Category: Dinner

Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts

Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts
For my usual weeknight pasta I keep things simple with spaghetti, even though it can be a bit boring. When I stick to my routine, I don’t add to my random noodle collection. I have a shelf of partial boxes of pasta—the result of buying specific shapes for single recipes. I always end up with an odd amount that’s too small to feed my family—two adults and a three-year-old who is convinced pasta is its own food group.

To spring clean my kitchen, I made this mixed pasta with baby greens, beans and walnuts. Even though it breaks every pasta rule, all you have to do when cooking multiple shapes in a single pot is to first start with the noodle that has the longest cook-time and work your way to the one that’s the quickest. After that I tossed the warm pasta with garlic-infused olive oil, arugula, spinach, cannellini beans, walnuts, Parmesan and lemon zest.
Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts
Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts
Adapted from Everyday Food April 2008

12 ounces short pasta (farfalle, rotelle, fusilli, orecchiette, penne)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup roughly chopped toasted walnuts
1 ounce grated Parmesan plus shaved Parmesan for serving
Zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. If you are using multiple shapes, cook them in one pot of salted boiling water starting with the pasta that takes the longest and adding shapes per their recommended cook-time, with the quickest being added last. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant and golden brown.

Stir the garlic-infused olive oil, beans, walnuts, Parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper into the pasta. Top with shaved Parmesan before serving.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve been on cruise control for weeknight dinners. After busy days for all of us, including our three-year-old, the most I can muster for our family meal is pasta. Don’t get me wrong—we absolutely love noodles, but even they get a bit old when you have them more than two times a week.

Pizza is another one of our routine favorites. I usually stick to just plain cheese to keep things simple, but last week I decided to revamp my recipe for barbecue chicken pizza. This time I balanced off the sweetness of the barbecue sauce with tomato sauce, and I mixed mozzarella cheese with smoked Gouda.
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Makes 1-12-inch pizza

For dough
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing pizza
1-1/2 cups bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For chicken
1-8 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce

For pizza
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly slices into rings
2 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 ounce shredded Gouda
Cornmeal for pizza stone

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with a pizza stone inside the oven. Place the chicken on a foil-lined sheet pan and drizzle both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes before smearing with 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce. Continue baking the chicken for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Once the chicken is finished, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Wait 10 minutes and then thinly slice the chicken breast.

In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and tomato sauce.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough into a 12-inch diameter circle. Sprinkle the preheated pizza stone with cornmeal and place the dough on it. Spread the sauce mixture leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top the pizza with chicken, scallions, red onions and cheese.

Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling.

Roasted Cauliflower & Meyer Lemon Salad

Roasted Cauliflower Meyer Lemon Salad
I never dreamed that cauliflower would make it on my weekly grocery list, but it’s official—I’m hooked. Of course I can’t wait for spring when all sorts of colorful, delicate fruits & veggies will be in season and cooking (or leaving things raw) is just so easy. For now, I’m trying to embrace the challenge of winter and try new things.

In my never-ending quest to turn sides into main dishes, I made a roasted cauliflower & Meyer lemon salad with pomegranate seeds, smoked almonds and plenty of fresh herbs. I used cilantro, but you also could try parsley. Each bite was nutty with a satisfying crunch, and I loved the bright flavor from the Meyer lemons.
Roasted Cauliflower Meyer Lemon Salad
Roasted Cauliflower & Meyer Lemon Salad
Serves 2-4

1 pound cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced crosswise
1 handful cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the cauliflower on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Roast for 10 minutes before adding the sliced lemon. Continue roasting for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is brown in spots. If the lemons are starting to brown too fast, make sure they are on top of the cauliflower and not directly on the pan.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower and lemons to a large bowl. Toss with the herbs, pomegranate seeds and smoked almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto

Roasted Broccoli Pesto
When I was a kid if you told me that I would like broccoli when I grew up, I wouldn’t have believed you. The extent of my veggie consumption in my youth was raw carrot sticks. (Potatoes don’t count.) Maybe that’s why I’m not overly concerned that my son isn’t so keen on eating his greens. I have to remind myself to be patient and wait.

With a few heads of broccoli at home, I decided to turn that produce into a sauce of sorts for pasta. I made roasted broccoli pesto. It turned out chunkier than the classic basil version, but I used a little pasta water to loosen it up as I tossed it into a bowl of orecchiette. I loved how the ear-shaped pasta scooped up the nutty broccoli.
Roasted Broccoli Pesto
Roasted Broccoli Pesto

1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the broccoli with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper on a sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and just starting to brown at the edges.

Mince the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor. Add the broccoli, remaining salt & pepper, pine nuts, Parmesan and lemon juice and puree. With the motor running, pour in the remaining olive oil.

When stirring the pesto into pasta, you may need to thin it out with some cooking water from the pasta.

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