All posts filed under: Vegetables

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte, Part Two: Filling & Stuffing

This post serves as part two of three posts on how to make Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte.  To make the filling for the agnolotti, start by baking one butternut squash.  If you find one already cubed, awesome–that will work just fine.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and white pepper.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.  Bake until the squash is tender and you can easily pierce with a fork.  Cool at room temperature. Once cooled, add the butternut squash flesh (no skin!) to a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and maple syrup (the real stuff, please.)  The result with be super smooth and creamy with a bright orange color. To fill the agnolotti, fill a pastry bag with the butternut squash/cheese mixture.  Or you can fill a large (gallon-size) Ziploc bag.  Roll down the sides to ease the process.  Twist the bag above the filling to fill the bottom of the bag–snip off the corner of …

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Pancetta, and Almonds with Haricots Verts

I love Anne Burrell.  If I had to pick one Food Network chef I’d like to meet it would be her.  I’ve learned the most from watching her.  Some tips I’ve picked up: 1.  How to use salt during the cooking process and not as an afterthought. 2.  That black pepper’s taste doesn’t go with everything as salt does.  Think about substituting white pepper or red pepper flakes. 3.  That brown(ed) food tastes good. This recipe makes use of all of these tips.  The result is something so rich, so tender, so perfectly-seasoned.  I found myself grabbing a spoon just to take full advantage of the sauce that still lingered on my plate after devouring every bit. To get started, I added 8 skin-on chicken thighs (seasoned with salt and black pepper) to a hot dutch oven, bottom coated with a pre-heated layer of olive oil, over medium-high heat.  Anne gives a another great tip here… The thighs become easier to flip over after they’ve browned adequately–the pan “releases” them from the bottom.  If you …

Charred Corn Polenta with Gorgonzola

Fresh corn on the cob is one of my favorite treats from Summer’s bounty.  As a kid, we always ate it with little cob holders on the side, corn dripping with butter and salt.  Over the years, I’ve discovered other ways of cooking it.  One of my easiest and most nutritious methods is simply shucking the corn and removing any remaining silk, wrapping the ears in plastic wrap, and microwaving on high for 2-3 minutes.  You simply remove the plastic wrap (once cooled a bit) and bite away.  If the corn is sweet enough, I find it doesn’t even need butter and salt.  But I also like to grill corn, in the shuck and out of it.  The latest batch I decided to grill, and unfortunately, I was disappointed with the result.  The corn wasn’t sweet at all.  Instead of just coating the sad kernels with butter, I wanted to try something different.  I love polenta–and I knew that fresh corn always makes a great addition to corn bread.  So I thought, I’ll mix the …

Escarole Salad, Walnuts, Red Onion, Pecorino

Escarole is most commonly eaten cooked.  After first having it raw and cold in a salad at Otto a few years ago, I knew I had discovered another wonderfully crunchy, hearty, and crisp salad green–similar to romaine, but with more umph and bitterness.  At Otto, Mario Batali’s kitchen prepared it simply with a lemon & olive oil dressing, Marcona almond halves, curls of parmesan, and peeled Jerusalem artichokes, raw, and sliced thin.  Since Otto, I also discoverd an escarole salad at Centro Vinoteca (which is now off the menu) that Anne Burrell prepared with pickled red onions.  She generously shared that recipe on the Food Network, and I chronicled that recipe here. I purchased a gorgeous head of escarole at the farmers market over the weekend and wanted to try a different salad recipe.  I recently picked up a copy of the Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual, after falling in love with their Caesar Salad recipe, which I also chronicled here.  When browsing through the salad section of the book, I found this …

Baby eggplant, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic

Eggplant parmesan is my go-to staple at any neighborhood Italian restaurant, and I’m never disappointed.  Covered with oozing cheese and sauce, fried eggplant is down-right delicious.  (Of course, what wouldn’t be covered with cheese and sauce?)  I’m also a fan of eggplant rolatini, which is usually long slices of eggplant, rolled around herb-seasoned ricotta cheese, and topped with sauce and cheese.  Served in a gratin dish with bread for dipping, this is a fabulous appetizer. On a recent visit to CostCo, I spied these adorable baby eggplants.  I snatched them up and a ball of fresh mozzarella and created this home-version of eggplant parmesan.  My cherry tomato plant has been producing like mad, so I decided to make a quick “baked” tomato sauce with them–plus some garlic for extra flavor.  The result was absolutely wonderful. First, I sliced the baby eggplants lengthwise, then sprinkled both sides of the slices with salt to release some of the moisture.  I got 5 slices per eggplant.  I let them sit on a parchment lined baking sheet for about …

Haricots Verts with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

 I’m a salad fanatic, and I’m always trying to think of salads that don’t rely on lettuce to do the heavy lifting.  When I saw these french beans in the market, a light bulb went off.  Here’s my take on a frenchy haricots verts salad, perfect for Summer.  Super easy, super fresh. First you need to trim the beans, flash boil them, then plunge them into an ice bath to quickly stop the cooking process and give the beans a bright green color.  Be careful not to overcook!  You want the beans to be crisp and have a real bite to them. While you’re waiting for the water to boil to cook the beans, prepare the pine nuts and red onion.  Mince the red onion and toast the pine nuts (watch carefully–don’t burn them!) Now bring it all together.  Whisk the garlic oil with the lemon juice (see MC’s Romaine Salad for instructions on garlic oil).  Add the french beans and the red onion.  Toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with …

Greek orzo salad with sun-dried tomato and feta

When it’s hot outside, and you’re grilling, side dishes need to be kept simple.  Usually a few ears of corn, cole slaw, and a bag of chips are the perfect companions to burgers, hot dogs, and any grilled chicken or meat.  I like to make pasta salads too–“kitchen sink” type of pasta salads.  Any bite-size pasta shape works (corkscrew, bow-tie, penne, whatever) plus the entire contents of my vegetable drawer (broccoli, grape tomatoes, red onion, etc.) and some Newman’s Own light Italian dressing.  Mixed together and chilled–super simple and always a crowd pleaser. I was watching an episode of “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network, and watched Ina Garten as she made a tomato feta pasta salad.  Her dressing looked awesome (and it was a far cry from bottled dressing), so I decided to take that cue from her and improvise the rest with my fridge’s current “kitchen sink” of offerings. First, I began by boiling half a box of orzo, rinsing for several minutes under cold water, then spraying with Pam to prevent from …