Friday, February 17, 2017

Pasta with Asparagus-Ricotta cheese sauce

2-16-17   Pasta with Asparagus-Ricotta cheese sauce

The red color of the pasta is the result of cooking it in the same water I used to cook beets just moments earlier.


1.     Shaped pasta
2.     Asparagus cut into 1” pieces
3.     Olive oil
4.     Shallots and garlic
5.     Chicken broth – about 1/3 cup
6.     Ricotta Cheese – about ½ cup
7.     Fresh lemon juice
8.     Fresh Cilantro chopped


Cook the shallots in olive oil until soft, and then add the asparagus and garlic followed by the broth.  After several minutes add the Ricotta cheese and mix thoroughly into the other ingredients.  Add the cilantro and some lemon juice and reduce to low heat.  When the pasta is ready, add it to the pan with the sauce, mix well and serve with a cilantro garnish.


The combo of cilantro, ricotta, and lemon makes this a winner.  I don’t know how much the “beet water” contributed.  Next time I’ll make it cooking the pasta in plain water to see if there is a difference.

Friday, December 9, 2016

12-8-16 Gnocchi w mushrooms, asparagus, & sundried tomatoes in cream sauce

Dinner tonight would be Risotto with mushrooms and asparagus.  With a glass of chilled, crisp Pinot Grigio at my side, and music from my iphone filling the kitchen, I began working.  I began by preparing and cooking the vegetables before turning my attention to the rice.  Once they were “settled down” in the skillet and quietly cooking I looked in the pantry, and to my dismay there was no risotto.  There was Jasmine rice, wild rice, brown rice, couscous, barley, and some mystery stuff, but no Risotto.  Now at this point, a lesser man than me would have panicked, but the tiger in me took over, after several minutes of wailing and cursing I calmed down and went to plan B.  The vegetables would be transformed into a red creamy sauce, and gnocchi would replace the Risotto.



1.     Gnocchi
2.     Mushrooms- sliced
3.     Asparagus
4.     Leeks – thinly sliced crosswise
5.     Olive oil
6.     Garlic
7.     Oregano
8.     Basil
9.     Sweet Vermouth
10. Sundried Tomatoes – chopped
11. Tomato paste – about 1 tablespoon
12. Heavy Whipping cream – about ½ cup
13. Parmigiano cheese for grating


Cook the leeks in the olive oil until soft, then add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring frequently.  After several minutes add the  Asparagus, spices, tomato paste, and wine.  Continue on high heat, until the mushrooms begin to brown, then reduce to low heat.  Add the cream to the sauce about 5 minutes before adding the gnocchi to the boiling water.


Sometimes I think one could serve cardboard with heavy whipping cream and it would be delicious.  In this case the gnocchi did just as well.  It is one of those meal I want to share with others.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

11-29-16 Penne with Zucchini, leeks, and sundried tomatoes

After 4 days of turkey and stuffing, as good as it was I needed some pasta.  But saying I want pasta is like saying I want beef, or vegetables.  There are so many ways they can be prepared.  My first thought was to use some of the porch tomatoes for a sauce, but Patience requested I use them in a salad, which I was happy to do.  There was nothing in the kitchen that inspired me, and since I was planning on a trip to Midtown Market for some Provolone and Mortadella I thought I’d see what I could find there.  And BINGO, as soon as I saw the Leeks in the produce section I knew what I would do, and I did it.


1.     Penne pasta
2.     Zucchini sliced crosswise
3.     Leeks sliced crosswise
4.     Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil coarsely chopped
5.     Olive oil
6.     Garlic 11or 2 cloves crushed
7.     Fresh Dill
8.     Celery
9.     Chicken broth
10. Sweet Vermouth
11. Parmigiano cheese


Cook the Leeks and celery in olive oil over medium heat until soft.  Add the zucchini and garlic and cook over high heat until the zucchini is browned on both sides, stirring frequently to prevent burning.  About half way through this I added about ¼ cup of chicken broth and ¼ cup of Sweet Vermouth.  Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add some finely chopped fresh dill.  When the pasta is ready add it to the pan with the “sauce”.  Add some pasta water if it is too dry.


What a sweet dish, literally.  The sundried tomatoes and the sweet vermouth gave it a distinct, and savory flavor.  It was fun to cook, and more fun to eat.

And the tomato salad?


Sunday, November 20, 2016

11-19-16 Front Porch tomatoes and Angel Hair Pasta

The promise of an overnight freeze led Patience and me to pick every ripe and almost ripe tomato from our porch garden, along with all the basil, dill, and parsley.  Looking at a large bowl overflowing with cherry and grape tomatoes it was clear to   me what had to be done.  And it was surprisingly simple.



1.     Cherry tomatoes – whole
2.     Olive oil
3.     Garlic – 1 clove crushed or minced
4.     Onion – ½ medium onion chopped
5.     Celery  - about ½ stalk chopped
6.     Fresh Basil
7.     Heavy whipping cream – not much, about ¼ cup or less
8.     Angel Hair pasta


Cook the onion in olive oil for 1-2 minutes then add the garlic and celery and cook for several more minutes until soft.  Add the tomatoes and basil and cook over medium high heat until they begin to break down – about 8-10 minutes.  A few minutes before the pasta is ready reduce the heat and add the cream.  When the pasta is ready drain and add to the pan, mix well and serve with grated cheese and garnish with fresh dill.    Add some pasta water if needed.


In spite of my abundance of humility I have to say this was delicious and I look forward to serving it again.  Of course Patience agrees with me.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Dark Sky   Acrylic   24x24

Dark Sky was completed in 2011, and I have been looking at it every day in its place on the wall of my studio.  Several days ago I decided it was time for a little revision.  

Dark Sky revised

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

10-25-16 Angel Hair Pasta w Shrimp Scampi

As soon as I saw Patience’s vibrant crop of Dill in the porch garden I knew what I wanted to do.  Yesterday I bought the shrimp and last night did the deed.


INGREDIENTS:  I cooked ¼ lb. of pasta for two.  Adjust ingredients as needed.  The amounts listed below are estimates.

1.     DeBoles angel hair pasta
2.     Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
3.     Olive oil
4.     Fresh lemon juice  ½ lemon
5.     Butter 2-3 tbsp
6.     White wine ¼ - 1/3 cup
7.     Garlic 1 large or 2 small cloves crushed
8.     Fresh dill
9.     Heavy whipping cream


While waiting for the pasta water to boil cook the garlic in olive but do not allow it to brown.  Add the butter and a sprinkling of finely chopped dill, followed by the shrimp, cooking over low-medium heat.  While the shrimp is cooking add lemon juice and the wine.

Several minutes before the pasta is ready add a small amount of cream, about 2 tablespoons.  Add the pasta to the pan, mix thoroughly, and sprinkle with fresh dill.


Sometimes you hit a home run in the kitchen.  This was just that.  I can’t wait to do it again.

Friday, October 7, 2016


10-6-16   Leek – Potatoes - Asparagus & Pasta

Six o’clock, and I had not given any thought to dinner.  Fortunately Patience decided on a bike ride, so I had some time to come up with something.  A quick look in the fridge revealed asparagus that needed to be used,  leeks, and 2 potatoes, all that I needed for dinner.



1.     Penne pasta
2.     Leek- sliced crosswise
3.     Potatoes- diced into small cubes
4.     Celery
5.     Asparagus
6.     Garlic –Dorot frozen cube
7.     Basil
8.     Sweet Vermouth –about 1’3 cup
9.     Tomato paste – about 1 tablespoon
10. Heavy whipping cream – about 1/3 – ¼ cup
11. Grana Padana for grating


Cook the Leek and celery in olive oil for about 3 minutes then add the garlic cube (or one clove of fresh garlic finely chopped).  Turn the heat to high and add the potatoes.  Cook until the potatoes begin to brown – stirring frequently to prevent burning.  Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the wine, basil, and asparagus.  Wait a few minutes and add the tomato paste.  Continue cooking until the potatoes are cooked to your satisfaction.  The total cooking time for this was about 20-30 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready add the cream and turn the heat to low.
When the pasta is done add it to the pan and mix thoroughly, or use a separate bowl.  Serve with grated Gran Padana cheese.


I have to credit Patience for introducing me to the unlikely combination of potatoes and pasta.  She created a dish for us several years ago, and I have borrowed heavily from that ever since.

Try it and you will not be disappointed.  Obviously there is room for any number of variations, but the key is getting the vegetables brown over the high heat