Pastas/Noodles · Poultry

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Pesto is one of those things that is so versatile and can be made a gazillion different ways.

By switching up the types of nuts used or greens/herbs, you can alter the flavor of the pesto—giving your old favorites a new makeover.

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

I happened to be strolling through my local farmers market the other week when one of the produce stands was getting ready to close up shop for the night. The vendor was selling the remainder of his produce for a ridiculously cheap price and I somehow managed to walk away with two HUGE bags of fresh arugula for only a dollar. A DOLLAR!!!!!

The arugula was so fresh and delicious but I couldn’t finish it all. Not wanting my arugula to go bad before I could use it up, I decided to throw some of it in to make a version of pesto for some pasta. DEE-LISH.

The arugula offered an additional peppery flavor to the dish— not to mention the extra Vitamin C and potassium I was getting by enjoying the dark leafy green.

In addition to using it in pastas, this pesto would be wonderful over grilled proteins, mixed in with hummus, or even over pizza.

Speaking of pizza and pesto— Watch out for my next post where I share another variation of pesto to make a delicious pizza!

Have a great week, Friends!

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Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken
Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 Grilled Chicken Breast
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely diced
¼ Cup Shallots, sliced
½ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
1 Cup Arugula Pesto
1 Pound Farfalle Pasta, cooked al dente, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Arugula Pesto:
2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves
1/2 Cup Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare Pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts. Add arugula, basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

In a large and heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute mushrooms, garlic, and shallots until tender. Add chili flakes. Add the freshly boiled pasta to the pan and toss. Add pesto and toss to coat all items thoroughly. Add in a few spoonfuls of pasta water if you want a “looser” sauce consistency (optional). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate pasta and top with sliced chicken breast. Optional: Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Chili Flakes.

Breads · Pizzas

Whole Wheat Pizza with White Garlic Sauce

Whole Wheat Pizza with White Garlic Sauce

You’ll never hear me saying that I’m a “healthy eater“.

But I do like to believe that I’m a “balanced eater“.

Need some clarification?

Well, let’s say I stop by Fatburger for lunch (which, incidentally, is one of my FAVES!) and inhale a Baby Fat Burger with Bacon and an Egg. I’ll enjoy every bite and morsel without guilt because I know that night, I’ll fix up some type of grilled fish and veggies for dinner.

Balanced Eating.

Well, in my book at least.

And that’s how I see this pizza. I made a rich, creamy white sauce packed with roasted garlic and smothered it on top of a whole wheat pizza dough.

Balanced.

Or Delusional. Same difference, really. 🙂

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Whole Wheat Pizza with White Garlic Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Dough (From Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen):
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 packages dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 lukewarm water from the tap
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Flour for the work surface
Sprinkling of  cornmeal

White Garlic Sauce:
1/2 cup roasted garlic
3/4 cup milk, warmed
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 pinches dried oregano
2-3 pinches cayenne pepper, to preference
kosher salt

Toppings:
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup caramelized onions
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
whole basil leaves
parmesan cheese
red Chili Flakes

Prepare pizza dough. Place flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While mixer is running, gradually add water and knead on low speed until dough is firm and smooth, about ten minutes. Turn machine off. Pour oil down inside of bowl. Turn on low once more for 15 seconds to coat inside of bowl and all surfaces of dough with the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm spot until doubled in bulk, about two hours.

Preheat your oven to highest setting, 500° or 550°F. If using a pizza stone, place stone in oven on bottom rack, preheat oven one hour ahead.

When dough is nearly risen, begin making the sauce. In a pan, melt the butter into the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour—combine and cook for a 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the heated milk, careful to not let any lumps form. Continue cooking and whisking for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened to desire consistency. Remove from heat and stir in oregano, cayenne, parmesan cheese, and roasted garlic. Taste and add salt as needed. Set sauce aside.

Punch pizza dough down, cut in half. On generously floured work surface, place one half of dough. By hand, form dough loosely into a ball, stretch into a circle or desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the formed dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and spread the sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ -inch border around the perimeter. Top with the caramelized onions, sliced mozzarella and the chiffonade of basil. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Serve the pizza with additional fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

Appetizers/Small Plates · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Bruschetta with Smoked Mozzarella Cheese

Bruschetta with Smoked Mozzarella Cheese

For a good chunk of my life, I didn’t like tomatoes.

I thought they were mealy and rather “bleh” in flavor. I’d pick them out of salads, burgers, well….pretty much out of everything.

And you know what the problem was? For the first 20+ years of my life, I was eating BAD tomatoes!

Because when you take a bite out of a gorgeous tomato at its peak in the season, it’s absolutely delicious! They’re sweet and juicy with the right balance of acidity. And last summer, I even found myself growing the most beautiful Early Girl Tomatoes via our Topsy Turvy. (For the record, the Topsy Turvy is awesome!)

Needless to say, I was missing out for so many years!

 

 

Bruschetta with Smoked Mozzarella Cheese

One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes are in Bruschetta. The simplicity of ingredients paired with the herbaceous basil  really highlights the true flavor of the tomato. On its own, it’s quite fabulous but I decided to add a spin by throwing in some smoked mozzarella cheese I stumbled on at my local specialty market. It was perfect!

And on warm summer nights like we’ve been having, I could eat Bruschetta every day! Mom would be proud that I’m eating my veggies 🙂

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Bruschetta with Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
Serves 4 as an Appetizer or 2 for a Light Meal

Ingredients:

1½ Cups Tomatoes, diced
½ Cup Smoked Mozzarella Cheese, cubed
¼ Cup Fresh Basil, leaves torn
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced or grated
1 Tablespoon Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

In a bowl, mix together the tomatoes, cheese, basil, garlic, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Serve with your choice of flat bread or toasted baguettes.

Seafood

Grilled Shrimp Risotto

Shrimp Risotto

Summers in San Diego are pretty awesome.

They’re filled with gorgeous sunshine, lazy days lounging at the beach, deliciously fresh produce, and warm afternoons sipping on chilled white wine. Perfection.

To pair with a lovely Chenin Blanc I had chilling in the fridge, I decided to make a tummy satisfying Grilled Shrimp Risotto. The wonderful light “crunch” texture from the shrimp balances so well with the creamy risotto. And although you may think otherwise, it’s surprisingly light making it a perfect summer time dish.

Leave it to me to decide on what dish to make based upon what adult beverage I’m drinking. 🙂

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Grilled Shrimp Risotto
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and peeled
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
¼ teaspoon red chili flake
4 cups shrimp stock*
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ cup white onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced, divided
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil, chili flakes, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon garlic, thyme and shrimp. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Heat a grill pan to medium high and cover lightly with cooking spray. Grill shrimp until they turn pick about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and tent with a piece of foil.

Meanwhile, heat the shrimp stock in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and remaining garlic to the skillet. Cook until items are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque.  Stir in wine and cook until the liquid is nearly all evaporated.

Ladle in 1 cup of the broth into the rice. Simmer and slowly stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to simmer and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy–approximately 20 minutes in total.

Gently fold the grilled shrimp into the risotto. Stir in Parmesan cheese and cook briefly until the cheese has melted. Check for seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Spoon risotto into dishes and top with chopped parsley before serving.

*The Shrimp Stock is a key component in layering the shrimp flavor throughout the entire dish. It can be made by simmering 2½ quarts of water with shrimp shells, 1 onion roughly chopped, 2 carrots roughly chopped, 2 cups celery roughly chopped, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and a generous amount of sea salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, strain and use accordingly.

Pastas/Noodles · Pork · Poultry

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Okay, I confess. I didn’t really come up with this pasta dish on my own. It’s actually my interpretation of Pasta Pomodoro’s Penne Portobello which I just L-O-V-E.

Italian Sausage, chicken, mushrooms—all in a garlicky cream sauce. How could it not be Delizioso?

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

In addition to the criminis, I used porcini mushrooms and its liquor for an extra level of earthiness to the dish.  I also threw in fresh arugula leaves at the very end for a bit of freshness and peppery flavor. And although this is technically a cream sauce, you’d be surprised how light it all was.

Bon appetito!

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Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

¾ Pound Penne Pasta
2 Links Spicy Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Boneless Chicken Breast, sliced
2 Cups Loosely Packed Arugula
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Hot Water
1 Cup White Wine
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tablespoons Shallots, chopped finely
3 Whole Garlic Cloves, diced finely
¼ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and cook the penne pasta just shy of al dente.

Place the dried Porcini in a bowl with the hot water. Allow the mushrooms to reconstitute—about 10 minutes. Squeeze out extra liquid from the Porcinis (saving the liquid) and roughly chop them.

Heat olive oil in a very large heavy pan (or pot) over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add Italian sausage to the pot and use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces. Once the sausage is barely pink, add the chicken. Continue cooking until both are done. Use a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate covered with paper towels.

Using the same pan, lower the heat to medium and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add garlic, chili flakes, and both mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender. Stir in wine and liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in–being careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the liquids until it is reduced by half. Stir in the cream and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Return the sausage and chicken to the pot and add the cooked penne. Stir until all the penne has been coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from the heat and toss in the arugula leaves. Toss until the leaves are just wilted. Serve and Enjoy!

Breads

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

 

Remember that bread-baking kick I was on a few weeks ago?

Yup……still on it.

Told you I needed an intervention. 🙂

But in my defense, I think Focaccia could be considered almost “pizza-like”.

 

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

 

I stumbled upon this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck awhile back and was happy to give it a spin. Dara’s site is fabulous and chock-full of delish recipes! And this focaccia is no exception.

It came together quite easy and the flavors were well balanced.  I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes on hand and decided to substitute them with sundried tomatoes—a tasty alternative! Just be sure to allow the focaccia to bake for 2/3 of the cooking time before adding the sundried tomatoes—or else they’ll burn! And that is definitely No Bueno.

As for my bread-baking obsession, I assure you that it’s currently under control.

Well….temporarily at least. I am ALL out of yeasts. 🙂

 

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Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Tomato & Rosemary
From Cookin’ Canuck

Ingredients:

1 Package Dry Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Teaspoon Honey
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, divided
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Sundried Tomatoes, sliced
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, needles removed from stem
1/3 Cup (packed) Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

In a medium bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and honey. Let rest until yeast blooms and bubbles form on top, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove dough from bowl and press it into a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking sheet until it touches the edges. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough. Drizzle the dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let rest until the dough becomes puffy, about 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion slices, cover and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Top the dough with caramelized onions, rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and salt. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes and add sundried tomatoes. Return to the oven and continue baking until the focaccia is golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack. Cut into pieces and serve.

Vegetables/Vegetarian

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

 

Over the years, I have grown a deep adoration for risotto. Creamy, rich and perfect as a side dish or entrée. The slow cooking and continual stirring of the rice assists in developing the starch—which helps in the wonderful “unctuousness” of the dish. Pair that with my love for mushrooms and BADA-BING-BADA-BOOM—-you’ve got a happy tummy!

Earthy, rich, savory, and satisfying. All that’s missing is a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc—and as luck would have it, I just happened to have an open bottle of it since the recipe called for white wine.

Now if that’s not “divine kitchen intervention”, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Cheers, Friends!

 

Mushroom Risotto

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Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
½ Cup White Onion, diced, divided
2 Garlic Cloves, minced, divided
½ Pound Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (crimini, portobello, trumpet, oyster, etc.)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Tablespoon Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped, divided
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
Salt and pepper
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
½ Cup Warm Water
1 Cup Arborio Rice
¼ Cup Dry White Wine
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of parsley, and butter. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add the dried porcini mushrooms that were reconstituted in warm water, saving the liquid. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sauté 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.

Coat a saucepan with remaining 1 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute.  Stir in wine and liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in–careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Cook until it is nearly all evaporated.

Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and simmer, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to simmer and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy–approximately 20 minutes in total. Transfer the mushrooms (reserving about 2-3 tablespoons of them) to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook briefly until melted. Check for seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Spoon risotto into dishes and top with a few mushrooms and chopped parsley before serving.