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This and that

14 Sep

I’ve been spending the last few days doing some canning… finishing up my tomato canning (30 pints this season!), and trying out a new peach recipe (slices with maple syrup and a touch of sherry).  Each year, I get more and more into it.  And, each winter, when it’s cold and dreary out, I am more and more excited to have the treat of opening up such wonderfully summer items.  Yay!

Of course, with such fun full-day cooking activities, comes the realization that the last thing I want to do is cook more for dinner.  Which is when such simple dishes like the one below come in so handy.  One pot boiling water?  Check.  Three ingredients (green beans, potatoes, and whole wheat pasta) that all cook in the same pot?  Check.  Container of pesto and some quickly grated cheese?  Check.  And, in 30 minutes, I am done.  Love it.


Roasted Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Sauce

8 Sep

Dinner last night… and one of the best iterations of the dish yet this summer.  Love this sauce and I will be oh so sad to see it go as fall comes blowing in.   At least one more week, though, as I just ordered more Sun Golds from the CSA… yay!

Roasted Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Sauce with Whole Wheat Linguini

This recipe is one where I don’t measure or use exact oven temperatures or cook for exact amounts of time.  I generally start off slow and low, and then continually up the oven temperature as the tomatoes are starting to get soft for a bit of caramelization and to better release the juices for a saucier sauce.  If left too long on low, the tomatoes dry out, which is great if you want oven-dried tomatoes for preserving, but not great if you’re expecting to have a pasta sauce at the end.  I’ve tried to estimate the amounts, temperatures, and times, but I’ll be honest — each time it’s slightly different, both in technique and outcome.  But each time is also delicious, so I’m not too worried about it, nor should you be.

  • 3 pints of Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • a few sprigs of savory or thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 pound of Whole Wheat Linguini
  • Parmesan or Romano, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup grated
  1. Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, coarsely chop some garlic cloves, pluck a few herb stems, and then toss it all together with the tomatoes into the roasting pan, and coat with olive oil.  Add a few pinches of salt (2-3), a pinch of sugar, and finish with a few twists of pepper from the grinder.  Once the oven is heated, add the pan to the oven.
  2. Stir the tomatoes every 10 minutes or so, and after about 30-45 minutes (once the tomatoes are soft and about to burst), turn up the oven temperature to 400 or 425 degrees.
  3. At this point, start heating up the water for the pasta.  Continue stirring the tomatoes occasionally, too.
  4. Once the water is boiling (make sure to add enough salt to the water so that it tastes salty), add the pasta and cook until not quite al dente.  You want to stop before it’s at that point, as the noodles will finish cooking in the sauce.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, grate the cheese.
  6. Just before the pasta is done, remove the tomatoes from the oven, and place on the stove top.  At this point, the tomatoes should have burst, released all of their juices, and become sauce-like in consistency.  There is still definition to the tomatoes, but only somewhat.  If you have a roasting pan that can be placed on the burners, you can do so on low, but it should be hot enough that it is not necessary if you cannot.
  7. Drain the pasta, reserving at least 1/2 cup of pasta water, and toss the pasta with the sauce in the roasting pan.  Add enough of the water so that the sauce thickens (the starch in the pasta water will help with that) and more easily coats the pasta.  At this point, you can add the majority of the grated cheese and toss until it is melted into the sauce.  You want to reserve some to top the pasta on the plate.
  8. Plate, serve, and enjoy.

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta

27 Mar

Weeknight dinners are always a challenge.  I don’t generally get home until after 6:30 and I am already *starving* when I do!  So, I am trying to learn to create delicious, but quick, meals for me to rely on, and that won’t necessitate a trip to the grocery store to make.  Because, you know, that just pushes back dinner!  Of course, yes, I could plan my meals in advance, and I could buy everything I need during the weekend, but really!  Creativity just goes out the door at that point.  Plus, I’m indecisive and making decisions that far in advance?  Oh, my.  Just.  Not.  Happening.

Last night’s dinner definitely fit these criteria, and I’ll definitely by making it again.  So flavorful, and it took a mere 30 minutes to get on the table!  And only ten minutes for me to figure out.  Since some frozen (uncooked) shrimp were the only protein the boyfriend and I had in the house, I started from there.  I then realized that I also had a fairly large supply of garlic, and that that went perfectly with shrimp.  So, I started searching for a garlic shrimp recipe, and came across a perfect one on Cook’s Illustrated.   Using that as a base for modification, this was the end product…

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta, serves 2

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 3 oz. micro greens
  • 6 oz. of capellini (angel hair) pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 14 large uncooked shrimp, tails and shells removed and reserved
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup vermouth
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • salt
  • pepper 
  1. On one back burner, begin heating a large pot of salted water to cook the pasta.  Watch the water while preparing the rest of the dish, and when boiling add pasta and cook for the recommended time (5-6 minutes for capellini), or until al dente.  Drain, and set aside.
  2. On the other back burner, place the 1/2 cups water and shrimp tails/shells in a small pot and heat over medium-high heat.  Checking periodically, cook until mixture has reduced to 1/2 cup, then strain out the shrimp tails/shells and set the shrimp stock aside.
  3. On a front burner, melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  While the butter is melting, mix the bread crumbs with the shallots, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.  Once the butter is melted, add the bread crumb mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes.  Transfer to plate to cool, and mix in the micro greens.  Wipe out the skillet with paper towels.
  4. Meanwhile, dry shrimp thoroughly and toss with sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.  Return your front skillet to medium high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and heat until shimmering.  Add the shrimp and and cook until spotty brown and edges turn pink, about 3 minutes (do not flip shrimp).  Remove skillet from heat, and transfer the shrimp to a waiting plate.  Again, wipe out the skillet with paper towels.
  5. Return skillet to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter.  When the butter is melted, add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic just begins to turn golden, about 1 minute.  Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes.  Increase the heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in the vermouth and shrimp stock. Bring to simmer and cook until mixture reduces to 3/4 cup, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Lastly, stir in the lemon juice.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, return the shrimp to the pan, and toss to combine.  Cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Toss the shrimp and sauce with the drained pasta, then add the breadcrumb and micro-green mix.  Once combined, serve on plates with additional lemon wedges if so desired.