Scallops with Lemon-Caper Pasta and Baby Spinach

 

 

We have all had many a piccata-esque dishes before, at banquet dinners and weddings. including the old stand-by, the dry chicken breast and super-salty capers with some subpar pasta. But this recipe proves different and you will be surprised by the delicious and succulent version of this dish with creamy sauce and delicate pasta. This caper sauce is all the latter, none of the former, and instead of boring,  dry chicken,  you will have succulent sweet scallops to sop up the good flavors, in this dish.

Adapted From
Sarah Thomsen
Home Chef
January 2021

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 large lemon
1/3 cup croutons
5 oz. Linguine pasta
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound scallops
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
3-4 tablespoons Better than bullion  Organic Vegetable Soup Base™
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 oz. Baby spinach
1 tablespoons capers

Directions:
Halve lemon lengthwise. Cut one half into wedges and juice the other half. Coarsely crush croutons. Set aside until ready to use.

To start the pasta, bring 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons of  salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 10-12 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. Reserve pot; no need to wipe clean. While pasta cooks, cook scallops.

Using clean paper towels, pat scallops dry, and season both sides with a pinch of salt and pepper. Scallops will vary in amount as they are portioned by weight. Don’t worry, the sweet flavor and tender texture will be the same. Place a medium non-stick pan over medium-high and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add scallops to hot pan and cook until golden brown and scallops reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 ° F, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove scallops to a plate and set aside.

Return pot used to cook pasta to medium heat. Add pasta cooking water, mirepoix base, and a pinch of salt to hot pot. Stir to combine. Stir in cooked pasta, sour cream, and Parmesan until pasta is fully coated. Add spinach, capers, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir often until spinach begins to wilt, 1-2 minutes. Remove from burner.

To serve, add the pasta to the center of the plate, twirling with tongs to give height. Top the pasta with scallops and garnishing with crushed croutons. Squeeze lemon wedges over to taste.

Bon appétit!

 

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Mrs. Cubbison’s French Bread Croutons, Garlic & Butter, 5 oz

Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base 16 Oz, Reduced Sodium 

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Skillet Lasagna

I am craving comfort foods from my youth, right about now.

I wanted lasagna the way Garfield scratches his belly for it……. I just didn’t feel like cooking it and putting together all the wonderful layers. Between Zoom Calls and family responsibilities and such I have hit a COVID19 wall lately when it comes to cooking…..but I still want lasagna.

One answer to my 99 problems, and my craving for lasagna is easily solved.

Skillet Lasagna!

With this simple recipe, you can enjoy this comfort food any night of the week. Everything cooks in just 30 minutes This easy skillet lasagna recipe uses traditional ingredients like ricotta, mozzarella and Italian sausage for that authentic lasagna flavor. If you don’t have a large skillet, no problem, just use a deep Dutch oven.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1/2 pound uncooked lasagna noodles (1/2 of a 16-ounce box)
1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, divided
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
salt, to taste
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, divided
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with onions, undrained
One 12-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
3/4 cup Mozzarella-Parmesan cheese blend

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Break the noodles in half and cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water, drain the noodles and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook the meat, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through. Drain the excess fat from the meat and return to skillet. Stir in crushed red pepper flakes, salt to taste and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds — do not burn the garlic.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese, salt to taste, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the basil; set aside.

Remove the skillet from the stove. Add dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture by rounded tablespoons over the sausage. Top with the noodles, making 1 flat layer. Note that the noodles will overlap just a little bit.

Pour tomatoes and bell peppers over noodles, making sure that noodles are completely covered. Add water, and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon Italian season. Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the perimeter of the skillet.

Cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and uncover and sprinkle with cheese blend. Cover again and let is stand for 3 t0 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. You can let it stand for and additional 5 minutes if you like it less saucy. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped fresh basil just before serving, if desired. Cut into wedges, and serve with a slotted spatula.

Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute the canned tomatoes and diced bell peppers with one 28-ounce jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce.

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Tuscan Chicken with Zucchini and Tomatoes

IMG_0463 3

This Tuscan Chicken dish is made with the most delicious creamy tomato Parmesan sauce, chicken thighs, zucchini and tomatoes. Be sure to have some crusty bread on hand, because this sauce is to die for. When it comes to chicken thigh recipes, its hard to beat this one.


Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
Kosher salt,to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

For Garnish:
Fresh basil leaves
Tomato wedges

Directions:
In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add chicken and season with salt, pepper,oregano,rosemary, thyme basil, marjoram, fennel seeds. Cook until the skin is golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, summer squash and cherry tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the cream and the milk. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until a creamy sauce forms. Continue to simmer until the sauce is slightly reduces, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Remove the rosemary sprigs.

Return the chicken to the skillet to skillet and cook until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes. To serve, garnish with a chiffonade of fresh basil and tomato wedges if desired.

 

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