Un Piatto Della Pasta per Murszewski

Originally, I was going to use Campanelle pasta for this dish as it was one of the pastas suggested on the Hungry 4 More Facebook Fan Site. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any after two different stores. So, Candice here’s your pasta dish.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 oz. Broccoli Rabe, stems trimmed off, leaves and florets rinsed well
  • 4 oz. Quadrefiore pasta (1 1/2 cup)
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3-1/2 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage, removed from casing
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup Chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated, plus extra for garnish
  • Dried Basil for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until bright green and tender, approximately 2 min. Transfer broccoli rabe to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and gently pat dry with paper towels to remove excess water.

Quadrefiore Pasta Dish

Quadrefiore Pasta Dish

Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions, and drain.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it up. Cook until the sausage is browned and almost cooked through, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until the garlic is lightly golden, about 1 min. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth is reduced by about half, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, Kalamata olives, and lemon zest. Cook stirring until hot for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pasta and Pecorino Romano and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with additional Pecorino Romano and basil.

Variations:

Try Campanelle as a substitute for the pasta as I originally planed.

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Definition: Grades of Olive Oil

Over 750 million olive trees are cultivated worldwide, 95% of which are in the Mediterranean region. Most of global production comes from Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The grades of oil extracted from the olive fruit can be classified as:

  • Virgin means the oil was produced by the use of physical means and no chemical treatment. The term virgin oil referring to production is different from Virgin Oil on a retail label.
  • Refined means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes (characterized as defects) and neutralize the acid content (free fatty acids). Refined oil is commonly regarded as lower quality than virgin oil; the retail labels extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil cannot contain any refined oil.
  • Pomace olive oil means oil extracted from the pomace using chemical solvents, mostly hexane, and by heat.

Grades of Olive Oil

  • Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste.
  • Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has an acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.
  • Pure olive oil. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.
  • Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
  • Olive-pomace oil is refined pomace olive production oil possibly blended with some virgin production oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely sold at retail; it is often used for certain kinds of cooking in restaurants.
  • Lampante oil is olive oil not suitable as food; lampante comes from olive oil’s long-standing use in oil-burning lamps. Lampante oil is mostly used in the industrial market.

Label wording

Olive oil vendors choose the wording on their labels very carefully.

  • “100% Pure Olive Oil” is often the lowest quality available in a retail store: better grades would have “virgin” on the label.
  • “Made from refined olive oils” means that the taste and acidity were chemically controlled.
  • “Light olive oil” means refined olive oil, with less flavour. All olive oil has 120 kcal/tbsp. (34 kJ/ml).
  • “From hand-picked olives” implies that the oil is of better quality, since producers harvesting olives by mechanical methods are inclined to leave olives to over-ripen in order to increase yield.
  • “First cold press” is generally a purely commercial wording with no factual meaning. It suggests that the oil in bottles with this label is the “first oil that came from the first press” of the olives and that no heat is used. This is not correct.
    First of all, “cold” does not define any precise temperature. A certain exception is made for the European regulation which requires that the processing temperature be below 27 °C in order to be named “cold pressed”. In cooler regions like Tuscany or Liguria the olives collected in November and ground often at night are too cold to be processed efficiently without heating. The paste is regularly heated above the environmental temperatures, which may be as low as 10-15 °C, in order to extract the oil efficiently with only physical means. Olives pressed in warm regions like Southern Italy or Northern Africa may be pressed at significantly higher temperatures although not heated. While it is important that the pressing temperatures be as low as possible (generally below 35 °C) there is no international reliable definition of “cold pressed”.
    Furthermore there is no “second” press of virgin oil, so the term “first press” is meaningless.
  • The label may indicate that the oil was bottled or packed in a stated country. This does not necessarily mean that the oil was produced there. The origin of the oil may sometimes be marked elsewhere on the label; it may be a mixture of oils from more than one country

Retail grades in the United States from the USDA

As the United States is not a member, the IOOC retail grades have no legal meaning in that country; terms such as “extra virgin” may be used without legal restrictions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently lists four grades of olive oil. These grades were established in 1948, and are based on acidity, absence of defects, odor and flavor:

  • U.S. Grade A or U.S. Fancy possesses a free fatty acid content of not more than 1.4% and is “free from defects”;
  • U.S. Grade B or U.S. Choice possesses a free fatty acid content of not more than 2.5% and is “reasonably free from defects”;
  • U.S. Grade C or U.S. Standard possesses a free fatty acid content of not more than 3.0% and is “fairly free from defects”;
  • U.S. Grade D or U.S. Substandard possesses a free fatty acid content greater than 3.0% and “fails to meet the requirements of U.S. Grade C”.

source

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A Little Bit of Everything

The basis of this dish comes from my mom – “Mother Unit”. It was one of the first dishes I asked her to teach me. I’ve taken it and tweaked it over the years. If you are looking for an easy but filling comfort food meal, this is as good a place to start as any.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb Ground Beef 95% lean or better
  • 1/2 lb Ground Pork
  • 1/2 lb Ground Lamb
  • 1/2 lb Ground Bison
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 2 large Jalapenos
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 2 10 oz cans of Cream of Mushroom
  • 3 lbs Red Potatoes “C” size
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 4 tablespoons Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk
  • Shredded Mozzarella

Directions:

Meat and vegetable mixture

Meat and vegetable mixture

Start by cutting the potatoes into 1/4″ to 1/2″ cubes. Added these to a large pot with water and boil for 45 minutes. The rest of the dish can be prepared while the potatoes boil. Chop the bell peppers and onion into 1/4″ to 1/2″ sized pieces. Cut and de-seed the jalapenos and  into 1/4″ to 1/2″ sized pieces. Peel the carrots and slice into small slices. In a seperate, small sauce pan, blanch the carrots for 3-5 minutes. In a large pan, I use a Paella pan, add the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beef, pork, bison, lamb, in that order separating and stirring in each for 1 to minutes before adding the next. Once all meat has been added, add 2 tablespoons of salt and pepper and one tablespoon of oregano and basil. Continue stirring and mixing until all of the  meat has been browned. Add the two cans of cream of mushroom and thoroughly mix. Let stand on heat for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove to deep casserole dishes, (I have to use 2). The casserole dishes should be filled approximately 1 1/2″  deep.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After the potatoes have been boiled, drain and add butter cut into small pieces, 2 tablespoons of fresh ground pepper, and 1/2 cup milk. After the butter is mostly melted, use a hand mixer to mix the potatoes, add milk as necessary. Remember you can always add milk but can never take it away. I always mix in an empty sink as the hand mixer may spray some potatoes out of the pot.

Layer the top of the meat and vegetable mixture with an even layer of the mashed potatoes. Top with a layer of  Mozzarella cheese, and place in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve.

Variations:

When fresh English Peas are in season, I will add a cup when I add the meat.

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Oompa Loompa Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cornish Game Hens
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 Lemons

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 deg. Separate skin from the breasts and put small to medium pats of butter under the skins. Place stems of rosemary under the skin as well. Smash the garlic and place 1-2 cloves under as well. Rub the top with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place lemon slices in the cavity of the hens along with a few cloves of the smashed garlic. Place in the oven till the skin is brown. Use a meat thermometer to tell if the chicken is done. Probably 20 minutes or so. Baste as needed.

Notes:

Don’t trust the popping things that comes in your chicken or turkey. they aren’t as deep and don’t measure as well. Use a good thermometer. They are about $10-$15 for a good one and will last you a long time. Great investment. You can use this recipe for chicken breasts as well and it makes a great, healthy, cheap meal! Enjoy!!

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Simple Pad Thai

Simple Pad ThaiA very simple and quick recipe for Pad Thai. Being single, I can whip this up pretty quick when I need a meal and don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

2 oz Pad Thai noodles
10 medium shrimp, peeled deveined, tails removed
3 tablespoons pepper infused extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon Teriyaki Ginger rub (Adams Reserve)
Dried Cilantro leaves
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Directions:

Soak Pad Thai noodles in warm water for at least 10 minutes until soft, salt can be added to the water if desired. I put them in a medium sauce pan over low heat. While noodles are soaking peel, devein and remove the tails from the shrimp, chop garlic, and slice shallot. In a medium skillet or wok, over medium-high to high heat, add olive oil, garlic, shallots and shrimp. Saute until shrimp become pink and opaque. Remove and set aside, leaving oil. Add eggs to the skillet and scramble until cooked. Reduce heat to medium-low. Drain and add noodles, Teriyaki sauce, Teriyaki ginger rub, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir fry until thoroughly mixed and sauce is absorbed. Add back in shrimp, shallots and garlic. Mix well. Remove to dish and garnish with cilantro leaves and Sriracha sauce.

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