This Baked Pasta with Meatballs and Olives is a recipe I wouldn't necessarily make this time of year. It's a rather hearty meal that I prefer during cooler months. Usually, by now... by May, it's getting warmer and nice enough to be outdoors occasionally for dinner. By this time, I should be composing salads and wondering when the radishes will be big enough to pick and add to the greens. I should be purchasing strawberries at the grocery for a strawberry-rhubarb tart -- all things I had hoped to do while my family visited from Ohio for four days.
But we had yet another snow this past week. And although we were lucky here in St. Paul, Minnesota, not to receive snow that needed shoveling as many near-by communities did, our snow was mixed with a cold, constant rain that lasted for days. All of the meals I prepared for my family were baked in the oven. Nothing was grilled outdoors, and there was no sitting on the patio under warm spring sunshine. The way this year has gone so far, we may be eating hearty pasta dishes well into July...
Baked Pasta with Meatballs and Olives
+ adapted recipe from the Food Network +
• Kosher salt
• 1 pound rigatoni
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for brushing
• 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
• 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, crushed with your hands
• 1 15-ounch can plum tomatoes, crushed, or 2 cups of homemade tomato sauce
• 4 large sprigs of basil
• 9 ounces pancetta, diced and browned
• 2 cups meatballs, cooked and halved (the recipe I use HERE)
• 1 cups sliced, roasted, red peppers
• 1 cup chopped black or green, pitted olives (I used green French Picholine)
• 3 cups grated, mild Provolone cheese
• 1 cup freshly grated ricotta salata
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. Cook the rigatoni to package directions; drain.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until the garlic just begins to color. Add the large can of crushed plum tomatoes, and the small can of crushed plum tomatoes (or the 2 cups of fresh tomato sauce). Rinse out the tomato containers with a total 1 cup of water, and add this water to the skillet along with the sprigs of fresh basil. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Discard the basil sprigs and season the mixture with salt.
4. Stir the browned pancetta into the sauce, then add the meatballs, roasted peppers, and olives.
5. Brush a large 3 to 4-quart baking dish with olive oil. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce, along with half of the grated provolone and half of the ricotta salata. Mix gently, then spoon into the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over top of pasta.
6. Bake pasta on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes (the original recipe called for baking at 450˚F for 15 minutes, but I prefer baking longer at a lower temp).
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When I'm craving a rich, hearty stew, I usually pull my recipe for boeuf bourguignon; always delicious, but it can be time-consuming putting it all together. On another cold winter day, and not having much time to spend in my kitchen, I made this beef stew. Combine the ingredients in a large Dutch oven, place it in the oven, and forget about it for almost 6 hours (giving it an occasional stir); how easy is that?
… All Day Beef Stew …
• 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces
• 1/2 cup flour
• 3 teaspoons salt
• 1 1/4 cup organic vegetable broth
• 1 cup dry red wine
• 1 pound carrots, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces (or 1 pound bag baby carrots)
• 1 1/4 pound red or yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
• 2 onions, large dice
• 1 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and halved
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 1 bay leaf
1. Place raw, cubed meat in a Dutch oven with flour and salt. Cover and toss to coat. Stir in the broth and wine.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and bake about 5 1/2 to 6 hours in a preheated 250˚F oven. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaf before serving.
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hhh, SUPER BOWL 2010. My daughter hasn't let me forget that she invited friends to our house to watch the game and I made Ribollita
. Who makes soup for the SUPER BOWL? Uh... someone who doesn't care that much for football, I guess? Well, this year I think I may have a winner in the football food category for those of you planning a gathering of people interested in watching the game. I just made these simple roast beef sandwiches, but what makes them so good is what I spread on the buns. I insist on always toasting the buns, and when I toasted these, I first spread them with garlic butter. Then, when I assembled the sandwiches, I spread the buns with a mustard-sour cream mixture, followed by a pile of thinly sliced, black pepper-encrusted roast beef....YUM. Served here with chips and French Cornichons.
Roast Beef with Black Pepper, Garlic Butter, and Mustard Sauce
• 1 Sirloin Tip Roast, about 4 pounds
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
• 10 tablespoons butter
• 20 large garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 cup sour cream
• 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* Onion Buns
1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Rub the roast with olive oil and sprinkle all over with the cracked pepper, pressing the pepper into the beef.
2. Place the butter and garlic on a large piece of foil and bring up the sides of the foil to form a closed pouch. Place the the pouch in the roasting pan alongside the beef. Put the pan on the middle rack of the oven and roast at 400˚ for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 375˚F and cook for 30 minutes longer for rare beef. Remove from oven and let the beef rest, covered with a piece of foil, for 20 minutes before slicing.
3. While the beef is resting, transfer the contents of the foil pouch to the bowl of a food processor. Blend the garlic-butter mixture until smooth.
4. Spread the sliced onion buns with the garlic-butter mixture and toast in a skillet over medium-low heat. Spread the toasted buns with the mustard sauce and pile with thin slices of the roast beef.
To Make the Mustard Sauce: Combine the sour cream and Dijon mustard.
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Loved this dish! I'm a big fan of tossing fresh greens into hot pasta. Leftovers the following day were good, as well, when I warmed the pasta ever-so-briefly in the microwave, drizzled a bit more dressing, then added another handful of arugula and a few shards of Parmigian-Reggiano. Delicioso!
• Penne with Beef and Arugula•
recipe by Giada de Laurentiis
• 1 (1 pound) New York Strip Steak
• 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
• 1 pound penne pasta
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for steak and pasta water
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for steak
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
• 2 cups arugula
1. Season the steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper, herbs de Provence, and minced garlic. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook steak about 7 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the pan and let set for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, the Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fresh herbs, and 3/4 cup of olive oil. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with half of the salad dressing and the reserved pasta water. Add the arugula and steak, more dressing, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.
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e're talking delicious here! Normally, at the most, I consume maybe two filet mignon per year. I've just had two in one month!
The recipe I used (find it here
) to sear the beef, which was then finished in the oven, was the same for both dinners. The reductions that were spooned over the filets right before serving, were the difference between the two meals. My husband's favorite sauce was the first; a balsamic reduction with blue cheese. The sauce of shallots and cognac, which wasn't as rich as the blue cheese, was my favorite.
Reduction of Shallots and Cognac
• adapted from Vineyard Seasons by Susan Branch •
This recipe serves two:• 1 tablespoon shallots, minced• 2 tablespoons cognac• 2 tablespoons red wine• 1/4 cup beef broth• 2 tablespoons heavy cream• Once the filets have been seared and transferred to the oven to finish cooking, add
the shallots to the pan and sauté for approximately one minute. Add the cognac and red wine and boil two minutes, stirring. Add beef broth and boil two more minutes, scraping up bits from the pan. Stir in the cream, heat through but don't boil. Pour the sauce over the filet mignon and serve immediately.
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or some reason, I never got around to posting this recipe after I made it this summer on our outdoor grill. (Probably had something to do with all of the time I was devoting to the kitchen renovation
.) We ate it as called for in the recipe, wrapped in warmed corn tortillas. If my memory serves me correctly, it was very good.
: Grilled Chili-Rubbed Flank Steak :
recipe by Bruce Aidells | Food & Wine Magazine, November 2003
• 1 large garlic clove
• 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• One 1 1/2 pound flank steak
• Ten lime wedges
• 3 1/2 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
1. In a processor, pulse the garlic with the onion, lime juice, chili powder, salt and cumin. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until a wet paste forms. Rub the paste all over the steak.
2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the steak over a medium-high fire, turning once, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125˚ to 130˚ F for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
3. Cut the steak across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the meat on a platter. Squeeze two lime wedges over the steak slices, then top with the shredded cheese and cilantro. Serve with the warm corn tortillas and the remaining lime wedges.
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I know... you were afraid I was posting a recipe for the first course of this fall meal... the Frog Legs with Tomato Garlic Butter. No, I will leave that for another day! (They were quite good, actually.) My favorite part of this fall meal was the Peppercorn Beef with Gorgonzola Cheese. The beef tenderloin that I purchased to cut into 5 ounce steaks was meltingly tender.
This meal goes together quickly. I served the steaks with fresh green beans which were gently boiled in the morning until done (about 5 minutes). I drained and wrapped the beans in a towel and set them aside at room temperature until dinner time. When the steaks were in the oven, I seared the beans in a hot pan with a good olive oil, then sprinkled with Fleur de Sel. Fingerling potatoes started roasting about 30 minutes before the steaks were moved from the stove-top to the oven, and were pulled and sprinkled with salt after the tenderloins were plated. Pretty simple, no?
PEPPERCORN BEEF with GORGONZOLA CHEESE
recipe from the April 2004 Food & Wine magazine
• Four 5-ounce trimmed beef tenderloin steaks, about 2 inches thick
• 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese, cut into pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Generously season the tenderloin steaks with salt and pat the crushed peppercorns all over them. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the steaks and cook them over moderately high heat until they are browned, approximately 4 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the steaks registers 130˚ for medium-rare meat.
2. Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add the balsamic vinegar and the sugar and boil over high heat until the vinegar is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 3 minutes.
3. Top the tenderloin steaks with the Gorgonzola cheese and roast them for 2 minutes longer, or until the Gorgonzola is just melted. Transfer the tenderloin steaks to plates, drizzle them with the balsamic reduction and serve right away.
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I've been making this Barbecued Beef Brisket, from The New Basics Cookbook, for many years. It assembles quickly and is in the oven, unattended, for 3 1/2 hours (making it meltingly tender), and giving me plenty of time to do other things.
Shredded Barbecued Beef Brisket
adapted from The New Basics Cookbook
• 1 brisket of beef (about 5 pounds)
• 1 teaspoon natural liquid smoke flavoring
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 8 to 10 whole wheat, poppy seed or onion sandwich rolls
• 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
2. Place the brisket in a roasting pan, and brush with the liquid smoke.
3. Combine the salt and spices in a small bowl and mix well. Rub this into the brisket.
4. Cover the roasting pan, and bake until the brisket is fork-tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
5. Remove the pan from the oven, and use two forks to pull the meat apart in the pan juices, shredding it coarsely.
6. For each sandwich, halve a sandwich roll. Spoon about 2 tablespoons heated barbecue sauce over the bottom. Using a slotted spoon, pile about 1 cup of the shredded meat on the roll. Then pour 2 or 3 tablespoons sauce over the meat, and cover with the top half of the roll... OR, do what I do; transfer the shredded brisket to a large pot and place over low heat. Stir the entire 2 cups of barbecue sauce into the brisket, stir to combine, and heat until warmed through. Then pile onto the sandwich rolls.
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I have been making Bistecca alla Florentina (Tuscan Porterhouse) ever since our neighbors served it to us a couple of years ago, after returning home from a vacation to Italy. It's a snap to make and wonderful served with any fresh produce from your garden or the farmers' market... especially a tomato caprese salad! Porterhouse, New York Strip or T-Bone is the suggested cut of meat, but I have been using Top Round recently; the thicker, the better.
Prepare the grill. Over high heat, sear the steak, reduce the heat (or raise the rack) and continue to cook until medium-rare. Have waiting, a platter of chopped fresh rosemary, chopped fresh sage and lots of finely-diced garlic. Pour over this at least one-third of a cup of extra-virgin olive oil (the more, the better, as far as I'm concerned). The moment the steak is pulled off the grill, plunge into the herb and oil mixture and start flipping the steak. Add a good dose of salt (it is impossible to over-salt once the steak is seared); continue to flip, then add freshly ground pepper.
Simple, and absolutely delicious!