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Posts Tagged ‘grilled veggies’

Chanterelle_4546

 

Nobody loves mushrooms more than my son, Mickey.  He would eat them daily and the more obscure and expensive they are the more he likes them.  His usually are part of a rich sauce to accompany venison, or lamb, or lobster and he would never think of “wasting” them in pasta.  I, however, think they make a perfect mating with cheese and noodles so this is one of the ways I find to use beautiful chanterelles.  I find that they absorb the fattiness of the butter and cheese which only enhances their delicate, nutty flavor.

1 pound dried malfalda pasta or other noodles with a rippled or ridged edge
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and minced
½ pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half, lengthwise, if very large
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper for garnish

Place the pasta in a large pot of heavily-salted boiling water set over high heat.  
Return the water to the boil and boil according to package directions until al dente.  Remove from the heat and drain well, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or just until softened.  Add the chanterelles and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or just until the mushrooms are tender.  Remove from the heat.
When the pasta has cooked, add the drained pasta to the mushroom mixture, tossing to blend well.  Add the ricotta and parsley and again toss to coat.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to “loosen” the sauce.  Taste and, if necessary, add salt and pepper.
Pour the pasta into a large pasta serving bowl.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a bit of cracked black pepper and serve.

 

Chanterelle_4513

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We had this magnificent eggplant with a stem end that looked almost ceramic but it had been around a bit too long.  I threw it on the grill, whole, waiting to decide what to do.  Aha!  My old favorite babaganoosh – as I say and spell it.  However, this time, I also cleaned out the fridge and found a container with 3 grilled carrots, 2 grilled Italian peppers, and 1 lonely grilled onion which I thought might just work with the grilled eggplant.  And, you know what, it was the best mix we had ever tasted.  The grilled carrots added a sweetness that had never been present in other variations.  Following is my version of the traditional recipe, but just as I always do, you can add and subtract to make your own personalized mix.  Traditionally, the eggplant flesh is chopped, but I just throw the whole mess into the food processor and do a couple of quick turns to blend.

1 large or 2 small eggplant, either grilled or roasted
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon roasted garlic (don’t worry, if you don’t have, use fresh)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cayenne pepper or smoked paprika to taste – this is not traditional, but either one adds a little pizzazz
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and/or fresh mint

Scrape the flesh from the eggplant into a bowl, chopping it into small chunks.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and mash together.  Stir in the parsley or mint or both.  You can add more or less of the lemon juice, garlic, and/or olive oil to make it your own.  Serve with toasted pita bread or crackers.

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Here’s a nice display that held together for a grilled veggie lunch with a loaf of crusty Italian bread, some olive oil for dipping, and, of course, a light Italian white wine to say “Happy Summer!”  And then they all went on to star in a pizza on the grill for dinner.

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Even though we make pizza in our ordinary gas oven in the winter, it pales next to those we put together on the grill in the summer.  You can read about them and learn to make the dough in a post of July 13, 2010, but here are a couple of photos that should inspire you to make pizza on the grill part of your summer routine.  One features the grilled veggies and one is a plain old pizza margarita, still my favorite.  Earlier in the summer we made a spectacular pizza with fresh figs, honey, and creamy goat cheese – it could have been dessert.

 

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            Last Monday as I was sitting in my every morning window seat at JOE, our favorite coffee bar, I saw two of my favorite dogs approach – Milly and Zach.  Milly always sets up a howl waiting for me to come out and give her some morning lovin’ while her owner, Stuart, gets his latte.  This morning Stuart came toting a shopping bag along with the dogs.  And, what should be in that bag but a taste of spring –fiddleheads, asparagus, and ramps straight from the farmer’s market near his country house.  When we opened the bag the smell of damp earth and verdant greenery almost – but not quite – overcame the heady coffee aromas.  But, when I got home my kitchen smelled just like the woods.  You know what was on our dinner menu – here it is – a quick sauté in extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper – the veggies needed nothing more – so green, so crisp, so spring.

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