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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Beefcake Redux Greatest Hits

In spite of Column of Life's plush surroundings, there are no in house photographers. Today's recipes are in house recipes and photography is "gleaend" fomr the internet. We are serving up timely favourites.

This first course has evolved over the years and its current version is a big hit. Every Italo-Americano household has experienced maccheroni with tuna. It is one of the staples of the Friday evening meal. It's simple and to the point. Reinventing it is very satisfying.

Pasta al Tonno alla Giano

Garlic, two cloves, chopped
Onion, one small red, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tuna, about a cup (imported Italian tonno in olive oil is good, or a portion of a grilled steak)
Anchovy Paste, one tablespoon
Grape Tomatoes, cut in half, one cup
Roasted Peppers, chopped, one cup
Tomato Puree (or even a hearty tomato soup), half cup
Roasted Pepper puree, half cup
Whole Grain Pasta, 500 grams or one pound

1. There is a short cut that you can take regarding the purees. You can use Pacific Roasted Pepper and Tomato soup. You be the judge.
2. As far as whole gran pasta is concerned, if some brands are too dense, use Barilla Plus and Misura's whole grain cooks up nicely to an al dente texture. Just follow the box directions when cooking.
3. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, when they've reached an aromatic state, add the tuna.
4. Quickly saute the tuna making sure it is coated with the olive oil and then add an ounce and a half of grappa, or enough to reach all the tuna and cook it down to evaporation.
5. Stir in anchovy paste to taste and ad capers (thoroughly drained)
6. Add chopped grape tomatoes. Add chopped roasted peppers.
7. Thyme and Basil to taste, either dry or fresh.
8. Now add the soup and/or purees and stir.
9. Cook for about twenty minutes or until it reaches density.
10. Add the pasta when it is cooked.

This should be enough to get your guests into ecstatic throes. Something like le petit mort. Relax, it's an analogy.

Patate Americane Fortunate

(Lucky Sweet Potatoes)

Sweet Potatoes, four medium
Apple, one medium, peeled and sliced
Onion, small red, sliced
Garlic, four cloves, squashed
Orange Juice, fresh from three medium sized oranges
Broccoli di Rape, one medium sized bunch
Olive Oil
Sweet Pepper, one, red, yellow or orange
Baby Carrots, about a cup
Sausage or Chicken (one pound or 500 grams)
Oven preheated to 375F

This is a dish that can be a main course or a side course. It's hearty winter fare. While there are other many things that can warm the cockles (whatever those are) of the heart, this can warm you all over. And it is relatively heart wise especially if you forego pork sausage.

1. This recipe works best, if it is well attended once it hits the oven.
2. It is in its optimum state when each of the elements are cooked separately before being brought together.
3. Boil the carrots in 3/4 of the orange juice. set aside.
4. in the meantime, bake the peeled and sliced sweet potatoes in olive oil, spritzed with the rest of the orange juice. Add the thyme and nutmeg.
5. Steam the broccoli di rape. Set aside.
6. Saute the apple and onion slices in garlic and olive oil.
7. Slice the sweet bell pepper in long strips.
8. Bake everything in shallow baking dish in olive oil, except the broccoli, which is added right at the end.
9. Stir often while baking.
10. To turn this into a main dish, add sausage, cooked in vinegar and water to the mix--or dark meat chicken.

Enjoy, your favourite dessert afterwords.

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