Monday, February 28, 2011

Fettucine With Sausage And Fried Sage Leaves

An old New York Times recipe that I use when there is plenty of sage in the garden.  Now that we get fresh sage all year round, there is no reason we can't enjoy in the middle of winter.  It is also an economical meal for those watching their budget, and who isnt?!


1 pound fettuccine

4 hot Italian sausages

About 24 sage leaves

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

About 1 cup heavy cream

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan


1.Bring four quarts of water to a boil for the fettuccine. Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, simmer the sausages in water to cover for 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool.

2.Fry the sage leaves in the olive oil in a skillet until they are crisp. Drain them on paper towels, leaving the oil in the skillet.

3.Chop the sausages in chunks and saute them in the oil until the pieces are browned, adding the garlic toward the end so that it gets golden but not burned. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Meanwhile, cook fettuccine until al dente.

4.Pour off the fat from the skillet and add the cream. Bring it to a boil, scrape up cooking juices and return the sausage to heat through. Correct seasoning.

5.Drain the pasta and put it in a heated serving bowl. Pour the sauce on top. Toss and sprinkle with sage leaves. Serve with Parmesan passed separately at the table.

YIELD 4 servings .

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

3 Ingredients And A Loaf Pan...Pesto Sun Dried Tomato Terrine

In't that the recipe for a perfect appetizer?

There's a loaf pan lurking in the back of most pantries (if not, tin versions are sold in most markets), and employing it to make this impressive looking, but deceptively easy terrine is a good use for it. Just a few supermarket ingredients is all it takes.


1 (6- to 7-ounce) container prepared basil pesto; about 1/2 cup total

1 (8- to 8.5-ounce) jar sun dried tomatoes in oil (with or without herbs); about 1 cup total

Vegetable oil for brushing

4 (8 -ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese (light cream cheese), softened at room temperature

Accompaniment: baguette slices or crackers

Special equipment: an 8- by 4- or 9- by 5-inch loaf pan


Drain pesto in a fine-mesh sieve to remove excess oil (reserve oil for another use*). Pulse tomatoes in a food processor or blender to a chunky puree, then drain in a clean sieve to remove any excess oil*.

Lightly brush loaf pan with some vegetable oil. Line inside of pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2- to 3-inch overhang.

Cut one (8-ounce) package cheese into thirds. Spread the contents of 1 (8-ounce) package plus 1/3 of a second package into the bottom of pan, using the back of a spoon to spread evenly. Spread drained pesto over bottom layer. Spread another 8 ounces plus 1/3 package of cheese over pesto. Spread sun dried tomatoes over second cheese layer, then spread remaining cream cheese over tomatoes. Enclose top with plastic overhang, pressing and smoothing top lightly.

Chill until firm, about 6 hours. Peel off top wrap and invert onto a plate, then peel off plastic wrap. (Sides and top of terrine can be smoothed evenly with the back of a small offset spatula or side of a knife if desired.) Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

*Excess oil can be drizzled over steamed vegetables or used to make a vinaigrette.

 Make ahead: Terrine can be made up to 2 days ahead

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meatball Pizzas

Hearty meatballs make a mouthwatering topping for these pizzas, which are finished with a sprinkling of fresh basil, oregano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  You can either purchase ready made dough at the supermarket or make your own.

The original recipe calls for meatball starter, a product sold by Williams Sonoma.  I have substituted it with my recipe for Italian meatballs.

A great idea for Friday evenings.


For the pizza dough:

2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1 cup warm water (105º to 110ºF)

2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for coating bowl

For the meatballs:

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 Tbs. milk

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground pork

1 small onion finely chopped

1 TB chopped basil

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup julienned fresh basil

1 1/2 Tbs. fresh oregano leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


To make the pizza dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, combine the 2 cups flour and the salt and process with 3 or 4 pulses. With the motor running on the dough speed, slowly add the yeast mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Slowly drizzle in the 1 Tbs. olive oil and continue processing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute, then process for 1 minute more. 

Coat the inside of a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Place on a flour-dusted baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the bread crumbs, milk, beef, pork, basil, chopped onion and egg and shape into small balls. In a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the mashed garlic.  Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large plate. Pour the tomato sauce into the same pan, add the meatballs and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a large plate and cut each one in half.

Place a pizza stone in a convection or regular oven. Preheat the oven to 450ºF for 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll out 1 ball of dough into an 11-inch round about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed. Transfer to a well-floured pizza peel and spread 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce on the dough. Top with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and place one-third of the meatballs, cut side down, on top.

Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake until the crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbly, about 12 minutes. Using the pizza peel, transfer the pizza to a cutting board.

Repeat with the remaining 2 balls of dough, sauce and toppings. Lightly sprinkle the pizzas with the basil, oregano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Makes three 11-inch pizzas.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Double Chocolate Cupcakes With Rosewater Frosting

This is my first choice for a Valentine's treat.  I know a little girl who would just love another  "Nani Surprise!  

The recipe for the cupcakes is an adaptation of the Double Chocolate Pound Cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible

The Cake Bible

makes 6-7 large cupcakes, more if using regular-sized cupcake liners


2 Tb Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 Tbspn + 1 1/2 tspn black cocoa powder (or substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa)

1 tspn instant coffee powder or espresso powder

1/4 cup boiling water

1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 1/4 cups (125 gr) AP flour

3/4 cup + 2 Tbspn (175 gr) granulated sugar

3/4 tspn baking powder

1/4 tspn salt

13 Tbspn (184 gr) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Whisk to combine the cocoa powders, coffee powder, and boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Once the chocolate mixture is cool, whisk in the vanilla and eggs until combined and set aside.

4. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.

5. Add half of the chocolate mixture and the softened butter to the flour. Mix on low until the flour is moistened and then increase speed to medium and beat for one minute to aerate.

6. Add the remaining chocolate mixture to the batter in two additions, beating for twenty seconds after each addition. Finally, beat in the chocolate chips.

7. Divide the batter amongst the paper cupcake molds, filling each about 3/4 of the way.

8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Rose-scented cream cheese frosting
adapted from Magnolia Bakery


1/2 stick butter, at room temperature

1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1/2 tspn rosewater

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

8 oz. cream cheese, cold

1 drop pink gel food coloring


1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the vanilla extract and rosewater and mix until combined.

3. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar.

4. Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition. Mix in the food coloring at the end.

5. Use to pipe onto cupcakes immediately. Top with shaved dark chocolate.

NOTE From baker: I used a large closed-star tip for the frosting in these photos.

Recipe & Image via Desserts For Breakfast

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

String Beans With Ginger And Garlic

This is the perfect accompaniment to any Chinese entree.  It is also wonderful with grilled steak.



2 1/2 pounds string beans (French-style slim haricots verts work especially well), trimmed

4 tablespoons vegetable or sesame oil

1/4 cup minced fresh ginger (about 6 inches ginger root, peeled)

4 medium-size garlic cloves, minced

Soy Sauce (optional)


1.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water. Working in two batches, boil beans until just tender but still crisp and bright green. Start testing after 4 minutes or so, being careful not to overcook. When done, plunge beans into ice water to stop cooking, lift out immediately when cool and drain on towels. (Recipe can be made to this point up to a day in advance and kept refrigerated, wrapped in towels.)

2.When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over high heat. Add half the beans, half the ginger and half the garlic, and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until beans are heated through and ginger and garlic are softened and aromatic. Sprinkle with salt, and remove to a serving dish. Repeat with remaining oil, beans, ginger and garlic. Serve.

Add soy sauce if you wish

YIELD 10 servings .

Friday, February 4, 2011

Beef Welllington Tarts For Valentine's Day

This is one of the most ingenious ideas I have seen out there for Valentine's Day.  It is elegant, simple to prepare and can be made ahead up to a point.  Just before you sit down, slice the beef, warm up the mushrooms and arrange everything on the tart.  Frankly, I don't even think it needs the mousse.  Instead, I would add some madeira or cognac to the drippings from the filet, reduce and add that to the mushrooms instead of the white wine.  Accompany with fresh asparagus or green beans and you are set to go.

Serves 2

8 ounces beef tenderloin

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

4 teaspoons olive oil

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 sheet (11-inch square) thawed frozen puff pastry, preferably DuFour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 ounces foie gras mousse (about 1/4 cup)


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, and cook until completely browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer skillet to oven, and cook to desired doneness (130 degrees for medium-rare, 8 to 9 minutes). Transfer beef to a plate, and let rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, cut two 5 1/2-inch squares from puff pastry; reserve remaining dough for another use. Using a paring knife, score a 1/2-inch border around each square. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3.Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and continue to bake until puffed and golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

4.Meanwhile, melt butter with remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a clean skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, thyme, and garlic, and cook until mushrooms are tender and garlic has softened, about 8 minutes. Add wine, and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to a small bowl. Cover with tin foil if not using immediately.

5.Add foie gras mousse to skillet, and reduce heat to low. Stir until just melted. Remove from heat.

6.Using the back of a spoon, flatten inside portion of each pastry square. Thinly slice beef, and arrange slices on top of pastry. Top with mushroom mixture, and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

From Martha Stewart Living, February 2008


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