Avocado Pasta

Another Sunday has passed, another food party has ended.

Menu:

I wanted to make a simple and quick pasta for Sunday’s dinner party. There were 4 courses, as usual, and this was the third savory before dessert. My dinner parties always end up really late but last night we finished at 10:30pm. Or maybe I’m getting better with time management.

Serves 4.

DSCN1865b

[100% organic]

For the Avocado Sauce

  • 2 large ripe Hass avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few turns of freshly ground black pepper

Blend avocado, lemon juice, garlic cloves, parsley, salt and pepper together in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set pesto aside in an air-tight container, with cling wrap directly on top to keep air out.

For the Finnish

  • Linguine
  • Pecorino Romano, for grating
  • Candied pecans
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Olive oil

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook pasta until al dente.

Drain pasta and sprinkle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Plate pasta and scoop desired amount of sauce onto each plate. Toss to combine. Microplane cheese, add sunflower sprouts, and garnish with candied pecans. Serve immediately.

Linguine Misto Mare

I was looking through my posts and I haven’t done a seafood medley pasta dish yet.

I just have to say, my scallops were cooked to the utmost perfection.

DSCN1774b

Serves 4.

[100% organic, wild scallops, environmentally sustainable shrimp, PEI mussels, Manila clams]

For the Seafood Medley

  • 1 lb shrimp, with head and shell on
  • 4 sea scallops
  • 1 lb mussels
  • 1 lb clams
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and white pepper

Peel the shrimp but keep the tails intact. Reserve heads and shrimp shells for shrimp stock.

Clean, scrub, and soak mussels and clams in salted cold water for 15 minutes. De-beard mussels. Cook mussels and clams, separately or together, using simple aromatics (shallots, parsley stems, garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and dry white wine). Strain each jus for future use and keep shellfish warm.

Heat a large pan over high heat and when the pan is hot, add in 2 TBS olive oil. Season the shrimp with salt and white pepper and sauté. Cook until shrimp are curled and pink but not quite cooked through. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Sear the scallops in a clean pan and also keep them a little undercooked so when you put the shrimp and the scallops into the sauce, the residual heat from the sauce will continue cooking the seafood.

For the Shrimp Stock

  • Reserved shrimp heads and shells
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups water
  • Bouquet garni

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and when the pan is hot, add olive oil and the shrimp heads and shells. Sauté until the shells turn red. Add the wine, water, and a loose bouqent garni, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the stock for 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the stock sit for 30 minutes for the flavor to deepen. Strain the liquid and discard solids.

For the Sauce

  • ½ head garlic, finely minced
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • Reserved shrimp stock
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and white pepper

In a large pan on medium-high heat, add 2 TBS of olive oil and sauté the chopped onions, until the onions start to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, and crushed chili red pepper flakes, tomato paste, and sauté for 1 minute. Pour in the shrimp stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce to about 1 cup, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve any browned bits that may be there.

Add the crushed tomatoes, season with salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the sauce is simmering and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the parsley and seafood, cover, and turn off the heat.

For the Linguine

  • 1 lb linguine
  • Few drops of oil
  • Salt

Boil the linguine in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, drain, and toss with sauce.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon pasta and seafood into bowls, either serve scallops whole to each plate or cut into quarters. Drizzle extra sauce and serve with toasted bread!

Roasted Beets over Linguine with Dual Beet & Butternut Squash Purées

Yesterday for class, I was in charge with making the vegetarian plate for dinner service. I was browsing recipes online and I came across Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup. Just by looking at the photo, I just had to make it. Our regular chef instructor is never there on Thursdays but when I showed him the recipe on Tuesday night, to order the ingredients for next class, he said that the recipe was “complicated”. Chef Nic took a look at the recipe yesterday and he also said “complicated”. What is wrong with me? I brushed off what my two chef instructors’ opinions because I always want to challenge myself? I definitely bit off more than what I could chew last night but in the end, I managed to get everything together.

I wasn’t very happy with the presentation of the dish because I didn’t get all my ingredients when I went into the kitchen – annoying – and I was pressed for time making the beet syrup. Therefore, I couldn’t decorate the plate with beet syrup. I would have had enough time because even though service started at 8pm, I didn’t need to actually start cooking until 9:13pm; I just had to be “ready” at 8pm. Did I mention that I had to hand make the egg fettuccine. Yes, I had the attachment to roll out the pasta but I had to roll and then cut and then unravel each noodle…

Today, I had a friend come over because I’m sick but that doesn’t mean that I can’t host, so I made a better looking vegetarian plate with what few ingredients I had at home. I also had some leftover butternut squash soup and it was thick enough to put on a plate.

I love how beets make everything pretty. No artificial colorings used.

[100% organic]

For the Beets

  • 6 red beets, leaves removed
  • 1 garlic head, sliced horizontally
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a rectangular baking pan, place beets into them and season generously with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add in the two garlic halves and a few sprigs of thyme. Wrap up the beets and place them in the hot oven for 45-60 minutes, until soft.

Remove from oven, let the beets cool and peel the skins. Strain the cooking juices and set aside. Take two of the peeled beets and roughly chop them. Place in them into a blender and add the cooking juices. Blend until a purée, pour into a container and set aside.

As for the rest of the beets, cut them into small cubes and set aside.

For the Finish

  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Linguine

Boil a pot of salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook pasta 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm.

In a sauté pan on medium-low heat, add a generous amount of both beet purée and chopped beets and toss in the pasta. Cook for 1 minute. Plate to your liking and sprinkle chopped chives over beets and pasta.

*Adapted from Taste with the Eyes.

Linguine in Arrabbiata with Octopus Tentacle

I am almost done with my menu project! Just two more dishes and then fini!! I wanted to feature all kinds of seafood and the cooking techniques that I’ve learned in school for my menu project. I am limited to certain things when cooking at home because I don’t have all the fancy equipment and machines. I did have to edit and tone down my excitement.

I’ve always had octopus grilled or steamed (sushi). But I boiled and simmered this one for the pasta. The texture turned out right and I was very happy with the dish. This recipe serves two portions.

[100% organic, wild octopus]

For the Octopus

  • 2 octopus tentacles
  • ½ head garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt

In a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil with half a head of garlic and 1 bay leaf.

Put octopus in boiling water and when it comes to a boil again, add a little cold water. Bring it to a boil again, and repeat the addition of cold water for three times. After the third addition of cold water, when the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to the low simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain from water and set aside, covered.

For the Arrabbiata Sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 3 TBS EVOO
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • ⅓ lb linguine
  • Few drops of oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely chopped

Boil the linguine in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm, save 1-2 cups of pasta water.

Melt and heat up the butter and olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add in the onions and shallots. Sweat for a couple of minutes, making sure not to burn or have coloration. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Put the tomato paste into the pan and cook it well, making sure to mix around with everything else in the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

Then add the crushed tomatoes along with the juices, red pepper flakes, and some of the pasta water (if mixture is too dry) into the pan. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt & pepper. Add the octopus into the sauce and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta with the sauce and toss well.

TO ASSEMBLE

Plate pasta in the center of a bowl. Prop the octopus tentacle on top and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with sliced bread and eat immediately!

Update: Linguine in Arrabbiata with Shrimp & Octopus

I finally and accidentally stumbled upon the missing ingredient that the chefs at Enoteca Vespaio use in their arrabbiata sauce, at least in my opinion: COOKED TOMATO PASTE.

I was really hungry a few days ago and I had just finished my third (6pm, 8pm, 11pm) dinner and as I was getting close to the bottom on my linguine… I was drinking the sauce… it had an intense similarity to something that I loved… and then it hit me! ENOTECA!!!!!

It’s definitely cooked tomato paste that transformed a light spicy tomato sauce to a more complex sauce with depth.

Love it!!

[100% organic, shrimp from Gulf of Mexico, octopus from India]

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 3 TBS EVOO
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS red chili pepper flakes (more if you like hotness!)
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1-2 cups pasta water
  • ½ lb shrimp, peeled to the tail and deveined
  • ¼ lb octopus
  • Linguine
  • Few drops of oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely chopped

Boil the linguine in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm, save 1-2 cups of pasta water.

Melt and heat up the butter and olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add in the onions and shallots. Cook for a couple of minutes, making sure not to burn or have coloration. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Put the tomato paste into the pan and cook it well, making sure to mix around with everything else in the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

Then add the crushed tomatoes along with the juices, the red pepper flakes, and some of the pasta water, if mixture is too dry. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt & pepper. Add the seafood into the sauce and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta with the sauce and toss well.

Sprinkle chopped parsley over pasta and serve with sliced bread. Eat immediately!

Linguine with Clams & Tomatoes

What is wrong with me?! I always forget to make garlic bread!

[100% organic & wild]

  • ½ lb linguine
  • 1 lb clams
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS red pepper flakes
  • Half bulb garlic, minced
  • 2 bird’s eye chili peppers
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • One 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes, without juices
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Boil the linguine in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm). Save a cup of pasta water.

Heat the oil on medium heat, then melt the butter and sauté the garlic. After 30 seconds, turn heat to high, add in the clams, wine, parsley, tomatoes, pepper flakes, and season generously with salt & pepper.

When the clams open, around 7-8 minutes, add the pasta to the clams and use some pasta water if dry. Cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Sautéed Calamari & Shrimp over Summery Linguine

Still rainy and typhoon-y weather in Hong Kong. You don’t know how depressing this is. At least it’s windy, and not stuffy.

I’m over my cilantro phase… now I’m kind of obsessed with limes right now. I just love the taste. Yum.

[100% organic, wild squid, Thai shrimp]

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided in 1 TBS + 2 TBS
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bird’s eye chili pepper, sliced
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 TBS flat-leaf parsley, chopped, save some for garnish
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ freshly grated parmesan
  • Linguine
  • ½ lb calamari, tubes & tentacles
  • 10 shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • Salt & pepper

Chop squid tubes into rounds. Boil pasta in salted water and add a few drops of olive oil to prevent sticking; cooked to al dente. Keep pasta in pot to keep warm.

In a pan, melt and heat the butter and 1 TBS olive oil on medium-heat. Sauté the garlic, chili pepper, and onion for 30 seconds, then add in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the wine once the tomatoes are fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle some chopped parsley. Cook for another 2-3 minutes on low-heat. Toss with pasta and add in the cheese and keep warm.

In another pan, heat the 2 TBS olive oil. Add in the squid and shrimp once hot and stir in lime zest, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute on each side. Then toss with the summery pasta and serve immediately.