Monday, April 6, 2009

A Little More Cold Weather Comfort Food

Spring has been teasing us. Last week it was warm and sunny and all of the flowers were starting to bloom and this week we had rain and clouds and cold. The one good thing was it was a chance to enjoy a little more cold weather comfort food. I made a couple of old favorites and three out of the four meals below made leftovers for a lunch the next day.

This Week's Menu:

Risotto is not quick to make but it's so delicious that it is worth the time if you have it. It does not have to be stirred constantly, just stir it before and after each addition of liquid. Also, it can be made with an endless variety of fillings. On Real Simple's web site there are a ton of variations using this basic recipe.

1. Risotto with Prosciutto and Peas
From Real Simple
makes 4 servings

2 T unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (may need extra, see below)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 cup peas (thawed if using frozen)
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1" pieces

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting until it's absorbed before adding more. (I have found that sometimes it just takes the 4 cups of broth to fully cook the rice and sometimes it takes more, this week it took almost twice as much. Just taste it and keep adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time until it is fully cooked.) Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan, salt, pepper, peas and prosciutto. Set aside for a few minutes before serving to warm the peas.

Don't let the name deceive you, this meat sauce is full of veggies too. You could add whatever type you like. Sometimes I like to mix the pasta right up with the sauce and keep it on the burner for a few minutes to cook out any extra liquid from the pasta.

2. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
makes 4 servings

1 lb spaghetti
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 lb ground beef
kosher salt and black pepper
1 jar tomato sauce
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8-10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the beef, 3/4 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
So this was supposed to be a cook it once use it twice recipe but the meat didn't turn out very good and we could only salvage enough for one meal. I think the problem was the cut of meat, in the future when I need a large cut I am going to go to a meat shop that is near by instead of getting it from the market. It's funny too because I was looking forward to the second meal with it more than the first. Maybe I'll try it again someday.

3. Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Carrots, Onions and Garlic
from Fine Cooking
make 4 servings (with leftovers, 8 without)

kosher salt and black pepper
1 6 3/4 - 7 lb boneless pork shoulder roast
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2" thick rings
3 carrots, cut into 1/2" wide by 2-2 1/2" long sticks
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup dry white wine

Combine 2 T salt and 2 t pepper and rub all over the pork. Put the pork, fat side up into a large roasting pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 - 1 1/2 hours before cooking. Position rack in the center of the oven and heat to 300 degrees. Roast the pork, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a fork everywhere but the very center, about 4 - 4 1/2 hours. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, wine and 1 cup water to the roasting pan. Continue to roast, stirring the vegetables occasionally until the pork is completely tender, about 1 hour more. Remove the roast from the oven and raise the temperature to 375 degrees. Separate the roast into 8 - 10 large pieces and spread out in the pan. Add a splash of water if the cooking liquid has evaporated. Return the pork to the oven and cook until the newly exposed surfaces of the pork are browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the meat and vegetables to a tray and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes. Skim the excess fat from the juices and serve with the meat and vegetables.

When I was in college I was fortunate to live with some pretty awesome ladies in both of the houses I lived in off campus. In the first house there were 5 of us living there and numerous others in and out. After I moved out one of the roommates decided to put together a collection of recipes that we had all made for each other over the years. She goatherd recipes from everyone and put them together into a nice book and gave us all a copy. It's called Cooking on the South Side (of Bozeman). I love having that book, even more for the memories than for the recipes but there are a few things I make from it. This is one.

4. Tuna Noodle Casserole
from Patricia Flores
makes 4 servings

3 cups wide egg noodles
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped (you could replace this with 1/4 cup peas)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can tuna, drained
1/4 lb grated cheddar cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile mix together all of the remaining ingredients (except the cheese). Stir the drained noodles into the tuna mixture and transfer to a baking dish. Top with the cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler and place the dish on the top rack in the oven until the cheese starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Stumble Upon Toolbar