Every fall, black swallowtail caterpillars takeover my backyard basil plants. I needed to make this basil-loaded dish before sharing my plants with them.
This risotto was rich, creamy, and hearty. The absolute highlight of the finished dish was the crispy garlic and pan-toasted pine nut topping. Loved it.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christian Reynoso. I adapted the original recipe to prepare it in a pressure cooker. Easy and elegant.
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
4 T unsalted butter, divided
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
5 to 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (4 T) raw pine nuts
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves (from 1 large bunch), torn into 1″ pieces
shaved or finely grated Parmesan, for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Parmesan rind, optional
juice of 1/2 large lemon
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 5 or 7 quart pressure cooker over medium heat.
Add the rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until grains are partially translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Add 2 cloves of garlic slices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add all of the unheated stock; stir.
Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat.
Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running cold water. (I used a quick release method.)
Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam. The stock should be almost completely absorbed but the rice will be covered with a thick layer of milky broth. (more stock can be added at this point if the risotto appears too thick)
Meanwhile, cook the remaining 6 cloves of garlic slices, olive oil, and pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic starts to turn golden around edges. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until pine nuts and garlic are golden, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in turmeric and season with pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan rind, if using, into the risotto. Season with salt, to taste.
Stir the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the risotto and add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Stir basil into risotto.
Ladle risotto, discarding the Parmesan rind, into shallow bowls. Top with garlic–pine nut oil and Parmesan. Serve.
I have never cooked cucumbers before! The cucumber slices in this stir-fry were quickly sautéed until just crisp tender- great. I also loved the seasonings in the finished dish.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christina Chaey. I used my largest skillet (14-inch) but would use a 12-inch next time. I don’t have a 14-inch splatter screen and I made quite a mess. It was worth it.
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
1 large English/European cucumber, peeled in alternating lengthwise strips, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, halves sliced crosswise on a diagonal 1/2-inch thick (I used a melon baller to remove the seeds)
1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1 tsp Diamond Crystal), plus more
2 T oyster sauce
2 T soy sauce (I used Trader Joe’s light soy sauce)
2 T Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or medium-dry sherry (I used dry sherry)
This is a great end of summer ~ early fall dish. I loved that it gobbled up my CSA collards and chard. I really love any dish that transforms greens into a crowd-pleaser! 🙂 The mashed beans made the sauce creamy.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz, via epicurious.com. I used garbanzo beans and a mix of collard greens, Swiss chard, and spinach. I also substituted sweet Italian sausage and modified the proportions. The fried rosemary garnish was essential.
Yield: Serves 6
1/3 cup (5 T) extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
8 to 10 oz sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (I used 3 sweet sausages)
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas or cannellini beans, rinsed, patted dry
1/4 cup dry white wine
16 oz (1 pound) paccheri, rigatoni, or other large tubular pasta (I used pennoni pasta)
8 to 10 cups (lightly packed) cut or torn escarole, kale, or Swiss chard leaves (I used 1/4-inch ribbons stemmed and halved collard greens, 1/2-inch ribbons stemmed Swiss chard (stems cut into 1/4-inch pieces and reserved), & baby spinach)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
freshly ground black pepper
3 T unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium to medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Fry rosemary, turning, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Add sausage to same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a shallow bowl.
Add chickpeas to pot and cook, tossing occasionally and mashing some chickpeas with a spoon, until browned in spots, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer about half of chickpeas to plate with sausage.
Add wine to pot (and add the Swiss chard stems, if using), bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with chickpeas and add the greens and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing often, until the greens are wilted, pasta is al dente, and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes.
Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted and dissolved into a luxurious, glossy sauce.
Thin with more pasta cooking liquid if needed. Season with pepper, and more salt if needed. Add butter and toss to combine, then mix in reserved sausage and chickpeas.
Divide pasta among bowls or place in a large serving dish. Crumble fried rosemary over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
I recently made a delicious skillet gnocchi dish developed by Ali Slagle for The New York Times which was very reminiscent of this dish. Apparently, Ali Slagle inspired Sarah Jampel to create this version for Bon Appétit.
I loved that this variation incorporated arugula- one of my favorites- and coated it with a dressing made with roasted garlic. It was a quick, easy, and tasty summer meal. Great.
Yield: Serves 4
1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges (I cut it into 8 wedges)
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 cups (2 pints) cherry or grape tomatoes
1 17.6-oz. package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi (I used Trader Joe’s)
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling, if desired
1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
freshly ground black pepper
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 3 cups baby arugula (I used 3 cups of my CSA arugula)
1 cup basil leaves, large leaves torn
2 oz Parmesan, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
Toss onion, garlic, tomatoes, gnocchi, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt on a rimmed baking sheet to coat. Season generously with pepper and toss again to combine.
Roast, stirring once or twice, until gnocchi are golden and starting to crisp, most of the tomatoes have burst, and onion is golden, 25–30 minutes.
Remove garlic from baking sheet, peel, and place in a small bowl. Mash with 1/4 tsp salt (garlic should be quite soft). (I used 4 cloves of garlic.)
Whisk in lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into the mashed garlic. Season dressing with pepper and more salt, if needed.
Add arugula, basil, and Parmesan to baking sheet and drizzle dressing over; toss to combine.
Divide among plates and drizzle with a little more oil, if desired.
I have a couple more dishes featuring sweet summer corn to share. This quick stir-fry was perfect to serve after a busy day outside. After prepping the ingredients in advance, it was fully prepared in the time that it took for the rice to cook.
This recipe was (slightly) adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. The original recipe notes that peppers, peas, mushrooms, or summer squash could be substituted for the fresh corn. Great!
Yield: Serves 4
3 T oyster sauce
1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 to 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces
My daughter recently had a camp out with a few friends in our backyard. They slept in a giant, 14-person tent. What fun! 🙂 The camping was combined with another event on their summer bucket list- a “dip-night.” (inspired by TikTok 😉 )
The girls each contributed a different dip, savory or sweet, to create the feast. We made this Mexican layer dip and served it with tortilla chips and Trader Joe’s corn dippers. The recipe was adapted from ThePioneerWoman.com. I loved that her version incorporated warm beans as the base of the dip. It was an easy crowd-pleaser.
1 can refried beans (I used Trader Joe’s Fat Free Refried Beans)
hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula, to taste (I omitted it for this crowd)
1 can diced green chilies (I used Trader Joe’s mild green chilies)
ground cumin, to taste
3/4 to 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (mild or sharp)
tortilla chips (and/or other corn chips), for serving
Begin by heating the refried beans in a small pan over medium-low heat.
Add one or two dashes of hot sauce, if using, and a small can of undrained diced green chilies. Stir well.
Sprinkle the bean-chile mixture with a little bit of ground cumin. Stir to incorporate.
Spread the beans on the bottom of a glass bowl or high-sided or wide serving dish.
Sprinkle the shredded cheddar evenly over the top.
Next, dollop the sour cream over the cheese. Spread it into a single layer, as much as possible, being careful not to disturb the cheese underneath.
The next layer is the guacamole. (I used my favorite guacamole recipe (link above) using 2 avocados and garlic-chipotle salsa. This time, I omitted our traditional add-ins of chopped tomatoes and red onions.)
Next, sprinkle an even layer of shredded Monterey Jack cheese over the guacamole.
Top with a generous layer of Pico de Gallo.
Sprinkle chopped black olives over the top, if using.
Microwave an ear of fresh corn for 1 minute on high. When cool enough to handle, place upright in a bowl and slice of the kernels. Sprinkle the kernels over the top as the final layer.
Garnish with jalapeños and cilantro, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips.
According to the original recipe, in Romagna, in Northern Italy, piadine are often served with cured meats, greens and fresh cheeses that soften in the warmth of the freshly cooked bread. They are folded in half and eaten like a sandwich. This version is based on the classic presentation. Yum.
The recipe was adapted from MilkStreetTV.com, contributed by Erica Bruce. I bought lard for the first time in my life to make this flatbread! Christopher Kimball convinced me that lard was the secret to both the optimal texture and flavor in this wonderful bread. In the article, they found that when using lard “the piadine were tender with just the right chew and (had) a deeper, richer background flavor. (They) also tested vegetable shortening, which gave the same supple dough but lacked a bit of flavor. Lard was the clear winner.” The flatbread was perfect.
This special sandwich was a fabulous and fast summer dinner. We hope to try piadine with all sorts of other toppings in the near future. It was dangerously easy to make. 🙂
Yield: 4 flatbread sandwiches (4 servings)
For the Piadina:
1/2 cup water, divided
1/4 cup (4 T) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
311 grams (2 cups) bread flour
1 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
63 grams (5 T or 1/3 cup) lard, at room temperature
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup of the water and the yogurt.
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Process 5 seconds.
Add the lard and process until combined, about 10 seconds.
With the processor running, add the yogurt mixture.
With the processor still running, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 1 minute. If the dough doesn’t ball up in the processor, gather it together and briefly knead it by hand.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. (I used a kitchen scale.)
Roll each into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the topping.
Using a rolling pin, form each dough ball into a 10-inch round. (The round will be approximately 1/16-inch thick.) Poke the surfaces all over with a fork.
Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium until a drop of water sizzles immediately, 4 to 6 minutes.
One at a time, place a dough round in the skillet and cook until the bottom is charred in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. (I cooked mine for a little less than 1 minute.)
Using tongs, flip and cook for about 30 to 40 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Repeat.
For the Topping:
3/4 to 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
finely grated lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon (about 1/2 tsp), or more, to taste
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto, at room temperature
baby arugula (about 1 cup per person) (we also used baby spinach)
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta and lemon zest. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice to the ricotta, or reserve to toss with the arugula (or spinach).
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over half of each piadina, then top with 2 slices of prosciutto.
In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the lemon juice (if not in the ricotta mixture) and a pinch of salt. Mound on top of the prosciutto.
Drizzle with oil, if desired, and fold. (I omitted the oil.)