Recipes

Creamy Pasta with Roasted Zucchini, Almonds & Basil

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 sprig basil, with leaves and stem

3 tablespoons goat cheese

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

6 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti or linguine.

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss the zucchini and oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Arrange zucchini on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until golden and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a skillet over medium heat until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

3. Simmer the cream and basil sprig in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Whisk in the goat cheese until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and keep warm.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well. Toss the pasta with the cream sauce. Serve topped with the zucchini and almonds.

Source: NY Times - 10/10

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.

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.

FETTUCCINE with ZUCCHINI, ARUGULA, BASIL and LEMON

3/4 tsp salt
3/4 lb whole-wheat fettuccine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 medium zucchini, julienned
1 medium yellow squash, julienned
4 or 5 sprigs basil, leaves shredded
1 bunch arugula, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes 
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Bring 4 quarts water to a full boil. Add 1/4 tsp salt and stir in pasta. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until noodles are tender but firm. While pasta cooks, warm oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, swirl for a moment and reduce heat to low. Do not let garlic brown. Add zucchini and yellow squash and sauté gently until zucchini softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season mixture with 1/4 tsp salt and remove pan from heat. When pasta is finished cooking, drain noodles. Using tongs or 2 kitchen spoons, combine noodles thoroughly with zucchini mixture over low heat. Add basil, arugula, and tomatoes and season with remaining salt.

Gayle Pirie and John Clark, executive chefs and co-owners of Foreign Cinema, San Francisco

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.