Posts Tagged ‘Pine nut’

I found this recipe in a magazine and thought it sounded delicious.  It was part of an article  by Donatella, renowned Italian chef in New York City.  Tonight I invited my friend, Dilara to dinner and this is what I served.

2 bunches of asparagus or broccoli

1 # gemelli or fusilli

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 Tsp Kosher salt

1 cup whole milk ricotta

1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

10 fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bring large pot of water to boil with 1 TBS salt

Cut top 2 inches from asparagus stalks.  Cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes just until tender.  Transfer to colander and run under cold water to stop cooking.

Bring asparagus water back to boiling.  Add pasta and cook until just tender to bite. While pasta is cooking, spread pine nuts on baking sheet and bake until golden.

Meanwhile, in large skillet cook sausage and onion in until meat is browned and onion is tender.   Drain fat.  Add asparagus tips, all but 1 TBS pine nuts, the cream, and salt;  simmer two minutes.  When pasta is almost done, use a skimmer or long-handled strainer to transfer to skillet, reserve cooking water.  Increase heat to high; toss until pasta is well-coated, about 30 seconds.  Add Parmigiano and toss again.  Transfer to platter; top with reserved pine nuts and basil.  Serve with additional ricotta.  Makes 6 servings

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Summer Sumptuous


If ever there was a time to indulge yourself in tomatoes, this would be it!  Fresh garden grown tomatoes are everywhere.  Even the large grocery stores are featuring state-grown produce.  The Jersey tomatoes are plump, juicy, sweet and so available and so this is the time to use them in as many recipes as possible.  And if your basil plant is looking like mine, you know it’s time to use up the leaves that got left behind when you were making tomato and onion and basil salad.  You WERE making that weren’t you this summer because really if you live in the Northeast, summer is really the only time you can eat tomatoes.  The other 9 months you’re eating a dark pink, hard, ethylene-gassed tennis ball.

8 oz. / 4 cups broccoli florets

2 oz. grated cheese

1/2 cup packed basil leaves

2 TBS olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

2 ripe tomatoes

Bring water to boil in covered pot.  Trim stems of broccoli, steam for 5 minutes until tender.  Reserve 6 TBS of the liquid, set aside.

You can use a food processor for many of these steps, however I don’t think it’s necessary to grate the cheese to equal 4 TBS.  Set aside.

Wash and dry basil leaves and pack into measuring cup.   Mince the garlic.  Add basil, olive oil and pine nuts in food processor and process till all is minced.  Add broccoli florets to food processor, if mixture get too thick, add water.  Add cheese and process to blend.

Serve over drained pasta.  Arrange sliced tomatoes along the side.

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This seemed like the perfect Sunday night supper, however that never happened! It turns out that this very night, this Tuesday was the perfect night for this meal.  I made the components of the dish during the day and put it together when we got home from the movies.  The time spent is all in the prep so it is a good dish to serve if you are going to be busy at night but have some free time during the day or night before.


1 pkg  (20 oz) of cheese tortellini

1 red sweet pepper, cored, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1 red onion, peeled, thinly  cut ( about 3/4 cup)

1 small bunch of asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1  1/2″ pieces

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

2 TBS Wegman’s basting oil*, divided

1 zucchini, trimmed, 1/4″ dice (2 cups)

3 TBS pine nuts

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

1 pkg (7 oz) Italian Basil Pesto Sauce

1/2 tsp Tobasco Sauce

15 basil leaves finely sliced

Preheat oven 450 degrees

Cook pasta according to directions, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside,

Season pepper, onions, and asparagus with salt and pepper;  toss with 1 TBS basting oil.  Transfer to baking sheet; arrange in single layer.  Roast 10-12 minutes, turn halfway thru cooking time. Remove from baking sheet and set aside.

Season zucchini with salt and pepper; toss with remaining 1 TBS oil. Transfer to baking sheet arranged in single layer.  Roast 5-7 minutes until tender but not browned.  Remove from oven.  Add to pepper mix. Chill 1 hour.

Toast pine nuts in small pan on MEDIUM, 3 minutes, stirring till slightly toasted.  ( I used a toaster oven). Remove, set aside.

Add tomatoes, pesto, Tobasco sauce, basil, pine nuts, and veggie mix.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chilled

* Basting Oil is basically Olive Oil and chopped basil and parsley.

Chef Tips – Prepare 1 day in advance for the flavors to meld.  You can substitute  Tomato Pesto sauce .

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Cooked Quinoa (C. quinoa) seeds

Cooked Quinoa


First I had to learn how to pronounce it, then how to cook it and then I found a LOT of Quinoa recipes.  This delicious, heart-healthy, natural starch is gaining in popularity.  Quite frankly, I don’t know why I’ve never made it before.  It’s on this diet I’m trying to follow and so I decided to buy some and see what would come of it. Just in case you don’t know what I didn’t know, it’s pronounced Keen-Wah.

Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. .

Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”

Food Chart

2 1/2  cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 red pepper, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 cup black beans (optional)

2 TBS fresh parsley

1 TBS olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

Zest of one lemon

4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

4 oz crumbled feta (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast pine nuts for 4 minutes

Combine cooked quinoa, red pepper, red onion, black beans (if using), and parsley and pine nuts.

In a small bowl combine minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and red pepper.  Stir in olive oil.  Toss dressing with quinoa mixture.  Top with feta cheese.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe from Savvy Vegetarian

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Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

Tonight I’m making a delicious, light and heart-healthy vegetarian meal.  We both love pasta and I especially am happy when I can make a pasta dish with veggies and is easy to toss together – it makes me feel so much more Italian 🙂  My grandfather who was born in Italy always used to say that having meat in your macaroni or spaghetti (there is a redundancy here but that’s how Americans speak) was a special occasion or a Sunday dinner.

So here’s my Tasty Tidbits Tuesday recipe:

12 oz (3/4 box) linguine

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4  cup pignoli (pine nuts)

4 cloves of garlic sliced

2 lb. asparagus trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces

1 cup (3 oz) shaved Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta, reserve a 1/2 cup pasta water, drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in medium skillet over MEDIUM HIGH heat.  Add pine nuts and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 1-2 minutes.  Add the asparagus and cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 2-3 minutes.

Add the asparagus mixture to the pasta along with a 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss to combine. *if pasta seems too dry, add a little pasta water to form thin sauce). Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan before serving.

Recipe from Real Simple magazine

Real Simple recipe, heart healthy, pasta with veggies, asparagus, Parmensan, linguine

Heart Healthy Linguine with Asparagus

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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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