Archive | Pasta and Rice RSS feed for this section

Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini over Spinach and Mushroom Salad

24 Jan

Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini with Spinach and Mushroom Salad

This is a simple and easy salad with a really big impact in terms of flavor.  The rich, caramelized mushrooms in both their simple sautéed form and inside of the arancini create a meatiness that contrasts really well with the freshness of the baby spinach and simple lemon juice dressing.  The arancini adds great texture, acting almost as a warm crouton on the outside and a creamy, cheese-y bite on the inside.

This serves either as a lovely light entrée or an excellent starter salad.  By increasing or decreasing the size of the arancini, you can make this more or less filling.  This makes an excellent weeknight meal because it comes together so quickly and uses up leftovers.

Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini over Spinach and Mushroom Salad

1 1/2 cups leftover red wine and mushroom risotto

2 1/8″ thin slices fresh mozzarella

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

3-4 tbs. canola oil

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced

2  tbs. olive oil

6-8 cups fresh baby spinach

1 lemon, juiced

Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Using your hands, combine risotto and the egg.  Season risotto mixture with salt and pepper.  Take about 1/2 cup of risotto mixture and form into a patty with your hands.  Place mozzarella slice on the patty and press into patty.  Top with another 1/4 cup or so of risotto mixture.  Coat evenly with bread crumbs.  Repeat one time with remaining risotto, cheese, and bread crumbs.

In a frying pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add mushrooms to olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, for about 8-10 minutes.

As onions are cooking, add risotto patties to the frying pan with canola oil.  Cook 5-7 minutes per side until deep golden brown and heated through.

As mushrooms and risotto patties are cooking, place spinach greens in a bowl.

Top spinach greens with mushrooms and then arancini.  Top with lemon juice and serve immediately.

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

21 Jan

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

It’s been way, way too long since I’ve posted.  First it was finals, then a new kitten (check after the jump for super adorable kitten pics) and the holidays and moot court brief writing, then we went on our belated honeymoon to Toronto, then it was a mad rush to finish our brief, and then classes started and I went back to work and we started oral argument practice for moot court … basically, life happened.  And unlike my usual “life happened” scenario, this one did not involve cooking.  Zak took the reins in the kitchen because I was often home late or eating at one of the few options around school as my teammates and I were locked in the moot court room brief writing until midnight or later (basically, a lot of Subway and a couple times of treating ourselves to pizza and salad or burgers when the thought of another six inch sub made us want to cry).  I actually made this a week or so ago, because risotto is perfect to make when you want something mindless but wonderfully satisfying.  I stood by the stove, reading other competitor’s briefs and stirring, stirring, stirring until the risotto was as creamy as could be, then added some mushrooms and … yum.  A nice bowl of simple comfort food, with a hint of red wine flavor lurking behind the umami of the mushrooms and herbiness of tarragon and rosemary.

Normally, I am not quite as fastidious about stirring when I make risotto as I was this time, and in retrospect I regret it.  This was absolutely divine because it was super, super creamy.  Since I have no shame, I will admit to you that I actually licked my bowl.

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

1 1/2 cups red wine

4 cups water

1 cup tarragon, on the stem

2-3 sprigs rosemary, on the stem

4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

Salt and pepper

1 cup arborio rice

2-3 tbs. olive oil

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 tbs. butter

Parmesan cheese, to taste

In a medium sauce pan, combine red wine, tarragon, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce heat to a simmer.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once shimmering, add arborio rice.  Cook, stirring frequently, until rice is opaque.  Reduce heat to low.

1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, add in red wine and herb mixture.  Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until liquid is nearly absorbed.  Repeat, stirring continuously or very frequently, for about 30-45 minutes, until rice is creamy and nearly cooked through.

In a medium sauté pan, add butter.  Melt over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Pour, with any excess liquid, into the risotto.  Stir to combine, and continue cooking risotto by adding liquid and stirring, until rice is cooked through.

Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Continue reading

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

7 Oct

As I was reading for First Amendment (which, incidentally, is the weirdest area of law I have so far encountered in my studies), I was day dreaming about what to make for lunch.  And like a bolt of lightning, it hit me – I hadn’t made mac and cheese in a good long time.  Especially not the baked variety. And, because I am a cheese monster, I knew I had all of the ingredients necessary to make a pretty bad ass version on hand.

The combination of flavors in this particular mac and cheese is really stellar.  The Jarlsberg has a pungent sharpness, the ricotta a straightforward creaminess, and the pecorino romano a sharp bite.  The vegetable stock adds a rich layer of flavor – and takes the calories down several notches, which is always a plus.  All of those flavors are reinforced and highlighted by the bright, sharp Dijon mustard and slightly sweet heat of the New Mexico chile powder.  The sauce was extremely creamy – and had that awesome, melt-y, string-y thing going on where you grab a noodle and the cheese just oozes in beautiful, bendy strings of glory.  The bottom and top of the casserole both crisped up beautifully to act as a contrast to the creamy cheese.

So if you’re looking for a slightly fancier-than-average, creamier-than-average, more-flavorful-than-average macaroni and cheese … I suggest you start shredding up some Jarlsberg.

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

1/2 box pasta (I used penne rigate)

2 tbs. butter

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, shredded

3 tbs. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. New Mexican chile powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2-3 tbs. Italian bread crumbs

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a medium sauce pan of water to a boil.  When boiling, add noodles and cook two minutes less than package instructions.

As soon as you add the noodles, melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  While whisking, slowly add flour.  Don’t worry if it is slightly clumpy toward the end.

Continuously whisking, add the vegetable stock.  Whisk until smooth and creamy.  If any liquid remains, cook until it evaporates.

Add cheese and whisk to combine into a creamy sauce.  Stir in mustard and chile powder.  Taste for seasonings, and add salt and pepper as necessary.

At this point, the noodles should be ready to drain.  Drain noodles and then add the noodles to the cheese sauce.  Stir to evenly combine.

Spray a small casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Transfer the noodles to the casserole dish.  Top with the bread crumbs and spray again with nonstick.

Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until bread crumb topping is light golden brown and the cheese sauce bubbles.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

One Pan Green Chile and Onion Cheesy Rice with Pinot Szechuan Sauce

3 Jul

I was in the mood for a hearty dish with a lot of flavor, but I was emphatically not in the mood to do a whole lot of dishes.  So I conceptualized a baked cheesy rice and beans dish that could be made in one pan.  The key here, of course, is to use an oven proof pan, preferably cast iron because it will create a nice crust along the sides and bottom of the rice.  This dish has a dirty rice kind of feel to it, but the flavors are really unique thanks to The Czar’s Pinot Szechuan sauce and the green chilies.  Every bite has a nice mix of flavors and textures, from slight heat of the green chiles and pinot szechuan sauce to the cool plain Greek yogurt, the creamy beans and cheese and crunchy rice … it makes this dish interesting and addictive.

It also heats up super well as leftovers and drew several comments about how great it smelled in the kitchen at work.  It also works really well as either a side dish or a main course, and can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for chicken stock.

One Pan Green Chile and Onion Cheesy Rice with Pinot Szechuan Sauce

2-3 tbs. olive oil

1 cup jasmine rice

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 7 oz. can roasted green chilies, roughly chopped

1/3 cup Pinot Szechuan Sauce

2 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup taco flavored shredded cheese

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving, optional

Paprika, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375º.

Heat olive oil in a 10″ cast iron pan set over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice turns opaque. Add onions and cook until fragrant, roughly 1 minute. Add onion and cook until transparent, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.  Add green chilies and stir to combine.  Slowly whisk in stock and bring to a boil over high heat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat.  There should be about 1/4 cup liquid remaining in the pan at this point.  Add the beans and cheese and toss to combine.

Place in oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until rice is tender.  Serve immediately topped with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and some paprika.

Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

28 Mar

Topped with a poached egg, this healthy rice dish makes for an excellent lacto-ovo- vegetarian main course.  On its own, it is a hearty vegetarian side dish.  The nutty wild rice and sweet caramelized vegetables worked well with the slight tartness of the lemon juice and zest and roasted flavor of the pepper.  The garam masala added to the red pepper sauce really makes this dish sing.  This dish is definitely a testament to the fact that while cheese and butter and meat are really delicious, you don’t need any of them to create a filling, flavorful, and interesting meal.

Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables with Roasted Pepper Sauce

Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables:

1 cup wild rice, rinsed (you can use any variety you want, I used a mix of mahogany and black japonica rice)

1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/4″ half moons

1 zucchini, cut into 1/4″ half moons

1/2 cup plum tomatoes

1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4″ half moons

3 tbs. olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.

Add rice and 2 cups of water to a medium stock pot with tight fitting lid.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and simmer, covered, 50 minutes (or time recommended by your package instructions).

On a tinfoil-lined baking sheet, toss vegetables with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and roast, tossing 3-4 times, for 25 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, add vegetables and rice and heat over medium heat.  Toss together.  Add roasted red pepper sauce (see below) and toss to combine.  Heat until all ingredients are desired temperature.  Serve immediately.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

1 red pepper

1 tbs. olive oil

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 tsp. garam marsala

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.

On a tinfoil-lined baking sheet, add red pepper and coat with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and roast 30 minutes, turning a quarter turn every 8 minutes or so.

[Note:  The red pepper can be roasted on the same baking sheet with the vegetables from the wild rice and roasted vegetables above.]

When very tender, transfer immediately to a ziplock bag and close.  This will steam the pepper so the skin is easy to remove.  When cool enough to handle, remove the tough outer skin, stem, and seeds.

Add to food processor with lemon zest, lemon juice, and garam marsala.  Process until smoothly pureed. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

%d bloggers like this: