Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon Pasta Salad

bacon-tomato-ay-1875384-x

Herb Vinaigrette (see below)

12 ounces uncooked pasta such as orriachette

2 T olive oil, divided

4 ounces bacon

1½ pounds heirloom tomatoes, chopped

4 C loosely packed arugula

8 oz cheese, such as fontina or smoked gouda

15 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

3 T chopped fresh parsley

½ T red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Make Herb Vinaigrette (see instructions below).

 

Prepare pasta according to package directions for al dente. Toss together pasta and olive oil in a large bowl. Cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle. Crumble and reserve. Add tomatoes, next 5 ingredients, and 6 T vinaigrette to pasta; toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste; top with bacon. Just before serving, stir in remaining vinaigrette.

 

 

Herb Vinaigrette

 

Makes about 3/4 cup

 

2 T red wine vinegar

1 T fresh lemon juice

4 small garlic cloves

½ C olive or grapeseed oil

12 fresh basil leaves

½ C fresh parsley leaves

½ C grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Process vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic cloves in a food processor until smooth. With processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream, processing until blended. Add basil leaves and parsley leaves, and process until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese; pulse to combine. Stir in kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.

 


Creamy Pasta with Asparagus, Cremini Mushrooms and Tarragon

asparagus_crimini_pasta_2

 

 

Another recipe from our spring repertoire, this one demoed by Danielle at Brookside Gardens earlier this month — sorry wonderful audience for taking so long in posting this. It somehow slipped through the cracks. Enjoy this delicious recipe. It was adapted by Danielle from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe.

½ lb. pasta (farfalle, orecchiette, casarecce)
3 tablespoons butter
½ C (1 large) shallot, minced
½ C Marsala wine
1 lb. Cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 C mascarpone cheese
1 T fresh tarragon, finely chopped
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
¾ C walnuts, toasted
¼ C freshly grated Parmesan
Walnut oil, for drizzle garnish (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 10-12 minutes, per the package directions. Drain and reserve.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Marsala wine and increase the heat to a boil. Cook another couple of minutes to reduce the wine slightly. Add the mushrooms and asparagus and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta and heat thoroughly. Stir in the mascarpone, nutmeg, tarragon and toss until the cheese coats the pasta. If the sauce seems too thick, thin with a splash of chicken or vegetable broth. Stir in 1/2 cup of walnuts. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts. Serve 4-6 as an entrée, 6-8 as a side dish.


Butternut Squash, Tomato, Fennel and Orzo Casserole with Sage

orzo casseroleOrzo is the rice version of pasta – it’s a bit bigger than rice when it cooks up, but you get the idea. Definitely under cook the orzo when assembling this dish or you’ll have gooey pasta in your casserole by the time you bake it with all the added ingredients. Butternut squash is the star in this dish – as it should be. We love butternut squash in all sorts of winter dishes. That and the sage just seem to go together like Ginger and Fred and in this dish they do quite the dance.  Oh, and if you’re not a fan of orzo – not everyone is – substitute one of those darling mini pastas, like baby penne or tiny bowties. This dish, by the way, is supremely child-friendly.  Danielle demoed this at US Botanic Garden and Brookside in February 2015, when our month’s theme was “hearty casseroles.” Adapted from the original by Martha Stewart.

1 C orzo pasta
1 small (about 1 pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch wedges
1 small red onion, slices into half moons
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 small bulb (¼ pound) fennel, rinsed and trimmed of stalks and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1 T fresh sage, chopped
1 C Monterey jack cheese, shredded
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Topping:
1 C Panko breadcrumbs
1 T olive oil
1 T parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water for the pasta to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly firm to the bite; drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, spread the butternut squash in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast until tender, 12 to 15 minutes then add to the bowl with the orzo.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Lastly, add the tomatoes and sage and increase the heat. Bring the mixture to a boil for 2 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the orzo and squash. Mix everything well, season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded cheese and mix again.

Transfer orzo mixture to an 8×8 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted. While the casserole is baking, mix together the panko, chopped parsley and olive oil. Remove the foil from the casserole and sprinkle the top with panko mixture. Bake, uncovered, until panko is toasted, about 10 -15 minutes more. Serves 6.


Swiss Chard and Lemon Ricotta Pasta

pasta

 

 

An easy last minute dinner since you may have the ingredients on hand. Kale, spinach and arugula work well too, and if you use spinach or arugula, no need to blanch in hot water. Just toss them in at the end. For a vegetarian version, substitute reconstituted dried mushrooms for the bacon and season with smoked salt. Dried mushrooms, reconstituted by soaking in hot water for 15-30 minutes, have a dense, meaty flavor analogous to bacon or pancetta. This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking and Danielle made it for a class at Brookside in November 2014.

1 bunch Swiss chard (red, green or rainbow), well washed, ribs stripped and sliced
½ lb spaghetti or other pasta of your choice
¼ lb thick cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch sliceschard
½  large shallot, minced
Olive oil as needed
1/3 C ricotta cheese, whole milk or low fat
2 T Parmesan cheese
Zest from ½ lemon
¼  t salt, to taste
Pinch dried red pepper flakes

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the Swiss chard for 2 minutes. Scoop out the chard, and drain well. Rough chop the leaves and set the stem pieces aside. Keep the pot of water boiling, and add the pasta and cook according to package direction. Drain and set aside, retaining about 1 cup of liquid from cooking the noodles.

In a large sauté pan, fry bacon until just crispy. Add the shallot and sauté until soft, adding olive oil if needed. Add the Swiss chard stem pieces and cook another 2-3 minutes, until stems are tender. Add the chard leaves and toss well to break up any clumps. Combine the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses in a small bowl, and add the lemon zest, salt, and red pepper flakes. Add to the Swiss chard mixture in the sauté pan and mix well. Add cooked spaghetti, and some of the pasta water as needed. Serve warm. Serves 2-4.


BLT Pasta

blt pasta2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced or 4-5 strips turkey bacon, diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or 1 large ripe tomato, cut into large dice
½ t sugar
1 leek, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ C dry white wine
½ C chicken broth
1 t red wine vinegar
Dash of red pepper flakes, optional
1 large handful baby spinach leaves

4 ounces bucatini or spaghetti, cooked according to package

For the bread crumbs:

1 C (about one ½” – thick slice) French or rustic country bread, cubed
1 garlic clove

Make the bread crumbs: mince the garlic in a food processor, add the cubed bread and process until coarse. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the crumbs. Toast until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

Sauté the bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook until crisp, then drain the pieces on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings. If using turkey bacon, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and sauté bacon until browned (turkey bacon will not crisp up like thick-cut bacon). Remove bacon bits from skillet, add another splash of olive oil if necessary. Add the cut tomatoes and sugar, cook about 5 minutes, until tomatoes begin to caramelize. Add the leeks and cook until wilted, 3-4 minutes.

Deglaze the tomatoes with wine, simmer until liquid is nearly evaporated. Add the broth, vinegar, pepper flakes and simmer until reduced by 1/3. Add the spinach, bacon pieces and cooked spaghetti. Toss to coat, season with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta between two plates and sprinkle with bread crumbs before serving. Serves 2.