Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sausage and Spinach with fresh pasta

This was loosely adapted from a couple of recipes in this months Bon Appetite magazine.  The big difference is that I purposely skipped the addition of heavy cream and avoided the cured meats...that some of the donor recipes called for.  Its still not a low fat recipe but, dang is it tasty.

I finally got making pasta from scratch down.  The pasta used here was fresh pappadrelle in style, with a few thinner ribbons more like tagliatelle.  Call it "rustic cut" and be done.  You are more than welcome to swap out fettuccini or other wide flat pasta for the recipe.  That's the glory of pasta....similar shapes won't affect the taste.

I can promise you this, even my pickiest eater loved this pasta and came back for seconds.

Sausage and Spinach with Fresh Pasta

  • 1 lb fresh pappadrelle or tagliatelle
  • 1 lb mild Italian Sausage
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c)
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced shallot
  • 1.4 c minced fresh flat leaf parsley (or 2 T dried)
  • 1-2 ladles boiling pasta water

Add salt to pasta water until it is has the taste of the ocean (1/4c to about 2 quarts water) and bring to a boil.

Break up sausage and brown with a little bit of olive oil to get it started.  Add sliced shallot and saute until translucent.  

Add fresh pasta to salted boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes until al dente.  Scoop out the noodles with a spider and tongs and add to sausage mixture. Add Spinach.  Add butter and parsley and 1 ladle pasta water.  Toss to coat pasta with sauce and sausage.  Toss until spinach is wilted.  IF sauce is too thick thin with additional pasta water.

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a nice Pinto Grigio white wine

Lime Custard Pie

I love Key Lime Pie, but here in my corner of L.A the Key Lime is not easily found, and if you do find it, its stupid expensive.  Step in the trusty basic Lime found at the corner groc...its limey and tasty enough and much easier to juice than a Key Lime.

Hint, and this applies to all citrus, to get maximum juice out of them.  Have them at room temp, zap in the microwave 10 seconds and roll them on the counter with firm pressure prior to halving and juicing.  This ensures maximum juice for your effort.

Salt.  Its what balances sweet and sour and needed in this recipe.  Don't omit as your cutting salt in your diet, remove elsewhere...there isn't much and it does make a difference in taste.

I'm assume you have your own favorite pie crust recipe and will skip providing here.  I actually made an all butter crust for this that was really flakey and tasty, but any pie crust will work.  

Lime Custard Pie
  • 1 9" pie shell prebaked

  • 1 c Lime juice
  • zest of one lime
  • 2 cans (14.5  oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2-3 drops green food color

Bake pie shell according to your recipe instructions.  When lightly browned remove from oven.  Reduce heat to 325F.

Zest one lime first then juice.  Juice enough limes to make 1 cup lime juice.  Mix, zest, juice, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, salt and food coloring until well blended.  Pour into baked pie shell and place in oven for 25-30 minutes until just set.  It will still jiggle some and should not be browned on top.  Cool to room temp then place in fridge for at least 2 hours until well chilled.  Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream...or cool whip if thats your thing.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Oven Butter Poached Shrimp

A similar version of this recipe exists on this blog.  This version is a bit lighter, who am I kidding, one less stick of butter isn't really lighter.  To amp up the flavor I toss in chopped garlic and wine to make things a bit tastier.

Cooking with wine is a no brainer, use any good wine you'd drink that doesn't break the bank.  Added bonus when you cook with a wine and serve it at the table there's a pairing that magically happens on the palette.  I used a Pinot Grigio, but Pinot Gris or even Chardonnay will work.

I use large shrimp for this as they have better flavor and are easier to eat.  The 21-25 size are ideal for this finger food...not a fine dining experience, but casual dining where you grab it by the tail and enjoy.  Be sure to have a bowl next to you to catch the remaining tails.

Oven Butter Poached Shrimp

  • 2 lbs large shrimp
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/4-1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c minced fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

Preheat oven to 375f

Wash and shell/devein the shrimp leaving the tail on.

Gently heat butter until just melted.  Add wine, salt, pepper flakes to taste, parsley and garlic.  Whisk to combine.

Place shrimp in a 9X13 baking dish.  Pour over butter mixture.  Bake 20-25 minutes until no longer pink and cooked through.  

Ladle into bowls. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the luscious poaching liquid.