Quick Dinner: Pasta + Kale

On Friday nights, Cam and I like to stay in and catch up.  We drink wine, order takeaway dinner,  relax and chat about our week.  It's a really nice way to unwind after a crazy work week and enjoy being together.  (Chibi likes it, too.)  We've made one small change to our evenings recently, which is that now we make dinner.

Nothing elaborate.  Just something quick and easy that can be put together in under 30 minutes. It's fun and provides leftover bites for any weekend hunger attacks.  I'll be sharing these here and there. 

Serves 2-3. 

Pasta with Kale + Mushrooms

3 cups wide egg noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon butter

2 cups chopped kale

s + p

juice of 1/2 lemon

grated parmesan cheese

Boil egg noodles for 6 minutes.  Drain and set aside. 

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add chile flakes, garlic and sliced mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are soft.  Add butter and kale, cook about 2 minutes.  Add pasta.  Cook, stirring frequently until hot.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Serve with grating of parmesan cheese.  


Oven Braised Lemon Chicken + Mushrooms


Served this with wheat berries and sautéed kale.  The citrus really brightens the dish.  Chicken legs or thighs maybe substituted.  They are better for braising but I prefer chicken breast as it is leaner.  Dark meat will need a little longer to cook, about 45 minutes in the oven.  

Serves 4.

Oven Braised Lemon Chicken + Mushrooms

splash high heat oil (grapeseed, canola..)

2 Whole bone in, skin on chicken breasts, halved

1 small yellow onion, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon chile flakes

10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 a lemon, peel and pith removed, sliced

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

s+ p

Heat oven to 350.  In  a dutch oven or heavy pot on the stove, heat a splash of oil over medium high heat.  Brown chicken very well.  About 4 minutes on each side.  Transfer chicken to plate.  Pour out any chicken grease.  

Lower heat to medium and brown onion, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes, mushrooms and carrots.  Sautee 3 minutes.  Add stock, scraping bottom of pan.  Boil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken, skin side up.  Add lemon, bay leaves and thyme.  

Cover and braise in oven 30 minutes.   Remove from oven, skim off any fat and serve.

Focaccia + Roasted Tomatoes + Ricotta


Do you ever get stuck on a food and somehow can't manage to stop eating it?  Well, I've had pizza for what seems like many days in a row.  (And granola, too. See previous post.)  It started with a pizza restaurant down the street and has continued with this focaccia and it's leftovers.  

Use any type of flours you like but I have to say the rye really adds a great flavor and texture.   

Serves 4. 

Focaccia Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes + Fresh Ricotta

For the focaccia

1 packet yeast

1 1/4 cup very warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups rye flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon salt

1/8 cup + 1/4 cup olive oil

large handful fresh basil leaves, chopped


red chile flakes

grated hard cheese like pecorino, parmesan... 

6 plum tomatoes, cored and cut lengthwise

8 cremini mushrooms, sliced

for the ricotta

4 cups whole milk

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon or less) 

For the focaccia:   Combine water, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl and let sit a couple minutes.  There should be bubbles or foam which shows that the yeast is active and working.  Add flours, salt and 1/8 cup olive oil.  Mix to form a dough and knead for 10  minutes.  Transfer to an oiled bowl and lightly oil the dough to stop any dryness or crust from forming.   

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.  It will double in size.  Stretch onto a baking sheet and let rest 20 minutes. Poke/dot dough's surface with fingers.  Pour remaining olive oil over dough.

Heat oven to 400.  Bake 25 minutes.  

Top with lots of ricotta then chopped roasted tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, salt, chile flakes, fresh basil and grated hard cheese.  

Prepare ricotta while dough is rising.  Roast tomatoes at the same time your baking focaccia.  

For ricotta:  In a pot, combine milk, cream and salt over medium high heat.  Heat to 195 degrees (about 12-18 minutes).  Stir frequently.   

Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.  Milk will curdle.   

Pour everything into a colander lined with cheese cloth and let it drain for 20 minutes.  Transfer ricotta to a bowl and chill until ready to use.  

For tomatoes:  Toss tomatoes in a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast 15 minutes, cut side down.  Remove from oven and chop.

 For the mushrooms:  Saute in a dash of olive oil over medium high heat, about 7 minutes.