Veal Goulash with Egg Noodles

One of my clients that I personal chef for requested I make this dish. I made this healthy version using non-fat sour cream, no salt, canola oil spray instead of butter and No Yokes Noodles.  It got rave reviews.  Eric wants me to make this for us soon.  I know most people are horrified about using veal, if so, use beef instead.

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Veal Goulash with Egg Noodles

Serves 8

4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 lbs veal, cut into 1½ inch cubes
1½ cups onion, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs paprika
2 Tbs caraway seed, crushed in a mortar with pestle
3 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz flat egg noodles, cooked and tossed with 1 Tbs butter

Heat butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Pat dry the cubed veal. Sprinkle with salt and add to pan. Working in batches, sauté the meat until the meat is just beginning to brown.

Add the onions to the pan with the veal, cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add a teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of black pepper, and the tomatoes. Add enough water to just barely cover the meat, about 2 cups or so, depending on the size and shape of your pan.

Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, uncovered. Cook until the meat is almost cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the veal from the pan to a bowl to temporarily set aside. Increase the heat to high and let the liquid boil until it is reduced by half. Lower the heat to medium. Add the meat back to the pan.

Add the sour cream, paprika, and crushed caraway seeds, and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes. Stir in parsley.

Serve over egg noodles.

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Croxetti with Potatoes, Green Beans & Pesto

I was in New York city several weeks ago and whenever I’m there I go to Eataly on 23rd Street.  I needed to warm up and kill some time before meeting someone for dinner.  While wandering in this Italian pornographic food emporium, I meandered into the pasta section and bought some interesting pasta shapes that I hadn’t seen before.  To me there is nothing more fun than researching regional recipes.  One of the pastas I bought (and didn’t have to take out a mortgage to buy!) was Croxetti.  I was waiting for my brother-in-law, Russell to come to town to make it.  

Croxetti originated in Liguria, in Northern Italy along the border with France, during the middle ages. In the past they were made by local peasants and used by aristocratic families as a display of wealth and status. A thin, disc shaped, Ligurian pasta that has been hand stamped with the family arms on one side and different designs, such as palm trees, sunsets, and sailboats on the other side. The disks are approximately 1¾ inches in width. This recipe is very popular in the region, which includes potatoes and green beans boiled in the same water with the pasta. I think this pasta bears a scary resemblance to Communion wafers!

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Croxetti with Potatoes, Green Beans & Pesto

Serves 4

3–4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, in 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 heaping cup)
2 large handfuls slender green beans (if using frozen beans, thaw them slightly)
8 oz dry pasta
2 Tbs prepared pesto
1 cup (loosely packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (taste it; it should be as salty as the sea) to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 4 minutes. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions—adding the green beans to the pot when you have 2 minutes of cooking time remaining. Cook until the pasta is al dente, the potatoes tender and the beans still crisp.

Drain the pasta and vegetables, retaining 1/2 cup of cooking water. Return the pasta and vegetables to the pot and stir in the pesto; add a bit of liquid if needed to create a thin sauce. Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and freshly grated pepper. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Sausage Carbonara

When there is no food in the house, I can usually dig up the ingredients for pasta carbonara. Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish from  Rome, based on eggs, cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano), bacon or pancetta, and black pepper. Spaghetti is usually used as the pasta, however, fettuccine, rigatoni, or bucatini can also be used. The dish was created in the middle of the 20th century.

Carbonara is one of the few things that everyone in the family eats – even my daughter Grace! Because we had no bacon (can you even imagine?!) my husband made this carbonara using sausage.  It worked!  You can also throw in some frozen peas (Grace picks them out!).
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Sausage Carbonara

Serves 4

4 Italian sausages, cooked and crumbled, casings removed
Olive oil
1 lb pasta
3 eggs
1/2 oz heavy cream
3 1/2 oz freshly grated Parmesan
1 lemon, zested
Sprig fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Sauté the sausage until golden brown all over. While this is cooking, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the packet instructions.

In a large bowl, whip up the eggs, cream, half the Parmesan, the lemon zest and parsley.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water, and immediately toss it quickly with the egg mixture back in the pasta pan. Add the hot sausage and toss everything together. The egg will cook delicately from the heat of the pasta, just enough for it to thicken and not scramble. The sauce should be smooth and silky. Sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan, season, if necessary, with the salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Turkey Sausage

Here is a great weeknight pasta dish to feed your family. Of course, this would exclude my daughter who only eats pasta with butter and Parmesan. It’s her loss!
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Pasta with Mushrooms and Turkey Sausage

Serves 4 – 6

1 Tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 lb hot or mild Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
10 to 12 oz button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
12 oz pasta
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

In a heavy, very large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sausages, increase the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the button mushrooms and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bay leaf and boil until almost all of the liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup broth and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, adding more broth if needed.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain the pasta, add to the pan with the sauce and stir until the sauce coats the pasta. Remove from the heat and stir in the 1 cup cheese. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to warmed individual bowls or a large warmed serving bowl. Garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately and pass more cheese at the table.

Note: The sauce can be made a day ahead and then reheated before adding the pasta and cheese.

Super Easy Mac & Cheese

One of the things I am passionate about is getting kids interested in cooking. Over the years, I have taught many kids how to make simple meals. They can learn math skills, practice fine-motor coordination, make choices about nutrition, and practice basic cooking techniques. They can learn about different countries and traditions by making foods from around the world. It’s also a great way to get families together in the kitchen. If you get kids cooking at an early age, chances are they will continue this good habit as they grow.

I happen to collect Macaroni & Cheese recipes. I ran across this one and thought it would be perfect for kids to make. Just make sure you are there to help or supervise the pasta boiling part!

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Super Easy Mac & Cheese

Serves 10

16 oz pasta
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
4 oz parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare pasta according to package directions, but add a good bit of salt to the water. Once cooked, drain but do not rinse the pasta.

Transfer pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add half the cheddar, monterey jack and parmesan cheeses, as well as the heavy cream. Stir well to combine, season with pepper to taste.

Transfer the mixture to a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Pasta Florentine

Florentine, or the term à la Florentine, refers to a recipe that is prepared in the style of the Italian region of Florence. Over the years it has come to mean cuisine that includes spinach as an ingredient. I love making this for a crowd because it is vegetarian. This is a recipe that I have adapted over the years from a cookbook that my aunt Marjorie gave me from New Orleans called Artist’s Palate Cookbook, New Orleans Museum of Art.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the cheese covered finished product!

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Pasta Florentine

Serves 8 – 10

2 – 10 oz packages frozen, chopped spinach
½ cup onion, chopped
16 oz pasta
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
8 Tbs butter, softened, divided
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 – 16 oz jar meatless pasta sauce
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided

Cook frozen spinach according to package directions, adding the chopped onion. Drain well.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, drain.

Sauté mushrooms, onion and salt and pepper in 4 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients with half of the mozzarella and mix well. Place in a greased 13” x 9 ½ ” casserole.

Cover with Aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with the remainder of the mozzarella cheese over top and bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Every Monday, I make Macaroni & Cheese for a school, for 10 years. I can only image how much macaroni I’ve boiled – 10 lbs per week. I guess you could say that I’m fairly good at it. However, this recipe is NOT the school recipe. That one is done on the stove top and this recipe is baked with breadcrumbs. Let’s face it, there is nothing better than mac n’ cheese.

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Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Serves 6-8

Kosher salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter
6 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 qt whole milk
1 bay leaf
3 cups grated extra-sharp white Cheddar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
Freshly ground white pepper
1 lb elbow macaroni or other small pasta
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 lightly packed cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 400°F and put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring, until slightly darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard.Switch to a whisk and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Discard the bay leaf. Add the cheese, stirring until melted, and then add the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm, stirring occasionally.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Pour into a colander and shake it a few times to drain really well. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, and stir until well combined. Generously season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread the pasta in the dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Scatter the crumbs evenly over the pasta.

Bake in the center of the oven until the crumb topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Pasta with Cannellini Beans, Bacon and Kale

Don’t you hate those days when you have no idea what to make for dinner? This is one of those meals I created out of what was in the pantry and fridge. You can substitute any number of things – like chickpeas and spinach, for example. I always try to have many kinds of beans on hand.
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Pasta with Cannellini Beans, Bacon and Kale

Serves 4

4 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
1 shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
A sprinkling of red chile flakes
1 lb pasta
1 can of cannelloni beans, rinsed
1 small bunch of kale, washed (no need to dry it)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well.

In a large, wide skillet, add the bacon and turn up the heat to medium/high. Allow the bacon to start to render and when it starts to color a little, add the shallot, garlic and the red chile flakes. Stir and cook for a minute. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.

Add the beans to the bacon/garlic mixture, add a pinch of salt and stir and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Then add the kale and a ladleful of the pasta cooking water. Cover for 15 seconds or so until the kale wilts.

Then, when the pasta is just al dente and not fully done, lift it into the pan with the bacon and beans. If the pan’s dry, add some more pasta cooking water and turn up the heat. Stir and cook until the pasta is totally coated and the liquid in the pan evaporates. Take off the heat and add another drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of red chile flakes and all of that cheese. Stir it through and taste.

Avocado, Bacon & Basil Pasta

My 15 year old daughter, Grace, texted me yesterday morning and asked if she could make dinner. She even sent a shopping list. Absolutely! I love everything about this recipe. It was delicious. My other daughter, Zoe, is going to be mad when she reads this from her college dorm with no kitchen… If you are nice, Grace might make it for you when you get home!

She also did wonderful mis-en-place (a French term that literally means, “setting in place”, used in cooking to describe all the prep and gathering of ingredients)!

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Avocado, Bacon & Basil Pasta

Serves 4

8 oz dried bow tie and/or wagon wheel pasta
2 medium avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and coarsely chopped
6 slices bacon, crisp cooked, drained, and crumbled
2/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the avocados, bacon, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, pepper, and salt. Add the hot pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cheese.

Fresh Pasta

After watching an episode of MasterChef Junior, my culinary confidence left the building. There was a challenge where the 9, 10, 11 & 12 year old contestants had to make their own pasta, sauce, etc. They do this without any recipes. Every single dish could have been served at an expensive restaurant. So in an effort to stop myself from hanging up my apron, I dug out my pasta machine from the basement.  Here it is – Fettuccini Pasta.

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Fresh Pasta

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling the pasta
3 large eggs

Equipment
Mixing bowl
Fork or dough whisk
Pasta machine (or you can make pasta by hand)
Baking sheet
Clean dishtowel

Combine the Flour and eggs: Whisk the flour with a fork in a medium mixing bowl. Or mix in the bowl of a food processor.

Add the Eggs: Create a deep well in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into this well. Whisk the eggs with the fork to combine. OR Pulse in a food processor until combined, then run the processor continuously until a dough is formed. Proceed with kneading and shaping the dough as directed.

Begin Combining the Flour and Eggs: As you whisk the eggs, begin gradually pulling in flour from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Don’t rush this step. At first, the eggs will start to look like a slurry. Once enough flour has been added, it will start forming a very soft dough. Don’t worry if you haven’t used all the flour.

Knead the Pasta Dough: Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a clean counter. Begin gently folding the dough on itself, flattening, and folding again. It will be extremely soft at first, then gradually start to firm up. Once it’s firm enough to knead, begin kneading the dough. Incorporate more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to you or the counter. Slice into the dough with a paring knife; if you see lots of air bubbles, keep kneading. The dough is kneaded when it forms a smooth elastic ball and has very few air bubbles when cut.

Rest the Pasta Dough: Clean and dry the mixing bowl. Place the ball of dough inside and cover with a dinner plate or plastic wrap. Rest for at least 30 minutes.
Note: At this point, the pasta dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let it come back to room temperature before rolling.

Divide the Pasta Dough: Sprinkle a baking sheet generously with flour and scrape the ball of dough on top (it will stick to the bowl; use a spatula or bowl scraper if necessary). Divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust the portions with flour and cover with a clean dishtowel.

Begin Rolling Out the Pasta: Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting (usually marked “1”). Flatten one piece of dough into a thick disk between your hands and feed it through the pasta roller. Repeat once or twice. Fold this piece of dough into thirds, like folding a letter, and press it between your hands again. With the pasta machine still on the widest setting, feed the pasta crosswise between the rollers (see picture). Feed it through once or twice more until smooth. If desired, repeat this folding step. This helps to strengthen the gluten in the flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked.

Thin the Pasta: Begin changing the settings on your roller to roll the pasta thinner and thinner. Roll the pasta two or three times at each setting, and don’t skip settings (the pasta tends to snag and warp if you do). If the pasta gets too long to be manageable, lay it on a cutting board and slice it in half. Roll the pasta as thin as you like to go. For linguine and fettuccine, use the 6 or 7 settings.

Cut the Pasta: Cut the long stretch of dough into noodle-length sheets, usually about 12-inches. If making filled pasta or lasagna, proceed with shaping. If cutting into noodles, switch from the pasta roller to the noodle cutter, and run the sheet of pasta through the cutter. Toss the noodles with a little flour to keep them from sticking and gather them into a loose basket. Set this basket on the floured baking sheet and cover with a towel while you finish rolling and cutting the rest of the dough.