Sunday, September 10, 2017

My Favorite Go-To Pasta Dish

My garden has not been great this year: too much rain and too many pests. Still, it is the high holy season when my all efforts have come to fruition, and I am trying to use up everything I harvest in delicious and creative ways. So today, I made a seafood stir-fry fettuccine dish with onions, peppers, garlic, zucchini, sweet corn, spinach, and lots of fresh herbs. I've been making slightly different versions of this dish for nearly 30 years. It's quick, it's easy, it's good for you, and it's soooooooooooo YUMMY!

Seafood Stir-Fry Fettucine with Seasonal Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, diced
1 hot pepper, seeded and diced (or use a sweet pepper for a mild dish)
1 small zucchini, cored and sliced*
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. surimi "krab" (thawed)
2 ears of corn, steamed, and cut from the cob**
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (your favorite blend)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 to 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup each fresh chives, parsley, and lemon basil, chopped
1 lb. fettucine, cooked until al dente, drained and pasta water reserved (or pasta of choice)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a 3 1/2 quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion, hot pepper, zucchini, and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add the surimi and corn and cook for a few minutes until the seafood has softened. Season mixture with red wine vinegar, sugar, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Add the fresh herbs, the hot pasta, about 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water, and the Parmesan, and fold everything together gently to combine.

*I had zucchini and leftover corn to use this time, but I often used sliced mushrooms in this dish.
**I happened to have leftover cooked corn on the cob, but of course, you can cut the kernels off of raw corn, and then cook the corn with the other veggies at the beginning of this recipe.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Fall-in' Back into the Soup Routine

Despite my willing it not to be true, summer is over, and we're back to school. Even though it's only the beginning of the second week, I'm already stressed and exhausted! Since I figure my colleagues might be feeling the same way, I decided to make the first communal pot of soup of the semester to bring in and share at lunchtime. My most recent concoction was born of the question, why do people never put meatballs in chili? It was also born out of my desire to incorporate some seasonal vegetables such as local farm stand corn and zucchini and peppers from my garden. Lastly, it was born out of my need to make something fast and easy during the work week in my magic pot! I think it turned out delicious, and the crock pot emptied out pretty quickly at work today. :-)

Instant Pot Meatball Chili Mac Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet pepper (or I use an Anaheim-type chili), seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium zucchini, cored and shredded
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 lb. (smallish) frozen meatballs
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dried elbow macaroni
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob
1 can chili beans in sauce

Add the olive oil to the pot on high saute. Cook the onion, pepper, garlic, and zucchini for a few minutes until the veggies are tender. Then add the tomatoes, sauce, meatballs, chicken broth, macaroni, and seasonings to the pot. Cook on manual for five minutes and do a quick release. Stir in the corn kernels and the chili beans. Taste to correct seasonings if necessary, and serve garnished with shredded cheese and/or sour cream on top.