Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pasta Post

Alright, Jessie asks us for no-bake entrees, and I have to say that the thing that comes to mind for me, besides grilling, is pasta. I also thought of paninis and various other sandwiches, so I will do a post on that soon as well. Ooh, and salads. I need to collect some good salad recipes and post them. This is (clearly) the pasta post though. I have a friend whose husband will not eat pasta in the summer. I think that is tragic. Pasta screams summer to me when it's mixed up with herbs and fresh garden vegetables. I am hoping Jessie is not opposed to pasta, but if so, take heart, I will post on sandwiches soon (and salads and anything else I think of).

Before I post recipes, let me just remind you that pasta dishes are like salad- you can throw any combination of veggies, herbs, nuts and cheeses together in pasta and it will probably be pretty good. Generally speaking, I'm an olive oil and parmesan girl. Get you some steamed broccoli, grilled zucchini (ooh, or eggplant!), spinach, asparagus, peas, fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, chopped herbs, toasted pine nuts, any kind of grilled meat, etc. mix it all up with cooked pasta, parmesan, and olive oil, and feast! I really don't need to post recipes after that thought, but just in case:

Easiest Cold Pasta Ever
That's what we're calling this because it doesn't have a name. I think my sister made it up, or else she inspired me to. It is loved by all. You can make this a side, or make it the main course by either adding a little grilled chicken or serving a green salad and a baguette alongside.
2 lbs. packaged cheese tortellini from the refrigerator case at your grocery
1 recipe sun dried tomato pesto (follows)
- boil pasta according to package instructions. drain. run under cold water until cooled.
-dress pasta with sun dried tomato pesto to taste

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
How is it that I have never posted a recipe for pesto before? If you want it without the sun dried tomatoes, just omit them. I make it that way even more often. This recipe actually came to me from Rebekah without the sun dried tomatoes. It is right for about 2 pounds of pasta.
1 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. ? (I'm totally guessing at this amount) sun dried tomatoes (I have used both the kind in oil, drained and patted dry, and the other kind- whichever you have. If you're buying them just for this or have both, go not in oil)
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts (toaster over or pan- no oven!)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
> 1/2 c. olive oil (hoping that reads less than, not greater than- yes, I just finished teaching this to first graders!)
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan
- process first five ingredients in food processor, then add olive oil down the feed tube slowly
- add parmesan and stir in by hand.

Flank Steak and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Linguine
16 oz. linguine, cooked
1 1/2 lb. flank steak
1 c. sun dried tomato pesto (from above)
4 c. loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- brush both sides of steak with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. grill 8-10 minutes and let stand. slice.
- heat 1/2c. pesto in skillet, add beef slices and cook, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes
- add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until just wilted
- add linguine and last 1/2 c. pesto and cook 2 minutes or until heated.

Mmmm, I can just taste that pesto. How have I let summer go this far without making it? It is so good. But since you can't eat it every day, here's a few more recipes. The next two are repeats. The first one is definitely worth repeating as it is one of my favorite meals. I made it for Steve and Jen one time and instantly found myself with the reputation of amazing cook. It'll fool people!

Salmon with Herbs and Lemon Butter
Adapted from a Dierbergs (It's a grocery store.) sale flyer from a few years back. You might be thinking that salmon is expensive. But this recipe is so delicious and quick, and the other ingredients are so inexpensive, that it is a bargain!

1 1/2 lb. salmon fillet (You may have to adjust the recipe to fit your crowd. You do not need the whole 1/2 pound per person like they tell you because you have spinach and pasta in the dish too.)
2T butter
2T lemon juice
2T chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed (or more of fresh)
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed (it is really better to use fresh if you have it on hand, but again, you need to use more of fresh)
1/4 tsp. salt
ground black pepper

-Rinse fillet and pat dry.
-Melt butter in saute pan over medium high heat, blend in herbs and lemon juice, saute fillet on both sides until done.
-Cover a serving dish with baby spinach. Place cooked angel hair pasta (I like that multi-grain Barilla kind in the yellow box) on top of spinach. Place cooked salmon on top of pasta. Drizzle herbs and butter from pan over salmon, and squeeze extra lemon juice if desired. The spinach will wilt from the heat of the pasta and fish so put in lots!

Okay, that is bad recipe writing, but I actually changed this to an indoor recipe from an outdoor recipe, and the directions are in my head. Originally it was a grilling recipe which read like this:
-Place salmon skin side down (and see, I always have them take the skin off at the fish counter) 4 and 1/2 inches over hot coals.
-Melt butter and mix in seasonings. Brush over salmon.
-Cook salmon, basting frequently, 10 minutes per 1 inch thickness.

Mediterranean Chicken and Pasta
This is a recipe I got from Southern Living years ago. It isn't what I'd call "gourmet" and I rarely make it anymore, but it is quick and easy and pretty good, as I recall. Plus, you likely have all of this on hand at any given time.
8oz. penne pasta, cooked and drained
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
2T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2c. sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/2c. chicken broth
1/2c. dry white wine
1tsp dried basil
1/2c. chopped fresh parsley
1T butter
1/2c. fresh grated parmesan
- cook chicken in oil for 8 minutes and remove from pan
-saute garlic in pan for 1 minute; add tomatoes, broth, wine, and basil and bring to a boil
-return chiken to pan, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 4 minutes
-add cooked pasta, parsley, and butter, tossing to combine and cook 2 minutes to heat
-transfer pasta to serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan

As promised, but never yet published:

Alfredo Sauce
This is not summery, but could become so if mixed with some of the seasonal veggies we mentioned earlier. Still, it is hot and heavy, but also quick and no fuss. This comes to us from The Joy of Cooking.
8T butter
1 lb. drained, cooked fettuccine
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
- melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- add remaining ingredients and toss.
- I often also add leftover roasted or grilled chicken.

This last one is just in case you really need something quick and new. You may take one look and say "no thanks!" It's slightly embarrassing to post, but people like it and it's easy, so I'm just putting it out there.

Mexican Pasta Salad
I started making this in college (perhaps the first thing I learned to cook besides Nestle tollhouse cookies) and my boyfriend loved it. When my new boyfriend, George, tried it a couple of years later, he also loved it, and still requests it, 11 years later, when I ask what he wants me to get at the grocery for dinner. I am pretty sure it is adapted from a recipe on the back of a box (note the first ingredient!)
1 box Classic Suddenly Salad* (coupon here)
3/4 c. of jarred salsa
1/3 c. sour cream
1c. cooked, cut chicken (grilled? rotisserie?)
1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 c. corn (fresh, frozen and thawed, canned if you must)
1/2 c. black beans (optional, drained and rinsed, of course)
-cook pasta according to package directions. drain and rinse under cold water until cooled.
-mix seasoning packet from Suddenly Salad with salsa and sour cream
-stir in chicken pieces, cheese, corn, beans, and cold pasta. serve with tortilla chips
* Okay, so here's what I'm thinking: I resist this recipe now because it uses a box which everyone knows is loaded with extra sodium and MSG. But really, you just need the tricolor veggie pasta, which can be purchased separately, and the seasoning packet. The seasoning packet is key. I am wondering if an Italian dressing seasoning mix wouldn't also work- yet, wouldn't we also run into sodium and MSG there? The only other suggestion I have found is to try it with 1T Italian Seasoning in lieu of the seasoning packet. I will try to do that soon and see if it works. Won't George be excited?!


Jessie said...

Thanks! I will try a couple of these for sure. We do actually do pasta a lot in the has become our "go to" meal - you know, when you have nothing but some random peppers and fontina cheese in the fridge and its time to eat...but nothing wrong with planning those pasta days!

Fittsy said...

These all look so good. I'll be sure to give them a try. And I would like to say, your pantry is always so well stocked. I need to start keeping sun dried tomatoes. I"m better at stocking my pantry now, b/c I'm couponing and shopping sales. Aren't you proud of me? And that Sun Dried Tomato Pesto just sounds great!

And don't forget the other Southern salads: Chicken Salad, Pimento Cheese and Egg Salad. All are great for beating the dinner time heat! I love them all when it's warm!


annie said...

Hey, Abby, thanks for all these recipes! I'm going to be copying all of them. I need some new things to make and these will do the trick. :)

Abby said...

I'm so glad y'all could all use a couple of these.

Rebekah, I have been meaning to post about chicken salad for a while. I think I should put up my recipe and invite other people to put up theirs. It's fun to change it up sometimes!

Blog Archive