Thursday, June 30

Mixed Shellfish in Tomato-Herb Broth

Steamed shellfish is such a great summer meal, especially paired with the season's fresh tomatoes and herbs. A lighter version of the steamed mussels I made here, this recipe calls for a light tomato broth to simmer the clams and mussels in. It's really a show-stopping meal, but quite easy and inexpensive to make. The whole thing cost me about $12 and took twenty minutes to put together, which means more money for summer vacations and more time to enjoy the warm weather.

Mussels & Clams Steamed in Tomato-Herb Broth:
  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large dutch oven.
  • Add in 3 cloves minced garlic, 5 or 6 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 pinch red chili flakes, and 1 lb. cherry tomatoes.
  • Cook tomatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until soft and bursting.
  • Add in 1/2 bottle dry white wine and let reduce for 5 minutes.
  • Use a potato masher to pulverize the tomatoes a little.
  • Season broth with salt and pepper.
  • Add in 1.5 lbs. cleaned* clams and mussels.
  • Put a lid on the pot and let shellfish steam for 3-5 minutes, or until shells open.
  • Discard any unopened shells and stir in 1/4 c. chopped parsley.
  • Divide into bowls and serve with slices of grilled baguette.**

Serves two
*To clean shellfish, scrub the shells with a brush, then soak them in ice water for 10 minutes; the sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
**To grill baguette, slice into 1/2 inch thick pieces and grill over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. 

Wednesday, June 29

Grilled Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

I saw an article in Cooking Light for grilled quesadillas (apparently quesadillas can be low calorie) and knew I had to try this idea, KSD-style. I assembled the quesadillas using my favorite chicken fajita ingredients and bound it all together with some spicy jalapeno-jack cheese. It's important to use enough cheese to qualify as a quesadilla without putting so much that you get a gooey mess all over your grill. The result was amazing, with a crunchy smokey tortilla holding together a creamy, cheesy interior. I served mine with homemade guacamole.

Grilled Chicken Fajita Quesadillas:
  • Season 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast with your favorite fajita seasoning blend.
  • Thickly slice one bell pepper and one red onion and brush with canola oil.
  • Remove silks from 2 ears of corn, keeping husks intact. 
  • Grill chicken and vegetables over high heat for 6-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.*
  • Let grilled items cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.
  • To assemble quesadillas, place a large flour tortilla on your cutting board.
  • Place a thin layer of grated pepper jack cheese on half of the quesadilla.
  • Sprinkle some of the chicken and vegetables on the same side, then top with another layer of cheese.
  • Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the half with the filling and brush both sides with canola oil.
  • Repeat until all the filling has been used, about 4 or 5 times.
  • Place quesadillas on a medium-hot grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cheese is melted.
  • To serve, cut quesadillas into quarters and serve with guacamole.**

Serves four - six
*To grill corn, grill with husks on for 4-5 minutes per side, then peel back husks and char kernels for another 2-3 minutes.
**Click here for my guacamole recipe. 

Tuesday, June 28

Grilled Peach & Caramel Sundaes

Dress up store-bought vanilla ice cream with grilled peaches and homemade caramel sauce

Grilled Peach & Caramel Ice Cream Sundaes

On a hot day, nothing beats the heat like an ice cream sundae. My boyfriend and I have been collaborating on a lot of grilled dinners, so it was only natural to start grilling our dessert, too. Grilled peaches make a great treat on their own, but I kicked it up a notch with some vanilla bean ice cream and a homemade brown sugar caramel sauce. The hot grill brings out the fruit's natural sugars and adds a slightly smokey undertone to the peaches. As for the caramel sauce, well, it's good enough to eat on its own (as I caught my boyfriend doing every time I turned my back). The sundaes are an easy dessert to make for your next summer barbecue but are simple enough to whip up on any weeknight.

More Grilled Peach Recipes:
- Grilled Peach, Burrata, & Prosciutto Salad
- Grilled Pork Chops & Peaches
- Grilled Peach & Blue Cheese Salad

Grilled Peach & Brown Sugar Caramel Sundaes:
For Caramel Sauce
  • Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a small sauce pan.
  • Stir in 1/2 c. brown sugar until it completely dissolves and mixture comes to a boil.
  • Whisk in 3/4 c. heavy cream, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens to cover the back of a spoon.
  • Turn off heat and stir in 1 pinch kosher salt and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
  • Let cool.
For Sundae
  • Heat a grill or grill pan to high.
  • Slice 2 peaches* in half, remove pit, and lightly brush with canola oil.
  • Grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Remove peaches, place into bowls, and top with 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.
  • Spoon caramel sauce over the sundae.

Serves two
*If peaches are too ripe, they will fall apart on the grill.

Monday, June 27

Grilled Korean Short Ribs

Grilled thinly-cut beef short ribs in a sweet and salty Korean marinade

Grilled Korean Short Ribs

Living in L.A., I've grown to love Korean-style barbecue, but it wasn't until I got my latest issue of Bon Appetit that I decided to make it at home. Using this recipe as guidance, I marinated cross-cut short ribs in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, and then quickly grilled them. The result was so flavorful and juicy that it's sure to become a summer barbecue favorite. Leftovers would be great for fusion tacos a la Kogi, L.A.'s famous Korean BBQ food truck.

Related Recipes:
- Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs
- Asian Grilled Flank Steak
- Thai-Style Beef Salad

Grilled Korean Short Ribs:
  • Combine 1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 c. scallions, 1 tbsp. minced garlic, 1 1/2 tbsp. raw sugar*, 1 tsp. sesame oil, 1 tsp. grated ginger, and 1/2 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce.
  • Place marinade in a large, resealable bag, then add 1 1/2 lbs. Korean short ribs.**
  • Let short ribs marinate for at least 3 hours.
  • Remove short ribs from bag and pat dry with paper towels. 
  • Grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, or until just cooked through.
  • Let ribs rest for 5 minutes, top with scallions, and serve.

Serves two
*Also called turbinado sugar.
**Also called cross-cut beef short ribs.

Friday, June 24

Spicy Peanut Chicken Stirfry

I'd been on the lookout for a new stirfry recipe (see previous recipes here and here), but I just couldn't find anything exciting in my usual sources of inspiration. So I came up with this recipe totally on my own, which is a cross between a traditional Chinese stirfry and a Thai peanut satay. I love how the chicken absorbs the sauce's sweet, spicy, and salty flavors, which contrasts nicely with the crisp-tender vegetables. I think you'll find it better than take-out.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Stirfry:
  • In a bowl, combine 1/4 c. peanut sauce, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. sesame oil, 1/2 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce*, 1 tsp. grated ginger, and 1 tsp. minced garlic.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a wok over high heat.
  • Thinly slice 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, and add to the wok.
  • Stirfry chicken for 2 -3 minutes, or until halfway cooked.
  • Add 1 thinly sliced bell pepper and 1 head of broccoli.**
  • Cook until chicken is cooked through and vegetable are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add peanut sauce to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes, until sauce coats all ingredients.
  • To serve, divide onto plates and serve with brown rice.

Serves two - three
*Or any hot sauce you like; add more or less depending on how spicy you like it.
**Florets only. 

Thursday, June 23

Pesto Orzo & Vegetable Salad

Pesto Orzo, Broccoli, & Spinach Salad

I make big batches of homemade pesto that I keep in my freezer so that I always have some on hand to add to meals. This orzo and vegetable salad uses some of the pesto, along with roasted broccoli, baby spinach, and feta cheese. This recipe can easily be adapted to whatever vegetables you like, but the combination of nutty roasted broccoli and just-wilted spinach is a great juxtaposition of flavors and textures. One great thing about this salad is that it's equally delicious served hot, cold, or at room temperature. I love dishes that are versatile enough for a main meal or a side dish, and since the salad has a few days of shelf-life, it makes for easy lunch leftovers.

Pesto Orzo with Feta, Broccoli, & Spinach:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook 1 lb. orzo* according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, toss 1 lb. broccoli florets with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast broccoli in a 400°F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.
  • Drain orzo, reserving 1/2 c. pasta water.
  • Toss orzo with 1/3 c. pesto,** pasta water, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 6 oz. of washed baby spinach leaves.
  • Continue tossing until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.
  • Then stir in 1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese and broccoli.
  • Divide onto plates and serve; refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves four - six
*Rice-shaped pasta.
**Made using this recipe. Or purchase high-quality pesto in the refrigerated section of some grocery stores. 

Wednesday, June 22

Homemade Pesto

The perfect spread, sauce, or condiment to go on anything

Homemade Pesto Sauce Ingredients

I cook with pesto often (see previous recipes here, here, and here), but it's taken me awhile to share my recipe with you. That's because I only make the sauce every few months, usually utilizing my parents' food processor, and then freeze the pesto in individual-size portions. Frozen pesto can be kept in the freezer for four months, then de-frosted in the refrigerator or at room temperature. It's such a great item to have on hand, as it can quickly kick up any recipe or be mixed with cooked pasta for a quick weeknight meal.
Homemade Basil Pesto:
  • In a food processor*, combine 2 large bunches/ packages of fresh basil leaves, 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts,** and 2-3 garlic cloves.
  • While machine is running, stream in 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil; continue blending until mixture is smooth.
  • Stir in 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Divide into 1/2 c. tupperware containers and put in freezer. Or use immediately.

 Makes 3 cups
*Or a blender.
**To toast, place pinenuts in a dry skillet and warm for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly browned. 

Pesto Sauce Recipe

Tuesday, June 21

Sole Meunière

My boyfriend was out of town last weekend, so I wanted to create a special meal to welcome him home. I settled on a classic sole meunière recipe and some comforting sides like mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. The sole, a classic French dish flavored with lemon and parsley, was somehow both delicate and richly flavored. And importantly, the dish came together in mere minutes, giving us the chance to make up for lost time.

Sole Meunière:
  • Season 1 lb. (4 fillets) of petrole sole* with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge both sides of the fish with all-purpose flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with canola oil and heat until shimmering.
  • Add 1/4 stick butter to the pan and melt completely.
  • Add the sole and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side.**
  • Flip the fish and cook another minute, until just cooked through.
  • Remove fish from the pan and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.***
  • Add 1/2 stick butter to the pan and let melt completely.
  • Turn the heat off and stir in 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley.
  • Spoon sauce on top of the fish and serve.

Serves four
*Petrole is less expensive than dover sole, but you can use either.
**Do not overcrowd the pan, you may need to work in batches.
***Keep fish warm in a 17F oven.

Monday, June 20

Peach & Raspberry Crumble

Bubbling stone fruit and berries topped with a buttery crumble topping

Peach, Raspberry, and Nectarine Crumble

I love to bake, but creating lavish sweet treats in my small kitchen is somewhat unreasonable. Enter one of the world's easiest desserts and my long-time go-to recipe for easy entertaining: the fruit crumble. With some fresh fruit and a few ingredients from the pantry, you can easily whip up this crowd-pleasing dessert. It's one of my dad's favorite things I make, so I surprised him with it on Father's Day and plan on making it all summer long. I made his version with fresh raspberries, peaches, and nectarines, but you can mix and match with whatever fruit is your favorite or is in season.

Raspberry, Peach & Nectarine Crumble:
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • In a large, shallow baking dish, combine 2-3 sliced peaches, 2-3 sliced nectarines, and 3 pts. fresh raspberries.*
  • Sprinkle fruit with 1 tbsp. white sugar** and mix gently. 
  • Let fruit stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, they should release some of their juices.
  • To create topping, combine 2 sticks of cold, cubed butter, 2 c. all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp. white sugar, and 1/3 c. brown sugar.
  • Using your hands,*** combine butter with the flour mixture until the butter breaks up into small pea-size pieces.
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly on top of the fruit.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until topping is brown and fruit is bubbly.
  • Let the crisp rest for 5-10 minutes, then scoop into bowls and top with vanilla ice cream.

 Serves eight - ten
*It's ok if fruit is under ripe, it will soften when baked.  
**Add more or less depending on fruit's sweetness.
***Or pulse the mixture in a food processor.

Friday, June 17

Zucchini & Potato Fritters

I made this recipe for zucchini fritters about a year ago, and to be honest, they weren't great. The flavor was bland and they were a little mushy, and I almost forgot about them entirely until I saw a beautiful selection of zucchini at the farmer's market. For my second attempt, I added fresh herbs, garlic, and potato, and used a two-step cooking process, first crisping them in the pan and then baking them in the oven. The end result was worlds better than the first, with much crispier and flavorful fritters.

Zucchini & Potato Fritters:
  • Peel 2 large russet potatoes and trim the ends off 3 large zucchini.
  • Grate the vegetables in the large holes of a box grater.*
  • Place grated veggies in a colander lined with a kitchen towel and sprinkle them with 1 tsp. kosher salt.
  • After 30 minutes, wrap towel around the vegetables and squeeze out any excess water.**
  • Combine 3/4 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk in 1/2 c. beer to form a batter.
  • Add in the grated zucchini and potatoes, 6 oz. goat cheese, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp. chopped parsley, and 1 tbsp. chopped chives.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1/3 c. oil into a large skillet.
  • Using a 1/4 c. measure, drop fritter batter into the skillet and flatten into disks.
  • Cook fritters for 4-5 minutes per side, until a golden brown crust forms.***
  • Place fritters on a sheet pan and bake for 7-10 minutes in a 375°F oven.
  • To serve, arrange fritters onto plates and top with sour cream and chopped chives. 

Makes 12 fritters
*Or use the grater attachment in a food processor.
**Removing liquid from the vegetables keeps the batter thick and the fritters crispy.
***I worked in batches of 4 to 5 fritters at a time.

    Thursday, June 16

    Arugula & Corn Salad

    A summery arugula salad full of fresh corn, grape tomatoes, and aged Gouda

    Arugula, Corn, & Tomato Salad with Gouda

    In general, I'm not someone who loves salads. Sure, they're a great way to get vegetables and an easy side dish, but I've never craved a salad - until I made this one. Inspired by a recent meal I had at Gjelina, this arugula and corn salad has been on my brain ever since. I jazzed it up here with some shavings of L'Amuse Gouda - possibly my favorite hard cheese on the planet. It adds a ton of flavor and pairs well with the sweet corn and tomatoes and spicy wild arugula. Since this dish has so few ingredients, it's really important to use fresh, great-tasting vegetables and high-quality olive oil in the dressing (I broke out my nice bottle of McEvoy Ranch extra virgin). The salad is hearty enough for lunch and makes a great side dish, and because it's so healthy you don't have to feel bad about eating a ton of it.

    Related Recipes:
    - Corn & Avocado Salad with Jalapeno-Lime Dressing
    - Baby Caprese Salad
    - Grilled Zucchini Salad

    Arugula & Corn Salad with Thyme Croutons:
    For Croutons

    • Cut a demi baguette into 3/4 inch cubes.
    • Place on a baking sheet and toss with 1-2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves.
    • Season croutons with salt and pepper and bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350°F oven.
    • Let croutons cool before adding to the salad.*
    For Dressing
    • Combine 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, and 1 minced garlic clove.
    • Slowly whisk in 1/4 c. high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
    For Salad
    • Remove the kernels from 3 ears of corn and saute in 1 tbsp. olive oil for 4-5 minutes. Let cool.
    • Add corn to a large bowl, along with 1 pt. halved grape tomatoes and 4 c. wild arugula.**
    • Use a vegetable peeler to shave 2 oz. L'Amuse Gouda*** onto salad.
    • Top with croutons and toss with dressing.

    Makes two - three lunch salads
    Makes four - six side salads
    *Can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container.
    **Available at some farmer's markets. Can be substituted for regular or baby arugula.
    ***Previously featured here. Can be substituted for an aged Gouda or Pecorino Romano.

    Wednesday, June 15

    Spaghetti with Corn & Shrimp

    I'm lucky enough to live in a place where fresh fruit and vegetables, even exotic and hard-to-find varieties, are easily available at the grocery stores and farmer's markets; and thanks to global trade, seasonal produce is often available year-round. However, I only really eat fresh corn during the summer, because there is no substitute for the perfectly sweet kernels available at my farmer's market June through September. Last weekend I bought a bunch, peeled the kernels from the cob, and quickly sauteed them to add to meals all week long. The spaghetti I made was the perfect summer dinner, but cold leftovers would be a great pasta salad for tomorrow's lunch.

    Spaghetti with Corn, Shrimp, & Parsley:
    • Bring one large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and cook 8 oz. spaghetti until two minutes before al dente.
    • Meanwhile, heat a large pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
    • Add 1/2 lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp to the pan and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until just cooked through.
    • Remove shrimp from the pan and set aside.
    • Add 1 more tbsp. of oil to the pan, then add the kernels from 3 ears of corn* and cook for 3-4 minutes.
    • Remove the corn, add 1 tsp. oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
    • Saute the garlic until fragrant and add 1/2 c. white wine, salt, pepper, and a pinch of red chili flakes to the pan.
    • Let the wine reduce by half, about 3-4 minutes, then add the corn, 2 tbsp. minced parsley, and 1 tbsp. cream to the pan.
    • Drain the pasta, reserving 1 c. pasta water.
    • Add the pasta water to the skillet, then lower the heat to a simmer and add the pasta and the shrimp.
    • Toss the pasta in the pan until almost all the sauce is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
    • To serve, divide pasta onto plates and top with extra minced parsley.

    Serves two - three
    *I used a corn peeler to easily remove the kernels from the cob.

    Tuesday, June 14

    Quick-Braised Kale

    As I've mentioned before (more recipes here and here), kale is one of my favorite vegetables. It's hearty, healthy, and tastes great. My boyfriend picked up a few bunches of the greens at the farmer's market and they were huge enough for a main meal. I did my typical quick braise on them, added some amazing Gouda I picked up on my recent trip to the Cowgirl Creamery in San Fran, and served it with assorted crostini for a light dinner. This would also be a great appetizer - just pile a tablespoon of the cooked kale on top of toasted baguette rounds and top with cheese.

    Quick-Braised Kale with Shallots & Gouda:
    • Trim and slice two large bunches of black* kale, removing the thick stems and cutting the leaves into bite size pieces.
    • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet.
    • Add two thinly sliced shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they soften.
    • Add the kale**, 3 cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a pinch of red chili flakes.
    • Cook kale for 2-3 minutes, until it begins to wilt, and add 1/2 c. white wine.
    • Let kale braise for 10-15 minutes.
    • Divide kale into bowls and top with 1 tbsp. grated L'Amuse Gouda*** and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
    • Serve with toasted baguette.

    Serves two
    Makes twelve - fifteen crostini
    *Also called dino or lacinato kale.
    **Be careful to dry kale after washing or it will spritz in the hot oil.
    ***Or any hard, nutty cheese, such as Pecorino Romano.

    Monday, June 13

    Chicken Sausage Ragu & Parmesan Polenta

    A bowl of short cut sausage ragu over a bed of cheesy polenta

    Chicken Sausage Ragu with Parmesan Polenta

    I cook a lot of pasta dishes but often find myself coming back to the same recipe for quick sausage ragu. I've made several different variations of the dish (see my recipe for penne with turkey sausage and roasted vegetables), and decided it would be a nice change to serve the sauce over polenta instead of noodles. The spicy chicken sausage cooks with store bought tomato sauce for a hearty, flavorful sauce that tastes like it's been simmering all day. The polenta makes a great bed for the sauce and absorbs a lot of the taste from the sausage and tomatoes. It's a great meal for a busy weeknight and a fun alternative to spaghetti.

    Chicken Sausage Ragu & Parmesan Polenta:
    For Ragu

    • Use a knife to split open the casings of 1 1/2 lbs. fresh hot Italian chicken sausages.*
    • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat.
    • Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, breaking up the sausage into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon.
    • Remove any excess fat from the pan with a spoon.
    • Turn the heat to low and add 1 jar of marina sauce.
    • Cook the ragu for 25-30 minutes, or until all the flavors have time to merry together.
    For Polenta
    • Bring 3 c. chicken stock and 3 cloves fresh minced garlic to a boil in a small pot.
    • Add 3/4 c. quick-cooking polenta and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
    • Remove polenta from heat and stir in 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
    • To serve, spoon polenta onto the plate and top with ragu and extra Parmesan.

    Serves four
    *Or buy bulk fresh sausage.

    Friday, June 10

    Shrimp Bisque

    Making soup is a fun all-day event on lazy winter days, but I don't have the time or desire to make a big batch on these warm weekday nights. Luckily, I can take a few short-cuts from the store and make great tasting shrimp bisque in about an hour. The store-bought seafood stock and peeled and de-veined shrimp make cooking quick and easy, but the final product is fancy enough to serve for a special occasion. You can always save extra stock or make your own in advance and keep it frozen to use for quick weeknight risotto or stews.

    Shrimp Bisque:
    • Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large dutch oven.
    • Add 1 lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp and cook for 4-5 minutes or until opaque.
    • Remove shrimp from pot, remove tails, and set aside.
    • Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to the pot, along with 3 c. diced carrot, celery, and onion*.
    • Cook vegetables for 15-20 minutes, or until softened.
    • Add 1/2 c. sherry to the pot and cook until mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
    • Stir in 2 tbsp. tomato paste and 1/4 c. white rice. Then add 6 c. shrimp or seafood stock**, 1 bundle of parsley and thyme, and a few dashes of hot sauce.
    • Cook the soup for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is cooked, and remove the herb bundle.
    • Stir in the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
    • Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender*** and strain through a fine sieve.****
    • Return strained soup to the pan, and stir in 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream and the juice of one lemon.
    • Do a final check for seasoning and add more hot sauce, salt, and pepper as needed.

    Serves four
    *Save time by buying an already diced vegetable medley at the grocery store.
    **I buy high-quality stock from my local seafood market.
    ***Or use a food processor.
    ****Add water if mixture is too thick. I added about 1.5 cups.

      Thursday, June 9

      Pesto Penne with Kale & Pignolas

      My boyfriend occasionally golfs after work, so I usually cook something for myself and make extras for him to reheat later. I try to make something that microwaves well and doesn't take much effort on my end, so I decided to make a quick pasta entree using some home-made pesto I keep in the freezer. This dish is similar to the spaghetti with kale or the pesto linguine with mixed vegetables I've featured before, but with an added sweetness from the pine nuts. This is also a great option for leftovers or feeding a large crowd.

      Pesto Penne with Kale & Pignolas:*
      • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
      • Season the water with salt and cook 1/2 lb. dried, whole wheat penne pasta until 2 minutes before al dente.
      • Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 c. pasta cooking liquid.
      • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet.
      • Add 1 bunch of chopped black kale, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to the pan.
      • Cook kale for 2-3 minutes, until wilted, and add 1/2 c. chicken stock.
      • Let kale braise for 7-9 minutes.
      • Add pasta cooking liquid and 1/4 c. fresh, high-quality pesto to the pan.
      • Add the penne and 2 tbsp. toasted pignolas** and toss the whole mixture together for 2-3 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed most of the sauce.
      • To serve, divide pasta onto plates and top with extra toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

      Serves two- three
      *Pine nuts
      **To toast pignolias, place them in a dry pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.