Tag Archives: Parmigiano Reggiano

Still Eating, If Not Writing

What’s been for dinner lately:

Sheet pan pizza with prosciutto, Parmesan, and white sauce. The crust is from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Pizza al Taglio with Arugula and Mozzarella,” but I baked it with a Parmesan/garlic white sauce, fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, and prosciutto. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Beef stir fry. This is just a version of the one I make on the grill in the summer, with more veggies. I used some steamed frozen broccoli to avoid the longer cooking that fresh broccoli requires.

Rigatoni and butternut squash casserole with pancetta and Parmesan. Just like the one I’ve made before with bacon, but I find the pancetta to be milder and less overpowering than the bacon.

Boston Cream Pie—made this for my husband’s birthday. Specifically the Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie from America’s Test Kitchen. One word of caution: The written recipe omits the most important line from the video. When making the pastry cream, you don’t stop when bubbles break the surface; you continue whisking until the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the pan, sort of like when making jam. Otherwise the pastry cream will be runny. It’s a delightful cake. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Penne, Peas, and Ricotta

A dish for two, unless one of those two has lactose intolerance, in which case I get to eat it twice.

To make a sauce, half the ricotta and peas are pulsed in a food processor until green and creamy. The rest are left in their natural state for texture.

Penne, Peas, and Ricotta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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I roasted some peppers early in the day to use in several recipes; otherwise you may use roasted peppers in a jar, which I rely on all the time.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz whole wheat penne or your favorite pasta
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta, divided
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed and divided
  • 1 generous tablespoon roasted garlic (I freeze mine in mini muffin pans to keep handy in the freezer)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-1 1/2 roasted red pepper, cut in large dice
  • 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I like the texture of the shaved cheese)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions and your taste. Whole wheat pasta takes a little longer to cook, about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent, season with salt and pepper, then stir in peppers and 1/2 cup of the thawed peas. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, add 1/2 cup ricotta, garlic, and 1/2 cup thawed peas. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Process until mixture is smooth and creamy and bright green. Set aside.
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water; drain off the rest.
  5. Add to the drained pasta the sauce, the vegetables, the remaining 1/2 cup ricotta, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Stir to combine, adding a little cooking water if you need to thin the sauce. I added about 2 tablespoons water.
  6. Serve with more Parmesan.

 

Bacon, Roasted Tomato, and Avocado Pasta

Yes, you can roast your tomatoes in the grill, instead of in the oven and use them them in pasta or salsas or eat them like candy. I set up the grill for slow, long cooking with a half snake of briquettes to get me about 4 hours at about 300°-350°. The tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and thyme, sit on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. You just walk away and think of how to use them. I decided to put them in a bacon avocado sauce over pasta.

If you’ve never cooked your avocado in a sauce, try it. When cooked, it stays green even the next day in the fridge. Just a simple sauce of mashed and sauteed avocado with a little cream and Parmesan is great over pasta. I gilded the lily with bacon and the roasted tomatoes.

redandgreensauce
chunky red and green sauce

Bacon, Roasted Tomato, and Avocado Pasta

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Grilled Roasted Tomatoes

Set up the grill for indirect, long cooking, using the snake method. I used a snake that went halfway around the kettle grill and lasted 4 hours at around 300°.

  • Place halved and seeded tomatoes on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. I had 11 tomatoes of various types, mostly plum, with a few round ones.
  • Drizzle olive oil over all the tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and dried thyme.
  • Place pan on grill cooking grate and cover for about 4 hours. Tomatoes should be shriveled and browned around the edges, but still moist. The bottoms will be browned, but not burnt. Check after 2 hours to see how your grill is doing.
  • Remove tomatoes to cool, then to a bowl and set aside.

Making the Sauce

1 lb thick-sliced bacon

2 tablespoons roasted garlic or 1 tablespoon fresh grated garlic

4 ripe avocados

1/2 pint heavy cream

olive oil

roasted tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/2 lb cooked pasta—I used whole wheat chiocciole, which I think are supposed to look like snails

pasta water to thin sauce

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Cook the bacon until browned and chewy. Remove to drain and cool, then cut in large chunks.
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon fat in skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add roasted garlic and the scooped out flesh from the avocados. Heat, mashing with a potato masher or fork until creamy, but with some chunks of avocado for texture.
  3. Stir in heavy cream and continue heating over low heat or a lower simmer.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and bacon.
  5. Stir in hot pasta water to thin sauce to a good consistency to serve with pasta. I used 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  6. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
  7. Stir in cooked pasta until well coated.
  8. Serve in bowls with more cheese.

Ratatouille

My husband is eating out all week with job candidates, so I’m taking the opportunity to eat eggplant.

The first ratatouille, or more specifically “Ratatouille Provençale,” I ever made was from my Joy of Cooking (1967, p. 278). When I was young, I didn’t know anything about eggplant, and was surprised to see so many recipes for it in this book. The only eggplant recipes I had seen on TV were the breaded and fried sliced variety, usually smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. That did not look appetizing to me, but more like the cooks were trying to cover up something that was either tasteless or bad-tasting. When I finally decided to try this casserole, I did feel like the flavors were exotic and rich, even spicy.

I have since learned that recipes vary, and while tonight’s is very close to that first one, I’m adding some mushrooms and bacon, but skipping the zucchini, and the peppers and onions were roasted on the grill last night, which should add a nice twist to the dish. Next time, I’ll try grilling all the ingredients and then doing a quick combine and simmer at the end. Parmesan cheese and olive oil will round out the flavors, but I will miss the parsley I lost in my recent freezer disaster. Some dried marjoram will fill in for the herb.

Ratatouille

  • Servings: 4 as main dish; 8 as a side
  • Difficulty: easy
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Basically a stew, but all the ingredients should be cooked until just done and not mushy. I cook each ingredient separately, and then combine at a simmer for just about 5 minutes, to keep the flavors distinctive. I would not use the 45 minute simmer mentioned in the recipe pictured above.

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

4 slices thick bacon, cooked to chewy doneness and roughly chopped

1 medium eggplant, cut in half inch dice, about 2 1/2-3 cups

1-2 small onions, roughly chopped

1-2 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, grated or minced or roasted

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

13 oz good quality crushed tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved (I used Cirio crushed tomatoes)

olive oil for sautéing

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated for garnish

salt and pepper to taste (I like to season each layer lightly)

As mentioned, my onions and peppers had been roasted on the grill, then the peppers were peeled and both were chopped; otherwise, I would cook them using the following process:

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and allow to heat for a minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and let sauté until brown without stirring. Stir for another minute or two, then remove to dish. I like to cook mushrooms first in a clean pan for most dishes, so they are allowed to brown and develop flavors without absorbing those of the other ingredients.
  2. Add the bacon slices to the same pan and cook over medium heat to desired doneness. I like chewy bacon, not crisp. remove to cutting board and chop.
  3. To pan with bacon drippings that is still over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon more olive oil, then the diced eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes. The eggplant will absorb all the fat and begin to appear translucent. Remove to a large bowl.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil over medium heat, then the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes, or until done to your liking.
  5. Add back the eggplant and mushrooms. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the drained tomatoes and marjoram, adding any of the reserved tomato juice as needed for a moist but not soupy consistency. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until heated through.
  6. Remove to serving dish and add cooked bacon and grated cheese.

Save some for topping your scrambled eggs in the morning.