Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kale And Pasta Italiano...Pizza Too!!

    I love, love, love kale.....too bad it took me 48 years to figure this out. I have been trying to eat more healthy lately and I read that kale is what they call a super food. I spotted a bunch at a trip to my local farmers market and put it in my cart on a whim. It sat in my fridge for 4 day's until I got the courage to take it out and play with it, oh I am so glad I did. I cooked it up Italian style and the first night I put it on a pizza, the second night I tossed it with pasta. Here is what I did.
1 bunch of curly kale stems removed and torn into bite size pieces (estimating about 10 cups)
6-10 cloves of garlic to taste
1 cup sliced black olives
3 tablespoons of capers
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of water
salt, pepper and hot red pepper flakes to taste
pasta of your choice
Toss everything together in a large pot, cover and steam until tender to your liking, I cooked mine about 15 minutes. Boil Pasta and toss altogether. Yes it's that simple and oh so good!!! Here is what the pizza looked like the night before.
*I topped the pasta dish with a little fresh lemon zest, brightened the dish up beyond belief 
*the pizza is topped with the kale, brie and prosciutto

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shrimp And Pancetta Over Spinach Pappardella

  I love spinach pasta, I found some pappardelle at my favorite farmers market over the weekend so this is what I came up with on this pretty spring night in April.

1 lb of shrimp peeled and deveined 
1/4 lb of pancetta diced
3 handfuls of baby spinach
1/2 lb spinach pasta of your choice
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup of white wine, chicken stock or water
olive oil
salt, pepper and adobo

First crisp up the diced pancetta and remove from the pan to drain on a paper towel. Next season the shrimp with salt, pepper and adobo add a little oil to the pan, add the shrimp and sear on both sides, remove and set aside. Now add the butter to the pan melt it and deglaze the pan with wine, chicken stock or water, add the cream and simmer on low. Meanwhile cook the pasta and add to the sauce with the shrimp, heat through and now add the spinach until wilted. Heat through and top with the pancetta. 
*Tonight I served this with a spinach and tomato salad with burrata
**garlic bread is a must!!
***a nice glass of wine too!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stuffed Artichokes

     I went to my local farmers market and found this amazingly large lion artichoke for $3, I just had to take him home. I decided to prepare it like my grandfather Girolamo (Jerry) from Caserta always prepared bella carciofo. I made a simple stuffing of bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Specific amounts depends on your taste, set this mixture aside. Now prepare the artichoke for stuffing by cutting about 1/4 inch off the top and spreading the leaves open and season inside with salt and pepper. Next remove the center leaves and the choke, I just pull the thin leave out with my hands and scrape the choke thistle out with a spoon. Next grab the stuffing in you hand, messy but the only way, and pack it in tight into every nook and cranny and a big handful in the center. I placed it into  a heavy stock pot, added water until it comes about 1/4 of the way up on the artichoke and drizzled more olive oil on top. Cover and steam until an outside leave pulls out freely. This one took over an hour because it was so large but if you have several small ones it will cook faster. You can place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the top if you like. You can also add thing to the water like wine, olives, capers ect... I hope you try artichokes this way!!
*make sure you have a nice loaf of crusty bread to soak up the juices