Lemon Asparagus Pasta

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Lemon Asparagus Pasta

This light pasta dish is easy to make and has loads of flavour! Wonderful for a midweek dinner.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword angel hair pasta, asparagus, lemon, parmesan sauce, vegetarian pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1/4 box angela hair pasta You can use any type you like, but longer holds the sauce better.
  • 1 bundle asparagus, cut thinly on bias longways or shaved on mandoline (you want it to be bendable when cooked so it's easy to eat with the pasta) about 1#
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbl EVOO extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbl butter I always use salted; it really doesn't matter
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice (about 2-3 Tbl juice) Medium size, if large, it may only take one or 1.5 lemons. Use fresh juice in this dish.
  • 1/2 cup white wine optional
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan use a good one for this dish (reggiano)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbl fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 Tbl fresh parsley, medium chop
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Put on 2 qt of water to boil.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium and add EVOO. When oil is hot, add asparagus and garlic. Salt the veg as it gently sautés. Adjust heat towards med hi to get a very light sizzle.
  • When water boils, add a heaping tablespoon of salt, then add pasta. Angel hair cooks in about 8 minutes.
  • When veg is soft, add lemon zest, red pepper flakes and wine. Cook for another minute, then turn down heat to low if you are waiting for the pasta.
  • When pasta is done (al dente, don't overcook it), use a pasta spoon to transfer to the skillet with veg. (Don't drain it, you'll need some of that pasta water!)
  • Combine pasta with veg and turn heat back to medium. Add lemon juice, parmesan and basil. Stir fairly aggressively to release the starch from the pasta and coat with cheese and butter. Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to create a light sauce. Check the salt level and overall flavour. The pasta should have soaked up the light sauce and be relatively dry. This is not a saucy dish, but it should be silky and the pasta should taste like the sauce. Adjust water, butter and parmesan to achieve this.
  • Serve with parmesan and chopped parsley.

Notes

I did the asparagus in stages. I cooked about 3/4 of it, then I added the rest at the end of cooking so it would keep some crunch and freshness. 
If your asparagus is rather thick, use a peeler to remove the bottom peel. This will make it more pliable and less woody. 
Do not put in the lemon juice while the asparagus is sautéing. It will become bitter. Always add citrus juice after the main cooking is done. 

Creamy Herbed Feta Dressing

Creamy Herbed Feta Dressing
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Creamy Herbed Feta Dressing

I love homemade dressings and this one is a melange of several different ones I make regularly. It has a creamy base - much like a herbed ranch dressing - with added crumbled feta. You can use this basic recipe for pretty much any combination of herbs, with or without feta. Enjoy!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword creamy salad dressing, feta salad dressing, herbed salad dressing, salad dressing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk Don't have any buttermilk? Use regular milk and add 1 tsp of vinegar to make it curdle. Voila! Buttermilk substitute.
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise more or less to get the thickness you want
  • 1/3 cup sour cream OR full fat plain greek yogurt (or mix both!)
  • 2 Tbl seasoned rice wine vinegar OR lime juice + zest
  • 3 Tbl fresh herbs dill, cilantro, parsley, mint (whatever you've got)
  • 1 scallion, very finely sliced optional
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta No need for pricey feta here, the President crumbled is FINE. Get the herbed kind for more flavour! This is also OPTIONAL.
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 tsp pasted fresh garlic (3 cloves) OR Indian garlic paste
  • S/P to taste Go a little saltier than you think it should be so it adequately seasons the salad.

Instructions

  • Mix everything together in a bowl. Do not over mix the feta, you want the crumbles to be intact (if you are using feta). This makes about 1 3/4 cups or so and will keep for a week or so in the fridge.

Notes

This is a really great dressing base. Change it up to suit your tastes! Leave out the feta! Add double the herbs and blend for a Green Goddess dressing. Use lots of lime and cilantro for a Mexican inspired dressing. The sky's the limit! 

Golden Beet and Greens Salad

This salad is great warm, room temp or cold! It’s easy and beets are the main ingredient! I used beet greens, kale and radicchio in this version since I had very few beet tops. This is a versatile use for beets!

Golden Beet and Greens Salad
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Golden Beet and Greens Salad

You can serve warm, room temp or cold. If you don't have the beet greens, you can sub kale, radicchio, or any sturdy green. You can also use feta rather than goat cheese if you like.
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, French
Keyword beet greens, goat cheese, golden beets, vinaigrette
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Golden Beets, roasted You can use red ones, but the golden ones are a little milder and won't stain everything.
  • 1 bunch Beet greens (the ones on the beets), cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces sub kale, mustard or any sturdy green
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese sub feta if you like
  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 Tbl seasoned rice wine vinegar or white balsamic would work
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced more or less to taste
  • S/P to taste
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted toast in a dry pan over med hi heat, watch carefully not to burn

Instructions

  • Cut beets into similar sized chunks (no need to peel) and roast with a little EVOO in a 400ºF oven until they are soft. Anywhere from 30-45 minutes. When done, set aside and let cool.
    Roasted Golden Beets
  • Mince up the garlic and mix with EVOO and vinegar until emulsified.
  • Toss greens in dressing. Then toss in the goat cheese.
    Greens salad with goat cheese, almonds and vinaigrette
  • When beets are cool, cut up into a small dice and add to salad. Toss.
  • Top with toasted almonds or toss them in.
  • Serve as a main or a side.

Angela’s Basil and Garlic Gnudi

Gnudi is gnocchi made with ricotta rather than potatoes. It is one of my favourite Italian dumplings. This recipe will yield about 36-40 pieces. I made it initially with all A/P flour, but I have modified it to use part S/R flour to make the gnudi a little less dense. This is very good with my marinara sauce and would be great with a lemon butter sauce. Enjoy!

Basil and Garlic Gnudi
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Angela's Basil and Garlic Gnudi

Lovely Italian dumplings that are light with just enough chew. Great with my marinara sauce! Recipe is right before this one or search "marinara".
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword basil and garlic gnudi, basil gnudi, ricotta gnudi
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Time in Freezer or Fridge 30 minutes
Servings 4 8-10 gnudi
Author misangela

Equipment

  • Large stock pot
  • Large skillet
  • Half Sheet pan, lined with parchment paper and floured
  • A sauce to finish the gnudi in; I suggest my marinara sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta, drained in a coffee filter + sieve for a few minutes get whole milk ONLY
  • 1/2 cup S/R flour mix with A/P flour; you CAN use all A/P if you like
  • 1/2 cup A/P flour +/- a cup; this amount will vary, depends on your dough
  • 1/2 cup ground parmesan
  • 2 eggs one whole and one yolk lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbl garlic paste (this is found in Indian stores) OR paste 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon zest of whole lemon, about 1 Tbl juice the rest of of juice will go into the cooking water
  • dash ground nutmeg fresh if you've got it
  • 2 tsp salt I use Dixie Crystal Kosher in all my recipes
  • 2-3 Tbl fresh Basil, minced; use as much as you like Mint is excellent in this, too; I used both

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, add ricotta, parmesan, eggs and about half the flour mix. Stir.
  • Add garlic, nutmeg, lemon zest, herbs and 1 Tbl lemon juice to mix and stir. Add flour slowly until the dough is just firm enough to handle. It will be loose, but it should not be too wet to handle. This can take as much as another half cup of flour - if so, add A/P flour to get the dough firm enough to handle.
  • When the dough is just barely together enough to handle, put on a floured board and add flour until it is dry enough to roll into a rope of about 1" diameter. You'll have to divide the dough, it makes several ropes.
  • Roll the dough into a 1" diameter rope then cut at about 1 - 1.5" intervals. This recipe should give you about 40 gnudi. Give or take. Put the dumplings on the floured parchment paper as you cut them. This should make about a full sheet pan of dumplings.
  • Put the gnudi in the freezer for 15-30 minutes or the fridge for about half an hour to firm up.
  • While the gnudi is chilling, get a large pot of water on to boil. Bring to a fast simmer and add 1 Tbl salt and the remaining juice of the lemon.
  • Cook the gnudi in batches so as not to crowd the pot. The water should be boiling, but not rapidly. Stir the gnudi to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When they float, they are almost done. Give them a minute or two more once they float.
  • To finish gnudi, you need to have the sauce ready and warm in a skillet. Use a slotted spoon or spider to retrieve the gnudi and put directly into the sauce. Simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes to allow gnudi to absorb the flavour.

Notes

Have the sauce of your choice ready for the gnudi. I really loved them with my marinara sauce, but any tomato or even a lemon butter sauce would be great with these. Traditionally, gnocchi (the potato version of these) is served with a brown butter sage sauce - which would work if you used basil rather than sage. 
Gnudi freeze very well. Just leave them on the sheet pan until frozen, then put in a freezer zip bag or food saver vacuum bag. 

Angela’s Marinara Sauce

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Angela's Marinara Sauce

This is a spin off of Ina Garten and a Food Network recipe. It ended up being very different from both and very rich. This sauce will freeze well.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword marinara, marinara sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 8 6 oz servings
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1 28oz can San Marzano crushed roma tomatoes you can sub whole tomatoes here and crush by hand
  • 1 14oz can Fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic any type is fine
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil use something good
  • 1 small white onion, small dice (about 3/4 cup) any kind of onion is fine
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 1/2 tsp dry basil yes, DRY, not fresh
  • 1 tsp salt I use Dixie Crystal Kosher in all my recipes
  • 2 Tbl white sugar more or less depending on how acidic your tomatoes are
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup red wine dry, not sweet
  • 1 Tbl tomato paste from tube or 2 Tbl from a can
  • 1/2 tsp anchovy paste optional for vegans, but use it if you can
  • 5-10 whole basil leaves optional
  • 1 Tbl balsamic vinegar a sweet one if you have it
  • 2 Tbl butter optional but adds a nice finish

Instructions

  • Do your Mise en Place first: gather all the ingredients. This will take a large pot with a lid.
  • Dice up the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Put the stock pot over medium heat and add EVOO. Add onion and garlic. Sweat these, do not brown. (Turn down heat if necessary.) Add anchovy paste if using.
  • Add all the tomatoes.
  • Add basil, salt, sugar, pepper and red wine.
  • Stir thoroughly and bring to a very slow simmer. Add tomato paste. Cook over very low heat at a very low simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  • The sauce should reduce by about 10-15%. When you are happy with the consistency, take off the heat and add the fresh basil leaves. Add balsamic and butter if using.
  • Finally, check the seasoning. It will likely need more salt and perhaps more sugar if it's still acidic.
  • Serve over your favourite pasta or over my gnudi (next recipe).

Notes

I highly recommend using anchovy paste here. It gives a certain umami that is very nice. 
This sauce will freeze nicely. 
I served this over my gnudi, which is the next recipe in line or you can search for it.  It is also good as a pizza sauce!