Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pasta with Courgettes

It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For this week, we get to select any of IHCC's past and present featured chefs' recipes. I have chosen to cook with Nigella this week. 

Taken from her book Nigellissima, Pasta with Courgette is a very tasty, meatless, pasta dish. Main star character is the courgettes or zucchini. Nigella has used casarecce pasta, but I've used farfalle instead, as I already have a pack in my pantry.

The courgettes are cooked till soft and almost mushy. Instead of using garlic oil, I have added two cloves of chopped garlic, sauteed in olive oil till light brown and fragrant, then add in the spring onions and diced courgettes. White wine is then added in, cover and simmer until the courgettes are very tender.  I have omitted the parsley since I have forgotten to buy them. 

A simple and tasty pasta dish. But I would add more zucchini the next time, as they are quite delicious, when cooked to a "squashy khaki", as Nigella says!

Pasta with Courgettes
(adapted from "Nigellissima", by Nigella Lawson)
Serves 2
200gm casarecce pasta
salt for pasta water, to taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped (my addition)
2x15ml tablespoons garlic oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
500gm courgettes, finely diced
60ml dry white wine or vermouth
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
3x15ml tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more (optional) for sprinkling
salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons (10gm) unsalted butter

Put a pan of water on for the pasta, salting generously (or to taste) when it comes to the boil, then add the casarecce - cooking as per packet instructions, though tasting a couple of minutes before they're meant to be ready - and get on with the sauce.
Put the garlic oil and chopped spring onions in a heavy-based pan (that comes with a lid) on medium heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the diced courgettes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every now and again,
Add the wine or vermouth, letting it bubble up, followed by 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, salt to taste, then lower the heat, cover with the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, by which time the courgettes should be gorgeously tender.
Before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of starchy cooking water.
Tip the drained pasta back into its pan, add the braised courgettes, or add the pasta to the pan of courgettes, along with 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan and 4 tablespoons of pasta-cooking liquid. Combine thoroughly and taste to see if you wish to add more cheese or salt or pepper or; indeed, cooking liquid, then stir in the butter and most of the remaining parsley and divide between 2 warmed bowls, sprinkling with the rest of the parsley, and more Parmesan if wished, on serving.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, July Potluck!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chocolate Ice Cream

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 

To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #7, click here


For this month's Cookbook Countdown #7, my selected cookbook is The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.  This week's treat is Chocolate Ice Cream. Nobody would turn down a scoop or two of chocolate ice cream, especially the kids!

Full of chocolate flavour! You would definitely want more than a scoop!

Chocolate Ice Cream
(adapted from "The Perfect Scoop", by David Lebovitz)
makes about 1 quart (1 liter)
2 cups (500ml) heavy cvream
3 tablespoons (21gm) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces (140gm) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150gm) sugar (I use 1/3 cup)
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks (I use 4)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup (250ml) of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup (250ml) cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out).

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #7 hosted by 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Penne with Pepperoni, Baby Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

We are cooking with tomatoes at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme "I Say Tomato, You Say Tomahto!"  I've made one of Curtis Stone's pasta recipe which I have bookmarked to try for ages. Some members of IHCC, (Kim, Tina and Susan) has made this pasta for previous themes and everyone has given a thumbs up review. So it's my turn to join the wagon!

Sweet juicy cherry tomatoes roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper until the tomatoes begin to spilt, which took about 15-20 minutes. I've used more tomatoes than the recipe calls for.

Originally the recipe is called "Rigatoni with Spicy Italian Salami, Baby Tomatoes, Olives and Capers".  I could not find Rigatoni and have replaced with Penne. Did not have Spicy Italian Salami too, but I do have some frozen pepperoni so that was what I've used. 

Slices of pepperoni are fried in a little oil until lightly browned. Saute the chopped garlic, add in the roasted tomatoes, stir for a few minutes, then pour in the white wine, olives and capers. Stir and add in the pepperoni and parsley ( I have used cilantro). Stir in the cooked pasta, adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

 A very tasty pasta dish. The next time I will add even more roasted tomatoes. 

I sprinkled some chilli flakes over my plate, a habit of mine with most pasta dishes, preferring the chilli flakes over cheese!

Rigatoni with Spicy Italian Salami, Baby Tomatoes, Olives and Capers
(adapted from "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone")
Serves 4
20 cherry tomatoes on the vine
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces spicy salami, such as Sopressa Vicentina,, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup extra-fine capers
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely
8 to 10 ounces rigatoni pasta

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the tomatoes on a small baking sheet and drizzle with the 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until they begin to split. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let them cool slightly.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While the water is heating, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add the salami and cook for 30 seconds on each side, until light golden in colour. Remove the salami from the pan and reserve.
Return the pan to the heat, add the garlic, and saute for 1 minute, or until tender. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until reduced by about half. Add the olives and capers and toss gently. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the salami and parsely.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling salted water for 8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss it in the pan with the sauce. Season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to plates, spooning any extra salami and tomato mixture from the pan around the pasta, and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, 
"I Say Tomato, You Say Tomahto!"


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