Spaghetti Ratatouille

Ratatouille a word synonymous with French Cooking is a combination of nutritious vegetables either sautéed or presented in a layered fashion.  Mostly served as a side dish but when combined with pasta it makes a hearty and colorful dish sure to please. During this Lenten season where there are many days you’re asked to refrain from consuming meat this dish is the perfect meal to serve up. Enjoy with a nice glass of red wine and don’t be shy with the parmesan!

Ingredients:

Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Hot Pepper Flakes

Olive Oil

One Cup of Low Sodium Vegetable Stock

½ Cup of Red Wine

One Yellow Squash – Sliced

One Green Squash – Sliced

Three Tomatoes from the Vine – Chopped Chunky

Garlic – (3) Gloves Minced

Basil Leaves – About 6 – Torn Up

½ a Box of Spaghetti

Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

-On medium heat warm up a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan.

-You will at any point throw in the squash you have sliced up and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

-Next add in the stock and the red wine then cover the pan and let simmer on moderately low heat.

– You will notice the squash will begin to soften when you see this you can add in the tomatoes.

– Season the mixture again with salt, pepper and garlic powder and let simmer covered for another two minutes or so.

– Once all is cooked through turn off heat and remove all contents including liquid and place in a bowl off to the side.

– Begin the boil your pasta water in a stock pot.

– Now you will warm up olive oil again in the sauce pan used previous – this time three table spoons.

– You will fry up the garlic, olive oil and hot pepper flakes – then place the previous vegetable mix into the pan and combine.

– You will want this all to simmer on very low heat to keep warm while your spaghetti is boiling.

– Once spaghetti is boiled – drain and then combine directly into the sauce – continue to mix until all is combined.

– Plate, top with Parmesan and enjoy!

~ A.M.A ~

© Cookery for Two – 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cookery for Two with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Thai Basil Steak

We love this Asian Fusion bistro that’s in the area and they make this dish called Thai Basil Steak – one of my absolute favorites. I decided to try and re-create the dish at home and what a success. This dish is vibrant in flavor – the salty sweet combination of the soy sauce and honey. Then the heat from the chili pepper hits the back of your tongue and your taste buds just explode. Serve over basmati rice and you’re taken to another world with this meal.

Ingredients:

Black Pepper & Garlic Powder

Olive Oil

Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Fish Sauce

Mirin

Cornstarch

Brown Sugar

Honey

(1) Clove Garlic

(1) Green Chili Pepper

(2) Bell Peppers

Mushrooms

Basil

½ of One Shallot

London Broil

Basmati Rice

Pre-Cooking Notes:

*To make the London Broil easier to cut – I used a frozen cut of meat and thawed it out till it was soft on the outside but still a bit frozen on the inside.

*For your chili pepper be sure to remove the seeds and wash down the pepper – believe me the pepper alone will create allot of heat.

 

 

Directions to Make Sauce:

– In a bowl combine (1) cup of soy sauce, (2) teaspoons of fish sauce, (2) tablespoons of brown sugar, (2) tablespoons of mirin, (2) tablespoons of corn starch.

– Mix till the liquid thickens a bit and then place off to the side.

Directions to Cooking Vegetables & Beef:

– Brown chopped shallot and garlic in olive oil in a sauce pan.

– Add in mushrooms and cook through a bit.

– Next add in the sliced bell peppers and continue to sauté all till cooked through.

– Now you will add in about (2) tablespoons of honey and continuing cooking.

– Next throw in the cleaned and chopped green chili pepper.

– Throw in sliced beef season mix with black pepper and garlic powder.

– Once beef is slightly browned throw in a large handful of basil.

– Top all with the sauce from the bowl (mix the sauce before placing in sauce pan).

– Cover and let simmer till basil is wilted.

*While the basil is wilting you can microwave the basmati rice then plate a portion of rice on each plate.

– Once the basil is wilted – turn off heat and meat should be cooked enough where it’s still a bit rare inside.

*If you prefer the meat to be well done cook a bit longer.

– Ladle the beef mixture on top of rice and serve.

Enjoy!

 

~ A.M.A. ~

© Cookery for Two – 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cookery for Two with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Creamy Pea Soup

My mom would gladly confirm I have NEVER been a fan of peas, so isn’t it swell that the love of my life happens to be a fan of such vegetable. A recipe we saw on TV caught his eye and he’s been asking me to try it out but I decided to add two things which would make the soup much better for my taste buds, lots of basil and of course heavy cream.

This also gave me the opportunity to use my new food processor which he so kindly gifted me on Christmas. You should have seen how my eyes lit up when I opened it!

On a cold night go ahead and pair this soup with a mozzarella and tomato Panini or throw in some grilled jumbo shrimp with garlic croutons and you have a terrific one bowl meal.

(Ingredients)

Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Olive Oil

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Cups of Low Sodium Chicken Broth

2 Handfuls of Basil Leaves

1 Pack of Frozen Peas

5 Pearl Onions – Peeled and Cut in Half

2 Cloves Garlic – Chopped

1 Medium Mozzarella Ball – Cut Up in Pieces

(Directions)

– In a sauce pan brown the garlic and pearl onions in a tablespoon of olive oil.

– Then add in 1 cup of the chicken broth and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

– Next throw in the frozen peas and let simmer covered on low.

– When peas are cooked through throw in a couple of basil leaves, drizzle olive oil then mix.

– Keep simmering until the basil is wilted then remove pan from flame.

*Must let mix cool down for five minutes before transferring to the food processor.

– Process on low till contents are chopped.

* You may need to stop the processor & push food down the sides to make sure all pieces get chopped.

– As you are chopping on low add the 1 cup of heavy cream through the small feeding tube.

* The mix should begin to turn a light green color.

– You can stop the chopping & open up the bowl to add in the last cup of chicken broth along with the mozzarella.

* Keep a couple of slices off to the side for garnish when completed.

– Again chop on low speed till the mozzarella is chopped and combined.

– Next open up again and add the last of the basil leaves.

* Keep a couple of small leaves off to the side for garnish when completed.

– Once more chop on low then transfer the contents to a pot.

– Heat stove on medium heat and be sure to spin the soup often if not the mozzarella in the soup will burn at the bottom or to the sides of the pot.

– You can season soup with salt, pepper and garlic powder then mix.

– Once soup is heated place in bowl and garnish with mozzarella and basil leaf.

Enjoy!

*As mentioned before you can always add in a protein to the soup to make a meal in one bowl or pair the soup with your favorite Panini.

~A.M.A.~

© Cookery for Two – 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cookery for Two with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rigatoni with Eggplant & Ricotta Salata

Three of my absolute favorites: Rigatoni, Eggplant and Ricotta Salata. All melded together in a spicy and chunky red sauce. I start off by frying up cubed pieces of eggplant and then incorporating them into the sauce.  Strips of fresh basil and a generous helping of shaved ricotta salata is the final step to plating this colorful and flavorful dish.

Ingredients:

Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Hot Pepper Flakes, Olive Oil

Fresh Basil

(2) Garlic Cloves

(1) Cup Dry Red Wine

(1) Can Peeled Plum Tomatoes

*Prep this by chopping up the whole tomatoes and reserving off to the side with all juices from the can.

(1)Can Tomato Paste

½ Cup Frying Oil (Canola Oil)

(1)Eggplant

(1) Cup Flour

Wedge of Ricotta Salata

½ a Box of Rigatoni

Directions to Cook Eggplant:

*While you are doing this have the frying oil heating up in a pan on medium heat.

*Have your garlic for the sauce chopped and ready off to the side.

*Be sure off to the side you have a plate with paper towels to place the cooked eggplant – keep this plate a safe distance from the open flame.

– Wash and then cut each end off of the eggplant.

– Now cube the eggplant into pieces and throw into mixing bowl.

– Place three tablespoons of Olive Oil and 1 Cup of Flour along with a couple of sprinkles of Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder on top the eggplant.

– Mix till all is coated.

– Once completed fry up the eggplant pieces (in batches) till browned & let cool on plate off to the side.

* Once completed with frying do not turn off the heat just lower and throw garlic for sauce in and scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pan while browning the garlic.

* Note you will not be combining the eggplant with the sauce until it’s simmered for an ample enough time and the pasta is ready to put in the sauce.

Directions for Sauce:

– As said above brown the garlic in the oil already in pan from frying eggplant.

– Next add in the prepped chopped tomatoes and red wine.

– Tear up a couple of leaves of fresh basil and throw into the sauce and as well meld the tomato paste into the sauce.

– Sprinkle in pepper, salt and garlic powder to taste.

– Add in a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

– Let sauce simmer for about 30 minutes, spinning often.

– Get pasta boiled close to end time for the sauce.

Directions for Putting Together:

* While pasta is boiling cut up pieces of fresh basil and use a zester to grate the ricotta salata – put off to the side till plating.

– When pasta almost cooked through add the eggplant pieces to the sauce.

*The sauce may thicken up significantly if so you can thin the sauce by adding a spoon or two of pasta water into the sauce.

– Drain pasta and then add directly to the sauce.

– Mix till all is sufficiently combined.

– Plate two or so ladle’s of pasta into a bowl and top with fresh cuts of basil and a generous helping of grated ricotta salata.

Sit back and enjoy with a nice glass of red!

*No major side notes for alternates on this one – because its prefect the way it is. The only thing I would say is don’t be shy with the ricotta salata.

~ A.M.A. ~

© Cookery for Two – 2011 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cookery for Two with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Parmesan Cutlets with Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad

Chicken cutlets were a staple growing up in my household. Perfect with a bowl of pasta, a salad or even for sandwiches at school the next day.  The cutlets my dad made were always juicy, flavorful and crispy on the outside. Everyone has their way of doing it – but with this version I throw shredded parmesan into the breadcrumbs, kicking the flavor up a notch and pair the cutlets with a colorful tomato and mozzarella salad using my new obsession Zima sweet tomatoes!

Ingredients:

– Flour, Italian Bread Crumbs, (2) Eggs

*I use Progresso brand breadcrumbs. I’ve used others and feel they have the most flavor.

– Seasonings – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Olive Oil

– Canola Oil for Frying

– (4) Chicken Cutlets

*I usually take (2) large boneless chicken breasts and filet them to make the four.

– Shredded Parmesan Cheese

– 1 Cup of Mozzarella Balls – Each piece cut in 1/2

– 2 Cups of Small Tomatoes – Each piece cut in 1/2

– (4) Large Basil Leaves – Sliced

* Best way to do this is to roll up the leaves like a cigarette and then take the knife to the leaves so when cut you create strips of basil.

Directions for Tomato Salad:

*Make this first so you can let it sit in the fridge to marinade and get cold. It’s VERY simple!

– Combine the tomatoes, the mozzarella and the basil in a bowl.

– Drizzle (2) tablespoons of olive oil over the mix along with a couple pinches of salt and toss.

– Place in fridge till ready to plate the dish.

Directions for Prepping the Frying Area:

– Have your frying oil heating up in a wide shallow frying pan while you’re prepping the cutlets.

–  Put on medium heat you do not want the oil to splash out on the stove or you when you put the first cutlet in.

* You want the cutlets to fry up not too quickly where the coating is burnt and the inside is not yet cooked –   you want them cooked through and golden brown.

– You can test the heat when ready by throwing a very small bit of bread crumb into the pan, if you see it sizzle up quickly the oil is ready.

– Finally be sure near the pan you have a plate with paper towels to soak up the extra oil when you take the cutlets out of the frying pan.

* Keep the plate with the paper towels at a safe distance from the flame!

Directions for Putting Together the Cutlets:

– First prepare your three main coatings for the cutlets.

– In one bowl place the flour.

– In another bowl place two beaten eggs with salt and pepper.

– In the final dish (use a wide shallow dish) place the Italian bread crumbs but mix in a cup of the parmesan and sprinkle in garlic powder too.

– Make sure the cutlets are seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

– Take one cutlet and cover in flour, shake off excess and move onto the egg bowl.

– Cover the cutlet now in egg and then let excess drip off before placing in bread crumbs.

– When placing the cutlet in bread crumb mix throw mix on top of the exposed side before pressing cutlet down to assure even and full coating.

* You may want to turn cutlet over a couple of times in the mix and press down each time to make sure again that everything is coated.

– Move cutlet to a plate and continue on till all cutlets are breaded.

Directions for Frying the Cutlets:

-Be sure to test the oil as said before above in “Directions for Prepping the Frying Area”.

-Reminder as also said above you want to make sure the cutlets are cooked through and golden brown.

*Hint you shouldnt fry more than two cutlets at a time and keep them moving in the oil. Turn them over periodically too.

– Once cooked through place on plate off to the side to let cool and so oil is soaked up by paper towels.

-To plate when finished frying place cutlet on serving dish and top with the tomato salad mix.

Serve & Enjoy!

*Feel free to swap out the mozzarella balls for other colored tomatoes and instead use balsamic vinegar versus the olive oil.

*You can always make more than four cutlets and top a salad for lunch the next day or as mentioned before chicken cutlets make great sandwich fillers!

*Also another great idea if you check out my past post “Fancy Finger Foods” you can cube up the cutlets and use them in lieu of the salami I had for the mozzarella and roasted pepper skewers.

~ A.M.A. ~

© Cookery for Two – 2011 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cookery for Two with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Portabella Mushroom Tower with a Balsamic Glaze

I adore mushrooms – Portabella mushrooms are hearty and the perfect platform for my salad tower you see here. It’s fancy without being too rich with the ingredients and super simple to make!

Makes – 2 Servings

(Ingredients) – (2) Large Portabella Mushrooms, (4) Slices of Prosciutto Crudo, (1) Large Ball of Mozzarella Fresca, (1) Large Tomato, (4) Large Fresh Basil Leaves, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Soy Sauce, Sugar

Directions – Mushrooms

Soften the Portabella Mushrooms by cooking on low heat in a pan with tablespoon of olive oil and ½ cup of red wine.

– Season mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

– Keep covered and turn over mushrooms periodically as they soften.

– You want the mushrooms cooked through but not soggy.

– Be gentle with them as they may be fragile when soft and you want to keep them whole.

Directions – Balsamic Glaze *(Good to do while mushrooms are softening)

– Take ½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar and combine with 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

– Bring to boil and reduce heat to low and simmer (stir frequently) until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Directions – Tomato

Cut the tomato into (4) ½” thick pieces – discard or save leftover pieces for your future use.

– Toss the tomato pieces in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

* Be sure to use the middle parts of the tomato not the tops or bottoms.

Directions – Mozzarella

Cut the mozzarella into (4) ½” thick pieces – save the leftover pieces for your future use.

Directions – Build the Tower

Place mushroom on the plate – do not take any of the juices from the pan.

– Place on top one piece tomato.

– Place on top one piece mozzarella.

– Place on top one folded piece prosciutto.

– Place on top one basil leaf.

– Repeat steps 2 through 5 & then top tower with drizzle of balsamic glaze.

– Repeat all steps for the second tower.

Enjoy!

* You can swap out the mozzarella for thin slices of ricotta salata and the red tomatoes for yellow ones.

* Also feel free to try a flavor infused olive oil instead of the balsamic glaze.

~A.M.A.~

© Cookery for Two – 2011 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cookery for Two with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.