Category Archives: pasta

Weeknight fancy: Herbed zucchini and blossom pasta

Beautiful flowers from my beautiful bestie, Awesome A :-D!

Wow. I am going to jump right into it with this post: this dish is one of my favorite things I have made/eaten in a while. Sure, some of my pleasure from this dish is derived from the fact that many of the ingredients came straight from my garden (my first harvest!), but it was also straight up delicious. Delicious to the point where even Reasonable R kept talking about it… almost as much as he talked about the jalapeño beer cornbread.

Now, what is this magical dish I speak of? Let me break it down. First, I harvested a few baby zucchini… nay, adolescent zucchini and their attached blossoms this week (in addition to a few childless male blossoms). They were delicate and beautiful and perfect and I loved them. Next, I took a few steps over to my herb garden and snipped off some of each… parsley, pineapple sage, mint, basil, and lemon thyme. Finally, I strolled on to my CSA box to complete the dish with a large juicy tomato (since I probably still have a few weeks before my dozens of tomatoes turn red). The only pantry items that supported this dish were some quinoa pasta and some tofu. Wait, did I say tofu? I meant homemade tofu ricotta that fooled Realistic R. SO. DELICIOUS. I am definitely making that more often.

The zucchini blossoms add such an awesome floral note to it, the tofu gives the dish a nice silkiness, and the herbs just give it so much flavor. The star of the dish though? The zucchini. They were so tender and were an absolute pleasure to have in my mouth. My zucchini plant is going to be producing prolifically this summer, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I steamed up a side of broccoli and sat down with my gorgeous meal to catch up on the last couple episodes of the Bachelorette. Don’t judge, please… especially when I am here to share with you such a delicious, nutritious, and easy weekday meal! Oh, and did I mention the whole thing took maybe 20 minutes to prepare?

Herbed Zucchini and Blossom Pasta with Tofu Ricotta 

Materials:
Tofu Ricotta
  • 8 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
Remaining Ingredients
  • 1 lb your favorite pasta
  • olive oil
  • 3 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup assorted fresh herbs, minced
  • 3 or 4 zucchini blossoms (or a few more if you have them), chiffonaded
  • salt
  • pepper
Methods:
For the Tofu Ricotta

  1. Mash the block of tofu with your hands in a mixing bowl until is has sufficiently crumbled.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to mash with your hands until is resembles ricotta cheese.
  3. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.

For the Pasta

  1. Cook pasta accordingly.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat up a couple tablespoons of olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and zucchini and sauté for about 2 minutes, just until the zucchini is barely softened.
  4. Gently toss together the cooked pasta, lightly sautéed zucchini, tomato, herbs, zucchini blossoms, and tofu ricotta with a light drizzle of olive oil and a shake of salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy immensely!
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Many apologies via parsley pesto

I owe you an apology. Many apologies, in fact. I have been MIA. Sure, I could go on and on telling you how busy I have been, and while that is partly true, I refuse to use it as an excuse. My free time has been jam packed with one social obligation after another, though. I had a friend visiting, during which time I spent my days in Napa, visiting Alcatraz, trekking in Muir woods, BBQing, or stuffing my face with food truck food. I was also away for 10 days at a conference in New Hampshire on lipoprotein metabolism (which was exhausting, awesome, and filled with wonderful people). Not to mention the plethora of needless eating out I have been doing. And then on the days that I was just chilling at home… I wasn’t making anything noteworthy.

That is with the exception of this parsley pesto… which I made weeks ago… and am only posting now. So embarrassing.

Parsley overfloweth in my herb garden, so I knew I wanted to do some garden fresh parsley-heavy dish. And what better way to use up a big bunch of parsley than to blend it into a fresh pesto?! I didn’t have any pine nuts on hand, but I did have some walnuts… and obviously plenty of garlic.

I tossed this pungent (and I mean that in the best of ways… the parsley flavor is very strong in a very very good way) sauce over some quinoa pasta with some fresh cherry tomatoes and called it a night. Simple as that! And then I enjoyed it on my balcony, looking at my newly trimmed herb garden. Next up, the mint and the pineapple sage need some tending to… in general expect some herb heavy recipes this summer.

Parsley Pesto
Materials:
  • 1 bunch of parsley (roughly 2 cups), stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • olive oil (ends up being about 1/2 cup)
  • salt
  • pepper
Methods:
  1. Add the parsley, walnuts, garlic and lemon juice to a food processor and process until a uniform paste forms.
  2. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil until a smooth sauce consistency is reached.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss with pasta and enjoy!
    • If serving with pasta, reserve a bit of the pasta water to thin out the sauce and help it coat the pasta nicely.

Weeknight fancy: mushroom bourguinonne

I love when cleaning out the fridge turns into a gourmet meal. I had some mushrooms that were on their way out, some leftover red wine from a recent party, and some fresh rosemary I wanted to finish up. I immediately thought of making mushroom bourguinonne. This is a recipe that I learned at a cooking class that I took a few years back. It really is a simple recipe, made with simple ingredients, that moonlights as gourmet french food.

So even though I may have had this gorgeous meal in front of me, I made it will still sweaty from the gym, and ate it cross-legged on the couch while catching up on this past season of Bones.

Let’s get back to the mushrooms for a second though. Why would you make beef bourguinonne, when you can make mushroom bourguinonne? As the beef stews, it is breaking down into all sorts of carcinogenic compounds (heterocyclic amines) that are going to go into your body and wreak havoc. Particularly in your colon. Mushrooms are going to do the exact opposite. Recently, a study conducted in China concluded that woman who included mushrooms regularly in their diet had a 64% reduced risk of developing breast cancer. And those that also drank green tea? A 90% reduction! Both mushroom polysaccharides and green tea polyphenols act as scavengers to go through your body, soaking up any harmful compounds that may be in there. The key here is that these naturally bioavailable compounds can go in, do their thing, and then are automatically excreted from the body, taking with them the bad guys.

In addition to mushrooms being good for you, there are currently some great varieties of mushrooms in season! Please head over to Delectable Musings for some other great seasonal eats :-)!

Pretty cool, huh? So put on a tea pot of green tea, and get to chopping those mushrooms!

Mushroom Bourguinonne
Materials:
  • olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 lbs mixed mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley to serve
  • quinoa pasta
Methods:
  1. Heat up a oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute the onions until just translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juice, about 5 more minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Pour the red wine in and stir well.
  6. Add the soy sauce, rosemary, honey, and vinegar and stir.
  7. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. In the meantime, cook your pasta accordingly.
  10. Serve mushrooms over pasta, garnish with parsley.
  11. Enjoy!
    • Sit back, relax, and let the mushrooms do the work now!