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The fettuccine recipe

UPDATE: Thanks to Jenny Dechico for helping us find a new and improved name for this dish!

There was an article in the NY Times a week or two ago about the wonderful fresh bounty available now at farmer’s markets and because everything looks so good, the propensity to overbuy and then how do you store and use so many vegetables? I confess I am guilty of this, and because I am the daughter of a mother who grew up during the Great Depression, (and not to mention our own depression now), I hate to waste food.

So I made this one dish pasta meal, chock loaded with vegetables. I was going to make this a meatless meal until I discovered a little bit of spicy chorizo and some sweet sopressata that needed to be used up as well. I loved incorporating the dried sausages. First of all, when you sauté them, you release the fat from the meat so use just a tiny bit of olive oil and that sausage fat adds a lot of flavor! Also, I personally loved the chewy texture the dried meats provided – different and delicious. Now I just threw this dish together on Wednesday evening and we were ravenous so I’m sorry to say I did not measure or weigh the ingredients, but I did take pictures along the way! I hope you like this dish as much as we did.
Fettuccine with garlic, eggplant, broccoli, tomatoes, sausage, and pecorino romano cheese on a white plate.

FARMER’S MARKET PASTA WITH SAUSAGES AND PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE

- serves 4 – 6 as a main course

1 tbs. olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium-sized eggplant, cut in 1/2” slices, each slice cut in 1/2” strips
Peanut oil
Fine sea salt
Coarse sea salt
1 head of broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, thoroughly washed and cut in 2” pieces
7 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered or cut in 6th’s, then cut in 1/2” pieces
4” piece of spicy chorizo quartered lengthwise, and then sliced 1/4” thick
3” piece of sweet sopressata, sliced 1/8” thick and then each slice cut into 4 strips
Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated to taste
1 lb. dried fettuccine
4 – 6 tbs. pasta water

Okay, so this may seem like a lot for you to do but a lot of these things can happen concurrently and it really is easy.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place your cut eggplant in a colander in a single layer and salt generously with fine sea salt. Stack additional layers of eggplant and salt on top of each layer. Let sit and drain for at least 20 minutes or longer. This takes the bitterness out.

Put about a tablespoon of peanut oil on a rimmed baking pan. Spread all over with a small paper towel. Pat dry each piece of eggplant and put on the prepared pan with space in between. Place on the lowest rack in your oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the bottoms are nicely browned.

When it is done, scrape off with a metal spatula and place on a plate.

Meanwhile, place the broccoli rabe in a large pot. Cover with cold water, and salt with coarse sea salt. Place the pot on high heat. As soon as you start to see bubbling along the edge of the pan, remove the broccoli rabe with a slotted spoon to a strainer or colander. DO NOT DRAIN THE POT, You will use this water to boil the pasta in a little bit.

Cut your tomatoes and put in a bowl. Salt with fine sea salt. Toss and let sit.

Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a large skillet. Put the minced garlic in and sauté on very low heat for 5 minutes.

Have your sausages and grated cheese ready.

Add the sausages to the garlic and oil, raise the heat to medium and sauté for 6 minutes more. Add the broccoli rabe and toss and cook through until tender.

Reboil the broccoli rabe water, adding more if necessary. Boil the fettuccine 2 minutes less than the package instructions and then test to your liking. I like it al dente. Save some pasta water. Drain the pasta.

Put half of the fettuccine, half of the eggplant, half of the tomatoes, half of the broccoli rabe /garlic/sausage mixture, some cheese and 2 -3 tbs. pasta water together in a large bowl and toss. Finish with the remaining ingredients. Toss thoroughly to combine. Serve and top with more cheese if needed.

Salted eggplant in a colander.

Salted eggplant strips draining – removes bittterness

Broccoli rabe in a pot.

Parboiling broccoli rabe – removes bitterness

Salted tomatoes in a bowl.

Chopped, salted plum tomatoes

Garlic cloves on a wooden cutting board.

Garlic!

Chopped sausages on a wooden cutting board.

Sausages

Romano cheese on a wooden cutting board.

Pecorino Romano cheese – I just used the piece on the right

Broccoli rabe, sausage and garlic in a skillet.

Broccoli rabe, sausages and minced garlic sauteing

Dinner last night

Coming soon, I promise!! I’ll post the recipe for this fantastic pasta dish I made last night. It was so delicious! It’s fettuccine with garlic, roasted eggplant, sauteed broccoli rabe, fresh plum tomatoes, sausages, and pecorino Romano cheese. We both had seconds. Yikes!

Fettuccine with garlic, eggplant, broccoli rabe, tomatoes, and pecorino Romano cheese.

Father’s Day!

Hope all you Dads out there had a great day!! Because our youngest left on Friday for a seven week vacation in Poland and Eastern Europe, our Father’s Day came early. They surprised my husband on Thursday evening, He came home from work to a beautifully set dining room table and both boys busy in the kitchen. I made cocktails for all and we had a grand time.

Here’s what they made. They started with a salad of arugula, topped with thinly sliced radishes and carrots, followed with avocado and a white wine and olive oil vinagrette. The meal was scaloppini of veal poached in a homemade vegetable broth with tarragon, dill and parsley, (a Mark Bittman recipe), served over parboiled broccoli rabe that was then flash broiled, and finished with a tossing of olive oil and chopped garlic, with mandoline sliced potatoes, coated in clarified butter and baked, (a French Laundry recipe). I am not making this up. They did it all and it was amazing and delicious!!!
Arugula salads with radishes on red places.Making an arugula salad with radishes, carrots, avocado, and white wine and olive oil vinaigrette.Arugula salads with radishes, carrots, avocado, and white wine and olive oil vinaigrette on red plates.Veal with parsley.

Mark Bittman's recipe of veal poached in  vegetable broth on red and white plates.

Father’s Day finished plates

One dish meals

I was just thinking how much I love one dish meals for weeknights. What could be simpler? You’ve got your carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins all in one. You can serve it in a lovely flat soup bowl and hopefully the recipe will only cause one or two pots to be dirtied, so clean up is a breeze as well. The Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Chicken Sausage recipe in my last entry is a good example but there are so many. Gnocchi with Shrimp and Snowpeas, Veal Stew with Rosemary and Lemon on Polenta, Orecchiette with Shrimp and Broccoli Rabe, all listed earlier here are other great ones. Think of the many combinations you can make – use your imagination. Combine things you love and you won’t go wrong. Remember to relax, have fun, and pour love into it!Farfalle with lamb sausage and escarole.

Farfalle with lamb sausage and escarole.

Dinner in 30 minutes – REALLY!

This is no Rachel Ray joke!

We arrive home very late on Columbus Day, having had business meetings upstate in Hudson.

I know I have broccoli rabe at home in Manhattan. I grab a pack of frozen sausage from the country house and do not put in it in a cool pack for the ride home so it will thaw. I will make pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage. However it is a mild Italian chicken sausage, BUT I have just picked a very hot serrano pepper from my garden!

Everyone is starved as we walk in the door at 8:30. I put all the other groceries away and get to work a little before nine.  How can I get dinner on the table quick? I ask for help from Zach’s girlfriend, Agata, and she does a beautiful job peeling and slicing the 6 large garlic cloves. And I continue with the neatest thing being using the broccoli rabe near boiling water to bring to a rolling boil to cook the pasta. It also flavored the pasta as well. Dinner was on the table at 9:23, served with a lovely bottle of red wine for the four of us and it was a feast! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. My husband said this was the very best version of this dish I have ever made! And, it has the magical pancetta in it to give it the big full flavor. Here goes.

Pasta with broccoli rabe and chicken sausage in a bowl.

PASTA WITH BROCCOLI RABE AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE
1/4 cup olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, pealed and sliced
1 serrano chili pepper minced, with seeds (remove seeds if you do not like things hot)
1 3/8” thick slice pf pancetta, cut into small dice
1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed and cut into 2” pieces
1 -11/4 lb. mild Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing and broken up into small chunks
1 lb linguini – No. 6
3 tbs. pasta water
2 oz. grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Mince the pepper. Warm the olive oil with the garlic, hot pepper and pancetta on low heat for 10 – 12 minutes in a large skillet while you’re cleaning the broccoli rabe. Trim the ends of the broccoli rabe and cut into  2” pieces, Wash thoroughly, twice. Put in a large pot, cover with at least 2” of cold water. Salt with coarse sea salt. Put on very high heat. When bubbles start to form on the edges of the pot, lift the broccoli rabe out with a hand mesh strainer or slotted spoon and drain in a colander. This partially cooks the rabe and removes the bitterness. You are saving the water to cook your pasta in. Raise heat on garlic mixture to medium, add your sausage and sauté until all pink is gone. Taste for salt and pepper but remember, the Pecorino is salty and that gets put in at the end. Meanwhile, bring the broccolli rabe water to a rolling boil and cook your pasta. Add drained broccolli rabe to sausage mixture and toss the combination. Save some pasta water and drain the pasta when done. I find it best to combine all in layers. Put 1/3 pasta in a bowl with 1/3 sausage rabe mixture and  1/3 cheese and 1 TBS. pasta water, toss to combine and continue with thirds and toss. Serve with more cheese if you like at the table, but it really isn’t necessary.

This dish is so creamy and delicious – even for people who say they don’t like broccoli rabe! It almost tastes like it has butter in it but it doesn’t. You will love it!

I forgot the pancetta!

So last night I made this fantastic dinner. I love one dish meals for a weeknight – so simple and neat. I bought the pound and a half of shrimp, texted Zach as to what time he’d be home and it turns out he’s going to his brother’s apartment in Williamsburg for dinner and they are having over Jen – their nanny! And I didn’t even know about it. How sweet is that!? And here I bought the shrimp specifically for Zach, as he had been talking about shrimp for dinner – he was craving. Go figure! But he enjoyed the leftovers when he got home at midnight.

ORECCHIETTE WITH SHRIMP AND BROCCOLI RABE
Serves 4

Trim the ends off, wash and chop the broccoli rabe into 2″ size pieces. Make sure no yellow flowers have bloomed. If they have, remove them and NEVER buy a head with bloomed flowers as they are really really bitter. Now put all the rabe in a large pot and cover with 2″ of cold water over the top. Salt the water and rabe with coarse sea salt, stir and put the pot on high heat. When little boiling bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot, remove from heat, drain and immerse in an ice cube bath of water to stop the cooking. When cold, drain thoroughly, spin (in your lettuce spinner) and then pat dry.

Warm 2 tbs. olive oil in a large skillet, add 7 (yes seven) cloves of minced garlic, one-half of medium-sized red onion, sliced on a hand mandoline. Saute all on low heat for 10 minutes to soften and get all melty. I would typically add the 1/4″ cubes of pancetta here, from one 1/4″ slice – but I forgot!

Fill the pot you cooked the broccoli rabe in with water to cook the orrecchiette. Salt with coarse sea salt and bring to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta 1- 2 minutes less than the minimum time on the package directions. Taste to be sure it is al dente properly. Save a half of a coffee cup of pasta water before draining, just in case you need a little moisture in your finished dish. (My boys always tease me about this as I often never use it – but just in case!)

Meanwhile, wash and dry 1.5 lbs of shrimp, cleaned and shelled but tails left on and salt and pepper one side of each. Add 1 seeded and minced habanero pepper and 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the garlic and onion mixture and saute for 2 minutes more. Raise your heat and add the broccoli rabe, saute for 2 minutes and then add the shrimp plus 1/2 cup dry Vermouth and cook until the shrimp are pink on both sides. When done remove from heat.

Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl, pour on shrimp mixture and add 1/2 cup of grated Romano cheese (don’t tell the Italians as they would NEVER put cheese on a fish dish, but here it is great and adds a little natural saltiness) and toss. To finish, drizzle on 2 tbs olive oil and sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint.

Let me know how you like this!

(Can you believe I forgot the pancetta?)

orecchettiwshrimp-and-b-rabe1