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Posts Tagged ‘Cuisine’

Summer heat calls for a light dish: pesto shrimp pasta with a side of spinach sprinkled with gorgonzola

June 30, 2010 2 comments

Pesto Shrimp Pasta with Spinach

The summer heat is currently oppressive. Some of the tell-tale signs: commuting to work and having your shirt gingerly wet upon arrival, walking lethargically in the streets hoping to see an open fire hydrant to frolic in and desperately waiting to hear the familiar sound of the ice cream truck (NSFW!) so you can grab a soft serve. This type of weather calls for the shoestring chef to offer something light and easy to beat back the heat. Here’s your solution: pesto shrimp pasta with a side of spinach sprinkled with gorgonzola. How does that sound to you?

Pasta is cheap and simple to make, pesto simply makes everything taste better (does anyone disagree?), and shrimp offers us great low calorie protein with solid levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and essential minerals (iron, zinc, copper).  Most importantly, a glass of Grüner Veltliner, which I delve into in today’s “Wine for Thought” post, would pair splendidly with this dish.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound Penne pasta, dry

12 medium-size precooked, peeled shrimp

2 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 clove garlic

1 cup spinach

1 tomato chopped

1 ½ tbsp pesto

2 tbsp crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Start by boiling the pasta. Put the olive oil in a skillet pan over medium heat and add the shrimp for no more than a minute or two until they are warm. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and place in a bowl to the side. Heat the butter on a skillet and add the garlic until lightly sautéed. Add the spinach and cook on low heat until the spinach is nice and tender. While the spinach is cooking, take the finished pasta and drain it. Add the pesto into the pasta making sure it’s well mixed together. Sprinkle the gorgonzola cheese over the spinach once done. Plate with the pesto penne. There you have it. Cheap. Quick. Easy. Summery.

Regarding wine choices, other than our suggested Grüner, the penne pasta with pesto will pair well with a nice un-oaked Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. If you are feeling adventurous and want to chill a red wine for this meal go with a chilled Gamay Noir. Bon appétit!

Martha Stewart we are not: chicken roll-ups from New Hampshire

June 23, 2010 4 comments

Chicken roll-up. Hearty and within the budget.

Simple recipe #1: Chicken Roll ups

Our first shoestring recipe comes from my friend Allison from New Hampshire. I had the pleasure of having this dish served to me by her mother last summer and made sure to get the recipe soon afterwards. NH Chicken roll-ups is a hearty dish that will have you coming back for seconds. Live free or die.

Ingredients (for 1):

–       1 chicken breast

–       1 packet of frozen spinach

–       Paprika

–       Onion powder

–       Oregano

–       Garlic powder

–       1 can of tomato sauce

–       Muenster cheese

–       Spaghetti

Directions:

Take the chicken breast and place it on a cutting board with wax paper over it. Use the flat side of a meat cleaver to pound the chicken breast thinner. While you cleave the chicken breast, cook the frozen spinach by placing it in water to heat it up. Take the chicken breast and season it with paprika, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder (1/2 to 1 tsp of each, depending on taste). Once done, take the spinach and roll it around the chicken breast. Place the rolled up chicken in an oven-safe bowl or casserole dish and pour a can of tomato sauce in the bowl/dish. Place one or two pieces of Muenster cheese on top and sprinkle more paprika and oregano. Set the oven at 350 degrees and cook the chicken for an hour. Check periodically and once done serve with spaghetti.

* NPR or classical music should accompany you while you cook. Also, wine should be imbibed at all times whenever you are cooking.  I suggest a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to warm the palate.

* The picture above is not an accurate representation of the dish but is rather to give you an idea of what chicken with spinach would look like if based solely on color schemes. (Minus the red of the tomato sauce.) Actual photos of dishes will be included in the following recipe posts. We’re new to all of this!

Enjoy!

Wine for Thought: Pecorino from Italy

June 23, 2010 6 comments

To start off the Cocktail Fodder’s wine section I’d like to introduce our readers to an obscure, off-the-beaten-path wine varietal known as Pecorino. In this particular case the wine and grape are one and the same: Pecorino wine is made from the Pecorino grape. Grown predominately in the east-central Italian regions of Abruzzo and the neighboring Marches (see map of Italy below) this wine is a pleasant surprise for the uninitiated. With summer in full swing we all want to drink wines that are light, clean, and crisp to beat back the heat. Most people think immediately of the go-to whites of recent memory: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, etc. While these are all great varietals for the summer months, wouldn’t it be nice to find some indigenous grapes from remote places in the world that you’ve never heard of before that might satisfy your white wine craving? You might also impress your friends while you’re at it.

The official appellation of the Pecorino grape in the Marches is known as Offida Pecorino. Once cast off as being a grape that produced too astringent wines, a group of devoted young wine makers entered the region and decided to have a go at making it into a wine with a nice mixture of fruit, crispness, and minerality. The Pecorino that I recently tried was medium-bodied, appropriately acidic and exhibited a nice depth of fruit with prominent notes of white peach and pear on both the nose and palate. In terms of food pairings for this wine think rich salads, Asian-inspired cuisine, and chicken dishes. For instance, the round fruit on the palate would act as a great counter to the spiciness of a Thai dish. Enjoy!

Until next time, keep swirling and sipping.