Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Orecchiette

On Saturday I made a pasta dish that I found on Pioneer Woman's web site. Both Big Bear and I really enjoyed it. It was quick and simple. This is definitely a keeper.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half & half)
Flat leaf parsley, finely minced (I didn't have any so I julienned some basil.)
Fresh Parmesan, shaved or grated1/2 to 1 pound pasta: orecchiette, penne, fusilli, etc.

Roast red peppers, then place in a Ziploc bag to allow to sweat. Peel the charred skins from the peppers, then removed seeds. Set aside.
Lightly toast pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside.
Puree peppers with pine nuts. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a skillet or pot over medium heat, drizzle in olive oil. Add diced onions and garlic and cook until soft. Pour in pepper puree and stir together. Add plenty of salt.
Pour in cream and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Add cooked pasta, and then stir together. Place pasta into a bowl, top with chopped parsley and plenty of shaved Parmesan.

Follow the link to the Pioneer Woman's site and you can see a much better explanation of how to roast the peppers. I put mine on the grill. It was simple. I won't be buying any more roasted red peppers in a jar, these were simple and good. :o)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Outrageous 'Referral' Brownies

Referrals came out this week and I wanted to bake something special, because a lot of special referrals came out this week. I decided to make Outrageous Brownies from Ina Garten. I’ve seen her bake these a couple of times on her show – yes I admit I watch her show. I learn a lot when I do. Any way, I thought I would make these to celebrate an outrageously amazing batch of referrals.

Chocolate and peanut butter in a fudgey brownie ~ what could be better? How about a recipe that makes a HUGE pan. :) You bake these in a 12x18 half-sheet pan. From all of the reviews I read it is really important to follow the directions precisely when making these brownies. If you don’t tap the pan half way through baking the brownies will over-flow ~ mine were heading that way. It was hard to keep Big Bear out of them, but it is also suggested to make the brownies and then refrigerate them over night. I think that is important, it let the brownies rest and wow what a dense brownie you get. The directions say to cut the pan into 20 servings. These are much too rich to cut that big, for me any way. I cut it into 40 brownies.

If you are looking for a decadent brownie to celebrate with lots of friends, give these a try. Everyone at work loves them.

Congratulations to all the new families. I am so excited for all of you!!!

Orzo and Spinach

Tuesday night Big Bear had a couple of late meetings. I was originally supposed to go to dinner with a friend, but she got the nasty virus that is going around. At first I thought I would go home and have a bowl of cereal or something simple. Right before I left school I was scanning through some of my blog roll and came across a recipe that caught my eye on Ezra Pound Cake, a new favorite blog. I had all of the ingredients so I thought I would give this Orzo with Spinach and Feta recipe a try.

The recipe called for a pound of spinach, but I only had a half of pound. I thought it would be enough, but next time I make this I will add the full pound. I didn’t stir in the spinach like the recipe instructs. I just put it in the pot and then dumped it in the strainer when I drained the orzo. This caused the spinach to clump. Next time I will mix in the spinach with the orzo.

It was really, really good. Even though I forgot to add the pine nuts. Big Bear got home just as I was dishing this up ~ good timing, don’t you think? We both really enjoyed this. It will be REALLY good next time when I remember the pine nuts! :)