Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garlic Bread

This garlic bread is the perfect accompaniment to my Spaghetti and Meatballs with Homemade Marinara.


1 french baguette, cut in half lengthwise
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4-5 cloves garlic, passed through garlic press, made into a paste, or minced finely
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. italian parsley, chopped finely


Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil. Spread the butter mixture on both halves of the baguette. Put the baguette back together and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil and place both halves of the baguette crust side down back in the oven. Bake for about 5 more minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven; sprinkle both sides with parsley and serve.

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Homemade Marinara

This is my boyfriend's absolute favorite dish and we made it together for his birthday dinner this year. We have used different recipes for spaghetti and meatballs, but over the years we developed and perfected our own recipe and method. You'll never want to order spaghetti and meatballs from a restaurant again.


Extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. basil, julienned
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs plus extra for coating
1 1/2 tbsp. oregano, chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 lb. hot italian sausage
2/3 lb. 85/15 ground beef
2/3 lb. ground veal
1 lb. spaghetti
Crushed red pepper
1 egg
1/3 cup grated parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Coat very large pan or dutch oven with olive oil and heat over medium. Add onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup of the dry red wine. Add San Marzano tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add oregano and continue to simmer.

In a large bowl, mix sausage, beef, veal, egg, onion and carrot mixture, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, basil, pinch of crushed red pepper, 2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Form into golf ball sized meat balls. On a plate or in a baking dish mix 1/4 cup bread crumbs with 1 tsp. kosher salt. Roll meatballs in the breadcrumb mixture. Heat canola oil in large sauce pot over medium high heat. When oil is hot add meatballs but don't crowd the pan. Work in batches if necessary. Brown meatballs on all sides. When meatballs are browned, add to the marinara sauce. Let meatballs simmer in the marinara sauce for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If your tomatoes are bitter, it might be necessary to add a little sugar.)

Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large sauce pot. Cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente. Serve immediately with meatballs and sauce.

Grilled Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwich with Cheddar and Applewood Smoked Bacon

I made these grilled chicken sandwiches for the Fourth of July. Making your own barbecue sauce is simpler than one might think and will liven up a classic barbecue chicken sandwich. This barbecue sauce is also great on a burger.


Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp. bacon fat or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup water
1 cup ketchup
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, sliced
1 tbsp. adobo sauce
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. worchestershire
1/2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika

Grilled chicken sandwiches:
2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
4 sesame seed buns
8 strips bacon, cooked
4 slices of cheddar cheese
1 cup chipotle barbecue sauce (see above)


Heat bacon fat or olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add water and ketchup and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, mustard, molasses, worchestershire, brown sugar, ancho chili powder, and paprika and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into food processor. Pulse in the food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill on medium high heat. Pat chicken breasts dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Place chicken breasts on the grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip chicken and baste the side facing up with a thin layer of barbecue sauce. Flip again after 3-4 minutes and baste the other side. Add cheese and cook for 1 more minute. Toast buns on the grill for the last 30 seconds if desired. Serve chicken with two strips of bacon and some extra barbecue sauce spooned over the top.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Lime Butter

I served this grilled corn as a side dish on the Fourth of July. The butter is smoky and zesty and is the perfect compliment to the sweet corn.


6 ears of corn, still in their husks
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 lime
2 tsp. adobo sauce from chipotle in adobo
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat grill on medium heat. Soak ears of corn in water for at least 10 minutes before grilling. The husks will soak up the water and prevent the corn from burning while helping the corn to steam. Place corn on grill. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender, turning occasionally.

Mix butter, lime zest, and adobo in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon butter mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll the butter mixture into a log. Chill before serving if you want to be able to cut the butter into medallions.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Whole Wheat Linguini with Fresh Tomato Pan Sauce and Sautéed Shrimp

Recently, I have been looking for easy ways to add more whole wheat and whole grains into my diet. Whole wheat pasta has a slightly different texture and taste than regular pasta, so not every sauce works. This sauce, with the fresh tomatoes and sautéed shrimp, tastes great with the slightly nutty whole wheat pasta.

Serves 2 -4


3/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. whole wheat linguini
1 shallot, diced
12 oz. assorted baby tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. basil, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper


In a large sauce pot bring salted water to a boil. (The water should taste like that awful moment when you swallow ocean water.) Add linguini and cook about 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water. The pasta should be al dente.

Meanwhile, coat a large sauté pan with the olive oil and heat over medium. Add shrimp and cook until pink and just cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Add shallots and cook until tender and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes break down and become saucy, 5-10 minutes. Add white wine reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken sauce. Add pasta water if sauce becomes too thick or reduced. Stir in butter until melted. Stir in cooked pasta, shrimp, basil, and parsley. Toss to coat pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with extra parsley and basil before serving. Serve with crusty bread to soak up all of the delicious sauce.