Substitution: Walnut Pesto

Posted on May 26, 2011. Filed under: chicken, easy, pasta, recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 I don’t have a “signature” dish, per se. I like to play, I like to make new discoveries. But I do have a few standby dishes that I know and love. Penne pesto with chicken breast is one of them. Trouble in River City: I wanted to make the dish, but someone I was cooking for has a pine nut allergy. Pine nuts are an integral component of my pesto. Oh boy. It was time to experiment.

Sometimes you have to change a dish a little bit. Perhaps someone you’re cooking for is a bit finicky, or, as in this case, they have a food allergy. This can freak out people with limited experience in the kitchen. People with a lot of experience might scoff at the idea of messing with what they know is the “right” way. This is stupid. A good cook shouldn’t be snotty about his or her recipes. Look at it as a chance to experiment. Change the flavor profile a little bit. That’s why I did with this. Goodbye pine nuts, hello walnuts.

For the pesto, blend:
1 4oz. package Basil
1/4 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
1/2 Cup Toasted Walnut Pieces
3 Cloves Garlic
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Milk
Mix into cooked pasta and Super Simple Chicken.
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Watch: This Man’s Kitchen Baked Ziti

Posted on July 13, 2010. Filed under: easy, favorite, pasta, recipe, Uncategorized, video | Tags: , , , , , |

Hey hey, it’s an all new episode of This Man’s Kitchen. You too can make baked ziti- it’s super tasty!

For more This Man’s Kitchen videos, check out the collection on Vimeo.

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Easy Meat Sauce

Posted on May 5, 2009. Filed under: easy, one pot, pasta, recipe |

This is an easy to make, stripped down meat sauce. Not a lot of hard work involved in this one!

28oz. Can Ground Tomato
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tsp. Onion Powder
1 Tsp. Sugar
1 Tsp. Dried Oregano or Italian Seasoning

1Lb. Ground Beef
15% Fat, Grass-fed preferred
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Onion Powder

Season ground beef. Brown for about 3 minutes in a large pan. Drain fat, add remaining ingredients. Simmer at least 30 minutes, preferably for one hour.
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Beef Lasagna

Posted on October 29, 2008. Filed under: bake, beef, pasta, patience, recipe |

Lasagna is awesome.  There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  It takes a wee bit of work, sure.  So worth it, though.  I encourage you to use grass fed beef.  It really makes a huge difference, both in flavor and in the way we treat the enviornment.  More about that soon.

2 lbs. Ground Beef, 15-20 % fat content
6 Cloves Garlic, smashed
32 oz Ricotta Cheese
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)
64 oz Tomato Sauce, homemade or your favorite
Lasagna Noodles

Begin by mixing all the ricotta cheese and half of the other cheeses in a bowl.  Add egg, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, nutmeg, salt, and half the garlic.  Set aside.
Season ground beef with salt, pepper, and the remaining Italian seasoning & garlic. In a large pan, lightly brown the beef.  While browning, break the beef up into small bits.  This will get easier as the meat cooks.  The whole process should take about 4 minutes.  Don’t worry if all the beef isn’t brown- it’s best not to overcook it.  Drain fat, and stir in about 1/4 of the tomato sauce.

Cover bottom of lasagna pan with sauce.  Add lasagna noodles (check package to see if you need to pre-cook).  Add a layer of beef, then a layer of cheese, cover with sauce and a new layer of pasta.  Repeat the process twice more, so you have three layers of goodness.  Cover top layer of pasta with more sauce, then top that with the remaining mozzarella & parmesan cheese.

Cover lasagna pan with foil.  Poke a few tiny holes in the foil with a knife.  This will allow some steam to escape, and help prevent the foil from sticking to the top layer of cheese (a sad sad sad thing).  Move to a 375 degree oven, and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil, and broil an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown. 

Let cool for at least 20 minutes.  Seriously.  After all this work and time, you’re going to be tempted to dig right in.  Don’t do it buddy.  Everything will fall apart if you do.  Give it time to cool a bit and settle.  Life will be better that way.  It always is.
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Baked Ziti (actually Penne!)

Posted on August 20, 2008. Filed under: easy, pasta, recipe |

This one holds a special place in my heart. The food in college was bad. Very bad. On top of that, I was a very picky eater. Even at the tender age of 18, I knew that hot dogs and cereal were not a healthy diet. A quick call to mom was all it took. This Man’s Kitchen was born with this dish.

Cook, according to package instructions:

1/4 Lb. (Quarter Box) of Penne Regate

Drain pasta.
Add drained pasta to a standard-sized pie tin, or to your toaster’s baking pan.
Top with:
One Cup Tomato Sauce
3/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese

3 Cloves Garlic, smashed & chopped
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (the good stuff)

Bake at 450 until the cheeses begin to melt- around 6 minutes.
Then broil until cheese bubbles and turns golden brown.
*Be careful, it can go from beautiful to black in minutes, so keep an eye out.

Top, if desired, with:
4-5 Basil Leaves, cut

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Baked Manicotti

Posted on July 9, 2008. Filed under: cheese, pasta, recipe |

8 Tubes Manicotti, cooked one minute short of instructed time
16 oz. Ricotta Cheese
8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, plus extra for topping
4 oz. Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for topping
One Egg
1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
16 oz. Tomato Sauce
Combine cheeses, garlic, egg, and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Stuff into pasta, using a spoon to get it into both ends.  Coat bottom of pan with tomato sauce, place pasta on top, add sauce over pasta, and top with extra cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees until cheese begins to melt, then broil until cheese browns.  Allow to cool a little before serving.
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Penne Pesto with Chicken Breast

Posted on May 9, 2008. Filed under: favorite, in advance, pasta, pesto, poultry, recipe |

Two Chicken Breasts
1 4oz. Package Basil
1/4 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
1/3 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
3 Cloves Garlic
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Milk
Pasta, Two Handfuls per Person
This is a creamy preparation of pesto sauce, which, combined with roasted chicken, provides a killer meal for you and your friends. Although it takes a little bit of work, nearly everything can be done in advance! Thus…easy entertaining.
Start by roasting the chicken. Simply rub a little olive oil on the breasts (!), then season with salt/pepper/garlic powder. Throw it in a 425 degree oven, feel free to use your toaster oven even, for 7 minutes, flip, and cook another 7 minutes. Slice at a 45 degree angle (don’t stress about perfection) when ready to use.
Now…pesto sauce! Really easy to make. People will think you’re a genius. All you have to do is combine the basil, garlic, cheese (for the love of Pete, please DO NOT use the stuff in the green can- you can spring for the good stuff), milk, oil, and half the pine nuts. Take your handy hand blender, and whip it up. Done!
To finish, simply cook pasta. I find two regular sized handfuls per person makes a good serving size. Drain pasta, add sliced chicken and pesto sauce. Toss, heat together, serve. Genius.
**If you don’t have a hand blender, get one! They’re great for all sorts of things, from frothy drinks to well, pesto sauce.

To toast the pine nuts, simply toss in a medium hot pan until they turn a golden brown.
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The Mac ‘n Cheese

Posted on April 12, 2008. Filed under: bake, cheese, favorite, pasta, recipe |

1 Box Macaroni
2.5 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1.5 Cup Gruyere Cheese
1 Cup Dubliner Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 Cups Milk
A Lot of Butter!

It may come as a shock, but mac ‘n cheese is one of the most effort-intense dishes I make. Don’t let that stop you, it’s very good! Also, it doesn’t take much time.
Begin by making a roux, using 4 tablespoons flour and 4 tablespoons butter. Whisk rapidly over medium heat until roux reaches a light blond stage, about 10 minutes. Add milk, a little bit at a time, whisking while going to break up lumps.

After milk is incorporated, add the cheese, again bit by bit. Whisk as you go, allowing the cheese to melt. When this is finished, you will have a lush cheese sauce.

At the same time, cook macaroni according to package instructions. In a large mixing bowl, mix the cheese sauce and cooked pasta. Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish (I use a lasagna pan), and transfer the mix. Note: You could serve the mix as is, but this will be way better.

Mix more butter (!), melted, panko, and parmesan cheese, then layer on top of macaroni. Transfer to oven, broil until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Serve, and bask in the glory of your creation.

Sorry for the lack of pics- some didn’t come out well, and the final product was served at a party. My camera was sitting on my desk at the time!

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