Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Giada, Grocery Store Pasta, a Microwave, and Me!

I'm back in the lovely wilds of Connecticut this week. I survived driving back in the teeth of that N'oreaster we had on Sunday; seven inches of rain out here and the next town over, Westport, had it's downtown flooded! But I had a nice surprise waiting for my drenched self when I walked into the house, a little tell tale package from Amazon propped up against my door!! MBH had sent me a cookbook to read and enjoy (with the provision that I bring it home for him), Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis. He has been after me for about two years now to cook more pasta and he likes cookbooks with lots of pictures so this one meets all his criteria and surprisingly mine too!

Last night I decided to see if I could make one of the recipes out of it in my little makeshift kitchen here. Since I had a bit of yellow and red bell pepper in my bar size refrigerator, I decided to try the "Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers". I basically stuck to the recipe as it didn't involve anything too fussy from a prep standpoint. I went to the grocery store and purchased some of the pasta from the deli section ("fresh" pasta vs the dry) and the shallots. I already had the peppers, olive oil, salt/pepper, dry white wine, and low sodium chicken stock. The only two things I changed in the recipe were..oops...three things were: I used linguine instead of spaghetti because that was all the store had; I tossed the last of the asparagus from last week into the mix, and I couldn't roast the peppers (no stove). The dish went together pretty easily and was frankly delicious! The sweet of the peppers played with the taste of the asparagus and the sauce was light and refreshing. I had enough left over that I took the pasta to work today as a cold pasta salad with a bit of left over chicken breast. It was even better today!!

I have to say, with the exception of Tyler Florence's cookbooks (um what isn't to love about Tyler Florence??!!), I haven't been that impressed with the "Food Network" cookbooks BUT I will have to give credit where credit is due here. From what I can tell Everyday Pasta looks like a very nice cookbook for quick and easy Italian.

Linguine with Red and Yellow Peppers and Asparagus in the Microwave
based on Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis

Serves 1 (with leftovers for lunch)

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 yellow bell pepper

6 stalks asparagus

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1/8 tsp salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

1/2 package fresh pasta of your choice from the grocery store deli case

fresh flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Thinly slice the peppers and set aside. Trim the light green and woody ends off the asparagus and discard. Cut the remaining bits of asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside. In a 2 quart microwave safe dish, add the olive oil and the shallots. Microwave uncovered on medium-high (80% power) for 1 1/2 minutes or until shallots are translucent. Add the peppers, asparagus, salt and pepper and microwave for 2 minutes on medium high. Stir to coat all the veggies in oil and return to the microwave for 1 minute on medium high. Add wine and chicken broth and cook on medium (50 - 60%) for 5 minutes until asparagus and peppers are almost soft. Add pasta and cover dish. Cook on high for 5 -7 minutes until pasta is tender and veggies are soft. Add parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve with small tossed salad and crusty roll.