Tag Archives: Parmesan

Spring Linguine with Basil

3 May


9 ounces uncooked fresh linguine
1 cup shelled fresh green peas
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 ounces shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add peas to pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain pasta mixture in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup pasta liquid.
2. Heat oil and butter in pan over medium heat 1 minute or until butter melts. Remove from heat; stir in pasta mixture, reserved pasta water, juice, salt, and pepper; toss well.
3. Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon basil and about 2 tablespoons cheese. Serve immediately.

David Bonom, Cooking Light, May 2010

I simply can’t get enough of these simple pasta dishes in spring.  The heavier, slow-cooked pastas of winter can tend to conglomerate all of the individual flavors into a single other flavor altogether.  This can be a wonderful thing when you’re incorporating your 20th jar or can of stewed tomatoes for the winter and you’re looking to spice it up, but as more and better quality spring produce becomes available, I want to take each and every component.  This pasta does just that, highlighting rather than overpowering each flavor and the citrusy, floral combination of lemon and Parmesan is just perfect.

I still haven’t found any peas at the local markets and my own peas at home are only about 7 inches tall still, but for those of you in better climates, they should already be readily available.  Enjoy!

Portobello Parmesan

22 Feb


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the dish
  • 3 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • 4 ounces buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Scrape out the gills of the portobellos with a spoon, then halve the mushrooms horizontally to make 6 thin rounds.

2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic; cook 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, add the tomatoes and basil and cook until the garlic is soft, about 15 more minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Combine the panko, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk the eggs and 2 tablespoons cold water in another bowl. Put the flour in a third bowl.

4. Dredge the mushrooms in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in the eggs and then in the panko mixture, pressing to coat both sides. Heat 1/2 inch peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the mushrooms until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

5. Spread a layer of the tomato sauce in the prepared baking dish. Add the fried mushrooms, then cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Top with the mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan. Bake until browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Courtney Credle, Food Network Magazine, March 2011

Let me start by saying that the tomato sauce for this recipe with a little parmesan would be worth making in itself as a simple tomato sauce for nearly any dish.  The parmesan tames the acidity of the tomato and adds a nice sweetness while thickening the sauce.  Second, it is absolute genius to deep-fry portobellos and cover them in cheese.  The panko-pamersan combination crisps up perfectly as it fries, allowing the portobellos to retain their shape and texture despite being covered in sauce and baked.  I was pleasantly surprised to find none of the mushiness I had fearfully expected.  This is a hearty vegetarian dish, both filling and packed with flavor.  The only change I made was that I used less oil for the frying (about 1/8 inch) which I thought was plenty.  I also nearly doubled the crushed red pepper for added spice and the basil for added flavor.  This is a recipe that encourages play – you could use slight variations of the sauce or add an additional layer – but it’s also perfect just the way it is.  Though not for those of you on a diet!

Baked Vegetable Lasagna

31 Jan

  • 3  tablespoons  olive oil, divided
  • 1/2  cup  chopped white onion
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1  (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh basil
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh oregano
  • 1  cup  ricotta cheese
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1  (14-ounce) package water-packed firm tofu, drained
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2  cup  thinly sliced green onions
  • 3  cups  finely chopped red bell pepper (about 2 medium)
  • 2  medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1/3  cup  finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Cooking spray
  • 12  cooked lasagna noodles
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add white onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute or until golden. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in basil and oregano. Cool.

3. Combine ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, tofu, egg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; process for 10 seconds or until blended. Stir in green onions. Set aside.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, zucchini, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

5. Spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture in the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with 3 noodles. Spread 3/4 cup tomato mixture over noodles; top with 1 cup tofu mixture and 1 cup zucchini mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with noodles. Spread remaining 3/4 cup tomato mixture over top. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until bubbly; top with mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes.

Corrine Trang, Cooking Light, JANUARY 2010

I made this exactly as instructed except I do not have a food processor so I used a hand mixer instead.  Preparing each of the three layers takes quite a bit of time and effort so I would recommend making this dish on a night where you have a little extra time and are looking for a more involved cooking project.  Is the work worth the effort?  Yes and no.  This is not your standard lasagna which I knew going into it, but I was still disappointed.  Oddly enough, though, it was actually better leftover.  I don’t think the flavors had enough time to blend in the original cooking stages, but they really came together after a night in the fridge.  Also, if you’re a lasagna fiend looking for a healthier fix, this might be just the trick.

In case you’re weary of the tofu addition to the cheese (I was), no worries: the texture is actually incredibly similar to ricotta and, of course, it merely took on the flavor of the other cheeses in the cheese blend.

Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts

21 Jan
  • 1  (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh fettuccine
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1/4  cup  chopped blanched hazelnuts
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3  (4-ounce) packages presliced exotic mushroom blend
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  teaspoons  chopped fresh sage
  • 2  ounces  Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped chives

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.

2. While water for pasta comes to a boil, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add hazelnuts to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add garlic and mushrooms to pan; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Sauté mushroom mixture for 5 minutes; stir in sage. Add pasta, reserved cooking liquid, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan; toss well to combine. Remove from heat; top with cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and chives.

Cooking Light, January 2011

I made this recipe exactly as called for except I used finely chopped green onions instead of chives because that’s what I had on-hand and I used 70% portabella and 30% white button mushrooms because that’s what Trader Joes had on-hand.  I was weary of this recipe when I initially read the ingredient list, but the flavors could not complement on another better.  The mushrooms and hazelnuts give this pasta a savory, earthy flavor and the sage and Parmesan add a piney, floral finish, the combination of which reminded me of a stroll through the woods on a breezy, sunny spring day.  It is pure heaven and – I would guess – a vegetarian’s delight with its hearty, earthy flavors.

This is, however, not the pasta for those who like super saucy pasta dishes.  It is an oil-based sauce and Tom didn’t love it because he said it was too “dry”.

Just a tip – If you can’t find blanched hazelnuts, it is actually very easy to do it yourself.  Simply roast the nuts on a baking pan for about 10 minutes.  Give them a few minutes to cool and then rub several nuts at a time (yeah, yeah, that’s what she said) inside a paper towel.  The skins will fall right off.   It is important to use blanched hazelnuts rather than raw as the raw nuts will have a different flavor and texture.

Serve with additional shaved Parmesan – Perfect!

Tuna-Noodle Casserole

17 Jan

  • 8  ounces  wide egg noodles
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1/2  cup  chopped yellow onion
  • 1/3  cup  chopped carrot
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4  cups  fat-free milk
  • 1/2  cup  (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2  tablespoons  Dijon mustard
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  cup  frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 2  (5-ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • Cooking spray

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and carrot; cook 6 minutes or until carrot is almost tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thick. Stir in cream cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in noodles, peas, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and tuna. Spoon mixture into a shallow broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cooking Light, January 2010

I made this over the weekend on a night where I got home a little late and didn’t have much time.  It is super fast and easy, but also incredibly satisfying.  I used whole-grain Dijon simply because my regular Dijon overpowers every dish and I actually thought the whole-grain added a nice texture.  I also added breadcrumbs on top before broiling – again for additional texture – and doubled the peas and carrots because I love them.  The flavor reminds me of a classic tuna-noodle casserole my dad always made, but just a little more grown up due to the Dijon and Parmesan.  It doesn’t knock you out of park with flavor, but it might bring you back to simpler times.   Definitely a staple dish.