Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spinach Fettucine Primavera (a.k.a. Rachael, You Tease!)

When my sister in law shared this recipe on her blog earlier in the week, I took a look at it and thought, "A ha! A tasty-looking, simple recipe, that might have a shot at actually being made in 30 minutes!!" It looked so incredibly simple that I was convinced I'd be able to tackle it in thirty minutes. I even saved making it for a night I knew I'd be staying late at work, because wouldn't it be fun to come home and just throw something quick and easy together? WRONG.

I set my timer for 30 minutes and went to work on this bad boy. 28 minutes later, I was still chopping things! Does Rachael have any idea how long it takes an amateur to prepare strips of zucchini and carrot using a vegetable peeler alone? NO! Do normal people have magical water boiling fairies that start boiling a huge pot full of water at just the right moment so that it is perfectly timed for when the vegggies and pasta need to go in? NO! Alas, I had to set my timer for two 30 minute sessions in order to complete this crazy recipe.

Nevertheless, this recipe was relatively simple and moderately delicious so I thought I'd share. I added an extra three cloves of garlic (a must in our house), sauteed the garlic and shallots with crushed red pepper flakes in the oil (another must) and added a drained can of diced tomatoes and a handful of chopped fresh basil for a little something extra. Although the wine reduction sauce smells amazing while cooking, I found the recipe in general to be a bit lacking in flavor. We did enjoy the way the curls of veggies blended in with the pasta, however, and I'm a big fan of a balanced one-bowl meal, so I have a feeling I might be giving this recipe another shot in the not-so-distant future. I already have my tivo set for 7 a.m. Sunday morning so I can see what exactly this wizard woman does to make this dish magically appear in 30 minutes!

Spinach Fettuccine Primavera
See this recipe on air Sunday Sep. 14 at 7:00 AM ET/PT.

1 pound spinach fettuccine (I used capellini because Trader Joe's didn't have any fettucine that appealed to me... I can see how spinach fettucine would add more flavor, so I'll give her that)
2 carrots, peeled
2 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used 5 cloves because 1 pound is an awful lot of pasta)
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass at table
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful (I'm not a parsley fan, so I substituted basil)

Bring water for pasta to a boil. Salt the water add the pasta and cook to al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes. Use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of carrot and zucchini. Keep the vegetables flat on counter and run the peeler the length of the vegetable. Drop the carrots and zucchini into the pasta water for the last 4 minutes of cooking time.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat with extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Saute the shallots and garlic 3 to 4 minutes then add peas and heat through, 2 minutes, stir in wine, reduce for half a minute and stir in stock. Toss drained pasta and vegetables with the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and combine with cheese and parsley.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


i am now in full LSAT studying/law school applying mode, and although 4 years have passed since i left college, i have apparently not lost my amazing talent for finding all sorts of cooking and cleaning projects to help me procrastinate from doing what's most important to my future. ::sigh:: on the brighter side, the good news is that mike and i will be eating awfully well and enjoying life in a sparkling clean apartment for the next few months!! :-)

tonight at 9 pm i decided it would be a good idea to make myself some healthy pancakes to take to work this week for breakfast, and make pancakes i did. i learned a few interesting cooking tricks along the way, so i thought i'd share.

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Pancakes
(look, Kira, you can enjoy oatmeal for breakfast without the mushy texture!)

1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. whole flour
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk

in a small bowl, combine the oats, flours, baking soda, salt and sugar. in another small bowl, beat the egg, oil and buttermilk. stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. pour batter by 1/3 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. turn when bubbles form on top and cook until the second side is golden brown. makes approx 10 pancakes (which i'm not sure i agree with - my batch turned out maybe 7 or so)

and now for the cooking tricks!!

1.) apparently, if you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute by adding 1 tbsp. lemon juice to your regular milk and letting it sit for a few minutes. i was intrigued by this idea since i'm constantly buying buttermilk to use in small quantities and then the rest usually goes bad in my fridge. i tried this lemon juice trick in this pancake recipe, and while i didn't notice a particularly buttermilky flavor (man do these pancakes taste healthy!), i didn't notice a particularly yucky flavor either. i'm thinking i'll give the lemon juice a try in a few more recipes before making up my mind on whether this is a good idea.

2.) if you're like me and never able to use an open bag of brown sugar before it starts to dry up and become crusty, i can confirm that tossing a marshmallow into the bag after opening will keep the sugar nice and moist! hooray! i've heard that a piece of bread works too, but that kind of grosses me out.