Keepin’ it Simple ~ Keepin’ it Real

I have often been asked for simple recipes with simple steps, to create something new…  Here are a few ideas, from appetizer to pasta course ~ enjoy ~ v

canapés – an appetizer consisting of a piece of bread or toast or a cracker topped with a savory spread

to begin, use plain white, wheat or rye bread… no flavors necessary (KISS ~ remember?) ~ you are creating a vessel for the good stuff!  cut the crust off the bread (save in freezer bags to make crumbs for meatballs at a later date!), cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter, toast lightly and choose from the following:

  • cocktail shrimp, plain yogurt, diced English cucumber (mix in a bowl, put a spoonful atop bread; sprinkle with old bay)
  • smoked salmon-avocado: cut salmon into thin strips; roll to create a rosette; place a thin slice of avocado on bread, place rosette on top
  • melon & prawn cocktail: puree melon; wrap cleaned prawns in ham or prosciutto, thread onto soaked wooden skewer; grill prawn on both sides; pour melon puree in small cocktail glass; place skewer and one bread round in the glass

salad – a mixture of small pieces of raw or cooked food (such as pasta, meat, fruit, eggs, or vegetables) combined usually with a dressing and served cold

get a pretty serving platter or shallow bowl, combine ingredients and enjoy!

  • tuna, grape tomatoes, olives, olive oil, basil, s&p
  • cherry tomatoes, olives, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, s&p
  • chopped broccoli, grape tomatoes, mozzarella, s&p

Pasta & Sauce – Any of several starchy food pastes (pasta alimentaria) made from semolina, the purified middlings (endosperm) of a hardwheat called durum.

I’ve covered basic and not so basic tomato sauce in previous posts, so here are a few that you hear of but may be too intimidated to try (KISS~):

Bolognese (serve with tagliatelle):

  • 1/2 lb each of minced beef, pork, sausage + 1/2 cup pancetta, cubed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c red wine (the stuff you would drink, not throw out!)
  • 2 cans crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 – 1 c water
  • salt & pepper

In a large pan, saute onion, carrot and celery in olive oil; add pancetta, cook until pancetta starts to break down; add minced meats, cook until lightly browned; add red wine; cook for about 5 minutes; add tomatoes and water as needed. Cover and simmer for up to 2 hours; add s & p as needed.

Amatriciana – serve with Bucatini or spaghetti

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup guanciale or pancetta
  • 1 large can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 c white wine, optional

in a large skillet, saute onion for about 10 minutes; add guanciale and bay leaves, cooking over medium-low heat; if using wine, add here, if not, add tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes; simmer for about 10 minutes (at this point, start cooking your pasta); drain pasta, toss with sauce ~ serve with fresh grated pecorino…

Carbonara – serve with spaghetti 

Ok, this one is so easy, and fast! The ingredients I list here are a PER PERSON list:

  • 1 oz pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 2 T Parmigiano, finely grated
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • s&p

Cook spaghetti; while pasta is cooking, sear pancetta until cooked; remove from heat; in a bowl whisk egg yolk, cream and s&p; when pasta is finished cooking, drain and toss with egg-cream mixture (tossing the HOT pasta into the mixture COOKS the egg mixture); top with pancetta and continue tossing… work quickly so you don’t have scrambled egg pasta 🙂

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