomatoes I canned during the summer.

Thirty Minute Thursday: December Frenzy~

9 12 2010

When I started Thirty Minute Thursdays I forgot about a couple of major things…LIFE goes on and I’m really involved with my job in a lot of extra-curricular ways.  Not that I’d want to change that, but I forgot to warn you.  I forgot about it.  You see, I take such things in stride and go on.  It’s kind of like having a baby…  You know there was pain involved, but God blesses us with a wee bit of amnesia to forget just HOW MUCH pain was involved.  It’s a lot of work a few times a year for some of these projects I jump in to, but I really enjoy aspects of them so much that I completely forget, in between, how incredibly busy we get and now tired I get during those “project” times.  There’s just enough Type A in me to manage such things!  LOL! However, that usually means that I have to drop a few other things for that time period…

Sadly, I often end up not being able to do any cooking at all.  I’m usually pretty good with being able to hold up for a 12 hour day, but when they start moving past 12 hours, especially if I have to fast for more than 6 of those hours, cooking isn’t happening.  I “turn into a Diva.”  Ok, ok, but honestly, I truly don’t have much left by that point.  If there’s any hope that I might have anything left, 30 minute pasta is what works!

Last week Thursday was spent at the final rehearsal for the annual Community Band and Chorus Christmas Concert…kind of a Holiday Season kick-off…  Fabulous experience, but it’ll sure wear you down!  I really appreciated our director for not slaving us too much in final rehearsals.  He had the sense not to strain our voices before the concert.  So, there were stage rehearsals Tuesday and Thursday, then concerts on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  This week, our school PTO has been hard at work to put together a Family Night for tomorrow night.  Busy, busy, busy! Tonight was my only night home this week, and I had some errands that really needed to be attended to.  So, I didn’t cook tonight either.  I’d like to think I will next week though…regardless, school is out for Christmas break on the 17th, and you can bet I’ll be cooking after that!

For now though, I’d say it’s safe to say Thirty Minute Thursday is on Holiday Leave until after the first of the year.  I’ll pick up again after January 1, 2011.  In the meanwhile, let’s enjoy the season, be kind to our fellow humans, and take a moment to do something nice for someone, or some animal.  Give something to your favorite charity if you can…if you can’t, then may God bless you by filling some of your needs.  Merry Christmas!


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