Pasta with Mint, Feta & Edamame

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is so easy – it comes together faster than it takes for the pasta to cook.  Clean & light and yummy enough that, if you are vegan, you could lose the feta & still have a flavorful dish.

With all the extra time I saved you with this easy recipe – perhaps you should check out MY BOOK on AMAZON???  Reviews are great – and from both men & women!  Why not check it out?

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Pasta with Mint, Feta & Edamame

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

1 TBS olive oil

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS lemon zest

1 cup edamame

1/4 cup fresh mint – chopped

Feta cheese to taste (I used a piece about half the size of a deck of cards)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Drain & set aside.

Chop the mint & the garlic.  Zest the lemon.

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Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic & saute a minute.  Add the edamame & lemon zest.  Add the pasta & stir to heat through.  Add the feta & mint and some S&P to taste.  Go light on the salt as feta can be very salty.

And that is all she wrote!  It’s just that easy.  Say – and guess what?

Exciting news! I’ll be performing live in a charity production of Eve Ensler’s critically-acclaimed play, “The Vagina Monologues” at the Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles (3269 Casitas Ave 
LA, CA 90039). 

The shows will be performed on May 16th, 17th & 18th at 8pm. Each night will feature a different cast of twenty actresses, from TV, films and theatre, and will be directed by LA Talk Radio’s Sheena Metal (“The Sheena Metal Experience”). 

Proceeds go to the anti-abuse charities V-DAY (http://www.vday.org/) and PROTECT (http://www.protect.org/). This wonderful play, equal parts comedic and dramatic, is a celebration of the female spirit and the human condition that is not to be missed and I hope to see you there.

For more info on the shows, the charities and to get your tickets visit:http://www.vdayatwater.com/ or email: sheena@sheenametalexperience.com.

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Valentine’s Day Roasted Beet Cavatelli with Caramelized Fennel & Beet Sauce AND a Beet & Watercress Salad with Edamame

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Valentine’s Day.  A perfect excuse for magenta food items.

I love beets and I am always surprised when people say they hate them – mostly because beet salads are such a common thing on menus.  That alone suggests they are popular but whenever I am questioning a person who claims to eat everything about whether they eat the most controversial foods (mushrooms, eggplant, seafood, garlic, peas, Brussel sprouts & beets) – I often get a negative response to all of those – including beets.

Anyway – I think they are wonderful and I love their vibrant color.  One note – if you eat these bright red vegetables – your subsequent visits to the restroom could be alarming.  All that pigment in the beets will go right through you and you might look into the toilet bowl & fear you are bleeding to death.  You are not.  Just FYI.

Another thing – beets WILL dye your clothes & hands – so – wear dark clothing or an apron when working with them.   Also – the cavatelli, the sauce & the salad all call for roasted beets.  So – roast a whole bunch at once – and roast some garlic along with them.  And lastly – cook the cavatelli within a few hours of making them.  I let mine sit out too long & I think they suffered for it.

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First – the salad.

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Beet & Watercress Salad with Edamame

INGREDIENTS

Roasted beets

Watercress

toasted pecans

goat cheese – crumbled

red onion – shaved VERY thin

edamame

1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon

S&P to taste

Blend the last five ingredients for the dressing.

Halve the beets (tossed in olive oil) & roast at 450 for 45 minutes or until done.

Toast the pecans in a dry frying pan until fragrant – being careful not to burn them.

When the beets are done, cool them & slice or cube them up & toss with some dressing.

Arrange the ingredients on plates & add more dressing.

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Valentine’s Day Roasted Beet Cavatelli with Caramelized Fennel & Beet Sauce

INGREDIENTS

For the cavatelli

2 cups flour

3 TBS olive oil

2 eggs

2 TBS water

1 tsp salt

1 large roasted beet

DIRECTIONS

Halve the beet (tossed in olive oil) & roast at 450 for 45 minutes or until done.

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Puree the beet with all the other ingredients – except the flour – until the beet is completely broken up.  At this point – I put the flour & beet puree in my bread machine & let it do the dirty work of kneading the dough.  You could probably pulse the flour into the food processor in increments.  Or – create a flour well on a counter or in a bowl & blend into a dough.  Knead it until it is smooth & pliable.

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In sections, roll the dough into snakes & then cut into 3/4 inch chunks & roll into little hot dog shapes.

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Check out this woman (at about 2:00) and how she rolls out the cavatelli.

I rolled mine on a gnocchi board.

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For the beet & caramelized fennel sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 fennel bulb – shaved or sliced very thin – dilly parts saved for garnish

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1 TBS olive oil

3 shallots – chopped

4 roasted beets (tossed in olive oil and roasted at 450 for 45 minutes or til done)

4 roasted garlic cloves (roasted with the beets but removed from the oven after about 30 min)

1 tomato – quartered

4 oz goat cheese

3 oz cream cheese (or more goat cheese)

Fresh parsley – chopped

Fresh grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Roast the beets & garlic.

With a mortar & pestle, grind the rosemary into 1 tsp salt.

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Heat 1 TBS olive oil & cook the shallots & fennel for 5-7 minutes – or until browned.  Add the rosemary salt.

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In a food processor – blend the roasted beets, roasted garlic, caramelized fennel & shallots, tomato, goat cheese, cream cheese and S&P to taste.  Add water if it is too thick.

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Cook the cavatelli in boiling water until they all float to the top.  Drain them & toss with the sauce.  Garnish with more crumbled goat cheese and grated Parmesan & chopped parsley and/or the dilly part of the fennel.

Enjoy!  And have a happy Valentine’s Day!

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Lemon-Pepper Artisan Pappardelle with Creamy Lemon-Basil Sauce, Spinach & Edamame

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I love homemade pasta.  I love making homemade pasta.  I loved making it when I was doing it all manually & I like it even more now that I can mix & knead the dough in my bread machine & I have a stand mixer with pasta making attachments that motorizes the cranking for me as I press & cut the dough.  I love the process – it is Zen for me – and I am reeeeeally gratified by the light & delicate finished product.  And now I am loving experimenting with flavors.

Homemade pasta has a subtle flavor that begs for more nuanced toppings than heavy red sauces etc.  Also – some folks think it is overcooked when they taste it because they are so accustomed to al dente being a pasta standard.  Homemade pasta can never be al dente because it is never dried & hard.  It is soft & light & you can eat mounds of it without ever getting that stuffed & bloated feeling.  Leftover pasta makes an incredible breakfast when mixed with eggs, Parmesan & parsley (and anything else – sausage, avocado, tomatoes etc etc).

Anyway – this particular pasta could be made without any special tools.  You could make the dough, roll it out in sections to the desired thinness & then hand-cut the pappardelle.   I hand-cut mine with a sharp knife & I liked the inconsistent dimensions of each noodle.  I think you will, too.  However – if making homemade pasta either intimidates you or is too time consuming – just use a boxed pappardelle or other long noodle pasta.  This recipe seems heavy – but the ratio of heavy cream to pasta is such that it is actually quite light.

One note – I hung this pasta to dry over hangers like this:

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I won’t do that again as most of the pasta broke at the bend when it dried out.  It didn’t matter much but just letting it dry on the counter works just as well.

Also – I had the luxury of using backyard lemons that were nearly orange in color & exceptionally juicy & amazingly aromatic.   Ymmm!

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Lemon-Pepper Artisan Pappardelle

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups flour

4 eggs

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS water

1-2 lemons – zest & juice

1 TBS cracked pepper

DIRECTIONS

I made my dough by putting the ingredients in my bread machine.  Additionally – I made it a day ahead & let it rest overnight in my fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.  This isn’t necessary.

Comprehensive instructions on making pasta dough is HERE in this post.

I then rolled it thin & cut it into strips by hand.

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Creamy Lemon-Basil Sauce, Spinach & Edamame

Serves 4 easily

INGREDIENTS

2 TBS olive oil

4 TBS butter

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS lemon zest

2 or more TBS basil – chopped

2 packed cups fresh spinach

1 cup edamame

Gremolata (2 TBS lemon zest, 1 minced garlic clove & 4 TBS minced parsley)

Grated Parmesan

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Mix the gremolata & set aside.

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Plunge the spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds then drain, cool & chop.  Set aside.

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Heat the butter in a pan & add the garlic.  Saute for a minute then add the heavy cream, lemon juice & zest, shredded basil and S&P to taste.  Simmer on low heat for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.  Add the chopped spinach & edamame.

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Cook your pasta.  If using homemade, it will cook VERY quickly, under a minute sometimes.  You can tell it is done because it begins to float.  Drain & add to the pan with the cream sauce.  Blend & serve with the gremolata & grated Parmesan – and maybe a drizzle of a nice olive oil.

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