Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It it's pasta, it must be Monday...

....or Wednesday or maybe even possibly Saturday.

I haven't really posted very many recipes here on my little 'ole blog.
It's not that I don't think I'm a good cook, in fact, I think I'm a pretty good one.  It's more because, many times, I have either not followed a recipe and have completely lucked out with a particular dish or I have used a recipe but it was mainly as a guideline...mere suggestions as to what needs to be done.

Growing up, I watched my grandmothers cooking....very rarely did I see either one of them measure anything (with the appropriate utensils, that is) or even actually use a recipe.
Through them, I learned to cook by feel...by taste...and
"well....what does it look like?"
(That last question was from my Grandma Hutches on one Christmas when I called her with a pie crust SOS.)

I have collected quite a few cookbooks over the years, but I seem to use only a handful of what is in my cabinet.  The others, it seems, are decoration and great reading material.
Because of my schedule, it is sometimes difficult to get home in time to really put much effort into my family's dinner.  I try, but sometimes....I thank the stars above that my Japanese husband has  been forced to accept learned that
"with a salad and a bowl of soup, BLTs are good for dinner, too" .

Though rice is a main part of the Japanese diet and I love the Japanese rice, I really don't like eating it everyday.  Here at Kamp Kuroiwa, we have a good mixture of Japanese foods and....something else.
Pasta is a great something else and we tend to have it quite often.

One of my favorite pasta cookbooks is a TimeLife one full of really great dishes...so many different sauces and all the ones I have tried are good (and I have tried many of them!!).
The one I fixed tonight is one of our favorites....and I thought that if anyone out there needed a new dish to try, you might just add this to your list.

Pasta Alla Genovese

(Note:   I looked for other recipes by this name and all of them used a pesto sauce....not this one, my friends....not sure what is up with that, but...I am  not going to argue with the TimeLife people!
Also....the real recipe will be typed in black...changes and what-not will be in red!
Oh! and don't forget...start with a pure heart.  If the pasta doesn't turn out, then...well, I did my part! (^-^) )

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, cut into large dice  *onions are small here, so I usually use 3 or 4...dice, slice, whatever* 
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced  *tonight I went a little crazy and used 2*
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips  *I've tried other bells, but the red works the best for us*
2 tsp. orange zest  *have never used this in this particular recipe....never....ever*
1 Tbsp. flour   *I never measure so...thereabouts*
1/2 pound beef top round, trimmed and cut into 2x1/4 inch strips  *pork works well, too, if you don't have the beef...I buy thin sliced for shabu shabu and this works great...really, meat cut anyway you like is okay*
1/3 cup dry sherry  *red wine...white wine...sake, I've used all three (at different times, of course)*
3/4 cup reduced-sodium beef broth, defatted  *I use a bouillon cube (whatever flavor I happen to have) and 1 cup of water
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary  *I probably use waaaay more...I have a lot to use in my garden!!*
1/2 tsp. salt  *or thereabouts*
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper  *ditto the salt...the K-Man always adds more*
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley  *Again...never use this at all.*
12 ounces wide egg noodles  *penne, spaghetti, even macaroni works*
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.  *oh no...that's not near enough for us!!*

1. Over medium heat in a large skillet, heat the oil and then add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to color, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/3 cut of water and cook until the onion is golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes. *Do NOT scrimp on the time with the onions...the more caramelized, the better.*  Stir in the carrot, bell pepper, and zest, cook until veggies are tender, about 4 minutes.
2.  On a plate, spread the flour.  Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess. *I just throw the flour and meat into a large plastic bag and shake...then shake off the excess.  No problem.* Add beef to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the sherry and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated.  Stir in broth, rosemary, salt, and black pepper and cook until beef is tender and sauce is slightly thickened...about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the parsley. *UGH. We don't.(^-^)*
3.  Meanwhile, cook the noodles in boiling water until just tender.  Drain well.  Put noodles into large bowl and add beef mixture...toss to combine.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.  *We always usually add more cheese ourselves.*   

And....there you have it.  Add a tossed salad and some warm bread (we dip our bread in olive oil and some Crazy Salt!) and you have pretty good dinner...one that ALL the men in my house love!!

How much time does this take?  Well, the recipe says "Serves 4, Working time: 25 minutes, Total time: 45".  Tonight, I got home about 6:50 and by 7:35 we were sitting down to eat.  That's making some good time, if you ask me.  (I even had a beer while I was cooking! Mad multi-tasker, that I am!)

(We ran out of cheese before I could take a picture..sorry about that...what was I thinking?!?!)

Have a good one, everyone.
Try something new this week....if not this, then something else, but...do it...take a chance...
you never know what you will find!!


smalltownmom said...

It sounds delish...I'll have to try it!

Susan said...

O.K., I have copied, pasted, and printed. I will definately try this. Especially if I have to open a bottle of wine to make it! 1/3 cup wine for recipe, the rest for me!(Maybe save a little for the husband)

Ginaagain said...

Yum! I am, at this very moment, making pasta for hundreds.. well maybe dozens.. of band kids. Yippee! Band awards banquet potluck tonight! Pasta is always a good choice.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This sounds delicious!!!!!

Janet said...

Dave's making pasta tonight...with meatballs!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Any dish with the word pasta in it is for me!

Nancy said...

Mmmm,looks great ... can I just call you for a carry-out?

Shellie said...

Sounds wonderful, I will be trying it as well. I made up my own cassarole last night and it went over really well *note to self jot it down*. I too remember granny just tossing this and that in a pot and measuring was not part of it....it always came out and tasted sooooo good. And it is beer for the cook here, takes the edge off all the preasure of meal prep...hehe.

yogurt said...

I think my husband would like this recipe. He's not a huge fan of pasta, perhaps because it's a twice weekly staple around here. And I also think we had the same grandmothers. Learned to cook by taste, smell, sight. Follow recipes only loosely. One time, in fact, while driving one of my grandmothers to a wedding (the one we called Mama, pronounced MawMaw, but I don't think I have to tell *you* that), I asked how she made rice and gravy (cuts of beef browned, vegetable oil, sauteed onion, garlic and parsley), *my* now infamous recipe that my whole family loves.

yogurt said...

Oh and one more thing. I think you have unfolded the secret of how the Japanese stay so slender. Rice.every.single.day.


Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Shabu Shabu in your pasta sauce. :-) I love you.

Cid said...

Pasta is always my fall back dinner, that and BLT's. Would love to hear more about your adventures in Japanese cooking.