weeknight gourmet

Posts Tagged ‘Barefoot Contessa’

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

photo(1)I’ve made this wonderful and quick Bolognese from the Barefoot Contessa before.  But in an attempt to be lighter on carbs, served it over spaghetti squash on Monday night.

I love pasta and nothing will ever truly be a substitute but this was a pretty delicious meal!  Spaghetti squash is so easy to prepare and pairs wonderfully with a tomato-based sauce.   Will definitely be moving this into our fall / winter meal rotation.

 

Spaghetti Squash

  • 2 whole spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.Split the squashes in half and scrape out seeds. Line an oven tray with aluminum foil. Season the spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place flesh side down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.When squash is cool enough to handle, using a large kitchen spoon scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin.
Weeknight Bolognese
Copyright, 2010 Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?

  • 2 TB good olive oil, plus extra to cook pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground sirloin
  • 4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ¼ cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • ¾ pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells (
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Heat 2 TB of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat until the meat is no longer pink and has started to brown. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 TB salt, and 1 ½ tsp pepper, stirring until combined.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Finish the sauce while the pasta cooks. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl.

Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Serves 4-5.

Meatless Monday: Fresh Pea Soup

IMG_0253Wow!  It’s been a while.  I am back in NYC after spending the summer at our house in the Berkshires.  Takeout is not an option up there and restaurants are a good drive away.  So, my kitchen was very busy — I cooked 3 to 4 meals a day depending on whether Charlotte ate dinner with us.  But I found it tough to fit blogging in.

Since returning to real life in the city, I’ve made some post-Labor Day resolutions.  Getting back to my blogging is one of them (as is staying away from carbs).  So be on the lookout for some new recipes!

It was a rainy morning so I decided to make this very easy pea soup while Charlotte was at school.  She loves soup.  And the recipe is from my favorite source, the Barefoot Contessa.

Just a couple of notes on the recipe.  I used frozen peas because that is what I had on hand.  And, I used my immersion blender to save myself from cleaning my blender.

So here are the reviews:

ME: I love peas and really enjoyed the soup. It is light and fresh and actually takes good cold as well.  Next time I might add a bit of pancetta or bacon.

CHARLOTTE: My three-year-old first declared that it was “disgusting” based on nothing other than its color. She then tasted it and said she liked it.  But chicken soup and black bean soup still reign supreme for her.

 

Fresh Pea Soup
Barefoot Contessa

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
5 cups freshly shelled peas or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas
2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup freshly chopped chives

Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are tender. (Frozen peas will take only 3 minutes.) Off the heat, add the mint, salt, and pepper.

Puree the soup in batches: place 1 cup of soup in a blender, place the lid on top, and puree on low speed. With the blender still running, open the venthole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full. Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed. Whisk in the creme fraiche and chives and taste for seasoning.

 

Barefoot Contessa’s Seared Scallops

IMG_1268I have been cooking but, as you may have noticed, I have not been blogging.  At some point in the fall, blogging started to feel like a chore so I pulled back and just cooked without the pressure of having to document it all.  The downside of not blogging is not having a record of all the great recipes I made.  (I REALLY wish I could remember which baked French Toast recipe I made on Christmas morning.)

But I am hoping I will have a lot more time and energy to cook and blog over the coming months since I am now only working part time.

Last night I made this delicious scallop recipe from, my favorite, the Barefoot Contessa.  The scallops were quite simply prepared and served on top of a puree made from Yukon Gold potatoes, leeks, and celery root.  Note that the recipe calls for grapeseed oil.  It has a higher smoke point than the oils you likely have in your pantry which is important when you are searing at a high temperature.  I followed the instructions on how long to cook the scallops and they turned out perfectly.

The potato-celery root puree was super simple but delicious.  It’s a great and lighter alternative to regular mashed potatoes.  I used a combo of milk and heavy cream.

If you like scallops, I definitely recommend this recipe.  And, the puree may become a new side dish staple.

Seared Scallops and Potato-Celery Root Puree
Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, Ina Garten

  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)
  • 4 cups (1½ pounds) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into ¾” cubes
  • 4 cups (2 pounds) celery root, peeled and diced into ¾” cubes
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 to 26 large “dry” sea scallops
  • 4 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
  • Basil-infused olive oil, for serving (optional)
  • Minced fresh chives, for serving

Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Serves 6

Melt butter over medium heat in a large (8″ to 10″) saucepan or Dutch oven. Rinse leeks well in a colander, spin dry in a salad spinner, and add to pot. Sauté over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Add potatoes, celery root, cream, 4 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper to the pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to very low, cover pot, and simmer gently 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Be careful—don’ let the vegetables scorch on the bottom of the pan! In batches, pour mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely pureed. Taste for seasonings, return to saucepan, and keep warm over very low heat. If mixture gets too thick, add a little more cream.

If it hasn’t already been removed, peel off the tough strip of muscle on the side of each scallop. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat two 12″ sauté pans over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil to each pan, and when oil is almost smoking hot, add half the scallops to each pan. (If you don’t have two 12″ sauté pans, cook scallops in batches and keep the first batch warm in a 250° oven until second batch is ready.) Cook undisturbed about 3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms. Don’t crowd scallops, or they’ll steam rather than sear. Using a small metal spatula, turn scallops and cook on the other side 2 to 3 minutes more, until just barely cooked through. (If the pan is hot enough and you let the scallops cook undisturbed, they will not stick to the pan.)

To serve, spoon warm puree onto 6 plates. Place scallops on puree, drizzle with basil oil (if using), and sprinkle with chives.

A Barefoot Contessa Holiday Meal: Herb-Roasted Lamb, Zucchini Gratin & Haricot Vert with Shallots

In case you are still on the hunt for a holiday menu, here is one that is sure to please any lamb lover!

I was happy to have 7 lamb lovers in the Berkshires this past weekend for an anniversary / holiday celebration with our dearest friends the Freilichs.  I turned to the Barefoot Contessa for recipe guidance as she always pleases a crowd and (at least on her show) looks to do it in a effortless, low stress way.

The lamb turned out perfectly!  It was a beautiful piece of meat from Guido’s in Pittsfield.  And the garlic – rosemary rub flavored the lamb amazingly well.  Definitely have a meat thermometer on hand when cooking a piece of meat of that size and varied thickness.

I served the lamb with the Barefoot Contessa’s Zucchini Gratin and Green Beans with Shallots (recipe below).  I have made the Zucchini Gratin a number of times and it is always a hit.  Given the richness of that side dish, I made a simple dish with haricot vert blanched and tossed with sauteed shallots and pancetta.  The pancetta was my add and was a nice touch!

Good friends, good wine, and a delicious meal made for a wonderful evening and weekend!

Herb-Roasted Lamb
Barefoot Contessa

  • 12 large unpeeled garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (6-pound) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and tied
  • 4 to 5 pounds small unpeeled potatoes (16 to 20 potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven so the lamb will sit in the middle of the oven.

Peel 6 of the cloves of garlic and place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and butter. Process until the garlic and rosemary are finely minced. Thoroughly coat the top and sides of the lamb with the rosemary mixture. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Toss the potatoes and remaining unpeeled garlic in a bowl with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place the lamb on top of the potatoes and roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the lamb is 135 degrees (rare) or 145 degrees (medium). Remove from the oven and put the lamb on a platter; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow the lamb to rest for about 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the potatoes.
String Beans with Shallots
Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, large-diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.

Heat the butter and oil in a very large saute pan (12-inch diameter) or large pot and saute the shallots on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Drain the string beans and add to the shallots with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, tossing well. Heat only until the beans are hot.

If you’re using regular string beans, blanch them for about 3 minutes, until they’re crisp-tender.

Mexican Chicken Soup

My mother has been raving about this Barefoot Contessa recipe for some time.  The cool fall weather prompted me to finally make it!

This Mexican Chicken Soup — often called Tortilla Soup — has great flavor from the tomato, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander.  Tortilla strips actually serve to thicken the soup.

Just like her chicken salad recipes, the Barefoot Contessa roasts and then shreds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts.  The chicken turns out so moist and delicious.

Don’t forget the garnishes — avocado, shredded cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.

I served the soup with a simple cheese quesadilla for a delicious dinner!  There is some leftover soup in our freezer.  Looking forward to having it on a cold evening!

Mexican Chicken Soup
Barefoot Contessa

  •    4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  •     Good olive oil
  •     Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •     2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
  •     1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
  •     2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  •     4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  •     2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  •     1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
  •     2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  •     1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •     1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  •     1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
  •     6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp

Here is a quick and easy pasta dish from the Barefoot Contessa.  I just loved the lemon flavor with the roasted shrimp!

I did make a few changes to the recipe though.  Instead of angel hair, I used Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper Pappardelle which added more flavor to the dish.  I added some minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the shrimp before roasting.  Lastly, I know this is a major faux pas in Italian cooking but I mixed in some grated parmesan to the pasta before adding the shrimp.

I’ve never gone wrong with the Barefoot Contessa!  This probably isn’t my all-time favorite Ina Garten recipe but it is solid and great for a weeknight dinner!

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp
Barefoot Contessa

  • 2 pounds (17 to 21 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the shrimp on a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss well, spread them in 1 layer, and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until they’re pink and cooked through.

Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add the angel hair, and cook al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Quickly toss the angel hair with the melted butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the shrimp and serve hot.

Barefoot Contessa's New Cookbook, "How Easy is That?"

I received the latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook, How Easy is That, for Christmas.  As usual, it is beautifully photographed and full of flavorful but simple recipes that rely on good quality, fresh ingredients.  I don’t think there was a single recipe in the book I wouldn’t want to make (or eat).

I’ve already cooked a couple of the dishes — the Lemon Chicken Breasts and the Weeknight Bolognese (recipes are below).

The lemon chicken was so simple yet so packed with garlicky, lemon goodness!  I used bone-in, skin-on breasts because I have never seen boneless, skin-on breasts and did not want to do any butchering.  The chicken cooks at 400 degrees which is a great temperature for roasting some veggies as a side.  I served with some Brussels sprouts and crusty bread.  The sauce is definitely dip worthy.

I also used some of our endless ground beef from the half-steer to make the Weeknight Bolognese.  The only changes I made to the recipe were to use a can of whole tomatoes and penne because that’s what I had in the pantry.  The sauce was so delicious and tasted like it had been simmer for hours.  We had a nice simple antipasto with the bolognese for a quick Italian feast.

I really love the Barefoot Contessa and would love to be a guest of Ina’s at her beautiful Hamptons home.  She always makes her guests feel so welcome, sets a stunning table, and makes comforting dishes that rely on seasonal ingredients.  Alas, until Ina discovers the Weeknight Gourmet, trying more of Ina’s delicious recipes from this gorgeous cookbook and, hopefully, being as gracious and relaxed a hostess as she will have to suffice.

Lemon Chicken Breasts
Copyright, 2010 Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 X 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper.

Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Weeknight Bolognese
Copyright, 2010 Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?

  • 2 TB good olive oil, plus extra to cook pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground sirloin
  • 4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ¼ cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • ¾ pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells (
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Heat 2 TB of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat until the meat is no longer pink and has started to brown. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 TB salt, and 1 ½ tsp pepper, stirring until combined.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Finish the sauce while the pasta cooks. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl.

Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Serves 4-5.

Holiday Menu: Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon, Baby Arugula Salad & Cauliflower Gratin

The day after Christmas is my father-in-law’s birthday.  Tim’s immediately family came up to the Berkshires on the 26th to celebrate.  We had the delicious and festive menu below.  The pork I have made before and it was even better than I remember!  The bacon and the honey mustard coating gives amazing flavor to the meat.  This is the first time I made the Barefoot Contessa’s Cauliflower Gratin and it was a huge hit!  Who wouldn’t love cauliflower with a nice cream sauce and lots of Gruyere. I had some leftover Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash.  The dish reheated nicely.

We finished the birthday meal with a delectable Red Velvet Cake.  So moist!  And the cream cheese frosting was amazing!

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Baby Arugula Salad

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Cauliflower Gratin

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Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette (leftovers from Xmas)

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The Best Red Velvet Cake

Holiday Menu: Rack of Lamb, Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette, and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We had a great first Christmas with Charlotte.  We enjoyed lots of time with family and lots of delicious food!

In case you are looking for menu ideas for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, I highly recommend our Christmas meal!  My go-to ladies — Ina Garten and Giada de Laurentiis — helped make our holiday meal spectacular!

The lamb was so flavorful and tender and the portobello mushrooms were amazing (and could have been a meal themselves).  The sprouts and squash were a great combination that I had never tried before.  And, I have made this cranberry cake before and it is always festive and delicious!

Grilled & Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette
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Rack of Lamb Persillade
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Cranberry Upside-down Cake

Holiday Menu: Rack of Lamb Persillade

I love rack of lamb!  And, this is a delicious and simple recipe!  The breadcrumb crust has great flavor from the lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. And, the quality of lamb we had was just unbelievable.  So tender!

The only change I would make is searing both sides of the racks before putting them in the oven.  Our lamb required about 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for and I think had I seared the lamb it would have been done faster.
Rack of Lamb Persillade
Barefoot Contessa

  • 3 small or 2 large racks of lamb, frenched
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic cloves (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the racks in a roasting pan, fat side up. Rub the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast the lamb for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until they’re both finely minced. Add the bread crumbs and lemon zest and process for a second until combined.

Take the lamb out of the oven and quickly press the parsley mixture on top of the meat. Drizzle with the melted butter and return immediately to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

Take the lamb out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, cut in double chops, and serve.