Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

All I want to do is write about my dog.  But I am trying to stay focused here.  Pasta.  Broccoli Rabe.  Sausage.  Mix.  Eat.

That is really all there is to this recipe, which is why I like it.  In order to eat bitter greens like broccoli rabe, it is all about pairing it with something uber savory, salty and/or creamy.  Fat works too.  As you have probably noticed, lately I am all about quick and easy meals like this.  

Buy good, fresh sausage.  :D

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed and cut into bite size pieces
1 lb. broccoli rabe, blanched (see below)
1 cup broccoli rabe water (see below)
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. pasta
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a pot of water to boil for cooking the pasta.

Heat oil and add garlic in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and sauté until meat is cooked and loses its raw look. Add blanched broccoli rabe.  Add rabe water and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until the contents are hot.

Meanwhile, cook pasta rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Place over medium-high heat and stir in 3/4 cup of broccoli rabe and sausage sauce. Using a wooden spoon, toss together for 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour into a large serving platter or bowl. Spoon remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese.

Blanched Broccoli Rabe – (2 bunches)

Wash and dry broccoli rabe. Place broccoli rabe in a deep saucepan with cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring just to a simmer over high heat. As soon as bubbles appear at the sides of the pan, remove it from the heat. Reserve cooking water. Immediately place broccoli rabe in cold water to stop the cooking process. When broccoli rabe is cool, drain well in a colander and pat dry. Chop broccoli rabe into 2-3 inch pieces.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  6/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Friday, December 2, 2011

Beef Stir Fry

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?  Don't answer that.  It is rhetorical.  Conversation starter type thing.  Breaking the ice because I am pretty much a horrible updater.  

I had a great T-giving.  I think I might pass on a few of the recipes.  I think technically I am supposed to wait to do that until next year.  Like right before next Thanksgiving.  But let's be honest, there is no way that is happening.  

Here is a recipe that I never thought I would be sharing!  Beef stir fry is one of the first dishes I made on a regular basis.  Mostly because it is something I grew up eating a lot.  I went through a phase from when I was maybe 10 until I was 15 where I did not like cooked vegetables.  I ate salads and raw veggies.  I have always loved veggies.  But when my parents made a stir fry, I have vivid memories of putting rice on my plate and picking all the meat out of the wok to put on my plate.  

Everyone has problems.

But I have not made beef stir fry in a LONG time.  I think I was 'over it' for the past few years.  After spending time with some friends over Thanksgiving, I learned that real Asians prefer Jasmine rice (small sample size...two).  No but, I always buy regular long grain white rice.  Jasmine rice is a long grain rice but less sticky.  I actually like sticky rice.  But if I am told to try Jasmine rice, then I am going to!

So, I thought I would make good ol' beef stir-fry and eat it over some Jasmine rice.  Instead of just stir frying everything together and seasoning with soy sauce and red pepper flakes like I normally do, I looked to see how other people make beef stir fry.  I came across this recipe and it is about ten times better than what I normally make.  Scot and I were really surprised by how good it was and the amazing leftovers.

Are you wondering if I liked Jasmine rice better?  Well, I am going to leave that TBD.  Definitely less sticky.  But I wasn't really paying attention to whether I liked it better or not because I was really into the beef stir fry.  

-Subbing chicken would definitely work, although I prefer beef in stir fry.  All veggies would also be delicious.  
-You can use the stir fry beef sold at the meat counter if you want an even quicker meal.  
-Any combination of stir fry vegetables would be just fine.  But beef and broccoli really are a match made in heaven.  
-I have a rice cooker and it completes my life.  
-Call me ghetto, but I secretly like garlic powder.  You could leave it out of the marinade and add freshly grated garlic to the sauce.

Beef Stir Fry
adapted from Taste of Home, Ruth Stahl

3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1/2 cup water, plus
2 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb sirloin roast/steak, cut into thin strips (helps to put it in the freezer for 10-20 minutes before slicing)
vegetable oil
1 package of Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into pieces
1/3 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon freshly grated
Cooked Jasmine or long grain white rice

In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder until smooth. Add beef and toss.

Also, prepare the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth. Set aside until you are ready to add it to the stir-fry.

In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, stir-fry beef in oil until beef reaches desired doneness; remove from wok and set aside.

Add more oil and sauté mushrooms until they are very tender. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add more oil and stir-fry onion and peppers, about 4-5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook another 2-3 minutes. Return the mushrooms and beef to the wok and finally, add the sauce. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens up. Serve over rice.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5