Linguine with Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Brie

Pasta with Roasted Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes and Brie

So for the past 10 days, my home was filled to the brim with guests. While it was a good thing, and for a good occasion, all of that cooking, cleaning and preparing to host a plethora of people takes a lot out of a person. My mother gets the credit for the mitzvah (good deed) as it was her house and she is definitely the hostess with the mostess. Now that it’s all over though, the thought of cooking is enough for me to go on a starvation diet. My stomach however does not agree. So what to do? How about a delicious one-pot pasta meal that takes almost no time to make, and is good to the last slurp? So, with that in mind, this week is going to be one-pot pasta week. Recipes that are all made in one pot, in one go. Easy to cook, easy to clean. Today’s recipe will hit all the right notes with rich and creamy brie, the smokey tartness of roasted red peppers, and the earthy richness of sundried tomatoes. This recipe will serve 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

500g box of linguine, broken in half
1 ½ cups packed basil leaves*
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped roasted red peppers**
¾ cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 to 5 large garlic cloves, pressed
6 ¾ cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth***
3 tablespoons oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes (or regular olive oil)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
340g brie cheese, rind removed and cut into pieces
grated parmesan, for serving
good-quality olive oil, for serving

* Click here to learn how to clean basil.
** Click here to get a great easy recipe for roasted red peppers.
*** If you are using broth instead of water, make sure to get the low-sodium version, as there is already a lot of salt in this recipe and with the tomatoes. If you cannot find low-sodium, then reduce the amount of salt added in the recipe, and use olive oil, rather than the oil from the jar of tomatoes.

Directions:

Combine linguine, basil, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic in a large pot. Add the water/broth, sundried tomato oil/olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of black pepper and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.

Using tongs, stir and turn the pasta frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. (If there is still a little bit of cooking water, pour some — but not all — into a separate bowl.)

Add the brie and toss with tongs until creamy and melted. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. The sauce will naturally thicken up after a couple of minutes. Serve with grated parmesan and a swirl of good olive oil. (If the pasta does seem to need liquid, add back a few splashes of reserved cooking liquid.)

Tre Formaggio Arancini (Three Cheese Rice Balls)

Arancini

This recipe may seem a little labour intensive, but trust me, the end result is worth it!! Of course, it’s always easier if you just happen to have left over risotto sitting around your kitchen :). For those of us that don’t though, you’ll find this a very easy recipe as it does not involve the time consuming process that a regular risotto does. Buon appetito!

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup dry white wine
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup arborio rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
½ cup shredded fontina cheese (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs, divided
vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:

Bring the broth and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice, garlic and onion, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let cool completely (if you’re in a hurry, try sticking the sheet in the fridge or freezer!). Combine the pine nuts, mozzarella, fontina and parsley in a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in the cooled rice mixture, the parmesan and ⅔ cup of the breadcrumbs. Shape the mixture into sixteen 1 ½ -inch balls. Put the remaining breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Press your finger into the centre of each rice ball, and insert 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture, then pinch the rice around the filling to seal. Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Loosely cover and refrigerate, at least 1 hour or overnight. (If refrigerating overnight, roll in more breadcrumbs before frying). Heat ½ inch vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the rice balls, turning, until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; season with salt. Enjoy hot with marinara sauce or plain!

Maple-Cured Salmon & Barley Risotto

Salmon & Barley Risotto

When preparing this dish, make the barley first, as it takes quite a bit of time to cook from it’s raw stage to it’s fully cooked stage that you will need it to be to make the risotto.  Once it is cooked, the risotto stage is fairly fast. While you can skip the parsley emulsion, I would not skip the mustard sauce, as it definitely adds the kick that the dish needs. To learn how to clean barley and parsley, click here.

Maple Cured Salmon

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds skin-on salmon filet
½ cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

Pour 2 tablespoons of oil over a large sheet pan and top with salmon, skin side down. In a small bowl, combine maple sugar and the salt. Rub onto salmon flesh. Cook in preheated 475F oven for 10 minutes. Turn oven on to broil. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the fish rest. When you are ready to serve, cut it into 6 portions. For the mustard sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and a pinch of sea salt. See below on how to plate.

Barley Risotto

Ingredients:

8 ½ cups vegetable stock
2 cups dried pearl barley
Pinch + 1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups crimini and stemmed shitake mushrooms, chopped (or any other type of mushroom)
2 cups 35% cream
4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

In a large pot, bring stock to boil over high heat. Add barley and pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until soft, about 2 hours. Drain. Return barley to pot. In a medium pan, heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cream to barley mixture. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until well-mixed and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan and 1 tablespoon of sea salt.

Parsley Emulsion

Ingredients:

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a blender, combine garlic, oil, lemon juice, parsley, and two pinches sea salt. Pulse until smooth.

Plating suggestions:

To serve, divide risotto among 6 plates. Drizzle each serving with parsley emulsion. Top each with one portion salmon. Drizzle fish with mustard mixture. Enjoy!

Best Minestrone Soup

Minestrone

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced in ¼” rounds
6 cups vegetable broth
1 796ml can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 769ml can crushed tomatoes
1 540ml canned kidney beans, drained
1 540ml can green beans, drained
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and checked*
2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoons dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup pasta, seashell or ditalini, or your favourite shape
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth, diced and crushed tomatoes and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, squash, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better. If the soup is too thick, or you would like more broth, you can add additional vegetable broth or water.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and add a heaping teaspoon of salt. You can omit the salt if you’re watching your sodium, but this is really your only chance to flavour the pasta itself. You could also add a teaspoon of bouillon to the water instead of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

* To learn how to check spinach, click here.

Butternut Squash and Orzo with Fresh Sage

Butternut

This milchig side dish is delicious enough to be a main when served with a big salad and some crusty bread. Fresh sage really makes this dish, and I would not recommend using dried. Refer to the produce checking page to learn how to check sage for insects. You can sometimes find frozen diced squash in the freezer section at the grocer. If so, this is a huge time saver; not only in the prep but in cooking time as well.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter/margarine
1 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups butternut squash, cubed
4 cups vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup orzo
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash cubes and stir to coat. Add ½ cup broth and wine. Cover and simmer until squash is just tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Bring remaining 3 ½ cups of broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo. Boil uncovered until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain if necessary. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in squash mixture, then cheese and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cheese, Red Pepper & Mushroom Strata

Strata

This strata (a fancy term for a layered bread casserole) makes a wonderful brunch dish or great for a milchig dinner. Serve with a nice salad and you’ve got a great meal. You can even prepare this dish the night before and let it sit covered in the fridge then bake off the night you wish to serve it. This tends to make an even better dish because it gives the bread more time to soak up all of the flavours! If you don’t have Shiitake mushrooms, any kind will do. If you don’t have your own roasted red peppers (though you should, see my recipe for them!) you can use jarred.

Ingredients:

¼ cup of butter
1 lbs. Shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into thin strips
12 slices of challah – cut into 1 inch dice
2 ¼ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups cream
5 large eggs
¾ cup fresh chives, chopped (same quantity dried)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (2 teaspoons if using dried)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ cups goat cheese (soft)
1 ½ cups parmesan, grated
1 cup fontina, grated

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium sized skillet. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Add sliced red pepper to the mushrooms. Submerge challah cubs in a large bowl of the milk. The bread should absorb all of the milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, chives, thyme and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and add the crumbled goat cheese, and whisk together until fully incorporated.

In the buttered glass dish, lay half of the bread mixture down and don’t worry if it does not fill the entire base. Top with a layer of mushroom/pepper mixture. Add grated fontina and parmesan, then the cream/egg mixture. Repeat the layering process using the remaining ingredients. Bake strata uncovered for 1 hour or until golden brown and firm in the middle.

Sneaky Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna

Ingredients:

12 Lasagna noodles
2 cups Tomato sauce
1 Zucchini, medium
1 Eggplant, medium
1 Red Pepper
5 cloves of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 cups Ricotta Cheese (or low fat creamed cottage cheese)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup shredded hard cheese, like Mozzarella
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and lightly grease or spray a cookie sheet. Wash all the vegetables, removing the stems from the larger vegetables. Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise and place cut side down on cookie sheet. Slice the eggplant in half. Leaving the skin intact take a paring knife and gently slice around the rim of the flesh, then criss-cross the flesh of the eggplant. Place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Slice the pepper in half and remove the core and any seeds. Place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Wrap the garlic cloves in tinfoil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and EVOO, then make into a little baseball shaped package and place on the sheet. Sprinkle all the remaining vegetables with EVOO and salt and pepper. Place in the oven for around 15 minutes, checking to see how the vegetables are doing. The skins may blacken (especially on the peppers) this is NORMAL!! TIP: Keep your over door slightly ajar during this, so that you don’t set off your smoke detectors.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of water up to a boil on the stove. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add a heaping tablespoon of salt and drop in the pasta noodles. Cook, minus a minute or two, according the pasta’s directions on the package they came in. Drain the noodles into a colander and allow to cool so that you can handle them to layer.

Remove the roasted veggies from the oven. Allow to cool for a few moments while you reduce the oven temperature to 350 (for baking the lasagna) and while you set up your food processor with the metal chopping blade. In your food processor, add the cloves of garlic, the zucchini, the eggplant, minus the skin (which should just slide out since you scored it). For the pepper, try and remove as much of the pepper skin first before adding it to the mix, but you don’t have to be perfect. Give the vegetables a few whirls to break everything down. Next add the ricotta and parmesan cheeses to the mix. Hit the pulse button to mix it up, then add the eggs and a touch of salt and pepper to taste. Give it once last pulse to fully combine.

Lastly, in a 9×13 baking dish layer the lasagna as follows: Tomato sauce, Noodles, Cheese/Vegetable mixture, grated cheese, repeating until the dish is filled and ending with noodles, sauce and grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting into, to allow the cheese to set.