Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Pappardelle

Yu-um! The broadest noodles this side of lasagna are pappardelle. Often used with heartier sauces, the pappardelle is both my favourite pasta and the Thrifty Sifter's. It was a natural fit for making dinner at her place the other night. This recipe is a nice bridge between the dry, sea-influenced sauces of Sicily with the tomato-based Tuscan sauces of my youth.

8 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup of dry sauvignon blanc
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly-chopped
1 package (roughly a pound) of fresh, tri-color pappardelle pasta
1/2 cup of fresh Italian parsley, roughly-chopped*
1/2 cup of fresh basil, roughly-chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 ounces of crumbled feta cheese, divided

One thing I like about the tri-color pasta is that the red is flavoured with paprika whilst the green is flavoured with spinach. It's subtle, but it's a damn good subtlety.

While I don't normally shop there, we picked this pasta up in the Garden of Eden. Strangely this food retailer is the first result for the search term "Garden of Eden," though I'm positive the Biblical legend has been around much longer. See for yourself.

Look at those lovely tomatoes. YUMMO! These were just the right ripeness; a little soft, very juicy. Quite easy to seed, I found.

Once you've chopped up the tomatoes, you'll purée 2 1/2 cups of them (this isn't ALL of them) with the wine and garlic in a blender. It's going to look frothy and pink and you're going to think I'm screwing with you. I assure you I'm not. Just go with it.

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's good and ready, add the oil and heat until it develops a slight shimmer. Add the puree and the olives to the oil and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. This can take 6 - 15 minutes, depending upon your skillet and heat.

You can see the sauce beginning to orange.

There you go, it's getting nice and red. Soon it will be thick and awesome.

By the way, did I mention that while the sauce is cooking you should be heating the water for the pasta? Yeah, you should do that.

You'll want to salt the water a bit. I cook fresh pasta for 3 - 5 minutes until it's hot and slippery.

You're now going to drain the pasta and keep some of the liquid aside. Add the drained pasta, chopped parsley and basicl, and vinegar to the sauce in the skillet.

Keep the heat on and toss until the sauce coats the pasta. If it's ending up a bit dry, add the reserved liquid in small doses until it's the right consistency for you. Cook three minutes more.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then mix in the remaining chopped tomatoes and half of your feta.

You're almost done. This last part is really hard. Put the mixed up pasta in a bowl and cover with the remaining feta.
Oy vey!

Yeah, I spilled a little, but it didn't screw up the final result.

We had a terrific dinner and I even persuaded the Thrifty Sifter to make her literally-irresistible choco choco chip cookies for dessert. Read her chocolate chocolate chip goodness here.


In some other blog news, we will be welcoming Yum Veggie Burger to the blog next week as we prepare a veggie burger for her and your edification.

I have also been invited to guest blog The Pot Roast for Tribeca Yummy Mummy. We'll have more on that once it comes closer to fruition. I'm also apparently a guest uncle!

Salt it bitches!

*If you have a Thrifty Sifter in the house, keep her away from the parsley. She will eat all of it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Pot Roast

I'm in a financial crunch this month. It's nothing drastic or lasting, but I'm caught between a trip to the Grand Canyon and another coming up to Northern California, so I must be parsimonious over the next week and change.

What better way than to cook a ton of meat I can reheat again and again over the next few days? So I did a little research and found The Pioneer Woman's recipe. While I consider myself a better writer, damn if she can't take some great photos. Hers do the meal more justice than my photos or prose. 

This, like the last recipe, is fairly simple. I'm going to tell you up front: you will miss the potatoes. Buy a couple to include with this. Also, taste frequently, but you'll need more salt and pepper than you think. 

My favourite part is, I think, browning the onions. My apartment could NOT have smelled better.

Also, while cooking I sometimes like to watch a little television. In this case I was catching up on the relaunched Doctor Who. 

I'm also pretty proud of the carrots and meat. I'm still full from eating this as I write, but that meat makes my mouth water even more. Time to get a vodka and guava juice...

At this point you basically throw everything in the pot and put it in the oven at low heat for several hours. I was feeling kind of ill this day due to some bad tacos I had at Trailer Park the night before. I also went to a Queensrÿche show and drank quite a bit. Also had a great conversation with singer Geoff Tate backstage after the show about saxophones for twenty minutes. 

So while this bad boy was a-roasting, I took a nap on the couch, then hit the gymnasium. Got home with enough time to shower and then be greeted by this.

I dug into it right away. Definitely did not add enough salt or pepper to this, as I mentioned above. The onions and carrots were done to perfection, but I needed to have left this in my oven for at least another hour or so, bringing the total cooking time up to five hours. 

Still, I've got a tasty dinner waiting for me for the next few days, and tomorrow I'm adding some potatoes to the mix. 

Your soundtrack for this entry: Queensrÿche - Empire