Recipes

PENNE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS & RADICCHIO

16 ounces dried or fresh penne pasta 
salt 
1 head radicchio 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1 large onion, thinly sliced 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed) - optional
1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata or goat cheese

In saucepot, prepare penne as label directs in boiling salted water. Drain penne, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Return penne to saucepot. Meanwhile, cut radicchio lengthwise in half. Remove core, then cut crosswise into 1/2" slices. Set aside. In a 12" skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook until browned and soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute longer. Increase heat to medium-high; add radicchio and cook 2 to 3 minutes until wilted. Add onion mixture, peas, and reserved pasta cooking water to penne; toss to mix well. Serve, sprinkled with cheese.

FRESH PESTO

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (...the best quality you can find!*) 
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil and nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 

*NOTE: The quality of your olive oil is very important! While pesto is one of my favorite flavors, I've tasted many a pesto made with inferior oil that ruins the entire batch.

ZUCCHINI and CILANTRO SOUP WITH MINT

3 zucchini
1 bunch cilantro
1 onion
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped mint
sea salt 
5 cups water or broth
juice of 1 lime
sour cream

Chop the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash cilantro leaves and stems. Finely slice the stems and chop the leaves. Slice the onion thinly. Heat oil in a soup pot and add onion, zucchini, cilantro stems, parsley and mint. Cook until onion and zucchini is fairly soft- about 10 minutes. Add 2 tsp. salt and the water or stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until zucchini is completely soft, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining cilantro and let cool. Puree until smooth and season with salt & lime juice to taste. Serve room temperature or gently heated with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro in each bowl.

GARLIC SCAPE PESTO

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 cup grated parmigiano 
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

MASHED POTATOES WITH GARLIC SCAPES

2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces. 
2 Tablespoons butter
1-2 Tbsp, olive oil 
1/4 cup finely chopped scapes
1/4 cup hot milk (or more)

Cook potatoes until very tender. Drain and return to pot. Over medium high heat, melt butter with olive oil in a small skillet. Add scapes and saute about 5 minutes. Add to potatoes and mash. Gradually add milk while stirring. Season with salt and pepper.

ROASTED GARLIC SCAPES

Take the scapes and put them in a lightly oiled roasting pan, top with salt (kosher or seas salt works best but any will do). Put the loaded and covered pan in a hot (425 °F) oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are beginning to turn brown. serve as a side or main dish. Tastes like roasted garlic but creamier.

SUGAR SNAP PEAS WITH SCALLIONS

1/2 pound Sugar Snap Peas, strings removed
2 Tbl canola oil
1 Tbl soy sauce
1/2 tsp roasted Asian sesame oil
2 medium scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

Parboil Sugar Snaps 5 minutes in large kettle of lightly salted boiling water. Drain and quick-chill in ice water; drain well again. Heat canola oil 1 minute in large heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Dump in Sugar Snaps and stir-fry 3 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, sesame oil and scallions, remove from heat, and serve.

BRAISED LEEKS WITH LEMON

4 small or medium leeks, tough outer leaves discarded and leeks trimmed to about 7 inches long and cut lengthwise into quarters or eighths
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 

In a shallow dish soak leeks in cold water to cover 15 minutes, rubbing occasionally to remove any grit. In a heavy skillet melt butter over moderate heat. lift leeks out of the water and with water still clinging to them add to skillet. Cook leeks, stirring occasionally, five minutes and add broth and zest. Braise leeks, covered, 5 minutes, or until very tender, and season with salt and pepper.

MULTICOLORED POTATOES with PESTO & PARMESAN

8 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
2 large shallots
4 garlic cloves olive oil for brushing pan 
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes 
1 1/2 pounds yellow potatoes 
1 pound purple potatoes
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Blend 4 tablespoons olive oil, basil, shallots, and garlic in processor until smooth. Season basil sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat baking sheet with oil. Cut all potatoes into 1 1/2" pieces. Toss potatoes with 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper in large bowl to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roast potatoes until almost tender, about 35 minutes. Pour basil sauce over potatoes and toss to coat. Continue roasting potatoes until golden brown and tender when pierced with skewer, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl. Add cheese and toss to coat.

LEEK AND POTATO SOUP

3 tablespoons butter
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
4 medium potatoes (about 18 ounces total), peeled, diced
4 1/2 cups (or more) chicken stock or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chives and serve.

GREEN BEANS BRAISED WITH TOMATOES AND BASIL

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup water 

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, tomatoes, basil leaves, and 1/2 cup water. Cook until beans are crisp-tender, stirring and tossing occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

SICILIAN EGGPLANT STUFFED w/GARLIC & CHEESE

This is one of our family's favorite recipes of all time. Make it for your family, make if for your friends. Just be sure to serve it with lots of warm, crusty bread and a nice bottle of Sicilian wine, like a Regaleali Rosso. Every time we taste it we look at each other and think....Can life get any better than this? 

1 large eggplant or 2 medium to small eggplants
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 lb. tomatoes
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
sugar salt & pepper to taste
5 oz. aged provolone cheese
4 cloves garlic
bunches of fresh mint, basil and parsley

Cut off the stem of the eggplant and roll on the counter to soften. Let sit in a bowl w/ salt water for 1 hour. Make slits lengthwise, spaced 1" apart, 1/2" deep, staying away from the ends. Be sure not to cut the eggplant in pieces. It should remain whole- you're just creating spaces to fill with the cheese and garlic.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a casserole dish. Add 1 onion finely chopped, 4 cloves of garlic sliced, and 3 tbsp. of water. Cover tightly and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Then, add 1 lb. tomatoes, chopped. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, a pinch of sugar and salt & pepper to taste. Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Stuff the eggplants with 5 oz. aged provolone cheese (sliced) and 4 cloves of sliced garlic. Nestle back into the sauce in the casserole dish.  Sprinkle fresh mint, basil and parsley over the eggplants and cover. Cook over low heat, turning every 30 minutes for about 1.5 hours. Add water if it begins to stick. Sprinkle with more herbs just before serving.

CUCUMBER AND AVOCADO SOUP WITH TOMATO AND BASIL SALAD

1 large cucumber, peeled, diced (about 2 1/2 cups) 
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 avocado, quartered, pitted, peeled
4 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup seeded chopped tomato
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

Combine cucumber and buttermilk in blender. Chop 1/4 of avocado; set aside for salad. Cut remaining avocado into chunks. Add avocado to blender; then add 2 tablespoons red onion and 1 tablespoon basil. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Mix reserved avocado, remaining 2 tablespoons onion and 1 tablespoon basil, tomato and lime juice in small bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover soup and tomato salad separately and refrigerate.) Ladle cucumber soup into 4 bowls. Dollop each with 1 tablespoon yogurt; top with tomato salad and serve.

GRILLED AND ROASTED WALLA WALLA SWEET ONIONS WITH PINE NUT BUTTER

4 medium Walla Walla Sweet Onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs for garnish

Toast the pine nuts in a 350 degree oven for 6 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool. Caution: pine nuts burn easily. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and fire up an outdoor grill. Peel onions and cut them in half, top to bottom. Brush onions with oil and place cut side down on the preheated grill. Barbecue until grill marks form. Place on a cookie sheet and finish cooking in the oven until tender, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the pine nut butter. Place the 1/2 cup pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until finely ground. Add butter, lemon zest, rosemary, black pepper and salt. Process until mixture is well blended. Spread the tender onions liberally with pine nut butter. Return to the oven to cook just until butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Serve onions warm, sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese and additional toasted pine nuts. Garnish plates with lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs. 

This recipe is from Tom Douglas of The Dahlia Lounge in Seattle.

PERFECT GREEN SALAD & VINAIGRETTE

There's nothing more delicious than a perfectly prepared green salad- especially this time of year when all the greens are tender and full of flavor!

1 large head Boston lettuce
1/2 cup Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Salt & Pepper
Chive Blossoms or chopped herbs (optional)

Fill the sink, or a very large bowl, with lots of cold water. Trim the lettuce heads and drop the leaves into the water as you peel them off the head. Wash the leaves by tumbling them gently in the water. Allow the dirt and sand to settle to the bottom for a few moments, then lift the leaves out in bunches. Lightly shake off excess water and put leaves in the salad spinner. Dry them thoroughly in a salad spinner. Toss just before serving When ready to serve, drizzle about 1/3 cup of dressing over the lettuce, and toss the leaves gently with a salad spoon and fork, until they are evenly and lightly coated. Season with salt & pepper. Sprinkle the chive blossoms or chopped herbs, if using, over the salad.

VINAIGRETTE IN A JAR 

2 tsp chopped garlic
2 Tbs Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red- or white-wine vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a jar, screw on the lid, and shake very well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more oil or vinegar, as you like. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks, and shake to blend before using.

 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SHALLOTS AND SAGE

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (3/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4-lb) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook shallots and squash, stirring, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, brown sugar, sage, and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, pepper, and salt to taste.

ONION TART

Tarts take a while, but this one is worth it! Make it ahead of time and serve with a big salad for a light dinner on one of these hot summer nights. I'd love to claim this recipe as my own, but I pinched it from one of Delia Smith's early cookbooks. 

1/4 cup self-raising flour 
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour 
little salt 
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder 
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 stick butter 
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese 
1 1/2 lbs chopped onions 
2 tablespoons butter 
2 eggs, beaten
4 fluid ounces milk 
salt & freshly ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese 

Sift the flours, salt; mustard powder and cayenne into a bowl, and then rub in the butter until you get a crumbly mixture. Stir in the cheese and add enough cold water to make dough that leaves the bowl clean. Wrap the dough in plastic and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Melt the butter in a heavy based frying pan, add the onions, get them coated in the butter, cook them uncovered on a medium heat for approx 30 minutes, they have to be reduced and turned a deep brown. Stir from time to time, if they are still pale at the end of the cooking time, turn up the heat and cook for another 10 minutes until they have the right color. Preheat oven to 350F and put a baking sheet in the oven. Grease an 8 inch fluted flan tin, roll out the pastry and line the tin, prick the base with a fork, place the tin on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with some beaten egg (from the filling) return to the oven for 5 minutes. Then spread the onions all over the base of the flan, mix the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper, and pour as much as possible over the onions, you might have some left it depends on how much the onions have reduced. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes (on the baking sheet again) or until the filling is golden brown and puffy.

RED POTATOES WITH OLIVES, FETA AND MINT

1 3/4 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, cut into quarters
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
8 ounces feta-cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), pitted, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin oil 

Place potatoes and 3 tablespoons mint in large pot of salted water. Bring water to boil, reduce heat and simmer potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes; transfer to large bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons each of mint, cheese and olives; add remainder to warm potatoes. Mix in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish potatoes with reserved mint, cheese and olives. Serve warm.