Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eating Well's Fettuccine Alfredo

I loved this pasta from Eating Well.  It was really yummy and reheated well for lunch the next day.  But, it didn't really taste anything like Fettuccine Alfredo, in my opinion.  It was just a nice Parmesan-y sauce.

I doubled this recipe so I would have leftovers.  I substituted summer squash for zucchini, whole wheat spaghetti for fettuccine, and dried spices for fresh.  I also just put chopped garlic in the broth and heated it up; I didn't bother with the whole blender step.  Still tasted great.

3/4 cup vegetable broth
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
4 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Combine broth and garlic cloves in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the garlic cloves are soft, about 15 minutes. 
After the garlic has simmered about 10 minutes, cook fettuccine in the boiling water, stirring often, for 8 minutes. Drop in zucchini and cook until the fettuccine is just tender, about 1 minute more.

Meanwhile, transfer the garlic and broth to a blender. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.  Return the mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add cornstarch mixture; whisk it until slightly thickened, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk in sour cream, nutmeg and pepper. Return the pot to very low heat to keep the sauce warm. (Do not boil.)

Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan; toss to coat well. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately, passing the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan separately.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sheetal Bhagat's Thai Peanut Pasta

I brought this recipe to a picnic potluck, and everyone went back for seconds!  Using what I had on hand, I substituted yellow onion for shallots, vegetable stock for chicken stock, and regular sesame seeds for black sesame seeds.  I also omitted the zucchini.  Very tasty, and a good amount of spice-- had a nice kick, but not overly hot.  The recipe says it feeds four; I think it makes a lot more than that.

2 tbsp butter
¼ cup minced shallot
½ tsp minced garlic
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
1 tsp chili paste
1 tbsp vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
½ cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb linguini noodles, boiled
1 cup zucchini, small dice
¼ cup shredded carrot
¼ cup green onion, bias cut, garnish
2 tbsp black sesame, garnish

Heat sauté pan on medium heat. Add butter, melt. Add shallot, sauté. Add garlic, cook for a minute. Add wine, let simmer and reduce by ½. Add stock, cook for 1 minute. Add peanut butter and smooth out the lumps. Add chili paste and vinegar. Cook off some of the liquid to thicken the sauce. Add cream, reduce heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sauté zucchini in 1 tbsp oil. Do not overcook; retain the crunch of the zucchini. Remove from heat, add carrots. Mix. Toss linguini with sauce and vegetables. Top with green onion and sesame seeds.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Pasta Salad

I was alerted to this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa via the "20 Paws 4 Feet" blog. I had some orzo in my cupboard that I didn't know what to do with (it was leftover from a recipe I tried that I wasn't too keen about) so I decided to give this one a try.  It says it serves 6-- that would be 6 very hungry people!  This makes a ton.  You could easily half this recipe and still have plenty. I took this to a party and it was well received.


Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used a one pound bag and it was plenty)
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill (seemed like too much to me)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used dried; couldn't find fresh at the store)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced


1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2.) Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

3.) Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

4.) Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Giada De Laurentiis's Pasta with Eggplant, Butternut Squash, and Shrimp

I had planned to make a different eggplant dish this week, but I had some squash left over from making butternut squash risotto.  So, I googled my ingredients and came up with this recipe from Giada. I reposted her original recipe below, but I basically used the amounts that I had leftover in my fridge, which is to say I used the recipe as a basic outline and kind of winged it from there.  In general I used a good deal less than is called for in the recipe-- it serves 6, so it's quite a bit if you follow the recipe exactly). The only substitutions I made was dried thyme instead of fresh, regular eggplant instead of Japanese, and whole wheat farfalle instead of the orange (??) spaghetti.

Looking at the comments section of the recipe, it seemed like people either loved or hated this dish.  Personally, I thought it was good, but it didn't knock my socks off or anything.  I would make it again.  Some red pepper flakes or something with a little more kick would probably be a good addition to this dish.  Overall, a nice healthy meal that was pretty easy to make.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 cups) (You can get precut squash in the grocery store-- makes this step a lot easier!)
2 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
2 cups fish broth, fresh or frozen, or canned vegetable broth (I used vegetable broth)
2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper
17.5 ounces orange-colored fresh spaghetti or linguine
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter


1) Heat the oil in a heavy large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute.

2) Add the squash, eggplant, rosemary and thyme and saute for 8 to 10 minutes.

3) Add the wine and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender and the liquid is reduced by about half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. (At this step, I used enough liquid to just cover the vegetables. I found that I needed about 20 minutes to let this simmer.  I also covered it for part of the time so the veggies would get soft.)

4) Add the shrimp and simmer gently until almost cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

5) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta. (Alternatively, you can use dried pasta, which will take 8 to 10 minutes to cook.)

6) Toss the pasta, squash mixture, and butter in a large bowl until the liquid thickens slightly and coats the pasta. Transfer the pasta mixture to a wide shallow bowl and serve.  I garnished the pasta with some parmesan cheese.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Almond Crusted Tilapia from Cooking Light

If you have a food processor, this recipe from Cooking Light is quick and easy.  I followed the directions exactly, except I used a bit more oil. I found it to be a little bland-- next time I would probably double the spices.  I also added a squeeze of lemon at the end.  I didn't have parsley so I omitted, but it would be a nice addition.


1/4 cup whole natural almonds
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt-free garlic and herb seasoning blend (such as Mrs. Dash)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)


1. Place first 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process 45 seconds or until finely ground. Transfer crumb mixture to a shallow dish.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush mustard over both sides of fillets; dredge in crumb mixture. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eggplant Roll-Ups

These were quite tasty, and very easy to make.  I am always on the lookout for a good eggplant recipe!  I got this from the vegetarian blog, fresh365.  I cut the original recipe in half.  Serves 2 as an entree.


1 medium eggplant
1 T olive oil
1/4 large onion, chopped
1 T minced garlic
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes (I used sundried tomato pesto)
1 c  ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
small handful basil, chopped (I used dried)
1 1/2 c prepared red sauce (I used tomato-basil spaghetti sauce)
1/2 c shredded mozzarella or parmesan (or a combination)


1) Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the stems off eggplant, and discard. Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4” strips.

2) Arrange slices on a non-stick baking sheet, and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. The original recipe says to cook for 12-15 minutes until the eggplant is just tender.  This didn't seem to be enough; I cooked for 15 minutes, flipped the slices over, and cooked for an additional 5 minutes. Allow eggplant to cool at room temperature. Leave oven on at 350F.

3) In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 5-7 minutes, until onion begins to turn golden brown.  If you wish, you can add a little water, white wine, or broth to help loosen and scrape up all the yummy brown bits in the pan.  Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, and cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, and basil. Stir until well combined.

4) In a 8x8 glass dish, spread enough red sauce along the bottom to cover it. Remove eggplant from baking sheet, and place on a flat work surface. Scoop a few tablespoons of ricotta-spread in the middle of each eggplant. Roll up, and place, seam side down, side by side in the dish (they will fit snugly, in two rows). Pour remaining red sauce over the top, and sprinkle with mozzarella or parmesan.

5) Bake 15-18 minutes, until heated through. Finish under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake - Chocolate Ganche

Here's the recipe for the famous Georgotown Cupake chocolate ganche cupcakes! They turned out amazing and really looked just like the ones from Georgetown Cupcake (I was just there this past weekend)! Moist, chocolately, and yummy!! I used a cocoa powder that was purchased from Whole Foods and used Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate instead. The recipe made exactly 18 cupcakes.
Valrhona cocoa powder and Callebaut chocolate are sold at Sur La Table stores; call for availability.
The cupcakes are best when served on the same day they are made. If the cupcakes are dipped once, you'll have about 1/2 cup of ganache left over.
Makes 18 cupcakes
Ingredients:For the cupcakes
1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) European-style unsalted butter, such as Plugra brand, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar bourbon
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup Valrhona cocoa powder, sifted (see headnote; may substitute another good-quality cocoa powder)For the ganache frosting
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Callebaut semisweet chocolate chips (6.4 ounces; see headnote; may substitute other good-quality semisweet chocolate chips)
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 baking cups, and a second pan with 6 baking cups.Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
Combine the vanilla extract and milk in a large liquid measuring cup.
Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one-third of the milk mixture, beating until well incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined.
Add the cocoa powder, beating (on low speed) just until incorporated.
Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake paper with batter, so that the wells are two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the ganache frosting: Lay a large piece of wax paper on the work surface.
Combine the heavy cream and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with an inch or two of water and place over medium-low heat. Place the bowl over the saucepan and let the mixture melt, stirring until it is shiny and smooth.
Remove the bowl of chocolate ganache from the saucepan; let it cool slightly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Working with 1 cupcake at a time, carefully dip each cupcake top in the warm ganache, twisting your wrist as needed to make sure the cupcake top gets completely coated. To prevent drips, quickly turn the cupcake right side up and place on the wax paper. Allow the ganache to set for 5 minutes before serving.