One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

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  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced 
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 4-5 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9-10 minutes.Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese.

 

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Shrimp Scampi Pasta

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  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 oz of pancetta, diced
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less depending on how spicy you like
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

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Prepare all of your ingredients before you add the pasta to the water – Peel and devein the shrimp.  Mince the garlic and parsley, chop the onion, juice and zest  the lemon.

In a large sauté on medium heat, add olive oil and pancetta.  Sauté for until the pancetta is browned and fat is rendered.

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Remove the pancetta from the pan and add the onion in the same pan you cooked the pancetta in. Cook until soft and translucent. Season with black pepper and red pepper. The red pepper will make it spicy so add according to how spicy you’d like the pasta. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until spinach is wilted and cooked down. Add white wine, raise the temperature to high and let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until it slightly reduces.  Add butter and chicken broth and let simmer until it slightly reduces.  Add cream and let it simmer until a little thickened.  Add shrimp and cook, until pink. This won’t take long. Maybe 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and a tablespoon of lemon zest.

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Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling water, then add pasta.  Stir the pasta as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t stick together.  When you drain the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in a separate bowl/cup to use if the sauce needs thinning.

Toss the cooked pasta in the sauté pan. Add some of the cooking liquid from the pasta if feel you need more of a sauce. Toss with some parmesan or Romano cheese and the parsley and serve.

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Cranberry Margarita

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Ingredients for Cranberry Jam:

  • ¾ cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Ingredients to Assemble Margarita:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 lime wedge, plus 2 oz. fresh juice
  • 4 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 6 oz. tequila

Directions:

First make the Cranberry Jam.

In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and ¼ cup water to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy. This will take about 30–40 minutes. When done, mix in orange zest and let cool.

Cover and chill in the fridge.

*Jam can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

When ready to assemble the margaritas, mix salt, sugar, and five-spice powder on a small plate. Rub rims the glasses you will be using with lime wedge then dip in salt mixture and fill glasses with ice.

For each cocktail, combine ½ oz. lime juice, 1 oz. orange juice, 1½ oz. tequila, and 2 Tbsp. of the cranberry jam in a cocktail shaker; fill with ice.

Cover and shake for about 30 seconds.

Strain into prepared glass.

Enjoy!

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Enjoying the Cranberry Margaritas!

Sweet Potato Croquettes

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Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes or yams cooked and mashed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

 

Directions:

In a large bowl mash cooked sweet potatoes or yams.  Add brown sugar, rosemary, garlic, pecorino cheese, parsley, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to. Add in 1 egg and mix well.
Refrigerate sweet potato mixture for about 2-3 hours to allow mixture to get firm, which will make it easier to shape the croquettes for breading and frying.
When ready to bread set up 3 bowls: One bowl with the panko bread crumbs, one with the regular bread crumbs and one with the remaining 2 eggs and tsp of water, whisked together.
Roll mixture into individual 1in balls and place on a lined or floured baking sheet.
Meanwhile, heat 2 inches of oil over medium high heat and once the oil is hot, lower to medium/medium low. Make sure not to add any croquettes to the oil until it is hot.
Roll each ball you created in the regular breadcrumbs, then into the egg wash and then into the panko breadcrumbs.
Lightly press and form and then gently place the croquettes into hot oil. Do only a few at a time, as you want to make sure you don’t burn the croquettes.
Fry for about 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly golden. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain off excess oil.  Repeat until all croquettes are done.

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Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup room temperature water
  • 4 large room temperature eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Creame Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cram cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease and flour three 9×5 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar and the eggs until combined. Mix in the pumpkin, vegatable oil, and water. Beat until smooth. Slowly incorporate the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips. Fill pans about 3/4 full.

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Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Rotate the pans midway through the baking process  to ensure that all sides bake evenly. Cool on wire racks before removing from pans.

Creame Cheese Frosting Directions:

Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth.   Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth.  Be careful not to over beat the filling or it will lose structure. (The filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover the bowl tightly and put it in the refrigerator.  Let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)

Spread evenly on to cooled loaves.

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Caramel-Apple Pie

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Ingredients:

  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 recipe Classic Pie Dough
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp. for sprinkling
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 15 soft caramel cubes
  • 8 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. water

Directions:

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk of dough into a 12″ round. Fit into a 9″ pie plate. Trim edges, leaving 1″ dough overhanging edge of plate; chill 30 minutes.

2. Melt butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and caramels; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugars are dissolved and sauce is slightly thick, 5–7 minutes.

3. Heat oven to 400°. Arrange apples over dough. Pour sauce evenly over apples. Roll remaining disk of dough into a 12″ round and place over top of pie. Pinch top and bottom edges together and fold under; crimp edges. Brush with egg mixture; sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar. Cut three 1″-long slits in top of pie. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before serving.