Tag Archives: bacon

Sunday Supper: End of Winter Pasta with Cabbage, Speck and Grappa

16 Apr

It’s 85 degrees in NYC today which means that spring is officially upon us!  Last week I made a delicious pasta that is perfect for the final days of cold weather.  Since I found this Andrew Carmellini (former A Voce chef) recipe in a Daily Candy post from 2009, I’ve made this recipe at least once every March/April.  Cabbage is one of those veggies that I know is really good for you but I don’t love cooking with it, so this recipe is a great way to include it in my diet.  Another added plus of this recipe is that it tastes awesome reheated so one pot of this can last me a few days.

Hearty Pasta

End of Winter Pasta with Cabbage, Speck and Grappa
Adapted from Andrew Carmellini recipe (via Daily Candy)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced thin
½ lb. speck, trimmed of overdried skin and cut into thin 1½-inch strips (if you can’t find speck, you can substitute pancetta, bacon or even prosciutto)
1 medium green cabbage
1 lb. dried pasta (I prefer shells because they soak up more of the sauce)
1 c. heavy cream
salt & pepper, to taste
1 egg
½ c. grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
2 tbsp. grappa (very strong Italian alcohol)

Directions
1. Boil a pot of water.  Just before adding pasta, add salt and a dash of olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking together while cooking.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onions and speck and cook until onions soften, about three minutes.
3. Meanwhile, remove outer leaves of cabbage and cut in half. Remove hard white core and slice cabbage into thin strips. You should have about four cups.
4. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
5. While pasta cooks, add cabbage to onion-speck mixture and stir continuously until cabbage begins to wilt, about three minutes.  At this point, if you pasta is not finished cooking yet, turn off the heat on the cabbage-onion-speck mixture and let it rest until the pasta is finished.
6. Drain the pasta, saving one cup of the cooking water (you will use if for the sauce).  Return pasta to the pot you cooked it in.
7. Turn heat back on pan containing cabbage-onion-speck mixture to medium heat.  Add cream, black pepper, salt, and UP TO one cup of pasta cooking water. (Note: I usually use 1/2 to 3/4 cup.  It all depends on how thick you want your sauce to be.)  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for two more minutes, until the cabbage has wilted but still maintains a little crunch.
8. Turn heat on pot containing the pasta and add the sauce. Mix well to coat pasta and cook for one minute, so the pasta absorbs some liquid.
9. While the pasta/sauce are cooking together, beat a raw egg.
10. Turn off heat and add egg to pasta, stirring well so it cooks in the hot mixture.
11. Add cheese and stir. Add grappa and stir.
12. Serve immediately in large bowls topped by more cheese and a few cracks of black pepper.

Hearty Pasta

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Mom’s Easy Easter Quiche

7 Apr

For Easter brunch tomorrow, I’m making my mom’s super easy and delicious quiche recipe.  She has been making it for so long that she doesn’t use a recipe.  It’s always delicious, but it tastes different with every preparation.  I’m a stickler for following her recipe to a tee because I think the combination of spices is perfect.  Also, this while this recipe calls for heavy cream and whole milk, you can substitute skim or low fat milk if you would prefer.  The resulting quiche will be less fluffy and creamy, but will still taste great with a lot less calories and fat.  In my mind, whenever I make this dish it’s for a festive occasion, so I like to stick with the heavy cream and whole milk and indulge a little!  Note: This recipe makes TWO quiches so if you only want to make one, halve the recipe.  This quiche does well refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for a couple of months though so I always make two and have an extra on hand when a quiche craving strikes!

Mom’s Easy Easter Quiche
Makes 2 quiches, each serving 6-8 people

Ingredients
2 deep dish pie crusts
Dijon mustard
1/2 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled (6-8 slices)
2 cups shredded cheese (approximately 1 1/2 cups Jarlsberg and 1/2 cup Gruyere)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
6 eggs
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup unsifted flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Grated parmesan cheese
Spray butter or margarine

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Squeeze a large dollop of Dijon mustard on top of each pie crust.  Using the back of a spoon, spread so there is a thin layer of mustard along the bottom and sides of the pie pans.
3. Put crumbled bacon on the bottom of each pie pan.  There should be enough to cover most of the surface area of both pans.
4. Add shredded cheese on top of bacon, dividing evenly between both pie pans.
5. In a large bowl, mix onions, flour, salt, cayenne pepper and nutmeg.   In a small bowl, beat eggs.  Add egg mixture to large bowl of dry ingredients.  Slowly add in heavy cream and milk until fully mixed.
6. Pour mix into both pie pans on top of cheese, dividing evenly between the two.
7. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of each pie and spray a few times with spray butter or margarine.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Then turn temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
9. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Tastes great reheated – simply microwave a slice or warm it in the oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes.

For those of you looking for more of a sugar-filled Easter brunch, check out this link that my mom sent me for some special Cadbury Creme Egg recipes.  I wish I lived in the UK because a Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry sounds really yummy!

Happy Easter everyone!

Christmas Dinner: Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

1 Jan Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

Before I get into today’s recipe, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!!  I hope 2012 is a great year for you all!  My resolution is to snack healthier so I should have some recipes up in the next couple of weeks to this goal.  What are your resolutions?

I don’t remember when I first started making this recipe, but it’s an easy side dish to prepare and looks very elegant on the dining table.  This would also be a great dish to serve at a cocktail party.

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 bunch asparagus
4-6 pieces of bacon
Salt & pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Clean and prepare asparagus by placing all of the stalks so the tips are all lined up.  This will help keep all stalks the same length.  Cut away the white hard ends of the asparagus and discard.
3. Divide the asparagus into 4-6 bunches of 4-6 pieces of asparagus each.  They should be small bunches; the thicker the bunches are, the harder it is to cook evenly.
4. Wrap each bundle together in the middle using one piece of bacon.
5. Season each bundle with salt and pepper.  Lightly drizzle with olive oil so they won’t burn during the roasting.
6. Bake in oven for 25 minutes until bacon is cooked and asparagus is roasted.  They should be cooked through but still crunchy.

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

Christmas Dinner

26 Dec

Christmas Hearth

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you had a happy holiday and Santa was good to you and your families!  My family decided to do something different from turkey this Christmas and make a standing rib roast instead.  Serving red meat versus poultry required a total overhaul of our menu from Thanksgiving.  Listed below are the dishes that we made today for Christmas dinner.  Over the course of the next two weeks, I will post each of these recipes.

Hot Toddies
Christmas Crostini
Dad’s Cream of Chestnut Soup
Mom’s Standing Rib Roast
Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon
Potato & Celery Root Mash
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise

To round out our meal, we served Sister Shubert’s Wheat Dinner Yeast Rolls and a bottle of Illumination Sauvignon Blanc from Quintessa Winery (see Napa Travelogue post for more info on CA wineries!).  Red wine probably would have gone better with this meal, but my mom generally only drinks white and I had just given my parents a case of this wine for Christmas so we had to try it!

Christmas Dinner Plate

Brunch: Sweet Potato & Lardon Hash

20 Oct

There is nothing I love more than a hearty brunch on a fall day in New York.  However, what I DON’T love about brunch is the perpetually long wait one must endure and the need most New Yorkers have to get dressed up for this meal.  By making brunch at home, I can cut out both of my brunch complaints – eating in sweats and not passing out from starvation waiting for a table!  Last week, one of my favorite cooking blogs, A Cozy Kitchen, posted a recipe for Sweet Potato and Lardon Hash.  It looked so yummy that I had to give it a try.  You can find their recipe here and my recipe with adaptations below.  If you’ve never poached an egg before, I found a super helpful post on Smitten Kitchen on how to poach an egg.  Check it out here if you need a primer.  It worked perfectly on my first try.  Thanks SK!!

Sweet Potato and Lardon Hash

Serves 2

Ingredients
1/2 lb. slab bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch cubes
Olive oil (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large sweet potato, sliced into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 yellow onion, loosely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, loosely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
4 large eggs, poached

Directions
1. In a medium-size skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the slab bacon for 4-5 minutes, until thoroughly cooked.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the lardons and transfer to a paper towel to drain.  Set aside.
2. In the same skillet (don’t rinse it out – you want to use that bacon grease!), add the sweet potatoes, cumin and paprika.  Stirring regularly, cook on medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked (aka soft when you bite into them).  Be sure to give the largest cubes of sweet potato a taste to be sure they’re thoroughly cooked.  During the cooking, if you notice the sweet potato starting to dry out, add a little bit of olive oil to the skillet.  Don’t be too concerned if the sweet potatoes get a little charred – mine did and they still tasted awesome.
3. Add the yellow onion and red bell pepper to the skillet and cook for 2-3 more minutes on medium-high heat.  Once soft, add the garlic to the skillet and cook until it becomes fragrant (1-2 minutes).  Add salt and pepper (to taste) here.  A note on the onion and pepper: don’t chop them too small or they will burn in the skillet.  You want the pieces of onion and pepper to be slightly smaller than the sweet potato and slab bacon.
4. Add the slab bacon back to the skillet and place over low heat to keep warm while you poach the eggs.  A note on poaching eggs: you can poach the eggs while you are cooking the sweet potato and keep them on a paper towel until right before you want to eat.  Then put the eggs in hot water (not boiling) to warm them up again and serve.
5. Divide hash mixture into two plates and top each serving with two poached eggs.