Penne with Radicchio

In my house, no one is a huge fan of bitter radicchio in their salad. Cooking it not only decreases its bitterness, but also creates a rich and wonderful pasta sauce in this dish along with pancetta and cream. It’s great way to use this special autumn CSA box treat.

This recipe was adapted from Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta via giulianohazan.com. I modified the proportions of many ingredients, incorporated whole wheat pasta, and used leeks instead of sweet onions. Yummy.

Yield: Serves 2 to 3

  • 2 leeks, sliced into half moons, soaked and drained
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cubed
  • 1/2 pound radicchio, finely shredded
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 sprigs flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped (about 2 T)
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat penne or fusilli
  • 6 T  heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

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  1. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. Put the butter in a 12” skillet and place over medium high heat. When the butter begins to melt, add the clean leeks and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the leeks are sautéing, remove any bruised leaves from the radicchio, cut it in half lengthwise and cut off the bottom of the root. Finely shred the radicchio. (I used a food processor.)
  4. When the leeks are soft, add the pancetta and cook until it loses its raw color 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the radicchio and season with salt and pepper. Add about 1/4 cup water, lower the heat to medium, and cover the pan.
  6. Cook until the radicchio is very tender, about 20 minutes. Check it periodically and add more water if the liquid evaporates before the radicchio is tender.
  7. While the radicchio is cooking, finely chop enough parsley to measure about 2 tablespoons.
  8. After the radicchio has been cooking for at least 15 minutes, generously salt the boiling pasta water, put in the penne, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
  9. When the radicchio is tender, uncover the pan, raise the heat and let any remaining moisture evaporate. Add the cream and parsley. Cook until the cream has thickened and reduced by about one-third.
  10. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and cheese. Top with additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley, as desired. Serve at once.

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Broccoli Rabe Risotto with Grilled Lemon

I have had this dish waiting in the wings for a while. After posting a pressure cooker chili recipe, I decided that I should post this pressure cooker recipe as well! Until recently, I have been using my pressure cooker almost exclusively for risotto. It makes such a delicious and special meal a quick weeknight dinner. The BEST. I incorporated my CSA broccoli rabe into this version. The grilled lemon adds something bright and special to the finished dish- really putting it over the top. This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Isaac Becker. I adapted the recipe to make it in a pressure cooker as well as by increasing the amount of stock and broccoli rabe. We skipped the mascarpone- I am sure it would be lovely but we didn’t miss it! 🙂

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 3/4 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock (6 cups is using in lieu of wine)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (stock can be substituted, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • mascarpone, for serving, optional
  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the lemon slices with oil and grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Dice.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the broccoli rabe until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool under running water; drain again. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a food processor and puree until smooth. Scrape the puree into a measuring cup (you should have about 1 cup).
  3. In a 5 to 7 quart pressure cooker, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until coated and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the stock and wine (if using) and stir.
  6. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
  7. Release the lid according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running cold water. Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam.
  8. Stir the broccoli rabe puree into the risotto along with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, tarragon, parsley and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook, stirring, until the risotto is creamy and heated through, about 2 minutes.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into shallow bowls and top with the chopped grilled lemon and dollops of mascarpone, if desired.

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Spinach & Ricotta Pappardelle

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A lot of dishes seem to be “deconstructed.” This deconstructed ravioli truly tasted like ravioli- and smelled AMAZING. This recipe was adapted from the Food and Wine column “Chef Recipes Made Easy.” It is a modification of homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta, leeks, scallions, and spinach, served in a butter-sage sauce, made by Lidia Bastianich. This dish is seasonless but I was able to make it this time of year with gorgeous CSA spinach and beautiful sage from my garden. A quick, flavorful, dinner-party worthy, vegetarian pasta!!

Yield: 6 servings

  • 14 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 12 to 24 cups spinach, sliced into 1-2″ ribbons (other greens can also be incorporated such as chard and/or beet greens- stems chopped into 1/4- inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle pasta until al dente. Drain the pappardelle thoroughly, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the scallions and sage and cook over high heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. If using chard or other greens, add the chopped stems at this point and sauté until softened.
  3. Add the spinach and/or additional greens in large handfuls and cook, stirring, until wilted.
  4. Add the pasta, butter and ricotta and toss. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and the Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook over moderately low heat, tossing, until the sauce is thick and creamy, adding more of the pasta water as needed. Transfer the pappardelle to bowls and serve right away, with grated Parmigiano.

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Classic Creamed Spinach

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If I didn’t need to watch my waistline, I would eat creamed spinach every night. It is SO GOOD! 🙂 Sometimes the recipe is over the top. This version seems to offer just the right amount of decadence. We ate it with Baked Mustard Chicken as part of my husband’s birthday dinner. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by David Walzog of Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C.. Wonderful!

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds fresh spinach, large stems discarded
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup water
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Add the spinach by the handful and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the spinach to a colander and squeeze it as dry as possible. Chop the spinach.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in the saucepan. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cream; cook until reduced by half, 6 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add the butter and swirl to incorporate.
  6. Stir in the Parmesan and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the spinach and water, season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat until the spinach is coated with the thickened sauce, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Make Ahead: The creamed spinach can be refrigerated overnight; rewarm over moderately low heat.

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Shrimp & Grits with Tomatoes

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We have a few Easter traditions in our home… the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt, writing a family member’s name on each Easter egg before dyeing it, following the string left by the Easter Bunny, and eating a classic Charleston dish, Shrimp and Grits, on Easter day. A newer tradition has been to attend the sunrise Easter mass at our beach- which starts at 5:30am!! We have only made it 3 or 4 times… the problem is that everyone is exhausted for the rest of the day. We will see how long that tradition lasts! 🙂 This year my kids also made bunny “peep-ka-bobs” or “shish-ka-peeps” (the name is still being worked out…) as an Easter treat. So cute & sweet! This new project is likely to become an annual tradition. 🙂

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This version of shrimp and grits has a wonderful tomato sauce served over parmesan cheese grits. I usually make cheese grits with sharp cheddar cheese and this was such a fabulous alternative. We preferred it! The cheese added just the perfect amount of salty deliciousness. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coarse Ground Yellow Grits. Although a simple dish, the preparation usually requires a group effort because everything is done at the last minute for the best result. I suppose another one of our Easter traditions is to cook this meal together! 🙂

Yield: Serves 8

  • 4 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups coarse ground yellow grits
  • 2 sweet onions, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, shells removed, tails intact
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus a bit more shaved for garnish, if desired
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano, and thyme, coarsely chopped in a food processor
  1. For the grits: Heat 4 cups water, milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle in the grits. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is smooth, thick, and falls easily from a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare tomatoes: Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in white wine, and cook until dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bay leaves, and stir in tomatoes and reserved juice. Season with cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat, and simmer until slightly thickened and the tomatoes have broken down, about 10 minutes.
  3. For the shrimp: Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat to sizzling. Add shrimp, season with salt and black pepper, and saute to sear on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. When grits are thickened, stir in heavy cream and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Keep covered with a tight-fitting lid until ready to serve. When tomatoes are ready, remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the chopped herbs. Cover, and keep warm until shrimp are cooked.
  5. To serve, put a heaping spoonful of grits onto a soup plate. Top with the tomatoes, and arrange the shrimp around the plate. Garnish with freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired.

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