Pasta with Sausage, Kale and White Beans

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America’s Test Kitchen 

INGREDIENTS 

Servings: 4
Start to finish: 1 hour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped fine
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
8 ounces (2 1/4 cups) orecchiette
12 ounces kale, stemmed and chopped
1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper

 

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DIRECTIONS

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and cook, breaking meat into 1/2-inch pieces, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in onion and beans and cook until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, fennel seeds, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in broth and water, increase heat to high, and bring to boil. Stir in pasta and half of kale. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer vigorously for 4 minutes. Place remaining kale in pot without stirring, cover, and cook until kale is just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir to incorporate kale and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is tender, 3 to 6 minutes.

Off heat, stir in Pecorino and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.

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Meatballs with Peas

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Ingredients

MEATBALLS

  • 1/2 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

SAUCE

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • One 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

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Step 1

Preheat the broiler. In a bowl, mix the chuck, pork, raisins, egg, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, thyme, parsley, water, salt and pepper with your hands. Form the mixture into 24 meatballs.

 

Step 2

Spread the oil on a baking sheet; add the meatballs and broil 3 inches from the heat for 7 minutes, rolling a few times, until lightly browned. Turn the oven to 400°. Bake for 5 minutes, then transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and add the wine.

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Step 3

In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook 5 minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Step 4

Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

 

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Nico Heirloom Kitchen

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Downtown Gilbert is continuing to add to its long row of restaurants that face Gilbert Rd. Chef Gio Osso’s Nico Heirloom Kitchen is one of the newest additions this year. It brings a modern twist on Italian fare for the casual crowd. Gio named this restaurant after his son Nico. His other restaurant Virtù has made all types of headlines here in the Valley. Nico has an open patio and beautiful decor that hangs on its brick walls. They roll their own pasta daily and have a nice selection of signature drinks to choose from. We had a large party of friends that came here to celebrate my buddy’s bday. My one buddy ordered the Virtù Octopus and allowed me to sample it. I’ve only tried octopus once and it was very chewy. I was surprised how flavorful and not-so-chewy Nico’s was. I was feeling pasta and ordered the Rigatoni. It had a delicious bold red wine pork sauce that was nicely balanced. I really enjoyed it. This was overall a great experience for myself and my friends. I expect good things from Gio Osso in the future as he contributes to the Valley’s ever-growing foodie culture.

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Virtu Octopus

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Chistorra & Eggs

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Rigatoni

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Nico Heirloom Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

noca

My last Restaurant Week stop came at a place I’ve been wanting to eat at for a while – Restaurant noca at the Biltmore. When Matt Taylor was the chef, I got to attend his cooking demonstration earlier this year and sample some of his food. Now chef Claudio Urciuoli (who just split from Chris Bianco) is in charge and brings an Italian sensibility of pasta and seafood to the mix. I love how the menu changes everyday. In fact, I had my meal choices picked out from the RW website and the menu changed when I got there and I had to scramble. My first choice was the Giovanna’s meatballs (with Polenta). Then I got the Wagyu beef brisket (with crushed Yukon potatoes and green beans) followed by a Honey Panna Cotta (Plum raspberry coulis and an almond briscotti). I was also served a big bowl of cotton candy – which I thought was interesting. The food was delicious and I had a great conversation with my bartender. I had a wonderful time and I see myself visiting on a regular basis.

* – from Restaurant Week website 

Located in Phoenix’s Biltmore area, noca utilizes the finest ingredients to present Modern American cuisine in a vibrant atmosphere without pretense and formality. noca’s daily changing menu reflects the best of the season featuring; local organic produce, crudo, house-made pastas, fish and prime meats. 

My food pictures were a little hazy due to the dim lights.

Giovanna’s Meatballs

Wagyu Beef Brisket

Honey Panna Cotta with cotton candy

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Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas

Ingredients

  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

Directions

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

* – recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Orzo with Sausage & Vegetables

2 links sausage, casing removed and cut up
1/4 pound fresh asparagus (6 or 7 medium spears)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 ounces orzo (1/3 cup)

Remove sausage casing and crumble sausage. Trim asparagus and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add sausage and green onion; saute 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add orzo. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring often. Add asparagus and cook until orzo is al dente and asparagus is tender, another 2 to 3 minutes.

* – I used zucchini and eggplant in place of the asparagus and spinach & feta chicken sausages. Recipe from azcentral.com

Frost

I went to Frost with a bunch of friends tonight. Frost is a shoppe that serves gelato (Italian for frozen). Gelato is a frozen creamy, ice cream product that only contains 3-8% butterfat. Because of its low butterfat, it can’t be called ice cream in the U.S. It’s silky, dense, cool, flavorful and healthier than American ice cream. I got the widely popular salty caramel and almond.

Click to add a blog post for Frost a Gelato Shoppe on Zomato