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Posts Tagged ‘oregano’


I love a good bolognese, but sometimes I just don’t have time on a weeknight to invest in making it. That’s where this kind of pasta sauce comes in. It cooks in the time it takes to boil a big pot of water, and it uses enough veal to flavor the sauce but not enough to make it really heavy. The cherry tomatoes have a natural sweetness and don’t need to cook down too much. It’s the perfect indulgence for a weeknight treat.

Weeknight Veal Ragu

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons oregano, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can San Marzano cherry tomatoes (or other San Marzanos if you can’t find the cherry tomatoes)

1/2 cup white wine

1/4  cup grated parmesan

1/2 box or pound of long pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, etc)

Cook your pasta in salted boiling water a minute less than the package instructions. Meanwhile, brown the veal in a wide saute pan. (Using a wide pan will help the sauce cook quickly because it maximizes the amount of sauce in contact with the pan).

Add the onion once it has developed a nice browned color. Let the onion sweat down with a little salt to season. Add the oregano and garlic and stir through. Add the tomato paste and allow it to rust for a few minutes. Add the wine and tomatoes and cook down for 5 minutes. Once the sauce has reduced a little and thickened, add the cooked pasta with a splash of the pasta cooking water. Stir to cook together for the last minute and add the cheese.

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I finally got around to trying out the new pasta machine a couple weeks ago when we had some great friends over. It’s a bit of a project to make fresh pasta, but it’s worth it. Plus, you can add in anything you want flavor-wise, although I generally just make plain pasta because I like it best. Next time though, I might try spinach pasta. Or lemon pasta. I’m getting excited just thinking about it.

Fresh Fettuccine

3- 3 1/2 cups flour (start with 3 and add flour to the right consistency)

4 eggs

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Mound the flour on your board and create a well in the center. Add the rest of the ingredients to the well and start to stir with a fork from the inside out, gradually adding flour from the rim. Once you start to break down the rim, change to kneading with you hands. It will come together in a ball, and you want to knead for about 5 minutes. Let it rest in some plastic wrap for at least 15 minutes. Cut off pieces of dough to run through the pasta roller until it reaches your desired thickness. Fold the sheets and cut into your desired pasta size, for fettuccine it’s about 1/2″ thick. Flour well and set aside in 1 layer if possible.

Lemon Chicken and Fresh Fettuccine

Fresh Fettuccine (above)

4 chicken breasts, cut into pieces

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup white wine

1 teaspoon dried oregano

zest and juice from 1 large lemon or 1 1/2 smaller lemons

Parmesan cheese

Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and the oregano. Saute in some extra virgin olive oil until they brown. Remove to a plate. Add the onion and garlic and soften. Add the wine and lemon juice and reduce a bit. Add the chicken back into the pan and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 2 minutes, until it starts to float and becomes al dente. Remove to the saucepan with a little bit of the pasta cooking water. Combine and add the lemon zest, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and some grated parmesan cheese. Plate and add more parmesan cheese on top.

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Puttanesca is a classic pantry pasta sauce, using olives and anchovies along with canned tomatoes. It makes sense that that’s the basis of one of the stories about how it got it’s name. Either way, as we are starting to clean out the pantry in preparation for moving and we didn’t have a lot of fresh ingredients in the fridge, it seemed like a perfect sauce for the leftover gnocchi in the freezer. Be careful of the saltiness of the anchovies and olives, no need to add any more salt to the sauce.

Gnocchi Puttanesca

2 cups gnocchi

1/2 can San Marzano tomatoes

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 anchovies

1/2 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup red or white wine

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Cook the gnocchi in salted water for a few minutes, until they float. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic with the anchovies in a little olive oil for a minute, until softened. Add the olives and oregano and stir together. Add the tomatoes and wine, and allow to cook together for a few minutes. Add the cooked gnocchi and stir together. Serve with some grated parmesan or pecorino over the top.

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I’m not a big fan of going out for Valentine’s Day because restaurants typically overcharge and it feels a little forced. Plus, my favorite evenings are ones spent at home over a delicious meal– why do something different? I see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to be reminded how good we have it every other day of the year. And when I think about what my favorite meal is, and what I would like to share, it always comes back to pasta. Of course.

I love a simple bolognese, and some fresh spinach linguine makes it even better. We had this with a 17-year old brunello that my parents gave us, and it was a perfect evening.  Full disclosure: I decided to take the evening off from blogging, and I took these pictures the next day with leftovers. No distractions. But it’s just as good the next day, even more reason to make some tonight.

Linguine Bolognese 

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 garlic cloves

1/2 onion

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons chopped oregano or marjoram

1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in a food processor and grind into a chunky paste. Brown the meat in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Make sure to really brown the meat well and don’t move it until it starts browning. This is the best opportunity to develop flavor.

Once the meat is browned, move it to the side of the pan to add the vegetable paste and allow it to start browning as well. Season everything with salt and pepper and the oregano. Once the vegetables have softened and browned a bit, add the tomato paste and let it rust for a few minutes. Add the milk and wine and stir through. Add the sugar. Let the whole thing simmer for an hour until it thickens and the flavor deepens. Toss with pasta in a saute pan with a little of the pasta water and some parmesan and enjoy!

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Arancini are a traditional bar snack in Italy and they are usually made earlier in the day and sit at room temperature on the bar until they are eaten. I usually don’t get around to making them because I rarely have leftover risotto. In fact, for my party I made a whole batch of risotto just to make these. Be warned, they do take a bit of work and I probably won’t make them in such a large batch again but they are great. With some homemade marinara, they’re a perfect, filling snack.

Arancini

1/2 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pinch saffron

2 cups arborio rice

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

1 cup pecorino, grated

2 eggs

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup olive oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and saute the onion, garlic, and saffron for a minute. Add the rice and toss in the oil to coat and toast for a few seconds. Add the wine and reduce. Add the chicken stock as the liquid gets reduced in stages. Season to taste. Once the rice is al dente, let the risotto chill until cold. Add an egg and the pecorino and mix together. Roll into small balls and refrigerate at least an hour. In separate bowls, place the flour, 1 egg beaten with a splash of water, and the panko. Dip the balls into the flour, then the egg, then the panko. They should be kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. Put the rest of the olive oil in a pan and fry the balls, rotating them on each side as they brown. They are cooked already, so you really just need to brown them.

Marinara

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 carrot, grated

1 can San Marzano tomatoes

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the oregano and carrot and cook for a couple minutes. Season with salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and let cook for 15-20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender if you wish.

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Next in the series of apple-related dishes after the apple-picking adventure, here are some pork chops that I’ve pounded a bit and topped with an apple chutney. While these are still on the bone, the thinness makes them similar to schnitzel. It also allows you to cook them quickly enough that the breading doesn’t burn. The apple harvest is turning out some good stuff this year, the apple pie was delicious and the butternut squash soup was yummy too. These pork chops turned out pretty perfect, crispy outer breading and moist pork with just the right amount of fat to flavor them.

Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

2 bone-in pork chops, pounded as thin as you can

1/2 cup flour

1 egg, beaten with a splash of water

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons herbes de provence

1 tablespoon dried oregano

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, sliced in half moons

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons sage, minced

1/3 cup apple cider

1 apple, diced

Combine the panko with the herbes de provence and oregano. Season the pork chops and dredge in the flour. Then dredge it in the egg and then panko, making sure the whole chop is covered and shake off the excess. Place in a frying pan with half the olive oil and leave them alone until they have browned and have released from the pan. Flip and cook for a few more minutes on the other side. Put the pan in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 375 to make sure they are cooked through. You can take the temperature of them, it should be around 160 degrees.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in the remaining olive oil. Add the apple and garlic. Add the sage and deglaze with apple cider. Cook down for a couple minutes. Serve with the pork chops.

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This was a quick weeknight recipe that I created to use what little was left in the pantry. It’s a little Italian like a chicken cacciatore, a little French with the vermouth and cream, definitely delicious. It ended up being my favorite dinner of the week. And with only boneless chicken breasts, it cooks really quickly. Add some egg noodles and some veggies and you have dinner in half an hour.

Chicken with Porcini Mushrooms

2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed

1 slice bacon, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 ounces sweet vermouth

1/4 cup marinara sauce

1 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water and reserve the water

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Render the bacon for a couple minutes in the olive oil. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan. Add the shallot, garlic, and rosemary and saute for a couple minutes. Add the tomato paste and let it brown for 1 minute. Add the vermouth to deglaze the pan.

Add the tomato sauce and strain the reserved mushroom liquid. Pour in about a cup of mushroom liquid and let it cook down a bit. You can add more as needed. Add the oregano and mushrooms and cook for a couple minutes. Return chicken to the pan and add in the cream.

Warm through and it’s ready. You can add some cooked egg noodles to soak up the sauce and some veggies or salad on the side.

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