I had a craving for salty and tomatoey, so I opened up my latest America’s Test Kitchen magazine. This is a pretty simple dish, with most of the items available in our pantry on any given weeknight. the only really think ahead is the eggplant and fresh basil.
Source: The best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011
1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes (28-ounce)
1 pound ziti, rigatoni or penne
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces ricotta salata, shredded (about 1 cup) - I used pecorino instead
1. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Line the surface of a large microwave-safe bowl with a double layer of coffee filters and lightly coat with vegetable oil spray (I didn’t use the vegetable spray). Spread the eggplant in an even layer over the coffee filters. Microwave the eggplant, uncovered, until dry to the touch and slightly shriveled (about 10 minutes), tossing once halfway through. Cool slightly.
2. Transfer the eggplant to a medium bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and toss gently to coat. Discard the coffee filters. Heat 1 tablespoon more olive oil in a 12- inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant and distribute in an even layer. Cook, stirring every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until well browned and fully tender (about 10 minutes). Remove skillet from heat, transfer eggplant to plate and set aside.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes to the empty, but still-hot skillet and cook using the residual heat so the garlic doesn’t burn, stirring constantly, until fragrant and the garlic becomes pale golden (about 1 minute). If the skillet is too cool to cook the mixture, set it over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, return the skillet to medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened (8-10 minutes).
4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta and 2 tablespoons salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, drain past and return to pot.
5. While pasta is cooking, return the eggplant to skillet with the tomatoes and gently stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is heated through and flavors are blended (3-5 minutes). Stir the basil and extra-virgin olive oil into the sauce and season with salt to taste. Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjusting the consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that the sauce coats the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.
The first day of the new year was cold and cloudy, so I thought it would be best to make some sort of soup. I found this recipe on my Cooks Illustrated app for my iPhone.
Source: Cooks Illustrated
1 pound dried cannellini beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I skipped the meat)
1 large onion, chopping medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale or collard greens (about 1 pound), stems trimmed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups loosely packed)
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounce), drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well. If you’re short on time, quick-soak them: Place rinsed beans in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour the water over the beans and let them sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans well.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered (6-10 minutes).
3. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned (10-16 minutes). Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm (45 minutes - 1 hour).
4. Remove pot from oven and stir in greens and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender (30-40 minutes) longer.
5. Remove pot from oven and submerge rosemary sprig in stew. cover and let stand (15 minutes). Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste.
Jason and I head to Tartine about once a month. It’s our favorite little bakery in San Francisco (in the Mission) with amazing breads, croissants, bread pudding, and everything else yummy you can think of. Every time I visit, I pick up a quiche, so I thought I’d make one for my weekly adventure.
Source: Tartine (Chronicle Books, 2006)
Serves 6 to 8
Flaky Tart Dough
Yield = 2 10-inch tart or pie shells
2/3 cup ice water
3 cups + 2T all-purpose flour
1 cup + 5T unsalted butter, very cold
1. In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Keep cold until ready to use.
2. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1-inch (or smaller) pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour. Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture forms large clumps and the butter is in pieces the size of small peas. I used a food processor. Drizzle the water-salt mixture over the flour and stir and toss with a fork until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Gently mix until the dough comes together into a ball but is not completely smooth.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1-inch thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/8-inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions. Transfer the round to the pie dish or quiche pan, easing it into the corners. Trim excess dough.
6. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit over the pie plate generously. Fill parchment paper with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the surface looks light brown. Remove from oven and remove the weights and paper. Return the shell to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. If the tart begins to bubble in the center, take a knife to it and make a few small incisions. Cool shell on wire rack until ready to fill.
Quiche with Swiss Chard and Crème Fraîche
1 fully baked 10-inch Flaky Tart Shell Dough (recipe above)
5 large eggs
3T all-purpose flour
1 cup crème fraîche
1 cup whole milk
1t. kosher salt
½t freshly ground black pepper
1T fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 cup uncooked coarsely chopped Swiss Chard (you can use spinach or any other veggies - just be sure to drain the water so that your quiche is not soggy)
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Place 1 egg and the flour in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 4 eggs until blended.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the crème fraîche until smooth. Whisk in the milk. Pour the egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve held over the milk mixture. Whisk in the salt, pepper and thyme. Stir in the chard.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry shell. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and bake until the filling is just set, about 30 minutes longer. The center of the quiche should still feel slightly firm, rather than liquidy, when touched. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set up, so that it will slice neatly. It can be served warm or at room temperature. To serve a fully cooled quiche warm, cover it with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 325ºF for about 15 minutes.
Chris, I chose this recipe because you can make it on Sunday and eat it for dinner during the week by just heating it up in the microwave when you get home from work. It pairs very nicely with a Caesar salad and some warm bread.
These are the ingredients that go into the lasagna:
(The recipe will be added when I find my book again)
Finished product …
Here goes Chris! It’s Sunday and I have a few hours to kill before lunch, so let’s see what the weekly trip to Whole Foods brings. I picked this because I can make this ahead and have it this week for dinner.
Baked Potato Soup (serves 8) - seriously, it does … so much soup now!
3T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
2t dried thyme
49 oz chicken broth (I used the no-chicken broth)
5 large baked Idaho potatoes, flesh scooped from the shell and smashed
1c heavy (whipping) cream
Freshly ground black pepper
I turned these ingredients into …
In a 6 to 8-quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered, for 30 minutes. The vegetables should be very tender. Discard the bay leaf. Add the potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes to blend well. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
So I got creative. The bowl on the right is the soup via the recipe. The one on the left is created using a hand blender to get a smoother consistency. Funny thing is that the soups taste totally different, even though it’s the same thing!!!
New York Fall 2010
Hudson River Greenway