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Archive for June, 2008

For as much as I do enjoy “fancier” foods, I’ve developed quite a taste for the humble casserole. Casseroles are so satifying and I love having a whole meal in one dish. The last time I made casserole, I wanted one with noodles as opposed to my usual rice, so I found a basic recipe on FoodNetwork.com and proceeded to rip it apart and change it to my liking. I think I can now safely call this recipe my own!

ingredients

1/2 pound egg noodles
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup finely sliced prosciutto or crumbled bacon or pancetta (optional) I had leftover prosciutto, so I used that up
About 2 cups diced rotisserie or leftover roasted chicken (from about 1/2 of a small chicken)
10 oz. mushrooms
1/2 large onion, diced

3 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
2/3 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

 

 

directions

1. Cook egg noodles until just tender, leaving some bite since they will continue cooking in the oven. Drain and toss with a little olive oil to keep them from sticking together.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet (with high sides since liquid will be added) over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Sauté mushrooms until golden brown and liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and the thyme, and toss to mix.

4. Add white wine and cook until nearly evaporated.

5. Add chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and reduce slightly.

6. Turn heat to low and whisk in cream. Slowly return sauce to a low simmer and reduce again slightly. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the noodles, but still very liquid since it will thicken more in the oven.

7. Add spinach to the sauce and cook until just wilted.

8. Remove from heat and stir in chicken and noodles.

9. Turn the mixture into a greased casserole dish.

10. Combine cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl, and top the casserole with the mixture.

11. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted. If the top starts to become too brown, you can cover it for the last few minutes. I had no problems leaving my uncovered for 20 minutes, though.

Also pictured above: the pasta bowls from our new Kate Spade June Lane china that we got for our wedding! I love them.

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Yes, the flank steak is secondary in this one because the corn and peppers are the star. I know corn has a lot of huge fans, but I am not usually one of them – I like it, but it doesn’t usually do a ton for me. But for whatever reason, when I saw this recipe in the May issue of Food and Wine, I decided to try it. Since I followed their directions pretty closely, I will reproduce them here and add my notes in bold.

ingredients
  • 2 poblano chiles (My grocery store doesn’t have the best pepper selection. I used 4 small chiles and half of a red bell pepper.)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (I used half of a large one.)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels (I used frozen, but it was good quality – sweet white corn from Whole Foods.)
  • 1 cup sour cream (This was a bit much for me, so I used about 2/3 cup, plus a small splash of heavy cream)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 6-inch pieces (I used a small flank steak for my hubby and me and I cooked it in one piece)

directions

  1. Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel, core and seed the chiles, then cut them into thin strips. (The broiler works fine. I am both intrigued and freaked out by the idea of charring something over the gas flame.)
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and poblano strips and cook until the corn is tender, about 2 minutes (You don’t even need this much time if you’re using thawed frozen – a minute should do it). Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Keep the corn warm over very low heat. It will look like this:

3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Rub the steaks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; season with salt and pepper (I also added a shake of chili powder on the steak). Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 6 minutes (Maybe this is long enough for 6″ pieces of skirt steak, but I cooked my flank steak a couple of minutes longer than that and it was still a little bit rarer than I would have liked. For a smallish flank steak, I would do about 10 minutes total next time). Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain. Serve with the corn and poblanos. I also suggest crusty bread or a warm tortilla on the side. Finally, I topped my steak with some chunks of avocado that I had squeezed with lime and sprinkled with salt. Yum!

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