Archive for September, 2010

Broccoli Penne with Pesto Cream Sauce

September 30, 2010 2 comments

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If I could pick a dream job, being the host of a TV cooking show would rank pretty honkin’ high.  When I was a kid, I would pretend the window that was above the kitchen sink really was a camera and I would talk to the window like I was hosting my own cooking show.  I even did my own commercials ( I still remember the one I did for Vlasic pickles…so any ad agencies out there, gimme a call).  This was waaaay before Food Network so my idols were few, but the uber-talented chefs like Julia Child and the sort really made cooking on TV fun for me.

I would say 88.7% of the recipes I make are those of other people, they are not my own creations.  I wish that number was lower, but the more I cook the more comfortable I get with combinations and techniques.  Last night I had some broccoli from the garden that needed to get used up, so I totally improvised (Augggh!) and to my and my family’s surprise, it turned out pretty good!

I know I will never be the Next Food  Network star (even though my last name just screams out numerous options for a snappy title).  But that’s fine with me, as the house I live in now has a window over a sink and I have an in-house studio audience of four who give me applause and won’t cancel me due to poor ratings.

Broccoli Penne with Pesto Cream Sauce

Serves 5 (2 adults, 3 kids)

1 lb penne pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb or more fresh broccoli ( I would not use frozen due to extra water it has)
3 Tbs. jarred roasted red pepper
3 Tbs pesto
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Tbs flour
3/4 cup cream**
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
Optional: grated Parmesan cheese

** To make this a vegan recipe, you could sub in some cashew cream use non-egg pasta and cheese free pesto -> -> I used that for this recipe

In a large pot, boil water.  When water is boiling, add pasta and cook per directions on the box.

Meanwhile in a large skillet,  heat olive oil and cook onions until soft about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir and add white wine first then the broccoli.  Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.  Add red pepper and stir.  Then sprinkle flour over and stir and then cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add cream and stir, cook for 2 minutes and then add pesto.  Season with salt (about 1 tsp) and pepper. You want the broccoli to be cooked but not super limp and overcooked.

Drain pasta and return to the same pot.  Add the broccoli mixture to the pasta and combine well.  Top with cheese if desired.

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Cherry Tomato Pesto – Fresh and Freezer-worthy

September 2, 2010 2 comments

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I’m taking a walk down memory lane today…and through my stroll I am encountering little,  glossy red, ball-shaped fruit that started it all. Started what you ask?  This is the recipe that made my decision to launch What I Ate For Dinner.  After telling friends and family what I cooked,  I kept getting requests like, “Oh, that sounds good, can you email me the recipe?”  Ya, I could…but after a while I spent a decent amount of time sending emails or writing it down for people.  I love my family and friends and all, but it seemed like a waste of time repeating myself.

So humor aside for once, I want to really thank everyone who has read, commented and just somewhat paid random attention to my culinary quips, savory stories and recipes.  Special thanks go to Dave and my kids, who have put up with me putting dinner on pause some nights, because I had to get a good picture of what we were about to eat.  It does make me giggle when I cook something and one of the kids ask, “Is this going to go in your blog?”

I wasn’t quite sure how this little blog would turn out and hopefully my passion for food and cooking have translated into not only a creative outlet for me, but provided you with some good eats along the way.

So I will stop blathering on and give you a really great recipe that I make for Cherry Tomato Pesto.  This is perfect if you have  a million cherry tomatoes you don’t know what to do with.  I use this rich sauce mainly on ravioli.  It also makes a yummy app when you pour some into a baking dish and add some goat cheese and heat till bubbly.  Smear some of it on a sliced french bread pieces and oh, yum.  And one of the best parts is that you can freeze it to enjoy all year ’round. 

Cherry Tomato Pesto

Makes roughly 1 1/2 – 2 Cups

Take two pounds or so of cherry tomatoes and halve them and put them in a 9 x 12 pyrex baking dish. Add 6 cloves of crushed garlic, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons fresh thyme. Bake uncovered in a 250 degree oven for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until edges are a little charred, stirring every now and then. Cool.

Take the tomato mixture and add it to a food processor and add:
– 1/4 cup pine nuts
– 1/4 cup fresh basil

Blend and add more olive oil to you liking of the consistency. You can use roma tomatoes for this as well, just cut to a smaller size.

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