Strozzapreti with Mushrooms and Ricotta

IMG_2649An essential component of eating locally is being prepared when the local food universe brings you something delicious, even if it wasn’t planned. Such was the case when some absolutely lovely shiitake mushrooms came my way from a local farm. Since they are very delicate and have a short shelf life, we needed to make something amazing with them…very quickly. I could have used my usual stir fry recipe and added them in, but when I have something special and delicate, I like for it to have the chance to be the star. Enter Bon Appetite online! THIS wonderful recipe found its way into my Facebook news feed and it was like the food universe was in agreement that I must eat mushrooms this week. In case you’re wondering, when the food universe speaks, I usually listen. Sometimes the universe tells me I need some Five Guys, in which case I also listen and EAT, but mostly it tells me nice, healthy things.

This is my adaptation of the Bon Appetite recipe (the original is HERE). My version doesn’t look as beautiful, but such is life. Basically, I cut the pasta required in half and increased the vegetables in the sofrito, but I pretty much followed the basic recipe. It is absolutely delicious, with a delicate flavor and a light dish that is perfect for these late summer evenings. We will definitely make this again!

Strozzapreti with Mushrooms and Ricotta (serves 2)

  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 large, organic carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, cleaned, trimmed and diced
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt and ground, black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 lb. (8 ounces) strozzapretti pasta
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh, shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 soft-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half
  1. Make a sofrito by sauteing the onion, carrot and celery in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Vegetables should be soft. Add salt, pepper and smoked paprika and saute an additional 2-3 minutes. Add sofrito to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil water for pasta in a stock pot. Add a handful of Kosher salt to the pot. Add the pasta and stir.
  3. In a deep saute pan, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the garlic to the saute pan and stir, cooking for 3o seconds.
  5. Add the sofrito to the mushrooms and stir well.
  6. When pasta is done (about 9 minutes), add the pasta, Parmesan cheese and a bit of pasta water if needed. Combine all ingredients well.
  7. Plate the pasta by topping each serving with dollops of ricotta cheese and egg halves.
  8. Serve immediately.

 

Fettuccine with Salmon, Peas and Corn

IMG_2001Some days, I just crave salmon. I can’t explain it, really, but when I have that craving, there is nothing to do but give in and enjoy. I’ve learned to listen to my body, and when it wants protein, I usually give in. Typically, we buy locally produced seafood and meat, but salmon isn’t local to North Carolina, so I make an exception for it. We purchase wild caught salmon, not farm raised, which ups the price for dinner. So, instead of giving up on it or blowing my budget completely, I like to add it to pasta, which stretches our meal out a bit. To save money, we also bought wild salmon pieces (the leftover pieces from trimming fillets) instead of pricey steaks or fillets. Since we were cutting them up anyway, it didn’t seem worth the price to buy a larger cut.

We tend to eat pasta dishes on Fridays or Saturdays, the day or two before our long runs. In our marathon training, we are up in the 20+ miles now (when the oppressive humidity allows), so we need the carbs to help us fuel through our running schedule. We agreed that this recipe is a keeper.

This pasta dish is wonderfully satisfying. It includes wild caught salmon pieces fresh, local organic corn, which is super good right now and peas. If you thought ahead and froze spring peas, this is a terrific use for them! This dish also uses a creamy faux alfredo sauce made from cauliflower–yes, you read right. Cauliflower! This genius recipe was posted by a talented food blogger on Pinch of Yum. HERE is her recipe. It is amazingly awesome.

Fettuccine with Salmon, Peas and Corn (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 lb. organic fettuccine noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 lb. wild-caught salmon pieces, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2 cups fresh, raw, organic corn (you can use frozen as well)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 recipe cauliflower alfredo sauce
  • Kosher or mineral salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare the cauliflower alfredo sauce and set aside.
  2. Heat water in a stock pot for the pasta. When the water boils, add a healthy amount of salt to the water. Add the pasta and cook according to directions (about 10 minutes for fettucine).
  3. While the pasta boils, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. If onions begin to brown, turn the heat down.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Add the salmon and cook with the onions for about 4 minutes or until salmon is opaque on the outside.
  7. Add the corn, peas and cauliflower sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  8. Heat the sauce until all is warmed through–about 4-5 minutes.
  9. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss all together to combine.
  10. Serve immediately.

 

 

Summer Ratatouille and Pasta

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I have found myself both busy and distracted in the past few weeks, and as a result, I haven’t been posting (or cooking) as much as I would like. Life is like that–full of surprises, choices, decisions and turning points. I’m feeling pretty good about some decisions I’ve made lately, although they have taken my attention away from SOLE Food Kitchen for just a teeny minute. I’m trying to get back in the groove!

This dish is a wonderful vegetarian creation based on the dish ratatouille, although it’s a bit messier than the neatly sliced and arranged dish. It is hearty, but not heavy and, if you use soy cheese (or no cheese), it is also a vegan dish. We served just the vegetable mix as a side dish with fish this week and served the leftovers over organic bucatini pasta–a thicker, chewier version of spaghetti. You could use any vegetables you want in this dish as long as they are fresh. We used the traditional eggplant, tomatoes, fennel, onions and garlic. It was very good, and used up a lot of vegetables we had from our Produce Box this week.

Summer Ratatouille and Pasta (makes about 6 serving)

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small fennel bulb, washed and sliced thin
4 medium or large tomatoes, washed, trimmed and quartered
1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and stems removed
1 large eggplant, washed and cubed
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb. bucatini pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of water on to boil for pasta.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.
Add onions and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until onions start to soften (do not let the garlic brown).
Add the fennel and continue cooking another 1-2 minutes. Lower heat if necessary to keep garlic from scorching.
Add the quartered tomatoes and sauté for about 3 minutes or until tomatoes start to release their juices.
Add eggplant and cherry tomatoes. Season with herbs, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes.
Add capers, stir well. Correct for seasoning, if necessary.
Season boiling pasta water with a generous amount (3 tablespoons) of salt. Cook pasta according to directions (the bucatini take about 8 minutes).
Drain pasta and toss with the vegetable mixture.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of Parmesan or soy cheese.

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms

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The azaleas and dogwoods are blooming, the spring pollen has coated everything with a fine dusting of yellow and asparagus are back at the farmers market. Spring is finally in full swing! It was hard to contain myself at the market this week–I see all that beautiful (and very temporary) asparagus, and I want to buy it all up. But that would be wrong. Still, I did manage to bring home some lovely, fresh-picked asparagus along with some NC shrimp from Locals Seafood for this pasta dish. I love this pasta. Satisfying, yet much lighter than our heavier winter pasta creations, this recipe was made on the fly with what we found at the market (except lemons–they do not grow here!).

For this dish, use very good quality olive oil, butter and cheese! I’ve started buying organic butter from grass-fed cows and it is expensive, but really wonderful in a dish where you will taste the butter (and no growth hormones!). I saved the trimmings from our asparagus (I wanted more of the pretty tops and less stem in this dish) and I will use the tender stems minced in our veggie risotto tomorrow night!

In theory, this feeds 4 people. But Tom and I were ravenous for some reason, and nearly finished the pot between the two of us, so if you have a hungry household, make a salad to go with this.

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms (serves 4)

1 lb. orecchiette pasta (little ears)
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh, grass-fed butter
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 lb. fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and ground pepper

Peel and mince the shallot and garlic cloves. Set aside.
Fill a large stock pot with water for pasta. When pasta water boils, add a healthy scoop of salt to the water along with the pasta. Lower heat to medium high and cook pasta for 10 minutes.
While pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan and melt over medium heat. When foam subsides, add shallot and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the asparagus and mushrooms and salt/pepper to taste. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp, lemon juice and zest. Cook until the shrimp are just pink. Do not overlook!
When pasta is done, drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
Add pasta and all vegetables to a large serving bowl. Toss, adding some pasta water to make a light sauce.
Sprinkle with cheese and serve!

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