Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winding Down and Looking Forward

One can still appreciate the beauty of nature with this sunrise despite frigid temperatures.

The sun's early rays are reflected on the ice. It was a breathtaking sight with hues of blues and pinks.
 A New Year's meal from next week's Seasonal Plate food column.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice and to make an end is to make a beginning.” by T.S. Elliot
Everyone loves a quick, easy and tasty dish and this creamed Parmesan and sun dried tomato pasta dish fits the bill. One of the best parts is the meal comes together in under 30 minutes. Two sliced chicken breasts can be substituted for the sausage. The recipe serves 2-3 and can be easily doubled. Steamed broccoli and artisan bread are suggested sides. Keep dessert light by serving lemon or raspberry sorbet. Pair the meal with a Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Pinot Bianco or a Zinfandel.

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta Ingredients:
  • 1-1/4 cups dried penne pasta
  • 1 cup cooked and crumbled Italian Sausage or Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage, thinly sliced 
  • 1 TB. olive oil 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onions
Cream Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 2 TB. flour 
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil drained and patted dry with a paper towel. 
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. each dried oregano and basil
  • 1 TB parsley flakes
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add in dried penne. Cook until al dente, drain and rinse.
  • In large skillet heat 1 TB. olive oil, sauté onion and garlic about 2 minutes on medium low heat. Stir frequently so it doesn't over brown. Add in 2 TB. butter. When butter is melted add in 2 TB. flour, whisk to blend and cook 1 minute.
  • Whisk in chicken broth and continue whisking until broth is incorporated into the flour mixture about 1-2 minutes. Stir in cream, meat, pasta, spices, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan. Whisk to blend and cook until thickened about 2 minutes. Grate Parmesan over top of the dish and serve immediately. 
Arugula Salad with Honey-Clementine Vinaigrette
Cook’s notes: The toppings here work incredibly well together. Pomegranate seeds add a fruity burst to every bite, and the toasted sunflower or pepitas seeds create delicious notes of nuttiness. Pistachios add crunch, color, and an earthy tone, while Parmesan adds sharp, salty flavor. . Pomegranates and Clementines are seasonal fruits available now. Check produce section for Pom Poms (pomegranate fresh arils).
Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Fat Free Cranberry Balsamic available at stores can be substituted for the Honey-Clementine Vinaigrette. The recipe was adapted from and serves 4.
Salad Ingredients
  • 4- 1/2 cups arugula, spinach, kale or a combination of all three
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 clementines, peeled and segmented or use 2 navel oranges 
  • 4 TB. lightly salted pistachios (shells removed), roughly chopped
  • 3 TB. sunflower or pepitas seeds
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings or crumbled goat cheese
Honey-Clementine Vinaigrette Ingredients:
  • Juice of three clementines to equal 1/3 cup or substitute with fresh orange juice 
  • 6 TB. extra-virgin olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil 
  • 2 TB. honey (add more to taste)
  • 3 tsp. white balsamic vinegar, Cranberry Pear White Balsamic or Pomegranate Quince Balsamic
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Divide the arugula evenly among four bowls. Place the sunflower seeds in a small dry skillet and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chopped pistachios and the pomegranate seeds over the arugula. When the sunflower seeds are nice and toasty, add them to the salads. Add in clementine segments, cranberries and top each salad with Parmesan shavings.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl, use a blender or add to a small mason jar and shake to combine. Store leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator

1 comment:

  1. I made the pasta dish again last night to use up the ingredients from last week's batch. Love, love, love this dish. I doubled it this time. Left-overs this evening.

    What a gorgeous shot of the sky. Simply stunning.