Posts Tagged ‘Endive’


Gorgonzola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back at the shore where I have a decent-sized kitchen albeit a minute stove (20″) and able to shop at my favorite grocery store, Wegman’s, I’ve been cooking up a storm these past couple of days. By the way did you hear on the news that Consumer Reports rated Wegman’s the best supermarket chain in the US AGAIN this year!  I couldn’t be happier because as my readers know, I LOVE Wegman’s.

Last night I made a dish that had my husband doubtful when he heard what it was…Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Gorgonzola Cheese.  His first reaction, “Cheese! You’re making a pasta sauce with cheese?” I assured him he wouldn’t die from it and I silently thanked him for not mentioning that the fact that the spaghetti was whole wheat (his concession to me).  Actually I’m not even sure he heard me when I said whole wheat because he was in shock over the Gorgonzola cheese – this from a man who slathers Blue Cheese dressing on his salads and sour cream on his baked potaoes.  Uh huh, you know the type!

Needless to say it was amazingly good and I hope to serve it sometime for guests because it was delicious.


8oz whole wheat spaghetti ( I used about 12 oz)

3 TBS butter ( I used 5 in the end)

1 medium onion thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 small or 1 large head of escarole chopped crosswise ( I used a cello bag of chopped escarole)

4 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.

The directions that follow are for 8 oz of spaghetti and since I had increased that amount I increased the butter and escarole.

Heat 2 TBS butter in braising pan.  Add onions and garlic and cook till soft and lightly brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Meantime cook pasta.  

Once onions are soft and pasta is almost done, add escarole and cook it till it wilts.  Add 1 TBS butter to pan. 

Drain spaghetti (reserve a cup of water) and add to braising pan with escarole mixture.  Mix well and then top with sprinkled Gorgonzola cheese.  I was afraid my sauce might be too dry so I added some of the pasta water to  keep the dish moist.

All I can say is that there were NO LEFTOVERS!

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English: "V" icon as as symbol for v...

English: “V” icon as as symbol for vegetarianism/veganism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not a Vegan or a Vegetarian however sometimes I make an entire meal from garden-fresh vegetables!  This weekend turned out to be one of those inspirational meal-making events.  I found a vegan recipe for Sicilian Chickpeas with Escarole and Carmalized Onions.  Sounded intriguing and decided it would be a great side dish.  After all it had a green vegetable and also chick peas which provided the carb factor.  Of course if we were real vegans that would have been the main dish, maybe the only dish and I would be a thinner person!  But I know my husband and he might say something like “is this the whole meal” ?  So I made him two salmon burgers and myself two veggie burgers.  Not vegan and in most eyes, not even vegetarian – it was those salmon burgers that did us in….

Saturday night turned into a different kind of culinary adventure.  We were at the shore battening down the hatches so to speak as were our friends, Joe and Michael.  Hurricane Sandy was on her way to the Jersey Shore and Governor Christie declared a State of Emergency that morning so we had a lot of work to do putting furniture away, tying down covers, securing everything and anything that might become a missile!  Joe called and offered to help us in any way, good neighbor and friend.  I suggested we might meet up for breakfast on Sunday morning.  Joe said how about a pasta dinner since he had a lot of gravy.  He’s Italian and I’m Italian and if you’re Italian you know what we’re talking about.  Sounded like a plan to me BUT I had my own ideas about the kind of pasta I was going to make.

I mentioned that I thought I would make a Pancetta and Fennel Pasta, a very delicious and elegant dish.  There was a notable silence at the other end of the phone and then I heard the words, ” I don’t like pancetta, what is fennel”?  REALLY?  After a bit of back and forth and some input from Michael in the background, it was agreed that I would make the pasta, they would bring some wine and dessert!  I still wasn’t sure that Joe would like this dish and he did mention Classico sauce SO I decided to make two pasta dishes; my own Pancetta and Fennel and also a bowl of penne and pomodoro sauce.  Add an arugula, grape tomato and red onion salad and a loaf of semolina bread and we were in business.  Turns out that Joe really was kinda, sorta kidding about the Classico sauce (he claims he doesn’t really  like it).  Well, he dug right into the Pancetta and Fennel and after a couple of  helpings, he  said it was delicious!  See I told you it was good!

The recipe for the Pancetta and Fennel dish can be found in a previous blog: https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/pancetta-and-fennel-pasta/

Before I give you the Sicilian Escarole recipe, I have to tell you about the bonanza of desserts.  In true Jersey fashion, we had a dozen of Dunkin’ Donuts, many festively decorated for Halloween.  I will admit to eating a Boston Creme and at least half of a jelly doughnut.  AND then we had apple cake from Freedman’s Bakery in Belmar which was SOoooo good.  Thanks guys!

Sicilian Chickpeas with Escarole and Carmalized Onions

1  large escarole (1 1/2  lbs) I used a large bag chopped escarole

1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onions halved and sliced thinly. I used 1  large Vidalia onion thinly sliced.

2 tsp sugar –  I used 1 tsp.

1/4 cup dark raisins

3 cups drained chickpeas – reserve 1/3 cup bean liquid

Heat oil over medium heat in large  saute pan.  Add onions and stir often till golden – about 15 minutes.  Add sugar and cook another 5 minutes till dark golden brown.

Add raisins and escarole.  Stir occasionally till leaves are tender, about 6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper

Add chickpeas and their liquid.  Simmer till flavors have blended, about 3 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.


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What was going to be our Sunday night supper turned into a tasty side dish when we were invited to dine at Susan and Jim’s house.  Susan made what I thought was salmon but in fact it was Ironhead Trout! Very interesting since it looks like salmon, smells like salmon and tastes like salmon and I understand it is not as expensive as salmon. The salmon aka Ironhead Trout was delicious.  My contribution is the Tasty Tidbits Tuesday recipe.

2 TBS Pine Nuts toasted

1/2 box of whole wheat Fusilli prepared per directions, keep warm

1 pkg of cleaned, peeled butternut squash (20 oz) cut into 3/4″ dice

1/2 red onion, peeled, 1/2″ dice (about 1+ 1/2 cups)

1 TBS basting oil (olive oil with herbs in it)

Salt and pepper

1 pkg chopped escarole (15 oz)

1 pkg or 4 oz of mini-cubes of pancetta

3 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 container or 13 oz of Alfredo sauce

2 TBS of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Toss squash with onions in basting oil in large bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spread in a single layer on baking sheet.  Roast about 20 min, or until vegetables are well-caramelized and tender.

Blanch escarole 2-3 min in large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, and set aside.

Add pancetta to skillet on MEDIUM.  Cook, stirring, 3-5 min, until crisp and brown.  Remove from pan;drain on paper towels.  Return to pan. Add garlic. Cook, stirring 1-2 min, until tender

Add wine. Cook, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.  Simmer about 4 min, until liquids are reduced by half.  Stir in alfredo sauce.

Bring to simmer; add escarole and black pepper to taste. Stir to blend.  Add pasta; toss until well-combined. Stir in squash and onions, then pine nuts.  Top with cheese.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine

What I learned: I couldn’t find any Alfredo sauce so I used something called Parmesan Cheese sauce and it was fine.  My first thoughts were that there were too many steps and too many bowls and pots.  There was a large pot to blanch the escarole and a large bowl of ice water to shock it.  Another large bowl for tossing the squash and onions.  A baking sheet to caramalize the veggies and a large skillet to saute the pancetta.  I had meant to “toast” the pine nuts in the same skillet but forgot and if I had had a toaster oven, I might have used that but I didn’t.  The array of utensils and containers made for a large wash-up before the meal.

Other than the prepping, the pasta was DELICIOUS as I had hoped and expected it would.  I don’t think I have ever gotten a bad recipe from the Wegman’s MENU magazine.

Harvest whole wheat pasta with escarole and butternut squash,

Butternut Squash cubed

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