Tag Archives: italian

Recipe: Stewed Beans and Sausage

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It’s that time of year when the weather is confusingly warm during the day and frigid at night, so I think it’s safe to say winter is coming.

I still miss you, Ned Stark

I still miss you, Ned Stark

To warm the cold bones winter brings, you need a hearty yet simple meal.  Enter this bean and sausage dish I found from Emril Lagasse. Creamy white beans, sausage, diced tomatoes, and peppery arugula really make this a hearty dish that sticks to your ribs.

Ingredients:

(5) 19 oz cans white beans (Cannelloni): [$8]

(1) 28 oz can diced tomatoes in juices: [$2]

1 package sweet Italian sausage links [$4]

fresh rosemary and thyme (I found these in a package of mixed fresh herbs for chicken): [$2]

1 package garlic bread [$1.50]

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add some chopped garlic, and cut the sausage links into rounds while the garlic is cooking. Cook sausage over medium heat for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until just about cooked through.  Add the tomatoes and the beans (which need to be rinsed before using) and let stew in the pot for about 20 minutes, covered.

Make the garlic bread according to the package directions.

Take the pot off the heat and add chopped rosemary, a few handfuls of the arugula and stir together.

almost done!

almost done!

 

To finish the dish, top each bowl with olive oil, bread, and chopped parsley, if you have it.  A hearty dish that is sure to keep you warm all winter long, Ned Stark would be proud.

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-L

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Restaurant Week Bliss: Rialto

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So its restaurant week.  I’m super excited about it, and to start off my two weeks of paradise in Boston, I decided to start off with a long–overdue spot: Rialto. Not only is it considered one of the best in Boston, a friend of mine, Jacki from Just Add Cheese, works there and has told me how excellent the culinary experience compares. I even met Jody Adams, the chef and owner, at Boston Bites Back and tried a sample from the restaurant.  I’ve known how amazing it is for months, I’ve just been waiting for the perfect moment to strike ( I sound like a falcon). I finally went, and it was everything that I’ve expected, the night was perfect.

Firstly, the spot is beautiful, with floor–to–ceiling windows and a partially open kitchen, which I believed Jacki referred to as the “open antipasto bar” but I cannot be sure (The Russian and I split a bottle of wine).

So, about the food.  It was so lovely, filling and beautiful yet light.  Also shout out to how awesome the bread was, served with olive oil and some incredible sea salt, Fleur de sel  or something of that quality if I’m not mistaken.

I started with the seafood and potato salad, which had mussels, calamari and fish with red peppers and capers. I liked that it was served cold, and the seafood was perfectly cooked and chilled.

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The Russian had the prosciutto with the melon and mint.  Simple, light, and the cured meat was incredible, salty and perfect with the melon.

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We then moved onto the homemade pork sausage with wilted greens and olives, white beans, and grapes.  The beans on the bottom were so delicious and the pork sausage was incredible, it was roughly ground so you could taste all the different elements of pork that were inside the casing.

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The Russian had the flank steak with beets and figs.  It was so comforting and reminded me of a warm winter meal, yet wasn’t heavy in the same way meals are when it’s cold outside.  The figs were killer, and the steak was cooked perfectly.

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The Russian ended his meal with the chocolate chip tortoni, which is kind of like an ice cream, but way way lighter. It was served with poached peaches.  The Russian was in love, I’m lucky I got a bite to try.  It was really quite good. I’ve never eaten anything so light.

rialto6As much as I liked his dessert, however, I was in love with my own.  I had the Lemon-Blueberry Millefoglie, which is kind of like crispier lighter puff pastry that had hints of cinnamon, paired with a lemon mousse and blueberry sauce and some of the best marscapone I’ve ever had.  It was served with fresh peaches and nectarine ice cream.  It was all I could do to be ladylike while eating it.

rialto5So, while I understand restaurant week goes above my usual standard of $20 by almost double, I still think I’m getting a great deal on a wonderful meal that would normally cost me more than $38 bucks per person.  In that regard, it’s still a good deal. Besides, this was worth every penny.

-L

Game of Thrones Recipe: Lasagna

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Last week, there was no Game of Thrones, and the world shed a tear.

Awesome tears

An awesome tear

Since no Game of Thrones is still not a good enough reason to starve, I still cooked dinner on Sunday, a crowd–pleasing meal that’s easy and fun to make: Lasagna.

The King of meat and pasta combos

The King of meat and pasta combos

While this recipe was inspired by Emeril’s Lasagna Recipe on Food Network, I made it my own, cutting things that I wouldn’t miss to save money (I already went a little over my limit anyways, but I figured it makes for many a leftover so it evens out). I think it turned out better than expected, and the dish had a rustic, fresh taste, and every ingredient could be savored.

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Ingredients:

1 pkg no–boil lasagna noodles [$1.50]

1 16 oz package whole milk ricotta cheese [$4]

1 bag Italian blend cheese [$3]

1 bag shredded mozz [$3]

fresh basil [$3]

eggs (I had them on hand, you only need one)

Meat Sauce:

1 lb ground beef [$4.50]

1 lb ground sausage [$4]

head garlic [$.50]

2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes [$2.50]

Assorted spices I had on hand (see directions)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Make the meat sauce: brown the sausage and beef for about 5 minutes.  When meat is browned, add tomatoes with their juices, garlic powder, 3 smashed cloves of garlic, shredded fresh basil sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  I like my tomato sauce a little sweet because my mom used to put sugar in my spaghetti and meatballs growing up.  If you haven’t tried it, you should.

It's awesome

It’s awesome

Let the meat sauce simmer while you make the ricotta mixture. Combine the ricotta cheese, an egg, thinly sliced basil, salt, pepper, and a handful of each of the shredded cheeses, and mix well to combine. Add a splash of milk or in my case, cream, if you have it.

Like so

Like so

Then all you have to do is assemble: in a large ovensafe pan, put the meat sauce, cheese, and layer of the noodles.  Top with ricotta and meat sauce and continue until you have reached the top of the pan.

Like so

Like so

Then all you do is cover it with foil and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and cook another 10 minutes, or til nice and golden.

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The surface of the planet of lasagnar is gooey with lakes of cheese and mountains of meat.

I topped each piece with a basil leaf and some leftover meat sauce, then had a few pieces.  The freshness of the tomatoes and the creamyness of the cheese married together perfectly.

messy yet delicious

messy yet delicious

An easy dinner that you can have for lunch the next day is always a good idea in my book.

-L

Game of Thrones photo via blogs.westword.com