Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fettuccine with Gorgonzola-Basil Wine Sauce

Here is an easy yet elegant recipe for Gorgonzola lovers. It's comforting, but not overly rich. Pine nuts add a delicate crunch.

It's best with fresh basil, but you can use dried basil (1/2 teaspoon) if fresh is not available.


8 ounces dried fettuccine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, shredded or coarsely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, saute the pine nuts in the olive oil over medium to medium-low heat until they are lightly golden.

Add the fettuccine to the pine nuts in the skillet, along with the Gorgonzola, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the basil, and the wine. Season with a small dash of salt (not too much, since the cheese is salty) and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

Toss over medium heat for a couple of minutes until heated through. If the pasta mixture seems too dry, add more wine to taste, a tablespoon at a time,

Serve with additional shredded Parmesan as desired.

-- 3-4 servings

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic and Parsley

Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables, and the method works great with mushrooms. I like to leave the mushrooms whole, if they're not too big, because they're so meaty that way. Larger mushrooms can be cut in half.

This simple recipe is easy to make, very low in calories, and delicious!


1 pound fresh white or brown (crimini) mushrooms, or a mixture
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf parsley), divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl, toss the whole mushrooms with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Arrange the marinated mushroom mixture in a single layer in a baking dish or roasting pan. (A 13”x9” cake pan works well.)

Roast the mushrooms uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until golden on the bottom.

Tilt the pan and scoop out and discard any rendered mushroom liquid.

Turn the mushrooms, and roast uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until golden on the other side.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of the parsley to the mushrooms, and stir. Roast for another 5 minutes to combine all the flavors.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of parsley, and serve.

-- 4 servings

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pesto Pizza with Artichokes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Black Olives (12-inch)

This pizza recipe was inspired by a slice I enjoyed at lunchtime one day at Paradise Pizza in the Philadelphia suburbs. It was so good that I had to reproduce it on my own.

My home version turned out even better than the restaurant's because I was able to add extra artichokes and olives, which I love.


1 Basic All-Purpose Pizza Crust (12-inch) or Thin Pizza Crust (12-inch) (or your favorite 12-inch pizza crust)
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (14.5 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
3 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and julienned

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the pizza crust and press into a 12-inch pizza pan, or form it into a 12-inch round on a baking sheet, with the edges slightly thicker to contain the toppings.

Spread the pesto evenly over the pizza crust. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella and the Parmesan.

Arrange the artichokes on the pizza in a single layer, and then sprinkle evenly with the olives and the sun-dried tomatoes.

Top the pizza with the remaining 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.

Bake for 12-18 minutes, until golden.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing

-- 3-4 servings

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Penne with Broccoli, Roasted Peppers, and Pine Nuts

This was inspired by a recipe I found in a newspaper or magazine many years ago. That recipe was soon lost, but I never forgot about it. Eventually, I decided to reproduce the recipe, and my version turned out even better than I remembered. It's colorful, healthy, and so delicious!

If you like cheese, you can sprinkle some grated Parmesan over the pasta at serving time. But this recipe is great without it as well, so I haven't included it in the recipe.


8 ounces dried penne rigati pasta
2 cups bite-size fresh broccoli florets (approx. 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar) cut into thin julienne slices
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (optional; more or less to taste)
Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
Dry white wine (optional; as needed)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Blanch the broccoli by boiling for one minute (or microwaving for 1 or 2 minutes with 2 tablespoons of water) until crisp-tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, and drain. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium to medium-low heat until lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, and then saute the garlic in the oil for a minute or two over low heat, just until fragrant. Do not let the garlic get brown.

Add the roasted peppers to the garlic and oil, along with the red pepper flakes, if using. Saute over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broccoli and cook for an additional minute or two.

Add the cooked pasta, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. If pasta seems too dry, add some more olive oil or a splash of dry white wine.

Continue cooking over medium-low heat for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend all the flavors.

-- 3-4 servings