Penne with Asparagus

It’s asparagus season, and I was looking for some new asparagus recipes to try. I put this one together and it worked out really well.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb dried penne
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1″ strips
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 1/2 c Pecorino Romano, grated
  • salt flakes & fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook pasta as usual, drain, reserve.
  2. Sauté onions and prosciutto in oil until onions start to brown.
  3. Add asparagus, cook 5 minutes, stir frequently.
  4. Add tomatoes, cover, cook 3 to 5 minutes more.
  5. Deglaze with wine, cook uncovered until liquid is almost gone.
  6. Remove from heat, toss with pasta.
  7. Add salt, pepper and cheese, toss again, serve immediately.

Sautéed Kale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb green kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c water or stock
  • salt flakes and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Sauté garlic briefly in olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Add kale and water or stock, cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove cover and sauté until all the liquid is gone.
  4. Stir in the vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Braised Short Ribs

There are a million ways to braise beef short ribs, including methods that turn the process into a two-day affair. This recipe is pretty much the bare-bones (sorry) minimalist recipe — ribs, mirepoix (diced celery, carrots and onion), wine and thyme. Right now I’m using an oak-aged cabernet sauvignon for the braise, but use what you like — just be sure to use a wine that you want to drink, not a “cooking wine”. I’m serving the ribs with sautéed kale and buttered rice.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 1/2 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt flakes & fresh-cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Season ribs with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, brown ribs on all sides in olive oil.
  3. Remove ribs for later.
  4. Add mirepoix to pot and sauté till soft.
  5. Add thyme and sauté 2 minutes longer.
  6. Add wine and deglaze the pot on high heat.
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce wine by about a third of the original volume.
  8. Reduce heat to a low simmer, return ribs to the pot, and cover. Cook until meat is very tender, about 3 hours.
  9. Carefully remove and plate ribs on a small amount of braising liquid.

Kaposztsalata (Hungarian Coleslaw)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 large cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 t cider vinegar
  • 1 t extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients except the cabbage in a large salad bowl.
  2. Add cabbage and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pasta Fredda (Pasta Salad)

I often substitute fusilli tricolore or medium penne rigate for the farfalle.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb farfalle
  • 1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 c fresh peas
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 c black olives, pitted and halved
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 t white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c fresh basil, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt flakes
  • black pepper, freshly cracked

Directions

  1. Cook pasta as usual. Drain and allow to cool completely.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, basil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Combine tomatoes, peas, bell pepper and olives in a large serving bowl.
  4. Add pasta and then vinaigrette to bowl, toss to combine.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Horiatiki Salata (Greek Salad)

This is pretty much the old standby. I make it frequently, and seldom change a thing.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced very thin
  • 1 1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t dried Greek oregano
  • salt flakes
  • black pepper, freshly cracked

Directions

  1. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Whisk the dressing briefly to re-emulsify if necessary and pour over salad. Toss carefully to coat.

2 generous servings

Bulgur Pilaf

This can be an excellent accompaniment to a Middle Eastern meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c onion, minced
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c bulgur
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 1 t whole coriander, crushed
  • salt flakes
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add coriander, bulgur, salt and pepper, sauté 2 minutes more.
  3. Stir in water and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, until water is absorbed and bulgur is soft, about 20 minutes. Fluff with fork.

4 servings