Tag Archives: Onion

Summer Pasta with Onion, Bacon and Tomato

During this heat wave, a light dinner showcasing fresh ingredients is ideal.  This pasta with onion, bacon and tomato is simple enough to prepare while enjoying some Olympic events.

Ingredients:

1/2 sweet onion, diced

Extra virgin olive oil

2 slices slab bacon

1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes

Fresh ground pepper

6 to 8 ounces egg capellini

Fresh basil

Sauté the onion in several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until soft and translucent, about five minutes.  In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice the bacon into 1/4 inch strips, then halve each strip.  Add the bacon to the onion and sauté until lightly browned, about seven minutes.  Keep stirring the onion and bacon with a wooden spoon, and season with pepper to taste.  Stir in the tomatoes and sauté for several minutes until they “pop”.

Throw the pasta into the boiling water and stir.  The pasta is so delicate that it should only take about two minutes.  When al dente, remove the pasta with tongs and add to the onion, bacon and tomato mixture.  Also, add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan to help the sauce stick to the pasta.  Using a wooden spoon, coat the pasta with the sauce, and toss in some fresh basil.

Pasta!

Serve with grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.  Enjoy with a light red wine, such as a Grenache.

Not Your Boar-ing Burger

While picking up a few items from the grocery store last Friday, my husband decided that a D’Artagnan free range wild boar mini roast would be perfect for dinner.  Just recently, our local grocery store started carrying a wide variety of D’Artagnan products.  While this is very exciting, I still intend to take advantage of special offers from the website at http://www.dartagnan.com!

Rather than roast the roast, we decided on more casual fare – boar burgers.  Below is our recipe…

Ingredients:

One D’Artagnan free range wild boar mini roast (1.5 pounds)

One egg

Worcestershire sauce

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

One tomato, sliced

One sweet onion, sliced

Dill pickles

Crusty Italian bread

To prepare the meat for grinding, cut it into small chunks (about one inch cubes).  Then spread the chunks on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Grind the chunks in a Cuisinart in two batches, pulsing until it is the consistency of ground beef or ground pork that you would purchase from a butcher.

The roast makes the perfect amount of ground “pork” for four burgers.  In a large bowl, mix one egg into the ground meat.  Then add several shakes of Worcestershire sauce, a few pinches of sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Mix with your hands and form into four patties.  Grill on medium high heat to your desired temperature.  Top your burger with a slice of tomato and some onion and pickles on toasted Italian bread.  (While I am a purist, my husband likes to add Dijon mustard.)

So, for a truly sweet and juicy “ham”-burger, check out D’Artagnan’s boar online or at your local grocery.

Boar Burger

Mushroom and Artichoke Soup

The chill in the air this weekend made it the perfect time to enjoy a hearty soup.  With both mushrooms and artichokes on hand, we decided to put our own twist on a mushroom soup…

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Unsalted butter

Extra virgin olive oil

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 quart baby portobello mushrooms, chopped with stems removed

5 chestnuts, peeled and cooked

12 ounce jar of artichoke hearts, drained

3 pieces crystallized ginger

4 cups chicken stock

Half and half

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until it softens and becomes translucent.  Then, add the mushrooms and chestnuts, cooking for about 7 minutes.

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Next, add the artichoke hearts, ginger and chicken stock.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

After cooling for several minutes, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend at high speed until smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan and add a few splashes of half and half to your desired consistency.  Also season with salt and pepper.  Bring the soup to a simmer again before serving.

Garnish with sprigs of thyme and serve with some crusty bread and olive oil for dipping.

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Ramps Have Arrived!

I was thrilled to find the first ramps of the season last weekend.  No, I was not scavenging in the woodlands of the Northeast; rather, I found them in an attractive display at DiBruno Bros. market near Rittenhouse Square in Philly.

These beautiful greens have the fragrance of garlic and the taste of onion – a perfect combination.  The vibrant green leaves as well as the deep rose and white stalks are edible.  Simply cut off the roots and rinse thoroughly before cooking.

Ramps Washed

My favorite preparation, which permits the ramps to shine, is to sauté them in olive oil until tender.  Then add a pinch of French salt.

I served half the bunch last night as the vegetable alongside Pork Milanese and Jasmine rice.  I’m already looking forward to more of my favorite spring greens tomorrow night!

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New Tastes at Tria

The most pleasant afternoon in Philadelphia includes lunch at Tria near Rittenhouse Square.  I know that there I will enjoy a relaxing meal comprised of interesting wines and delicious plates.  On my most recent visit with my husband this weekend, we noticed several new additions to the already varied menu. (See “A Spring Fling: An Overnight in Philly” under “Culinary Chronicles” for a review of Tria.)

To sample the new preparations, we decided to share three new “snacks” – Tria’s small plates.  The first was the Warm Tuscan White Bean Spread with Paprika Toast.  The melt-in-your-mouth spread, served in a crock to keep warm, was accompanied by toasted slices of baguette dusted with paprika to provide some added color and mild spice.  This was so good that I will attempt to replicate it at home.

We then savored the Country Pâté with Pickled Onions and Red Wine Mustard.  The generous portion had an excellent taste and texture with just the right amount of pistachios.  What a treat! We paired these courses with the sparkling Blanquette de Limoux from the Languedoc, France, accurately described as having a creamy palate and toasty fruit.

Pate

The next dish was the Housemade Fennel Sausage with Sicilian Lentils and Parmigiano-Reggiano.  The thick slices of sausage displayed ample fennel seeds and flecks of red pepper.  The warm, earthy lentils were balanced with a basil pesto decorating the edges of the plate.  With this course we paired the Grenache Blend whose smoky cardamom flavor complemented the spices of the sausage.

Fennel

Although we intended to sample some of the ever-changing extensive cheese selection, we simply did not have room…next time!

Fiddleheads for Dinner

April marks the beginning of fiddlehead fern season.   This is the time of year to enjoy those lovely fern fronds before they unfurl – on your plate.   To celebrate the first sighting of fiddleheads this year (at Whole Foods), we decided to feature them with a risotto for last night’s dinner.

To prep the risotto, bring about 32 ounces of chicken stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Slice several cloves of garlic and cipollini onions and sauté them in extra virgin olive oil in a risotto pan. When the onions start to become translucent, stir in one cup of Arborio rice, coating the rice with the oil.

Onions cooking

Add a large ladle of stock to the rice to begin the absorption process. Keep the heat on medium low so as not to scorch the rice, and keep stirring with a large wooden spoon. Continue to add more stock ladle by ladle, and continue stirring for about 25 minutes or until the rice is not hard in the center.   In addition to the stock, add freshly squeezed lemon juice and some splashes of white wine or Prosecco for extra flavor.  When the rice is cooked, stir in half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese, turn off the heat and cover.

Risotto Cooking

To prepare the fiddleheads, thoroughly rinse and cut off the ends of the stems. Blanch the fiddleheads by placing them in boiling water for a minute and then running them under cold water. Do not sauté the fiddleheads until the risotto is almost finished as they only take a few minutes – you want them to retain their crunchiness. Sauté the fiddleheads in extra virgin olive oil for about three minutes and add some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I also added some Piment d’Espelette for some red color and mild heat.

Fiddleheads

To serve, spoon the risotto into a pasta bowl and top with the beautiful fiddleheads and crushed red pepper. This is a light, tasty dish that is fun to prepare – consider opening a bottle of red to aid in the stirring.

Risotto

Tarte à l’Oignon

While several Thanksgiving dishes call for onion – stuffing, for example – the onion is certainly not the star.  So, four sweet onions remaining in the refrigerator after the holiday called out to be featured in one of this weekend’s dinners.  As I was not yet ready for a decadent onion soup, I decided on an onion tart.  Below is my recipe for this savory tart.

For the crust:

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ stick chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons iced water

For the filling:

  •  4 sweet onions, sliced
  • Dijon mustard (I recommend Edmond Fallot mustards from Burgundy)
  • Gruyère and/or Emmentaler cheese
  • Fresh thyme
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

To prepare the crust, mix the flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  With a sharp knife, cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.  Rub the pieces of butter and the dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is broken into tiny pieces.  Add the egg and mix it into the dry ingredients with a fork.  Then drizzle in the iced water.  Begin to knead the dough quickly into a ball.  Add more iced water until the dough is just wet enough to form a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

When you are ready to start putting the tart together, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Place two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat.  When the butter is melted, add the onion and sauté until the onion softens, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and add flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and the work surface.  Roll the dough until it is about ¼ inch in thickness and large enough to cover the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch tart pan.  Prick the crust with a fork in several places to prevent the bottom from bubbling.  Pre-bake the crust in the middle level of the oven for 10 minutes.

Crust

Rolling out the crust with a French rolling pin

Remove the crust from the oven and turn down to 400 degrees.  Spread a thin layer of mustard on the bottom of the tart shell.  Then place slices of the cheese on top of the mustard.  Top with the onion mixture and some fresh thyme.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and slice into wedges.

Onion Tart

Just out of the oven

Enjoy the tart alongside a salad of fresh greens and pomegranate seeds for a colorful dish.

Slice of Tart

Slice of onion tart served with fresh greens