Janet here: After admitting my little magazine recipe-ripping, um, problem, I started 2012 with a new plan. I would start actually cooking some of these recipes and then, if I like them, put them in a neat little notebook. Last week I dutifully bought my notebook, complete with plastic sleeves to stick the pages in and dividers so I can organize them by categories. I was so pleased with myself.
But then it was time to attack the pile, a daunting task for sure because it is a mini-mountain by now. Happily we were having another couple for dinner so I found a new way of doing pesto, using almonds rather than pine nuts…..Result? Brilliant and a total keeper. Into its nice plastic sleeve it goes.
Almond Pesto with Beans Linguine
from Food Network Magazine
1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
12 ounces linguine
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water for the linguine to a boil.
Make the pesto by pulsing the almonds and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the parsley, basil and Parmesan; pulse some more until the herbs are chopped. With the motor running drizzle in the olive oil until blended.
Transfer to a large bowl and add the ricotta and olives.
Cook the linguine, adding the beans for the last two minutes. Reserve one cup of the cooking water; then drain the pasta and beans. Add to the bowl with the pesto and toss to coat. Add the chopped tomatoes and as much of the reserved cooking water as you like to have the perfect combination. Salt and pepper to taste.
I made a mistake as a parent I would suggest anyone reading this with young kids avoid: for a while — and waaaaayyy longer than I should have — I made separate meals for certain kids who did not like (maybe even refused to put one bite in his mouth) of the general dinner. On a given night that could mean I made four dinners. I know, I know, I know! This is CRAZY and goes against every parenting book out there. I took the path of least resistance, what can I tell you? (And I know I’m not the only one out there.)
Janet here: One of the many wonders of summer is the variety of salad options. Sure, you can cobble together something more than lettuce and carrots in the winter, but it’s trickier and the options are more limiting. In the summer, though, the veggies are fresh and plentiful and eating a huge salad for dinner is more appealing than winter when you’re often craving something hot and gut-gripping to help you make it through another cold cold day. Salad is as light as a summer’s day itself.
Here’s a pasta salad I made recently for a crowd of relatives. I can’t wait to try it in the height of tomato season. What’s your go-to summer salad?
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
1/2 pound fusilli or some curly pasta
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium diced
3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
6 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
for the dressing
5 sun-dried tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon capers, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup julienned fresh basil
Cook the pasta on the stove. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
Cut up the olives, 6 sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and add to the bowl when the pasta is cool.
To make the dressing, mix all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until well mixed. Add to the large bowl and mix well. Season to taste.
When ready to serve, add the Parmesan and basil.
Ok, so first off, pardon the photos. I accidentally spilled a giant glass of water all over my camera in an effort not to spill coffee all over my computer (ok, probably too many beverages around valuable and expensive pieces of equipment…lesson learned). While my computer was spared (::phew::), my camera has decided to open but nothing else. Awesome. So these photos were taken on my cell phone. Better than no photos? Probably, but definitely not ideal.
What I made the other night was Eggs in Purgatory. What I will now be making probably once a week is Eggs in Purgatory. You know those bits in your fridge that are still good but instead of trying to navigate the tedium of figuring out a delicious way to use them all you close the fridge door, hoping that by the next time you open it they’ll have turned and you can legitimately throw them away? Here is your solution.
Click here for the original recipe that I found on the Food Network. The version I made followed the general form but I had substitutions for most of the ingredients (pepperoni instead of salami, different peppers, no parsley, etc.). Therein lies the brilliance of this dish. I could see it working well with mushrooms or potato, some spinach…really, just about anything.
OH! And it’s easy. Really easy. And quick, too. It’s like, the perfect recipe for weeknight cooking.
Have you ever made this dish before? A variation on this theme? What do you do with the incredible edible egg?
Congrats to Audrey, the winner of our Barefood Contessa cookbook, How Easy is That? Thanks to all who joined in. We’re working on some other giveaways, so hopefully we’ll be able to announce those soon.
In the meantime, on Meatless Monday, we’ll leave you with this recipe from Ina Garten’s book. I have made five of her recipes this point and every single one was a winner so you might want to pick the book up on your own or maybe put it on your holiday wish list. This recipe even works well with tomatoes that are off season for those of you who live outside California and basically avoid tomatoes except for about two months at the end of the summer.
serves 6 or 8
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced bread from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
3 pounds plum tomatoes 1/2-inch diced, about 14-16 tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup grated Parmesan
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are even browned.
Meanwhile combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the tomato mixture to the bread cubes and continue to cook over medium high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.
Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6-8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.