Spaghetti “Bolognese”

I’ve been making an effort to cut back on our meat consumption but sometimes I really really want a meat-based dish. It was rainy today and looked cool (even though it was still around 85), but it got me in the mood for Spag Bol. One problem: no meat in the house. No meat? No problem…. maybe. So here’s my improvised vegetarian Spaghetti “Bolognese”.

1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 an onion chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
mushrooms (I probably used 1/4 of a pound? I’ve no idea) chopped fine
jar of sauce (I always have Barilla Marinara on hand)
spaghetti

Slice the tofu in half horizontally and place between paper towels to drain the excess moisture. I put my cast iron Dutch Oven on top to really squeeze out the water. Takes about 30 min or so.

Sprinkle tofu with salt and pepper. Put about a tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and put in the tofu. Fry on both sides till it’s a nice tannish brown, about 3min/side. Remove from pan.

Heat about a Tbsp of butter in the pan and saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms till softened, about 5min or so. Chop up the tofu and then add it back in to absorb some of the flavor for another 5min or so. Add in the spaghetti sauce.

Let the sauce simmer while the pasta cooks. When the pasta’s done, just spoon the sauce on top.

Things I would do differently next time: Marinate the tofu for a few minutes in olive oil and garlic for a flavor boost, and chop it more finely than I did today.

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Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese

I’m a sucker for a good risotto.  I love you, creamy, cheesy, savory goodness!  My favorite one is in the Jamie Oliver Italy cookbook, and it’s full of cheesy buttery fat; so bad for me, yet SO good!  I saw this one in an old Cooking Light and thought I’d give it a go, and while it’s not quite as good as my bad-for-you favorite, it’s definitely a close second.  And much better for me!

Risotto wiht Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  cups  boiling water
  • 1/2  cup  dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1  (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 3/4  cup  chopped shallots
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1/4  cup  (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Combine boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 10 minutes or until soft. Drain through a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1 1/4 cups soaking liquid, and chop mushrooms.

Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).

Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add mushrooms, cheeses, thyme, salt, and pepper; stir gently just until the cheese melts. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information

Calories:
198 (28% from fat)
Fat:
6.1g (sat 3.2g,mono 1g,poly 0.3g)
Protein:
8.9g
Carbohydrate:
27g
Fiber:
1.2g
Cholesterol:
15mg
Iron:
1.9mg
Sodium:
449mg
Calcium:
113mg
Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 2:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wild Mushroom Risotto

Since we’re cutting out a lot of butter, cheese, and booze next week to get “healthier”, I thought I’d go ahead and make some stuff that’s really bad for us this week. Enter: Jamie Oliver’s risotto. Oh.My.God. I got the Jamie Oliver’s Italy cookbook last year for Xmas, and I just haven’t gotten around to making much out of it because all of the recipes are so damn rich. But oh my GOD this was so good. You basically make the White Risotto recipe and then roast some mushrooms and garlic and add in at the end. Here’s the basic recipe which is simply FABULOUS on its own:

Risotto Bianco

2 pints stock (chicken, fish, or vegetable, as appropriate)
2 tablespoons olive oil
a dollop of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 a head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups risotto (Arborio) rice
2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
4 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Stage 1: Heat the stock. Put the olive oil and butter into a separate pan, add the onion, garlic, and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without coloring. This is called a soffrito. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

Stage 2: The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring—it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

Stage 3: Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Stage 4: Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow it to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes amazingly creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while it retains its beautiful texture.

So if you’re going to add mushrooms, you take about 6 oz of chopped assorted mushrooms along with about a head of garlic and saute them when you hit the end of Stage 3.  Saute for about 2 minutes in an oven-proof  pan with some olive oil, butter, and thyme, and then pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 6-7 minutes.  Chop them up and add about half when you hit Stage 4, and then add the rest over the top of each individual serving.  And then die and go to heaven.

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 3:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Linguine with Chicken Thighs

If you’re not already checking out recipes from The Pioneer Woman, you should get on that.  Now.  Everything I’ve made so far from that site is damn tasty.  Unhealthy and butter-laden, sure.  But nummy!!  And the pictures.  OMG.  Food porn!

This was a totally easy recipe that I’m definitely adding to our regular meal rotation.

Linguine with Chicken Thighs

Olive Oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt
Pepper
1/2 to 1 medium Onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup White Wine (or Chicken Broth)
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Pinch of Sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped Fresh Parsley
8 large fresh Basil leaves, chiffonadededededed
1 package Linguine noodles, cooked. (Can use any pasta you’d like.)
Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated, in abundance

Boil a pot of water for the pasta. Cook linguine noodles until al dente.
Heat olive oil in a hot skillet, then add diced chicken thighs in single layer. Don’t stir around; just let them brown on one side. Flip over with spatula, allow to brown, then remove to separate plate.

In same pan, over medium heat, add onions and garlic and stir to combine. Pour in wine (or broth) then scrape bottom of pan with whisk to loosen brown bits. Next, pour in crushed tomatoes, add salt, pepper, and pinch of sugar, then simmer for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes, throw in all the cooked chicken, including its juice from the plate. Allow to simmer for fifteen more minutes.

Add chopped fresh herbs at the end, then pour over cooked linguine in large bowl or platter. Top with lots and lots of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Eat. Faint. Then feel grateful you’ve discovered boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Vow never to be without them again.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tomato Risotto

This is a staple here at the GrossCool household; I’ve been making it for about five years now. I used to make it more when we lived in LA, but since we moved here I haven’t been able to find a good sausage to add to it so I tend to only make it every month or so, if that. I think I’ve finally found a winner though, so this will be added back into our regular rotation.

This is the original recipe, but I don’t make it in the microwave. Instead, I use a large saucepan or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. I keep the same times for the most part, except after I add the tomatoes and broth I let it simmer for about 8-9 minutes and then throw in sliced, pre-cooked Italian sausage, or sometimes shrimp if I have some on hand.

Tomato Risotto

Microwave Gourmet
Barbara Kafka
William Morrow and Co., Inc. | January 1998

Servings: Serves 3 as a first course, 6 as a side dish.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced yellow onion (about 1/4 pound)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups canned Italian tomatoes, pureed with juice
1 1/4 cups homemade or canned chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
coarse salt (optional)
Preparation

1. Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch quiche dish or 11″ x 8 1/2″ x 2″ dish, uncovered, at 100% for 2 minutes

2. Stir in onions and garlic. Cook, uncovered, at 100% for 4 minues. Add rice and stir to coat. Cook for 4 minutes more.

3. Add tomatoes and broth. Cook, uncovered, at 100% for 9 minutes. Stir well and cook for 9 minutes more, 14 mintues for a thoroughly creamy risotto.

4. Remove from oven. Stir in pepper and cheese, add salt to taste, if desired, and serve hot.

Published in: on July 17, 2008 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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