Archive | June, 2011

One Delish Dish: Angel Hair Pasta w/ Garlic, White Wine, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Goat Cheese

27 Jun

During the week I wish I could cook nightly lavish feasts, but occasionally the fatigue dominates and I don’t feast as often as I’d like to.  However, I recently made  this simple and healthy meal with my lovely ladies Maria and Phuong and it reminded me how easy it is to throw together a fresh pasta.  An additional perk for me, is that this delish dish gives me dinner and a lunch for the next day (FYI: homemade pastas and soups always make the best leftovers because all the flavors have time to meld together).  We made a simple whole wheat angel hair pasta with fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese in a light garlic and white wine sauce.  This dish is fast to make and is also packed full of fresh ingredients and flavor.

Ingredients:

– 1lb of whole grain angel hair pasta

– 16oz container of cherry tomatoes (rinsed and halved)

– 4 cloves of garlic (minced)

– Large handful of fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped)

– Regular or herbed goat cheese

– 1/3 cup of white wine

– 1/2 a can of chicken stock (about 7.5 oz)

– Salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

While chopping and prepping all the fresh ingredients, bring a large pot of water to a boil (add a little salt to the water to flavor the pasta more).  Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a medium size sauté pan and then toss in the tomatoes and 3/4 of the chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper them to taste, then after a couple minutes add in the garlic.

Sweat the garlic with the tomatoes and basil for a few minutes until the garlic begins to turn a very light brown color, it’s important to not let the garlic get dark brown or burn because it will become bitter and overpower the dish.  Once the garlic cooks a little, pour the chicken broth and white wine into the same pan.  Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
While the liquids in the pan are reducing, put the pasta in the boiling water and cook it for about 5-7 minutes.  Stir the pasta occasionally and ensure it isn’t sticking to itself or becoming mushy.  Drain the pasta and save a small cup of the pasta water on the side just in case the pasta needs additional moisture before serving.  After completely draining the pasta, add a few drizzles of olive oil and pinches of salt to it. Then add the pasta to the sauté pan and toss with all of the ingredients (there should still be a fair amount of liquid in the pan prior to adding the pasta).  Finally, add in the goat cheese crumbles and mix everything together over very low heat.  Feel free to add more salt or pepper to taste.

After plating the pasta, top it off with some fresh basil, goat cheese and crushed red pepper…and there you go, a quick, easy and tasty light meal for any night of the week.

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France and Italy continued…

13 Jun

A few more photos of my marvelous meals in the South of France and Cinque Terre, Italy!  These are all typical regional dishes that are guaranteed to make your mouth water.

Tomato Farci Provencale – stuffed tomato w/beef, parmesan, garlic, onions, sauteed veggies and provencal spices

Salade Chevre Chaud – Arugula, heirloom tomatoes, parmesan shavings, with warm goat cheese wrapped in puff pastry.

Socca –  Similar to a crepe.  Socca is made of chickpea flour, water, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  It’s perfect for a warm, savory breakfast.

Socca man hard at work!

Fresh from the woodfire oven…almost ready!

Oh wait, there’s more…socca man sells fresh pizza too.

Pissaladiere: Very popular in the south.  Pissaladiere is a light and flaky pastry type pizza that’s generally made with grilled onions (onions confit), anchovies, olives and fresh thyme.  Unfortunately, anchovies are one of the few things I don’t enjoy, so I had to remove it, but luckily my dad was there to pick up the anchovy slack.

Can’t go wrong with some serious charcuterie at the morning market in the old village of La Turbie.

Sanglier meat: Wild boar meat that tastes like a less pungent version of prosciutto.  Tasty over a bed of arugula.

Gambas w/pesto – Big ol shrimps from the Mediterranean Sea.

Panna cotta

Nutella Creme Brulee – seriously as amazing as it sounds.  Surprisingly light and not overly sweet.

Sandwiches!

Pan Bagnat: Raw veggies, green onions, hard boiled eggs, tuna and olive oil on a fresh baguette.  This sandwich is a very typical lunchtime meal in Nice.

Grilled Merguez (Spicy Lamb) Sandwich

Merguez sandwich: Served with dijon mustard and Harissa (spicy paste from North Africa)

Cinque Terre, Italy

I love Italy. I love pasta.

Penne alla arrabiata

Caprese Salad: Burrata (creamy mozzarella), tomato, basil and pesto

Ravioli with zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes 

Testaroli with pesto genovese

 

One Delish Dish does Côte d’Azur

6 Jun

The Streets of Vieux Nice

My family and I were fortunate enough to take some time off to travel to the South of France for my cousin’s wedding. The South is undoubtedly famous for its picturesque coastlines, impeccable building facades, lively Polly-Pocket sized streets and of course…its cuisine. Being that southerners have easy access to fresh seafood from the Mediterranean, as well as plenty of sunshine for their fresh herbs and locally grown produce, these regional traits lend themselves to the great food and leisurely lifestyle that exists in this region. Honestly, if I only ate a fresh baguette from around the corner with a different kind of wine and cheese everyday I’d be ecstatic in my dairy and vino induced coma – but I decided that it may be better to venture out and explore what the South has to offer. We started our trip in Vieux Nice (Old Nice) and I loved every minute of it, the food and markets were great, the sea was picture perfect, plus it had the best Gelato outside of Italy. As my dad always says, “I know the world frequently has a lot to say about the French, but when it comes to food, wine, cheese and desserts they truly know what they’re doing and they always have.”

Waiting for our great dinner at La Favola. I probably would have been smiling if my stomach wasn’t eating itself.

Focaccia de Jambon Cru (Focaccia bread topped with veggies and prosciutto). Drizzled some olive oil and balsamic on top - super fresh and tasty.

Salad w/prosciutto, provolone, tomatoes, mozzarella, avocado and melon

Amazing baked rigatoni with eggplant and emmental cheese

More rigatoni cheesiness

Fresh seafood pasta w/mussels, squid, clams and shrimp in a light olive oil, white wine, tomato and garlic sauce

Super popular French meal - Steak frites w/ a béarnaise sauce (a derivative of a Hollandaise sauce, made with butter, eggs, shallots, tarragon, peppercorn and herbs)

After dinner treat - on our way to find the famous gelato spot.

Gelato at Finocchio. Master gelato makers.

Gelato at Finocchio

Enfin - gelato!

Fenocchio bustling at midnight

Le Quebec - the best pizza place in town

Pizza Niçoise: Black olives, capers, anchovies and oregano

Pizza Niçoise and salad Niçoise are particular to the town of Nice since these small black olives grow specifically in this region. The sun and terrain here are great for the growth and longevity of olive trees, many around this area produce for an average of 300 years. In the neighboring town of Menton, there’s even a tree that has been alive for 1,000+ years.

Meet the man responsible for it all

…and his workshop

Hungry brother Alex

Spicy Sausage Pizza

Of course, a nice rosé to wash it all down. These Frenchies know good and well that a little mid-day drink never hurt anybody.

View of the Mediterranean from the Promenade des Anglais

For those of you who know me and for those of you who don’t, it’s probably obvious by now that between this post and my Little Next Door post, I have a slight love affair with France. It’s true, I admire the French because of how they genuinely enjoy life, and for that – I think they are worth a shout out or two. Really though, who can deny a life of 7 weeks of government mandated vacation time or spending 6 hours in a cafe catching up with an old friend over a Croque-Monsieur, pommes frites, 15 espressos and a pack of cigarettes? Certainly not moi. Stay tuned for more from France!

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