Sunday, September 9, 2012

Prosciutto wrapped Figs

The Boy and I had some friends over for dinner a bit ago and I needed to make an appetizer to fend off hungry guests while I finished cooking.  My parents had given me some figs from their tree so I went with that.  Wrapped them in some Prosciutto, put a little dolop of bleu cheese on top and drizzled with some really well aged balsamic vinegar.  Bam, appetizers served!

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs

4 figs, cut into sixths
8 slices of prosciutto, sliced into thirds long ways
2 tbsp blue cheese or gorgonzola
good balsamic vinegar
3 basil leaves, sliced very thinly

Wrap the prosciutto around each fig, crumble some blue cheese on top.  Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top and garnish with the basil.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Baked Pasta and Veggies

This recipe appeared one night after facing a perfect storm of (1) lots of veggies and very little meat in my fridge (2) lack of inspiration, and (3) craving pasta.  Trying to convince yourself that eating pasta with "lots of veggies" somehow reduces the carb intake may be cheating a bit, but who cares.  This dish couldn't have been easier to make and The Boy and I were really happy with the turn out.  We may have even eaten it cold the next day.

Baked Pasta with Veggies

Veggies and Pasta:
4 slices of bacon, cut into strips
left over cooked shredded chicken (if you have it) - optional
1 onion, sliced
6 - 8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 bag of chopped kale
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

1/2 bag of penne pasta

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a dutch oven (like my fancy new Le Creuset), cook the bacon strips with a little oil on medium heat til crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Dump the onion, mushrooms and pepper into the pot and saute with the bacon fat for 4-5 minutes, until cooked a little bit.  Add the kale, garlic and optional chicken, continue to cook.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Return the bacon to the pot and keep everything warm on low heat

While this is cooking down, cook your pasta in salted boiling water until a few minutes before al dente.

Now onto the Bechamel Sauce.

Bechamel Sauce:
3 - 4 tbsp butter
3 - 4 tbsp Wondra flour
2 cups of non fat milk
1/2 tsp graded nutmeg
1/2 tsp powderd mustard
Salt and Pepper
1/2/ - 3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used gouda and white cheddar)
couple dashes of chipotle hot sauce

Melt the butter in a sauce pan on medium heat, add the Wondra and whisk for 2 minutes.  Add the milk, nutmeg, mustard and S&P and whisk until the milk thickens (a few minutes).  Add the cheese and hot sauce, let it all melt and get acquainted with one another, finally taste for seasoning.

Dump the pasta in with the veggies and add the Bechamel sauce as well. Mix to combine.  Shred a little bit of cheese on top if you wish and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Let rest for a few minutes before serving.  Enjoy!