Italian-style Roasted Beef with Prunes and Port

Ingredients

1 beef triangle tip (tri-tip) or top round roast (about 2 lbs), trimmed of fat
1-3/4 cups port
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 can (14-1/2 oz) beef broth
2-1/2 cups pitted prunes
2 packages (about 10 oz each) frozen tiny onions, thawed
1 pound dried farfalle (pasta bow ties)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
oregano sprigs
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Set beef in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
  2. In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine port and sugar. Stir over medium heat just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Measure out 1/3 cup of the port mixture to use for basting and set it aside.
  4. Add broth, prunes, and onions to port mixture remaining in pan. Set aside.
  5. Roast meat in a 450°F (230°C) oven, basting 4 times with the 1/3 cup port mixture, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 135°F (57°C) for rare (about 35 minutes). After 25 minutes, check temperature every 5 to 10 minutes. If pan appears dry, add water, 4 to 6 tablespoons at a time, stirring to scrape browned bits free from pan bottom. Do not let drippings scorch.
  6. While meat is roasting, bring prune mixture to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, until prunes and onions are very soft (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat and keep warm.
  7. When meat is done, transfer to a carving board, cover loosely, and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  8. In a 6- to 8-quart (6- to 8-liter) pan, bring about 4 quarts (3.8 liters) water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in pasta and cook until just tender to bite, 8 to 10 minutes. (Or cook pasta according to package directions.)
  9. Drain pasta well. Transfer to a large rimmed platter, mix in garlic and chopped oregano, and keep warm.
  10. Pour any meat drippings from baking pan into prune mixture. Also add any meat juices that have accumulated on board. With a slotted spoon, ladle prunes and onions over and around pasta. Transfer cooking liquid to a small pitcher.
  11. To serve, thinly slice meat across the grain and arrange over pasta mixture. Garnish with oregano sprigs. Offer cooking liquid to pour over meat and pasta and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Low-fat Italian Cookbook

Noodle Baskets with Chicken Lime Salad

Ingredients

peanut or corn oil, for deep-frying
9 oz fresh thin or medium Chinese egg noodles

Chicken Lime Salad

6 tbsp sour cream
6 tbsp mayonnaise
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, poached and cooled, then cut into thin strips
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced
salt and pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
several fresh basil leaves, torn

Method

  1. These impressive-looking baskets are not difficult to shape and cook, but allow yourself a few practice runs first.
  2. To shape noodle baskets, you can use 2 spider web slotted spoons from an Asian store. Spread the noodles out and place in a mesh spoon. Then place a second mesh spoon over the top and hold the two handles tightly together as you dip the baskets into the oil.
  3. Alternatively, you can buy a special set of 2 long-handled wire baskets that clip inside each other, which you can buy at gourmet kitchen stores. Dip the larger wire basket in oil, then line it completely and evenly with one-quarter of the tangled noodles. Dip the smaller wire basket in oil, then position it inside the larger basket and clip it into position.

  4. Heat 4 inches oil in a wok or deep-fat fryer to 350-375°F/ 180-190°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
  5. Lower the baskets into the oil and deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are golden brown. Remove the baskets from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  6. Unclip the 2 wire baskets and carefully lift up and remove the small one. Use a round-bladed knife, if necessary, to prise the noodle basket from the wire frame. Repeat to make 3 more baskets. Let the noodle baskets cool, then fill and serve, or store in an airtight container for several days.
  7. To make the salad, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, ginger, and lime rind. Gradually add the lime juice to taste. Stir in the chicken, carrot, cucumber, and seasoning to taste.
  8. Cover and let chill. Just before serving stir in the herbs and spoon the salad into the noodle baskets.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Noodles

Ramen Soup with Greens

Ingredients

7 cups dashi (Japanese stock)
2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce, or dark soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
6 oz dried ramen noodles
8 quail eggs or 4 eggs
8 oz pickled Japanese wild vegetables (sansai) or 7 oz. baby spinach mixed with 1 oz chopped bamboo shoot
2 scallions, finely sliced diagonally

Method

  1. To make the broth, put the dashi, soy sauce, and mirin into a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of unsalted water to a boil, then add the noodles and cook for about 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain and tip into a bowl of cold water set under cold running water. Using your hands, carefully rinse the noodles of excess surface starch. Drain again.
  4. Bring a large skillet of water to a boil. Carefully prick the quail eggs with the point of a sharp knife, piercing the tough inner membrane. Crack the eggs into the simmering water, cover, and immediately remove from the heat. Let stand for 1 minute until just set, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to arrest cooking. If using eggs, cook for 4 minutes, then transfer to cold water.
  5. Return the broth to a boil, add the noodles and pickled vegetables or spinach and bamboo shoot, and reheat for 1 minute. Divide between 4 heated soup bowls, top with the poached eggs and scallions, then serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Noodles and Pasta

Orecchiette Bolognese with Chestnuts

Ingredients

1-1/4 pounds thickly sliced smoked ham, torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/4 pounds ground beef chuck
Pinch of ground cloves
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1-1/2 cups dry red wine
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound orecchiette
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup vacuum-packed chestnuts, coarsely chopped (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Method

  1. Pulse the ham pieces in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
  2. In a large, deep casserole or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the chopped ham, beef chuck and cloves. Cook over high heat, stirring once or twice, until the meat begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic to the casserole and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are barely softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sage, rosemary and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the red wine and cook until it is nearly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato puree, chicken stock and sugar, season with black pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the Bolognese sauce is thick and reduced by half, about 45 minutes.
  7. in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente.
  8. Stir the heavy cream into the Bolognese sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in the chopped chestnuts and parsley and season lightly with salt. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Spoon the Bolognese sauce over the pasta and serve, passing the Parmesan at the table.

Makes 6 servings.

Source:Chef Daniel Boulud

Orecchiette with Sausage and Roasted Peppers

Ingredients

2 medium red bell peppers, four flat sides sliced off core, ribs and seeds discarded
2 medium yellow bell peppers, four flat sides sliced off core, ribs and seeds discarded
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Heat the broiler. Place the peppers, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from the heat until charred, 18 to 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Steam for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Using a paper towel, rub off the pepper skins, reserving any juices in the bowl.
  4. Thinly slice the peppers crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Return to the bowl and set aside.
  5. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  6. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 7 to 10 minutes.
  7. Add the roasted peppers. Cook until heated through.
  8. Transfer the sausage mixture to a large bowl. Add the pasta, butter, reserved pasta water, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Great Food Fast