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Tag: pecorino

Spinach Quinoa Risotto

Spinach Quinoa Risotto

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 to 4 cups baby spinach
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt

Heat a saucepan with the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic, sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and stir for a minute. Add the white wine and stir. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the grain is tender. Stir the spinach, half and half and cheese. Check for seasoning and add salt. Serve with fish.

Morel Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto
I served the risotto with lamb chops- yum!

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pack wild mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 to 4 cups mushroom broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 to 4 dried morel mushrooms
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino cheese, grated

Soak the mushrooms in the warm water for 3 to 4 hours. Take the mushrooms out and strain the water of any sand/impurities. Keep the water aside. Chop the mushrooms and add the wild mushroom heap.

Heat the morel broth and the packaged mushroom broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm (use 3 cups of packaged broth in addition to the morel broth; use 4 cups of packaged broth if not using morels).
Heat a wide frying pan with the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wild and morel mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on medium high heat. Add the rice and sauté for a minute. Add a half cup of warmed broth to the rice mix and stir on medium low heat. As soon as the liquid is cooked off, add the next half-cup. Stir and cook till the rice grains are cooked through- it should take about 20 minutes. Add half and half, butter, cheese and salt. Mix well and check for seasonings. Add pepper and serve hot.

Arugula Pesto with Pine Nuts

Arugula Pesto with Pinenuts1 I love making pestos. I don’t find myself making a whole lot of different kinds of basil pesto for some reason. I do love it but I always find myself making a sauce with another herb or vegetable.

This on is an arugula pesto. Arugula is one of my favorite greens. I love its versatility.. I can use it in a salad, cook with it and now make a pesto with it.

I simply paired it with garlic and pine nuts. I don’t like to use too much olive oil but it is important to use a really good quality one- so a little goes a long way. I used Pecorino instead of Parmesan as Pecorino has a stronger taste which is great for the bitter greens.

That is all I needed to make a delicious sauce. I used it for pasta and in this case- for pizza. Even my daughter ate it- she doesn’t usually like arugula but she really enjoyed the pesto on the pizza.
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Basil Sausage and Spinach Baked Pasta

basil-sausage-and-spinach-pastaI started with the basil chicken sausages I bought yesterday. I admit to be obsessed with chicken sausages! I find them to be a healthy protein and come in lots of flavors and meal possibilities. Anyway, I was in the mood to make a baked pasta dish but not necessarily with marinara sauce. I decided to go with a bechamel sauce (white sauce), which is typically used in a homemade macaroni and cheese. I added pecorino instead of parmesan because it has a stronger flavor and it is not used as often, but, you can definitely use parmesan. Not sure why I chose spinach, maybe because I didn’t have any other vegetables in my fridge except baby carrots and cucumbers. Overall it came out quite well. My daughter thought it was delicious. We ate it with some garlic bread I had left over in the freezer.
The other thing I bought with the sausage was a Portuguese white wine. It looked quite fascinating to me- it had little bubbles! While in Madrid this past summer, we had lots of rose wines with tiny bubbles in them. They weren’t bubbles like champagne, far less- made it a lot easier to drink. I have been looking for something similar until now! The wine is called Gazela and it’s quite tasty. I wouldn’t categorize it as a superb wine but definitely an everyday kind of wine you can have at home. It was around five dollars so you can’t really go wrong. Anyway, the bubbles worked quite well with the creamy white sauce in the pasta.

  • 2 basil Chicken Sausages- sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed with water squeezed out
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound penne pasta
  • 8 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, grated- divided into 1/3 cup and 2/3 cup

White Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (1%, 2% or whole milk will do)
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pecorino romano, grated

Preheat oven at 400 degrees
In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil and add the sausages on medium-high heat. Brown the sausages for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic. Saute for a minute or so. Next, add the spinach and the salt. Mix well, making sure all the ingredients are warm and cooked through. Keep aside.
In a medium sized pot, bring water to a boil and cook the pasta until almost done ( the rest will bake in the oven). Add the pasta to sausage and onion mixture.
In the meantime, in a small pan, melt the butter and add the flour. Start to whisk the mixture over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Then add the milk slowly while whisking making sure no lumps form. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once it starts to thicken, take it off the heat. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper and the pecorino cheese. Add the sauce to the pasta and sausage mixture. Add 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer the mixture into an ovenproof dish and top it with the remaining 2/3cup mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.