This last Sunday really got away from me…shopping, cleaning, cooking, social media updating. Are our lives really simpler with computers? Are they a distraction keeping us from things we should be doing? An addiction to hard to resist? Are we hiding behind our user names in a world where we are more “out there” than ever? All the more reason I say to get into the kitchen and cook that special dinner for friends or family.
This last Sunday, I went for a version of pasta and meatballs. Basic idea, but tweaked just enough to feel “special”.
Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto) with Pita Chips
Florentine Meatballs with Wild Mushroom Sauce
Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Prosciutto
The Muhammara is a delicious pesto like dip and any leftovers can be served over steamed broccoli, pasta or roasted chicken.
The meatballs are a version of a Rachael Ray recipe, and I added the rich mushroom sauce.
I didn’t include a salad recipe - use your favorite and be creative.
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and completely drained by pressing with a fork in a small strainer
1 pkg ground turkey (about 1 1/3 lb)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper and olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine first 8 ingredients in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Form into large meatballs, about 3 tablespoons each, and place on cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. (Alternatively, a Silpat silicone liner is great if you have one) Drizzle with olive oil and roast about 20 minutes, or till cooked through. Meanwhile make the mushroom sauce.
1 (.88 oz.) pkg Mixed Wild Mushroom Medley (Trader Joe’s )
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup reserved mushroom liquid
1/2 can condensed roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup
3 Tbsp cream or milk
1/4 cup sherry or dry Marsala
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
Rinse mushrooms and re-hydrate in bowl by pouring boiling water over to cover. Let soak for about 10 minutes. Drain reserving liquid in measuring cup. Chop mushrooms and saute in butter till softened and just starting to brown. Add chicken stock and reserved mushroom liquid. Bring to simmer and stir in soup. Add milk or cream. Bring to simmer and add Marsala and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange meatballs on platter and pour sauce over.
What can I say about Mac and Cheese, except that I think it is the ultimate comfort food. This version is extra creamy, pretty with the broccoli and a little smokey from the prosciutto. Of course you could use bacon instead or leave it out all together.
1 lb pasta (I prefer DeCecco Galletti, looks like half moons, but any kind of shell- like pasta will do)
4 cups of broccoli florets
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups whipping cream
1 cup Quatro Fromaggio, about 4 oz. (shredded 4 cheese blend includes parm, fontina, mozzarella and provolone - found at Trader Joes)
1/2 cup additional Quatro Fromaggio for topping
1 cup (about 4 oz) grated cheddar cheese
5 oz chopped prosciutto
Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Add broccoli and cook just till crisp tender. Drain well. While pasta is cooking make sauce. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, stirring often. Add cheeses and stir until sauce is smooth. Add to pasta and broccoli along with prosciutto and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour into oven proof casserole and top with additional shredded cheese. Broil just till slightly browned.
I’LL DRINK TO THAT!
Bridlewood Central Coast Viognier - Reserve - 2007 - $24.00
I love white Rhone varietals, especially blends, with so many of the Fall foods we like to eat. Even this wine, although it is 93% Viognier, there is also 3% Rousanne, 3% Chardonnay and 1% Marsanne blended in. This full bodied wine opens with aromas of honeysuckle and guava giving way to flavors of peach, honey and tropical fruits with a creamy texture. Also great with lobstser and crab, or as an accompaniment to fruit and cheese.
Date: October 27, 2009