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Ripe for the picking

Story, 1D.

Shellfish and Fresh Vegetable Pasta

Vegetable Sauce:

1 large, sweet onion, chopped fine

3 cloves fresh garlic, diced

Olive oil for frying

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin

1 large, ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped fine

2 ounces black olives, sliced

{ pound mushrooms, sliced

\ cup fresh basil, sliced

\ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

\ cup white wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

{ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Linguine:

8 ounces linguine

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Shellfish:

2 dozen clams

2 dozen mussels

2 cups water

1 cup white wine

2 gloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons onions, chopped fine

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine

Sauce: Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add pepper, tomato and cook another 3 minutes until softened. Add olives, mushrooms, basil, parsley and wine; simmer 3 more minutes until flavors are blended. Reserve; cover to keep warm.

Linguine: Drop linguine into large pot of boiling water with teaspoon olive oil and salt. Cook 6-8 minutes, al dente. While linguine is cooking, prepare shellfish.

Shellfish: Keep clams and mussels covered with damp paper towel in refrigerator until used. If any shellfish are open, discard. Never store them in water, on ice or in an airtight container. Scrub under cool running water to clean.

Bring water, wine, garlic, onion, parsley and basil to boil in a large pot. Drop shellfish into boiling mixture; cook until shells open.

While shellfish is cooking, drain pasta, place it in bowl, toss with reserved vegetable sauce until flavors are thoroughly blended. Place pasta mixture on large, flat platter. The shellfish should be starting to open. As each one opens, immediately remove it and place on platter around pasta or in a separate bowl. Sprinkle pasta with additional parsley, basil and Parmesan. If desired, pour broth from shellfish over pasta. It is also delicious to drink by itself. Serves 4-6.

Note: This dish makes a gorgeous presentation. It is important that everything be finished cooking at the same time so that you can place it artfully on your platter and serve it immediately.

Chicken Breast with Oven Dried Tomatoes

1 cup red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

4 plum tomatoes, sliced in rounds, \-inch thick

1 large, ripe tomato, sliced in rounds, \-inch thick

\ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

6 chicken breasts

{ cup white wine

1 Vidalia or other sweet summer onion, sliced thin

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons flesh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano

Lay out tomatoes in flat baking pan. Brush with just enough olive oil to make them glisten. Sprinkle sugar over all. Bake at 250 degrees 1-2 hours. After the first hour, taste them often and, when you like their flavor, remove from oven.

Place chicken breasts in large baking dish. Combine baked tomatoes with remaining olive oil, wine, onions, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and oregano and spread on chicken breasts. Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees or until tender. Serves 6.

Garden Vegetable Risotto

{ cup shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

{ cup yellow pepper, sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

{ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1{ cups arborio rice, rinsed in colander

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, boiling

1 cup white wine

{ cup carrots, sliced in rounds

{ cup Japanese eggplant, sliced in rounds

{ cup mushrooms, halved

{ cup baby asparagus, halved

1 cup cherry or baby pear tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

1 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced

{ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In heavy skillet saute shallots, garlic and yellow pepper in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add rice; cook until grains are coated but not browned.

Increase heat, add broth, { cup at a time, stirring frequently, for the next 15 minutes. Add wine, carrots, eggplant; cook 10 more minutes. Add mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes; cook 5 minutes more. All liquid should be absorbed and the rice tender but not firm.

Remove from heat. Sprinkle with chives and Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Broiled Eggplant with Sun-Dried

and Plum Tomato Sauce

2 large purple eggplants

Olive oil as needed

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large sweet Vidalia onion, minced

8 cups sweet plum tomatoes, pureed

{ cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in 1 cup water for an hour, then chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt, coarsely ground

Freshly ground pepper to taste

{ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced

{ cup fresh thyme, chopped

{ cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cut eggplant into {- to }-inch slices. Brush with olive oil. Broil 5 minutes, until brown. Turn and brown the other side. Drain, then remove to baking pan. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil. When light golden brown, add plum and sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Bring to boil, lower flame, simmer for 40 minutes. Add basil and thyme. Pour tomato sauce over eggplant, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, bake for 15 minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly, and eggplant is tender. Serves 6.

Golden Zucchini and Tomatoes

1 sweet onion, sliced thin

3 cloves garlic, pressed

Salt to taste

{ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Olive oil for frying

4 golden zucchini, sliced (green zucchini can be substituted)

1 large, ripe tomato, peeled and chopped

{ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Saute onion, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes, in oil for 3 minutes. Add zucchini, tomato; cook 5-7 minutes. Add fresh herbs the last minute of cooking. If you run out of oil, add a splash of boiling water.

Garnish with whole, fresh herbs. Serves 4.

Panzanella

3 cups day-old French bread cubes

2 cloves garlic, diced

4 flat anchovy fillets (optional)

1 tablespoon capers (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

} cup extra virgin olive oil

\ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 scant tablespoon red wine vinegar

{ cup cucumber, coarsely chopped

1 cup red, yellow or orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 cup red onion, chopped

1{ cups ripe red or yellow tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

{ cup fresh basil, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread on baking sheet in single layer; bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. In a wooden salad bowl, mash garlic, anchovies and capers to a pulp. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar; stir to blend flavors.

Toss dressing with bread, cucumber, sweet peppers, onion, tomato and basil. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

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