Friday, April 30, 2010

Penne Arrabbiata with Herbs

From The Herbfarm Cookbook - spicy, hearty, and easy. The fresh herbs make all the difference.

-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

-2 lbs. very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 3 cups) or one 28 oz. can plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juice. Unless you can get really good fresh tomatoes, it's best to use a good brand of canned tomatoes.

-1/2 to 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes

-1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary

-1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

-3 T. coarsely chopped fresh Greek oregano

-12 oz. dried penne or spaghetti or rotini

-1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it loses its raw fragrance but is not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, rosemary and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook uncovered at a steady, gentle boil until most of the liquid evaporates and the sauce is quite thick, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato. Stir in the parsley and oregano.

Cook the pasta in a big pot of boiling, salted water. Drain, add to the skillet of sauce, sprinkle with the cheese and toss to coat evenly. Serve in warmed shallow bowls.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Penne with Walnut Pesto and Eggplant

From "The Herbal Kitchen", serves 4
-2 small or 1 large eggplant
-2 T. olive oil
-1 tsp. salt

2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly rated Parmigiano-Reggiano

3/4 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted walnuts to finish

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the unpeeled eggplant into 3/4 inch cubes. Spread tehm out on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Toss with your hands to distrubte the oil and salt and shake the cubes out into a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are brown on the edges and are very soft.

While the eggplant is roasting, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pesto by pulsing the basil, walnuts, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil. Scrape down teh bow and add the cheese, pulse again.

Boil the pasta , scoop out 1/2 cup of cooking water into a cup and drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the warm pot, top with pesto, pour in the water and stir until evenly sauced. Scrape the eggplant cubes into the pot and stir gently. Scoop the pasta into warm serving bowls, top with walnuts and serve right away.

Herbed Skillet Souffle

From "The Herbal Kitchen"
3 T. fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole or low fat milk
8 large eggs, separated
1/2 to 3/4 cu chopped mixture of soft-leaved herbs, such as basil, parsley, chives, dill, marjoram or tarragon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 400. Stir the bread crumbs into the milk in a large mixing bowl and let them soak until they become pasty, 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of cheese.

Just before you're ready to cook the frittata, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form very soft (not stiff) peaks. When you scoop them up on the spatula they should flop over instead of standing straight up. Scoop the whites into the yolk mixture and quickly fold them in.

Heat a 12 inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the butter when the pan is hot enough for it to sizzle but not brown and swirl until it melts. Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Immediately put the skillet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes., or until the souffle is puffed and deeply browned. Serve it right away, spooned from the skillet, or at room temperature cut into wedges.

Parsley and Mint Soup

From "The Herbal Kitchen" - intensely green and flavorful.

3 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
2 T. butter
4 cups broth
1 T. white rice
4 cups gently packed flat leaf parsley sprigs, large stems removed
1/2 cup mint leaves
salt and pepper
1/c cup heavy cream (You can leave this out)
Walnut or hazelnut oil

Cook the leeks in butter in a saucpan over medium heat, stirring often until they begin to wild. Add the broth and rice. When the soup boils, cover and let it simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until rice is tender.

Stir the parsley, mint and black pepper into the simmering soup and then remove from heat. Puree the soup until it's golf course green and very smooth. Stir in cream and reheat. Taste it and add salt if need be.

Before serving, whisk in 2 T. of walnut or hazelnut oil and top with chopped, toasted walnuts or hazelnuts.

Minted Lentil and Goat Cheese Strudel/Easter 2010

From "The Herbal Kitchen"
2 T. olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup French-style lentils, such as lentilles du Puy
1 and 3/4 cup water
1 and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 and 1/2 T. chopped thyme
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces soft goat cheese
24 sheets phyllo dough 9 x 14 inches
melted butter

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the lentils, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain off any liquid, transfer lentils to a mixing bowl, and stir in herbs, black pepper and goat cheese.

Butter 4 layers of phyllo dough on top of parchment paper. Divide the filling into 6 equal parts and form one part into a cylinder across the long side of the phyllo, about an inch from the edge. Roll the dough up around the phyllo, but not too tightly or the filling will burst through the dough when it cooks. Lift onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with more butter. Make remaining 5 strudels the same way.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cook, and cut each strudel into 8 pieces.