Rigatoni with Sausage & Greens

This dish has a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. It’s creamy from the creme fraiche, meaty from the sausage, and earthy from the kale. I loved that the entire dish was prepared in a single pot- such a bonus. It was a great weeknight meal.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Justin Chapple. The original recipe called for mustard greens; I used an abundant amount of Toscano kale from my CSA share instead. I also increased the amount of pasta, garlic, and creme fraiche. My family will gobble up any amount of kale if it’s creamy and prepared with pasta and sausage. Genius. ūüôā

Yield: Serves 6
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until 
al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  3. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add the leeks, garlic and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened, 
about 5 minutes.
  5. Return the sausage to the pot.
  6. Add the mustard greens and tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the greens are just wilted and the tomatoes start to burst, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Add the pasta, cr√®me fra√ģche and reserved pasta water and cook, tossing, until the pasta is hot and coated in a light sauce, about 2 minutes.
  8. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and serve right away.

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Pasta Primavera with Asparagus, Peas, & Cr√®me Fra√ģche

This quick and fresh dinner was truly springtime on a plate. It uses a combination of early spring vegetables- asparagus, peas, and scallions- which, as the author describes, makes it a “true celebration of the season.”

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the proportions and omitted the tarragon. I also used reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Loved it!

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed
  • 3/4¬†pound asparagus, ends snapped
  • 3¬†tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1¬†cup fresh English peas
  • 1/3¬†cup (5 large) thinly sliced spring onion, white part only (or use shallot)
  • 5¬†garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¬†coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16¬†ounces pappardelle, fettuccine or tagliatelle, preferably fresh
  • 1¬†cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, at room temperature
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup)¬†cr√®me fra√ģche or whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup¬†finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon, optional
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, slice snap peas in half and asparagus stems into 1/4-inch-thick pieces; leave asparagus tips whole.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snap peas, asparagus, English peas and onion. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente (1 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta, more for dried pasta). Drain well, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
  6. Transfer pasta to the skillet of prepared vegetables or to a large bowl.
  7. Immediately toss pasta with vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, cr√®me fra√ģche and herbs.
  8. Thin sauce to desired consistency with reserved pasta water.
  9. Season generously with salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Serve.

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Chipotle Chicken & Greens

For years, this was my go-to dish for guests. I’m not sure why I decided to branch out… It is SO delicious! I’ve been making it since 1999! Crazy. I think that this dish started my love of creme fraiche. It is a good meal to serve for company because the chicken is prepared hours in advance and broiled just before serving.

This recipe was adapted from Rick Bayless, via Martha Stewart Living. I updated this version to use chicken thighs instead of breasts and to include an entire 1 1/2 pound bag of “power greens” (baby kale, chard, and spinach) or two bunches (or more!) of rainbow chard. It would be wonderful with any combination of greens. I serve it with Cilantro-Lime Brown Basmati rice to soak up the wonderful sauce.

I’m sharing these creamy greens at my favorite blog party, Angie’s Fiesta Friday #137, this week (I’m featured¬†BTW!) co-hosted by Loretta @Safari of the Mind and Natalie @Kitchen, Uncorked. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Chicken:

  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons) (see Note)
  • 7.5 oz (about 1 cup) creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 12 cups)¬†fresh greens such as baby kale, chard or spinach, stems removed, well rinsed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Cilantro-Lime Rice:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup brown Basmati Rice
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2-3 T chopped cilantro leaves
  1. Two to Three Hours before cooking, make the marinade: Start by finely chopping the chipotle chiles in a mini food processor.
  2. Place the chopped chipotles and 2 tablespoons creme fraiche in a small bowl, and mix to combine.
  3. Lightly season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the seasoned chicken in a large bowl, and pour the chipotle mixture over it, making sure to coat the chicken well. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer dish to the refrigerator. Marinate the chicken 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Prepare the rice: Bring the 2 cups of stock to a boil; add rice and cover. Turn heat to low and cook, undisturbed, for 30 to 35 minutes.
  6. Heat the broiler. Place the chicken on a rimmed sheet pan just large enough to accommodate them. Place the pan 6 inches away from the broiler, and broil chicken until deep brown in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from broiler. Turn chicken thighs, and drizzle remaining creme fraiche along with the 1/2 cup heavy cream around the chicken.
  8. Return the pan to the broiler, and broil until chicken is deep golden and no longer squishy when you lightly press it with your finger, 6 to 7 minutes more.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a warm plate, and place in a warm oven or warming drawer.
  10. Scrape the cream mixture from the pan into a 4-quart sauté pan.
  11. Add the chicken stock and half of the greens. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the greens have started to wilt and the cream has reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes, adding the rest of the greens as room is created in the pan.
  12. Season the creamy greens mixture with salt, to taste.
  13. Finish the Rice: After the rice has completely cooked, remove from heat. Add lime juice and cilantro. Mix to combine.
  14. Place rice over the surface of a serving platter. Top with the creamy greens and the broiled chicken. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Note: If you don’t care for very spicy dishes, you can reduce the heat by splitting the peppers in half and scraping out the seeds with the back of a knife before chopping.

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Cinco de Mayo Chicken-Chipotle Tacos

Move over creamy chicken-chard-roasted poblano tacos… we have a new favorite in our house! These tacos are amazing. Thanks to the chipotle chiles, the filling tastes like it has been slow-cooked for hours. The finished full-flavored filling is loaded into a warm tortilla and smothered in toppings- incredible. Perfect.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in and substituted scallions for white onion as a garnish. It could easily be modified to use rotisserie chicken meat as well.

Perfect for your Cinco de Mayo feast… or Seis de Mayo if I’m too late. Fabulous¬†any day! ūüôā

Yield: 4 servings

Time: about 1 hour

For the Tacos:

  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 scallions, left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme branch
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 2 cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
  • ¬Ĺ cup chicken broth (*use broth from simmered chicken*)
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas

For the Garnish:

  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped, soaked in ice water for 10 minutes and drained (I substituted unsoaked scallions.)
  • thinly sliced serrano chile
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • sliced avocado
  • crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese
  • cr√®me fra√ģche or Mexican crema
  • cilantro sprigs
  • dried oregano
  • lime wedges
  1. Put chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water. Add scallions, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove chicken and cool.
  2. Shred chicken with your fingers. Strain broth and reserve. You should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.
  3. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, season with salt and cook until softened and a bit browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Add chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Add shredded chicken, salt lightly and stir to coat.
  7. Add chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened somewhat. Keep warm.
  8. Heat the tortillas over steam or by your favorite method, keeping them soft and pliable. (I placed them in a tortilla warmer, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute.)
  9. Build the tacos quickly: Put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with a teaspoon of chopped white onion or scallion, a few slivers of serrano chile, some radish and avocado slices, a teaspoon of queso fresco or feta and a teaspoon of cr√®me fra√ģche. Add a few cilantro springs and a small pinch of oregano.
  10. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.

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Slow Cooker Mushroom Stroganoff with Egg Noodles

I have a few good friends whom I worked with many years ago. We don’t get to see each other very often, but one of the most wonderful things about getting together now is that not only can we catch up, but all of our kids really enjoy each others company as well. ūüôā

On New Years Eve day, I set this dish up to cook while my friends and I- with all of our kids- went bowling! The lights were dim, the music was loud, and the kids really had a lot of fun. It was great to come home and have dinner ready!

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Sarah Bolla. I used cremini mushrooms instead of oyster mushrooms, creme fraiche instead of sour cream, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth, frozen pearl onions, and doubled the garlic.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering noodles
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces pearl onions (about 1 cup), peeled
  • 1 1/2 pounds white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps quartered
  • 8¬†ounces cremini or oyster mushrooms, quartered
  • coarse¬†salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or¬†vegetable¬†stock
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces egg noodle pasta
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • flat leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  1. In each of 2 large skillets, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and mushrooms to each of the skillets and season both with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until the onions have softened and the mushrooms are browned and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add a ¬ľ cup of white wine to each skillet to deglaze the vegetables from the pan.
  5. Transfer to a slow cooker.
  6. Add the stock, sliced garlic, Worcestershire, and mustard to the pot and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Transfer the pasta to one large serving dish.
  8. Stir some butter into the noodles (if desired) and top with the mushrooms and sauce.
  9. Swirl in the creme fraiche and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Note: The stroganoff can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

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Rigatoni with Cabbage, Creme Fraiche, & Pumpernickel Bread Crumbs

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My father-in-law has lost a considerable amount of weight by eating a raw cabbage salad prior to his meals. Thank goodness he has become quite a cabbage-fan because I couldn’t believe I served him a main dish that incorporated cabbage- an entire head of cabbage! ūüôā

The cabbage in this sauce is shredded and becomes completely unrecognizable in the creamy sauce. The crème fraiche added a lovely tanginess and the pumpernickel bread crumbs added a fabulous contrasting texture. We ate it on Thanksgiving Eve with a green salad. It was a delicious dish!

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Mike Lata. I used black forest bacon, mezzi rigatoni, and green cabbage instead of Savoy. I also reduced the crushed red pepper and increased the garlic. We grated additional Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of each serving at the table. Yum!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 8 ounces pumpernickel bread (with crusts), torn into pieces (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse¬†salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice (I used black forest bacon)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 head of Savoy or green cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), shredded (I used a food processor)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound rigatoni or mezzi rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup cr√®me fra√ģche
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  1. In a food processor, pulse the bread until coarse crumbs form. In a skillet, melt the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper to the skillet and cook until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until almost all of the stock has evaporated, 8 to 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  6. Toss the pasta with the cabbage.
  7. Stir in the cr√®me fra√ģche, the 1/2 cup of cheese and, if necessary, the reserved pasta water; season with salt and black pepper.
  8. Transfer the pasta to bowls and garnish with the breadcrumbs, bacon and black pepper. Serve with additional cheese on the side.

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Slow-Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde

My slow-cooker is really underutilized. When I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Dave Bakes, I fell in love with it. It had SO many of my favorite flavors. I loved that the chicken thighs and beans actually cooked in the salsa verde. The salsa imparted such a fabulously tangy and spicy flavor. What a wonderful slow-cooker meal!

A while ago, Dave of Dave Bakes convinced me to get a Pullman loaf pan… so I had to make a Pullman loaf of cornbread to accompany this meal. It was only fitting. ūüėČ Spicy and Great!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 T extra-virgin¬†olive oil
  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 12 to 16 ounces chicken sausage (about 5 links), such as chicken apple sausage or chicken other smoked chicken or turkey sausage
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (about 16 ounces each) organic Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2- 12 oz jars¬†tomatillo salsa, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup chicken¬†stock
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice, fire-roasted, chili-style, or plain
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 T finely chopped jalapeno peppers, or mild chile peppers (I used canned fire-roasted jarred green chilies)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly¬†ground black pepper
  • dash cayenne pepper, optional
  • sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain Greek yogurt, for serving, if desired
  • fresh cilantro, for serving, if desired
  • lime wedges, for serving, if desired
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, diced chicken, and sliced sausage; sauté until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through.
  2. Put the drained beans in a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker; add the skillet mixture and all remaining ingredients except the garnishes (sour cream (etc.), cilantro, and lime wedges).
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours. (I cooked mine on low for 7 hours.)
  4. To serve, top with a dollop of sour cream/yogurt/creme fraiche, sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and a lime wedge, as desired.

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