Category: Sauces

Cilantro Oil

infused oil

I created this Cilantro Oil to use on a Spelt Flatbread with Roasted Spiced Carrot Purée. To make an infused oil, select the type of oil you prefer, such as a mild vegetable oil, extra-virgin olive oil, nut oils, etc. Combine the oil with herbs, spices, garlic, or a any combination. This is a delicious accent for soups, stews, flatbreads, pizza, or a dipping oil for crusty breads. Use an infused oil for a creative twist on a salad dressing or vinaigrette. Drizzle over meat, chicken or fish. Lots of options!

infused oil

This cilantro oil is quick and easy to make. Place the oil, chopped cilantro, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée. Strain for a delicate drizzle of infused oil or leave the pulp in for a stronger flavor.

infused oil

Food Safety Note

Any infused oil that contains raw ingredients has a limited shelf life – 4-5 days tops, and must be refrigerated. The herbs, spices and garlic contain bacteria, commonly anaerobic bacteria, that thrive in oxygen-free environments like an infused oil. Plus a little masking tape on the jar with the date.

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Cilantro Oil

Flavored oils are a great way to enhance a dish. Drizzle over chicken, fish, vegetables or on top of soup. Use sparingly, this cilantro oil packs lots of flavor.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Puree

Ingredients

¾ cup olive oil
2 cups roughly chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Instructions

Place the oil, cilantro and salt in the base of a food processor or blender and puree thoroughly.

Refrigerate up to 4 days.

Use at room temperature.

Notes

Strain for a refined drizzle. Keep the pulp for a stronger flavor.

 

Marinara Sauce

Red Sauce

Marinara sauce is a quick and easy red sauce with few ingredients, minimal prep and short cooking time. It’s ready, start to finish, in an hour. Before you start, put up a large pot of salted water for pasta.

This recipe makes just about one quart, which is perfect for one pound of pasta. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan.

I use a little more oil to sauté the onions and garlic because a good olive oil is an essential component of a good red sauce.

Red Sauce

A medium onion minced is about one cup and 6 medium cloves garlic add a good punch of garlic without being overwhelming. I also like a little crushed pepper flakes for heat. Fresh basil adds a complementary flavor to the tomatoes. If you don’t have any, use a teaspoon of dried basil. One 28-ounce can crushed or puréed tomatoes completes the recipe.

Sweat the onions on medium heat for five minutes to soften and release the natural water content. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes and dried basil, if using, and cook for 30 seconds. Just long enough to release the aromatic aroma of the garlic. Stir in the tomatoes and fresh basil, if using, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Red Sauce

The best way to dress the pasta is to put a couple of ladlefuls of sauce in the drained pasta pan and add the pasta back. Stir to combine. Serve the extra sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese on the side.

See our recipe for garlic bread, a great accompaniment for a pasta with red sauce!

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Marinara Sauce

Red Sauce

Marinara sauce is a quick and easy red sauce with few ingredients, minimal prep and short cooking time. It’s ready, start to finish, in an hour. Before you start, put up a large pot of salted water for pasta.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

8 cloves garlic minced

¼ teaspoon pepper flakes

1 can (28 ounces) puréed tomatoes, such as San Marzano or Red Pack

2 large sprigs fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil

Instructions

Heat the oil in a medium, covered saucepan over high heat.

Stir in the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. If the onion starts to brown, lower the heat.

Toss in the garlic and pepper flakes; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes and basil, bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.

Discard basil.

Notes

Recipe easily doubles and freezes well.

Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto

Classic Pesto

This recipe for Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto didn’t start out with pepper flakes. It never even occurred to me to pair pepper flakes with pesto. However, when I was sautéing the zucchini and shrimp I forgot I wasn’t making a butter sauce and sprinkled in the spice. One of those “aha moments” – spicy pesto is delicious!

Sauté zucchini, shrimp and crushed red pepper flakes in olive; add pesto and combine, stir in cooked spaghetti and a little pasta water, if need to thin the sauce. Garnish with cherry tomatoes. Click here for the Classic Pesto recipe.

Classic Pesto

Watch the Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto Here:

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Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto

Classic Pesto

Spice things up with this spaghetti and shrimp dish with spicy pesto!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 37 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini cut in quarters lengthwise and then in ½-inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
  • 1 cup pesto sauce
  • pasta water, as needed
  • GARNISH
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta liquid before draining.
  2. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and salt and cook stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and crushed pepper flakes, cook stirring occasionally until shrimp are pink and firm – about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the pesto sauce and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta liquid. Stir to loosen. Add the pasta, stir to combine and add as much pasta liquid as need to coat the spaghetti evenly.

 

Classic Pesto

Pesto

When basil is at its peak, the bunches are huge and plentiful. I scoop up tons and bring them home to make pesto; batch after batch. I freeze in one-cup portions, which is perfect for a pound of pasta.

Don’t limit yourself to pasta, though, it’s delicious over grilled chicken, just put a good dollop over each cutlet. I also like to use it in a caprese salad – instead of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, little dabs of green goodness on the tomatoes and cheese is a fantastic variation.

Grill some eggplant rounds and stack with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and slather a little sauce on each layer.

Pesto

Here’s some tips to making pesto. Young basil (thin stems) use both the stem and the leaves. Remove tough stems on mature basil. Pine nuts are the classic nut used in traditional pesto, but don’t hesitate to use walnuts or almonds. Be sure to toast your nuts to maximize flavor!

Pesto

Keep nuts in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage. Use the lemon juice not only for flavor, but it also prevents the pesto from turning black when mixed with hot food.

See our Spaghetti with Shrimp in Spicy Pesto recipe here.

Head out to the garden or the local farmer’s market and bring home the basil!

Watch the Pesto Video Here.

 

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Classic Pesto

Pesto

Classic pesto made from fresh basil is a multipurpose sauce. Make large batches and freeze for year-round use! Use on chicken, fish and vegetables.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh basil
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place the basil, cheese, nuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse to chop up the ingredients.
  2. Turn the processor to “on” and slowly pour the oil through the spout until an emulsion forms.
  3. Store in an airtight container with a piece of plastic on top of the pesto to keep the oxygen out.

Compound Butters

Compound Butter

Compound butters combine unsalted butter with different aromatics, such as herbs, shallots, acid, salt and pepper, and/or spices. Mix room temperature butter with the finely minced aromatics you think pair well with your entrée. Mix them together, place on parchment paper or plastic wrap and form into a sausage shape and refrigerate. These freeze well, too.

Today’s lesson includes three very different versions, each appropriate for different kinds of protein.

Top the cooked meat, fish or chicken with thin slices of the compound butter while it’s piping hot. The melting butter creates a very flavorful sauce. This is a quick and easy method of dressing up a simple dish in really delicious way.

Compound Butter

Watch the Compound Butter video here.

 

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Garlic Herb Compound Butter

Compound Butter

This compound butter is delicious with chicken or fish. Cut 2 or 3 thin slice and drape across the top the hot meat to melt quickly and allow the flavors to spread over the top and sides. Keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer 2 months, wrap tightly.

  • Author: Trish
  • Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon minced clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • couple of twists of freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly combine the butter, garlic, chives, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Lay the butter on a piece of plastic wrap about 1/3 of the way from the end. Take the bottom of the plastic wrap and lay over the butter. With a spatula or table knife, push the butter into a long tube. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.
  3. Slice into ¼-inch coins and place on top of cooked meat, fish or poultry.

 

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Lemon Dill Compound Butter

Compound Butter

A perfect compound butter for fish, especially salmon! Cut 2 or 3 thin slice and drape across the top the hot meat to melt quickly and allow the flavors to spread over the top and sides. Keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer 2 months, wrap tightly.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup chopped dill fronds
  • zest of 2 small lemon
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • a couple of twists of freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly combine the butter, dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Lay the butter on a piece of plastic wrap about 1/3 of the way from the end. Take the bottom of the plastic wrap and lay over the butter. With a spatula or table knife, push the butter into a long tube. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.
  3. Slice into ¼-inch coins and place on top of cooked meat, fish or poultry.

 

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Peppercorn Blue Cheese & Chive Compound Butter

Compound Butter

A rich and hearty compound butter perfect for red meat. Cut 2 or 3 thin slice and drape across the top the hot meat to melt quickly and allow the flavors to spread over the top and sides. Keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer 2 months, wrap tightly.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup softened blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground 4 peppercorn is or black peppercorn
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (good quality, thick syrupy)

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly combine the butter, blue cheese, shallot, parsley, pepper and vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. Lay the butter on a piece of plastic wrap about 1/3 of the way from the end. Take the bottom of the plastic wrap and lay over the butter. With a spatula or table knife, push the butter into a long tube. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.
  3. Slice into ¼-inch coins and place on top of cooked meat, fish or poultry.

 

Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Cuisine

I was looking for something different to make for dinner the other night and Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo came to mind. I’d never made a gumbo before and did some research. There is a spice mix called Cajun spice mix that I was pretty sure I could find at Fairway. While I was there I picked some petite lobster tails, shrimp, scallops, and sausages.

Any gumbo requires a roux. This is a thickener made of equal amounts by weight of vegetable oil or butter and flour. For this style of Louisiana cooking, a dark roux is preferred for the depth of flavor it brings to the dish. The thickening power is weakened by the long cooking time but that’s easily remedied by adding okra to the pot or sprinkling a little filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree) to each bowl.

Cajun Cuisine

The Roux

There are two ways to make a roux either on the stovetop (30-40 minutes) or in the oven (1 ½ hours). I was in no hurry that afternoon, wanted to do some other things, and opted to make the roux in the oven. The stovetop version requires a little more attention. The oven version you have to stir a couple of times, so I set the timer for 30 minutes twice and gave a quick stir each time.

I diced up lots of aromatics: onions, celery, green and red bell peppers, scallions and garlic for a flavorful base with chicken stock, fire-roasted tomatoes and sausages.

To easily extract the lobster tails, I cut through the underside with kitchen shears before cooking. I wanted the lobster shells in the broth to add flavor and removed them before serving. These went in first for ten minutes followed by the shrimp and scallops and cooked for another 5-6 minutes. Don’t boil or the seafood toughens.

Cajun Cuisine

Mound some rice in a bowl and surround with the gumbo and top with a handful of sliced scallion greens.

 

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Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Cuisine

Don’t skimp on the dark roux – it adds lots of flavor that is typical of a gumbo. Use file powder to thicken the gumbo, let each individual sprinkle over his/her own bowl.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Stews and Braises

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons minced cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
  • 4 smoked sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) fire-roasted or diced tomatoes
  • 4 petite lobster tails
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • GARNISH
  • Sliced scallions

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk the oil and flour together in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring 3 times.
  3. Stir in the onion and salt and sweat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the celery, peppers and scallions to the roux and continuing cooking, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic and Cajun spice mix and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add the sausages, stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. The stew can be made in advance to this point. Thirty minutes before dinner, bring the gumbo back to a boil and then add the lobster tails. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  8. Add the shrimp and scallops and continue cooking on low for 5-6 minutes.
  9. Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.

Notes

Don’t boil the gumbo after adding the shellfish; it gets very tough.

 

 

Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Steak au Poivre with a little twist using mini bell peppers served with creamed spinach and roasted butternut squash.

When I cleaned out the pantry during my reorganization spree this month, I came across a jar of brined green peppercorns and I was inspired to make Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce. This is a favorite dish of
ours, and one I had for the first time on our honeymoon at Euphemia Haye in Longboat Key. That was almost 35 years ago and I see the steak is still on the menu!

I decided on filet mignon for the steak and spinach and roasted butternut squash as the sides. I had previously picked up a bag of mini assorted bell peppers and thought they would make an interesting twist on this recipe. I like to prep meals in advance, this makes dinner less hectic and it also means that many of the pots and pans and cooking utensils are already washed.

Spinach contains lots of water and I prefer to precook it to get rid of excess moisture, which thins the sauce. Place the spinach in a large saucepan with a little cold water, cover and cook over medium-high heat until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

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Remove the tops of six of the mini peppers (mixing up the yellow, orange and red) and then use a vegetable parer to scoop out the seeds and ribs. Slice them into thin rings and toss them into a sauté pan with a little olive oil and unsalted butter (about 1 tablespoon each), a small minced shallot, about a tablespoon of green peppercorns, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and good covered for a few minutes. Pour in a little dry white wine (1/2 cup) and reduce bit before adding a cup of heavy cream. The sauce is ready once it comes to a rapid boil.

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I had purchased already cut butternut squash, which I tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbes de Provence in a small baking dish. Pop the squash, spinach and sauce went into the fridge for later.

Season both sides of the filets with lots of freshly ground pepper and salt and then place them in a super hot sauté pan with a little olive oil and cook two minutes each side. To finish the cooking,  po the pan in a 350 degree F preheated oven for 10 minutes for medium rare.

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Let the filets sit on a cutting board and add 1/4 cup bourbon to the sauté pan. To soften the harshness of the alcohol, I lit the bourbon and let it burn out.

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Stir in the sauce (removing the thyme sprigs) and reheat.

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Slice the meat and spoon the peppers over the top. Stir in the spinach to the remaining sauce and reheat. Place the creamed spinach around the sliced meat and then scattered the roasted squash on top of that.

This is a rich dinner, one you might consider making for a special occasion.

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Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre with a little twist using mini bell peppers served with creamed spinach and roasted butternut squash.

This recipe uses brined green peppercorns, freshly ground black pepper and sliced fresh mini bell peppers for a little twist on this classic recipe. Prep this dish in advance to make clean up easy.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 portions
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Saute

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 whole mini bell peppers, tops, inner ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon drained brined green peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Meat
  • 3 eight-ounce filet mignon steaks
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

Instructions

Sauce

  1. Melt the butter with the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the peppers, shallots, peppercorns, thyme and salt; cover and sweat for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and boil for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the cream and cook until it comes to a rapid boil.
  5. Remove to a storage container.
  6. Meat
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Generously season both sides of the steaks with the salt and pepper.
  9. Heat the oil over high heat.
  10. Add the steaks when the oil is almost smoking and cook for 2 minutes per side.
  11. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes for medium rare.
  12. Remove to a cutting board to rest.
  13. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
  14. Add the bourbon to the meat pan, ignite and let burn. Add the sauce, discarding the thyme sprigs, to the pan and reheat.
  15. Slice the meat, place on a warm platter and cover with the peppers from the sauce.
  16. Stir the spinach into the sauce and reheat. Place the spinach along the outside of the sliced steak.

 

Fresh Tomato Sauce Base

fresh plum tomato sauce

I’ve been gifted so many plum tomatoes this summer that I just finished up my third batch of fresh tomato sauce base. It’s a great way to use up a plethora of produce for future use, such as the base for a spaghetti sauce or as the tomatoes in a chili.

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and remove the cores and any soft spots or black marks. Chunk the tomatoes up, slide them into a large saucepot, cover and cook over low heat. Once the tomatoes begin to release juices, raise the heat a bit to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, set up a food mill over a large saucepan or bowl.

Ladle the tomatoes into the food mill and puree in batches, discarding the accumulated skins as needed.

Heat olive oil in the empty saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and salt. Basil is optional. The sauce needs additional cooking time to reduce the excess water and intensify the tomato flavor. Boil gently until reduced by at least one-quarter.

Fill pint-size containers with the sauce and when slightly cooled  cover and refrigerate for immediate use or freeze for later.

Having a fresh tomato sauce base on hand not only uses up excess produce, but provides many opportunities for a wide variety of uses.

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Fresh Tomato Sauce

fresh plum tomato sauce

Having a fresh tomato sauce base on hand not only uses up excess produce, but provides many opportunities for a wide variety of uses.

  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 mins
  • Yield: 2 1/2 quarts
  • Category: Sauce

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds plum tomatoes, cored any bad spots removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Basil leaves, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the tomato chunks in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large covered saucepot, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Ladle the tomatoes into a food mill placed over another large pan or bowl and puree, discarding the skins.
  3. Pour the oil into the emptied pot and place over medium heat. Stir in the onions, garlic and salt, cover and sweat for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the pureed tomatoes back into the pot and bring to a boil, lowering the heat slightly and continue cooking at a gentle boil until the sauce has reduced by one quarter, or more if it’s still watery.
  5. Cool, ladle into Mason jars and put a couple of basil leaves in each jar, optional.
  6. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Freezes well.

Notes

Use as a red sauce for spaghetti, in chili recipes or for soup and stews.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup

Bolognese Sauce

One of my favorite dinners is spaghetti and I also love a thick, meaty Bolognese Sauce. Serve with a simple green salad, warm crusty bread and a good bottle of wine and you have the makings for a simple and elegant dinner for two .

Bolognese sauce is a meat-based red sauce from Bologna that uses three techniques, sautéing, sweating and braising, to create an intensely flavored meat sauce of ground beef and a fatty pork meat, such as pancetta. The classic way to serve this is over broad noodles like pappardelle or spinach tagliatelle or as a sauce for lasagna. We’re straying a little and going with spaghetti. Make the sauce in advance; it freezes well.

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Method

Heat the olive oil over high heat in an ovenproof slow cooker liner or a heavy-bottomed 7-quart Dutch oven, add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove to a bowl.

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Add the beef to the hot pan, use the tip of a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces. Brown over high heat, stirring occasionally.

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Stir in the pancetta, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, reduce the heat to low, cover and sweat for five minutes.

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Push the meat and vegetables to one side and brown the tomato paste for three minutes, stirring frequently.

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Stir in the dry herbs and pepper.

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Add the wine, bring to a boil and reduce by one-half.

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Stir in the tomatoes, bring to a boil, lower the heat to barely a simmer, cover and continue cooking:

  • Stovetop: 2 hours
  • Slow Cooker: 6 hours

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Makes 1 quart, enough for one pound of pasta or a lasagna.

 

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Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce is a meat-based red sauce from Bologna that uses three techniques, sautéing, sweating and braising, to create an intensely flavored meat sauce.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Total Time: 7 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Slow Cooking

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef (15% fat)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (six ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil over high heat in an ovenproof slow cooker liner or a heavy-bottomed 7-quart Dutch oven, add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove to a bowl.
  2. Add the beef to the hot pan, use the tip of a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces. Brown over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the pancetta, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, reduce the heat to low, cover and sweat for five minutes.
  4. Push the meat and vegetables to one side and brown the tomato paste for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in the dry herbs and pepper.
  6. Add the wine, bring to a boil and reduce by one-half.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to a boil, lower the heat to barely a simmer, cover and continue cooking:
  8. Stovetop: 2 hours
  9. Slow Cooker: 6 hours

Notes

Makes 1 quart, enough for one pound of pasta or a lasagna.

 

 

Roasted Halibut with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers Recipe

Saturday nights are a great time to ease back and have a leisurely dinner at home. This Roasted Halibut with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers recipe comes together in about an hour, is very flavorful and makes enough to easily serve six.

My family is not crazy about tomato sauce made with whole tomatoes; they prefer a smooth sauce. I used a combination of tomato puree and diced tomatoes (I like a little chunkiness and snuck it in!). Use whatever works best for you.

Bring a pot of salted cold water to a boil while making the sauce and cook the pasta, any shape will do, while the fish is roasting. Halibut is a mild-flavored fish with a firm texture and needs to be cooked through.

Method

Ingredients: olive oil, onions, bell peppers, garlic, Italian herb mix, crushed red pepper, tomatoes.

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Sauce

Thinly slice a medium onion (2 cups) lengthwise.

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Heat the olive oil in a large covered pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and one teaspoon salt, cover, lower the heat and sweat for five minutes.

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Trim the ends and remove the seeds from a red, yellow and green bell pepper and thinly slice lengthwise.

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Add the bell peppers to the onions, stir, cover and sweat another five minutes.

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Mince four garlic cloves.

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Stir in one tablespoon Italian herb mix, the minced garlic and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes.

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Add the tomatoes, stir, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

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Finished sauce.

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Fish

Place the fish on the lined sheet tray and lightly brush with oil.

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Season each side with a sprinkling of Kosher salt and…

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and a couple of grinds of pepper.

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Slide into the oven and roast for 14 minutes; this filet was one inch thick. Adjust for more or less time depending on thickness.

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Remove to a warm plate and top each filet with 1/4 cup sauce and garnish with parsley and serve the sauced pasta on the side.

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Here’s what an alternative dish looks like when someone doesn’t want fish – grilled chicken with tomatoes and bell peppers.

Recipe freezes well.

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Roasted Halibut with Tomato Bell Pepper Sauce

roasted halibut
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Fish

Ingredients

  • Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut in thin slices lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in thin slices lengthwise
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in thin slices lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb mix
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes
  • Halibut:
  • 6 six-ounce halibut filets
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil for brushing the fish
  • optional garnish: freshly chopped parsley, about 3 tablespoons

Instructions

  1. Set up:
  2. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  3. Line a 10- x 15-inch baking tray with parchment or foil.
  4. Method:
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large covered pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and salt, cover, lower the heat and sweat for five minutes. Add the bell peppers, stir, cover and sweat another five minutes.
  6. Stir in the herb mix, garlic and pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes, stir, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
  7. Halibut:
  8. Lightly brush both sides of each fish fillet with oil and season with a sprinkling of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper.
  9. Slide into the oven and roast for 14minutes for a one-inch thick fillet. Adjust for others.
  10. Top each filet with 1/4 cup sauce and garnish with parsley.
  11. Serve the sauced pasta on the side.

 

 

 

 

Haricots Verts in Garlic Butter

My plans for dinner, grilled pork chops with haricots verts in garlic butter and mashed sweet potatoes with goat cheese were spoiled by the weather.

It’s a dreary, snowy-rainy, rainy-snowy day. I shoveled this morning, something I usually enjoy, but the snow is heavy and I finished, an hour later soaked and cold to the bone. The snow continued and the shoveled parts were clogging up with slush again. What is really bugging me are the thick pork chops for dinner that I was planning on grilling. But who wants to go out in the rain and slush to cook. Believe me, I have gone out in many a bad weather, but this one just makes you want to hunker down and avoid the cold, chilly, rain and the slippery deck.

The options are to broil or pan roast the chops. The nice thing about pan roasting is you can make a quick sauce from the fond in the pan.

Haricot vert in Garlic Butter

serves 4

Take 1 pound haricot vert, snap off the stems and rinse thoroughly. Fill a small pan with one-inch of cold water and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Place steaming basket inside, fill with the beans, and cover. Steam over high heat for 4 minutes. While these are cooking, mince 2 garlic cloves and slice 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter (1/3 of a tablespoon). Drain the beans, remove the steamer basket, and add the garlic and butter. Stir (the residual heat of the beans melts the butter and softens the harshness of raw garlic), season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve in warm bowl.

Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese

Serves: 4

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Set 1 1/2 ounces of goat cheese on the counter to warm while the potatoes are baking. Scrub 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 10 ounces each) to remove dirt and grit. Dry and poke each 3 times with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape while baking. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove to a cutting board and slice each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop the flesh into a warm serving bowl. Stir in the goat cheese (if you forgot to warm the cheese, put in the microwave and soften just a little), mix well, and serve.

 

Cut baked sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.

 

 

 

Scoop potato flesh into warm serving bowl.

 

 

Combine potato and goat cheese

 

Pan Roasted Pork Chops

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 pork chops

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small onion, minced

2 teaspoons dried bouquet garni

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 cup broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.

Pour oil into a large skillet with an ovenproof handle and place over high heat.

Season each chop, both sides, with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the chops into the hot pan (cover with a spatter screen) and sear for about 2 minutes. Turn when the chops are nicely browned, and sear for another 2 minutes.

 

Seasoned chops in hot skillet with oil.

 

 

First side seared, chops turned and searing again.

 

 

Place seared chops into preheated oven and cook until internal temperature reads 145ºF for medium (the chops will be slightly pink inside) or longer if you want them well done. The timing will depend on how thick the chops are and if they came directly from the refrigerator (cold) or sat on the counter for a short time (less cold).

Remove chops to a warm serving plate and place hot pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop.

Pan roasted chops – remove to heated plate and place hot pan on stovetop.

Add the onions and herbs and stir for a minute or two – don’t let them burn. Pour in the wine and reduce to a couple of tablespoons.

Reduce the wine to a couple of tablespoons.

Now add the stock and cook until it thickens a bit. Season with salt and pepper and pour sauce over chops. Serve.

Internal temperature of 145 ºF has a pink, moist center.