Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

It’s the same old story: PASTA.  I love pasta.  There is no other way to say it.  I think I have only heard maybe once or twice in my lifetime someone say they didn’t like pasta.  Honestly my first thought was: “we can’t be friends, who doesn’t like pasta?!!!”.  Sad but true….that’s me making friends through food since 1969!  :/

So here I am making more pasta and trying to incorporate what I love most: roasted vegetables.  It’s my easy out on weeknights when I am hurrying to make dinner: cut all the veggies, put them in a large bowl, drizzle olive oil, a few good grinds of fresh pepper and a generous amount of kosher salt.  In the oven it goes at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or until all my other dishes come together…if we are being honest here!)  It truly is a no-brainer.  My kids absolutely love roasted vegetables, really any will work or a combination of a few or many…. a great clean your fridge type of dish.

I am sure you could substitute the broccoli but I think the flavor and color just makes a gorgeous anytime dish.  The finishing touch with the toasted breadcrumbs is absolutely fantastic.  I guess you could use store-bought breadcrumbs but you would be cheating yourself….trust me…the extra little step is worth it!  AND you can do it ahead of time!  🙂

This totally rocked my pasta socks!

This totally rocked my pasta socks!

Ingredients:

3 broccoli heads (one package usually has 2-3)

1 onion minced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t like spicy)

1 cup dry white wine (or chicken/vegetable broth if you prefer)

1/2 cup fresh basil roughly chopped

1 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs (see below on how to)

1 lb pasta (I like rigatoni for this dish but I think any short “fat” noodles will work)

Parmesan Cheese for serving

How to:

For the toasted breadcrumbs:

In your food processor pulse 2-3 pieces of country bread to make about 1 cup (this is not an exact science but it’s just delicious madness).  In a medium size pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add your fresh breadcrumbs and gently toast while stirring…I suggest you keep an eye on them…they tend to burn rather quickly!  Add 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  When nicely toasted set them aside until ready to use.

fresh breadcrumbs

fresh breadcrumbs

toasted breadcrumbs...oh the logic!

toasted breadcrumbs…oh the logic!

For your roasted broccoli: 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Set aside.

Cut your broccoli, including the stem (I cut about 1-2 inches off the bottom but I always use the stem).  It is DELICIOUS!  Taste the same as the florets and loaded with vitamins!  No waste!  Put in a large bowl, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper.  Toss everything well and put in your prepared baking sheet.  Put in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.  When done set aside until ready to use.

gorgeous broccoli!

gorgeous broccoli!

perfect!

perfect!

For the pasta and sauce:

Cook pasta according to package directions, but I would suggest you cook them very “al dente”.  They will continue to cook for a minute or so in the pan.  Keep 1 cup of your cooking water.

In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Add your pepper flake and gently heat while stirring (so nothing burns and gets bitter) for about 1-2 minutes.  Add your onions and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until soft and fragrant.  Add you garlic and cook for another minute or so.  Add your wine and gently simmer until reduced by about half.  Add your broccoli, chopped basil, cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of your pasta water.  Toss everything together well and let this cook for 1-2 minutes more.

this smells so amazing!!!!

this smells so amazing!!!!

now this is what pasta should always look like!

now this is what pasta should always look like!

Time to serve; put your pasta and broccoli in a serving plate (no really….) top with parmesan cheese and a big ol’ amount of toasted breadcrumbs.  Dive it!  So fabulous!  I could eat this everyday!

ready for action!

ready for action!

you know how I feel about the perfect first bite....magnificent!

you know how I feel about the perfect first bite….magnificent!

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Peace and We Have To Be Friends,

Isabelle

 

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce and Homemade Ricotta

Homemade Ricotta and Raw Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce and Homemade Ricotta

When I started typing this I was actually sitting at school subbing on the very last day of school.  Some people might call me crazy but I am happy to be here.  While the kids finished up their finals and turned in every books that weight down their famous backpack, I was reading “Delancey” by Molly Wizenberg.  Molly also wrote: “A Homemade Life “.  Both books are absolutely fantastic.  I couldn’t do her justice if I tried to explain how wonderful a writer she is.  I re-read a Homemade Life often.  It just makes me happy.  I will probably do the same with Delancey.

Back to being at school….it’s interesting to me that even when I get home totally exhausted from a day with kids I can’t wait to go back for more.  It is the strangest feeling.  I feel grounded when I am here with them.  I feel at home, which is odd for me, being a homebody is one of my proudest self-descriptions.  But here in these walls (different walls for different schools!) I feel OK, I am not wanting to run screaming for “my” home!  I can dream of food I want to make, plans for our home I have, write my never-ending to-do list, and so on….it’s good place for me.

On that day, I had a vision of pasta, it is a reoccurring vision.  Molly talks about Homemade Ricotta in her book and although I have never made it, I decided I should.  Simple as that, I should try to make ricotta.  What could possibly be better than Raw Tomato Sauce with delicious pasta and soon to be homemade ricotta?  Nothing.  Simple as that.

doesn't that look so delicious?

doesn’t that look so delicious?

Let’s start with the ricotta.  I followed Molly’s recipe, she found it here: Look I made that

Homemade Ricotta:

Ingredients:

6 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups cultured buttermilk

1 tablespoon salt

How to:

Combine everything in a large pot and cook over medium heat. When the mixture forms curds and the whey separates and becomes clear, turn off heat. Let it for 30 minutes for the curds to strengthen.

the start....seems like nothing but...

the start….seems like nothing but…

magical things are happening

magical things are happening

Set a strainer over a container and line with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Pour ricotta onto cheesecloth and let strain until a desired consistency is reached.

very high tech set up here!

very high tech set up here!

and just like that....

and just like that….

you have ricotta!

you have ricotta!

Stir in salt.

Raw Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients:

2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, finely chopped (keep all the juices)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (plus more for serving)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound spaghetti (I had whole grain pasta today)

Olive Oil, for serving

How to:

*Possibly the easiest sauce ever….

<3

In a large bowl combine your chopped tomatoes with the juices, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper (approx 1 teaspoon each).  Toss well, set aside.

my sauce: a no-brainer

my sauce: a no-brainer

Cook your pasta al dente, keeping 1/2 cup of cooking water.

Serving:  Toss your cooked hot pasta with your Raw Tomato Sauce, put into your serving platter and add dollops of your delicious ricotta, drizzle with olive oil, and more fresh basil.  I like to serve this with more ricotta in a side dish for the gluttons (like me…) who need to add ricotta to every single bite!

this pasta is ready to meet the ricotta (what?)

this pasta is ready to meet the ricotta (what?)

PERFECTION!

PERFECTION!

Note: if needed add a bit of your pasta cooking water when tossing pasta with the sauce.  It will give it a bit more body, if your tomatoes happened to not be very juicy.

Another Note: some people call raw tomato sauce: fresh tomato sauce, either way it’s the same thing.  Bottom line you are not using any heat and/or cooking this sauce.

it's all mine!

it’s all mine!

Printer Friendly Homemade Ricotta:  Homemade Ricotta

Printed Friendly Raw Tomato Sauce: Raw Tomato Sauce

Other delicious ricotta recipes:

Ricotta Chocolate Chips Ice Cream

Delicious Ice Cream

Delicious Ice Cream

Rolled Eggplant with Sausage and Mozzarella

 

I need to make this ASAP

I need to make this ASAP

Easy Cannoli

 

So Easy and So Yummy!

So Easy and So Yummy!

Peace and Simple,

Isabelle

 

Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

It’s always a good thing when I can say: “well, at least I learned something today and I can go to bed a little smarter”.  I guess in the grand scheme of life what I learned today won’t make or break me but I am glad I figured it out by myself.

Here’s the story….it’s not very riveting but it’s one I think you’ll appreciate.

I went to Aunt Joyce’s a few weeks back.  She was raving about this delicious sauce she gets at a local Italian restaurant: Pomodoro Sauce.  It can be used for dipping and of course to drown some serious pasta as well.  She told me I should find a recipe for it.  I started looking around.  I kept thinking: “it’s really just tomatoes….hmmmm….” then I stumbled upon a site that said: “pomodoro sauce simply means: tomato sauce”  AH!  Yep.  I had a AH! moment.  It makes sense.  Yet how you make your pomodoro sauce is important.  It’s all about the flavors, all about the tomatoes, and all about the consistency.

There you have it.

Tomato Sauce.

No need to reinvent the wheel…..well I did add the roasted garlic instead of just regular chopped garlic.  I find the roasted garlic adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the sauce.

my love of pasta and delicious sauce truly is infinite....amen!

my love of pasta and delicious sauce truly is infinite….amen!

Ingredients:

1 garlic head, top cut off (see pics below)

1 can 28-ounces crushed tomatoes: I went with the lovely and delicious Tuttorrosso by Red Gold (Indiana’s best!)

1 medium onion, minced

Olive oil

1/2 cup fresh basil (plus more for serving)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fresh parmesan cheese, for serving

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Put your garlic head in a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil.  Put in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

garlic, before

garlic, before

and after....fair warning your house will smell like love!  Garlic love that is ;)

and after….fair warning your house will smell like love! Garlic love that is 😉

In a large pan or dutch oven, heat your olive oil (about 1 tablespoon).  Add your onion and gently sautee for about 4-5 minutes.  Cut the tip of your garlic cloves and squeeze your roasted garlic in your onion mixture.  Gently stir and break up your garlic to blend with your onions.  Add your crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon each).  Bring to a simmer.  Roughly chop or tear your basil and add to your tomatoes.  Let this simmer for about 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  To serve top with fresh basil and a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese.

Perfect tomato sauce!  Simple perfect!

Perfect tomato sauce! Simple perfect!

I actually consider using this as my personal plate...

I actually considered using this as my personal plate…

this is the ticket to win a LOT of applause around your home!

this is the ticket to win a LOT of applause around your home!

Red Gold was so wonderful to send me some delicious Tuttorosso products.  Go check out their Facebook page: here

thank you Red Gold/Tuttorosso! I LOVE your products!

thank you Red Gold/Tuttorosso! I LOVE your products!

original

Enter to win some serious cool prizes!  It’s all about Traditions!  YUM!  I know one family tradition from my grandmother I will never forget is adding green olives to her spaghetti sauce.  OH MY GOODNESS….my absolute favorite…now if I could convince Mr. Man that olives are delicious!  😉

forget the olives for now...let's devour this madness!

forget the olives for now…let’s devour this madness!

Printer Friendly: Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

Note: if you do not like big pieces of garlic in your sauce you can squeeze it onto a cutting board and mince it prior to adding it to your tomatoes.

Peace and AH!

Isabelle

Napolitan Spaghetti

Napolitan Spaghetti

Napolitan Spaghetti

Intriguing is what I thought when I first read the short and sweet article in Saveur Magazine titled: Spaghetti Western .  I have to admit I was even more intrigued when I went online and read the recipe…ketchup….yup ketchup is part of the sauce.  Just recently I was watching Cutthroat Kitchen on Food Network (as they say: it’s Chopped for sociopaths and I LOVE BOTH SHOWS!) anywho….one of the tricks (or backstabbing) was to switch an opponent’s fresh tomatoes with ketchup in making chicken parmesan.  Essentially that implies that ketchup would be most devastating in a tomato sauce.  Yet here we have Saveur magazine publishing a recipe that pretty much zones in on ketchup as a key ingredient in a Spaghetti dish.  I had to try it.

Ingredients:

1 lb. spaghetti

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

¼ lb. white button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

¼ lb. cooked ham, cut into ¼”-thick strips about 2″ long

¼ lb. long beans or regular green beans, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces

¼ cup milk

¼ cup sake

5 tbsp. ketchup

1 tsp. paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Tabasco, for serving (optional)

How to:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Add ham and cook until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes more. Stir in long beans, milk, sake, ketchup, paprika, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add reserved spaghetti to saucepan and toss in sauce to coat. Cook until pasta is warmed through, 1–2 minutes.

the sauce (pardon the pics, but it was late and I had to make do with our lighting)

the sauce (pardon the pics, but it was late and I had to make do with our lighting)

yum! ready to dig in!

yum! ready to dig in!

Divide spaghetti and sauce between serving bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve with Tabasco, if you like.

picture taken the following day for leftover lunch! Still yummy!

picture taken the following day for leftover lunch! Still yummy!

Note: this dish was very very delicious, a touch of sweetness and great flavors all around.  If you have leftovers (as we did) you may want to add a touch of water or chicken broth when reheating!  Overall quite surprised and pleased I didn’t mind the ketchup!

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Peace and Don’t be a sociopath,

Isabelle

Sweet and Sour Potted Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Potted Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Potted Meatballs

I love these meatballs.  They are not your typical “asian” sweet and sour meatballs.  The meatballs people seem to throw together at parties, loaded with cranberry sauce or barbecue sauce.  Nope.  These are serious meatballs with a true jewish homecooking flavor.  I think my husband was a tad skeptical when I first told him I was making sweet and sour meatballs for supper.  I could imagine he was thinking: “oh dear, this is going to be too sweet, too sticky, too sugary for a real meal”.  I think he was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t serve him a deep burgundy sweet mess but a lovely and tangy with “just enough sweetness” gorgeous meatballs over perfectly roasted spaghetti squash!

scrumptious and such a different take on typical meatballs

scrumptious and such a different take on typical Italian meatballs

Adapted from:  Saveur Magazine

Ingredients:

For the sweet and sour sauce:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 29-ounce can tomato sauce

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the meatballs:

2 lb. ground beef (80% 20% or 85% 15%)

2 eggs

½ cup Italian breadcrumbs

½ cup Panko

1 medium onion, minced

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

How to:

For the sauce:

In a large Dutch oven, heat your oil, add your onions and saute over medium heat until tender and golden.  Add your tomato sauce and rinse out the can with ½ cup water to loosen any sauce that remains, adding the liquid to the pot.  Add your lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

delightful sauce

delightful sauce

For the meatballs:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine your ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, panko, onion, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Using your best tools, your hand, combine everything but do not over-mix.  Using a medium sizde scoop form your meatballs and place them on your prepared pans.  Put in your preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Once your meatballs are ready, bring your sauce back to the stovetop and add your meatballs to your sauce.  Bring to a simmer and let this cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

all aboard!

all aboard!

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

might look like nothing but these meatballs pack some serious flavors!

might look like nothing but these meatballs pack some serious flavors!

all in, time to simmer

all in, time to simmer

so so so gorgeous and delicious!

so so so gorgeous and delicious!

Serve over roasted spaghetti squash or pasta or rice, whatever pleases your crowd!

take a bite, trust me you will fall in love!

take a bite, trust me, you’ll fall in love!

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Peace and Sweet Mess,

Isabelle

Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce

Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce

Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce

I am in tomato heaven here at home.  I have processed and canned over 40lbs of tomatoes so far!  On top of which we have eaten BLTs pretty much twice a week for the past month or so.  I have made countless tomato salads and added them to numerous meals unbeknown to my family.  So why one more tomato recipe?  Simple: guilt.

The Dean and DeLuna Cookbook

The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook

Guilt that years ago I asked Grandpa Jack (Mr. Man’s paternal Grand Father) for The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook and I have NEVER made one single recipe from this cookbook.  NOT ONE!  But I HAD to have the darn cookbook.  So this morning I was rummaging through my cookbooks looking for some inspiration and there it was!  Looking right at me saying: “hey lady! I have awesome recipes from our awesome restaurant in awesome NYC”…… OK so we all know cookbooks don’t talk per say but they kind of do when you think about it….well, in my world they do!

Here is a super simple yet lovely and luscious recipe for all those scrumptious tomatoes we are enjoying this time of year!

oh my....pasta and tomato heaven!

oh my….pasta and tomato heaven!

this is pretty much the game plan...easy, right?

this is pretty much the game plan…easy, right?

Ingredients:

6 ounces fresh soft goat cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, (about 6 medium) peeled, seeded, and finely diced

salt and pepper to taste

4 to 6 tablespoons of oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes, shredded

Fresh basil for serving (not in original recipe but tomato and basil are BFFS!)

1 lb pasta of your choice (…I went with angel hair because that’s what I had!)

How to:

Mash together the goat cheese and olive oil in a bowl with a fork until smooth.  Gently stir in ripe tomatoes.

simple mash up!

simple mash up!

add the tomatoes...please use the proper size bowl....unlike me!

add the tomatoes…please use the proper size bowl….unlike me!

Toss with hot pasta.  (Add a little of the hot pasta cooking water if a thinner sauce is desired.)  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in bowls, and top each bowl with a tablespoon of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.  Serve immediately.

my love for pasta is unreal....this is PERFECT!

my love for pasta is unreal….this is PERFECT!

Note:  I didn’t even bother peeling my tomatoes.  They were fresh, delicious and perfect from my garden.  I didn’t get one single complaint about the “no-peeling” decision!  Also I served family style instead of individual bowls.  Easier, simpler and still tasty!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH MY WORD!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH MY WORD!

Love that this is a no cook pasta, perfect during the hot sweltering August days.  So timely!  🙂

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Peace and I Love My Garden,

Isabelle

p.s. I had plenty for leftover the next day and it was still mouth-watering and fabulous!

Note: Please go check out my recipe and other fabulous recipes here:

Romesco Sauce

Pasta with Romesco Sauce

Pasta with Romesco Sauce

Honestly I think there is about a million ways to make Romesco sauce.  They all look delicious and I really had no clue where to start.  I have eaten Romesco sauce.  I had plans on making Romesco sauce many many many times.  Yet here I am again trying to decide a starting point for this lovely little sauce.  It’s simple enough; stale bread, almonds (sometimes cashews), red peppers, tomatoes, some spices and VOILA!

After reading many (too many) recipes for Romesco sauce, I decided to add “more” roasted flavors to mine, and nothing from a jar (say like roasted red peppers that taste like nothing)!

This sauce took an interesting turn.  My husband made it on Sunday.  Sunday was an awesome day.  Sunday my husband and I left early to run a few errands.  Turns out we ran a LOT of errands, ended up having lunch at “Taco Smell” and were picking corn at our friend Elaine’s place around 1ish….we picked a LOT of corn.  I decided around 3ish that it would be perfect timing to start blanching, bagging and all the other stuff that involves having over 27 bags (each filled with about 4 cups of corn) ready for the long winter months!  Needless to say it was well over 6pm when I realized that nothing, and I mean nothing, was looking like dinner was in the works.  What’s a girl to do?  Give directions to her husband across loads of corn on how to make Romesco Sauce!  He stepped up and helped me out like a champion!  🙂

so delicious....ready for that first bite?

so delicious….ready for that first bite?

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers, cut into chunks

2 poblano peppers, cut into chunks

1 serano or jalapeno pepper

4 garlic cloves, peeled

4 medium size tomatoes, cut into chunks

1/2 cup almonds

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 slice country bread, preferably stale

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup olive oil

Pasta for serving (this makes enough for 2lb pasta….I made 1lb and use the leftovers for other delicious possibilities!)

How to:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine your bell peppers, poblano peppers, serano pepper, garlic, and tomatoes.  Add a couple tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to combine.  Put everything on your prepared baking sheet and roast in your oven for 25-30 minutes until soft, fragrant and roasted to perfection.  Let cool for about 10-15 minutes.

don't forget to keep all those lovely juices!

don’t forget to keep all those lovely juices!

Put your roasted vegetables in your food processor (we have a “ninja” and Matt LOVES to use it so we went with that) add your almonds, lemon juice, bread, salt, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, paprika and olive oil.  Pulse until smooth.  VOILA!  Wasn’t that simple?!  And It’s absolutely scrumptious.

before

before

and after....gorgeous!

and after….gorgeous!

Serve over pasta, as a dip for vegetables, as a pizza sauce, as a topping for chicken or fish, or tossed with roasted shrimp….oh my goodness so many ways to serve this amazing sauce.  I, of course, had to go with pasta….just like I judge cookbooks by their cookie recipes, I like to judge sauces on how well they make pasta feel like love….yep….pasta feels like love, especially when the sauce is heavenly!

I always put about 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce to cover the entire pasta and then add some more per serving

I always put about 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce to cover the entire pasta and then add some more per serving

Printer Friendly:  Romesco Sauce

one last look!  :)

one last look! 🙂

Peace and 27 bags of corn is a LOT of corn!

Isabelle

Tuna with Tomatoes and Capers

Tuna with tomatoes and capers

Tuna with tomatoes and capers

I saw this cookbook at my library (again).  I was just sitting there reading while the girls picked out their weekly reading.  Honestly I must say that Matt and I are always amazed and so proud of how much the girls read.  It is so cool to know they get excited to not only go to the library but also they absolutely love going to the half price book store!  They think it’s the best place on earth!  ANYWAY back to this cookbook I was reading.  I was just flipping through the pages and not really absorbing any of it until I cam across the picture for this Tuna with Tomatoes and Capers.  OH MY GOODNESS!  I started to drool!  I knew this was going to be something both Matt and I would completely love.  I wasn’t wrong!

The thing is that we have been loving these tuna steaks we buy from Trader Joe’s.  They are very good and the price is right.  They come frozen which isn’t a big deal other than when we try to grill them they turn out somewhat dry.  I have been on the lookout for new recipes to use the tuna steaks and I figure this would be the right one.  I wasn’t wrong!

Of course I had to change a few things and adapt the recipe to our liking and what I can find in our local stores.  Sadly we don’t live in the middle of Italy or New York City (not that I would ever want to live in NYC…sorry don’t send hate mail!) which means that I don’t always have access to “exotic or fancy” ingredients.  I made this as easy as can be in the hopes it would please everyone and be easy to duplicate.  I wasn’t wrong!

this sauce is absolutely incredible!

this sauce is absolutely incredible!

Ingredients:

4 tuna steaks, about 8-ounces each

6 garlic cloves crushed and roughly chopped

1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

4 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce about 26-ounce (depending on the brand, I like Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara)

1/2 cup capers, drained

Salt and Pepper to taste

Extra-wide egg noodles for serving (or really any type of pasta you like)

How to:

In a very large sautee pan heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Add your garlic and cook on medium low heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add your fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes.  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  (I could eat this stuff up all by itself….that would totally be a great recipe!)  Add your tomato sauce and gently bring to a simmer.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes until reduced slightly.  Add your capers and cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust your seasoning, capers tend to be salty so use a light touch.  Place your tuna steaks into the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.  Turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.  Serve tuna over past with lots of sauce.

sweating garlic is a beautiful thing!

sweating garlic is a beautiful thing!

simply divine!

simply divine!

a great sauce, I am certain you could add any protein and it would be amazing!

a great sauce, I am certain you could add any protein and it would be amazing!

simmering tuna steaks

simmering tuna steaks

Absolutely divine!  The sauce is so perfect for this fish and the steaks remain moist and loaded with flavors.  The capers add just enough saltiness and acidity to the entire dish, so scrumptous!

delightful healthy and quick...can't beat it!

delightful healthy and quick…can’t beat it!

Printer Friendly: Tuna with Tomatoes and Capers

Peace and Exotic,

Isabelle

Orzo Tuna Salad

Orzo Tuna Salad

Orzo Tuna Salad

For some weird reason kids in our family love Orzo pasta.  My daughters and both my nephews can’t seem to get enough of it.  I mean it’s just another type of pasta really.  But for some strange reason, they all dig in like crazy wild animals if we put a bowl of hot orzo drenched in butter and fresh parmesan cheese.

Bottom line, I always have plenty of orzo pasta on hand.  Trying to get away from butter and cheese, I thought it would be lovely to make a nice and healthy tuna salad with our orzo.  It is a summery, fresh and healthy lunch for Mr Man and I working from home on a lovely June day.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

1 pound Orzo pasta cooked according to package’s directions, cooled

1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts roughly chopped (I like large chunks I can see and taste)

2 5-ounce cans tuna in water, drained and flaked

1 12-ounce can tuna in oil, drained and flaked

1 bell pepper, diced (or 6 mini sweet peppers, diced see pics below)

2 tablespoons capers

5 green onions, chopped

For the dressing:

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Spinach, for serving

Arugula, for serving

Olive Oil, for serving

How to:

In a large (and I mean pretty large) bowl combine all salad ingredients.  Toss to combine.  Set aside.

no dressing...feeling kind of naked...(yikes!)

no dressing…feeling kind of naked…(yikes!)

In a small bowl combine your lemon zest, juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Using a whisk mix everything well.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Pour dressing over your salad.  Gently toss to combine.

adding dressing....feeling better already

adding dressing….feeling better already

action shot...OK not a great one but I was combining it all!

action shot…OK not a great one but I was combining it all!

Serve over a bed of spinach (for Mr Man) or arugula (for moi), add some fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Mr Man's lovely plate

Mr Man’s lovely plate

Inspired by Ina Garten: Couscous Tuna Salad

On a funny (to me) note:  Have you ever watched Ina Garten on the Food Network?  Or read any of her recipes?  If so you may have noticed that she always says: “use a good/quality olive oil or pasta or whatever…”  I always want to scream at the T.V. and says: “well, actually Ina I was going to use sub-par ingredients for this recipe, or just poor quality stuff all around”…. what the heck?  I mean I love Ina, she is a great cook/chef but the whole thing about telling us to use quality ingredients is (and you might have guessed this) another pet peeve of mine!

my little serving of deliciousness!

my little serving of deliciousness!

Printer Friendly:  Orzo Tuna Salad

Peace and Sub-par?  NEVER!

Isabelle

FYI:

Mini Sweet Peppers, girls love to snack on these little gems

Mini Sweet Peppers, girls love to snack on these little gems

Roasted Cabbage Pasta

Roasted Cabbage Pasta

Roasted Cabbage Pasta

It’s the simplest things that often make you the happiest.  I made roasted cabbage a few weeks ago because well…because I happened to have bought a cabbage and it was calling my name, wishing to get the heck out of my fridge and make something delicious.  In fact, that’s probably not really how all this happened but truthfully I could eat cabbage on any given day.  I fear cabbage kind of gets a bad rap.  I, myself, find it perfectly delicious in anything and everything.  I have never turned down stuffed cabbage or cabbage soup.  It’s all good in my book.

Here is a super simple way to eat cabbage, this recipe only has a few key ingredients and that’s what makes it so perfect for a family meal.  I find roasted cabbage perfectly delicious by itself but tonight I thought I should branch out for all you foodies out there I added a little umph to it!  Umph as in pancetta and pasta….and a little vino for good measure!

I like the small little shells because they hold the lovely saucy goodness!

I like the small little shells because they hold the lovely saucy goodness!

Ingredients:

1/2 green cabbage cut into large chunks (about 1 lb.)

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon each salt & pepper

1 lb pasta (small is what I like for this dish but it’s your pasta…your choice)

4 ounces diced Pancetta (you could substitute with diced bacon)

2 garlic cloves finely diced

1/2 cup dry white wine  (or substitute with low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth)

1/2 to 1 cup of pasta liquid

Shaved Parmesan for serving

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss your cut cabbage, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put in a large baking dish or baking sheet.  Put in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

cabbage ready!

cabbage ready!

cabbage done!

cabbage done!

Cook your pasta according to the package’s direction.  Keep 1/2 to 1 cup of cooking liquid.

In a large saucepan brown your pancetta until crispy.  Drain on a plate with paper towels.  Do not clean your pan.  Add your garlic and cook on medium-low for about 2 minutes.  Add your roasted cabbage, toss everything to combine.  Add your wine and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until reduced slightly.  Add your cooked pasta and your pancetta, toss everything together.  You may want to add a little bit of your pasta water if you like it more saucy (or if you are more saucy!) I added about 1/4 cup of pasta liquid.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve with shaved parmesan.

pancetta....it's just so lovely

pancetta….it’s just so lovely

things are moving along pretty well!

things are moving along pretty well!

lovely pan full of deliciousness!

lovely pan full of deliciousness!

the sweetness of the roasted cabbage, the saltiness of the pancetta...it all works perfectly!

the sweetness of the roasted cabbage, the saltiness of the pancetta…it all works perfectly!

I could eat this all day, everyday!  First off, I love everything roasted, it simply brings out the best in veggies.  Kind of makes their personality shine!  Second, it’s pasta and pancetta!  That right there should be illegal!  But it’s not so we are in luck!

Printer Friendly: Roasted Cabbage Pasta

Peace and Be Saucy…life is too short!

Isabelle