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Archive for October, 2008

This is a great Fall pasta dish. It was pretty easy to prepare- I made it during the week after work and it was worth the little extra effort. We carved our pumpkins the night before and I included the butternut squash in the festivities (i.e. peeled and chopped it up in advance). That saved a lot of time and made it easier to throw together the next night. This dish just tasted like Autumn and made the house smell delicious too! I got this recipe from Martha Stewart- shocking, I know- but I actually saw her make it on her show and she made it look so good and effortless (whipped it up while interviewing a celebrity at the same time of course!). I do realize I need to vary my sources a bit or else I am going to have to change the name of this blog to Cooking with Martha or something!

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

1 pound tubular pasta, such as gemelli or penne
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used 3 tablespoons)
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (I actually didn’t read this carefullyand left them whole- which was great too!)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving (I used less)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, thinly sliced (omitted because we didn’t have any)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I just shaved some on top)
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (I just dolloped about a tablespoon on each plate)

Directions

Steam the butternut squash until easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook butter, stirring, until melted and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add pecans and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add squash and stir gently to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt water and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Add olive oil and parsley and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Divide pasta evenly between 4 plates and spoon squash mixture on top of pasta. Or as we did, just add the pasta to the pan of squash mixture and stir to combine. Top each plate with a dollop of ricotta and shaving of Parmesan.

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We picked these pumpkins from a pumpkin patch in Virgina last weekend:


And delicious Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread seeds out on a baking sheet. We seasoned them with half salt (me) and half Old Bay (Tony). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Make sure not over-bake- they burn very easy!

Happy Halloween!!

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Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

This was the easiest soup/chili/stew/meal-you-serve-in-a-bowl, ever! I hesitate to call it a “chili” because it isn’t as thick as chili and certainly doesn’t take all day to sit and simmer on the stove. Regardless of what you call it, this dish is hearty and delicious. It is perfect for a Fall evening, served with crusty bread or tortilla chips and topped with sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream. Yum!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 zucchini (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chili powder (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cans (19 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed

Directions

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini, carrots, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and 1 cup water. Simmer until slightly thickened and carrots are soft, 8 to 10 minutes more. Top with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream!

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Fall= Soup!

It’s officially Fall! My favorite season!

In addition to the cooler weather, the leaves changing colors, the apple cider and pumpkins, it is also time for SOUP! So to start off this season I made a Carrot Apple Ginger Soup. It’s a very vegetarian soup, but even my carnivorous husband liked it! As a copyright attorney I should know better, however, I do not have a source for this recipe. I’ve had this recipe for a long time and always wanted to try it. However, it’s been so long I have no idea where I got it from! So I apologize to whomever came up with this wonderful creation originally … it is delicious!

Carrot Apple Ginger Soup


Ingredients

1 lb. carrots (peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces)

½ lb. parsnips (peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces)

1 lb. apples (peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 quart vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine carrots, parsnips, apples, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss well to coat. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (may require two baking sheets). Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until soft and browned. Transfer to a large sauce pan and cover with broth and water. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer. Stir in ginger and cook for 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Blend until smooth, using a regular blender or an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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Under the Tuscan Sun

Ciao! We are back from an amazing vacation in Italy where we trekked around Rome and ate and drank our way through Tuscany! We started (and ended) our trip in Rome which is still one of my favorite cities.

I love the way the old (really old) blends in with the new and how the frantic pace of the people is balanced by the calm beauty of the statues and fountains. It is truly a city that has it all. One moment you can be dodging mopeds on a busy street only to turn a corner and find yourself strolling down a peaceful cobblestone alley lined with flower boxes. There is so much to do and see in Rome, I am impressed with how much ground we covered in two days!


Yet we still fo
und time to sit in piazzas and drink wine and enjoy gelato by the Trevi Fountain!

Tuscany

Then we headed to Tuscany where we rented a villa with eight of our friends. We stayed at a villa called Podere Pamaio just outside of Arezzo. To say this place was spectacular is an understatement. I literally had butterflies in my stomach as we drove up the gravel path and saw the villa for the first time. The pictures and website did not do it justice.

The villa is what they call Agritourismo – which basically means vacation on a farm- however, not in the “milk the cow and shovel manure” kind of way! The house is located on a vineyard. The owners grow and sell their own grapes and are planning to make their own wine next year. They are currently in the process of building a “cantina” where they will make the wine and open it for tourists for wine tasting. They also grow olives and make their own olive oil which is delicious. The kitchen in the villa was stocked with the olive oil and we used it a lot!

In addition to the beautiful setting, Monica (one of the owners) would bring us fresh fruit and vegetable boxes straight from the garden. I was in heaven!

We actually cooked at the villa two nights using food “from the land.”

As if we weren’t spoiled enough by the spacious house, infinity pool and breathtaking views- Monica also brought us homemade tortes (her specialty) and homemade biscotti!

Why we would ever leave the villa is a good question- but we did manage to get ourselves out and visit a number of Tuscan towns. We had many adventures including amazing meals and wine. So I will share with you some of the culinary highlights:

The Market at Campo di Fiori in Rome:

(zucchini flowers)

(prosciutto)

Fettuccine Tartufo (black truffle sauce)....

my favorite meal of the trip (I think…. )

Zuchinni Flowers
stuffed with ricotta cheese and sweet pea sauce

Pici with Duck Ragu
(a traditional Tuscan pasta)

Crepe with Black Truffles
with a Pecorino cheese sauce (look at all those shaved truffles!!!)

Scampi Risotto

Our Loot
We brought home A LOT of wine and olive oil (including truffle oil!)


It was an amazing trip!

This way our view each night from the Villa….

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