Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta w/ Fresh Ricotta

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Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Summer is in full swing, and we all know what that means…TOMATO SEASON! I’m sure you all have a bountiful crop of tomatoes lying around from your garden..and if not, a plentiful supply of them from the farmers market or grocery store. So what better recipe to make with them than a gorgeous, easy Summer pasta dish?

Balsamic Tomato Pasta


Now I know this may sound weird, but I am not a fan of raw tomatoes. Never have, never will. Yeah, I am THAT person. But, when they’re cooked with a plethora of fresh ingredients to sweeten them up and break them down into a gorgeous sauce or salsa? I’m a huge tomato fan once they are transformed into some sweet and savory deliciousness…so here we go. Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta.

Balsamic Tomato Pasta

This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. This pasta dish is so simple and fresh you’re gonna love it. I made a lovely chunky sauce with a batch of chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and their Sweet Basil Olive Oil (omg #LOVE!), with sautéed sweet onions and garlic, red pepper flakes and chicken stock.  Then I tossed the pasta with a little bit of the pasta water, added the cooked balsamic tomato sauce, and topped it with fresh basil, some big dollops of fresh ricotta, and lots of Parmesan cheese. Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection.

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta w/ Fresh Ricotta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Serving Size: 1 cup

This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. Made with fresh tomatoes simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and Sweet Basil Olive oil, with sautéed sweet onions and garlic making a lovely chunky tomato sauce..topped with fresh basil and ricotta cheese and more Parmesan cheese! And it's so easy to make that you won't be slaving over the stove in this hot weather either. Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sweet Basil extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Seven Barrels Traditional Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces, for garnish
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add tomatoes, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions begin to get soft and lightly browned and tomatoes release some of their liquid.
  4. Place balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk well. Carefully add it to the skillet and continue to cook for a few minutes more until the sauce slightly thickens; remove from the heat.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the tomatoes, and toss together over low heat for an additional few minutes until the sauce coats the pasta. Add a small amount of the pasta cooking water if the mixture is too dry, to your desired sauce consistency.
  6. Place the pasta in large bowl and top with fresh grated Parmesan, ricotta cheese, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve hot, immediately with some crusty garlic bread.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/08/10/balsamic-tomato-basil-pasta-w-fresh-ricotta/

Balsamic Tomato Pasta

Yes please, I’ll take another bowl.

Expert Interview Series with FoodyDirect.com!

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I was recently invited as a guest for the FoodyDirect.com Expert Interview Series to talk about great tasting and looking food, and I’m honored to share the interview with you! I discuss my background and how I got into Food Styling and Photography as a full-time freelance profession, along with some of my favorite things to cook, food trends, hot spots in NYC and some simple rules for great food photography on social media.

Expert Interview Series with FoodyDirect.com

I also included one of my favorite go-to recipes in the article, my Rochester-Style Chicken French with Broccolini which I know you’re gonna love!


Chicken French

Check out the interview below or on FoodyDirect.com (the best online mail order source for gourmet food and gifts!

FoodyDirect.com

——-

Kristen Hess is a New York City food stylist, photographer, recipe developer, and author of the food blog, The Artful Gourmet.  We recently chatted with Kristen about her favorite cuisines, cooking trends, and NYC eateries, and also asked her to share her food stylist expertise with us to help foodies take better photos of their gastronomical creations.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to dive headfirst into learning about cooking and food photography?

I’ve always loved food and cooking but never considered it as a full-time career until I moved to NYC and started taking a series of cooking classes at The Institute of Culinary Education. I was working in advertising at the time and thought it was a fun hobby, but then that hobby became more serious as I discovered food media as a blossoming career path and started taking more classes in food styling, photography, and food writing and then started my blog.
Out of all of the different styles of cuisine and cooking in your repertoire, which one was the most fun to learn about?

My all-time favorite is Italian food because I love the simplicity of the gorgeous ingredients, rustic flavors, and cooking techniques. Whether it’s homemade pasta and sauce, homemade pizza, a gorgeous salad, an antipasti dish, or a roasted chicken with vegetables, I love it all!

Name a cooking trend, tool, or category that you’re currently excited about. 

Alternative flours and coconut everything! I try to live a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it’s hard when you work in the food industry (esp. in NYC!) surrounded by delicious temptations every day. Alternative flours made out of chickpeas, coconut, almond, bananas, brown rice, farro, buckwheat, chia, and arrowroot are great for low-carb and paleo/gluten-free cooking – and they’re healthier, too. You can make pizza crust, bread, pasta, pancakes, tortillas, pastry, crepes, socca, and all kinds of dishes with it. And I love coconut oil, cream, and milk as an alternative to full-fat regular dairy sometimes because it has a nice subtle coconut flavor and is great to cook with at high heat. I’ve made curries, smoothies, baked goods, and more with it. Great stuff.

Many people have a basic idea of what a food stylist does – but could you tell us about some types of food photography that you’ve done that people may not associate with the craft? 

I do some interesting gigs with agencies for their food clients who are doing on-site media tours promoting food products and recipes to food editors for all the major food magazines. For example, The Jackfruit Company launched their new products and I toured around with the owner and PR agency making tacos, salads, burgers, and sandwiches on-site in the editors’ board rooms while they pitched the product to the editors and writers (to gain press and brand affection, of course!).

Another new type of job that is getting popular is styling food for Facebook Live segments for cookbook authors and chefs, health experts, and bloggers. I did quite a few of these for Keri Glassman and Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe, making recipes for them which were demoed live on Facebook at PureWow Magazine and Cosmo.com. I also did this for Halloween making super fun recipes by blogger Elise Strachan at People Food and Food and Wine.

When you see people posting pictures of food on their social media pages, what are some of the “mistakes” you see that make the dish look really unappetizing?

I always say lighting is a huge factor for any good food photo. If it’s too yellow or too blue, you need to fix the hue or it looks unappetizing. Also, never use flash or take photos with overhead lights as they give harsh shadows and blow out the food. Try to shoot food with natural light as much as possible. Bad angles are a no-no too. Don’t shoot burgers or sandwiches overhead. You can’t see what’s inside. Pizza is great for overhead shots because you want to see what’s on it. Don’t be afraid to crop into the shot too for some detail. Finally, consider your composition; what’s the hero in the shot? Focus on that dish. Not the glass behind it. Let the hero shine!

Finish this sentence: “If you’re a true foodie, the next time you visit New York City, you definitely need to stop by…”

For pizza, you need to check out DiFara on Ave J in Brooklyn. The wait is kinda long, but it’s soooo good and super worth the trip and the wait. I also love RubiRosa pizza in Soho.

Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village is amazing for fresh oysters, seafood, wine, etc.

My favorite taco joint is La Esquina in Nolita. They make authentic Mexican style tacos on small corn tortillas with fresh cilantro, pork, steak, chicken, and homemade salsa. Plus, the grilled street corn is to die for!

You can’t go to NYC without getting a delicious burger, fries, and milkshake from the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Again, the line is long, but so worth the wait!!!

And lastly, go to Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side for a pastrami on rye New York City style. Delish.

What types of desserts do you enjoy making for friends and family?

I’m definitely more of a savory cook than a pastry cook, but I absolutely love making pies and tarts. I always make lovely fruit-based pies or tarts in the summer around the 4th of July using berries, peaches, and mascarpone on a puff pastry sheet. Thanksgiving is always fun; I love experimenting with new pie recipes (something different than pumpkin or apple pie) like Christina Tosi’s Crack Pie or my Bourbon Buttermilk Pecan Pie.

Finally, could you share with us one recipe that’s always a hit when you prepare it? 

I have so many recipes that I love but one of my absolute favorites is my “Rochester-Style Chicken French with Broccolini.” It’s actually not a French recipe; it’s an Italian recipe similar to a piccata dish, but with a light coating of egg batter, butter, white wine, lemon, and parsley on thinly-pounded chicken, sautéed in a pan and then coated in the luscious buttery lemon sauce. It’s easy to make, tastes amazing, and everyone loves it. I serve it with sautéed broccolini, but you could also serve it with green beans or sautéed spinach, over pasta or rice, or alongside some crusty french bread to mop up the sauce. Goes great with a tangy white wine like Pinot Grigio and a simple green salad with shaved Parmesan cheese and a tangy wine vinaigrette.

Chicken French

Rochester-Style Chicken w/ Broccolini

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.

This delicious Italian dish originated in Rochester, NY and is a great meal for a special occasion or any night of the week. Thin chicken cutlets are coated in a light egg and parmesan batter then sautéed until crispy and brown. They are coated in a luscious lemon butter and wine sauce and served with a side of fresh broccolini. Goes great with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio and a green salad with shaved Parmesan and a tangy vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN FRENCH:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil/canola oil blend for sauteing (I used Colavita Garlic Oil Blend)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of superfine flour (Pan Searing flour or Wondra)
  • LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine or sherry
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • BROCCOLINI:
  • 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
  • Lemon Butter sauce (see above)
  • lemon, S&P for garnish

Instructions

  1. CHICKEN FRENCH:
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, cayenne, and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place flour in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge each one in flour first (left hand), then egg mixture (right hand).
  6. Place chicken into the heated saute pan and cook for 6 minutes on one side. Flip chicken over and saute for another 6 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from pan and set aside, covered with a foil tent.
  8. LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  9. In the same skillet, saute the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  10. Add the wine and bring liquid to a boil over high heat, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.
  11. Pour in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes (if using) and let reduce by half, another 5-7 minutes.
  12. Stir in the butter and whisk until it melts.
  13. Add chicken back into the pan with the sauce and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  14. Place chicken on serving plate with the steamed broccolini and spoon lemon butter sauce over the top of both.
  15. Garnish with lemon wedges and additional chopped parsley if desired.
  16. BROCCOLINI:
  17. Steam broccolini for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove lid and steam for another 5 minutes until fork tender but still bright green.
  18. Top broccolini with Lemon Butter sauce, additional lemon, salt, and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute veal for the chicken or artichokes for a vegetarian option.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/06/23/expert-interview-series-foodydirect-com/

Are you jonesing for authentic New York-style foods? Check out FoodyDirect.com selection today!

Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

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Pizza-hero2

If there was one last thing I could eat before my last day on earth yes, it would be pizza. Italian food is one of my favorite things to eat and cook – in fact my Techniques of Italian Cooking course at the Institute of Culinary Education got me hooked on making homemade pizza and pasta from scratch.

Pizza Hero 3


But sometimes making pizza dough at home is time-consuming and labor intensive and all I want to do is eat pizza. Sure, I live in NYC and it’s easy enough to walk downstairs and get a slice or two at the local pizza shop. But when I want pizza but don’t really feel like paying $6 a slice or $25 for a whole pie, I make my own. And, I’m absolutely in love with thin crust pizza and honestly, it’s the toppings and flavor combinations that are so much fun to experiment with. It’s also Summer and beach days are calling, so using up all my carbs and calories with one slice of pizza is no fun. Alas, I discovered FlatOut flat breads that you can prepare yourself with the use of bread machines that you can get easily online at sites like Village-Bakery.com. They’re thin and light and bake up into a crispy shell in minutes and are the perfect base for any pizza. And they’re only 130 calories and 2 g of fat in each one. And that’s pretty awesome.

Pizza-hero1

So today I made a Spinach Artichoke, Chicken and Bacon flatbread pizza on one of these cuties. And it’s absolutely delicious. And not too filling. And I don’t feel so guilty eating it that I want to hide under the covers and never put on a bathing suit again. Or fall asleep on my laptop after eating while writing this. I used the Honey Wheat thin flat breads which are perfect for one person, but you could also try another flavor (plain, whole wheat, spinach) or try one of their pizza flat breads which are a little longer and bigger if you’re feeding a crowd.

Spinach Artichoke Dip base

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned before adding the dip as a base for the other ingredients.

Onions-Bacon-base

Then I topped it with some crispy bacon, sauteed onions and mozzarella cheese..

Add Chicken

some cooked chicken breast (seasoned with Old Honey Barn Kentucky Seasoning that I bought in Louisville KY),

Top with Grated Cheese

and a touch of garlic powder and a healthy dose of grated parmesan cheese.

Baked Pizza

I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese melted, then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

PizzaHero4

I’m thinking this will be my new thing for Summer and I’ve already thought of a million pizza combinations and ideas I’m planning to make. In fact, you could use the same ingredients to make a kick butt quesadilla on the stove or a healthy chicken wrap. Sayonara gut bomb thick crust pizza, hello thin and crispy skinny pizza.

You’ve made my life. ;)

Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 flatbread pizzas.

Serving Size: 1/2 flatbread pizza

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread (I had some leftover from last night but you can certainly make your own) which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned. Then I topped it with some sautéed onions, crispy bacon, seasoned cooked chicken breast, and parmesan cheese. I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese was melted and then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

Ingredients

  • 2 FlatOut 100% Whole Wheat flatbreads
  • 1 cup Spinach and Artichoke Dip (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • Seasoned salt or Kentucky Chicken seasoning
  • 1 pound thin chicken cutlets (or breasts pounded thin)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Dash of red chile flakes
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place two FlatOut flatbreads on a cookie sheet (or directly on oven rack for crispier crust). Bake crust for two minutes. You can also grill the flatbread with a little olive oil in a grill pan or on the grill for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove flatbreads from the oven and spread the spinach and artichoke dip onto the flatbread and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Cook the onions in some olive oil over medium heat and remove from sauté pan. Add the additional tablespoon of oil into the pan and season the chicken breast. Cook chicken for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through, cut into strips or large chunks. Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and crumble, and set all ingredients aside.
  4. To make the pizzas, sprinkle the cooked onions, chicken and bacon on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with garlic powder, parmesan cheese, more mozzarella cheese and chili flakes.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove flatbread from the oven, and top with sliced green onions, red chile flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and additional grated parmesan, to taste.

Notes

You can substitute any flatbread you like for this pizza or even use real pizza dough if made super thin.

Feel free to experiment with the toppings too - the sky is the limit!

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/06/02/spinach-artichoke-chicken-bacon-flatbread-pizza/

Pizza Hero 5

Happy Memorial Day + Some Favorite Recipes

Happy Memorial Day
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Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! A time to reflect all of those brave soldiers and military servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives and families for the safety of ours.  Big applause and respect goes out to them and grateful we have a safe and secure country to live in because of them.

Memorial Day Cake


In honor of the holiday, I rounded up a few of my favorite recipes to celebrate. Wishing you all a lovely holiday, hopefully filled with family and friends, food and drink and grateful hearts to our heroes.

Dr Pepper Ribs

Spicy Dr. Pepper Ribs

Beach BBQ Burger

Beach BBQ Burgers

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Sambal Chicken Skewers

Grilled Sambal Chicken Skewers

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Coffee Marinated Steak

Coffee Marinated Steak 

Grilled Corn and Poblano Salad

Grilled Corn and Poblano Chile Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Summer Berry Shortcake

Summer Berry Shortcake

Happy Memorial Day

Hope you enjoy the weekend and here’s a few more links to Memorial Day recipes and menu ideas!

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/05/26/memorial-day-recipe-guide/

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/05/29/memorial-day-weekend-barbecue-recipes-best-dishes-for-summer-cookout.html

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/holiday—celebration-recipes/memorial-day-recipes

http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/memorial-day/memorial-day-picnic-

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya
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Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

On gray rainy days in New York (esp. at the beginning of so-called
“Summer”), there’s nothing better than staying home and cooking up a big pot of comfort food. It seems to make the rain almost pleasant to listen to and watch, knowing that you’re tucked up indoors away from the rest of the world, cooking something cozy and delicious.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya


One of my favorite things to make is spicy Cajun and Creole food (New Orleans is one of my fav cities ever..the #FOOD though!) and I had grand visions of creating a kickass recipe this week for my blog. And considering it’s going to be a rainy Memorial Day weekend, why not make a big pot of something wonderful to stay indoors and savor while I’m at it?

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

I had some Aidell’s Andouille Sausage on hand and tons of bell peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes in the pantry so I decided to make a big pot of Jambalaya for my afternoon project. I also had some Flour City Pasta ‘Bon Vivant Orzo’ I’ve been dying to try, so I decided to whip up a twist on ordinary Jambalaya using that instead of rice. The orzo is multi-colored small pasta that looks like rice, with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne – and I thought it would add some more layers of flavor to the dish.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

First I cooked the sausage until lightly browned in a big Dutch oven with a little olive oil. Then I added the vegetables and sautéed everything together with some spicy Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s is the bomb!). I also threw in some Kroger brand Zesty Seasoning Blend which is a savory blend of herbs and spices like onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, savory, marjoram, bay, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin and added a dash of hot paprika for an extra kick of spiciness and flavor. You can also substitute some dried thyme and oregano or whatever dried herbs you like instead if you can’t find something similar.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

Then I added the broth and tomatoes and orzo and brought everything to a boil, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the orzo was cooked through. The pasta will soak up the liquids and get thicker the longer it sits, so be careful not to overcook it or it will get mushy. If you’re using rice instead, let the ingredients simmer for longer, about 20 minutes.

Once it all comes together with a consistency you like, serve it with some chopped green onions and fresh parsley with a dash of hot sauce (traditional Frank’s RedHot or Crystal are my favs) and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

All I know is I have a long holiday weekend to savor my delicious Jambalaya, along with lots of naps and Netflix.

Let it rain. J

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 cup

This Sausage Orzo Jambalaya is a twist on traditional Creole Jambalaya using multi-colored orzo instead of rice, with the addition of some corn. It has a medium-spice heat to it with lots of veggies including red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes - a savory, heartwarming dish for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange, green)
  • 1 cup yellow corn kernels
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s)
  • 2 teaspoons Zesty Seasoning Blend (Kroger)- optional
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups orzo
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium-high in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes until browned on all sides about 8 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, corn, garlic and bay leaves along with the herbs and spices and saute over medium-high for a few minutes. Add the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the orzo and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes until the orzo is cooked through and soft.
  4. Garnish with sliced scallions and chopped fresh parsley and a dash of hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper, to taste for an extra kick.

Notes

Note: you can also substitute traditional white rice for the orzo, just cook it in the pot longer, about 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

You can also add chicken or shrimp to the recipe, swapping out 1 pound for the andouille sausage.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/26/sausage-orzo-jambalaya/

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

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Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash

So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.

I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.


Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.

Spaghetti Squash

Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Shrimp

and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper,  fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!

Lemon Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.

You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!

Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes 4-5 cups Spaghetti Squash and approximately 3 cups of Lemon Garlic Shrimp, serving 2.

This light and healthy dish is made with roasted spaghetti squash topped with sautéed shrimp, garlic, olive oil, chile flakes, lemon and parsley. Super easy and tasty and low on the carbs!

Ingredients

  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 ct)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds and inner membranes. Drizzle and rub squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish and roast squash for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn side up, letting it cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to make spaghetti strands and serve with the Lemon Garlic Shrimp.
  7. Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet until shimmering, then add the sliced garlic and cook while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are slightly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley; toss to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately over roasted spaghetti squash.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
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Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

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Short Ribs

There’s nothing more comforting and heartwarming on a crazy cold day than braised short ribs with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. Can we say heaven in a bowl?

These short ribs take a while to make but they’re worth the wait (I promise!) – I made them a little bit spicy with dried chile peppers, garlic and onions, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a chipotle infused olive oil (I love 7 Barrels brand!) along with a dash of cocoa powder (the super intense Dutch red kind made by Guittard is my fav). They’re braised in broth, a full bottle of red wine (you’re welcome), and topped with fresh parsley.


Once they’re done cooking they will be falling off the bone – then I made a reduced sauce with a knob of butter at the end to make it super silky and delicious. I served these with roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower (simply roast them in olive oil and sea salt on 375 for about 45 minutes, tossing them every 15 minutes until crispy and delicious), but I recommend serving them with some creamy mashed potatoes or egg noodles as well (or even some crusty French bread) to mop up that delicious spicy-savory-chocolate-chile-wine sauce. OMG.

Go ahead, indulge. You can always work it off tomorrow. Besides, a big bowl of comfort food and Netflix is more fun anyways 🙂

Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6-8

A classic Winter comfort food dish, these delicious braised short ribs are made with chile peppers, chocolate, red wine and lots of fresh garlic, onions and herbs. Super savory and tasty, served with roasted veggies, and either mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Ingredients

  • 2 large dried chile peppers, stemmed and deseeded
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 5 1/2 pounds center cut short ribs, on the bone
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle olive oil (or regular EVOO if you prefer less spicy)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Dutch red cocoa powder (Guittard)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • One bottle red wine (Pinot Noir or Merlot or Cab Sauv)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme)
  • Knob of unsalted butter (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, for serving
  • Mashed potatoes or egg noodles, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to lower third.
  2. Cover chopped chile peppers with boiling water and let sit, covered for about 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle short ribs on both sides generously with kosher salt and pepper and let rest to room temperature about 15 minutes while peppers are soaking.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook short ribs in batches, searing evenly on both sides until golden brown crust forms (about 7 minutes per side/15 minutes per batch).
  5. Once all short ribs are seared, place on a platter tented with foil and set aside.
  6. In a blender or food processor, add the chiles, water, stock, tomato paste, cocoa, garlic, onions, and a little dash of salt and mix thoroughly together until smooth.
  7. Pour the red wine in the Dutch oven and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan (deglazing the pan) and turn heat up to high bringing to a boil for 2-3 minutes, then reducing heat to a simmer, letting wine reduce by half (about 20 minutes).
  8. Add the pureed chile-onion mixture, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs to the pot and boil together for a few minutes. Return the short ribs to the pot, cover tightly with a lid and braise in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until meat is tender and falls off the bone.
  9. Place the ribs back on to a large platter and tent with foil to keep warm while making the sauce.
  10. Put the Dutch oven on the stove and heat over medium-high for another 10 minutes or so until sauce thickens and reduces. Remove from heat and add a knob of butter into the sauce to make it extra silky and smooth.
  11. Add the ribs back into the sauce and coat thoroughly. Serve on plates with sauce on top along side roasted veggies and mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute hard cider or a dark lager beer for the red wine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/24/chile-chocolate-braised-short-ribs/

 

3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon
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3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s the holidays and we all know what that means..time to cook and bake, and eat all the delicious treats of the season..like this savory
3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon. Can we say yay?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon


It’s so easy to make with some store-bought puff pastry because who has time to make their own with so many goodies to make and presents to wrap? And delicious holiday food to eat?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s got a gorgeous crispy, buttery crust topped with ricotta and Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup and of course, bacon. Then it’s topped with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and some fresh thyme along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sounds pretty perfect to me. 

Roll Dough

First, defrost and roll out your dough. Cut 1/2 inch strips around the edges to double up to make a pastry border and brush it with egg wash. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

RoastSquash

Next, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder over the butternut squash, then drizzle it with some maple syrup and roast it for about 15 minutes.

Bacon

Cook that delicious bacon, drain and set aside to crumble on the tart later.

Ricotta

Whip up your ricotta with an egg, salt and pepper and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Add Ricotta

Spread it on top of the tart pastry evenly. (Repeat all steps with the second pastry throughout.)

Add Cheese

Top it with some of that luscious grated Gruyere cheese.

Top w/ Squash

Place the roasted squash on top along with the bacon. Sprinkle some fresh thyme on top.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Then simply bake it for 30 minutes on 375 F, then drizzle it with some balsamic glaze, cut into squares and devour!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash & Bacon Tart

Yield: Makes 2 tarts, serves 12.

Serving Size: 1 tart square (6 per tart)

This delicious savory tart features three luscious cheeses (ricotta, gruyere and parmesan) along with crispy bacon and roasted butternut squash and thyme. It makes a great appetizer for the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 14 ounces frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 packages butternut squash, precut into 1-2" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • Balsamic glaze, for garnish
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roll out 1 piece of puff pastry into a large rectangle. Cut a 1/2 inch border around the edges and place the strips on the edges of the pastry sheet to create a border crust. Prick holes around the pastry to avoid puffing.
  2. Beat 1 egg and brush the pastry edges and repeat same procedure with second pastry sheet; chilling both for 1/2 an hour in the fridge.
  3. While pastry is chilling, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Cut the butternut squash into small chunks and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
  6. Cook bacon according to package directions and drain on paper towels. Crumble once cooled and set aside.
  7. Reduce heat in oven to 375.
  8. Mix the ricotta cheese with one beaten egg, parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper.
  9. Remove pastry from the fridge and spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the tops of both.
  10. Sprinkle with shredded gruyere cheese and crumbled bacon.
  11. Top both pastries with the butternut squash and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed around the edges.
  13. Cut into squares after cooling on a rack and serve warm.
  14. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top and additional fresh thyme if desired.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/12/14/3-cheese-butternut-squash-tart-w-bacon/

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Gosh I love the holidays.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Wishing you a great one!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Now back to that tart I just made… 😉

Celebrating Fall Flavors: Buckwheat Bucatini w/ Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

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Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

Now that Fall is finally here, I’m so excited to start cooking comfort food again with flavorful seasonal ingredients like wild mushrooms, truffles, sage, prosciutto, toasted nuts, hearty greens, whole grains…yum. Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year when it comes to food 🙂

Buckwheat Bucatini


In particular, I love making homemade pasta and one-pot dishes, which is so easy to do with my KitchenAid® Gourmet Pasta Press that attaches to my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.

KitchenAid Gourmet Pasta Press

It makes six different types of pasta in a snap: Bucatini, Spaghetti, Rotini, small and large Macaroni, and Rigatoni simply by swapping out a different disc for each pasta cut…how cool is that?!?

Sauce Ingredients

I decided to make a homemade Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce, Prosciutto, Spinach, Pecans and Sage. I love Buckwheat pasta because of its rustic flavor, and it’s perfect for fall pasta dishes. Similar to the traditional Italian Pizzoccheri (flat buckwheat fettuccine), buckwheat noodles have hearty depth of flavor, and pair perfectly with warm fall flavors and ingredients like wilted greens, potatoes, cabbage, cheese and garlic.

Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

My pasta dish is topped with a luscious savory sauce made with crispy prosciutto and sage, nutty toasted pecans, garlic, shallots and wild mushrooms (portabella, porcini, oyster, beech, cremini, and shiitake) that I sautéed in olive oil and butter, then made into a luscious sauce with chicken broth and truffle oil.

Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND THE FULL RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

I’d love to hear how you would use the KitchenAid Pasta Press and what recipes you would make! Share your take on my Buckwheat Bucatini & Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce recipe on KitchenAid’s Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage & Summer Veggies

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!

Colavita


I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies. 

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Fusilli pasta with sweet Italian sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic. I sautéed everything in Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil with a splash of Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar for some extra sweet and tangy flavor.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!
Tip! Lately I came across this website www.vacuumsealerresearch.com and found foodsaver reviews with many good tips so I decided to try vacuum sealer. I really like it.

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage and Summer Veggies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8

This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
  4. Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  7. Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
  8. Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Notes

You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Colavita has a great line of Italian gourmet food, olive oils, vinegars, pastas,  condiments and other specialty foods, which makes them one of my favorite brands for quality Italian cooking.

Check out their Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest and Instagram pages for more great recipes and cooking ideas!

Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.

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