The one-pan meal. Flavorful, easy-to-prepare, and minimal clean-up. I have become an unabashed fan. Two of my favorite one-pan recipes are Moroccan Chicken and Rice and Mark Bittman’s Cannellini with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Sausage. Both make it into pretty regular rotation on my weekly what-to-cook-for-dinner playlist.
Always on the lookout for more, I was thrilled when Chris Kimball, editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, appeared on the third hour of this morning’s Today Show with three one-pan recipes: Greek-style shrimp with tomatoes and feta; Skillet meaty lasagna; and Skillet apple crisp. First up for me will definitely be the Greek-style shrimp, so I’ve included it below.
Three more great reasons to cook at home.
Greek-style shrimp with tomatoes and feta
Chris Kimball, Cook’s Illustrated (Sept. 1, 2010)
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if desired (see note)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons ouzo (see note)
- 5 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
- Table salt and ground black pepper
- 1 small onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium
- 1/2 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomato, drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved (see note)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 6 ounces feta cheese , crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
This recipe works equally well with jumbo (16 to 20 per pound) or extra-large (21 to 25 per pound) shrimp, but the cooking times in step 3 will vary slightly depending on which you use. Serve the shrimp with crusty bread or steamed white rice.
1. Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened (sauce should not be completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain bare simmer. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6
Recently, I discovered that National Pancake Day (courtesy of IHOP) is coming up soon, on March 1st to be exact (one free short stack between 7:00 and 10:00 a.m. in exchange for a small charitable donation), which got me thinking about the flap jack.
I’m probably in the minority on this one, but I have do admit, I don’t love them. I never make them and never order them when I’m out for breakfast. For some reason I find their fluffiness unsatisfying from start to finish.
As a kid, I used to eat pancakes, but they were different: a cross somewhere between the standard flapjack and a crepe, and often the size of the whole plate. Remembering this, and now wanting to cook pancakes in longer than I care to say, I sent an email to my mother asking for the recipe. I knew it was simple – four or five ingredients, at most, all mixed in a blender, but what were the ingredients and their amounts? Alas, my mother had long ago lost the secret recipe. This was not good news, as in the intervening days, I had become like a dog with its proverbial bone. I needed to find a similar recipe, and I did on Cooks.com. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s close enough. I offer this thinner take on pancakes to you below.
If it was me, once the pancakes have been cooked to perfection, I would stack them two or three high, smear butter in between and on top, then douse them with a good pour of Aunt Jemima (accompanying my ambivalence towards fluffy pancakes is a general dislike of pure maple syrup, this to the horror of my brother and in spite of my Canadian heritage). And I have vague memories of snowy Sunday mornings, sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of hot thin pancakes in front of me, and instead of syrup, I would spread thick layers of strawberry jam in between and on top. Now that sends me back…
|GRANDMA’S THIN PANCAKES|
Read more about it at http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,164,153179-246197,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 c. milk
2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. sugar
Mix all ingredients in blender, adding butter last. This is a crepe-like batter. Fry on lightly greased preheated grill.
Three recipes to change your life. I originally came across the concept in this past Sunday’s New York Times. The Week in Review section contained a series of articles with the theme “Sustainable Life.” In one piece, Mark Bittman offered a compelling argument for cooking at home (it’s cheaper, healthier, and sometimes faster than eating out), along with three recipes that he believes can change the way we eat and live. It’s a simple premise – cook and eat real food. And Mr. Bittman shows us how to start.
Each includes an extensive list of variations and substitutions so that, should decide to embark upon a cooking adventure, you’ll be able to stretch three meal ideas into a few dozen.
As Mark Bittman said to Meredith Viera on this morning’s Today Show, “What you need is not so much a diet as a way to eat.”
Amen to that.
Published: December 31, 2010
Yield: 4 servings.
2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, chopped
1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, the stems no more than 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks or thin slices and blotted dry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper.
1. Put a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add half the oil, swirl it around, and immediately add half the garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring, then add the broccoli, mushrooms and all but a sprinkling of the scallions. Raise heat to high, and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their water and broccoli is bright green and beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Sprinkle with salt; add 1 cup water. Stir and cook until almost all liquid evaporates and broccoli is almost tender, another minute or two more, then transfer everything to a plate.
3. Turn heat to medium, add remaining oil, then remaining garlic and ginger. Stir, then add chicken and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken has lost its pink color, three to five minutes.
4. Turn heat to medium. Return broccoli, mushrooms and juices to the pan, and stir. Add soy sauce, sprinkle with more salt and some pepper; add a little more water if mixture is dry. Raise heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced slightly and you’ve scraped up all the bits of chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with remaining scallion and serve.
Stir-fries work with virtually any combination of vegetables; protein-dense food (meat, poultry, fish, tofu, etc.) is optional. Use pork (like shoulder), shrimp, beef (like sirloin), or tofu instead of chicken; slice the meat thinly or the tofu into cubes.
Use cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, snow peas, carrots or spinach in place of either the broccoli or the mushrooms or both. Or use other mushrooms.
Use fish sauce instead of soy sauce and finish with a squeeze of lime to give it a Southeast Asian flavor.
Use olive oil, skip the ginger, use onion instead of scallion, and substitute 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary or thyme to give it a Mediterranean flavor profile.
Use coconut milk instead of stock; 1 tablespoon curry powder instead of soy sauce to give it an Indian flavor
They’re everywhere at the moment, from the farmers’ market to your local grocery store … white paper bags filled with Macintosh apples. And it’s a good thing, because the best apple pie recipe I know is made with them.
What makes it, in my humble opinion, the best apple pie recipe? Well, first of all, there’s the crust; it’s thin and flaky, which I happen to prefer to a thicker, heavier, doughier crust. The crust is heaven. Second, there’s the filling, starting with the key ingredient, those Macintosh apples. When they’re cooked, they tend to be softer than other varieties; again, this is a personal preference. And mixed with the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and tapioca, and topped with butter, well, you’ll have to judge the result for yourself. To me, it bakes into sweet perfection. And lastly, there is the beautifully browned, not burned, crust (there’s a tip for that).
Full disclosure Part I: this is my mother’s recipe – she’s modified it over the years with tips from here and there, making it the divine apple pie that it is today – but I promise this is an unbiased recommendation. Everyone loves my mother’s pie; and her recipe is similar to my sister-in-law’s and her mother’s. Full disclosure Part II: my mother lives in Canada, as do my sister-in-law and her mother, so maybe this is the all-Canadian take on the all-American classic.
Give it a try, you just might like it.
As always, eat well!
Georgina’s Apple Pie
PASTRY FOR A 2-CRUST PIE
2-½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ lb. shortening or lard
½ cup ice cold water
- In a medium bowl, light stir flour and salt with a fork.
- Slice the shortening into one-inch cubes, then add it to the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until it is the mixture is the size of peas.
- Sprinkle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the pastry holds together.
- Shape into two balls and flatten into 1/2-thick round disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Note: you can refrigerate the dough for up to two days, or freeze for three months.
6-7 Macintosh apples, peeled and sliced into pieces about 1/8th of an inch thick
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. minute tapioca
2 tbsp. butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the apple slices in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the sprinkle lemon juice.
- In a separate bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and tapioca.
- Add to the apples and stir, until the apples are coated.
- Let sit the apple mixture sit while rolling out the pie crust.
- Flour your rolling surface and pin. Roll out one piece of the refrigerated dough, from the middle of the disk outwards, making a circle two inches wider than your inverted pie plate.
- Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll over the pie plate.
- Fill the pie shell with the apple mixture.
- Cut the 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and dot over the apples.
- Roll out the top crust, using the same method as above, and place over the apples. There should be a 3/4-inch overhang of the dough.
- Fold pasty overhang under and then bring over the top crust and pinch to make a decorative edge.
- Use a fork to pierce all over the top pie crust, to vent steam during baking.
- Sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar.
- Cover edges with tinfoil for the first 40 minutes of baking time, and then remove.
- Bake a total of one hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool before serving (preferably some fabulous vanilla bean ice cream).
I happen to be a fan of Brussels sprouts. I’ll eat them steamed with some of olive oil and salt, or braised for a bit in the oven. I’ll eat them pretty much any way. But I’ve come to realize that not everyone feels the same way as I do about this sometimes maligned vegetable. The intent behind today’s post is to create some converts. And, if there is one Brussels sprout recipe that can accomplish the goal, this is it.
Epicurious’ Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots. The recipe was originally published in Bon Appetit in November 2007. That same Christmas, I was introduced to it by my brother and sister-in-law, both of whom love good food as much as I do and, admittedly, are better cooks.
The recipe is deceptively simple in its use of ingredients and its preparation. The caramelized shallots make the dish slightly sweet, while the most arduous step is cutting the sprouts into the 1/8-inch slices.
Give it a try as a side for your Thanksgiving meal.
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
- 1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
- Coarse kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup water
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.
Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.
I was shopping at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago, when on impulse, I picked up one can of pumpkin (the store had strategically positioned the display at the end of the aisle). Since then, every time I opened the cupboard, this lonely can was staring me in the face, and I was determined to find something to do with it. The obvious solution would have been to make a pumpkin pie, but I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie. I do, however, love apple pie, my mother’s apple pie in particular, but I digress.
A solution arrived in the form of Warren Brown, founder and owner of Washington DC’s CakeLove and Love Cafe, who appeared on the Today Show this morning. Yes, he offered his recipe for pumpkin pie, but even better, he prepared his take on Pumpkin cheesecake. Now, that’s a pumpkin dessert about which I can get excited. And there was a Pumpkin clove pound cake with Cream cheese icing, which sounds pretty fabulous as well. In fact, they both have such great potential that I’m not sure which dessert to choose for my single can of pumpkin.
The cheesecake recipe is included below, and here’s the link to the Today Show site where you can find the recipes for all three desserts. And, if you’ve not heard of Warren Brown, he has an amazing story to tell about how he found his passion. It’s an inspirational a read.
But, back to food … pick your perfect pumpkin dessert and get cooking!
Recipe: Pumpkin cheesecake
- For the graham cracker crust
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 5 ounces graham crackers, crushed into powder
- 3 tablespoons super fine granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- For the pumpkin cheesecake
- 1 1/2 pounds Philly brand cream cheese
- 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) super-fine granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice (powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin (unsweetened)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons dark rum (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 5 eggs (large)
- 1 cup heavy cream
To make the graham cracker crust:
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees and set the rack on the middle shelf.
Stir to combine graham crackers through salt in a bowl. Drizzle melted butter over ingredients and mix until evenly moistened.
Spray bottom and interior sides of one (1) cake pan (9-inch-by-3-inch) or individual baking dishes with non-stick spray.
Scoop crust ingredients into pans and press down evenly until smooth. Use a flat bottom tool for best results (we use a baking mallet).
Bake until fragrant and browned at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove and cool on counter.
To make the cheesecake:
Prep ahead of time to remove some of the water content from the canned pumpkin:
Double fold plain white paper towels on a cookie sheet. Scoop pumpkin onto the towels and spread to height of 1/2 inch. Cover with single layer of paper towel; let sit for 30 minutes.
Whisk to combine the pumpkin, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with the flat beater, beat to smooth out the cream cheese on slow to medium speed for about 1 minute.
Combine sugar through salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.
Scrape cream cheese from sides, reduce mixer to lowest speed, add sugar mixture one third at a time. Allow each scoop to incorporate thoroughly before proceeding. To avoid aerating the batter, don’t run mixer on higher speeds than low.
Add the pumpkin mixture 1/4 cup at a time, waiting between additions for the contents to combine with the base batter.
Add the eggs one at a time, waiting between additions for the contents to combine with the base batter.
Add the cream in a slow drizzle. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides and run on low for another 20 seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans filling no more than 3/4 of the way. (The 9-inch-by-3-inch pan should hold one recipe with room to spare at the top. Higher pan helps protect from undue browning across the top.)
Place the filled cake pan in a roasting pan with high sides and place on the rack in the preheated oven. Pour enough steaming water between the cake pan and roasting pan to come about 2/3 up the side of the cake pan. Bake until the center is slightly wobbly when the pan is shaken, about 80 to 90 minutes.
Turn off heat, prop oven door ajar, and leave alone for 60 minutes.
Remove pan from water bath and cool on the counter until it’s room temperature. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Remove from the cake pan by warming the bottom, either over an open flame for a few seconds or in a water bath. Place parchment, plastic wrap or wax paper over top of the cake before inverting to remove the cake. Quickly turn over to place on a cake plate.
Serve chilled with freshly whipped cream or ice cream of choice.
The air is cooler now. It readies me for Sunday afternoons spent cooking up a pot of something, the aroma filling the apartment, heaven.
I was casting about for a new vegetable soup recipe when, as luck would have it, Mark Bittman appeared on the Today Show with what he claims is The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding. I’ve included the recipe below. He also prepared a chunky Roasted butternut chowder with apple and bacon. Both recipes are from Bittman’s new tome, “The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living.”
Like the Tuscan Ribollita that I posted back in March, these soups are not merely a starter, they’re a meal. Do as Mark Bittman suggests in the segment, add a hunk of good, crusty bread and a glass a fruity red wine, and call it dinner.
Recipe: The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding
Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of “The Food Matters Cookbook”
- 3/4 cup olive oil, more or less
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped, thick stems discarded
- 2 or 3 cabbage leaves, chopped
- 1 bunch chard, preferably white, washed and chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 to 4 cups cooked white beans, like cannelloni, with their liquid if possible
Put about a third of the olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot and turn the heat to medium.
Add half the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which takes about 10 minutes.
Add about half of the remaining oil and repeat the process, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
Add the remaining oil with the parsley, cabbage and chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is softened but not browned.
Add the tomato paste and stir.
Mash the beans so that they’re about half mashed and half more-or-less whole. Add this mixture to the pot, along with any bean cooking liquid and enough water to make the whole mixture stewy but not watery.
Continue cooking, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary, until all the vegetables are very tender and the soup is hot. Serve hot or warm.
Makes about 10 servings
I made a quick trip to Whole Foods Market yesterday and, while in the produce section, I happened to notice what I first thought was an orange, but then realized was a lemon, a Meyer lemon, to be exact. According to Wikipedia:
The Meyer lemon (Citrus × meyeri) is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange. It was introduced to the United States in 1908 as S.P.I. #23028 by the agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China.
Having heard of, but never having actually tasted, one (at least that I am aware of), I purchased a few. I cut a wedge, sniffed, then took a bite. It smelled and tasted of lemon and orange. It was both tart and sweet. It was… unexpected. I squeezed the lemon, and drizzled some olive oil, on a spinach salad with salmon, tomato, and red onion (citrus helps with the absorption of iron in the spinach). I’ll do it again. Lemons, along with the other citrus fruits, have significant health benefits.
So, what’s the best way to take advantage of the unusual qualities? SheKnows.com has an excellent article on the lemon, which includes the Top 20 Uses for Meyer Lemons: infuse olive oil with Meyer lemon juice and use for dipping bread; make a Meyer lemon martini; try chocolate Meyer lemon pudding; and roast potatoes with thick Meyer lemons wedges on top.
They have a great recipe for Meyer Lemon Risotto. And I found two recipes for Meyer lemon cake. One from Saveur, claiming to be The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake. I have to admit, the use of butter, dried bread crumbs, and blanched almonds has me curious. Then there’s the recipe from Epicurious, Meyer Lemon Cake with Lavender Cream, that sounds divine.
If you’ve got access to Meyer lemons, you might want to give them a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I’ve always wanted to learn how to prepare Linguine Alle Vongole (pasta with clams). It’s one of those dishes that I often order when eating out, precisely because I have yet to figure out how to make it nearly as good as I’ve enjoyed in restaurants like Peasant and Barolo.
And who better to teach me than Chef David Pasternack of ESCA (one of my pre-/post-theater picks, or pretty-much-anytime picks). I don’t typically pull from the Today Show twice in one week, but when I saw this, I couldn’t help myself. The recipe is included below. And here’s a link to the show’s site, so that you can watch the video segment. The added bonus in the video? David Pasternack’s take on garlic bread.
Recipe: Linguine with clams, pancetta and red pepper flakes
Chef David Pasternack
- For the linguine meal:
- 1 pound dried linguine
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces pancetta, cut into thin strips
- 8 mild dried red chiles (such as Italian finger hots), whole
- 2 3/4 pounds clams (mahogany or littlenecks, about 48 total), scrubbed clean
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup clam stock or lobster stock (recipe follows) or pasta cooking water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to finish
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to finish
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- For the clam or lobster stock:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 sprig thyme
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 parsley stems
- 1 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 4 pounds or chowder clams or 4 lobster bodies
To make the linguine:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook for 1 minutes less than the box directions (al dente). Drain in a colander, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid if not using the clam or lobster stock (recipe provided below). Toss the pasta in the colander with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 6-quart pot or Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high flame. Add the garlic and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to take on color, about 4 minutes. Add the chiles and the clams, cover the pot, and cook until the clams begin to open, about 2 1/2 minutes. Then add the wine and the clam or lobster stock, or reserved pasta water (it should bubble when it hits the pan), and replace the lid. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, checking to see when all of the clams have opened (discard any that don’t). Add the pasta and season with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Add the red pepper flakes. Add the parsley, toss gently to combine, and cook for an additional minute or so to thoroughly reheat the linguine. Divide among four bowls, being sure to distribute the clams equally. Drizzle each bowl with a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, a sprinkling of crunchy sea salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.
To make 1 quart of clam or lobster stock:
Over a medium-low flame, heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot. Add the shallots and cook slowly until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stems and white wine. Raise the flame to high, bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid reduces by half, about 7 minutes. Add the clams and enough water to completely cover them, about 1 quart. Bring to a boil, reduce the flame to medium, and cover. Simmer until all the clams have opened, about 6 minutes. (Discard any clams that don’t open.) Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Let the stock cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Clam or lobster stock can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen.
Yes, I know, you hear the word “risotto” and you immediately think “endless stirring” or “too difficult” or “not worth the effort.” I am here to be you to tell you that none of these things is true.
You can believe me, because I used to feel exactly the same way. That was until I was living in South London and had a flatmate who thought nothing of using whatever happened to be in the cupboard or refrigerator to cook up a pot of the tasty stuff, usually while coming and going from the kitchen, and generally doing other things. Of course, my competitive side emerged; if she can do it, so can I. And I discovered, I could. And you can too.
While I have a couple of favorites (shrimp with fennel, and mushroom), there was a cooking segment on this morning’s Today Show which got me on the risotto theme, so I’ll stick with their suggestion for today. It sounds amazing, it’s healthy, and it’s seasonal to boot: Pumpkin Risotto, courtesy of Beau MacMillan, executive chef of Sanctuary on Arizona’s Camelback Mountain. The recipe is included below.
The one piece of advice I will give – picked up while watching a video of Mario Batali preparing risotto – is, as you add the stock (the liquid) to the arborio rice, do not let it absorb all the way before adding more; leave a little excess liquid when you add the next ladle. I don’t know why it works, but it does. Your risotto will be al dente (as it should be).
Recipe: Pumpkin risotto
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups hot chicken stock
- 2 cups fresh pumpkin juice
- 1 each medium pumpkin, peeled, roasted and pureed (reserve one cup)
- 1 cup diced pumpkin
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup mascarpone
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 ounces fried sage
- 2 ounces sage pesto
In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and bay leaf and saute, stirring continuously, just until softened, which takes about three to four minutes.
Add the rice and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, to coat the rice with the oil.
Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the rice.
Add the diced pumpkin and pour in small amount chicken stock and pumpkin juice and stir.
Cook and allow rice to absorb. Repeat until all the liquid has been used.
Stir in the pumpkin puree and the diced pumpkin and reduce the heat to very low so that the risotto doesn’t simmer anymore.
Stir in the parmesan, mascarpone and butter to give the risotto a nice, creamy finish. Spoon it immediately into heated shallow serving bowls.
Garnish with fried sage and a dollop of sage pesto.