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Risotto Primavera

May 6, 2022

 

Spring has sprung here in New Hampshire finally! The lacy tree blossoms, the tulip-and-daffodil studded yards, and warmer temps all beckon us to linger outside every chance we get. The trampoline is in full use, and flip flops and Birks are finding their way onto our happy feet.

I love seeing how the change of seasons affects our appetites. We go from craving warm bowls of comfort food to wanting fresh veggies and salads. This Risotto Primavera is a sort of in-between, with all the stick to your ribs comfort from cheesy, warm risotto and all of the feel good bites of lots of green veggies.

This is the perfect side dish when you break out your grill and cook some chicken or steak, or our favorite, swordfish. It feels indulgent, but also healthy.

There is something so relaxing about cooking risotto. The adventure of stirring and ladeling in more broth and stirring some more (sipping a glass of wine somehow adds to the relaxation right?) until you are left with a creamy, cheesy flavor bomb of a side dish. The wine and the parm make this irresistible.

I love artichokes with risotto – I often make artichoke risotto up north at our camp when we cook steak on an open fire, since we can keep all the makings for it in the pantry. But the addition of fresh asparagus and peas were so springlike and welcome.

Feel free to play around with your veggies though. Mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and butternut squash are all also delicious veggies with risotto.

Though it is delicious hot, this dish can be served at room temperature, so feel free to bring it to a potluck or picnic. It will brighten up any meal. Cheers to spring friends!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Risotto Primavera

Serves 4 (I doubled this recipe).

  • 1 cup Aborio rice.
  • 1/2 cup onion or shallot (finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoon butter (preferably unsalted)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (we use Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (have more on hand)
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichokes (I like canned but frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, let soak in warm water to thaw)
  • 1/2 cup chopped blanched asparagus (see directions)

Directions:

  • Put chicken stock in small pan over medium heat to warm it.
  • Blanch Asparagus: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  When boiling, add asparagus and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender. Get bowl of cold water + ice cubes ready, and drain asparagus then add to the ice bath to lock in their green color.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet or frying pan and bring to medium high heat, add onions and cook until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add butter and Arborio rice, stir to coat rice.
  • Increase heat to high, add white wine.  Let rice absorb the wine while the wine cooks off (2-4 minutes). Reduce heat back to med high.
  • Add the warm chicken stock, one cup at a time.  As the rice absorbs the stock continue adding stock gradually. Stir constantly.
  • Continue cooking until the rice is almost all the way cooked through, it should be al dente with a firm center (approx 15-20 min).
  • When rice is cooked, reduce heat to low. Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, the Parmesan cheese and stir. Then add the vegetables. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Add more Parm on top for serving.

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

February 23, 2022

Guys, this is one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am so happy to share it with you all!

The idea for this dinner began when I read Alexandra Cook’s post on how much she loves sautéed escarole as a winter side. She makes the point that by February, we have roasted so many veggies that cooked greens hit the spot and are so easy. When I grabbed a few heads of escarole at the store, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t they be delicious in soups or pastas? The answer is yes and yes.

I looked around at other recipes online, and one of them was very similar to a simple pasta dish our family loves making combining these ingredients.

We usually make ours with broccoli or spinach (fresh or frozen) and use any pasta shape. I merged ours with one I found on Epicurious. And the result was amazing. I give all the credit to that glorious trio of shallots, garlic and wine cooked together to give such a delicious base. And the pasta water helps create the most luxurious sauce. Trust me, you are going to want to try it. And then make it again because it is sooo yummy.

The acid from the wine, the slight bitterness from the escarole, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat from the sausage, the comforting pasta, all covered in the delicious sauce is so well balanced. And the crispy fried rosemary on top is genius. I can’t stop thinking about how many other dishes I can use it on.

Just all around something I would drive to a restaurant far away to order again and again.

This one will be on heavy rotation because it is so easy, and so satisfying. Hope you get to try it soon too!

Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

1 pound tubular pasta like paccheri or rigatoni

2 sprigs Rosemary

1/3 cup olive oil

20 oz. turkey sausage (or any kind you prefer)

2 shallots, finely diced (1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 heads (about 8 cups) escarole, torn into pieces

1/2 cup parmesan plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring pot of salted water to boil for pasta. You will need some of the pasta water for the sauce so be sure to reserve.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Fry rosemary, turning until crisp about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add sausage to the same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or fork and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. While sausage cooks, start boiling pasta, setting timer for 3 minutes less than the packages cooking time.

Be sure there is still enough oil in pot, if not add more to equal about 1 T. Add shallots to pot and let cook for 2-3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and let cook for a minute before adding wine. Scrap up the bottom bits in the pan and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer pasta to pot with tomatoes, then add escarole and 1 cup pasta liquid. Cook, tossing until escarole is wilted, pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted into a glossy sauce. Thin with more pasta water if desired, season with pepper and more salt if needed (you probably won’t if your pasta water is salted.) Add sausage back into pasta and stir to combine.

Divide pasta in bowls, and crumble rosemary on top and sprinkle with more parmesean cheese.

 

 

 

 

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

January 26, 2022

What could be better on a cold winter night then lighting a fire, turning up the music and making a one-pot pasta dish?

I love artichokes, and will use any excuse to use them in a dish. I actually almost always have some open in my fridge to use in omelets, salads, sandwiches (they are so yummy on egg sandwiches with grainy mustard). I also have a family to feed where half of them want pasta at every meal, and the other half wants meat. Voila! Everyone is happy with this dish.

The first step is to brown the artichokes. This brings out there flavor and the cartelized color is so pretty.

Then you remove them from the pan (I doubled this recipe, so I used a heavy-bottomed pot for this recipe).

You add oil to the pan, season chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and sauté onions, then add garlic and oregano. Then add tomatoes and broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Finally add lemon juice and chicken broth (which adds a lot of flavor but you could use water in a pinch) and the pasta, cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Then add the chicken back in and you’re done. If there is too much liquid you can cook it off, and if the pasta seems al dente you can add a little more broth and let it cook for a few minutes. 

Serve with plenty of shaved parmesan cheese on top, and crusty bread. This is a great dish for a busy weeknight but it’s also nice enough for company. The leftovers keep very well and get better the next day. The lemon, garlic and oregano add lots of flavor. I also added red pepper flakes to mine. Crumbled feta or olives on top would also be delicious.

The best part is this dish is pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta (which my kids cannot abide so I didn’t.)

Hope this dinner warms up your insides and is an easy meal to add to your dinner rotation! It is delicious and easy.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

Serves 4  (I doubled this recipe) 

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 15-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1pound chicken tenders
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, about 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 3 ounces julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen (you can use kale or spinach instead)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces cavatappi, regular or whole wheat (you can use penne or other shape)
  • 2 ounces shaved parmesan, (optional)

Directions: 

Heat a large non-stick skillet with high sides (or a large pot if you are doubling the recipe) over medium heat.

Heat 1 T. olive oil. Working in two batches, add artichokes and char until dark golden—3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Season chicken with 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder and salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Heat another 1 T. olive oil in pan, add chicken and cook 5 minutes, turning half way through cooking. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat an additional 1 T. olive oil, then add onions, garlic, and 2 teaspoons oregano. Cook, stirring, until onions are softened and golden, 4 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and broccoli, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth. Stir in cavatappi, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Remove cover, stir in chicken and artichokes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until pasta is al dente and chicken is reheated. Remove cover and cook off any excess liquid if necessary. Serve topped with parmesan (if using), remaining oregano, and more salt and black pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup

January 12, 2022

Greetings from the house of Covid surrounded by frozen tundra!

We are going on our second month of the virus slowly going through our family (good times!) and I am so thankful that I got it first so I can play nurse to everyone else. Our 4 year old twins seem to be made of teflon and have yet to get it that we know of, but it does mean for lots of baking, baths and abc puzzles as they quarantine away January.

I don’t know about you, but under duress, comfort food needs to also be easy food. I can finely chop ingredients and slow cook meat all day when everything is smooth sailing, but add another job like nurse to my roster and I need food to be easy. I actually have so many fun recipes to make for this blog this year, but for right now I am relying on one pot, ten ingredients or less dinners. But crusty bread is always a must.

I looked in our fridge and found chorizo and potatoes singing to me, and I whipped up this super simple, 7 ingredient soup, and it totally hit the spot.

It was such an easy lunch to warm up for anyone, and it was great to have a different soup in the rotation. (For other soups we had a lot of recently, see this Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Sausage and White Bean Soup, and this Greek Wedding Soup with lots of lemon. And I recently posted on Instagram about our love of tomato soup – it is in our weekly rotation with lots of grilled cheese.)

There are a lot of variations you can make with this soup, and you can treat this as a clean out the veggie drawer soup – chopped carrots, celery, spinach, zucchini are all great additions, and you can swap out beans or pasta for the potatoes and corn. The best part is the chorizo is so well seasoned that it infuses the soup with flavor.

I loved this simple version, and it warmed me up all week as I entertained preschoolers and tended to sick kids.

I hope your family is staying warm and healthy, and that you get to cook up something simple and delicious to bring everyone together for dinner.

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup 

1 med onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 oz. chorizo, cut in half moons

2 cups potatoes, cubed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups kale, sliced

10 oz. corn

Directions:

Heat 2 T oil in heavy pot over med heat. Add onions and cook for 3-5 min until soft. Add garlic and chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Add bay leaf, salt & pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 min or until potatoes are tender. Add kale and corn and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm with crusty bread.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

November 12, 2021

When I was little, I loved Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Pouring the thick white base with lines from the can still formed onto its sides that was studded with chewy mushrooms.  Adding the milk, and whisking until they were sort of combined, bumps were fine. It was heaven.

To an eight year old.

As a grown up, it’s pretty gross.

The good news is that it is very quick and easy to make a cream of mushroom soup from scratch that is filled with the creamy umami goodness that it’s canned cousin slightly possesses.

You start with browning a mix of cremini and shiitake mushrooms, and after reserving a cupful for later, you add the aromatics of shallots and garlic…

Then you add the dried tarragon, which goes so well with mushrooms I pretty much add it whenever I am cooking with them.

Then add broth, simmer for 10 minutes…

At this point you have some options that are all based on personal preferences. You could eat it like this, or to have a bit more of a refined soup, you can insert your immersion blender and go. Some people like to completely blend the soup so it is a thick, creamy base with the reserved mushrooms added back in. But I guess as a nod to my Campbell’s soup days, I like little chewy bits of mushrooms in my soup.

So I like to process it until it is chunky, not creamy.

This is the perfect dish to serve to guests who may be visiting for Thanksgiving, or to have a steamy bowl set at each place setting to set the meal off. If you want to get really fancy, you could thicken it a little (find out ways to thicken sauces here, my favorite is to mix a little flour and butter together to make a roux) and use this as a base for your green bean casserole, which is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Or just make it on a rainy Friday in November like today.

It’s the perfect recipe for when you walk by beautiful mushrooms in your grocery, and it only takes a few more minutes then the stuff from a can. But your inner child will still love the stick-to-your-ribs comfort food feeling you get. I promise.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Ingredients: 

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups mushrooms – a mix of cremini (or button) and shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, roughly chopped or sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 4 shallots, minced (about 3/4 -1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil on medium heat. When hot, add butter, and once it has melted add the mushrooms, tossing to coat in the butter and oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove one cup of the mushrooms to add back in later.

Add shallots and garlic to pot, and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Add the tsp. salt, tarragon, and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Once soup has cooled a bit, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. (You can also use a standing blender, but I like my soup with chunks rather than totally smooth, so I prefer the immersion blender.) Once it is your desired level of thickness, stir in cream, pepper and add extra mushrooms and parsley to the pot. Taste and check for seasonings and serve.

 

 

Goat Cheese and Sage Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Kale and Blue Cheese

October 4, 2019

This post is basically one big ode to fall. And gnocchi. And my husband for taking me out to eat on our Anniversary. We went to the Black Trumpet and this was our main course. My meat-loving husband and I split this for our 15 year Anniversary dinner. It just oozed fall comfort food when we saw it on the menu and that’s pretty much what it is. This will help you get your fall on, I promise.

Also, why aren’t people shouting from the rooftops that homemade gnocchi is SO good and easy? Consider this my rooftop shout.

Remember that scene in Unbroken when he was on the stairs and watching his mother or grandmother making gnocchi in the kitchen, and that memory of comfort sustained him through almost dying in a boat and almost dying in the prisoner of war camp?

When I saw that scene, I was touched by the power of food memory like everyone else but now I know it really is because homemade gnocchi is that good. (RIP Louis).

Gnocchi has FOUR ingredients (five if you use cheese like I did) – you put potatoes that have been boiled and mashed (or grated) on a work surface that’s dusted with flour, then you add flour, make a well, crack an egg, add some salt and for these I added goat cheese and sage, and then you mix it all together with your hands until it forms a dough. It might actually take as long to make and boil these as it takes to boil a box of spaghetti.

This is one of those dishes that you can get all the elements together ahead of time. I cooked the vegetables and made the dough on Sunday and then our tile guys came in to finish our kitchen (yay, I can’t wait to show you all now that it’s done! Post coming soon). I didn’t get to roll out the gnocchi until two days later and it was totally fine.

To put the dish together, you just roast the kale (make extra because you will want to nibble on it all day long).

And then you make the butternut squash puree – just add some liquids to thin it out (I used milk, broth and apple cider vinegar) and some butter, salt and pepper.

Then you boil the gnocchi – it only takes 3 minutes to cook, and it nicely floats to the top of the water to tell you its done.  Then you melt 2 T. butter in a large pan and cook it until it’s browned.

Then you put these three elements together – which honestly you could have used each part alone or in a million other ways for other dishes, so keep them on hand all fall. Then you sprinkle blue cheese and chopped hazelnuts on top ( look for hazelnuts at a gourmet grocer or try Amazon).

This could be a Thanksgiving side dish, a comfort meal for a friend who had surgery or new baby, or just a date night at home. My older kids loved it, the little ones just wanted the gnocchi.

 

For the gnocchi:

4 russet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)

2 1/2 cups flour + more for work surface

4 oz. goat cheese, softened

1 egg

2 T. chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. salt

Directions: 

Boil potatoes: put peeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, then cook for 20 minutes. When fork tender, remove and let dry on a towel.

Using a potato masher or potato ricer, mash potatoes until they are the consistency you would use for mash potatoes. (You can also grate them).

On a work surface coated in flour, pile the potatoes and then add the 2 1/2 cups of flour. In the center of this pile make a well and add goat cheese and egg, beating egg with a fork. Then add sage and salt, and using your hands combine all ingredients well and form into a loaf. Using a sharp knife, slice 1-2 inch strips through the longest side of the dough. Pulling one row apart at a time, roll between your fingers until a thin log is formed. Then cut 1-2 inch pieces of dough to form each gnocchi.

You can boil immediately, for around 3 minutes or until it floats to the top of the water. If you want to serve them later you can lay them on a cookie sheet and put in fridge or freezer until ready to boil. Once frozen they can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

For the butternut squash:

1 butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds removed

Olive oil

2 T. butter

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1/4 apple cider vinegar, optional

Salt and Pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil it. Place squash cut side down, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until squash feels tender when a knife is inserted. Let cool.

For serving, scrape squash into pan set on medium heat. Mash with a potato masher as it heats, then add butter and let it melt, then stir to combine. Thin puree out with your choice of liquids, I used 3/4 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. chicken broth, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar. Stir and if necessary mash until desired consistency. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, tasting to adjust seasoning if more is needed. Keep warm until you assemble the dish.

For the kale: 

4 cups kale, steams removed and torn into pieces

2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Toss kale with oil, salt and pepper. Divide kale among 2 sheet pans to avoid steaming and to get crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.

To assemble: combine butternut squash, gnocchi then kale onto a plate or plater. Sprinkle 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles and 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts on top. Serve immediately.