It’s that time of the year again, time to attack all that great basil and tomatoes from your vegetable garden (or your favorite vegetable stand).  Below are two of my favorites.  The 1st is what I call “Pesto Butter”.  This little bundle of deliciousness goes with so many great dishes, sauces, breads, etc.  You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to this butter…..the other is my oven roasted tomato sauce.  My friend Amy always provides me a nice sample of tomatoes from her very large garden.  Usually I have already “canned” my tomatoes, so I have found that the oven roasting is perfect, delicious and ohhhh so easy!

Pesto Butter:

1-2 cups fresh basil removed from stems
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 stick of butter (no margarine ever!), softened

Place your basil in a salad spinner, run under cold water and spin to dry.IMG_5501  In the bowl of a food process add 3-4 (more or less if desired) cloves garlic.  IMG_5502

Process until garlic is chopped.    IMG_5503Add basil leaves and continue to process until basil is chopped.  Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, add softened butter (2 sticks) and continue to process until smooth.  IMG_5504If the color is too green, add another stick of butter and repeat.  IMG_5506Using a small scoop, scoop pesto butter onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (easy clean up).  IMG_5508

Place pan of pesto butter into the freezer.  Come back an hour later (or more), remove frozen butter and place into a zip lock bag.  Return butter to your freezer and use as desired…..will freeze for 12 months.

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

5-8 lbs fresh tomatoes, quartered, cored and seeded
2-3 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons black pepper
¼-½ teaspoons chipotle peppers (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh herbs, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil (or 1 teaspoon of each dried)
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced

Preheat oven to 225°F.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, toss gently to coat.  Place tomatoes in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Roast 2 hours or until tomatoes are slightly browned and soft.

Ingredients in Oven RoastedIngredients in Oven Roasted

Cool tomato sauce, place in a zip lock bag and freeze for future use.  Use for spaghetti, over fish, pizza, bruschetta…..YUM!!!!

Buon Appetito!!!!!

Pesto Butter, Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce


Happy Valentines Day!

One of my favorite meals to make on Valentines Day or any other special love day is “Beef Wellington” This classic dish is so easy to make and doesn’t really take long either. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family has over many holidays!  Happy Valentines Day!

DSC_0011

 

Mushroom Mixture:
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine

Wellington:
4 prime cut filet mignons, 4-6 ounce in size, 1 1/2” thick
freshly ground sea salt & coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Egg wash, 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water

Wine Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 package Beef Demi Glace, 2.6 ounces
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat, add butter and melt. Add the shallots & garlic, saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook until wine has evaporated.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Generously sprinkle both sides of filets with salt & pepper. Place in hot skillet and sear filets on all sides until brown. Remove from skillet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry large enough to wrap around the beef. Divide mushroom mixture in fourths and place in center of pastry. Top mushrooms with filet. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash. Wrap filet with pastry cutting off any extra (use the extra for topping wellington with shapes or initials).
Place seam side down on baking sheet and top wellington with egg wash. Bake 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden on top. Use an instant read thermometer for accurate meat temperature (125 for rare, 130 for medium) let meat rest 5 minutes before serving.
In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft. Add demi glace and red wine. Cook until mixture is reduced by half. Add heavy cream. Serve immediately. Place wine sauce on a serving dish and top with beef wellington.
Buon Appetito!


Thank you all for supporting my blog…2014 in review. 2015 will be even bigger and better!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Spinach Ravioli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta Butter Sauce

Spinach Ravioli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta Butter Sauce

This is my favorite Christmas dinner Italian course and has become a tradition for more than 10 years.  I always love the bright red color of the sun-dried tomatoes combined with the green spinach filling of the pillows, aka ravioli, with a touch of fresh basil.  So festive.  If you do not have the time to make you own ravioli, another tradition, you can always purchase some fresh spinach ravioli at your local grocery store.  This sauce is made in about 5 minutes time.  I pair this with a beef tenderloin with a mushroom wine reduction sauce, Dauphinoise Potatoes, and some fresh haricot vert, blanched and sautéed with lemon infused olive oil.  This years dinner will be complete with a festive Peppermint Cheesecake, recipe forthcoming.

 

Pasta Dough:
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
(for red pasta dough, add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and omit the salt)

Ravioli filling:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10-ounce) bag spinach, stems removed
salt & pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 large egg
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Sun-Dried Tomato-Pancetta Butter:
1 (4 ounce) package thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
½ stick butter
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, diced
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped, for garnish

See my blog for directions on how to make the pasta dough, spinach filling, and forming the ravioli.

https://foodsinthefastlane.me/2011/12/04/spinach-and-ricotta-cheese-filled-ravioli

To make the sauce, place the chopped pancetta in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, removed the pancetta to a paper towel to drain. Add butter, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, and black pepper to skillet and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Add reserved pancetta, toss sauce with cooked ravioli. Top ravioli with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Bon Appetito!!!

Spinach Filled Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta Butter Sauce


2015 Galena’s Cucina Calendars

Just in time for the holidays, the perfect gift for that “foodie” in your life.  Monthly recipes along with beautiful photos.  Now available for ordering, first 25 orders will receive a free recipe collection. Special price of $12.95 plus shipping and handling.

Deliveries will be available after November 20, 2014.  Click on the “Order Form” to place your order.

Order Form

Galena's Cucina 2015 Calendars

Galena’s Cucina 2015 Calendars