Summertime Pasta!

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Summertime, don’t you love it 🙂

I love it when its not “humid” 😦  if you have a breeze then its not that bad, but here in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area it seems to be humid a lot…or maybe its just that I only remember when I’m hot and humid instead of when its just hot without the humidity 😛

I recently bought some nice mini heirloom tomatoes and some oyster and shiitake mushrooms, not really sure what I was going to make when I got home but I knew I’d come up with something.

Once I got home I had some fresh spinach (from my Dad’s garden), I thought salad but then I was like I know pasta!!

I also had some fresh mozzarella, lets talk fresh mozzarella for a minute…I LOVE IT!!!

Give it to me any way and I love and for the summer once your tomatoes come up in your gardens 🙂
You can make Insalata Caprese with tomato slices, sliced fresh mozz, fresh basil, a touch of salt a drizzle of oil olive and you have it

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Now I like balsamic vinegar on mine and most of the time I only use the vinegar and no olive oil, and as I’ve said in several posts we sell a fantastic balsamic vinegar, this is so important to spend a little more money and get a good aged balsamic vinegar.  The difference will change you life…okay maybe not your life but your taste buds will be very happy 🙂 

So back to Fresh Mozzarella, it comes in many forms as you can see

sizes

For this dish I had the Ciliegine already in my fridge so that is what I used

and here is what else I put in my Summertime Pasta!!

Ingredients

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I started in skillet with a little olive oil and crushed red pepper, which you can leave out if you don’t like a little heat 🙂

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then I added my shallots and mushrooms, cooked them until a nice brown in color

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Then I added the tomatoes, some red wine & balsamic 

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I scrapped the bottom of the pan to get up all those good brown bits
Added a lid and turned it on medium low till all my tomatoes in all
their juiciness burst 🙂

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I added my cooked pasta and fresh spinach

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just tossed that through and added my fresh Mozz (ciliegine)

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and then served it right on up 🙂

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Recipe

1 pkg. spaghetti, cooked as directed
1 – 2 pounds mini heirloom tomatoes (cherry or grape tomatoes will do)
1-2 large shallots, sliced
8 oz – 12 oz mushrooms (I used oyster and shiitake)
2 tsp. fresh garlic, I wanted more garlic  so I used 9 cloves 🙂
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 – 1 cup sweet red wine***
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups packed fresh spinach
1 container of fresh ciliegine mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste

***Red Wine note – I used 100% concord grape wine, red moscato would work too, but can use red or a nice white as well, this is up to you and what you like…don’t want to add wine, add a little more balsamic and some of the pasta water to make it more saucy.

Cook pastas as directed

In a large skillet over medium heat add oil and crushed red pepper flakes if using, once oil is hot add mushrooms and shallots, cook until nicely caramelized.  
Then add tomatoes, red wine, balsamic and grated or minced garlic, stir, scrapping the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet, cover and turn on medium low.  

Once tomatoes start to soften and burst, taste for seasonings add salt or pepper if desired, drain pasta, add pasta to skillet along with spinach, toss through just as spinach starts to wilt, then fold in the mozzarella and serve!!

servings 4 to 6, cut in half for 1-3 servings.

Just look at that mozzarella melt…Love it…I hope you make this and enjoy!!!

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Chef Jon Molnar Genuine Italian Pasta and Pizza Sauce

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As we go through the summer, I will be doing more product reviews, as we all know the summer time becomes very busy for all of us.  Well as least for me, I’d like to spend a little more time out and about with my family and friends.  So I have been given some products to taste test and I will be letting you all know how they taste and what you can do with them.
I’m sure I’ll come up with some recipes too, but I am looking forward to these products that are from all over the world.

This is one that I have today is Fantastic, I really must say…I have a great connection with the Gia Russa people which are right here in Ohio.

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Chef Jon Molnar’s love and enthusiasm for cooking can be traced back to the roots of his family. At an early age, Jon’s grandmother, Helen, demonstrated that cooking is a labor of love. With his grandmother’s guidance, Jon Molnar pursued his passion and perfected his craft at the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts. Since his graduation in 1994, Chef Jon Molnar has been a professional in the commercial and private sectors of the culinary world, holding prominent positions in various parts of the United States. With tireless years of experience, Chef Jon Molnar’s cuisine crusade has led him to develop Chef Jon Molnar Culinary Creations, in an effort to produce products that are of the highest quality and standards, from his kitchen to yours.

Finally, you can get genuine Italian sauces right here in the U.S.A. They taste so much better than American sauces, you may never go back. Chef Jon Molnar and the chefs of the top Tuscany restaurants in Italy now provideGenuine Italian Pasta and Pizza Saucesright here in America.

Genuine Italian Pasta and Pizza Saucesare made with the exact recipes and actual tomatoes from the Tuscany Province of Italy. Tuscany is famous for having the best tasting pizza and pasta sauces in the world. This is due to their superior recipes and superior tomatoes.

Tuscany tomatoes are the best tasting tomatoes in the world because of Tuscany’s ideal soil, ideal climate and ideal sun exposure. The recipes for the sauces are also different and superior to American pizza and pasta sauces. Chef Jon Molnar’s Genuine Tuscany Italian Sauces are all-natural, gluten-free, contain no preservatives, and are produced in a green facility. Once you taste Genuine Italian Pasta and Pizza Sauces, you will immediately notice the superior taste.

I loved this sauce so much, it was rich with a pure tomato flavor and so balanced, it was great on the pizza and with the pasta!!

This totally gets “Two Thumbs Up” from me…if you see in your local grocery store make sure you pick it up!!! 🙂

Pizza Ingredients – Crust, ricotta, provolone, spinach and Chef Jon’s Sauce

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spread some ricotta, then sauce, then spinach the top with cheese

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It was very very good!!

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Pasta easy and simple Ingredients

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cook pasta then add some ricotta, sauce top with Parmesan

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Enjoy!!!

Strawberry & Spinach Salad

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Strawberries are coming into season, I love this salad, its easy and delicious.

I use this balsamic vinegar that we sell in one of our stores

I absolutely love this, its aged and sweet the best I ever had, and I like that the bottle is refillable.  You buy the bottle filled for $11.99, then when you are out you can refill it for $6.99, best deal in town if you ask me.
So for me I use it all the time, oh even on vanilla ice cream, with sliced strawberries…YUM!!!

Strawberry & Spinach Salad

1 pkg. candied pecans (in nut aisle)

8 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried, set aside
1 pound container strawberries, rinsed, hulled, cut into quarters, set aside

Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl add
¼ cup good-quality aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt and pepper, add more to taste
whisk in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil to emulsify

In a large bowl add spinach, strawberries and ½-3/4 cup of the vinaigrette, toss to combine.  Turn out on to a large serving plate arranging strawberries all round.  Top with glazed pecans. Pour remaining vinaigrette in a container, in case any one would want more.

You can serve this as the main entree or as a side with a frittata or quiche  Frittata recipe to come on Monday.

Have a great weekend!!