No Muss, No Fuss Rigatoni with Meatballs

Of all the types of pasta on the planet – at lease those we’ve actually tried from the 350 or so in existence – Hubby’s favorite pasta has to be a toss-up between Penne and Rigatoni. If I had to pick between the two, I like Rigatoni for the ridges that seems to help whatever sauce used to cling to the pasta better.

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While we tend to think of pasta as Italian, noodles made with different kinds of grain have been a part of Chinese cooking for more than 7,000 years.

With a few simple ingredients that you might already have in your pantry, in the time it takes to boil noodles, a satisfying supper can be on the table. Add some warm garlic bread and a very basic salad of leafy green with tomato wedges, and the meal is complete.

What to do with leftovers? Spread this pasta dish out in a casserole dish, add more Italian tomatoes, cover and bake for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. It’s two meals in one.

Rigatoni with Meatballs
1 bag (16 oz) Rigatoni Pasta
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Bag Frozen Meatballs(Johnsonville makes a great Italian Meatball)
1 Jar Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
1 Can Dice Italian Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Red Wine, more if desired
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, more if desired (Not the powdery stuff in the green can)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, stir until dissolved.

While water comes to a boil, empty frozen meatballs into a large stockpot. Pour pasta sauce over meatballs. Empty tomatoes, juice and all, over meatballs. Pour wine into the now empty jar of pasta sauce. Secure with lid, shake well to gather any remaining sauce into the wine. Pour into stockpot.

Bring meatballs and sauce to a low boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat and allow to simmer until ready to serve. (Meatballs need to simmer in a low boil for 20 minutes to heat through).

Once water is at a strong boil, add pasta and stir well to encourage “dancing about” in the water. Pasta should be cooked through while still firm to the bite in about 15 minutes.

Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Pour meatballs in sauce over pasta. With a large serving spoon, gently mix sauce into pasta.

Serve with more grated Parmesan Cheese to pass at the table.

Spicy Korean Beef Stir-Fry with Mirin Sauce

Hubby had a strange look on his face as he checked our grocery list this week.

“Is there a problem?” I asked as I slipped on my comfy shoes for shopping.

“What is Mirin and do we have any?” He asked, peering into our pantry.

“Nope.” I smiled. (Our pantry is packed with little bottles and jars of all sorts of things – mainly a smorgasbord of flavored oils and vinegars). “We’ll need to pick some up. Just look in the Oriental section at the store.”

Although sometimes confused with rice wine vinegar, Mirin actually is a sweet rice wine used predominately in Japanese cooking. It doesn’t just add flavor to your food, the shimmering sweetness also gives a beautiful luster to the finished sauce.

When it comes to stir-fry cooking or when I have a lot of little ingredients to add to a dish, I like to use my little metal bowls, not much bigger than a shot glass. They stack easily, don’t take up much room and are great for all sorts of things. These little bowls are wonderful when cooking, letting me line up the ingredients next to the pan, just waiting their turn for addition to whatever I am whipping up. You can weigh/measure ahead of time and have everything at the ready. We also use them for personal add-ons (great for holding chopped chives and bacon bits for baked potatoes or shaved cheese for pastas – you get the picture).

Measuring and holding is also why I have four sets of measuring spoons and stacking measuring cups. While I love lining everything up, it drives Hubby crazy – more little things for the KP crew to deal with.

Spicy Korean Beef Stir-Fry
Mirin Sauce
3 tablespoons Mirin
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a small bowl, combine Mirin, soy sauce and cornstarch. Using a small whisk or spoon, stir well to blend and set aside until ready to use.

Beef Stir Fry
10 oz Flank steak
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, chopped (seeds optional, depending upon desired heat)
1 1/2  teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 cups Bean Sprouts
8 oz Baby Spinach
1/4  cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2  tablespoons Sesame seeds

Place Flank Steak in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once firm but not frozen, slice thin against the grain. Set aside.

Line up small bowls (about the size of a shot glass) to hold the Garlic, Jalapeno Pepper and Ginger. Chop garlic, place in bowl. Finely chop Jalapeno, place in next bowl, and finally grate Ginger into the last little bowl.

Heat  canola oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Swirl pan to distribute the oil up the sides just a little. Spread the thin slices of steak in the wok and brown, about 2 minutes or so, stirring as it browns. (You need to keep an eye on the flank steak so as to not over cook it and the meat will remain tender).

Add Garlic, Jalapeno and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. (The aroma is awesome at this point).

Add the bean sprouts and give them a quick stir to incorporate into the meat. Tear the baby spinach directly into the wok.

Give the Mirin mixture a quick stir just to make sure everything is nicely blended. Pour mixture into the wok and stir gently in a folding motion until the sauce thickens and the spinach is wilted, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the cilantro and sesame oil.

Place stir-fry in a serving bowl or high-rimmed serving platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

This stir-fry can be served alone or over sticky rice. Be sure to have a little soy sauce at the table for those who might want more with the rice.

Korean Spice Stirfry (1)

Memorial Day – More than just Backyard Barbecues and Family Fun

Like just about everyone in America, I look forward to Memorial Day – a three-day weekend with plenty of family, backyard barbecues or picnics and trips to the beaches, parks and forests that abound. Like most of us, I avoid the media bombardment of Blow Out Sales.

I think it’s important, while unofficially kicking off the summer season of family gatherings and grilled foods, to remember the roots of this National Holiday. Today Memorial Day represents a day of remembrance for all of those brave souls who sacrificed their lives in their service to protect and defend the United States of America. Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day? It was a day set aside to honor those killed in the American Civil War. All across the land, in different ways designed to honor fallen soldiers from opposing sides of the conflict, communities came together to lay flowers, flags and ribbons on the graves of their fathers; brothers; sons and husbands. The Civil War was the deadliest struggle in American history, and the wounds to the spirit of a country so bitterly divided ran deep. Some of those wounds remain with us today.

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any other conflict in U.S. history. So bloody was the war that it required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. Since World War I, the holiday has gathered the nation together to honor all men and women who’ve lost their lives in conflict, from the American Revolution to the present day battles.

As we gather with friends and family, let us take a moment to join together as a Nation to remember the sacrifices of others, to bow our heads in silence and to truly give thanks.


MEMORIAL DAY MENU

Meaty Fixings
Chicken: Spiced Rubbed Barbecue Game Hens *
Beef: Tri-Tip Barbecue with Gourmet Rub *
The Usual Suspects: Grilled Hamburgers & Hot Dogs (Your favorites)

Flavorful Sides
Texas Ranch Beans *
Cooler Corn on the Cob *
Potato Salad *

Sweet Endings
Memorial Day Berry Trifle *
Patriotic Fruit Salad *
Red, White and Blue Cupcake (local Bakery)

* Recipes Follow


Meaty Fixings

Spice Rubbed Barbecue Game Hens
4 Game Hens
6 tablespoons Mesquite Seasoning
4 tablespoons New Mexico Chili Seasoning
4 tablespoons Barbecue Seasoning
4 Cups Barbecue Sauce

Remove backbone from game hens. Turn birds over and remove breast bone. Snip wings from breast meat. Discard wings (or freeze for chicken stock). Remove breast from leg/thigh meat. You should have four pieces of meat per hen (two breasts, two dark meat quarters). Rinse well and pat dry.

Mix seasonings in a small bowl. Rub chicken with spices, rubbing both under the skin as well as the skin. Place chicken in a baking dish and let rest on the counter while grill is prepared. (About 30 minutes should do the trick to let the flavors marry and the chicken come to room temperature for even grilling).

Build a fire with a nice pile of hot coals for both direct and indirect grilling.

Grill chicken over hot coals about five minutes per side to sear. Move to indirect heat, close lid and let chicken smoke for about twenty minutes. Turn chicken over and continue to grill about ten minutes longer. White meat will cook faster than dark meat.

Check breasts after about 15 minutes and if necessary place on upper rack to prevent meat from drying out.

Pour barbecue sauce into a microwaveable glass bowl. Baste chicken generously with barbecue sauce. Let cook five more minutes, turn and mop with more sauce. Let cook for five minutes.

Remove chicken from grill. Tent chicken to keep warm. Heat any remaining barbecue sauce in the microwave for about 90 seconds. Serve warm sauce  along side hens. Have plenty of napkins

Tri-Tip Barbecue with a Gourmet Rub
1 Tri-Tip Brisket, about 3 lbs
1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 ½ Teaspoons Sea Salt
½ Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Dijon Style Mustard
¼ Cup Red Wine
¼ Cup Olive Oil
6-8 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary, crushed

Mix all ingredients for gourmet rub. Rub into tri-tip brisket. Wrap brisket in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 2 or 3 hours minimum – the longer the better. Remove from refrigerator, let stand on counter for 45 minutes prior to grilling.

While the tri-tip comes to room temperature, build nice bed of hot coals. Open the bottom and top vents half way, place grate over coals and close lid to heat, about 5 minutes. Clean grate and oil paper towels dipped in vegetable oil.

Raise coals to high position (or lower grate, depending upon grill). Grill meat, fat side up, for 3-5 minutes or until nicely seared. Turn using meat tongs (NEVER stick a fork into it – the juices will run out, and that just makes for a dry hunk of meat) and sear other side.

Lower coals (or raise the grate, depending upon grill), cover and continue to cook meat 7-10 minutes longer. Check for doneness using an instant read thermometer. You’ll want the thickest part at the center to be about 140 degrees. A thick tri-tip might need to be turned for a final time and grilled 5-8 minutes longer.

The key to a juicy piece of meat is to let the meat rest 10-15 minutes after grilling to allow the juices to soak back into the meat rather than run all over the cutting board. Keep in mind that while the meat rests, it will continue to cook, raising the internal temperature as much as ten degrees.

When carving, go ahead and slice on the serving platter. That way, any juices that escape can be spooned over the sliced meat when serving for extra flavor.

Don’t forget the Hamburgers and Hot Dogs with all your favorite fixings.

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Flavorful Sides

Texas Ranch Beans
2 Cups Dried Pinto Beans
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Onion, Diced
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Cup Water
¼ Cup Chili Powder
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
2 Tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Cumin
½ Teaspoon Mexican Oregano
6 Cups Beef Broth
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Pick over beans, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain well.

In the pot the beans are to be cooked in, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions 3-4 minutes or until almost tender. Add garlic, sauté until aromatic about 30 seconds. Transfer onions and garlic to a blender or food processor. DO NOT clean pot; set pot aside.

Add beans and beef broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, allow to boil 1-2 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer. Pour Chili puree into beans, stir to blend. Cover and simmer 2-4 hours (depending upon freshness of beans – may be tender in 2 hours, may take longer). When beans are tender and chili sauce has thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste. DO NOT add salt until the beans are completely cooked or they will become tough and undesirable.

Cooler Corn on the Cob
12-24 Ears of Corn
Boiling Water, enough to cover corn

Husk, clean and trim ears of corn. Place corn in a clean camping cooler. Bring several kettles or pots of water to a boil, enough to cover corn.

Pour boiling water over corn, close lid and let steep for 30-45 minutes.

Corn can be pulled from the cooler when ready to serve and placed on a big serving dish on the buffet tables, or left in the cooler. Just don’t forget a tub of butter and shaker of salt for the finishing touch.

Potato Salad
3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
4 Eggs, hard-boiled
1 Red Onion, minced
2 Celery Stocks, minced
1 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings, warm (Optional)
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoons Mustard
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar plus a sprinkling for potatoes
Kosher Salt & Fresh Black Pepper to taste
¼ Cup Parsley or green onion for garnish

Peel and slice potatoes into large chunks. Place potatoes in a stockpot and cover with 1-inch of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are just tender but not soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle LIGHTLY with red wine vinegar and set aside in refrigerator to cool.

Place eggs in a saucepan, add cold water to cover eggs. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 12-14 minutes, then plunge eggs into cold water to stop cooking process. Once cooled, roll egg on counter to crack the shell. Return eggs to cold water and let sit for about 15 minutes. This will help to make the eggs easier to peel.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine onions, celery, bacon drippings, mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream and red wine vinegar. Whisk to combine. Taste dressing and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Peel and chop 3 eggs. Add to dressing. Cut V marks in 4th egg to create two tulip flowers. Reserve 1 flower, chop other and add to dressing. Taste dressing a second time, adjust seasonings as necessary.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Pour egg dressing over potatoes and toss to coat. Smooth out top. In the center, using the back of a spoon, create a small indentation. Place Egg flower into indentation. Sprinkle top of salad with parsley or chopped green onion for added color. If desired, sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until well chilled.

This salad can be prepared a day in advance. Day old potato salad always seems to have that much more flavor.

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Sweet Endings

Memorial Day Berry Trifle
1 package (3.4-ounce) instant vanilla pudding
2 cups fresh berries strawberries, washed and hulled, plus extra for garnish
2 cups blueberries, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

24 to 36 ladyfingers (equally delicious with buttery pound cake or Angel’s Food Cake)

Slice the strawberries, then toss all of the berries with the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the berries to release their juices.

In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.

To make the layers, set a layer of ladyfingers (around 7 or 8) on the bottom of a large, clear serving bowl. Top with about a third of the berries, then with half of the pudding.
Add another layer of ladyfingers, another third of the berries and juice, and the rest of the pudding.

Add a final layer of ladyfingers and berries. Top with the whipped cream and a berry garnish.

Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Note: If ladyfingers are not available, a loaf of Pound or Angle Food Cake cut into cubes make a wonderful substitute. Okay to make late in the morning, but not the night before or the cake becomes soggy.

Patriotic Fruit Salad
16 oz of Strawberries, washed and cut in half
1 pint of blue berries, rinsed
3 bananas sliced in thick chunks
1/8 cup of honey
1 fresh lime

Wash and drain all of the fruit. Slice strawberries and bananas. Combine fruit in an attractive serving bowl. Add blueberries. Set aside
Microwave the for 10 seconds before juicing. This will cause the limes to render more juice.
In a small bowl whisk together the honey and freshly squeezed lime juice.
Drizzle the honey lime glaze over the sliced fruit. Gently stir with a spoon to combine fruit with the glaze.
Refrigerate to chill until ready to serve.

And from your favorite bakery . . . Red, White and Blue Cupcakes!

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Let’s Pack a Picnic Together

With summer upon us, it’s time to think about picnics and the great outdoors.

Rosemarie's Kitchen

I don’t know where you live, but I live in Sunny California.  More specifically,  in the central valley region.  There’s a lot of farmland here – miles and miles of river-enriched soil. Currently we are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recorded history.  That’s bad . . . very, very bad.  We are also enjoying unseasonably warm days.  While that seems good right now, I’d be willing to bet in the long run all this premature sunshine is probably equally bad news – especially for the farmers.  If the warm weather now is a sign of things to come, it’s going to destroy the crops and food prices are bound to soar – everything from fresh produce to meats will sky-rocket (no grazing land, bad – no grain feed, bad).  So let’s not dwell on things we cannot control (like the weather) and make the most of warm winter…

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A Simple Backyard Supper with Flavors of Italy

Summer is finally here with a vengeance! It was cold and rainy mid-week, only to jump into the upper 90s by the weekend. A shock to the system to say the least. The last thing anyone wanted to do was to be stuck in the kitchen cooking. No, truth be told, a bowl of ice cream sounded like the perfect solution.

As wonderful as good ice cream is, it’s not much of a supper no matter how hot the day may be. We needed a good meal that wasn’t going to heat up the house. Yet it was far too warm for Hubby to be tending to a fire. Whatever we had, it had to cook up on the grill quickly. The plan was to make my Grilled Pork Chops with an Italian Relish. After all, twelve minutes or so on the barbecue would be all the “cooking” required. Originally, I had planned to serve up my chops with a side of Creamy Herb Risotto and Smokey Pan Seared Asparagus. While the asparagus would not have required much effort, a good Risotto requires a great deal of attention over a hot stove. Change of plans. And the results were beautiful!

Recently I made a simple pasta with a creamy pepper sauce. Mind you, there are only three of us, so a pound of pasta was more than we could possibly consumed in an evening. This pasta warmed nicely in the microwave. With only a slight modification, my Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli rounded out our Italian Supper perfectly.

Now I’d like to share the meal with you. Remember, the pasta can be made a day ahead of time, then gently warmed in the microwave for about 5 minutes. What a great supper for simple entertaining – bright, bursting with flavor. A real “wow” at the table. Serve with a good bottle of Italian wine, and enjoy!

Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish
¾ lb Roma Tomatoes, seeded, chopped
¾ Cup Chopped Red Onion
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped (about 1-2 tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
4-6 Thick, Center-cut Pork Chops, 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste

Seed and chop tomatoes, place in a medium-size bowl. When chopping the tomatoes, leave some in larger chunks, some in smaller pieces for a less-uniformed appearance.

Chop Red Onions, add to tomatoes. If using fresh herbs (best) chop fresh basil and oregano. Add to tomato mixture. Pour Red Wine Vinegar over tomato mixture, toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 1-2 hours to allow flavors to mature and fully marry.

Arrange pork chops in a glass baking dish just large enough to hold the chops snugly. Salt and pepper the chops, turn season-side down. (This will prevent the seasoning from washing away when the marinade is added).

Pour relish into a strainer over a glass bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to drain on its own. To complete the draining process and get as much liquid as possible for the pork chops, gently press relish to remove any remaining liquid without mashing tomatoes. Spoon or pour liquid over pork.
Cover glass dish with plastic wrap and let pork chops rest on the counter in liquid goodness for about 40 minutes to an hour, turning occasionally.

While pork is marinating, prepare barbecue grill to about medium-heat. Since the pork is cooked over the heat directly, you don’t want the grill to get so hot that the chops burn or dry out before they are fully cooked.

When the fire is ready, grill pork until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.
Transfer pork chops to serving platter. Tent to keep warm and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. When ready to serve, spoon most of the relish over the pork chops, reserving some to pass table side.

Angle Hair Pasta with Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce
Pasta:
1 lb Angel Hair Pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large stock pot, bring lightly salted water to a full, rapid boil.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. (For pasta to cook properly, there needs to be a large amount of rapidly boiling water. The pasta should  freely “dance about” in the water as it cooks. A little oil helps the pasta to dance).

Add pasta, return to a rapid boil and cook until tender but firm, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and rinse quickly under warm water. Allow pasta to drain completely. (Don’t worry about pasta cooling while it drains, it will warm nicely in the sauce).

Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce
1 Jar (12 oz) Roasted Red Peppers with Juice, reserve ¼-cup chopped peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 Cups heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Puree roasted peppers with juice in blender. Set aside.

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet with high sides. (Remember, this pan needs to hold both the sauce and pasta). Add garlic; cook 2 minutes over medium-low heat until fragrant.

Add pepper puree, cream, salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, cook sauce over medium heat until hot and bubbly, about 6 minutes.  Stir in ¼ cup cheese. The sauce in now ready for the pasta.

Combine angel hair pasta with pepper mixture. Let pasta warm in sauce over low heat.

Garnish with Color:
½ cup fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips
¼-cup roasted peppers
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Transfer pasta, sauce and all, to large serving bowl.

NOTE: If making ahead of time, allow pasta to cool. Place in a Tupperware container or other microwave safe container with a tight-fitting lid. When ready to serve, warm in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl and enjoy!

Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli with Italian Cheese Garnish
1/2 lb Broccoli
1 Tablespoon Garlic-Herb Blend (McCormick’s has a nice blend)
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieced
1 gallon size zip-lock freezer bag
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Cut broccoli into individual pieces and place into the bag. Season with Garlic-Herb seasoning. Shake bag a little to distribute seasoning. Lay bag flat on a micro-wave safe plate. Distribute pieces of butter throughout the bag.

Seal bag, leaving small gap at the center of closure to vent. Micro-wave on HIGH 90 seconds. Turn bag over, micro-wave on HIGH an additional 90 seconds. Check broccoli for doneness. It should be hot and tender-crisp. If still firm, turn bag again and micro-wave on HIGH for another minute.

Repeat until broccoli is heated through, tender but not “soft”.

CAREFULLY open bag (it will be steaming hot) and empty into a serving dish. Toss gently to incorporate seasoning and butter completely. Just before serving, sprinkle cheese over top of broccoli and serve.


Suggested Simple Dessert: Angle Food Cake with Luscious Glazed Strawberries

Capelli d’angelo with Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce

After a long day away from home, we all yearn for a supper that is easy to prepare and satisfying to both our taste buds and hungry tummies. What could be easier than to boil a big pot of pasta, then toss all that delicate pasta goodness in a rich, creamy sauce? I love this sauce, be it over pasta (tonight’s main entrée) or chicken or better yet gently sautéed shrimp. If you like, this particular pasta dish could be elevated to the point of excellence by adding a handful of sautéed garlic shrimp just before serving. Why only a handful?  The pasta in its rich, creamy pink sauce is the star of the evening.

Capelli d’angelo, better known in America as Angle Hair Pasta, is the perfect choice when you want to pair a light, refined sauce with a delicate cut of pasta. Believe me when I tell you that this sauce is quick and easy to make. It is rich without overpowering the noodles, kissing everything in pale pink goodness.

Angle Hair Pasta with Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce
Pasta:
1 lb Angel Hair Pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large stock pot, bring lightly salted water to a full, rapid boil.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. (For pasta to cook properly, there needs to be a large amount of rapidly boiling water. The pasta should  freely “dance about” in the water as it cooks. A little oil helps the pasta to dance).

Add pasta, return to a rapid boil and cook until tender but firm, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and rinse quickly under warm water. Allow pasta to drain completely. (Don’t worry about pasta cooling while it drains, it will warm nicely in the sauce).

Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce
1 Jar (12 oz) Roasted Red Peppers with Juice, reserve ¼-cup chopped peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 Cups heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Puree roasted peppers with juice in blender. Set aside.

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet with high sides. (Remember, this pan needs to hold both the sauce and pasta). Add garlic; cook 2 minutes over medium-low heat until fragrant.

Add pepper puree, cream, salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, cook sauce over medium heat until hot and bubbly, about 6 minutes.  Stir in ¼ cup cheese. The sauce in now ready for the pasta.

Combine angel hair pasta with pepper mixture. Let pasta warm in sauce over low heat.

Garnish with Color:
½ cup fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips
¼-cup roasted peppers
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Transfer pasta, sauce and all, to large serving bowl.

Note: If you feel the ratio of sauce to pasta is too much, pull pasta from the sauce and pour just the right amount of sauce to your liking over the pasta. Toss to blend.

Top with reserved chopped peppers, ¼ cup cheese and basil strips. Sprinkle with Italian Cheese Blend and serve.

Enjoy! (This is especially good with warm bread and a colorful salad such as a Caprese).

Happy Mother’s Day

Before I disappear into my kitchen to put the finishing touches on our Mother’s Day Tea Party, I wanted take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.

If you are still looking for ideas from the kitchen, let me suggest a few:

A Simple Tea for Mother’s Day

Assorted Fruit Platter serve with Mimosas:
Pink Lemonade Mimosa
Assorted Berries (Strawberries, blackberries and Raspberries)
Mellon Balls (Honey Dew, Cantaloupe and/or Water Mellon)
Grapes and or Kiwi

Tea Service:
Selecting Teas

Tea Sandwiches:
Cucumber-Dill Canapés
Deviled Ham on Mini Croissants
Dill Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
Feta, Roasted Peppers and Chive Tea Sandwiches
Red Pepper and Feta Roast Beef Finger Sandwiches

Cakes and Pastries:
Easy Boston Cream Cupcakes
Strawberry Cream Tartlets
White Chocolate Mousse Pastries


Mother’s Day Brunch – Country Style

Beverages:
Blueberry Mimosa served in Lime Sugared Rim Champagne Glasses
Fresh Orange Juice
French Press Coffee

The Buffet Table:
Chocolate Chip Pancake Casserole
Cinnamon Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake
Hobo Cast Iron Skillet Potatoes
Scrambled Egg, Sausage and Cheese Pull-Apart Sandwich Rolls
Biscuits and Gravy Casserole Style

Assorted Breakfast Meats:
Apple Wood Smoked Bacon,
Country Sausage Patties
Vermont Maple Sausage Links


Mother’s Day Menu 1

Beautiful Scallop Supper
Pan Seared Scallops with a Lemon Sauce
Fire Grilled Asparagus Spears

Salad Course
Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

Dreamy Dessert
Chocolate Mouse


Mother’s Day Menu 2

Elegant Steak and Potatoes Supper:
Steak Oscar
Roast New Potatoes with Caviar & Crème Fraîche

Heavenly Dessert:
Orange Chiffon Cake with Lemon-Orange Buttercream Frosting