Basil Pesto with Potatoes, Green Beans, and Linguini

Basil Pesto with Potatoes, Green Beans and Linguini

from theitaliandishblog.com

½ lb. small new potatoes, sliced into 1/4 slices

2 handfuls of haricot verts, stem ends snapped off

8 ounces of linguini (or whatever pasta you like)

2 ounces of parmigiano reggiano cheese

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup pine nuts (or almonds)

2 cups packed fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

sea salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper 

You only need one large pot to cook everything in!

Fill a large pot with water and the potatoes and add about 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt. You want the water to be nicely salted to not only flavor the pasta, but to maintain the shape of the potatoes and the greenness of the beans.   Bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they are just done, about 13 - 15 minutes.  Take a slice out and poke it with a sharp knife to test.  If it easily pierces it, they are done.  Remove the potatoes with a strainer or spider and place in a large serving bowl.  Do not dump out your water. 

To the same pot and water, add the green beans and cook until they are just done, about 7-8 minutes.  Make sure they are done all the way, with no hint of a raw flavor.  Remove with the spider and add the beans to the potatoes in your serving dish.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook the linguini until just al dente - about 8 minutes.  Test for doneness. Remove with a pair of tongs and add to your serving dish.  A little bit of pasta water on the linguini is fine - this will help make a "sauce" of the pesto.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto.  Place the cheese and the garlic in a food processor and process until fine.  Add the basil and pine nuts and process. Start adding the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is all thoroughly processed.  You may have to use a spatula to scrape it down.  Taste the pesto and add a little sea salt if you like.

Add the pesto and a few grinds of black pepper to the serving bowl ingredients and toss well.  Add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water if you need help in blending the pesto.   Serve at room temperature.  

Leftovers the next day are great. 

Vodka Sauce

Vodka Sauce

altered from foodandwine.com


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces pancetta, diced (optional)

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup vodka

1 tablespoon tomato paste

8 San Marzano tomatoes

Pinch of sugar

2 basil sprigs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup heavy cream


 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and set up a bowl of ice water. Boil San Marzanos for 3 minutes, then transfer to ice water. Remove when cool, and peel skins off. Mash tomato flesh with your hands, a potato masher, or blend with a food processor.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Sauté the pancetta (optional), garlic and crushed red pepper over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with vodka. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the peeled and crushed tomatoes. Stir in the sugar and basil, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper. Discard the basil sprigs and garlic. Add heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

From smittenkitchen.com, where Perlman notes: Crust adapted from Williams-Sonoma, filling adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated tart

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Italian Turkey Soup

Italian Turkey Soup

altered from Bon Appétit, January 2005

Serves four

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 small onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (or homemade turkey broth)

2 medium zucchini or other summer squash, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 9-ounce package fresh cheese ravioli

1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey

Grated Parmesan cheese

Slivered basil for garnish

 

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini and carrot. Cover and simmer until carrot is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil. Add ravioli and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with grated cheese and basil.

Banh Mi Sandwiches

Banh Mi Sandwiches
Altered from jacksonholefoodie.com

Serves 3

For the slaw:

2 lemon cucumbers, cut into sticks

4 carrots, shredded
½ head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar or ½ cup honey
1 tsp salt

For the sriracha aioli:

¼ - 1/3 cup mayonnaise (depending on your affection for mayonnaise)

1 Tb sriracha

2 scallions, finely chopped

For the Vietnamese meatballs:

12 oz ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
6 garlic cloves, minced

2 scallions, finely chopped
1 Tb fish sauce
1 Tb sriracha
1 Tb sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
Sunflower or safflower oil

3 demi-baguettes or 1 baguette divided into thirds

Prepare the slaw: Place cucumbers in a bowl and add sprinkle with salt. After 5 minutes, squeeze water out of them. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt to a large bowl.  Stir to dissolve. Add the cucumbers, carrots, and napa cabbage and toss well. Let sit for at least an hour at room temperature, tossing it if you are around.  You can make this ahead and keep it in the refrigerator; it stays crispy for several hours.

Make the sriracha aioli: Stir mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, and 2 scallions in a small bowl. Taste. Add salt if needed, or more sriracha sauce.

Make the meatballs: Gently mix the rest of the ingredients (except for the oil and baguettes) in a bowl. Using wet hands, use a tablespoon to scoop up meat and form a 1 inch meatball. Heat sesame or canola oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan (they should not touch in the pan) and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Assemble sandwiches: Heat baguette(s), then slice open. Drop meatballs in, cover generously with slaw and drizzle with sriracha aioli to your liking.

Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese

This is the basil paste from Genova that most of us think of when we hear the word pesto. It’s good with pasta, potatoes, on paninis, in minestrone, on chicken, and salmon.

1 large bunch basil, thicker stems removed

4 cloves garlic

¼ c pine nuts (walnuts or almonds can be substituted)

½ c olive oil

2 oz. parmigiano-reggiano and/or pecorino, grated

In a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind nuts and garlic to a paste. If using a food processor add basil and blend while slowly adding olive oil; if a mortar and pestle is used, add some rock salt and grind until pureed, than add oil. Blend in cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.