Roasted Corn and Tomato Spaghetti


I have to be honest. I don’t create many fusion dishes. I’m not sure I have the expertise of any one genre so firmly under my control that I feel able to mash two of them up together. Before this recipe, I’d never tried it at all. That I can remember. And no, using spaghetti noodles in ramen instead of Udon noodles doesn’t count.

This was very much an attempt to use up fresh produce without it going bad and without getting bored of the same flavor combinations. While I could possibly eat nothing but tomatoes and basil all summer long, I fear that Señor may crave more diversity than that. Actually, I could probably convince him to eat just tomatoes and basil for a week or two. But still. That’s not very well-balanced now is it?

We both love Mexican food, thus our taco bar wedding reception. That taco bar was delicious and friends have told me they’re still dreaming about the amazing food. For real, she just said it this weekend. I wouldn’t lie about something so serious. And in all honesty, we are STILL eating through the leftovers. We had a small guest list and we had 20 percent of our responded guests not show. So we had a ton of leftovers. We’re almost done with them but the overwhelming amount of taco meat, tortilla shells and refried beans in our freezer definitely affected our desire to make tacos.

This recipe was my best attempt at bringing delicious Mexican food back into our lives without it looking or tasting anything like the beef, chicken, beans and rice in our freezer. It totally worked. In the heat of summer, I used canned beans instead of boiling my own. I didn’t have to plan this recipe in advance, I just dumped everything together and off we went. The corn had been roasted on the grill a few days earlier and was caramelized and smoky. The cilantro and basil were both about to turn. And thankfully, tomatoes are a staple of both cuisines. Which is maybe why I love them both so much? Or maybe that’s unrelated and it’s just that they’re awesome. That’s probably more likely.

In this dish, roasted grape tomatoes make most of the ‘sauce’ that covers the noodles, beans, corn and herbs. In the effort of full disclosure, this was delicious as a hot main dish and the a cold lunch the next day. This is also a super easy recipe to feed a bunch of dietary restrictions. Gluten free? Swap out the whole wheat noodles for brown rice noodles. Vegan or lactose intolerant? Skip the cheese topping. Delicious and versatile. I love that.


Roasted Corn and Tomato Spaghetti
(makes four servings)

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles

20-30 grape tomatoes

2 cobs roasted corn (approximately 1 cup of kernels)

1 can black beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Dash of salt, black pepper, cayenne

Fresh cilantro

Fresh basil

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Heat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Be sure to let the noodles drain for a few minutes before tossing them with the dish to keep excess water from creating a soupy dish.

Prepare the noodles according to package directions.

While the water is heating, place the tomatoes in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven or toaster oven for roasting. I prefer the toaster oven because the tomatoes sit closer to the heating element and finish roasting much faster. The tomatoes are ready when the skins are shriveling and there is some liquid on the foil.

Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cobs of corn.

Drain the beans and rinse well. Let drain for five minutes to remove any excess liquids.

Place six ounces of water in a glass measuring cup. Add the chili powder, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir and microwave the mixture for 45 seconds.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet. Heat on medium. Add the water and spice mixture. Toss the black beans and corn in the skillet until the spices are fragrant. Add the noodles and roasted tomatoes to the skillet and gently toss to incorporate. Adjust spices as necessary.

Tear whole cilantro and basil leaves off a clean bunch of each herb. When the pasta is just about ready to serve, remove from heat and toss a handful of both cilantro and basil with the dish.

Serve immediately; garnish with fresh cilantro, basil and shredded cheese.


Zucchini and Fettuccine Alfredo

The other day two of my favorite things combined in a glorious moment of food zen. Zucchini and smoked gouda cheese. Wait, you haven’t had smoked gouda cheese, you say? Get thee to the store and a wedge as quick as you can. I find it at Whole Foods in the giant cheese section. This cheese is awesome. It’s like Parmesan but with a nuttier flavor and a dark orange color. It’s fairly stinky with lots of good sharpness on your tongue. I like to enjoy it on crackers. Or plain. Oh, and melted into a creamy alfredo sauce.

I realized as I went through my blog archives the other day that I have posted a lot of recipes revolving around zucchini. I can’t say that I’m sorry about the saturation of zucchini-related posts….it’s an awesome summer time veggie that everyone loves. I hope. It’s also incredibly versatile. You can make it into breads and muffins or you can grill and saute it. Just tonight I shredded it and used it in a ground meat mixture for stuffed peppers.

But enough about that. Let’s talk about alfredo. I think alfredo sauce is one of those things that people often fear because of its creamy nature. Cream sauce requires some nuance to get the thickness without scalding or burning. Let me tell you. It’s not that hard. As long as you use the right ingredients, you can do it without much difficulty. Heavy cream, real milk (not skim) and cheese are all required ingredients. It’s just not something you can make ‘light’ without sacrificing the taste or texture. So, compromise. Use whole wheat noodles and bulk up the dish with shredded zucchini. Yes, I might be a genius.

Also, this is possibly the fastest recipe ever. You might need 15 minutes to get this one ready. If you boil the noodles while preparing the sauce, it should all be ready at the same time. Again, genius. You’re welcome.


Zucchini and Fettuccine Alfredo
serves two

4 ounces whole wheat (or brown rice) fettuccine noodles

2 cups shredded zucchini

Several sprigs of fresh basil

for the sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup water

1 cup milk

3 ounces smoked gouda

1-2 teaspoons flour

black pepper, garlic and salt to taste.

In a large sauce pan, bring the noodles to a boil. Cook until tender. Remove the noodles from the water, reserving the hot water. Drain the noodles.

Place the shredded zucchini in a small metal colander or a steaming basket over the reserved noodle water. Steam the zucchini until just tender. Toss with the noodles, lightly season with salt and pepper. Toss several sprigs of fresh basil in with the noodles and zucchini.

In a small sauce pan, combine all sauce ingredients over medium heat. Stir every thirty seconds with a spatula to keep the sauce from sticking. Once the sauce begins boiling, whisk gently to incorporate all the ingredients. Let the sauce simmer to thicken for 5-7 minutes. The sauce will also thicken upon standing. If you’re having a hard time getting the sauce to thicken, sprinkle a small amount of flour into the pan and whisk to combine.

Pour the sauce over the zucchini and noodle mixture. Garnish with fresh ground black pepper and light sprinkle of shredded smoked gouda and some extra basil. Serve immediately.


Margherita Goat Cheese Pizza

There are about a thousand and one things to love about the farmer’s market. One of the things that I love is when you buy a bunch of herbs for one dollar . . . and you go home with a bunch that fills an entire shelf in your refrigerator. On Tuesday I bought fresh basil and heirloom cherry tomatoes. I contemplated making a pasta dish or a casserole or even a salad but I think I knew when I bought them that they were destined to become a pizza.

There are a lot of really good pizza places around us, that probably happens in most metropolitan areas, yes? You know those really good pizzas that are full of ingredients you’d never think of? I love those. We had our rehearsal dinner at one of my favorite pizza spots, and with good reason. In past weeks I’ve enjoyed a pizza topped with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, pineapple and banana peppers; a pizza topped with garlic mashed potatoes, bacon, broccoli, cheese and green onions; a pizza I like to think I invented and is the best thing ever – chicken, pineapple, goat cheese and red onions; and a pizza topped with barbecue chicken, mushrooms, banana peppers and onions. There were others in there too, but those were my favorites.

I rarely feel the need to recreate what my favorite places can make for me. And to be completely honest, I never order a pizza at a restaurant that I could easily make at home. I want unique, amazing toppings. I want complex flavor layers and ingredients I’d rather not mess with at home (read: pineapple, mashed potatoes) and I almost never want to order the traditional American pizza of red sauce and salted meat. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it. But we’ve probably all eaten our fair share of the plain, boring pizzas and could do with some new flavors. **This does not mean that when confronted with a traditional NY pie I will try to fancy it up. No, I will take that giant, flat piece of pepperoni pizza, fold it in half and shove it into my face. Some things are sacred.

When I thought about turning my basil and heirloom tomatoes into a pizza I was quite nearly giddy just at the thought. I settled on a slight twist to the classic Margherita. First because I had all the ingredients on hand. Second because I never order Margherita pizzas. I can crush tomatoes and rip up basil on my own time, thank you very much. The goat cheese. Oh the goat cheese. The goat cheese is there because goat cheese makes everything better. Everything. I tossed on some onions as well because caramelized onions are like vegetable candy.

This was a pretty damn delicious pie. The honey wheat crust was crisp but chewy. The heirlooms roasted and when lightly crushed, gave the pizza a sweet, flavorful sauce. The goat cheese made everything perfect, as it does. The basil under the cheese gave tons of flavor while the basil on top of the cheese got crispy and reminded me of bacon. I’m not sure why, but it was good so I suggest you try it. This recipe made two pizzas, one 10 inches and the other 12 inches with crust that were ‘original’ thickness. It would easily make three thin crust pizzas as well or two 12-inch pizza of medium thickness.

So, what are you waiting for? Tomatoes and basil are in season. Now is the time. Ready, go.

Goat Cheese Margherita Pizza

for the crust

2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon (not metal) and let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture is creamy.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and honey. Pour in the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon by hand until the mixture comes together into a ball. Place on a floured surface and knead, adding more flour if the mixture is too sticky. Knead until the dough is relatively smooth, about two minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover lightly with a towel. Let rise for 10-15 minutes.

for the toppings

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large bunch fresh basil

1/2 white onion, chopped

3 cups cherry tomatoes

1 cup goat cheese

3 cups shredded mozzarella

garlic powder

sea salt

coarse ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the dough in half and roll out the first pizza to your desired thickness. This dough gets poofy so if you want it really thin, roll it out very, very thinly.

Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the crust. Sprinkle the crust with garlic powder and some chopped basil. Use just enough so that the crust is lightly covered in basil.

Top with one cup of shredded mozzarella, followed by the chopped onions. Add the tomatoes, whole, spacing them as evenly as you can. Then add large pieces of torn basil. Use as much as you’d like, the more the better. I try to make sure there’s enough basil for some in each bite.

Add half of the goat cheese and another half cup of shredded mozzarella. Drizzle the top with another tablespoon of olive oil.

Finally, season lightly with sea salt and pepper.

Place in the oven on a medium rack. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese in the middle has melted. If desired, place the entire pizza under the broiler for 90 seconds. This will crisp the crust edges, melt the cheese completely and roast the vegetables to perfection.

Let stand for five minutes before serving. Using a fork or mashed potato masher, smoosh the tomatoes that haven’t burst open.

Serve with crushed red pepper and fresh basil.


Mushroom Asparagus Pizza

Mushrooms and asparagus are probably two of my favorite things to eat in spring. Not that you can’t eat mushrooms year-round, but they’re so delicious on top of a grilled steak or mixed with fresh asparagus and to me, that screams spring. One thing I’ve noticed during these warmer months is that we eat almost all of our meat grilled. So if we’re not grilling something, there probably isn’t any meat involved. Spring and summer produce is so abundant, it’s just so easy to whip something up with produce you have on hand.

I love mushrooms. Senor and I had some morels the other day and we were both blown away by them. If I could spend $40 for a pound of mushrooms, I totally would. They’re outstanding. I might have to take up mushroom hunting to support the addiction.

One place where I don’t love to find mushrooms though, is my pizza. I’ve never had a truly delicious mushroom on a pizza. Usually they’re sliced and from a can…and more than a little rubbery and slimy. Or they might be so dried out that they look freeze-dried slices of mushrooms. Mushrooms found on pizza are never delicately braised golden brown and plump. This is probably because mushrooms that are plump, savory and delicious are usually a lot more expensive than their canned counterparts. Fresh baby mushrooms that are deliciously golden brown cost more in money and in time spent preparing them. This, I think, is the ultimate dilemma of a veggie pizza. The veggies are not exhilarating. Instead, you have green peppers, olives, mushrooms and onions. Green peppers are the cheapest pepper with the most overwhelming flavor amongst the sweet peppers. Olives are pickled and salty…and are sometimes hard to love…and not the first thing that I think of when I hear the words ‘veggie’ but somehow they always manage to wiggle their way in there. The mushrooms we’ve already addressed. And while onions are delicious all the time, they aren’t enough to salvage a good veggie pizza.

The mushroom asparagus pizza was actually a well-planned meal that I created based on my own, personal desire to enjoy delicious mushrooms on pizza. It was a greedy, selfish endeavor and I’m not sorry because it was amazing. I wanted lots of really good, amazing veggies on a pizza. I dreamed of amazing vegetable combinations that I could create. Artichoke with onion, basil and red bell pepper? Tomato, asparagus, mushroom and goat cheese? Caramelized onions, mushrooms and broccoli rabe? So many possibilities to make really, really delicious ‘veggie’ pizza.

I settled on a simple mushroom asparagus pizza because not only do I love them both, but asparagus is my favorite in-season vegetable at the moment. I was anxious to get my grubby little paws on a delicious pizza full of beautiful mushrooms instead of gross ones and the combo was perfect. It came out of the oven and was gorgeous, but sadly, already dark outside. Some of these pictures are from the next day when I reheated the leftovers in the toaster oven. It was still delicious.

I started by whipping up this crust recipe from All Recipes. Instead of rolling it out, I just spread it with my fingers on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. This left the crust thicker at the edges and took way less time.

While the dough was rising, I sauteed the mushrooms, and then the asparagus in a bit of butter and olive oil, braising the mushrooms in a little water for a few minutes to make sure they kept their fullness. I sprinkled them generously with garlic.

I spread some melted garlic butter on the spread out dough, topped it with cheese and the veggies and popped it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 425. Senor and I stuffed ourselves silly on this gooey, delicious spring pizza.

Mushroom Asparagus Pizza

1 pizza crust (I used this recipe but feel free to use a packaged pizza crust)

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 large bunch of asparagus, washed and cut into pieces

2 cups of baby mushrooms (more as desired), wiped clean and cut into halves

3 Tablespoons butter, divided

1 Tablespoon olive oil

powdered garlic

Heat your oven to 425º.

Follow the directions for your crust recipe and spread it out on a large baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray and sprinkled with cornmeal.

In a saute pan, add 1 Tablespoon of butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Stir occasionally and make sure each mushroom is evenly coated in butter. Add a few tablespoons of water so the mushrooms braise slightly and absorb some of the moisture. Season with garlic powder as desired.

When the mushrooms are mostly done, remove from heat and set aside in a separate bowl. Add the olive oil and asparagus to your saute pan. Saute lightly with plenty of garlic. When the asparagus has turned bright green but is still firm, add the mushrooms back in and remove from heat. Stir the two together to incorporate all of the flavors.

In a small Pyrex, add two tablespoons of butter and plenty of garlic. Feel free to use garlic salt, garlic powder, or a combo of both. Melt in the microwave and stir to mix. Pour the butter and garlic mix over your crust. Spread evenly with a pastry brush or clean fingers.

Top the buttery crust with shredded cheese. Carefully add your mushrooms and asparagus to the top of the cheese, spreading them evenly and making sure the edge pieces have plenty of toppings.

Pop in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove once the cheese is lightly golden in the center of the pizza. If the dough in the center is slightly doughy, let it sit on the cookie sheet while you serve the outer pieces and let it finish cooking on the tray.


Bacon Blue Cheese Orzo

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I asked Senor the other day what his favorite meal is. Or rather, what’s his favorite thing that I feed him. He thought about it for a long time and decided, it wasn’t really a question he could answer so simply. There were a lot of factors to consider. Is it summer or winter? Do I want a quick dinner that we can eat often? Or a special meal that takes hours of preparation? To sum up, he gave me a pretty long list. I take it as a good sign that he enjoys my cooking so much, however it does make it harder to surprise him with his ‘favorite dinner’ when I feel like being nice.

Luckily, I know him pretty well. I can tell you that for his birthday, we’ll definitely have steaks off the grill since it’s in August and grilled steaks and corn with salad and garlic bread is a perfect summer celebratory meal. I also know that anything he expresses delight in is on his ‘favorites’ list. The good news is, he’s pretty easy to please food-wise and I think I do a decent job of mixing up our dinner menu so that we never get tired of eating the same things over and over again. So in general, if I have a few of his favorite ingredients and I’m making something we haven’t had for at least two weeks, he’s probably going to be pretty psyched.

Last night I wanted to make him a nice dinner. He finished his semester and got better grades than he’d thought he would which is excellent. He also scrubbed the kitchen and the bathroom, did the laundry, bought bread and filled my gas tank…..all without me asking. Feel free to be jealous. 🙂 So a nice dinner was definitely in order.

Last night was also the start of my summer slow-pitch league which meant that it would have to be a quick and easy dinner that would require very little work on my part. Pasta is the easy, obvious choice here.

I took this recipe and tweaked it to make it faster and more savory. And I used Senor’s favorite pasta, Orzo. This dinner has five ingredients. 5. That is all. You don’t need anything else. Orzo, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese and green onions. The end. So simple. So delicious. Senor devoured his bowl. How could it not it had some of his favorite things.

First, orzo. It’s pasta that looks like giant rice. It’s easy to cook and easy to spoon into your mouth. Perfect right? I love whole wheat orzo and eat it almost daily. One serving of 195 calories has 7 grams of fiber. And it doesn’t taste bad like most whole wheat pasta. Sadly we are out of the whole wheat variety so I used the regular kind. It’s still delicious, just less fiber-ific.


  Blue cheese. I went to SuperTarget last Saturday around 9:30 am. What I encountered was like a new dimension. At that hour, all of the shelves are full. And the clearance food is still hanging around. Yes. Clearance food. Like 2.5lb bags of blue cheese crumbles for $3.06. Target, to my knowledge, doesn’t usually sell 2.5lb bags of cheese. They leave that sort of thing to Costco. But there, wedged in the cheese display were giant bags of crumbled blue cheese. Originally $10, now $3. I did what any self-respecting food blogger would do. I bought two bags. We now have 5lbs of blue cheese.


The even better news? It’s from a farm in Wisconsin so it didn’t get shipped in from Peru. I’m just kidding. Cheese doesn’t come from Peru. It comes from China. Along with everything else. I digress.

Senor was pretty excited about the 5lbs of cheese and given his love of orzo, I realized our nice, speedy dinner was right in front of me. Orzo tossed with roasted tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese and green onion.


You just need one skillet and one sauce pan and about 15 minutes. Amazing right?

Bacon Blue Cheese Orzo
Serves 2

1 cup dry Orzo

4 slices bacon

1 cup blue cheese crumbles

4 green onion stalks, chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes

Fry your bacon over medium-high heat in a large skillet. At the same time, bring 1 cup of orzo to a boil and cook until soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Chop the bacon into small pieces.

Remove the cooked bacon to a paper-lined plate. Retain the bacon fat in your pan! Add the pint of tomatoes to the bacon fat.

Make sure to stir them occasionally and don’t be concerned if they start splitting and spitting in the hot pan. They’re supposed to do that.

Cook the tomatoes until the skin starts to wrinkle and there are spots of char appearing on their skins.

Add the orzo, tossing carefully. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so nothing sticks. You want the orzo to be coated in the bacon fat and tomato juices.

Once well-coated, turn off the heat. Add the blue cheese, green onions and bacon to your skillet and mix using a spatula. Make sure everything is well incorporated.

Serve immediately topped with a few extra crumbles of cheese and onion and, if you choose, some garlic bread.



Mascarpone Dill Pasta with Grilled Mahi Mahi and Lemon Asparagus

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Last night I whipped up a delicious dinner. I went on a bit of a cheese-making kick recently when I discovered that both ricotta and mascarpone are ridiculously easy to make and, um, I love cheese. Then, Foodbuzz announced a contest with a prize trip to Italy. Interesting. How could I possibly combine an excess of cheese with an original recipe for Italian food? So easily. So deliciously. Remember when I said the brisket tacos were the best thing I’d ever made? This pasta gives the tacos a run for their money.

The contest is to make a recipe for a meal that would use Barilla tortellini. I wanted to make something that would be yummy with both tortellini or spaghetti. Mostly because I had spaghetti on hand. Obviously I wanted to use some of my homemade cheeses as well. Of all cuisines, Italian is my favorite kind to improvise, create and perfect. We do a lot of Italian cooking and eating in my family which you’ve probably noticed with the homemade ravioli and the sheer quantity of pasta recipes on this blog already. In most cases, I would rather cook Italian at home and not go out for it. Then again, how many really outstanding Italian restaurants are there in Minnesota? There are a few. But not a ton. For cuisine that can be amazingly delicious and easy to throw together, I’m all about creating my own inventions. Until I get to Italy of course. Which will be happening one way or another. Then I’ll leave it to the professionals.

So. I had a fresh container of mascarpone cheese. I had spaghetti noodles and a filet of Mahi Mahi. What to do? Obviously, the answer was to combine these things into a tasty recipe. This recipe was definitely inspired by the traditional Italian combination of salmon in a mascarpone sauce. Although I did combine cheese and fish, I wanted to make it a little more unique. And, easily adaptable for any kind of noodle, including a yummy cheese-and-spinach filled tortellini.

In addition to mascarpone, I used plenty of lemon juice, fresh baby dill, Italian parsley, fresh garlic and shallots in the sauce. The result was a creamy sauce that was light and flavorful. The grilled mahi mahi had a milder flavor than salmon would have, so the flavors in the sauce were really able to stand out. Tossed together with sauteed crimini mushrooms and red onion, the whole dish was really delicious. Maybe almost addicting. Senor just mentioned, “If I saw that on a menu, I’d totally order it.” Excellent. My top critic approves. I definitely want to try this on tortellini sometime, I think the creamy, lemony sauce would compliment a cheese-stuffed pasta pretty well.

I topped off the pasta with a spoonful of fresh mascarpone and a few slices of fresh tomato. For a light, seasonal side dish, steamed asparagus with lemon was perfect. Something about spring and the approaching summer months makes me want to put lemons in everything. So light and crisp!

Mascarpone Dill Pasta with Mahi Mahi

6 oz. pasta noodles

1 cup mascarpone (feel free to buy the prepared kind!)

2 lemons

7 oz. Mahi Mahi (any white fish will work here too)

1 cup crimini mushrooms (or other mushrooms, button or portabella work well)

1/2 red onion

1 garlic bulb

1 shallot

fresh baby dill

fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

1 medium tomato

1 tablespoon olive oil

kosher salt, black pepper

I used my wok to create this dish. It really helped to be able to toss everything together quickly and easily.

Start by getting your pasta ready. Boil, drain, and set aside until you’re ready to mix it in.

While the pasta is boiling, prepare your fish filet. Place fish in a skillet or on a grill pan that’s been sprayed with olive oil to prevent sticking. Cook the fish on medium-high heat until cooked through. It should easily flake wtih a fork.

Prepare your veggies and herbs all at once. Roughly chop the mushrooms and red onion. Mince the shallots and garlic by using a hand chopper. (This will save you SO much time!)

Add the olive oil to your skillet or wok and heat on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic, tossing to keep from burning or sticking. Once the garlic starts to brown lightly, add the onions and mushrooms and toss. Make sure to gently toss the mixture every 30 seconds or so to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of your pan.

Chop a few bunches of parsley and dill. Mix the chopped herbs into three-quarters of the mascarpone, saving the rest for topping.

Once the mushrooms and onions are heated through and starting to brown, add the sauce mixture to the pan, turning the heat to medium-low. Squeeze half of a lemon into the pan along with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper and give a quick stir. Let the onions, mushrooms and sauce simmer on low while you ready the fish.

Place the fish on your cutting board and chop it into slightly larger than bite-sized pieces. Add the fish and your cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss gently to incorporate the sauce and vegetables. Place the cover on your skillet and let the mixture heat over the low flame for five minutes.

Once warmed through, serve immediately. Garnish with an extra spoonful of mascarpone, fresh sliced tomatoes and a pinch of Italian parsley. Serve with a side dish like steamed lemon asparagus or broccoli rabe.



Pasta with Clams

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This is such a traditional pasta staple, you can find it in almost any restaurant. Linguine and clams in white wine sauce or linguine and clams in red sauce, both are basic, tasty dishes that, quite honestly, are overpriced. A couple of times I’ve had this dish in a restaurant and they actually give you the full clam, shell and all. Most of the time, not so much. Usually you get clams that have been chopped and diced past recognition and you still end up paying for the premium seafood entree. Lame.

If you live on a coast, or anywhere near enough to the ocean that you can get clams raw, in their shells, cheaply and easily you should do it. I live in Minnesota and while I can quickly and easily get clams, they aren’t ‘cheap.’ Not at all. So I stick to the canned kind. Maybe someday for a special occasion I’ll venture out and get the ‘good’ kind. I can just imaging how delicious this pasta would be with giant chunks of clam instead of the canned, tiny ones I always use. 



The nice thing about Bumble Bee brand canned clams is that they’re wild caught off the US coast line. This pasta dish is just as easy to make as you’d expect, there’s just a little bit of chopping but most of cook time is take up by boiling the noodles. The other great thing about this pasta is that you’re likely to have everything you need on hand, so long as you keep a can or two of canned clams in your pantry. You don’t have to include all of the items I used, and you can definitely add extra things too, depending on what you have and what you feel like. Some yummy additions might be mushrooms, fresh basil, broccoli, or snap peas.  


Pasta with clams

Makes 3-4 servings

8 oz. dried pasta like linguine or spaghetti

2 cans diced clams in clam juice

1/2 cup white wine

2 Tbls. Olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups baby spinach

1 orange/yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

Start your pasta boiling. I used 4 oz of spaghetti and 4 oz of basil linguine. The linguine was green before cooking but sort of faded in color once soft. I was excited to see the green and white pasta on my plate but alas, it wasn’t nearly as pretty as I thought it’d be. Oh well.

Once your noodles are going, pour your olive oil into a large skillet and heat over a medium flame. Mince your garlic cloves with a hand chopper if you’ve got one (so easy!) or smash and chop it up with a knife. Add to the oil and saute until the delicious smell coming from the pan is strong enough to make a grown man in the other room cry. (Hee!)

While the garlic is cooking, chop up a yellow bell pepper and a medium sized tomato into small pieces. Add them to the garlic and give a toss.

Crack open your canned clams and dump them, juice and all into the skillet. Season with some garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and any other seasonings you want. (Crushed red pepper and basil are good additions)

Add the white wine and bring the mixture to a light simmer, stirring to keep it from sticking.

As soon as the noodles are tender, drain and rinse them well. Let them dry for about a minute, then add them to the  simmering mixture in the skillet. Using tongs or salad utensils, toss the noodles in the skillet so the vegetables, clams, and sauce is well coated over the noodles. Let cook until heated through, tossing as you go.

Serve with shredded Parmesan and fresh black pepper.