Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Love is Pasta. And Cream. And Garlic.

Monday, October 19th, 2009

So last week was our blogiversary here at Foodie Tots (2 years!), and my husband’s and my anniversary (7 years!) as well. Ironic, since this blog may just lead to the end of my marriage… Okay, I kid, but here’s a true quote from my husband just the other day: “Why do you have to keep trying new things? I don’t like new things. I like the same things.” Okay, so it’s safe to say he didn’t appreciate my chicken quinoa soup, but one of those same old recipes he does enjoy is penne alla vodka. It’s also the boy’s favorite at our neighborhood pasta place, but in typical three-year-old finickiness he declared mine was NOT the same. Oh well, more for his dad, who did appreciate this family anniversary meal.

Recipe: Penne Alla Vodka

  • 12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 box penne

Instructions: Cook penne according to package instructions, subtracting 1 minute from cooking time. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium low heat. Cook garlic until soft and translucent, being careful not to let it brown. Add vodka and cook 1 minute. Add cream and heat to medium, stirring frequently, until it just begins to boil. Boil 1 minute, until cream starts to thicken. Stir in tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for several minutes. When pasta finishes, drain and fold into the sauce., cooking 1 additional minute. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin:

  • garlic & string beans, Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA (VA)
  • organic cream, Trickling Springs Creamery (PA)

this is our Meatless Monday recipe of the week. — another one of those “new ideas” the husband is skeptical about. follow along as I attempt to discover meatless meals that won’t make him groan. take the Meatless Monday pledge and you can get weekly e-mails with recipes and advice.

One Local Supper, BLT Fettuccine

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

one local summer 2009We were out of town again over the weekend, so our local foods eating was partly an effort to use up market and CSA produce before we left. This colorful pasta creation used a rainbow of locally-sourced ingredients, starting with a favorite staple at our house, fresh pasta by Nancy of Smith Meadows. Nancy uses their wildly popular free-range eggs and herbs and vegetables grown at neighboring farms to make these delicious pastas. The flavors range from oat and wheat to herbed fettuccine and mixed greens or blue cheese pecan ravioli. Nancy has also expanded her offerings to include sauces, for an even more effortless “fast food” meal you can feel good about, too.

This week, I used bacon, cherry tomatoes and chard for a “BLT” (subbing chard for the lettuce) pasta dish, a flavorful and quick weeknight dinner, with a side of green and yellow string beans for good measure.

BLT fettucine

Recipe: “BLT” Fettuccine

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh sun dried tomato fettuccine
  • 4 slices nitrate-free bacon
  • 1 bunch chard, rinsed and cut into thick slices
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound string beans, ends trimmed
  • several basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions: Bring large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat cast iron skillet over medium high heat and cook bacon until crisp and brown, 6-7 minutes. Remove to drain on paper towel lined plated. Drain excess grease, leaving a light coating in the bottom of the pan. Add chard and season with a pinch of salt and pepper; reduce heat to medium low and cook until chard just begins to wilt. Remove from pan. Add cherry tomatoes to pan, increase heat back to medium high and cook until tomatoes begin to blister, 6-8 minutes.

While the tomatoes cook, blanch string beans in salted boiling water just 1-2 minutes, then use slotted spoon or pasta skimmer to remove beans and rinse with cold water in a colander. Set aside and boil pasta for 2 minutes (or according to package instructions if using boxed pasta). Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water.

In a large pasta serving bowl, gently stir together cooked pasta, tomatoes, chard, bacon, and basil. Press gently on tomatoes to release their juices. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and reserved pasta water until moist. (Optional: grate parmesan cheese over top.) Arrange string beans around the side of the pasta, and enjoy! Makes 6 servings.

Farms of Origin: Cibola Farms (bacon), Potomac Vegetable Farms (chard, basil), Three Way Farm (beans, tomatoes), Smith Meadow Farm (pasta) — all in Virginia.

One Local Summer is an annual challenge in which people around the world join together for 13 weeks of seasonal eating, supporting local farmers and exploring their local foodsheds. Visit FarmtoPhilly on Tuesdays for the weekly round-up; here’s what my neighbors in the Southern region cooked up this week.

The Copper Pot and more at the Oakton Farmers Market

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

FoodieTots @ the Farmers Market Week continues with a field trip to the Vienna/Oakton Farmers Market to sample The Copper Pot by Chef Stefano Frigerio.

copper pot food co jamIt’s opening week at the Fairfax County Farmers Markets, and perhaps the most publicized new vendor in local market history was the Copper Pot Food Company by Chef Stefano Frigerio. An Italian-born chef-turned-stay-at-home-dad, Chef Frigerio turned to home preserving to stay connected to the kitchen and the local farmers he developed relationships with during his days cooking at DC’s Maestro and Mio restaurants. We really enjoyed Chef Frigerio’s cooking at Mio, so I was eager to check out the new product line of jams, pastas and sauces. One of the nice things about markets further out in the ‘burbs is the more leisurely pace and ability to actually converse with the farmers and vendors. Chef Frigerio explained that he started making jams out of concern for his kids’ love of sweets. “I can’t feed my kids high fructose corn syrup every day,” he said, describing his son’s ability to slurp down an entire jar of jam at once (if allowed). Jam flavors include orchard fresh apple, white fig & balsamic, peach & prosecco “bellini,” and strawberry & vanilla bean. Now despite my foray into jam making last summer, I actually don’t eat a lot of it as I find so many jams are too sticky sweet for my taste. The strawberry & vanilla, in contrast, tasted just like strawberries at peak ripeness and was not at all cloying.

copper pot food co ravioli

Chef Frigerio also offers fresh, handmade pastas and tomato sauces. When asked how the reception was at his first market this weekend (14th & U in the District), he expressed surprise at how quickly he sold out of his braised rabbit ravioli – something he claimed people rarely ordered at the restaurant. I picked up some of the rabbit ravioli and a jar of the roasted shallot Barolo tomato sauce for a quick dinner. Sure, at $10 for 8 ravioli it was a little pricey, but having an Italian chef in your pantry is a nice treat for a busy weeknight! The tomato sauce was richly flavored and will definitely make a repeat appearance on our table.

Other vendors at the market included Long Meadow Ecological Farm (“no spray” asparagus, radishes, watercress and other greens from VA’s Shenandoah Valley), Kuhn Orchards (IPM fruits, rhubarb and asparagus from near Gettysburg, PA), Garner’s Produce (more VA strawberries, asparagus and plants), Lois’s Produce (Northern Neck VA, strawberries, asparagus, spring onions, flowers – and their website promises artichokes in late summer!), Cenan’s Bakery (Vienna, bread and pastries), Bees ‘n Blossoms (VA honey and soaps), Emine’s sweet and savory baklavas (also available at Old Town Alexandria), Fields of Grace farmstead cheese (and curds, from Remington, VA), and Valentine’s Country Meats with hormone-free, grass-fed/free-range Angus beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, incredible pastel eggs (pictured below), pies and sweets.

vienna oakton va famers market

As if the first rhubarb sighting of the season wasn’t exciting enough, Kuhn was giving away free sample of asparagus with every purchase. As with most Fairfax County-managed markets, local gardeners were on hand to offer free gardening advice.

This is a great market and I appreciated the detailed signage at most vendors explaining their growing practices; when markets get busy, it gets difficult to ask farmers about their methods so signage is a great way to provide more transparency for market shoppers. (Of course, you should always feel free to ask for more information!) And Fairfax County requires that all vendors be within a 125-mile radius of the county, so you can be assured that the products are truly local.

The Vienna/Oakton Farmers Market is located at the Oak Marr RECenter, 3200 Jermantown Road, and open Wednesdays from 8am-noon, May through November 18. Find Chef Frigerio and the Copper Pot Food Co. at Fairfax (Tues.), Vienna/Oakton (Weds.) and Herndon (Thurs.) markets in Virginia and Georgetown (Weds.), 14th and U (Sat.) and Bloomingdale (Sun.) markets in the District.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Between our home-delivered farm-fresh milk and the cheese addiction my toddler shares, we consume a lot of (hormone-free) dairy products in our house. A favorite way to use up the assorted bits and ends of cheeses in our cheese drawer is my baked macaroni and cheese, with roasted red peppers. I don’t believe in hiding vegetables in food, but I do exploit the “better together” theory of adding vegetables to something the toddler is guaranteed to eat. He loves to look at different colored peppers, but rarely eats them. I find that roasting the peppers first gives them a velvety smooth texture that goes better in creamy pasta than crisp fresh vegetables, making them a little less objectionable to sensitive eaters.

Recipe: Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 2 roasted red peppers, cut in thin 1-2 inch slices
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (favorite blend: cave-aged cheddar, smoked gouda, Wallaby)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano (or similar, used Dry Jack recently)

Instructions:

Cook macaroni according to package instructions, but subtract 3 minutes from cooking time. While macaroni cooks, melt butter in saucepan over low heat. When melted, stir in flour, salt and mustard and cook until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and whisk in milk, stirring until lumps are dissolved. Return to high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil and stir 1 minute, until sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until melted and smooth.

Drain macaroni. Combine with red peppers and cheese sauce and pour into 2-quart casserole pan. Mix together breadcrumbs and parmigiano cheese and sprinkle over top. Bake 25-30 minutes, until topping is golden. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

Shared with Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by its founder, Ruth of Once Upon a Kitchen. Check out this week’s round-up for more yummy pasta inspiration!

Hearty Winter Baked Ziti

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

presto pasta nights

That kale we can’t get enough of? I love to make myself a quick lunch of “green eggs and kale” (blanch kale, then poach eggs in the same water = greenish eggs), but am still hunting for a way to convince the husband and toddler of kale’s deliciousness. In the meantime, I add bits and pieces in dishes and hope that some of their nutrients (vitamins K, A, C, calcium, iron and more) rub off on the other ingredients, since the toddler is still pretty adept at picking out strange green pieces. (He did accidentally take a bite of this ziti with kale and didn’t spit it out this time, so I’m considering that a small victory.) Baked ziti is a great dish to incorporate stray winter produce languishing in your refrigerator, in this case, kale and carrots. Of course I used organic ingredients, including organic ricotta, cheese and pasta and natural, no-nitrates-added Italian sausage. And I’m submitting this hearty, healthy, classic family favorite for the 100th installment of Presto Pasta Nights. (Happy anniversary, Ruth!)

Recipe: Hearty Winter Baked Ziti

baked ziti pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ziti noodles
  • 1 cup organic kale leaves, torn
  • 12 ounces Italian sausage, crumbled (if using links, remove casing and dice)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 organic carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, romano and parmesan cheeses

Instructions: Bring water to boil in a large stock pot.

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until evenly browned. Remove sausage from pan and set aside, covered.

Lower heat to medium low and add garlic and onion. Cook 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add carrots and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in oregano, sausage and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt if your sausage is already salty).

While sauce simmers, cook pasta for 6 minutes (or 2/3 of minimum recommended cooking), adding kale for the last minute. Drain.

Stir together pasta, kale, ricotta and 1/2 of the sauce. Pour into 9×13-inch baking pan. Pour remaining sauce over top, then spead shredded cheeses evenly over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until cheese is golden. Makes 10-12 servings. Enjoy!

Submitted to Presto Pasta Nights, created and hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. Be sure to share your favorite pasta recipe for the special 100th round-up!