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This week's recipe roundup features meals that are healthy (or at least healthier than all those holiday treats), simple and taste great. Frozen Potato Chunk
The sun-dried tomato pesto provides a subtle, sweet undertone to the dish.
This twist on pasta with pesto has a smoky rich flavor, thanks to ancho chile, that brings a southwestern touch to this typical Italian dish.
I used to make ancho chile paste to use when I cook, but now I use ancho chile powder for the same result. The addition of sun-dried tomato pesto provides a subtle, sweet undertone to the dish. I like to make the pesto in advance and keep it in my refrigerator for future use.
I find this versatile condiment really comes in handy during cold weather months for amping up flavors. If you don’t have time to make it, you’ll find it on Amazon or possibly in the condiment section of your grocery store.
This dish becomes particularly colorful with bright green peas and crisp mahogany brown pancetta. Adding stock to the sauce gives it both flavor and lightness so less cream is required. If you want to add an extra surprise, use Dan Pashman’s Cascatelli, available at Trader Joes or on Amazon. Cascatelli is designed to maximize the sauce clinging to the pasta. It took him three years to create this delectable pasta shape. I’ve also used Banza, a chickpea pasta that works beautifully.
You can substitute cooked chicken, shrimp, or scallops for the pancetta, or let the dish cool and simply mix with 1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette for a pasta salad. I like to serve this for lunch or dinner as a main course. It is best served immediately. Begin with chopped romaine salad with carrots, avocado and a lime vinaigrette. What to drink: A crisp, medium-weight chardonnay is a good companion to this rich dish. Zesty zinfandel will pair nicely as well.
1. Cook the pancetta in a medium skillet over medium heat, turning it occasionally until crisp and brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and crumble into bite-sized pieces. Reserve.
2. Combine the chile powder, tomato pesto, stock, cream, salt and pepper in a large deep pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk to blend the ingredients and cook for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
1. Add salt to a large pot of boiling water. Add the pasta and cook over high heat until al dente, about 7 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain well.
2. Place in pan with sauce and then carefully add the peas and pancetta, tossing to combine, making sure the pasta is cloaked with sauce. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.
Advance Preparation: This dish can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead through Step 2 and refrigerated. Gently reheat the sauce.
Note: This luscious pesto is incredibly versatile. It flavors cheese, main courses, dressings, sauces, and pasta. It’s also good on lightly toasted bread.
1. While the motor is running, add the garlic to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the remaining ingredients and process until a thick paste is formed. If it is very thick, you may need to add a bit of olive oil. Place the pesto in a covered container and refrigerate.
Advance preparation: This pesto can be prepared up to one week ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)
This delicious dish offers plenty of varying textures.
Avocado adds creaminess while sunflower seeds provide texture and crunch in this easy tuna-spinach salad.
1. Combine tuna, avocado, tomatoes, dressing, onion and oil in a medium bowl. Serve over spinach and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
Recipe nutrition per serving: 416 Calories, Total Fat: 33 g, Saturated Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 29 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 5 g, Total Sugars: 8 g, Protein: 18 g, Sodium: 456 mg, Potassium: 811 mg, Phosphorus: 262 mg, Iron: 3 mg, Folate: 170 mcg, Calcium: 99 mg.
(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.)
A boldly flavored sauce/marinade comes together in minutes.
Happy New Year! The cookie tins are empty and the snack shelf bare. Time to enforce some discipline without surrendering satisfaction. Our resolutions involve easy recipes, plenty of vegetables and lean proteins. And bold flavor.
Sheet pan meals definitely fit the easy bill. Everything cooks in the oven on the same pan. The final dish is so attractive that there’s no need for serving platters which minimizes clean-up.
I stock fish steaks and fillets in the freezer for weekday cooking. Broccoli delivers green goodness that lasts a week or more in the vegetable crisper drawer. A basket of red, white and yellow onions on the counter means I can add their flavor and fiber to nearly every savory thing I cook.
A boldly flavored sauce/marinade, made from pantry staples such as barbecue sauce and maple syrup, comes together in minutes.
Choose 1 to 1 1/4- inch thick, boneless, skinless fish steaks, such as wild-caught bigeye tuna, Alaskan halibut or salmon. Always thaw frozen fish slowly in the refrigerator; this helps preserve texture and moisture.
Serve the fish and broccoli with cooked rice. I’m partial to packets of hearty brown rice for convenience; they heat quickly in the microwave oven while the fish cooks.
1. Mix barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon syrup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire and 2 cloves crushed garlic in a large bowl. Add broccoli florets, sliced red onion and tuna steaks. Toss to coat everything well with the sauce. Let stand at room temperature up to 30 minutes, or refrigerate covered for several hours.
2. Heat oven to 375 degrees on convection or 400 degrees on conventional setting. Use remaining tablespoon of oil to coat a large, rimmed baking sheet.
3. Use tongs to transfer broccoli and red onion to the prepared baking sheet (let marinade drip back into the bowl). Bake, stirring once or twice, until broccoli is crisp-tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add tuna to the pan. Drizzle with remaining marinade. Bake 5 minutes, then stir the vegetables well. Continue to bake until tuna is medium-rare (slightly pink in center), 4 to 6 minutes more. Serve hot with rice.
(JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades.)
Take weekend dinners up a notch by making a minimalist creamy pasta with a rich, smoky, spicy Cajun flavor.
Cajun shrimp dinner delivers all the comforts of a creamy pasta dish, with a smoky Southern kick. It has maximum Cajun flavor with minimal effort. In fact, keeping it simple is exactly how I learned to make Cajun shrimp pasta when I was growing up in Louisiana. No need for a fancy cream sauce with flour, butter, or tomatoes (especially because those ingredients would make it French Creole, not Cajun!). For the cream sauce, all you need is heavy cream, Cajun seasoning, and pasta water. The sauce will thicken up just beautifully without the added frills!
Another perk: Because there’s no flour in the cream sauce, the pasta can be swapped out for gluten-free noodles. You can also add your choice of stir-fried vegetables like mushrooms or bell peppers.
1. The garlic is already doubled. Every true Cajun will tell you that they double the garlic in every recipe they cook, and I am one of them! So I took the liberty of calling for four cloves of garlic for the extra garlicky flavor we Cajuns love.
2. Don’t skip the Andouille. Hands-down, every great Cajun pasta recipe has Andouille sausage. Doesn’t matter if it’s paired with shrimp or chicken — andouille is the common denominator in a delicious smoky Cajun pasta. Luckily, Andouille is widely available these days at large grocers like Sprouts, Walmart and Target.
3. Go for jumbo Gulf shrimp. If you can get your hands on it, jumbo Gulf shrimp for a Cajun shrimp pasta is quintessential. I’ve discovered during my time living in Colorado and now California that Walmart reliably stocks Gulf shrimp and other seafood like Louisiana crawfish. Sprouts often has Gulf shrimp in stock as well. In terms of size, larger shrimp are better because they are more succulent and do not overcook as easily as smaller ones.
4. Serve immediately after cooking. This pasta is best served immediately after cooking, as the cream sauce will be at its peak consistency. If it cools and you need to reheat, add a few tablespoons of water or cream to the skillet and cover on medium heat to bring the cream sauce back to life.
2. Cut 6 to 7 ounces andouille sausage crosswise into 1/3-inch thick rounds. Peel and devein 1 pound raw jumbo shrimp if needed. Pat the shrimp dry and place in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning and toss to evenly coat.
3. Add 8 ounces dried fettuccine or penne pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions until al dente, 8 to 12 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta.
4. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the neutral oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the fat renders out and it’s golden-brown on the outside, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl.
5. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until pink and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the shrimp to the bowl with the sausage.
6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon neutral oil and shallot and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent and garlic is golden-brown, about 2 minutes.
7. Add the Parmesan, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and 1/2 of the parsley. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Return the shrimp, sausage, and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Add the pasta and toss until coated and warmed through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
8. Remove the skillet from the heat. If the sauce is too thick, toss in more of the reserved pasta water as needed. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed: If the Cajun seasoning was salt-free, start with 1 1/2 teaspoons, then taste and add more as needed. Garnish with the remaining parsley and more Parmesan cheese.
(Maria Do is a contributor to TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to email@example.com.)
You can make restaurant-quality lobster ravioli at home.
If lobster ravioli is on the menu at a restaurant, you better bet I’m ordering it. When I was growing up, it was the ultimate luxury to be able to order my two favorite things in one dish: pasta and lobster. So I was extra excited to develop this recipe. Sure, making ravioli is going to take some time and effort; it’s just the nature of this pillowy filled pasta. But I streamlined the process as much as possible. Just remember that it’s supposed to be fun — and it’s even better if you do it with a buddy.
Ingredient notes for lobster ravioli
The pasta: I started with Kitchn’s go-to homemade pasta recipe. The ratio of eggs to flour is just perfect, and the soft dough is super easy to work with.
The lobster: To make things simpler, I’m not expecting you to cook your own lobster (although you certainly can if you have access to fresh lobster!). Start with whole cooked lobsters and crack the meat yourself, or buy already shelled lobster meat.
The filling: Once you get the lobster ready to go, just add a bit of ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. You don’t want too much — lobster reigns supreme.
The sauce: Because I wanted all the time and effort to go into preparing the ravioli, but couldn’t sacrifice not having a great sauce, I used my go-to tomato and wine cream sauce. It comes together in less than 10 minutes and tastes as silky and rich as any long-simmered pasta sauce. And the combo of wine and lobster is richly satisfying. That said, my sauce is not the only way. A buttery garlic sauce, Alfredo, or marinara would suit this dish just as well!
What to eat with lobster ravioli
Lobster ravioli is such a stunning dish that it must be the main attraction on the table. Pick crisp green sides to accompany it (think: steamed broccoli, a simple green salad, or roasted asparagus). A nice, fresh bread like a baguette to sop up extra sauce is clutch. And if you drink white wine, keep the rest of the bottle that you used to cook the sauce on ice to serve alongside dinner.
Tips for rolling out the pasta dough
1. The dough should be super thin. It should almost be transparent.
2. Dust the pasta lightly with flour as needed. This will help to keep it from sticking. You can also lightly dust the machine or rolling pin with flour.
3. Don’t hurry the process. If the pasta is tearing, you are likely moving it through the roller too fast. Slow down and make sure to put it through each thickness a few times before proceeding to the next.
Your options for rolling out the pasta dough
Your options for cutting the ravioli
No matter which way you choose, these are going to taste and look amazing. The truth is you need very little tools to actually make ravioli, but the more you have, the easier the process.
Serves 4 to 6; makes 45 to 50 ravioli
Roll out the pasta dough:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and generously dust with semolina flour.
2. Cut 1 pound pasta dough into 8 pieces. Roll out the dough one piece at a time (cover the remaining pieces of dough in plastic wrap to keep them from drying out): Set a pasta roller to the thickest setting. Flatten the piece of dough into a thick disk with your hands, dusting with semolina flour if it feels sticky. Feed it through the pasta roller twice. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, and press it between your hands again.
3. With the pasta roller still on the widest setting, feed the dough crosswise (folded-side in first) between the rollers. Feed it through once or twice more, until smooth. If desired, repeat this folding step. This helps to strengthen the gluten in the flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked.
4. Begin changing the settings on the roller to roll the pasta thinner and thinner. Roll the pasta 2 or 3 times at each setting (no need to fold anymore), and don't skip settings (the pasta tends to snag and warp if you do). If the pasta gets too long to be manageable, lay it on a cutting board and cut it in half crosswise before you continue rolling.
5. Roll until the pasta is very thin and you can see your hand through it (setting 6 on a KitchenAid pasta roller attachment). Sprinkle lightly with semolina flour and lay flat on the baking sheet. Repeat rolling out the remaining pieces of dough, separating the layers of pasta sheets with more parchment paper.
Make the ravioli filling and prep for the sauce:
1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Finely grate the zest of 1 small lemon until you have 1 teaspoon; reserve the zested lemon for another use. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated; grate more for serving if desired.
2. Finely chop 4 garlic cloves; add half to the bowl and reserve the remaining for the sauce. Crack and remove the meat from the claws and tails of 3 (about 1 pound) whole cooked lobsters (about 2 cups); discard the shells. Finely chop the meat and add to the bowl.
3. Add 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and add to the bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Finely chop 1 small yellow onion (about 1 cup) and reserve for the sauce.
1. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with semolina flour. Sprinkle a work surface with semolina flour and arrange a pasta sheet on top with a longer side closer to you.
2. If the pasta sheet is at least 4 inches wide from top to bottom, spoon 1 1/2-teaspoon portions of the filling onto the bottom half of the pasta sheet about 1-inch apart. Gently brush a little water around each portion of filling. Starting from one side and working your way to the other, fold the top half of the sheet down and over the filling, pressing out the excess air around each portion of filling as you go and sealing the top and bottom together. If the dough gets sticky at any point, dust generously with semolina.
3. If the pasta sheet is less than 4 inches wide, spoon 1 1/2-teaspoon portions of the filling across the center of the sheet about 1-inch apart. Gently brush a little water around the border of the sheet. Starting from one side and working your way to the other, place a second sheet over the first sheet, pressing out the excess air around each portion of filling as you go and sealing the top and bottom together. If the dough gets sticky at any point, dust generously with semolina.
4. Using a pasta cutter or sharp knife, cut around each portion of filling to form individual raviolo. Don’t worry if they are not perfect — they will still taste great.
5. Transfer the ravioli to the baking sheet in a single layer and repeat filling all the pasta sheets. Gather the pasta scraps, reroll them, and form more ravioli until you run out of filling. You can cut up any remaining pasta scraps and cook them up for a snack. If you don’t plan to cook the ravioli right away, refrigerate uncovered for up to 4 hours. (See Recipe Notes for freezing instructions.)
6. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add half of the ravioli and cook until the pasta is cooked through and al dente, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the ravioli with a large slotted spoon or spider to a colander.
7. Repeat cooking the remaining ravioli, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
1. Return the now-empty pot to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste slightly darkens in color, about 1 minute.
2. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and boil, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Bring to a boil. Add the ravioli and toss and cook until the sauce coats the ravioli and they’re heated through, about 2 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add more of the pasta water as needed. Taste the sauce and season with more kosher salt as needed. Serve garnished with more grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves.
(Laura Rege is a contributor to TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The department’s prior version of the database was widely criticized and targeted in a federal lawsuit for allegedly being unconstitutional and racially biased.
Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly have their eye on once again expanding access to reproductive health care as the state solidifies its position as a “haven” for abortion.
Colorado has bused hundreds of migrants to Chicago since December, the letter said. The city does not have capacity to adequately support more migrants, Lightfoot wrote.
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