Saturday, August 10, 2013

Swine Pasta Redux

Swine Pasta Redux!

I came up with the basic recipe for this dish one evening after work. I was trying to make something that my Husband would like and I needed to use what I had on hand in pantry and fridge.  Oh, and it had to be easy and fast!  I love fettuccine carbonara and I always have bacon, pasta, cheese and eggs in my house.  However I was concerned that my Hubby would be a tad freaked out about the raw eggs going in so I decided to use heavy whipping cream instead of eggs to make the sauce.  The dish that first night was a revelation to him --he'd never had it---and he ate every last bit of it.  Because he would never remember to ask for fettuccine carbonara when he wanted me to make it again he came up with his own name for it-----Swine Pasta!  I featured it in a post I did a few years ago in a post about Cooking for two. 

One of the great things about this dish is that you can add different things to it and still have a great plate.  My original version had peas in it, plus you can use pretty much any pasta shape.  I had been playing with the idea of adding mushrooms to it when a friend told me about the Crave Best Home Chef Competition.  So I made it a couple of times this new way and entered it today.  Wish me luck!

The other great thing is that so many of the ingredients can be found at local sources.  We have bacon, fresh pasta, and cheeses all available at the Farmer's Market.

Swine Pasta

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced very thinly
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from sprigs
1 small clove of garlic, smashed
a pinch of grated lemon peel
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup white wine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup Parmagiano Reggiano or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
sea salt (for pasta water)
1/2 lb linguine pasta (can also use fettuccine)
Flat Leaf Parsley, for garnish
Put sliced mushrooms, thyme, garlic and lemon peel in a bowl and mix together.
Cook pasta in salted water until just al dente. Drain, reserving a bit of the pasta water.

Saute bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from the pan, allowing it to drain on paper towels.  Remove all but about 3 TBs bacon grease from the pan and add the mushroom mix to the pan and saute until mushrooms are done, using the wine to deglaze the pan as you go. Add the cream and stir, allowing it to cook down and thicken a bit. Add most of the cheese (reserve a little for sprinkling later) and pasta to the pan and combine well, seasoning with a healthy bit of freshly ground black pepper.  If the sauce is a little thin use some of the pasta water to reach the desired consistency.
Plate a portion of the pasta and sprinkle with the bacon, some of the reserved cheese, and the parsley.
Prep Time:  @ 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 2 main course or 4 appetizer
Calories: Worth every single one

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!  Since we will go to my sister's house today for the family gathering I got to cooking yesterday for us.  It's great to be able to do just a little cooking today to take to share --my grandmother's cornbread dressing and a classic corn pudding--but we also like having just what we want and being able to have that yummy cold turkey sandwich with lots of black pepper and Duke's Mayonnaise!

I spent a little more than I have before for the turkey.  I'm trying to get serious  about food with less junk in it.  So this beautiful 13.21 pound bird came from The Fresh Market and is advertised to be vegetarian fed plus antibiotic and growth hormone free . At $2.29 per pound this meaty bird is not that expensive as it will feed us several meals. I picked it up Tuesday and immediately put it --in the wrapper--in a 16 quart stockpot full of water in the fridge so it would be ready for cooking yesterday. 'Fresh' does not mean it won't be iced up and it was.

After a rinse I let it air dry on a baking sheet while I prepped the roaster and made the herb butter. I sliced two onions into thirds and placed them on the flat rack.  I added to that two stalks of celery with leaves and an entire stem of fresh sage(about 10 leaves) and three stems of fresh thyme. For the butter I used a TBSP each of rubbed dried sage and fresh thyme into about 8 oz of softened Kerrygold Irish Butter. I loosened the skin over the breast and rubbed the mixture under the skin and then over the skin of the bird, making sure to slide some fresh sage leave under the breast skin.

In the cavity went half an onion, a whole lemon pierced all over with a fork, a couple of stems of fresh thyme, a stem of fresh sage and a stalk of celery.  The truss is a bit unusual but I just wanted to pull the wings in a bit.  I used to never truss but I've found it really beneficial in getting the thighs to cook evenly so I'm a convert now.

I started with a 400 degree oven (convection) and tented the breast for 30 minutes. I then lowered the temp to 335 and every half hour repositioned the turkey in the oven and basted with butter.  I grabbed this pic with my phone at the two hour mark.  It looked so beautiful but I didn't think there was any way it could be done.  The meat thermometer told me differently so I covered it and let it rest on the counter.

It was perfect!  I tool the whole breast off of one side and sliced it.  Even after resting the skin was deliciously crispy and the meat moist and tender. I was impressed with the amount of meat on it.  I broke it down into slices for sandwiches, bones plus some pan drippings into the freezer for stock and am planning several dishes for the rest.

I am so excited about the prospect of lots of holiday cooking this year.  Hopefully I'll actually break out my camera and take some pictures and write it down.  And of course share!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show!

FINALLY getting my recap post done!  I had the pleasure of attending the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food show with a good friend who is also a foodie.  We got to meet up with a couple of Kentucky Food Bloggers ahead of the show and had a nice brunch at Alfalfa to start the day.  I had the Huevos Rancheros which is their version of 'Spanish' or 'Cuban' eggs.  It was very tasty and I am so glad I went having eaten because that helped me taste things rather than devour them.

 This is the main entrance to the show.  At right is the Joseph-Beth display.  In the distance there were five double sided rows of exhibitors.  You had foods, services, kitchenware, kitchen design, beverages, foodie crafts, informational exhibits and outside there was a set up pressing cane, making apple butter and somewhere they were butchering a whole hog.  Just past this main area they also had 'restaurant row' where local restaurants were offering tastings and a wineries area where you could try out different wines.  There were also stages of various sizes where you could watch demonstrations on a variety of topics and individual rooms for the special presentations throughout the day.

As you can tell there is a LOT to see and do at the show. We arrived just before Tyler Florence was to start his 11 AM show in Rupp Arena.  Seeing the long lines at the ticket window we made a quick change of plans and opted to dive right in.  In the end it was an excellent choice.  We got to see everything at the show before the large crowd watching him poured out and filled the event hall.

There were booths were tantalizing, inventive and clever.  I didn't bring a real camera but took a few photos with my DroidX.

A cute pug doll at The Bluegrass Barkery.

One of the favorites for creativity was Vito's Italian SausageAnd the sausage was tasty--even the 'spicy' was full of flavor.

My hands down favorite display was the Elmwood Inn Tea booth.  It was a brilliant idea to put the different loose teas in champagne flutes so that, even though they didn't have all the brews available for tasting, one could smell and see the blend. I came away with three fantastic new teas that I probably wouldn't have purchased otherwise. 

We also both loved and bought the fantastic Pineapple Chutney from Kentucky Specialty Sauces.  I've loved and used their 'Steaks and Everything' Sauce for years.  This Pineapple Chutney is surprisingly rich but not cloying.  It will be perfect for the upcoming holiday season!(stock photo).

 We visited so many booths and bought quite a bit but also decided we'd have to go visit some local establishments because we couldn't carry anymore! 

I can't thank the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show for making this event happen each year.  I'll be there next year ........with a bigger bag.