Displaying items by tag: pasta and rice

Fiddleheads have a nutty flavour that works beautifully with pasta and Asian stir-fries as well as making them good side dishes for fish and chicken.

Fiddleheads must be rinsed in about 4 changes of water to remove any brown skin or dirt. Cut off the stem so that the fiddlehead is completely round.

Wash well and then blanch in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes. They are then ready to incorporate in most recipes. If fiddleheads are unavailable, use 1 pound (500 grams) asparagus cut into pieces.

The stir-fried greens can be mixed with pasta for a first course or served alone as a side dish.


4 ounces (125 grams) dried penne

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups fiddleheads, trimmed, washed and blanched

¼ cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

1½ teaspoons minced anchovies

½ teaspoon chili flakes (or to taste)

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add penne and boil for 9 to 12 minutes or until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta water.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in skillet and add fiddleheads, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, chili flakes and garlic. Toss everything together for 2 to 3 minutes or until fiddleheads are crisp-tender and have lots of flavour.

Add penne to pan and toss to combine. If mixture is too dry, add 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta cooking water and a little extra olive oil, if desired.

Sprinkle with grated Pecorino cheese. Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course

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This goes well with any Asian accented chicken or fish dish.


1 cup Japanese sushi rice

1 ½ cups water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 leek, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only

6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thickly sliced

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Place rice in a strainer and rinse with cold water until water is clear. Place rice in a pot and add water. Bring to boil, cover, turn heat to low and cook for about 12 minutes.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and saute for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté another 2 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

Add sautéed vegetables and seasoned rice vinegar to rice, cover and continue to steam until rice is cooked, about 5 minutes. Serves 4

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Flax seeds make a perfect substitute for peanuts because they have great crunch. If bean sprouts are a problem for your family, substitute an equal amount of thinly sliced bok choy. It adds a similar texture. Tamarind gives the best flavour, but is often hard to find. Substitute 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon ketchup. You can also add firm tofu to the stir fry just after the chicken.


8 ounces (250 grams) flat rice noodles (about ¼ -inch wide)


3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons fish sauce

¼ cup lime juice

2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

1 teaspoon sambal oelek

¼ cup chicken stock or water

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons chopped shallots or red onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

8 ounces (250 grams) boneless chicken breasts, cut into ¼ -inch thick slices

1 large bunch green onions, cut on the bias into 2.5-centimetre lengths

3 cups bean sprouts


½ cup coriander sprigs

4 lime wedges

2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)


Soak rice noodles in very hot water for about 20 minutes. They should be pliable enough to drape over your hand but still have a little texture. They will soften more in the wok. Drain noodles and rinse well with cold water. Reserve.

Combine sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind, sambal oelek and stock and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add shallots and garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken and stir fry for 3 minutes or until almost cooked through. Add noodles and toss to combine. Add sauce, toss again, add green onions and half of bean sprouts. Cook for 2 minutes or until noodles are soft. Add a little extra water if noodles are not soft enough.

Sprinkle with remaining bean sprouts, coriander and garnish with lime wedges. Sprinkle with flax seeds and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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This pasta dish from Southern Italy has big, intense flavours.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 red pepper, diced

1 pound (500 grams) hot Italian sausage, casing removed, and crumbled

1/2 pound (250 grams) mixed mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1/2 cup red wine

2 cups canned tomatoes, puréed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound (450 grams) penne

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes, add garlic and sauté until softened about 1 minute. Add peppers and sauté until peppers are slightly browned on edges, about 3 minutes.

Add crumbled sausage and sauté until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and oregano and continue to sauté until mushrooms are juicy.

Pour in wine, bring to boil, add tomato puree and simmer for 20 minutes or until sausages and peppers are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place large pot of salted water on high heat while sauce is cooking. When water comes to boil, add penne and cook according to package directions. Drain and toss with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley. Finish with cheese. Serves 4.

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Fresh Roma or plum tomatoes for sauce making are available right now. If you're tomatoes aren't perfect, stir 1 tablespoon of tomato paste into the sauce. Or you can use canned. This is a great vegetarian dish if you leave out the shrimp and add some chili flakes to the tomatoes.



1 pound (500 grams) large shrimp, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic


21/2 (1.5 kilograms) pounds fresh tomatoes 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound (450-gram) package angel hair pasta

2 tablespoons torn basil leaves


Cut through underside of shrimp to butterfly. Slash flesh in several places. Place in shallow dish. Combine oil, lemon juice and garlic and toss with shrimp. Marinate 30 minutes.

Core tomatoes and press out seeds. Chop roughly. Combine tomatoes and basil in food processor and process until slightly chunky (you should have about 4 cups). Reserve.

Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until softened. Add tomato/basil mixture. Simmer ingredients together for 5 to 7 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.

Place large pot of salted water on high heat. When water comes to boil, add pasta and boil until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and toss with sauce.

Preheat broiler. Place shrimp on broiler pan about 6 inches from heat and broil 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, or until pink and curled slightly.

Place pasta on 4 serving dishes. Divide shrimp between plates. Sprinkle with torn basil. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Serves 4.

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This flavourful Sicilian dish has a touch of Moroccan spice in it. The sauce is similar to a rich chicken Bolognese.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound (500 grams) boned and skinned chicken thighs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup sliced leeks

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup red wine

2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low sodium

1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped

1-inch piece cinnamon stick

2 star anise

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Pinch chili flakes

2 cups baby spinach

12 ounces (375 grams) orecchiette

1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese, optional


Heat oil in sauté pan or deep skillet on medium-high heat. Season thighs with salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs to pan and sauté until browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan.

Add leeks, carrots and celery to pan and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened slightly. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in red wine and bring to boil. Boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, cinnamon stick, star anise, thyme and chili flakes. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove cover and add chicken. Cover again and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove cinnamon and star anise. Remove chicken and shred. If sauce is too thin, bring to boil and reduce until slightly thickened.

Return shredded chicken to pan and add baby spinach. Cook for 1 minute longer or until spinach is wilted. Season sauce well with salt and pepper to taste.

While sauce is cooking, place large pot of salted water on high heat. When water comes to boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and toss with sauce. Top with shaved Parmesan if desired. Serves 4.

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This fresh and fragrant soup is especially good if you are feeling under the weather. It perks you right up.


1 onion, thickly sliced

6 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken stock

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced

2 star anise

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon grated lime rind

2 chicken breasts on the bone, skin removed

2 tablespoons fish sauce (or to taste)

4 ounces (125 grams) rice noodles (linguine-size)


Coriander sprigs, fresh red chili, lime sections, Asian chili sauce, hoisin sauce.


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Place onion on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning once until browned (this gives great colour to the soup).

Place stock in pot along with onion, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, sugar and lime rind. Bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes or until breasts are just cooked. Strain soup and add fish sauce to taste. Pull chicken off the bones and slice.

Place rice noodles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for 15 minutes or until noodles drape easily around your hand. Drain and add to chicken stock. Simmer together for 2 minutes.

Divide noodles and soup between 4 soup bowls. Top with sliced chicken. Have a serving plate piled with coriander sprigs, red chilies, lime sections and chili and hoisin sauces. Allow each person to garnish to taste. Serves 4.

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Here is a non-traditional mac and cheese with seriously spicy, southwestern overtones to cool a hot temper. Perfect for Arizona Senator John McCain.


¼ cup butter

1 cup chopped red peppers

1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeno peppers or to taste

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups milk or cream

1/2 cup salsa

2 cups grated cheddar

1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound (500 grams) elbow macaroni or penne, cooked

1 cup crumbled corn chips


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add peppers and jalapeno and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add milk while stirring constantly and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Stir in salsa and add cheese a bit at a time, stirring until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine with macaroni and pile into a buttered gratin dish. Top with corn chips and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbling. Serves 6.

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Nutty-flavoured Comté cheese makes this a glorious and rich first course. I like to keep things simple by buying frozen ravioli. Squash or mushroom filling works best.


½ cup white wine

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup grated Comté cheese

1 pound (500 grams) frozen ravioli

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Shaved parmesan cheese


Place wine in a skillet over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Add cream and return to a boil. Turn heat to low and add Comté cheese in batches, stirring until cheese is melted and incorporated. Remove from heat. Season well with salt and pepper.

Cook ravioli in boiling salted water according to package directions. Save some pasta water. Toss ravioli with cheese sauce (adding a little pasta water if necessary to coat pasta). Season with salt and lots of pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley and shaved parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

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If you are in a mood to splurge, use two duck confit legs. Otherwise, one is sufficient. If duck confit is unavailable, use barbecue pork or just omit.

I buy dried noodles, which take a few minutes to cook in boiling water. You can use fresh if you prefer.


1 large duck confit leg, at least 7 ounces (200 grams)

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup chicken stock

2 teaspoons hot Asian chili sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

6 ounces (175 grams) dried Asian wheat noodles

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped ginger

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

4 cups baby bok choy, sliced on the bias

½ cup frozen, shelled edamame

4 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water and sliced

¼ cup chopped green onions

Coriander sprigs


Remove skin and fat from confit leg. Chop and set aside. Shred meat and reserve separately.

Combine soy sauce, sugar, chicken stock, chili sauce and vinegar and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and reserve.

Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium-low heat. Add duck skin and fat and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove skin from pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add garlic and ginger to wok and cook for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy, edamame and mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute. Add shredded duck meat and noodles and sauté for 1 minute or until everything is hot.

Add reserved sauce, bring to a boil and cook, tossing noodles, until they have absorbed some of the sauce. Garnish with green onions, coriander sprigs and crumbled reserved duck skin. Serves 4.

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