Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Penne With Butternut Squash, Parsley And Capers

I adapted this recipe after seeing a similar one on an episode of Lidia's Italy. I replaced the sweet potatoes with butternut squash and added some white wine. It came I out great and will definitely go into our winter dinner rotation.


2 tablespoons extra--virgin olive oil
4 ounces thick--sliced bacon or pancetta, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 fresh sage leaves
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, cut into -½--inch cubes
2 leeks, white and -light--green parts only, sliced, (about 2 cups)
¼ cup rinsed small capers (optional)
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound penne pasta
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. In a large skillet, over -medium--high heat, heat the olive oil and add the bacon or pancetta, the garlic, and the sage. Cook until fat has rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the squash and leeks, and cook, stirring continuously, until both begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the capers, if using. Season with the salt and crushed red pepper. Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water, and simmer rapidly until the squash and leeks are very tender but the squash retains its shape, about 7 to 8 minutes, adding more pasta water if necessary to keep it saucy.

Meanwhile, cook the pennee until al dente. When the penne are done, remove with a spider directly to the sauce. Add the parsley, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Increase the heat and boil a minute if the sauce is too thin, or add a little more pasta water if it is too thick. Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss, and serve.

Adapted from Lidia's Italy

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Erin's Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

This took a while to perfect, but I finally got it.  I'm working on a bourbon version right now!

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

2 C ketchup
1 C water (you can also use 1/2 C water and 1/2 C bourbon)
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C molasses
1/4 C honey
3/4 C sugar
1/2 tbs black pepper
1/2 tbs. onion powder
1/2 tbs. mustard
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 tbs pureed chipotle in adobo (more or less depending on your taste and spice tolerance)
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and mix well (I whisk).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Yields about 3 1/2 cups

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dessert In A Glass

Every summer, right after school gets out, my family takes a weeklong trip the Gulf Coast of Florida.  We have 2 restaurants that we always go to at least once while we are there.  It was at one of these restaurant that I found one of my favorite cocktails...a key lime pie martini.  After drinking them for a couple of years, I decided to try my hand at duplicating it at home. We have a lime tree so I had plenty to practice with.  I made note of the ingredients from the restaurant's menu but I still had to figure out the proportions.  After a couple of tries, I mastered it and now I can have my favorite cocktail whenever I want.  Here is what I came up with:

Key Lime Pie Martini

2 oz. Vanilla Vodka
1 oz. Licor 43 (Spanish Vanilla liquer)
3/4 oz. Midori
1/2 oz. Lime juice
Splash of half and half or cream
Graham cracker crumbs

Rim a frozen martini glass with the graham cracker crumbs.  Combine the rest of the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake for 30 seconds and then strain into the glass.  Voila...key lime pie in a glass!