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Simple Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you have a busy schedule like I do.  With the freshest ingredients you can get and a bit of patience you will be rewarded with you won’t believe you did it yourself and from scratch.

Included in my CSA box were some tomatoes in various sizes and colors.  I particularly like the baby Romas.  Also in the box was some amazing Thai basil.  I decided to make a sauce to compliment the bucatini I got at Glorioso’s (the best Italian market in the state!).

This recipe is inspired by Martha Stewarts Spaghetti 101 episode.  With this recipe, everything is fresh, nothing is canned. I love this recipe for its simplicity.  I’m not stirring sauce all day (not that there is anything wrong with that. I just don’t have the time).  I can get dinner on the table at a decent time and everyone is happy.  I also love how versatile this sauce recipe is.  You can adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. My family loves it when I amp up the garlic and red pepper flakes.

If you are pressed for time and craving a pasta dish.  Try this one out.

Supplies:

  • Fresh tomatoes (I had 4 regular sized and 7 baby romas), pureed (more on that below)
  • 5 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped or thrown in whole
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (a little goes a long way, adjust to your liking.  Start of light with a dash, you can always add more later)
  • 1/8-1/4 C good red wine (If it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with)
  • S&P to taste

First thing you need to do is take your fresh tomatoes and turn them into a puree.  I prefer taking the skins off the tomatoes. You don’t have to, but it does make for a nice smooth sauce. Taking the skins off a tomato isn’t as daunting as it sounds; in fact it’s pretty simple and quick.  Take a paring knife and cut an X on the bottom of each tomato.

Place your tomatoes into a pot of boiling water.  You only need to keep them in the water for a minute at most.  When you pinch (very carefully they are HOT)  the tomato and the skins slide, take them out of the water and put into a colander to cool down to where you can handle them freely.  The skins will slide ride off.  Easy!

Place skinned tomatoes into a food processor, food mill, blender whathaveyou.  Puree.  You can do a smooth puree or you can leave it a bit chunky. Your choice.

In a large sautee pan, sautee onions until translucent. Add garlic and sautee until the garlic is soft.

Add red pepper flakes, tomato puree and red wine to onions and garlic.  Stir until thoroughly mixed, simmering on medium heat.   Now is a good time to season with salt and pepper.  This is the stage when I determine if I need to add more red pepper flake or not.

Add the oregano and basil and let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat. It will start to thicken up (but not much) and look and smell amazing.

This sauce won’t be a thick sauce like you get in a can or jar. It will be on the thin side and will coat pasta nicely.   If you aren’t comfortable with a thinner pasta sauce, you could use a tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it up a bit. I personally don’t think it needs it.  Again, preference.

The taste is incredibly fresh.  You really get flavor of the tomato.  I love the kick of heat you get and all that wonderful garlic.  Sprinkle some fresh parm on top and serve with piping hot garlic bread and enjoy!

 

 

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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Super Lemony Linguini

When I peeked into my CSA box at the drop off site, the smell of the lemon basil hit me with full force.  Man, I love lemon basil.  On the way home I was brainstorming on what I could do with it (Yes! I actually have time for dinner tonight! woot!).  At first I was thinking lemon basil infused lemonade (Which I still might make this weekend).  The rumbles in my belly told me I was more hungry than thirsty, so I thought some more.  Then I remembered I had a small container of greek yogurt and a couple of lemons in my refrigerator…DING!

What I came up with was a wonderful summer dish.  Very light and very lemony.  I love it and I hope you do too.

Look how gorgeous this basil is!

I rushed home, opened my box, took a picture for you fine folks and got right to cooking.

Supplies:

  • 1 small container greek yogurt
  • the rind of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • A small handful of lemon basil (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • S&P
  • Cooked linguini.  (Save some of the cooking water)

In a mixing bowl I whisked together all the ingredients except the pasta.  Set aside

Cook and drain your pasta according to package directions (saving some of the cooking water).

Add lemon sauce to pasta and mix thoroughly.  This will thicken up so loosen with a little bit of the pasta water ( I did it by ladle fulls).

Garnish with some whole lemon basil leaves and enjoy.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Spicy Zucchini and Shrimp over Linguini

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The zucchini in my HighCross Farm CSA box this week was phenomenal.  It has been a busy weekend, so I’ve been pressed for time.  I wanted something good and healthy for dinner, but didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it.

I threw this together and it was awesome.  The zucchini was nice and soft, the shrimp perfectly cook and the spice…WOW!  Very good.

Supplies:

  • Zucchini, chopped
  • Shrimp, uncooked, shelled and deveined
  • Linguini, cooked (I used Barilla whole wheat linguini)
  • Red pepper flakes, to your liking
  • Hot sauce (I used the pimp of hot sauce…Franks), to your desired liking
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Italian flat leave parsely for garnish
  • (I threw in a handful of left over asian greens…very optional)
  • S & P to taste

In a large skillet heat olive oil and butter until butter melts.  Add garlic and sautee until garlic starts to get soft.

Add zucchini and sautee unti it is just starting to get soft.  Add shrimp and cook until orange in color and opaque. 

Add S/P, red pepper flakes and hot sauce.  Put over cooked linguini, garnish with parsley and enjoy.

 I didn’t put measurements on most of the ingredients.  I like to freestyle and I encourage you to as well.  I like a lot of heat in my dishes so I was heavy on red pepper flakes and hot sauce.  The best part of this recipe is you can control how hot or not you want this dish.  Either way it’s going to taste great.

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Posted by on August 16, 2009 in shrimp, zucchini

 

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Roasted Tomatoes and Shrimp w/ a Garlic Wine Sauce over Pasta

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With the 2009 CSA season about to start, my mind has been racing thinking of what I can do with this season’s share.  HighCross Farm grows the most amazing cherry tomatoes ever.  I won’t see those until later in the summer so I had to suffice with store bought.

I like using the off-season time to experiment and practice.  I can’t wait to take what I’ve played with over the winter months and apply it using the best produce around from HighCross Farm.  I truly am excited for the start of the season.

The Supplies:

  • 1 container grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • A good handful of precooked or uncooked (peeled and deveined) shrimp
  • 1/2 Cup (or more if you so desire) good white wine (I had a Chenin Blanc on hand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • S & P to taste
  • cooked pasta of your choice

I took a container of grape tomatoes and sliced them in half.  I kept is simple by using  just a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Baked them off in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes.  They should come out looking like these beauties…

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Mmmm!  Tomatoes are naturally sweet; when you roast them you heighten their sweetness ten fold.  It’s like eating candy..really.

Next, I took about 3 cloves of garlic and a small yellow onion and chopped them up finely.  I sweated them out with some olive oil until they were translucent.

To that I added a good white wine and let it simmer until it reduced by half. 

This is a good time to start your pasta.

Once the wine has reduced add in your roasted tomatoes, shrimp and basil.  Let simmer until the shrimp are either heated all the way through or cooked all the way through.  You will have something that looks like this…

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Cook your pasta to al dente, drain and mix into the sauce. Plate and enjoy.  This dish is fantastic!!

One more picture…

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Posted by on May 17, 2009 in basil, pasta, tomatoes, wine

 

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Spinach Fettuccini w/ a Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

My daughter is going to help out at HighCross Farm this season.  This pleases me so.  When I went to pick her up this afternoon, Farmer Steve invited me to grab a bunch of  spinach that had come up on the farm.  Who am I to turn that down?!  Look how gorgeous it is.

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This has me super excited for the approaching CSA season. 

Spinach is one of those super foods.  It’s incredibly good for you by contributing to healthy bones, eyes and teeth.  Spinach is loaded with iron and Vitamins K and C.  Can’t go wrong with spinach.

I decided to make some spinach fettuccine with a low-fat roasted garlic Alfredo sauce to top it off.  I couldn’t think of a better way to break in my new pasta making attachment for the Kitchenaid Mixer.

This dish is worth the effort of making the pasta.  The pasta is light with a nice spinach flavor that’s not over powering.  The sauce is rich, creamy and full of flavor.  You will enjoy this immensely.

I started off by slicing the top off a large head of garlic and drizzling it with olive oil.

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I wrapped it up in tin foil and popped it into a 450 oven for about 35-40 minutes.  When you can start to smell the garlic in your kitchen…it’s done.

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Your garlic cloves should be nice and soft and caramelized on top.

Squeeze your head of garlic (once it has cooled off) into a bowl releasing all the yummy roasted garlic cloves.

Set aside for later.

Now for the pasta.  The supplies are as follows:

Spinach Fettuccini

  • 3-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup spinach puree (approximately 8 ounces of fresh spinach steamed and pureed
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • *water used to steam the spinach

Fill a sauce pan up with about an inch of water.  Make sure the water doesn’t come up through your steaming device (either a vegetable steamer insert or a colander).  Place spinach into steaming device, cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes.  You will note the spinach cooks down considerably.  I prefer to steam my spinach rather than boil because you want as little moisture in the spinach when it is all said in done.

Spinach after it has been steamed.

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When spinach has cooled, wrap it in a paper towel and squeeze as much of the water out as you can.  You will not there is a good amount of moisture in the spinach even when it is steamed.  You want your spinach to look like this…

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Put wrung out spinach into a food processor or blender and puree. 

Place the flour and salt in the Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Insert the flat mixing paddle. Mix dry ingredients together on speed 1.  Add eggs one at a time and then the spinach. If the dough looks too dry add the water that you used to steam the spinach in by the spoonful until you get the conistency that you want.  (if you can stick your thumb in the dough and it comes out clean you are good) Continue to mix on speed 1 for about 1 to 2 minutes. Replace the flat mixing paddle with the dough hook and knead the dough on speed 4 for 3 minutes.

Remove dough and wrap in plastic. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

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 Assemble pasta attachment to the stand mixer. Turn machine to speed 1. Run the dough through the machine. 

I like to put my pasta into nests.  It makes for easier storage.

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Either let your pasta dry or cook immediately.  

Note:   It is very important to remove as much moisture from the spinach as possible before adding to the dough. If after kneading the dough feels slightly sticky, knead one tablespoon of flour into the dough until the stickiness disappears.  ** I personally found the dough to be a tad dry, thats when adding the water from steaming the spinach really helped.  But if you find your dough too sticky then go ahead and add more flour.  I found myself adding a little more flour after it had rested since it was still a tad too sticky for me.

Also:  You do not need a Kitchenaid to make this pasta.  You can make it by hand or in a food processor.  You do not need a pasta roller as well.  Just roll out your dough until it is thin enough to your liking and use a pizza cutter and cut it into strips.

Now on to the sauce…

I love Alfredo sauce, but I do not love Alfredo sauce calories.  I decided to try and make it low fat and when it was all said and done, I wound up cutting the calories by almost half.  I used way less butter and half and half instead of cream.

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

  • I head of garlic, roasted…cloves removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 C half and half
  • 3/4 shredded paremsan cheese
  • S&P to taste

Melt the butter on low. (But don’t let it brown) Then stir in the other ingredients until the cheese is melted.  How easy is that???

Spoon the sauce over your pasta and you have heaven on a plate.

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I can’t put into words how much I love HighCross Farm!

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2009 in pasta

 

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