Spaghetti squash with mushroom cashew alfredo, brussels and hazelnuts

I was not really thinking about putting this dish on my blog. When I came up with the recipe, it was really all about the textures and look in my mind. And eventually it turned out to be a very flavorful dish. When my husband came home in the evening, tasted it, and I heard “hmmmmm it is very interesting and yummy”, I knew I had to share it with you. Bear in mind, he is not vegan. Not even vegetarian… Also the dish is very easy to make, so I thought to share.

This dish is all about the fall produce available at the moment at the market.It also has a very classic combination of mushrooms, hazelnuts, cream, brussels sprouts. So good togeher.  The “spaghetti” of the dish is simply roasted spaghetti squash. The cashew Alfredo sauce made richer with the umami flavor of sautéed mushrooms. Quickly blanched brussels leaves and toasted hazelnut to finish off the dish. I used those fall colors of the marigold petals, not only to make the dish look prettier, but the petals’ peppery flavor goes so well with the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • fresh rosemary strings
  • salt, black pepper, olive oil for roasting the squash
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashew
  • almond milk (just as much to get a sauce consistency
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 minced garlic bulbs
  • salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice to taste
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of a mix of chopped parsley and chive
  • brussels sprouts taken into leaves
  • 1 tablespoon toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 marigold flower
  • some micro greens

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Instructions:

  1. Cut one medium size spaghetti squash in half. Drizzle generously with olive oil, season with salt, ground black pepper and put one rosemary string and 3 garlic cloves in each halves. Put on a baking tray and bake at 420F for about 40 minutes.
  2. Check with a fork and if the spaghetti strands fall off easily, it is done. Carefully scrape out the spaghettis 🙂  with the fork, set aside to cool.
  3. In the meantime in a blender blend  1/2 cup of soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, minced garlic with enough almond milk to get the texture of sauce.
  4. Add the sautéed mushrooms and chopped herbs, blend together.
  5. Season with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Blend together.
  6. Blanch the brussels sprouts leaves in rapidly boiling, very salty water for 1 minute. Quickly drain and drop in ice water, to stop cooking and retain color.
  7. Plate spaghetti squash and drizzle with the sauce, top with brussels leaves, chopped hazelnut, marigold leaves and some micro herbs.

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ENJOY!!!

Zucchini “cannelloni” with kohlrabi filling and red pepper sauce

I made this raw vegan dish after hosting a dinner, having some leftover lemon basil pesto and myself feeling really “heavy” with all the cooking and also eating and drinking…. So the next day I really wanted to have a very light dinner and also making good use of my leftover. Raw vegan pasta reminiscent dishes use a certain vegetable that can be cut into the shape of the original pasta. In this case green summer squash, aka zucchini replaced canneloni. Or lay it down and call it ravioli. The filling was finely chopped kochlrabi marinated in the lemon basil pesto. Then rolled up and sat on a bed of pepper sauce.

This recipe yields for 2, it is your date night dinner 🙂

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Ingredients (yields 2 portions)

  • 2 smaller green and/or yellow summer squash (zucchini) (sliced on mandolin into 1-2mm thickness)
  • 1 medium size or 2 small kohlrabi (chopped into smal cubes)
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  • to garnish and serve: finely chopped pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, micro greens, edible flowers, garlic blossoms

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For the lemon basil pesto

  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemoon
  • 1 red thai chili minced well (or chili flakes)
  • 1-2 tsp nutritional yeast

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For the red pepper sauce

  • 1 red california pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/3 cup of soaked cashew
  • olive oil, salt, black pepper

Instructions

  1. Start making the lemon basil pesto. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.
  2. Chop the kohlrabi, season with salt and pepper and mix into the pesto. This will be the filling in the canneloni.
  3. Blend all the ingredients of the pepper sauce in Vitamix or other high power blender.
  4. Slice zucchini on mandolin about 2 mm thickness. Season lightly with salt, black pepper and olive oil. Set them on a sheet for a few minutes to marinate. This will also help the zucchini soften up a bit, make it easier to digest.
  5. For plating spoon some pepper sauce in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Roll up zucchini, place on top of the sauce and fill with the kohrabi lemon basil pesto. If you can only lay them, like an original canelloni dish, that is fine too. Sprinkle with chopped or ground pine nut/ pumpkin seeds. I really liked it with the pumpkin seeds.
  6. Decorate your plate with micro greens, herbs and edible blossoms.

ENJOY!

 

Summery spinach and herb gnudi

 

Last year I attended a farm to table bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America, in St Helena, Napa Valley. It was a really great experience that taught me a lot about sustainable farming and wine making. I also got to spend every day at the CIA kitchen, cooking farm fresh, California produce driven dishes. Coming out of this program I have a definite favorite recipe that I am ready to share with you. I have cooked it so many times and each and every time I am totally in love with the flavors. I always make it with roasted tomato beurre blanc but I realize this might be a bit too much of work for most of you. Hence, I came up with my own recipe that allows you to make it quicker and achieve a very similar taste. Also this recipe uses lardons. If you want to keep the dish vegetarian just remove the lardons and use some very strong, good quality smoked salt and it will bring  some smoky flavor to the plate 🙂

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First you will make a dough for the gnudi with sauteed spinach and fresh herbs, then cook the corn and roast the tomatoes. Before serving fry some lardons and sage in butter, cook the gnudi and transfer everything into a skillet.

Ingredients (yields 4)

  • 1 cup of blanched, chopped spinach
  • 2 tbsp of mixed chopped fines herbs  (chive, parsley, chevril)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of ricotta
  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour (and some more for the rolling)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2 corns
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup lardon (smoked thick bacon)
  • cold butter
  • 10-15 sage leaves both chiffonaded and in whole
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt, black pepper

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 Instructions

  • Blanch the spinach in boiling, heavily salted water for just a few seconds. Immediately transfer into a big bowl of iced water, to stop cooking and retain color. Drain and squeeze out all the water. Then chop the spinach very well.
  • Chop some chive, parsley and chevril to have enough of at least 3 teaspoon of chopped herbs. More is better.
  • In a big bowl mix 2 egg yolks, ricotta, chopped spinach and herbs, parmesan and season with salt and black pepper. Let it rest in the fridge until you are ready with the remaining components.
  • Place the cherry tomatoes in a baking dish (so you can save the juice), drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt. Roast the tomatoes at 450F until they start to fall apart. Be careful not to over roast, so they are still juicy!
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the corns. Rinse them with cold water and keep them in warm water. When you are ready to use it, cut the corns off the kernels.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter and lardons in a skillet and pan roast the lardons . Add the sage and the minced shallot and sautee them for a few minutes, keeping an eye on it, not the burn the onions. Add the cherry tomatoes and when everything is very hot, add the vinegar and make sure you keep it on high heat and carefully stirring for a minute, to cook down the vinegar a touch. Finally add the corn kernels that you cut off the corn.

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  • In the meantime bring salted water to a boil for cooking the gnudi.
  • Place the gnudi dough on a very well floured surface. Divide it into 3-4 manageable portions. Roll each mixture into a rope shape, (about 1 inch in diameter) adding as much flour as needed to be able to JUST work with it! Not more because you will end up with a hard, chewy, floury gnudi.
  • Dust your hands with flour and start cutting the gnudis with a bench knife (about 3/4 inch long). You can transfer the gnudi from the floured board in the boiling water.
  • Cook gnudi for 2-3 minutes. They will come to surface very quickly, you will need to cook a bit more than that.
  • Drain the cooked gnudi and immediately transfer into the skillet with the warm sage lardon mix. Add tomatotes and corn kernels. Carefully mix everything so it covered fully in the sage butter and also some juice that the cherry tomatoes are releasing.
  • Serve with fresh, tiny herb leaves of sage and chevril and/or chopped chives.

ENJOY!

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Zucchini pasta

Summer squash….. There is no way you can put them in any other season. The name says it all.  They are great raw, cooked, roasted, grilled, you name it.

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The other day I made a very light and pretty salad using summer squash. To make it look really good I shaved them into very thin ribbons. It was such a pretty sight.

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BUT. There was soooo much leftover of the zucchini on my kitchen counter that I had to come up with something.

And then I remembered a pasta from Italy using fried zucchini. So I decided to try and make something similar, but a bit more on the healthy side.

So what I did, I used all the leftover zucchini, chopped them and made a sauce out of them. And because I had some more small zucchinis, I cut them in half and sliced them. Pan fried those in a little bit of garlic scented olive oil, and served it with fresh basil and toasted pine nuts.

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It is a fresh, easy, quick flavorful pasta dish, and celebrating summer squash. In case you don’t need to use up your leftover zucchini bits, just follow my instructions below.

Ingredients  (yields 4)

  • 1/2 pack (8 oz)  store bought vegan pasta, preferably spaghetti
  • 8 smaller zucchini (mix green and yellow if you can)
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, you will need the juice
  • 2-3 tbsp of grated hard goat cheese or pecorino or parmesan
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp of toasted pine nuts
  • salt, black pepper and hot paprika (not smoked!) to taste

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 Instructions

  1. Lengthwise cut your zucchinis in half. Then slice them into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Heat 2tbsp olive oil and add 2 garlic cloves.
  3. Toast the garlic only a few minutes carefully, not to burn and remove from pan.
  4. Fry the zucchini slices in the garlic oil, for only a few minutes so that they have color but will not fall apart. Fry them in batches if needed, so they all get some color instead of steaming them…
  5. Save and keep warm 1/2 of the zucchini for plating and put the rest back in the pan.
  6. Add the minced garlic cloves, stirring constantly, so it will not burn, squeeze over the lemon juice, add salt, black pepper, hot paprika and some water, just to keep it moistened. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, when the zucchini slices start to fall apart.
  7. At the moment when you cover the zucchini, start cooking your pasta in salted water and add 1 tbsp olive oil too. If you start cooking the pasta at that point, it will be ready when your sauce is ready, and you can use the pasta cooking water to finish your sauce.
  8. When the zucchini is soft enough, smash them a little bit with a fork or masher. Add some pasta cooking liquid and mix in the cheese. This all will create a sauce. You will not need to use anything else. You can adjust anytime with some extra cooking water and/or grated cheese.
  9. Serve the pasta with the sauce, the fried zucchini slices and
  10. Finish off with tiny basil leaves or sliced ones, freshly grated black pepper (lots), cheese and pine nuts.
  11. Make sure you have a glass of chilled white wine with it too!

ENJOY!

Lemon basil pasta with baked salmon

I have been making this pasta for about 20 years….. I am sure everyone coming to us for dinner had this at some point :).  It is an amazingly flavorful dish which is the direct result of fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and basil. The sauce itself is something like a cross between a pesto and vinaigrette. You don’t need to cook it, you can make it in advance and just pour over the freshly cooked pasta and everything comes to life.

You can serve it just as it is or with a piece of baked fish, just as I did. It is really good with salmon and also great with grilled shrimp.

 

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How to adjust this dish to suit any kinds of dietary requirements?

You can make the dish with any kind of pasta. We tried with many different ones and I think linguine is the best, a good quality, whole grain kind, that has a great texture and sauce can stick to it. But feel free to use whatever your preference. If you have dietary requirements, you can buy gluten free pasta or make it with zucchini spirals, just like this.

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If you don’t eat seafood, you can add fennel. Shave a fennel into very thin slices and braise it in olive oil, a little bit of white wine, salt and pepper. Finally add to the pasta.

And for vegans, in this picture I made it raw and vegan. I used all the ingredients of the sauce as detailed below but didn’t add butter. Instead of the parmigiano region I prepared this dish with a vegan pine nut parmesan.

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The basic ingredients of the sauce, that will determine the flavor profile is lemon, basil and garlic.

Your lemon should be organic, not waxed because you will use the zest too. Both basil and garlic has to be fresh and very good quality.

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If you decide to make the pasta with baked salmon, the easiest way to bake it “en papillote”. This means in parchment paper. This cooking method is really great for fish. Put the fish on a piece of parchment, season with salt, pepper, a few lemon slices, fennel fonds and wrap the paper into a parcel, twisting the paper on both ends, to close it and it will hold the moisture and steam the fish.

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Lemon basil pasta ingredients and instructions (yields 4 )

  • your choice and amount of pasta
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 4 tbsp melted but not hot butter
  • big bunch (4 oz) of fresh basil, chopped both finely and bigger pieces (you can chop it in food processor, but I prefer the texture of handcut)
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons (first zest it and then squeeze the juice)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  1 tsp chili flakes (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • about 1/2 cup of fresh, grated parmigiano-reggiano (use as much so it will make the sauce thick)
  • salt, black pepper to taste

Mix ingredients in the order of appearance in a big enough bowl that can accommodate the pasta too! If you let this stand, it will get thicker and harden, but don’t worry. The steaming hot pasta will liquify it. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it, save a little bit of cooking water, and mix pasta with this sauce immediately. If you feel it is not saucy enough, you can add a little bit of cooking water and mix thoroughly.

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Serve pasta with torn pieces of salmon,  fresh fennel fonds, a few tiny basil leaves and a slice of baked lemon. Grate some fresh parmesan on top. ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

 

Sumac spiced goat cheese pasta with sweet corn and blistered tomatoes

So here we are. SUMMER. Almost. The produce at the market definitely has changed and the summer staples are slowly popping up. Lucky me. I decided to come up with a few summer eats for a contest, but I was surely not prepared to buy some imported, bland tomatoes or watermelon. Because for me these two are the dearest and their taste when in season and you buy local, can not be compared to their available counterparts in December….So I took the clue from the market, as usual, and came up with the ideas while strolling, making sure not buying anything and everything just because “oh I might need those….”

Summer at the market looks so much like the one in Hungary. Tomato, pepper, melon, watermelon, peach, apricot, plum, corn. So let’s see what we are going to cook shall we?

Who likes pasta? I am pretty sure all of us. But you might have gluten intolerance or you might be on a diet? Don’t worry. I personally don’t buy white flour pasta anymore. For me it is a health choice and we eat it rarely so I will always go for a whole grain type. They have an earthier flavor and definitely crunchier texture which is only good when it comes to pasta. You can also buy pasta that is made with rice flour, quinoa or seeds, the choice is endless today. But if you want to avoid the carbs fully you know what you have to do? Buy a few courgettes and make them into spaghetti with the clever help of a vegetable spiralizer.

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Creamy goat cheese pasta with sweet corn and blistered cherry tomatoes

The great thing with this pasta is that you can have it warm when ready and if you have some leftover, it is great as a cold pasta salad too.  This pasta has an unusual spice, sumac. Sumac berry bushes are native to the Middle East and the ground berries has a bright acidity. It is a great spice to use when you want some tartness without the lemon. I also used aleppo chili flakes which has the same geographic origin, but you can add any kinds/heat level chili flake or ground chili. You will only blister the tomatoes, do not cook them down. When you get to eating you can smash some of them on your plate, adding some juice to the sauce.

I will start with the instructions and if you need guidance on amounts, it will follow.

How To

  1. Get everything ready so you can start making the sauce while the pasta is cooking, so all components will be ready at the same time.
  2. Cook the corn and cut off the kernels.
  3. Chop the shallot, parsley and scallion and mince the garlic.
  4. Mix the chèvre, creme fraiche and buttermilk in a bowl and season well with salt, black pepper, sumac and chili flakes or cayenne pepper.
  5. Start cooking the sauce.
  6. Heat olive oil in a pan.
  7. When oil is hot add tomatoes.
  8. When they are blistered, add chopped shallot.
  9. Sautee a few minutes longer, stirring continously, not burning the onion.
  10. Add garlic, sauté for a few seconds and add the chèvre – creme fraiche mix and corn.
  11. Taste and season if needed. It should be a little bit tart, enough salt, and a bit of heat.
  12. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce thoroughly covering in the sauce.
  13. Plate with generous amount of chopped parsley and scallion.

 

DSC_5229Ingredients for 4 persons

  • your choice of pasta or courgette spirals
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 T room temperature chèvre
  • 2 T creme fraiche
  • splash of buttermilk or cream, just enough to mix ingredients
  • salt, ground black pepper, sumac
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, smaller the better and different varieties
  • 2 corn cobs
  • parsley and scallion