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Easy Recipe

Quick And Easy: Creamy Orecchiette With Spring Onions, Fennel, and Bacon Recipe

The sauce for this simple pasta dish is inspired by French soubise, a rich purée of cooked onions and cream. This version uses spring onions and fennel that are quickly softened with the help of a little baking soda for easy blending. Smoky American-style bacon and Parmigiano-Reggiano add savory depth to the sauce, which is punched up with a healthy amount of black pepper. Green food doesn’t have to be health food.

Borrowing a classic French sauce technique, this easy pasta dish balances cheesy, bacon-y richness with bright and light spring vegetables.

  • Serves 4
  • 30 minutes

  • 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 slices (about 6 ounces; 170g) thick-cut bacon
  • 1 pound (450g) spring onions, trimmed, white and green parts divided and thinly sliced (see note)
  • 1 fennel bulb (about 1 pound; 450g), cored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (235ml) heavy cream
  • 1 pound (450g) dried orecchiette pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (about 3 ounces; 85g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving

Directions

  1. 1.

    In a large, straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until meaty parts are crisp and fatty parts are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer bacon to a cutting board and reserve rendered bacon fat in the pan. Cut bacon crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces; set aside.

  2. 2.

    Return pan to stovetop and increase heat to medium-high. Add white and light green spring onion parts, fennel, and water, season with salt and cook, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until vegetables just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add baking soda, stir to combine, and continue to cook until vegetables are very soft and beginning to break down, about 8 minutes longer.

  3. 3.

    Add remaining green parts of spring onions. Cook until well-incorporated with vegetable mixture and just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

  4. 4.

    Transfer mixture to a blender and blend on high speed until smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute. Season lightly with salt. Wipe out sauté pan and transfer blended sauce back to the pan, passing through a fine-mesh strainer if desired. Warm sauce over low heat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the pan to prevent skin from forming.

  5. 5.

    Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook orecchiette until just shy of al dente (about 1 minute less than the package directs). Reserve pasta cooking water.

  6. 6.

    Transfer pasta to pan along with 1/2 cup pasta water and bacon, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring rapidly until sauce has thickened slightly and pasta is well-coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, season generously with pepper, add Parmigiano, and stir rapidly to combine. Season with salt, if needed. Divide pasta into serving bowls and garnish with reserved fennel fronds. Serve immediately, passing more cheese at the table.

Categories
Easy Recipe

Quick And Easy: Creamy Pasta With Mushrooms (Pasta ai Funghi) Recipe

Creamy Pasta With Mushrooms (Pasta ai Funghi) Recipe

Even though mushrooms are generally equated with the cool months of autumn, there are plenty of wild mushrooms that hit their seasonal peaks at other times of the year. Plus, modern cultivation methods have made a variety of fresh ‘shrooms available year-round, which is great news for those of us who love cooking and eating them all the time.

Shallots, garlic, white wine, and Parmesan bring out the earthy flavors of mushrooms in this comforting all-weather pasta.

  • Serves 4
  • 30 minutes

  • 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240ml) homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken stock (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (4g) powdered gelatin, such as Knox
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds (675g) mixed mushrooms (such as shiitake, oyster, maitake, beech, cremini, and chanterelles), cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced or torn by hand (see note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium shallots, finely minced (about 3/4 cup; 120g)
  • 2 medium (10g) garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (4g) chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dry white wine or 1/4 cup (60ml) dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 pound (450g) short dried pasta (such as casarecce or gemelli) or long fresh egg-dough pasta (such as tagliatelle or fettuccine)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces; 85g)
  • 3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup; 85g)
  • 1/4 cup (10g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions

  1. 1.

    Pour stock into small small bowl or liquid measuring cup and evenly sprinkle gelatin over surface of stock. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    In a large 12-inch cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until moisture has evaporated and mushrooms are deeply browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Add shallots, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and shallots are softened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add wine or sherry, and cook, swirling pan and scraping up any stuck-on bits with a wooden spoon, until wine is reduced by half, about 30 seconds.

  4. 4.

    Add chicken stock mixture, season lightly with salt, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, add fish sauce (if using), and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushroom mixture is thickened to a saucy consistency, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat.

  5. 5.

    Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta. If using dry pasta, cook until just shy of al dente (1 to 2 minutes less than the package directs). If using fresh pasta, cook until noodles are barely cooked through. Using either a spider skimmer (for short pasta) or tongs (for long fresh pasta), transfer pasta to pan with mushrooms along with 3/4 cup (180ml) pasta cooking water. Alternatively, drain pasta using a colander or fine-mesh strainer, making sure to reserve at least 2 cups (475ml) pasta cooking water.

  6. 6.

    Heat sauce and pasta over high and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly, until pasta is al dente (fresh pasta will never be truly al dente) and sauce is thickened and coats noodles, 1 to 2 minutes, adding more pasta cooking water in 1/4 cup (60ml) increments as needed. At this point, the sauce should coat the pasta but still be loose enough to pool around the edges of the pan. Add the butter, and stir and toss rapidly to melt and emulsify into the sauce. Remove from heat, add 3/4 of grated cheese and all of the parsley, and stir rapidly to incorporate. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately, passing remaining grated cheese at the table.

Categories
Easy Recipe

Quick And Easy: Creamy Sea Urchin (Uni) Pasta Recipe

Creamy Sea Urchin (Uni) Pasta Recipe

Sea urchin is pricey stuff, but a little goes a long way, and this dish delivers the sort of briny, mineral, sweet, and sophisticated flavor you’d typically expect to find only in a great restaurant. It’s bright and fresh, with a mild heat that cuts through the creamy richness—perfect for pairing with Champagne.

Fresh sea urchin, Mexican crema, and Calabrian chili join forces in this quick and creamy pasta.

  • Serves 4
  • 20 minutes

  • 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 ounces fresh sea urchin (uni); see note
  • 1/3 cup (80g) Mexican-style crema, or crème fraîche
  • 10 ounces (300g) dried long pasta, such as spaghetti or bucatini
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Calabrian hot chili spread (see note)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) dry sake or dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful finely minced fresh chives, for serving

Directions

  1. 1.

    Set aside 4 tongues of sea urchin to use as garnish. Combine remaining sea urchin and crema using a blender, immersion blender, food processor, or mini chopper. Blend until completely smooth. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    Place pasta in a 12-inch skillet or a saucepan and cover with water. Season with salt. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook until pasta is just shy of al dente and retains a small chalky core.

  3. 3.

    Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until softened but not browned (lower heat if the aromatics threaten to brown), about 2 minutes. Add Calabrian chili spread and stir until homogeneous. Add sake or wine and cook until liquid is reduced down to less than 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and set aside until pasta is cooked.

  4. 4.

    When pasta is cooked, use tongs to transfer the noodles directly from the boiling water to the pan with the garlic/oil mixture. Scrape uni purée into pan and add a few ounces of starchy pasta-cooking water. Set pan over high heat and cook, stirring and swirling constantly, until the sauce comes together and develops a creamy consistency and the pasta is fully cooked, about 1 minute. Add more pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce if it over-thickens. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  5. 5.

    Divide pasta between warmed serving bowls, drizzle each portion with more extra-virgin olive oil, garnish each with a whole sea urchin tongue, sprinkle with minced chives, and serve.

Categories
Easy Recipe

Creamy Bean Dip With Roasted Tomato Puttanesca Salad Recipe

Creamy Bean Dip With Roasted Tomato Puttanesca Salad Recipe

Even if we aren’t hosting in-person dinner or cocktail parties these days, we can still make tasty, pantry-friendly dips and appetizers for snacking on during quarantine. If you’re self-isolating with a lot of dried legumes in your pantry, then this super-smooth white bean dip is another great way to put a pot of beans to good use.

This creamy white bean spread with a bright puttanesca-inspired topping is the perfect snacking appetizer, no sharing required.

  • Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
  • 10 minutes

  • 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Tomato Salad:
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint; 450g)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 ounce flat-leaf parsley leaves (1 loosely packed cup; 15g), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (50g) pitted black olives, such as Niçoise, Taggiasca, or Kalamata
  • 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet (5g), minced (optional)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, gochugaru (Korean chili powder), or Aleppo pepper
  • For the White Bean Dip:
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20ml) fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 medium garlic clove (5g)
  • 2 cups (425g) cooked dry white beans, drained, or one (15-ounce; 425g) can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) bean cooking liquid, from a pot of beans cooked from dry, plus more as needed (see note if using canned beans)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • For Serving: 1 loaf rustic sourdough bread, thickly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and broiled until heavily toasted or warmed pita bread

Directions

  1. 1.

    For the Tomato Salad: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In a 10-inch stainless steel skillet or on a small rimmed eighth- or quarter-sheet pan, combine tomatoes with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and shake pan to evenly coat tomatoes with oil. Transfer to oven and roast until tomato skins just begin to shrivel and split, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Transfer tomatoes and all of the juices that accumulated in the baking sheet (or skillet) to a medium bowl with parsley, olives, anchovy, and red pepper flakes. Using a spoon, gently stir to combine, season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside (salad can be covered and left out at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days).

  3. 3.

    For the White Bean Dip: While the tomatoes are roasting, place lemon juice in a small bowl. Using a Microplane, finely grate the garlic and immediately add to the lemon juice (alternatively, you can use a garlic press or finely mince the garlic with a knife). Set aside for 10 minutes.

  4. 4.

    In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans, bean cooking liquid, and garlic-lemon juice mixture. Process beans, scraping down sides of food processor bowl as needed with a rubber spatula, into a mostly smooth paste, about 1 minute. With food processor running, slowly stream in olive oil, and continue to process until mixture is very smooth, about 3 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust consistency with additional bean cooking liquid if necessary. Bean dip can be served right away or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  5. 5.

    For Serving: Transfer bean dip to large, wide serving bowl and use back of large spoon to spread bean dip up sides of bowl, leaving well at center. Spoon tomato salad in center of well. Serve with bread.