pappardelle with spicy sausage, green beans, and mushrooms

Pappardelle with Spicy Sausage, Green Beans, and Mushrooms (adapted from Savory Simple)

This is a deliciously simple weeknight meal and it only takes less than half an hour. This is truly “quick and easy” in my book! The mushrooms have a nice smoky flavor that contrasts nicely with the spiciness of the sausage. I added the green beans–we all could use more fiber anyway–and their bright green color was a lovely contrast with the golden noodles.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 -8.8 ounces pappardelle
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 links hot Italian sausage, casing removed (can use sweet Italian sausage)
  • 7 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (can use shiitake)
  • 8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and sliced into 2 inch lengths
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • juice of 1 lime (lemon in the original recipe)
  • 6 ounces homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • salt to taste
  • fresh grated Parmesan for garnish, optional

Preparation

  1. Cook pappardelle according to the instructions on the box.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat up the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. When the pasta has cooked, reserve a cup of the cooking water. Drain the noodles and set aside.
  3. Remove the sausage casings and discard.  Crumble the sausage stuffing into the hot oil.  Reduce heat to medium and brown the sausage.
  4. If the sausage sticks to the pan, add a tablespoon of water and scrape up the brown bits called fond, tossing them with the sausage. Fond adds flavor.
  5. Once the sausage is cooked and (mostly) browned, add the sliced mushrooms and chopped green beans.  Sauté for two minutes, then lower the heat and add the garlic.
  6. After the garlic has cooked, about 60 seconds, sprinkle sausage mixture with the red pepper flakes and squeeze on half the lime or lemon juice. Remove the sausage mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  7. Add the chicken stock to the skillet to deglaze it, scraping up any  fond from the bottom of the pan. Allow the stock to reduce slightly, a minute or two.
  8. Stir in the cream, if using. Add a 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water to the pasta. Toss to separate the noodles. Add more water, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed.
  9. Return the sausage and mushroom to the pot with the pappardelle. Toss. Taste, and add salt if needed.
  10. Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and Parmesan, if desired.
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sirloin spinach burger patty with provolone

It’s  the first day of Cycle 2 on the 17 day diet. We can finally eat something other than chicken or fish. To celebrate I made these ground sirloin patties and served them without buns. This is an updated version of the Popeye Burger that I found in a kids’ cookbook. I seasoned the meat with a generous sprinkle of garlic powder, black pepper, and Montreal Steak Spice. I blanched the spinach and lightly salted it then squeezed out the excess water  before coarsely chopping it and adding it to the ground sirloin. I cooked the patties in a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet for 5 minutes on each side (each patty was  4 oz. of meat). I turned each patty once and topped it with a slice of provolone cheese.

Padma’s Bali Baked Fish with Coconut Green Beans

Padma's Bali Baked Fish with Coconut Green Beans

Want something spicy and flavorful? I never would have thought to add coconut to these green beans but it does counter the heat from the chilies and adds a flaky texture that’s quite a surprise outside a dessert. The Bali fish recipe itself is easy to make and cooks up in less than 30 minutes. In fact, I added a garlic-spinach sauté to the combination and it was delicious. These two recipes, Bali Baked Fish and Coconut Green Beans, both come from Padma Lakshmi via Glamour magazine.

Bali Baked Fish
2 pounds red snapper fillets (I used tilapia)
salt and pepper
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon ginger root, sliced into rounds
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 tablespoons water
fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (I used chopped fresh cilantro and scallions)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray cooking spray in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
Arrange the fillets in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the work bowl of a food processor, add the onion, garlic, ginger root, tamarind paste, sesame oil, cumin, and 1 tablespoon water. Process. If the mixture is too thick, add another tablespoon water. Process until the mixture is puréed.

Pour mixture over the fish fillets. Turn to coat. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle mint on top or cilantro and scallion if using. Serve with Coconut Green Beans and Garlic-Spinach Sauté.

Coconut Green Beans
2 tablespoons canola oil (I used cooking spray)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
2 tablespoons cashews
4 dried red chilies
1 1/2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
Salt

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add cashews and chilies. Once the cashews are toasted, add green beans and stir. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut and salt. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes while stirring. When green beans are cooked through but crisp-tender, remove from heat.

[My variation: Instead of sautéing the green beans, I blanched them for 3 minutes in boiling water then rinsed them in cold water to stop the cooking process. This makes the beans tender as well as sets a deep green color. I returned them to the skillet to re-heat with the cashew mixture then added the coconut and salt. I cooked the green bean mixture for another 2-3 minutes and it was done.]

Garlic-Spinach Sauté
3-6 oz. fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Chicken stock
Salt and pepper

To make this low calorie, I used chicken stock instead of oil. Heat about 3 tablespoons chicken stock in a large skillet on high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and toss to cook. Add more stock, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sunday Dinner, March 13, 2011

Today’s main course is my take on America’s Test Kitchen’s take on the French recipe for stuffed chicken breast roll. I served it with  green beans amandine, and for dessert, strawberry cream pie. That’s my take on Diane Mott Davidson’s recipe called Strawberry Super Pie. I also made sure I had all ingredients prepped before I started cooking and assembling. Taking the time to prep everything is a good idea because sometimes you combine ingredients quickly!

Stuffed Chicken Roulade
I’ve got men in my house who eschew chicken breast. So I adapted this recipe by using boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts (I used 1 breast and 4 boneless, skinless thighs)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces white mushrooms,trimmed,wiped clean,and sliced thin (1 cup)
1 small leek,white part halved lengthwise, washed, and chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves,minced or pressed through garlic press (Use large, more garlic is better!)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (Be generous and use a teaspoon)
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chinese Rice Cooking Wine)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (I used cilantro and minced it fine)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the chicken. Butterfly the chicken breast. Put one hand over the hump of the breast and lift your fingers. Slice the chicken breast horizontally in half, so that the breast opens up like a book. Put the chicken breast in a zipper lock bag or between two sheets of plastic. Pound it to 1/4 inch thickness. Remove from the plastic and trim until the breast is approximately 8×5 inches. Set aside the trimmings. Repeat for the boneless, skinless thighs. Trim any excess meat or fat from the thighs. Discard fat and set aside the trimmings. You should get about 1/2 cup of trimmings. Put the trimmings in a food processor bowl and puree for 20 seconds. Remove the meat to a medium bowl. Do not rinse the workbowl of the food processor.

Prepare the stuffing. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12 inch skillet. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they brown, about 8-11 minutes. Add the 1 tablespoon oil and the leeks. I used chopped onion because I couldn’t find leeks at the supermarket. Cook about 2-4 minutes or until the onions turns transparent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice to the mushroom mixture and cook until all moisture has evaporated, about 30 seconds.

Transfer mixture to the bowl of the food processor. Return the empty skillet to heat and add the wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Remove from heat. Pour wine into a small bowl and set aside. Rinse and dry skillet with paper toweling.

Pulse the mushroom mixture 5 times in 1-second bursts. Scrape contents into the reserved pureed meat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons minced parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.

Assemble and cook the roulades. Cut 12 pieces of twine, each about 12 inches long. With the short end of each fillet away from you, put about 2 tablespoons of the stuffing in the center of the thigh fillet, leaving a border. I did the breast last and used up the remaining stuffing. Roll away from you. Tie each roll; twice for the thighs and three times for the breast. Trim excess string.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and fry each roll 2 minutes on each side for a total of 8 minutes. Add the broth and the white wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 12-18 minutes. I turned each roll about halfway through the cooking time. Remove the rolls to a plate and tent with foil. The internal temperature should be 163˚F.

To the liquid in the pan, add the Dijon mustard, whisking it in. Increase heat to high and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits. Reduce liquid to about 1/2 cup, about 7-10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add butter, remaining parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Because I had used Chinese wine, it was a little too sour so I added a teaspoon of sugar.

Slice into rounds and pour sauce on top. Serve with my version of

Green Beans Amandine
1 pound fresh green beans, washed, ends trimmed
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blanche the green beans in boiling salted water. After about 4 minutes they turn bright green. Drain and rinse in cold water to set the color. This means you’ll have to heat up the green beans before serving but it looks so pretty and won’t change to that putrid olive green color once it cools.

In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter and add the almonds. Fry until golden brown. Heat up the green beans in the microwave–about 60 seconds. Scrape the almonds on top. Sprinkle with lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Simple and delicious!

Strawberry Cream Pie
I should have been warned; beginning with that graceless name “Strawberry Super Pie” this recipe was going to be a problem. I should always be suspicious when a cook resorts to hyperbole.  The problem was the crust. Though the dough spread fine in the pie dish, it puffed up and shrank on baking, and became a hard almond cookie.

Crust
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup chopped almonds, optional (pecans in original recipe)

Topping
2 pounds strawberries, divided
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Filling
1 1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 pound (1/2 cup) cream cheese, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven 375˚F. One 10-inch glass pie plate, buttered.

Make the crust. Mix melted butter with flour, confectioners’ sugar, and nuts. Press into the prepared pie plate. Bake 25 minutes or until light brown. Allow to cool completely. [Notes: I should have pressed the dough up the sides and onto the rim. I was too conservative with the bottom and was afraid it would have holes in it. Thinner would have been better.]

Make the topping. Mash enough strawberries to make 1 cup. Cut tops off the rest of the strawberries and set aside. Place mashed berries in a saucepan and add water. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to crushed berry mixture and bring to a boil on top of the stove, stirring. Boil about 1 minute or until clear and thickened. Set aside to cool.

Make the filling. Whip cream until stiff. In another bowl, beat cream cheese with vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Carefully fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spread in cooled crust and refrigerate. [Notes: Refrigerate how long? I put it in the freezer for ½ hour to firm up the cream cheese filling. It could have used at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, I think. ]

Assemble pie. When crushed berry mixture is cool, pie can be assembled. Stand whole (or halved, if you prefer) strawberries on top of cream filling, cut side down. When entire filling is covered with whole berries, carefully spoon cooled crushed berry mixture over all. Cream filling should not be seen between whole berries. Once the crevices have been filled, do not overload the pie with the crushed berry mixture, as it will just drip over the sides. Any leftover crushed berry mixture can be served on toast or scones. [Notes: The filling came up to the top of the rim because the crust was thick. I sliced the berries thinly and layered them on top of the filling then poured the topping on top of the berry layers.]