Sunday, March 09, 2014

Two Rapid Recipes We Must Relate

1) Fettuccine with Tomato Butter. Queue the broken record because here we go again, a recipe once more from the radical minimalist kitchen of Rozanne Gold. Talk about simple, fast and possible with even an understocked pantry, this dish could obviously be made with spaghetti, linguine etc. You do need tomato paste and not sauce however, so add it to the shopping list if not on your shelves. Start of course by bringing water to a rolling bowl in a large saucepan or soup pot. When the water begins to boil add enough salt to match the salinity of sea water. Cook 1 lb. fettuccine  according to package instructions - fresh will only take a few minutes, dried up to 10 or 12. Whole wheat pasta, so compatible with thick, chunky sauces, is not recommended here. Ms. Gold suggests spinach fettuccine although we used the plain kind as it was readily available. While the pasta cooks heat in a small saucepan 6 oz. tomato paste with 1/4 cup water over a gentle flame. Stir to combine and add 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces. Once these ingredients have been incorporated season to your taste with salt and black pepper. Drain pasta - don't overcook! - and return to the pan along with 3 T. reserved pasta cooking water. Add the tomato-butter sauce to the pasta and toss well. Serve hot, topped with grated Parmesan if desired. A lively green salad is a welcome contrast to the pasta's richness. Locked in permanent winter and craving hardiness, Cafe Drake HRV plated ours up with roasted Brussels sprouts and red onions. 
2) Vietnamese Roasted Eggplant Salad. Don't let our murky photography fool you. This side dish sings with sharp, clear flavors that make it a natural partner to all roasted or grilled meats. Excellent with Eastern and Western meals alike. Above, Cafe Drake HRV enjoyed the eggplant salad accompanied by merely brown rice and baked beans. Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees while you slice 1 large Italian eggplant into round pieces about 1/2" thick. Throw the slices on a large baking sheet (or use two smaller ones) and toss with just a couple of T. of vegetable oil. Arrange slices in a single layer on baking sheet and roast until soft and browned, turning once during the process. Timing varies here so check the eggplant often to prevent burning. When very soft remove eggplant from oven and add to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mix the dressing: 3 T. fish sauce, 2 T. water, 3 T. lime juice or unseasoned rice vinegar and 1-2 T. sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and pour the dressing over the eggplant. Now add 1 minced hot green chili and 3-4 T. finely chopped cilantro. Mix well and set aside for 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve topped with slivered scallions. A couple of tablespoons of minced fresh mint leaves is a nice but optional finish.

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