Monday, June 26, 2017

6-26-17 Penne with mixed greens and small white beans



It’s time to harvest our third crop of mixed greens, and once again I will pair them with white beans and pasta.  But the big news from Casa Renzulli is our new cooktop that will have its “maiden voyage” tonight.




INGREDIENTS:
      1.     Penne pasta
2.     Mixed greens- Collard, Beets, and Mustard greens
3.     Olive oil
4.     Leek
5.     Carrots
6.     Garlic
7.     Sundried tomatoes coarsely chopped
8.     Fresh Thyme and basil coarsely chopped
9.     Small white beans
10. Chicken broth

PROCESS:
Cook the Leek and carrots in the oil until soft and add the garlic and tomatoes. Continue cooking uncovered over med-low heat for several minutes before adding the beans and herbs.  Continue cooking uncovered for another 10 minutes.  Add about ¼ cup of chicken broth to prevent the sauce from getting to thick.  I added the mixed greens at the same time I put the pasta in the water to cook.  All of the times I’ve listed are very general estimates and there is a lot of flexibility in how you prepare this.

COMMENTS:

The tomatoes and Leek helped give this a little different flavor from the previous mixed greens recipes.  Patience loved it.  And I love our new cooktop with 5 – count them – 5 burners.  Although I only needed 2 tonight.

Friday, June 23, 2017

6-23-17 Rigatoni with butter-sage sauce

Preparing dinner could not be any easier. Once again we are taking advantage of the porch garden, tonight focusing on the vibrant sage plant at the top of the steps.


INGREDIENTS: 

1.     Rigatoni – we use about ¼ to 1/3 lb. for 2 (almost any pasta will do)
2.     Butter – about 3-4 tablespoons
3.     Fresh sage – about 15 leaves
4.     Parmigiano cheese – about ¾ cup
5.     Salt & pepper to taste

PROCESS:

While the pasta is cooking heat the butter over medium heat until it just begins to brown.  Add the sage and turn the heat to low.  When the leaves have wilted remove from the heat.  When the pasta is ready, add the pasta to the pan with the sauce, along with about ½ cup of the pasta water.  Mix in the cheese and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. 

COMMENTS:

We enjoyed the unique flavor of the sage.  I will do this again, but with lighter pasta, perhaps penne, or spaghetti.  The rigatoni was too “heavy” for this sauce.  If you have access to fresh sage I urge you to try this.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

6-22-17 Linguine from heaven





I’m not exaggerating.  When you experience this dish you will think you died and went to heaven.  The key to this culinary orgasm is fresh herbs and imported pasta.


 INGREDIENTS:

1.     Linguine
2.     Olive oil
3.     Garlic
4.     Onion
5.     Fresh basil, spearmint, oregano, parsley, and tarragon – finely chopped
6.     Sundried tomatoes in oil – coarsely chopped
7.     Toasted Panko


   PROCESS:

Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, then add about 1-2 tablespoons of the herbs and the tomatoes.  Cook over low heat while the pasta is cooking.  Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce, mix in the panko, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add some pasta water if needed.

COMMENTS:

The next time you’re eating at La Casa Renzulli this this is what you should ask for.
Elegant simplicity.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6-20-17 Spaghetti with fresh Cod in a tomato sauce



Until now, most of the seafood we heat has been shrimp, lump crabmeat, and occasional scallops. I would like to add more fish to our menu, so tonight I will see if I can come up with a pasta dish utilizing fresh Cod.  The plan is to cook the Cod in a tomato sauce with butter and fresh tarragon.  Keeping all fingers crossed.



INGREDIENTS:

1.     Spaghetti – Rustichella D’Abruzzo
2.     Peeled whole tomatoes – Antica Enotria 
3.     Fresh Cod fillet
4.     Achovy – 1 fillet finely chopped
5.     Olive oil
6.     Shallots
7.     Garlic
8.     Celery
9.     Fresh tarragon








PROCESS:

Prepare the soffrito – Cook the shallots, celery, garlic, and anchovy in olive oil.  When the vegetables are soft and the anchovy cooked away, add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands, or in the pan with a large spoon or fork.  Add about 1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped fresh tarragon, cover, and cook at a slow simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the fish and continue cooking until it is cooked through and begins to break apart.

When the pasta is done add it to the sauce, mix well and serve, garnished with fresh tarragon.

COMMENTS:

This was fantastic, for several reasons.  The pasta is one of the best dried pasta available, and can be purchased online at multiple outlets.

The tomatoes are also imported, and provide a wonderful loose sauce that is perfect for poaching the Cod.

And finally, the fresh tarragon added the finishing touches to a great pasta dish.  Does it sound like I’m pleased with this?


Monday, June 19, 2017

Cavatappi with Japanese eggplant from the porch and leftover grilled chicken from the freezer


It was a late dinner tonight and I'm too tired to write up the recipe.  I will add it to the post tomorrow. Although I'm sure you could figure out by the photo.

I will take the time to say that this was really good.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

6-18-17 Farfalle with fresh tomato salad and mozzarella



This is a dish that will appear often over the summer.  We wait all year for the fresh tomatoes.  I grew up with summer tomato salad, although my mother never combined it with pasta. It is a treat by itself, especially if you have good Italian bread to sop up the delicious juice.


INGREDIENTS:

1.     Fresh tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2.     Olive oil
3.     Water
4.     Garlic – one clove finely chopped
5.     Fresh basil coarsely chopped
6.     Oregano – I prefer the dry oregano because the fragrance reminds of my mom’s salad.
7.     Mozzarella cheese - diced

PROCESS:

Place the tomatoes in a bowl with about ¼ cup of water.  Add the garlic, basil, and olive oil and mix well.  Salt to taste.  When the pasta is ready, drain and mix well with the tomatoes.  Add the cheese to the top of the bowl and serve.

You have to make this a few times to get a feel for the amount of water and oil to use.  No vinegar!!

I recommend making the salad and let it sit for about an hour before dinner.Thinly slice onions are optional.

COMMENTS:

This is a simmer staple.  Tonight we had a side of beet greens from the porch garden cooked in olive oil and butter with shallots and garlic.  Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture.  They were delicious.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

6-16-17 Capellini with shrimp in butter and wine



I have been thinking about this all day, waiting for the time to make it happen.  My goal was to emphasize the fresh dill and tarragon in a light sauce.


INGREDIENTS:

1.     Capellini
2.     Uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined.
3.     Fresh dill and tarragon coarsely chopped
4.     Shallot thinly sliced
5.     Garlic
6.     Olive oil
7.     Butter
8.     White wine
9.     Fresh lemon juice

PROCESS:

Cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft, and add about a heaping tablespoon of the herbs and cook for several more minutes over medium-low heat.
Add the butter and shrimp and while they’re cooking add the lemon juice and a splash of wine.

When the pasta is done mix it into the sauce, along with more of the chopped herbs and some pasta water if needed. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and serve, garnished with herbs.

COMMENTS:

I’m becoming a big fan of fresh tarragon and have to be careful I don’t overdo its use. But that was not the case tonight. Patience and I both loved the light, loose, and delightful sauce in this dish.


Monday, June 12, 2017

6-12-17 Farfalle and small white beans






Tonight’s dinner will be a pale cousin to one of my mother’s simple, but always elegant dishes, beans and pasta (a.k.a. pasta fazool, past n beans, or to be linguistically correct – Pasta e Fagioli.

INGREDIENTS:

1.     Farfalle
2.     Peeled whole tomatoes
3.     Small white beans
4.     Olive oil
5.     Shallots
6.     Garlic
7.     Carrot thinly sliced
8.     Fresh oregano and basil

PROCESS:

Cook the onion and carrots in olive oil until the onion becomes soft, then add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes before adding the tomatoes.  Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon or crush them by hand (a lot messier).  Add the basil and oregano and simmer for about 30 minutes for the tomatoes to break down and thicken the sauce.  When the pasta is cooked mix it into the pan with the sauce and serve, sprinkled with freshly grated parmigiano cheese.

COMMENTS:

Simple elegance, and quite delicious.
The tomatoes are available online at Ditalia.com.  The small white beans at Midtown Market..  Krogers does not carry them.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

6-11-17 Angel hair pasta with Japanese eggplant





 

With one Japanese eggplant fresh from the porch garden front and center in the fridge, there was little question about tonight’s dinner.  I originally planned on a tomato sauce but Patience convinced me otherwise.  (I’m easy to get along with.)

INGREDIENTS:

1.     Angel hair pasta
2.     Japanese eggplant sliced crosswise into thin pieces
3.     Fresh basil and oregano
4.     Garlic finely chopped
5.     Olive oil
6.     Leek – sliced crosswise
7.     Mozzarella cut into bite size pieces
8.     Red pepper flakes – optional

Process:

Over medium high heat cook the eggplant in olive oil until golden brown, remove and drain on paper towel.  Re-heat to pan and add more oil if needed.  Cook the leek and garlic until soft.  Add the basil leafs and oregano, a splash of white wine and allow it cook off.  Add the eggplant to the pan while the pasta I cooking. 

When the pasta is ready, drain and place in serving bowel and mix in the eggplant sauce.  Add pasta water if it is too dry.  Drizzzle with olive oil, garnish with fresh oregano, and top with the cheese.

COMMENTS:

I would replace the leeks with onion or shallots. Otherwise this is a good dish, and I intend to do it again, since there are several more eggplants hanging on the plant.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

6-10-17 Mixed Greens, zucchini, diced tomatoes



The porch gardens beckons.  There are beet green and some chard that is ready to be harvested, and when the garden calls, the cook responds.  Since it was only last week that we had pasta with greens and beans, and greens and sausage, it was time to come up with something different.


INGREDIENTS:

1.     Trottole pasta (or your own favorite shaped pasta)
2.     Zucchini sliced cross wise
3.     Diced tomatoes
4.     Fresh beet greens and chard
5.     Olive oil
6.     Onion, garlic, red pepper flakes
7.     Celery
8.     Red wine
9.     Chicken broth
10. Fresh Rosemary and basil

PROCESS:

Cook the onion, celery and garlic in oil until soft. Add the zucchini and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is browned.  Lower the heat and add the tomatoes, red wine, and herbs and cook over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Add the greens and a splash of chicken broth, cover, and cook until they’re wilted. Remove from the heat.  When the pasta is ready add to the pan with the sauce and mix thoroughly.

COMMENTS:

Be careful with the red pepper flakes. There was more than enough heat in this dish tonight, but it did not prevent Patience from giving me two thumbs up.





Friday, June 9, 2017


6-9-17   Spaghetti with fresh tuna

It has been on my mind for weeks – pasta with fresh tuna instead of the usual tuna in oil I’ve always used.  Today I made the commitment by purchasing fresh tuna steaks at the Midtown Market, and tonight I did the deed.

                    
          

INGREDIENTS:

1.     Fresh tuna steaks
2.     Spaghetti
3.     Olive oil
4.     Shallots and garlic
5.     Anchovies-2 fillets finely chopped
6.     Sundried tomatoes in oil coarsely chopped
7.     Celery
8.     Fresh spearmint – coarsely chopped
9.     Fresh Oregano
10. White wine
11. Fresh lemon juice
12. Red pepper flakes (optional)

PROCESS:

Heat olive oil in skillet over high heat and cook the tuna steaks about 3 minutes on each side until browned.  Remove and set aside.

Cut the tuna into bite size pieces.
 
Deglaze the skillet with wine, reheat olive oil and cook the shallots and celery until soft then add the garlic and the anchovies.  Cook for several minutes before adding the tomatoes, tuna, herbs, and white wine.  Continue cooking over medium heat, adding the juice from ½ lemon.

When the pasta in ready, add to the skillet, along with pasta water, and mix thoroughly.

COMMENTS:

I am ready to declare my first experience with fresh tuna and pasta a resounding success.  (I know – my humility is overbearing.)  I think fresh tomatoes or even canned peeled tomatoes could be substituted for the sundried tomatoes.
My in-house critic agrees with my assessment.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

6-8-17 Spaghetti with Tarragon/olive oil sauce


                     
I’ve never used fresh tarragon before, but thanks to Patience’s porch garden I had my opportunity tonight.  I wanted to create something simple and rustic, borrowing from the traditional garlic, olive oil, and parsley sauce.  I decided to replace the parsley with fresh tarragon, and add just a bit of anchovies, along with toasted panko.

INGREDIENTS:

1.     Spaghetti
2.     Olive oil
3.     Fresh tarragon leaves – about 10-15 uncut small leaves
4.     Celery
5.     Onion
6.     Garlic
7.     Anchovy fillet 1or2 finely chopped
8.     Toasted panko
9.     Butter
10. Red pepper flakes-optional
11. Parmigiano shavings

PROCESS:

Cook the onion, celery, and anchovy in the oil until soft, then add the garlic and tarragon and cook over low heat until the tarragon leaves or wilted.  Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well.  Add the toasted panko, the butter, and some pasta water. Serve with grated or shaved parmigiano cheese.

COMMENTS:

We really enjoyed the fresh and unique taste of the tarragon.  I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve used this herb in a pasta dish.