Posts Tagged 'parmesan'

mushroom radicchio & spinach fettuccine

this dinner was an elegant combination of the results of a food-related, dinner based, free association game* and a vision in my minds eye. my cohort had just yelled ‘pine nuts’ and ‘magnesium’. so i had a lot of thinking to do because i was less after dietary requirements and more focused on the aesthetic qualities of the meal. pasta is quick which seems so often to be the only factor under consideration so pasta it was. i had to use radicchio because i had a bee in my bee-ridden bonnet (other bees include banana bread…coming soon to a post near you). the worst supermarket in the world for some reason had a vast selection of wild mushrooms, the likes of which i had never before seen (in this barren culinary landscape) and which, im told are a high source of protein. i dont do science so protein and magnesium sounded the same…in as much as they made equally little sense to me and were of equally little importance to my artistic vision. spinach too was, according to the world wide web, rich in magnesium and green always looks pretty so i was home and hosed with robbie buck. (all for you snow). and so it was, mushroom radicchio and spinach fettuccine. pretty and magnesium heavy.

*game not suitable for children or those lacking intuition where food is concerned. it takes place often unintentionally during negotiations relating to the making and eating of dinner during which seemingly arbitrary food related words get yelled out. (in our case with its strange specificity it often starts with couscous and ends in pine nuts.)

5g dried porcini

few tbsp olive oil

30g butter

3tbsp cream

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

couple spoons of chopped oregano

500g mixed mushrooms

350g fettuccine

half radicchio roughly chopped

couple handfuls spinach

couple handfuls parmigiano-reggiano finely grated

first put porcini in 125ml boiling water and set aside to reconstitute. cook the pasta in a large pan full of boiling water. nigella once said that the water you salt pasta in should be as salty as the mediterranean. thought she didnt say it, the italians did. but its a nice analogy and she delivered it well.

heat oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms. try not to crowd the pan…if its too full it will steam and not fry so if you have, as you always have, gone too far, try doing mushrooms in batches. when the mushrooms start cooking down add the garlic, season with salt and pepper and add the oregano.

add cream and stir. then add the porcini and soaking liquid and simmer so that it reduces by half. add in the spinach and cook til just wilted.

drain pasta and toss through the mushrooms. add the radicchio and parmesan. scatter with pine nuts too if you are so inclined.

Advertisements

roast squash, tahini, pinenut salad

things have been a little rough. again. and so the mournful returns. its not that i dont enjoy the giggling, the car-mel, heart-shaped cookie cutters, and the hand clapping. i especially love the hand-clapping. its just that the world doesnt really present me with much of that. i realise that some of this may come across as martyrdom (cant imagine why, its not like i have inherited any kind of victim mentality). its just that the world doesnt make me want to clap my hands. its wintery and cold. there are not enough hours in a day before it gets dark and so often there are too many. in the words of a boy i know, this is the winter of our discount tent. theres the interminable problem of israel, its barbarity, and the violence inherent in zionist ideology. then, on a more personal level theres the problem of being in the possession of 14 winning mars bar wrappers and henceforth the looming predicament of having 14 mars bars on my person and (presumably) subsequently in my person. theres an exploding wardrobe full of clothes deemed unsuitable, and a devastatingly unattainable little calvin klein dress, hidden behind a curtain, that i cant afford on the salary of a blogger. and of course, theres the intractable problem of the starter, the untrelenting, unforgiving, and unappealing starter which is suffering in the cold and has had to go into hibernation in the bathroom (until it gets its proving oven). the steam and heat of a post shower environs seems to do worlds of good. which is ok… it just makes this world a stranger place to be. in amidst these troubles, there is so little time for cooking and writing. so this was the best i could come up with. but i make no apologies because it was really quite lovely. so here is an improvised, left-over inspired roast squashy (that was a typo but its very funny so it stays), tahini, pinenut and parmesan (and/or feta) salad.

ingredients

1 butternut squash (cut into cubes)

4 garlic cloves

few sprigs of thyme (or rosemary…which id dare say is better if you have it. i did not.)

salt & pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

bunch of spinach and rocket leaves

handful of pine nuts lightly toasted

handful of parmesan (shaved)

for tahini….

150ml tahini paste

2 garlic cloves crushed

80ml lemon juice

1/2tsp salt

2 tbs olive oil

150ml water

handful parsley finely chopped

preheat your oven to 200 degrees. cut up your pumpkin and toss in a bowl with 3 or 4 garlic cloves, olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and black pepper and roast for about half hour or until soft.

to make the tahini bash up some garlic in a mortar and pestle. mix the garlic with the lemon juice in a bowl. add the tahini and mix to combine. then add the water and the olive oil and mix well. check for seasoning and if its too thick just add more water. finally throw in the chopped parsley. set aside.

put leaves on the plate. add the squash on top. then drizzle with tahini. scatter over pine nuts and finally give it some shavings of parmesan. alternatively crumble over some feta. or even alternately do both.

radicchio, pear and walnut salad

boring and derivative are such ugly words. classic is perhaps a more gentle term of opprobrium. by way of introduction i should probably make clear that this will be one of the last dinner proper posts. i have, after much consideration but mainly eating, come to the world shattering realisation that pastry is the only natural and logical consequence of my existence. yes, in spite of a request (on the heels of a tart boom) for more catholicity (or perhaps perversely because of), this blog is now solely and wholly dedicated to pastries, fancies, subtleties, cakes and all things which rest on the fundamental, inalienable law of butter and sugar. so what better way to bid farewell to bid farewell to dinner proper than with a salad as lovely, as autumnal, and as classic as this. enjoy.

ingredients

2 radicchio

2 pear – peeled, quartered and very finely sliced

2 apples – peeled, quartered and very finely sliced

150g parmesan shavings

100g walnuts lightly toasted.

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

first toast your walnuts – just lightly. then cut up your apples and pears and lay them out on your new, beautiful, photogenic chopping board for photographing if you want to fetishise food in such a way. i would never.

cut up your radicchio – roughly, however you see fit. combine all ingredients together into a bowl. pour over the olive oil, balsamic and season with salt and pepper.

simple. and so so very beautiful. even from up above.

roast butternut squash & spinach risotto

this blog was, in its most scathing critique to date, recently described as “derivative” and “boring”. the real question is not, i dont think, is this blog truly derivative and boring but rather can the ego of this auteur bear such destructive criticism? shattered though one might be, after having being canned by one of your own supporters (a producer no less) in a review that was neither sought after nor invited, is there a way to get back up on the proverbial horse? some (mostly psychotherapists) would probably argue that in this particular case, with all its horrifying specificity, the answer is no. quit while you are behind. others however, those more perverse in character would say, why yes indeed. in no healthy way, this verbal beating needs to be embraced. and here is what i propose: a derivative and boring post…to show you what derivative and boring really means.

i was walking through my local all-round providore the other day, trying to come up with some ideas for dinner. uninspired by the range i was ready to throw in the towel when i fell upon some organic bio-dynamic and bio-logical muscat grapes. this i had to have. hubby loves muscats..they seem to have a soothing effect on his psoriasis. poor dear, he has such a delicate, flaky constitution. the little one enjoys them too..he enjoys chewing on the gummy things until he has extracted all their flavour and then spits them on the floor. i find it best to hover beneath his highchair, with cupped hands ready to catch the next bit of flying refuse…oh how we laugh. sometimes, when im feeling a little adventurous, i mascerate the muscats in a some dry sherry. hubby drinks around the muscats. and then i toss them through some yakult…baby seems to respond well to the liquor mixed with the lactobacillus gg strain. those evening often end in riotous hijinx and when the two have passed out, i often stop, and looking down at the scene, i thank the lord i have been blessed with such a wonderful family and such a culinary gift.

…think this experiment in derviation and mediocrity went of the rails somewhere. but still, in the timeless de-contextualised words of a boy i know, to the critics and sceptics i say: “you really need to stop talking to me now”. and to those who are cold and hungry i say, try this.

ingredients

half butternut squash peeled and chopped into cubes

4 whole garlic cloves

rosemary

1 white onion finely chopped

1 1/2 cups aborrio rice

3 cups stock (chicken, vegetable…whatever whatever)

50g butter

salt & pepper

couple of tbsp olive oil

couple handfuls of spinach

couple handfuls of parmesan

put the pumpkin, garlic, rosemary (or thyme if its all you got) and a few glugs of olive oil into a large mixing bowl and toss til its all coated. put this in an oven at 180 degrees for about half an hour – until soft but still shape retaining.

meanwhile, in a saucepan over low heat cook the onion in 25g of butter until it is softened (about 5 minutes). then throw in the rice and stir until all the grains are coated and have gone translucent. have your stock gently boiling on the other hob and slowly add stock to the rice, stirring all the time and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladelful. do this for about 18 minutes. once the rice is cooked and has absorbed all the liquid, remove it from the heat. put in your spinach at this point and stir until spinach has wilted. put in the other 25g of butter and a good couple handfuls of parmesan. stir once and then place a lid on and let the rice rest for a couple of minutes.

get your pumpkin out of the oven and stir through, careful not to break up the pumpkin too much. serve with some parmesan sprinkled over the top and a handful of pine nuts for greatness.

threepenny risotto – braised rice with peas, parmesan and pine nuts

my gastronomic equivalent of brecht’s work of epic theatre…and it has thrup p’s. this recipe is a mutation of a julia child recipe for the french equivalent of risotto. it works everytime and theres no stirring and then when you finally come to publishing it on your blog you will be able to have made reference to two of the greatest historical/cultural figures in but only the first sentence. tragically, i used mushrooms and so the thruppenny risotto should also have an ‘m’ somewhere in there. but for the sake of wit, cultural allusions, and an impossibly clever title, perhaps we shall leave that part out.

ingredients.

2 white onions

50g butter

1 1/2 cups rice

3 cups chicken stock

300g peas (frozen. always frozen)

2 handfuls of parmesan

2 handfuls of pine nuts

pre-heat oven to 175 degrees. in a saucepan melt half the butter and add the onions – cook them slowly until they are soft and translucent but not brown. then add peas (or mushrooms…not that any went into this ‘p’-centric dish). season well with salt and pepper. then add your uncooked rice and toss the grains until they are completely coated and become translucent. finally pour in your stock (which should be simmering in another pot). place all this in an oven proof dish (unless you lived a charmed existence and are privileged enough to have an oven proof dish which can go on the stove or just privileged enough to have had the forethought to think of such a thing before you began. put in the oven at cook for 18 minutes. when you remove the rice from the oven take the lid off and stir through and ensure all the liquid has been absorbed. it should be oozy consistency (what kind of a word is that even? much less an effective adjective.) then stir in a few knobs of butter and a couple of handfuls of parmesan. then put the lid back on, and defying every natural impulse you might have, walk away and let it rest for a minute or two.

then serve with parmesan and pine nuts over the top. and so it was.

pine nut pasta

this is my own theme and variations of a walnut pasta which is essentially the same but i have substituted walnuts for pine nuts and parsley for basil. this, snow, is my hook. and this is what i found:

ingredients

1 clove or garlic (ie. 2)

1 tsp salt

200g pine nuts (toasted…but only very lightly because inspite of my own fabricated version of common belief, pine nuts very lightly toasted will give off an unprecedented creaminess – one which you just cant get from your pine nuts toasted to golden colour.)

150g sourdough

100 ml mik

1 bunch basil roughly chopped

100ml olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

200 g tagliatelle

100g parmesan

in a mortar and pestle bash up garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste. add the pine nuts and pound until its a rough paste. you could, i realised after accidently sticking my finger in and putting it in my mouth, leave it at this stage and eat straight from the mortar itself. be reasonable they say. but then as mae west said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful. i guess the bottom line is if i were pounding nuts and garlic into some sort of sickeningly sublime paste for my own personal consumption this wouldnt be much of a blog and you wouldnt be reading it. but then according to my stats, you arent. not that i look at that kind of thing. i digress. then transfer into a bowl depending on the size of your mortar and add the bread which has been soaked, along with the remaining milk. mix again, then add the parmesan and the olive oil and finally a squeeze of lemon. (the lemon takes this from creamy, heavy, stodgy and potentially bland to something entirely different…because thats what lemons do.)

Cook the tagliatelle for 3 or so minutes and drain. return pasta to the pot and keep some cooking water back. then pour in your pine nut sauce (pesto/paste/stuff) and mix until all the pasta is coated. sprinkle with parmesan cheese, some torn up basil and some toasted pine nuts (not too many in spite of what the pine nut enamoured voices in your head might say…its just to echo whats happening in the sauce and adds texture for those who like that kind of thing.