Taking Advantage of the Harvest – Week 3

Truthfully, this recipe takes advantage of week 3 and week 1 from our CSA. Luckily I found a pasta recipe that uses rapini (which we received in week 3) and leeks (from week 1). Score! Of course, the recipe is from my favorite cookbook, Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop. If you haven’t purchased this cookbook, what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for me to share all the recipes here? It just might happen.

I’ve never made this recipe before because I don’t typically buy broccoli rabe. This recipe is worth buying broccoli rabe. The sauce was delicious! It had a slightly fruity flavor and yet it also tasted rich.

Here is what I did a little differently to the recipe:

  1. I added some swiss chard to the rabe, as I didn’t have 2 pounds of rabe.
  2. I added some pasta water to the sauce as I felt the sauce was a little dry.
  3. I added parmesan cheese when serving the pasta. It is never a bad idea to add cheese.
Broccoli Rabe and Leeks Braised in White Wine and Tomatoes (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small bunches broccoli rabe/rapini(about 2 pounds)
  • 2 medium leeks (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup drained canned whole tomatoes, juice discarded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black peppper
  • 1/2 cup dry white white (preferably a Pinot Grigio or sauvingnon blanc)
  • 1 pound pasta (preferably spaghetti or other long, thin shape pasta)

STEPS

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta.
  2. Discard the tough, thick stems from the broccoli rabe and rinse.
  3. Roughly chop the broccoli rabe and set it aside.
  4. Discard the dark green tops and tough outer leaves from the leeks. Trim a thin slice from the root ends and cut each leek in half lengthwise. Rinse.
  5. Lay the leeks flat side down on a cutting board and cut them crosswise into very thin half circles.
  6. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the leeks and saute over medium heat until the leeks have wilted and are beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.
  7. Finely chop the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper to the pan and cook until the tomatoes have softened, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the broccoli rabe and wine to the pan and stir several times to coat the broccoli rabe with the tomato-leek mixture. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli rabe is quite tender, about 15 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
  9. While preparing the sauce, cook and drain the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the broccoli rate sauce. Mix well and serve immediately.

Making Use of a Grocery Store Mistake

Last week, I made Wilted Swiss Chard with Garlic and Ricotta Salata Cheese. When I was at the grocery store for last week’s meals, I inadvertently picked up ricotta cheese versus ricotta salata. Since I didn’t have ricotta salata, I substituted parmesan cheese in the Swiss chard pasta dish. Crisis averted! Now, I just had to figure out what to make with the ricotta cheese I had sitting in the refrigerator. I hate to waste perfectly good food!

I found a recipe on Epicurious.com and thought it would be easy – there are only three steps. Plus, I could use the fresh tomatoes I bought at the farm stand near our house.

The original recipe did not include a dash of balsamic vinegar. I added that to give the dish a deeper flavor. Overall, I thought it was okay. I felt it could use some more flavor. I have made a similar pasta dish from Jack Bishop and his recipe uses smoked mozzarella. Just the change of cheese can significantly alter the taste of the food. Smoked mozzarella adds a lot more depth that ricotta doesn’t have. I recommend you follow the recipe below and substitute ricotta for shredded smoked mozzarella. I also included the link to the Jack Bishop recipe here. I like to give options.

My mother stopped by this evening to drop off reusable bags so I can pick up her CSA share tomorrow. On her way to book club, she had some of the pasta and liked it. I think I’m biased to smoked mozzarella therefore, this dish never had a fair shot. I offered both options for you. If you decide to make one or the other, please let me know what you think!

The recipe with my modifications is below or you can click here to find the original on Epicurious.com.

Orecchiette with Salsa Cruda and Ricotta (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped basil
  • 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound dried orecchiette
  • 3/4 cup ricotta (preferably fresh)

STEPS

  1. Stir together all ingredients except pasta and ricotta in a large bowl with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook orecchiette in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  3. Drain pasta and toss with tomato salsa. Season with salt and pepper and dollop with ricotta.

Taking Advantage of the Harvest – Week 2

Week 2 of our CSA and we received some great vegetables. Unfortunately, I’m still working on finishing up the vegetables from week 1 and I’m little overwhelmed. This week we received kale, turnips, garlic scapes, lettuce, sage and sugar snap peas. I was told that the leaves of the turnips can be cooked and are similar to Swiss chard. Since I had a bit of Swiss chard left from last week, I decided to use that along with the leaves of the turnips in a pasta dish.

I hadn’t made pasta in almost two weeks. I was starting to twitch from not eating it! Oh, pasta tastes so good when it touches the lips….

This recipe is from a cookbook by Jack Bishop. I have had this cookbook since 1999 and it is one of my favorites. I’ve made so many different recipes from this book and they have all been so good. I highly recommend buying his cookbook, Pasta e Verdura. If you love pasta and vegetables, you will use it time and time again. I’m considering buying his cookbook, Vegetables Every Day, since I now have a plethora of them in my refrigerator.

Happy Friday and Bon Weekend!

Wilted Swiss Chard with Garlic and Ricotta Salata Cheese (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds Swiss chard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled (I used 4 because I think there is no harm in using more garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound linguine or other long, thin shape
  • 1/3 cup grated ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano cheese

STEPS

  1. Bring 4 quarts of slated water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta.
  2. Trim and discard the tough stems from the Swiss chard. Wash the chard until it is free from sand.
  3. Slice the Swiss chard leaves crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips and set them aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven with a cover.
  5. Add the garlic and saute over medium heat, turning the cloves occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the garlic.
  6. Add the red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for 30 seconds to release their flavor.
  7. Add the damp Swiss chard and salt (I would recommend you go a little lighter on the salt and add more at the end if you feel it needs it.)
  8. Stir several times to coat the leaves with the oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard has completely wilted, about 5 minutes.
  9. Taste for salt and red pepper.
  10. While preparing the sauce, cook and drain the pasta, reserving 1/3 cup (I reserved a little more) of the cooking liquid.
  11. Toss the hot pasta with the Swiss chard sauce, the reserved cooking liquid, and the grated cheese. Mix well until the cheese has softened, about 30 seconds.
  12. Transfer portions to bowls and serve immediately.

You may not want to kiss and tell after this meal

Don’t get me wrong, I love garlic and I love this pasta recipe, but beware. You may not want to serve this for a new guy, girl or friend. The garlic stays with you, but it so worth it. Isn’t garlic supposed to have some health benefits as well as fight off vampires? So not only do you get to enjoy a wonderful meal but will you improve your health and stave off vampires. How many meals do that?

This recipe is so easy. Just cook the pasta, mix all the ingredients together and combine. I love to make this in the summer when tomatoes are extra juicy and basil is plentiful.

This recipe is from a cookbook I received in 1999. Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop is one of my favorite cookbooks. It’s no secret my family and I love pasta and this cookbook includes 140 vegetable sauces. I’ve made a lot of recipes from this cookbook and all of them were great. I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who loves pasta.

Raw Tomato Sauce with Smoked Mozzarella and Basil (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 large basil leaves, torn into several pieces each
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound pasta (fusilli or other short, curly shape)

STEPS

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta.
  2. Core and cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the tomatoes in a bowl large enough to hold the cooked pasta.
  3. Add the oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper and mix gently.
  4. Shred the cheese using the large holes on a box grater or the shredding disk on a food processor. Toss the shredded cheese into the bowl with the tomatoes. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  5. While preparing the sauce, cook and drain the pasta. Immediately transfer the hot pasta to the bowl with the sauce.
  6. Mix well until the cheese starts to melt, about 30 seconds.
  7. Transfer portions to pasta bowls and serve immediately.