Sweet Potato Risotto on Saturday & Pasta Puttanesca on Monday!

For our every-other-day-is-vegetarian days, I’ve been getting creative and, at the same time, turning back to some basic, simple recipes as well.

Saturday:  For Christmas I made a sweet potato pie and had leftover sweet potato puree.  I decided this would work really well in risotto.  After skiing all day though, the last thing I wanted to do was stand at the stove stirring risotto for 20 minutes.  I googled “baked risotto” and found this great recipe from Martha Stewart.  Butternut Squash baked risotto.  I really used it only for the rice/liquid measurements and the cooking time/temperature.  Still, it was a good beginning!

1/2 cup sweet potato puree (or mashed is fine)

Olive oil, 1 or 2 cloves garlic minced

Thyme & Nutmeg

1/2 onion chopped finely (or less if you aren’t too keen on onion)

1 1/2 cups arborio rice (or sushi rice will do in a pinch)

1/2 cup white wine (she used dry, I used what I had which was a fruitier moscato)

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Parmesan or Feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  In an oven-proof dutch oven saute onions in about 1 tbsp olive oil until soft.  Add the thyme and rice and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring.

Add in the wine and cook until absorbed – stirring frequently.  Then add in the chicken broth and sweet potato puree.  Stir until everything is well combined.  Add a pinch – a PINCH of nutmeg.  Put the lid on and bake for about 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  When I took mine out it was great – I let it sit a bit and it got almost too thick.  Keep a little extra broth on hand to add at the last minute if you need to.  Garnish with parmesan or feta cheese – or both!

Monday:  This is the best pasta sauce I have ever made…and it’s in the top 5 of best I’ve ever had sauces.  Really.  The best part?  It’s SO SIMPLE!

Pasta Puttanesca (which literally means Whore’s Pasta)  maybe because it’s cheap?  Who knows.  This is from our 100 pasta sauce recipes cookbook.  If you like pasta and you don’t have this book go order it now!

1 lb pasta (I only used 1/2 lb pasta, but I made enough sauce for 1 lb so I could freeze some)

1 large can of plum tomatoes – I got the san marzano style with the basil

3 cloves garlic

3 anchovy fillets.  Just add them.  Trust me.

4 tbsp capers

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup black olives (we left these out and it was still great!)

So, while the pasta water is heating, finely chop your garlic and anchovy fillets.  These can usually be found near the tuna and other canned meats.  I like to get the flat ones, ,but the ones wrapped with capers will work fine too.  Heat the oil in in a deep sided sauce pan or saute pan and add the garlic and anchovies.  Cook on medium low heat until the anchovies begin to almost melt.  In the mean time, open your tomatoes and roughly chop the tomatoes.  Keep all the juice though!  You could just pour the whole can into a bowl and squeeze the tomatoes to break them up.  Add these to the garlic and anchovies.  Add in the capers and olives if you want.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.  At this point I removed about half of the sauce.  Add your pasta (1/2 lb for us) and cook a little bit more just to get all the flavors absorbed into the pasta.  I added about 1/4 cup of shredded mozarella too.

This is the BEST pasta!  So easy and those anchovies?  They make it taste like there’s butter in that sauce but instead it’s good-for-you Omega 3s!


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