Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Recipes

As the weather has quickly cooled off, and we still have a ridiculous amount of produce left in the garden (mostly tomatoes), I've been trying a few new recipes. Last night I tried out this simple tomato sauce with onion and BUTTER recipe from the Smitten Kitten. I tweaked it as I was 1) using fresh tomatoes that were threatening to rot on my countertop (I blanched and peeled them this way - SUPER quick and easy - who knew?) and 2) I had a lot more tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs, so I didn't have the true tomato to butter ratio that the recipe is for. I did one pan of tomatoes (red and yellow) with yellow onion cut in half and the butter, but then added fresh thyme and oregano. The onion was supposed to be removed at the end, but I ended up breaking it up as it cooked in the sauce and left it in. The other pan was tomatoes, a roughly chopped red onion, butter, and basil. I also didn't remove the seeds from the tomatoes, which I was worried about, but it turns out if you simmer them long enough that extra juice will cook off. We're eating this over pasta tonight, so I'll let you know if it's horrible. I was just happy to find a relatively quick and easy way to use up all of those tomatoes!

From the Smitten Kitten:
Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking Another thing that blew my mind about this sauce: I, for one, am a grated parmesan junkie. I not only sprinkle it over my bowl of pasta, I like to have additional nearby, to apply a fresh coat to the layers of pasta that follow. So you can imagine my shock to find that I liked this dish even more without the parmesan. The flavor of the sauce is so delicate, fresh and sweet that it needed nothing at all.
Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti
28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste
Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.
Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

Last week we made Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, and Pancetta from the Italian Dish - SO GOOD.

From the Italian Dish:
Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, Pancetta
adapted from Canal House Cooking

serves 4

3 ounces diced pancetta (or bacon if you can't find pancetta)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs*
4 tomatoes, tops sliced off, seeds scooped out
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
small handful fresh thyme, parsley or basil leaves, chopped
salt & pepper
8 ounces spaghetti

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fry the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp around the edges.  Use a slotted spatula or spoon to lift the pancetta out of the skillet to a plate.  Leave the rendered fat in the skillet.  Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the anchovies to the same skillet.  Use a wooden spoon to mash the anchovies until they dissolve.  Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until they are golden.  Keep the cooked pancetta set aside for later.

Put the tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish and slip some garlic into each tomato.  Season the tomatoes with plenty of salt and pepper.  Mound some bread crumbs onto each tomato, getting some inside the tomatoes.  Scatter herbs on top.  Drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil over all.  Roast the tomatoes in the oven until they have browned a bit and the interior is supple but the tomatoes have not collapsed, about one hour.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Drain.  Return the pasta to the pot and remove the tomatoes from the baking dish and set aside.  Stir the oily tomato juices and any bits of bread crumbs from the bottom of the tomato roasting dish into the pasta.  Add a little olive oil and the reserved pasta water and toss. 

Pour the pasta into a serving bowl, place the tomatoes on top, sprinkle the pancetta over all and serve.
And finally, this didn't use up our produce, but it was a good fall meal: Acorn Squash stuffed with Harvest Quinoa. We decided we really loved the harvest quinoa, but next time we'd make that separately and just have the acorn squash on the side (with butter and brown sugar, as we like it!) - the quinoa could stand on it's own as a meal!

From Craft:

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Harvest Quinoa


Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups baby spinach, chopped and steamed until just wilted
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1-inch dice
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Sea salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
2 medium-sized acorn squash
1 cup lower-sodium vegetable broth
or homemade stock
1/4 cup milk cheddar cheese, shredded
Serves 4

Directions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook quinoa according to package directions. In a small pan, sauté onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until softened but not browned. Place in a large bowl and add quinoa, cranberries, sweet potato, apple, almonds, and sage. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Step 2: Slice acorn squashes in half lengthwise, and scrape out seeds and strings. Place face down in large casserole or roasting pan, fill with 1/2 inch of vegetable stock, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 3: Remove squashes, reserve any remaining stock, and place them face side up in pan. Fill each cavity with about 1/2 to 2/3 cup stuffing. Drizzle with olive oil and any remaining stock, and cover tightly with foil.

Step 4: Bake until squashes are cooked and slightly soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until cheese has melted. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
You need to check out the original sites for photos of all of these - yummy!

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