Tag Archives: roasted red peppers

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.

 

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

It has started to warm up, but in that usual spring way of being 70° one day and 46° the next. Still, I can feel spring around the corner and am in the mood for a cold salad. The trick is not to make too much for the two of us, so that we don’t feel obligated to eat it for a week or throw it away. I’m only going to use 6 0z. of the pasta, but I know it will still be too much.

I’m using fresh garden peas, now that my local grocer carries them, a few jarred roasted red peppers, hard boiled eggs, and the chicken breasts of the previous post. And bacon.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 3-4 as main dish
  • Difficulty: easy
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6 oz pasta—I used white fiber pasta shells that have more whole grain—cooked according to package directions

2 large roasted red bell peppers, diced

8 oz fresh shelled garden peas, microwaved for 1 minute, or frozen peas, uncooked

4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

4-6 slices thick-sliced bacon, browned and chopped

4 small poached chicken breasts, about 2 lbs, cut in large chunks (see previous post)

1 1/2-2 cups ranch dressing (below)

Ranch Dressing:

1/2 cup each whole buttermilk, real mayonnaise, sour cream

2 tablespoons dried chives

1 tablespoon dried dill weed

1 clove garlic, grated or minced

salt and pepper

  1. Whisk all ingredients until smooth. You can double the recipe if you think you need the larger amount, and it never hurts to have more on hand.

Combine all the salad ingredients, tossing with the ranch dressing. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The garden peas are a nice addition with that fresh pop in each bite.

A.1. Cube Steak Sandwiches

The very first post on this site was for cube steaks, just the typical kind, dredged in flour, browned and braised until tender. It’s a great comfort food in the winter with mashed potatoes and gravy. Today, I took a different approach with cube steaks for some steak sandwiches, but still with a braising technique.

Most of the cube steak sandwich recipes you will find on the web simply cut the steak portions into strips and brown them. That’s still a little tough for my taste; I prefer to go the further step of braising the strips in the oven after browning for a more tender texture. I braised them in a combination of beef stock, tomato paste, and A.1. sauce for a savory zing. It filled the house with a great aroma and the sandwiches were really good.

A.1. Cube Steak Sandwiches

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet with lid, but any ovenproof lidded pan will work.

1 pkg cube steaks, about 5-8 pieces

2 large onions, halved and sliced

1 cup beef stock or broth

1/4 cup A.1. Steak Sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

salt & pepper

1 jar roasted, peeled red bell peppers, cut in strips

sandwich rolls

  1. Slice cube steaks in 1/2 inch strips across the grain created by the tenderizing process. It can be hard to tell if there is a real grain in this cut of meat with all the tenderizing cuts in it, but there should be cuts in one obvious direction that you can cut across. Don’t worry, because the longer cooking will further tenderize the meat.
  2. Heat your skillet over high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions, seasoned with salt & pepper, until translucent and just beginning to brown. Remove them to a plate while you brown the meat.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan; then brown the meat strips, seasoned with salt & pepper, in batches until all are browned.
  4. Stir in tomato paste.
  5. Return beef and onions to pan. Add beef stock and A.1. sauce.
  6.  Bring to boil, cover, and place in oven for about 45 minutes.
  7. Toss pepper strips with meat and onions.
  8. Serve on toasted buns, with or without cheese.