Tag Archives: main course

Rosemary and Porcini Crusted Lamb Loin Chops

Lamb tf

A rub of crushed dried porcini mushrooms and finely chopped rosemary creates an umami-rich crust for lamb. I use a food processor to blitz the mushrooms before continuing to chop them by hand with the rosemary, resulting in a coarse rub. A spice grinder will create a finer crust.

Lamb cru tf

Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Lamb Loin Chops

Serves 4.

8 lamb loin chops, about 1 inch thick
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely ground dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Combine 2 tablespoons oil and the garlic in a bowl. Smear all over the lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
Thirty minutes before roasting, remove the lamb from the refrigerator. Combine the mushrooms and rosemary in a small bowl. Coat both sides of the lamb with the rub. Let stand at room temperature, 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof skillet. Add the lamb without overcrowding. Cook until brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to oven. Bake until cooked to desired doneness, 10 to 15 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Simple Suppers: Pasta with Bacon and Arugula

bacon arugula pasta tastefood

Friday Night Pasta – Spaghetti, Bacon, Arugula, Cheese

The busier I get, the more I crave simplicity. And the busier I get, the more elusive simplicity becomes. It’s time to take charge. While I might not be able to simplify my calendar or clear my work load with the snap of my fingers, and how I  wish I could simplify my clothes closet and garage storage with a Bewitching wiggle of my nose  – I can at least simplify my dinner. In fact, simple dinners are often the best. Minimal, fresh and light, composed in less than 30 minutes, these dinners do not skimp on flavor, and offer require double portions, because they taste so good. Many Italian recipes fall into this category. This recipe takes inspiration from Cacio e Pepe, the humble Roman dish consisting of pasta, olive oil, cheese and cracked pepper, glistening with reserved pasta water. Of course, since I can at best call myself a sometimes-simplifier, I couldn’t resist throwing in a few more ingredients for good measure. No one will argue with bacon, is my bet.

Spaghetti with Bacon and Arugula

I used spaghetti, because that’s what I had on hand. Bucatini or gemelli would work well, too. Serves 4.

8 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 to 3 cups fresh arugula

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the skillet. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and black pepper. Toast over medium heat until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then add 1/4 cup Parmigiano and stir to blend.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta 1 minute less than package instructions for al dente. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain the pasta.
Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup reserved water, the pasta, 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Pecorino to the pan, stirring and tossing constantly to melt the cheese and evenly coat the pasta. (If too thick, add additional water a little at a time to reach desired consistency). Remove from heat. Add the bacon, half of the breadcrumbs, and the arugula; toss to warm through. Serve immediately with remaining breadcrumbs sprinkled over the pasta.

Crispy Duck Banh Mi Sliders

Duck Sliders tastefood

In our multi-national family with previous addresses in 4 countries, we’ve adopted a hodge-podge of cultural traditions that we call our own when it comes to Christmas. In Danish style, we celebrate with a big dinner on the 24th, when we light live candles on our Christmas tree. The meal often includes duck and beef, surrounded by French favorites such as Pommes Dauphinoise and a climactic Buche de Noel. The 25th is decidedly more low key, perhaps with a foray into Chinatown for dim sum, or a lazy day of leftovers, smoked salmon and cheese. Luckily there is always some duck left over from the night before, which I stash in the back of the refrigerator for a more Asian inspired meal on the 26th or 27th. Duck reheats beautifully with a little help from some of it’s rendered fat, and when shredded it’s happily reinvented into spicy lettuce cups – or banh mi.

Shredded Crispy Duck Banh Mi Sliders with Pickled Carrot Radish Slaw and Spicy Aioli

These sliders are a firework of flavors and sensations. Shredded duck coated with a sweet and salty Sriracha glaze and crisped in the oven until caramelized is layered with creamy garlicky aioli, piquant veggie slaw, fresh cucumber and jalapeno heat. Here’s a recipe where you can use up any shredded duck meat, and if you don’t have any leftover duck lurking in your refrigerator, purchase duck legs confit and shred those for a luxurious step.

Slaw:
1 large carrot, cut in matchsticks
1 (4-inch) piece daikon radish, cut in matchsticks
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Spicy Aioli:
½ cup mayonniase
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Sriracha or Asian hot sauce

Duck:
8 ounces cooked and shredded duck leg meat (or confit)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or rendered duck fat)
1 tablespoon Sriracha or Asian hot sauce
½ teaspoon ground coriander

6 French-style dinner rolls or slider buns, halved crosswise
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
Lime wedges

Make the slaw:
Place the carrot and daikon in a bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the vegetables, then rub with your fingertips until vegetables soften, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and lime juice and stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Make the aioli:
Whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until use.

Make the duck:
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the duck in a small baking dish. Whisk the soy sauce, sugar, oil, Sriracha and coriander in a small bowl. Pour over the duck and mix to thoroughly coat. Bake in the top third of the oven until crisp and caramelized in parts, about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Assemble sliders:
Spread 1 to 2 teaspoons aioli on bottom bun half. Top with a layer of cucumber and then a mound of the carrot and daikon slaw. Top the slaw with shredded duck. Arrange jalapeno slices over the duck and top with cilantro sprigs. Spread another teaspoon of aioli on the top bun half. Repeat with remaining buns. Serve with lime wedges.

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Vegetable Skewers

chicken vegetable skewers~ Pomegranate Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Skewers ~

Everything tastes better on a stick. Skewered chicken, peppers and onions are a simple healthy and quick dinner that the whole family will enjoy and have fun eating. These skewers pack extra flavor with a marinade enriched with sweet and piquant pomegranate molasses. The sugars in the molasses help the chicken brown and crisp while grilling.  If you have the time, marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. If not, then simply let the chicken marinate at room temperature while you prepare the vegetables and soak the skewers.

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Vegetable Skewers

Pomegranate molasses may be found in the international aisle of most supermarkets.

Serves 4 to 6

Marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha or hot sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 medium red onions, cut in 1-inch chunks

10 (10-inch) bamboo skewers, pre-soaked 30 minutes

Whisk the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Set aside 1/3 cup for basting. Lightly season the chicken pieces with salt and black pepper. Place in a large bowl and pour the remaining marinade over and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours (or let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes).

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat or preheat the oven broiler. Thread the chicken on the skewers, alternating with onions and peppers.
Grill or broil until sides exposed to heat source are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and baste with reserved marinade. Continue to grill until the other side is golden brown, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Spaghetti with Sausage and Grape Tomato Ragout

sausage ragout pates
I  know it’s summer, but sometimes a nice meaty pasta dish just hits the spot. I’ve lightened up this ragout by adding fresh grape tomatoes to the sauce. As the sauce simmers, the tomatoes will begin to break down adding garden-fresh brightness to this satisfying dinner.

Spaghetti with Sausage and Tomato Ragout
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, cut in 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup medium-bodied red wine
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional

1 pound spaghetti
Grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté until golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat in the pan. Add tomatoes,  red pepper, garlic, oregano and chili flakes. Sauté 2 minutes. Add the wine. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the plum tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add sugar.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve hot with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with cheese and parsley.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Roasted Vegetable Lasagne
Shrimp Puttanesca
Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes and Breadcrumb Gremolata

Skillet Dinners: Spicy Sausage, Mustard Greens and Cauliflower

sausage greens tastefood

~ a farmers’ market bounty in a skillet ~

Last week I came home from the farmers’ market with an armful of mustard. I shop with my eyes and couldn’t resist the bunches of mizuna mustard leaves – frizzy purple, spiky red, scalloped green – not to mention their sunny flowers strung together in tidy bouquets. Since then, they’ve made themselves at home in my fridge, while I’ve reached for pinches and handfuls at each meal, tossing in salads, sprinkling as garnish. Yesterday was our last hurrah. I up-ended the remaining mustard into this quick one-dish skillet dinner, along with my other market acquisitions: spicy Italian sausages, violet-tinged baby cauliflower, orange cherry tomatoes and a few handfuls of curly kale for good measure.

Spicy Sausage, Mustard Greens and Cauliflower in a Skillet
Serves 4

Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces Italian sausages, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 cups cauliflower florets, any color works
Salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 generous bunches mustard greens and/or kale, tough stems removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage in one layer and cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. With a slotted spoon transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. If the skillet is dry, add 1 more tablespoon oil. Add the cauliflower and a sprinkle of salt; sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the greens, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, paprika and black pepper. Saute until the greens are tender and bright in color, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sausage. Cover partially, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm with couscous or farro.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes with fresh mustard:
Balsamic Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Pickled Mustard Greens from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook
Mustard Greens, Tofu and Chicken Soup from Viet World Kitchen
Grilled Shrimp and Mustard Green Salad from White on Rice Couple

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Pasta

Sausage Kale Pasta TasteFood~ Sauasage, Cannellini, Kale, Tomato, Parmigiano, Gemelli Pasta ~

It’s always a shock to our family food supply when school is out and the kids are suddenly home for 3 meals a day. Add to that one freshly minted 18 year-old performing landscape construction as a summer day job who actually requires 6 meals a day.

Faced with the prospect of whipping up a satisfying and filling dinner last week when our fridge was beyond bare to begin with (all the good stuff had gone to our annual beach BBQ feast) I had to think creatively and fast.  There was one overlooked packet of sausages that had escaped the BBQ unscathed, so I decided to prepare a sturdy meaty pasta dish, embellished with  the pantry’s cannellini beans and a few lone plum tomatoes rolling around on the kitchen counter. Luckily there was a bunch of curly kale in the fridge, and while tempted to make a salad just for me, I checked myself and dumped the whole lot into the pasta bowl. If this wouldn’t fill ‘em up nothing would.

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Pasta
Serves 4

1 small bunch curly kale, tough ribs removed, torn in bite size pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt

1 pound pasta, such as gemelli, fusilli, farfalle

8 ounces Italian sausages, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese, divided
Handful of Italian parsley, chopped

Place the kale, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Toss the kale with your hands while rubbing the oil into the leaves. This will help to soften them. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown on both sides, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, and black pepper. Cook, stirring once or twice until heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the pasta, kale, half of the cheese and the parsley. Toss to combine. Add more cheese to taste and serve any extra with the pasta.

If you like this, you might enjoy these easy pasta recipes from TasteFood:
Gemelli with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula
Spaghetti with Broccolini, Breadcrumbs and Chili Flakes
Orecchiette with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts

Smoky Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and Chickpeas

chicken chickpeas tastefood

~Smoky Roasted Chicken Breasts with Chickpeas, Grape Tomatoes, Cilantro~

Sometimes you know a recipe is a keeper. The minute I saw this chicken recipe in Bon Appétit I knew it would be great. Normally I change recipes up quite a bit, but in this case I only made a few minor tweaks – and ended up with a simple and flavorful dinner that I will be making again (and again). The ingredients are straightforward and likely already in your kitchen, and the whole dish may be prepared in less than 45 minutes – perfect for the weeknight. So file this one – you won’t regret it!

Smoky Roasted Chicken Breasts with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Cilantro

Slightly adapted from Bon Appétit. Serves 4 to 5.

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
4 large chicken breasts with skin, de-boned, 6 to 8 ounces each
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, divided (or Italian parsley)

Heat oven to 450°F.

Whisk oil, garlic, paprikas, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the oil to another bowl and whisk in the yogurt. Set aside until serving.

Place chicken, skin-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub all over and between skin and meat with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Place tomatoes, chickpeas and half of the cilantro in a bowl. Add remaining oil and stir to coat. Pour onto the baking sheet around the chicken. Turn to coat the chicken with any extra oil. Be sure to keep the skin side up for roasting. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.

Roast chicken in oven until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving plates or a platter and spoon the beans and tomatoes over. Garnish with cilantro and serve with yogurt sauce.

 

Broccolini Sausage Pasta

broccoli sausage pasta tastefood

~ Italian Sausage, Broccolini, Plum Tomatoes, Pecorino, Basil ~

This little pot of pasta is a quick and healthy weeknight dinner you can whip up in 30 minutes. It’s a great option when you want something fresh and substantial with minimal effort that relies on the pantry and freezer for ingredients. I had fresh broccolini spears waiting for use in my fridge and dipped into my stash of sausages I keep on hand in my freezer, because, well, one should always have a stash of sausages in the freezer. A can of Italian plum tomatoes and a box of pasta later, voila, we had a meal for 4.

Spicy Sausage, Broccolini and Tomato Pasta
Serves 4

1 pound pasta, such as gemelli, fusilli, penne
Extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage
3/4 pound broccolini, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed, torn in half if large
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slice in 1/4-inch pieces.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the same skillet and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add broccolini and sauté over medium heat until bright green but still crisp, about 1 minute. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, breaking tomatoes apart with a spoon. Return sausages to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook until thoroughly heat through. Remove from heat and pour over the pasta. Add basil and cheese and toss to combine. Serve immediately garnished with extra cheese.

Roasted Chicken, Asparagus and Beets with Farro and Parsley Coulis

Chicken Farro tastefood~ Chicken, Asparagus, Baby Beets, Farro, Parsley ~

If only we people could get along this well. This meal is the happy convergence of 5 simply prepared ingredients, each stand alone good in their own right, which magically conspire to create a wondrous, healthy and satisfying one dish meal. Sriracha marinated chicken breasts, olive oil roasted asparagus and baby beets nestle in a pile of hearty farro drizzled with a bright parsley coulis. A final squeeze of Sriracha electrifies and unites. Call it one stop shopping or an homage to Spring, this earthy and rustic meal is a vibrant balance of flavor and simplicity on a plate.

chicken farro beets tastefood

Roasted Chicken, Asparagus and Baby Beets with Farro and Parsley Coulis

The good news is that each component may be served on their own, next to each other or in a happy tangle of coexistence. The beets and asparagus may be served at room temperature. The parsley coulis is also delicious as a dip or smeared on crostini.

Serves 4 to 6

Chicken:
2 tablespoons Dijon style mustard
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 6 to 8 ounces each

Beets and Asparagus:
1 pound baby yellow beets, ends trimmed, scrubbed clean
1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
1/2 lemon

Farro:
3 cups chicken stock or water
2 cups farro
1 teaspoon salt

Parsley Coulis:
2 cups Italian flat leaf parsley
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar

Prepare the chicken: Whisk all of the ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Heat oven broiler (or grill). Remove chicken from marinade and arrange in one layer on a broiler pan. Broil until chicken is thoroughly cooked through, turning once or twice, 10 to 14 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove and cut breasts in half.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the beets. Heat oven to 400° F (200C). Place the beets in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Turn to coat. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool slightly, then cut beets in half.

Prepare the asparagus: Heat oven broiler. Arrange the asparagus in one layer in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Broil until asparagus are browned in spots and fork tender, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove from oven. Cool slightly, then cut in 1-inch pieces. Squeeze with juice of 1/2 lemon.

Prepare the farro: Combine farro, stock and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Add more salt to taste if desired.

Prepare the Parsley Coulis: Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until blended. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl.

To serve, divide farro between serving plates. Top with chicken. Scatter beets and asparagus around the chicken. Drizzle with some of the beet and chicken pan juices. Spoon coulis over chicken. Serve with Sriracha.