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Hey! We’re Back with Braised Mushroom Pasta

10 Nov

by Green Gourmet L

Welcome back all you Green Gourmets! Green Gourmet K and I would like to tell you that we enjoyed our hiatus, but we missed blogging so much that we had to get back to it! A lot has happened during our time away. Green Gourmet K got pregnant! And Green Gourmet L moved to Texas and then got pregnant! Even though each of us is now eating for two, that doesn’t stop us from cooking green (local, organic, and budget friendly) now more than ever. And we would love to share our journey with you. So stay tuned for our usual awesome recipes, tips and tricks about being green, and new anecdotes about what happens when you get knocked up.

Alright, onto the food! When the weather in TX starts to cool down (from like 90s to 70s), I get excited that I can use my oven again. My absolute favorite way to cook anything when the weather gets a little chilly is a low and slow braise. Braising is just a form of slow cooking, usually some kind of meat in liquid, until it is very tender and the liquid has turned into a luscious sauce.

There are a couple rules to braising:

  1. Lower temperatures for a longer time are best
  2. Start with a good base- aromatic veggies like onions, carrots, celery give great flavor during a long cooking marathon
  3. Begin cooking on the stove first. Brown your meat, soften your veggies, simmer your liquid. It will make the actual braising process go by much faster
  4. Check your dish occasionally. You may need to add more liquid, stir or turn your meat, and you don’t want to find out after it’s too late
  5. Your dish might be better the next day. Once the flavors have had a chance to meld together in the fridge, you can enjoy your leftovers even more than the original meal!

I love to eat red meat but I am also sensitive to the fact that this is not a part of everyone’s diet. I mean, we are in TX now, but I am a Green Gourmet so I can adapt. I found a wonderful braised mushroom dish and decided to adapt it to fit my dinner last night. Hope you like it!

Braised Mushroom Pasta
Serves 8

  • 3oz prosciutto (or bacon), diced (if vegetarian, use smoked tofu)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3lbs mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small bunch thyme (leave on the stems)
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 TB butter (if vegan, use olive oil)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat an ovenproof casserole dish or a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a few tablespoons olive oil and cook prosciutto until golden brown and crispy (about 5 minutes).

Remove and allow to drain on a paper towel.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add onion. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and slightly golden (8-10 minutes).

Add carrots, celery, garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add half of the mushrooms, stir and cover for 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to release moisture and cook down.

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Add the other half, stir and cover for an additional 5 minutes.

When the mushrooms have browned, add the crispy prosciutto, thyme, tomatoes, butter and salt/pepper.

Top with 3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a simmer on the stove then put in the oven.

Cook, uncovered for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every half an hour or so. It’s ready when the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has reduced to a delicious sauce. Adjust seasonings and remove thyme stems.

Serve braised mushrooms over your favorite pasta (penne!) or over mashed potatoes, polenta, quinoa, or whatever your heart desires. This also makes a fabulous breakfast served as a bed for a poached egg, folded into an omelet, or as scrambled eggs with goat cheese.

Enjoy your new found mushroom braising addiction and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

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6:30 Empty Fridge Challenge

17 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

I’m sure everyone has had a night similar to this. It’s 6:30, you have next to nothing in the fridge, and you are too lazy (or had too much wine!) to go to the store.  Mr. Green Gourmet and I call this is a ‘true chef challenge’, because restaurant chefs can always make something out of nothing.

So here were the suspects:

Fridge: ½ red pepper, ½ tomato, last bits of a goat cheese log, ½ lemon, few sprigs of flat leaf parsley

Pantry: garlic, pasta, sweet potato

So here’s what happened:

Sweet Potato Red Pepper Pasta


  • 1 sweet potato, grated
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Pasta (linguini, angel hair, or spaghetti)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup goat cheese (or more to taste)
  • any herbs that you might have (basil, parsley, etc.)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Boil water for the pasta and cook according to directions. Reserve at least ½ cup of pasta water.

Heat one TB of olive oil over medium high heat and add garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add sweet potato, red pepper, tomato and ½ cup of water, cook for 8 minutes until the vegetables become soft. Season with salt and pepper. At this point you can also add red pepper flakes if you like a little heat.

Drain pasta and add to the vegetable mixture. Add lemon juice, goat cheese, and herbs and toss. If the pasta looks too dry, add reserved pasta water about 2 TB at a time. Serve with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Not every meal has to be complicated to taste great. Enjoy and don’t forget to tell them you read it on Green Gourmets!

Comfort Foods Continued: Pumpkin Lasagna

9 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

Still have some canned pumpkin sitting in your pantry from Thanksgiving? I do and I’m still trying to figure out new things to do with it. If you have some idle time on your hands (ha!), you can even try making your own pumpkin puree. It’s as easy as slicing, scooping, and roasting. Have you ever heard of the Pioneer Woman? She takes great pictures and posts great recipes (and she makes her own pumpkin puree!  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/10/make-your-own-pumpkin-puree/)

Now, if you are just as fine using the canned pumpkin (which I totally am), I want to share with you my recipe for Pumpkin Lasagna. Except for my coworkers. I will not share with them because they made fun of me all day long for my Pumpkin Lasagna. So they can’t have any.

Pumpkin Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 pkg no boil lasagna noodles

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese

2 inches of goat cheese log

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

8 oz frozen spinach (defrosted and drained)

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

1/2 TB chopped sage

1/2 jar tomato sauce

salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine ricotta cheese, goat cheese, canned pumpkin,  spinach, egg, salt/pepper, and sage in a small bowl

Layer your lasagna, starting with a little tomato sauce on the bottom so that the noodles won’t stick. Then follow with 1/3 noodles, ricotta/pumpkin mixture, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese.

Continue to layer until you reach the top of the dish. You should have 3 layers. Finish the top with the rest of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Cook covered with foil for 25 minutes. Take off foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve with a green salad.

roasted pumpkin and creamed kale lasagna

Doesn’t it look yummy? Next time don’t make fun of Green Gourmet L’s recipes… you won’t get any home made ginger snaps (post coming soon). Enjoy a new twist on an old favorite and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets!

To print this recipe, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/pumpkin-lasagna-1

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

8 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

 

Yes, that’s right – L and I have back-to-back dueling Mac and Cheese recipes this week.  I initially started making a lightened-up Mac and Cheese recipe, which substitutes cottage cheese for some of the egg and cheese that one would ordinarily use.  But because I have gone a little crazy with the canned pumpkin lately I surreptitiously stirred in some pumpkin when the Husband was not looking, and made a few other tweaks.  The Husband really liked this version of Mac and Cheese, and I did too, but things went south when I told him it had pumpkin in it.  He’s a bit of a Mac and Cheese purist.  I, on the other hand, like to sneak vegetables into things.  Lesson learned – next time I will not tell him.

The pumpkin gives this dish a wonderful golden hue and lends a creaminess that would otherwise be missing in a “lightened up” Mac and Cheese.  The pumpkin flavor is not overwhelming at all, it just adds a little extra something.  Canned pumpkin is a great ingredient in so many dishes and it’s readily available this time of year.  L and I will do a post later in the week on the benefits of eating pumpkin.

The secret ingredient.

Enjoy this Mac and Cheese without (as much) guilt!

This recipe also freezes well.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 box of macaroni
2 eggs
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 16 oz container of lowfat cottage cheese
1 package of shredded cheddar – or approximately 1.5 cups of cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp white ground pepper or whatever pepper you have
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup pumpkin

While cooking your noodles, mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1/2 cup of cheddar for the top. Add the cooked noodles, mix thoroughly. Butter your pan, put the noodle mixture in the pan, top with remainder of the shredded cheese. Bake for about 30-45 minutes at 350. Start off with aluminum foil on top, take it off half way through so the cheese gets nice and toasty.

To print this recipe, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/green-gourmets-pumpkin-mac-and-cheese

Cold Weather Comfort Food

7 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

Brrrrr… it just got cold in DC. I think it was 35 for most of the day yesterday. Time to pull out the long coats. And the comfort foods! Mr. Green Gourmet  is easy to please when it comes to comfort foods. His absolute favorite is Mac and Cheese. In college (and maybe after) we were definitely fans of the blue box M&C. And there was always Easy Mac, in a pinch in the dorms. But now, we’re all grown up and we need an all grown up version of this childhood favorite. I tend to go with traditional Mac (real butter, milk, cheese), but there are ways to sneak some healthy stuff in there too. Tomorrow, we’ll share a new twist on an old favorite so y’all come back now!

Grown up Mac and Cheese

Credit is given to Barefoot Contessa, but I tweaked it a bit 😉

Ingredients

1 pound cavatappi

4 cups skim milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

6 cups of cheese *we used shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella, but swiss would also be good

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 medium fresh tomatoes

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (3 slices)- note: we make our own breadcrumbs in a food processor (just tear your bread and buzz it!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook and drain the cavatappi according to box directions (8 minutes) in well salted water.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.

While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.

Off the heat, add the cheese, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the cooked pasta and stir well.

Don’t you want to eat it like this? I do! But for those of you with self-restraint: pour into a glass baking dish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Pulse the fresh bread in a food processor to create bread crumbs and sprinkle on top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.


Enjoy your grown-up food and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where you will get the Green Gourmet’s version of Mac and Cheese with a twist. It will be our secret!

To print this recipe, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/green-gourmets-grow