Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta and Parmesan
Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, :: Prosciutto and Parmesan
Serves :: 4
8 oz (1/2 box/bag) tubular pasta (I used casarecce here, thank you Eataly!)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 slices prosciutto, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 small chili pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
Cook pasta for 11-13 minutes in salted boiling water.
While water is boiling, add olive oil to pan and cook garlic for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium-high and add Brussels sprouts and chicken broth. Saute for 5 minutes, add prosciutto, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until sprouts are soft, about another 7 to 8 minutes.
In a separate small saucepan, combine butter, milk and cheese over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and allow cheese to fully melt.
Drain pasta and add back to pot. Toss pasta with Brussels sprouts mixture and cheese sauce and serve.
In the Kitchen :: Ricotta Gnocchi with Fava Beans, Chili and Mint
Forgive the mediocre photos (you can only do so much with florescent kitchen lighting), but this dish totally stands on it's own. Not to toot my own horn, but yes, it's a pasta dish and yes, it's a must. Fresh ricotta is one of those delicious treasures that make any recipe turn into something spectacular - particularly when the ricotta is from Salvatore Brooklyn - ridiculously smooth and rich yet not heavy. As a quick side note, I had a bit of the ricotta for a quick breakfast last weekend topped with chopped pecans and drizzled with honey, oh wow. Simple but unbelievable and quite satisfying when I had about 30 seconds to get out the door.
Back to the ricotta gnocchi...this is certainly a more indulgent dinner, but it's full of fresh fava beans to pack in something green and if you serve it up as a side, it works quite well into a balanced meal. The addition of mint gives it a nice springtime spike of flavor and brightness. And when it comes to homemade pasta, you can feel quite accomplished without spending hours in the kitchen - it's fairly simple to make and doesn't require a pasta machine. Try it...trust me.
*Fyi...you can find Salvatore Brooklyn ricotta at Eataly, the Brooklyn Flea and Essex St Market at Saxelby Cheese among other local stockists. Try out their Sicilian co-op olive oil as well, well-priced with a great, fruity flavor.
Ricotta Gnocchi :: with Fava Beans, Chili and Mint
Serves :: 2
8 oz fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup fava beans, blanched and peeled
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 stalks spring garlic, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 to 2 small red chilies, seeded and finely sliced
zest of 1/2 lemon
extra parmesan or pecorino Romano for serving
To make the gnocchi, combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add in the flour and form into a dough. *Make sure that the ricotta is somewhat dry - if it's quite wet or liquidy, squeeze out excess liquid by straining it in cheesecloth. Place mixture in the fridge to chill for about an hour.
Separate gnocchi dough in 2 and roll out on a well-floured surface with floured hands into ropes about 1 thick. Create squared off edges by lighting pressing on the ropes. Cut gnocchi about 1 1/2 inches in length.
Bring salted water to a boil (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts of water). Cook gnocchi in 2 batches about 3 to 4 minutes each. Strain and set aside, leaving some pasta water behind.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add in gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, fava beans and remaining ingredients and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes until gnocchi is golden brown. Serve with extra grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese.
Back, and Blogging from the Beach
I'm not sure how it always happens, but August-which is supposed to be one of the quietest months of the year-turns out to be one of my busiest. Planning for September and all that comes with fall is in full effect right now. Thankfully, I'm able to take mini breaks here and there so I don't burn the candle on both ends. I often head to the beach for relaxation...and then to the kitchen. Cooking can surprisingly be a fantastic stress reliever. Tuning the rest of the world out and tuning into a few ingredients, zoning out and letting your creative juices flow. So here's a peek at what my good friend Lauren and I whipped up last night...sourcing fresh ingredients from some of our favorite farmstands and a little seafood shop on the East End. Lobster's certainly not something I purchase often given the hefty price tag, but at least once a summer, it's a nice indulgence, without a ton of calories. And while summer herbs are still kicking, there's nothing better than a light summery pasta to pair with seafood. So, if you're looking for an inspiring meal as summer starts coming to a close, here it is...quick and simple enough that it won't keep you in the kitchen all weekend long.
Steamed Lobster with :: Basil-Lemon Linguine
Serves :: 4
2 1 1/2 lb lobsters
8 oz linguine (about 1/2 a package)
2 cups fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
*compound butter for lobster: 1/2 stick butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons minced chives, juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno
Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot and steam lobsters for about 10-12 minutes.
For pasta, cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water for 4-6 minutes until al dente. For the lemon-herb pesto, add basil through lemon zest in a food processor and blend until slightly chunky. Season additionally with salt and pepper if desired. Toss with linguine.
Serve lobster with chive butter for dipping.
*Note, the additional dish pictured is a quick yellow watermelon, feta, mint and jalapeno salad similar to the one featured here, just skip the step of grilling the melon.