fettucine with quick bolognese sauce

Fettucine with Quick Bolognese Sauce (Adapted from Shine)
Hurricane Sandy’s coming. The skies have been leaden and gray all day, expectant with rain. I joined a whole lot of other New Yorkers stocking up on water, batteries, and lamps. I went to the market to stock up the pantry, too. So we wait for Sandy’s arrival tomorrow, and I thought, it will be a good night for comfort food.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 38 minutes
Total time: 48 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef (I used lean ground turkey)
2 oz pancetta, finely chopped (I used bacon)
coarse kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes in juice
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
2 cups green peas, frozen
12 oz dried fettucine (can use egg pappardelle)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, for serving

Preparation

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Add the onion and sauté until it softens and begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the ground turkey and bacon. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Cook the meat just until it is no longer pink. Add the wine to the meat mixture and boil until it has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice, broth, cream, and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Break up the tomatoes and stir occasionally, until slightly thickened and the flavors are blended, about 30 minutes. Ten minutes before the sauce is ready, add the frozen peas to the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well, and cook until just tender, about 5-7 minutes for al dente. Drain the pasta, and then return to the same pot. Add the sauce and toss to coat.
  4. Divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle each with thyme and cheese. Serve right away, passing more cheese alongside.
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shredded brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts aren’t sexy and exciting but they are good for you. They are supposed to have cancer protection properties. They are also high in vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting,  and vitamin C, an antioxidant. But, you say, How does it taste? The answer is, Very similar to cabbage. So if you like cabbage then substitute shredded red and/or green cabbage.  Brussels sprouts can be bitter, especially if they have been overcooked. Overcooked sprouts turn a pale olive green. But this dish is stir-fried so there is little chance of it overcooking. If you cook a meat and two vegetables as I do for dinner, then I recommend leaving it for the last item on the menu to cook, then it will have your undivided attention.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts (adapted from allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup sliced bacon
1/2 cup peanuts (pine nuts in original recipe)
1 pound Brussels sprouts (about 2 cups)
3 green onions, minced
1 tablespoon water, optional
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (I used sea salt)
pepper to taste (I used Cajun seasoning)
soy sauce, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare the Brussels sprouts. Slice each head vertically. Place flat side down on the cutting board then shred the sprouts starting from the top and cutting until 1/2 inch is left of the stem. Discard the stem.
  2. Fry the bacon. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain,reserving 2 tablespoons grease, crumble bacon, and set aside.
  3. Stir-fry the sprouts and serve. In the same skillet, heat reserved bacon grease over medium heat. Add nuts, and cook, stirring until browned. Add Brussels sprouts and green onions to the pan, and season with seasoning salt and pepper. If the Brussels sprouts look dry, add 1 tablespoon water. Cook over medium heat until sprouts are wilted and tender, 10 to 15 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are bright green and crisp tender. Stir in crumbled bacon just before serving. If you wish, sprinkle a dash of soy sauce on top instead of adding more salt.

Variation

For a vegetarian side, omit the bacon and sauté the Brussels sprouts or cabbage in olive oil.

chicken and fennel meatballs

I liked the fact this recipe said to pinch off a bit and cook it up, taste it, and adjust seasoning. And that’s what I did.  I increased the amount of fennel, black pepper, and garlic, and I used egg whites instead of whole eggs. It wasn’t bad. I didn’t make the salsa verde because I couldn’t find the tinned tomatillos. Instead I bought a jar of Classico Cabernet Marinara and threw into it some leftover broccoli. This recipe comes from a Canadian magazine City Palate.ca. Thanks for the magazine, Ardis!

Serves six.

Meatballs
Extra virgin olive oil/cooking spray
2 lb ground chicken
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, toasted and ground
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
1/2 cup finely chopped bacon (didn’t say cooked or raw, so raw it must be!)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped (sub cilantro)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white wine
2 egg whites

Salsa Verde
1 can tomatillos
2-3 serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
salt to taste
olive oil to drizzle

Spaghetti, cooked (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Drizzle a medium casserole dish with olive oil and set it aside.
  2. Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until they are just combined, making sure not to over mix. The mixture should feel slightly tacky and wet. Pinch off a small piece, flatten it out and cook it in the oven. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the mixture accordingly.
  3. Form the mixture into 1-1/2-inch balls and place them in the prepared casserole dish. Bake the meatballs, rotating the dish halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the salsa verde. In a blender, purée the tomatoes. Then add the chilies, cilantro, and salt. Continue to blend until the cilantro is finely chopped but not completely puréed. Transfer the meatballs to a sauté pan, our the salsa verde over them and warm through. Serve drizzled with olive oil. Eat with cooked spaghetti, if you wish.