Slow Simmered Ragu with Pasta

12 01 2011

A Tuscan-style ragu, simmered slowly with herbs and wine, pairs perfectly with fresh pasta

We’re deep in the heart of winter and snow is blanketing much of North America (including areas that don’t normally get a lot of snow). It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to put something comforting on the stove to simmer while you curl up with a blanket and a good book.  A slow simmered Tuscan-style ragu sauce fits the bill perfectly.

A few years ago I was visiting Tuscany and happened upon an outdoor cooking demonstration. A chef and his mother, Mamma Donatella, were demonstrating how to make classic Tuscan dishes.  One of the dishes was fresh handmade pasta with a ragu sauce and Donatella’s version was unlike any I’ve had before: rich with flavour and light on tomato sauce.  Since then, I’ve worked on developing my own take on this Italian classic.  The secret is to let the sauce cook down for a long time (at least 2-1/2 to 3 hours).  You can make your own noodles or buy fresh pasta at many Italian markets. Good quality dry pasta will work as well – try wide noodles such as papardelle or tagliatelle.

Click here for the recipe on Suite 101: Slow Simmered Ragu with Pasta.

Bon Appétit and Stay Warm!

Get updates from The Seasonal Gourmet on Facebook and Twitter.  Join the conversation today!

Advertisements




Sablefish with Caramelized Fennel and Cherry Tomatoes

30 11 2010

Sablefish (aka Black Cod) with Caramelized Fennel and Cherry Tomatoes is a flavourful, lighter option.

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes parties, festive meals and general overindulgence.  Why not lighten up with a pan-roasted fish dish that doesn’t sacrifice flavour?

Sablefish is more commonly known as black cod.  It has become popular in the past few years because it is both sustainable and delicious.  Nobu restaurant popularized sablefish in their iconic dish, Black Cod with Miso, which has been copied by restaurants across North America (with good reason – it’s delicious).  Preparing the fish with fennel, cherry tomatoes and a lightly herbed crust gives it a Mediterranean twist.

Sablefish should be available at well-stocked fishmongers under the name sablefish, sable, butterfish or black cod.

To get the recipe from Suite 101.com, click here: Sablefish with Caramelized Fennel and Cherry Tomatoes.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Get updates from The Seasonal Gourmet on Facebook and Twitter.  Join the conversation today!





Pumpkin Cream Puffs with Maple-Caramel Sauce

23 11 2010

Cream puffs (a.k.a. profiteroles) filled with a spiced pumpkin cream and topped with a buttery maple-caramel sauce.

When I want to make an autumn dessert, I think about seasonally appropriate ingredients such as apples, pears, caramel and of course, pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie is a staple at most Thanksgiving tables and spiced pumpkin is popular in everything from lattes to ice cream. As a bonus, scientists have long known that the scent of pumpkin pie is an aphrodisiac so it’s the perfect finale to a romantic dinner.

If you’re looking for something a little different from pie, these cream puffs (a.k.a. profiteroles) fit the bill perfectly.  The pumpkin-cream filling has all the flavours of classic pumpkin pie and the maple-caramel sauce is a decadent and delicious topping (which is also great on ice cream!).  The recipe has a number of steps but none are difficult and everything can be prepared in advance and assembled at the end of the meal.

Click here to see the recipe from Suite 101.com: Pumpkin Cream Puffs with Maple-Caramel Sauce.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Get updates from The Seasonal Gourmet on Facebook and Twitter.  Join the conversation today!





Summer Lasagna with Vegetables, Sausage and Pesto

6 09 2010

Lasagna with layers of vegetables, sausage and pesto is the perfect meal to transition from summer to fall.

Today is Labour Day, which marks the unofficial end of summer. Kids are heading back to school this week and the temperature has started to cool down as autumn approaches.  It can be tricky to figure out what to eat in September because the weather can shift from hot and sunny to cool and damp within a few hours.  A lasagna packed with late summer vegetables, sweet basil pesto and a layers of hearty Italian sausage is the perfect dish to make the transition between the seasons.

There are a number of steps to assemble the lasagna, however, none are difficult and the various components can be prepared in advance.  It makes an impressive dish for entertaining and leftovers are even better the next day.

Click here to get the recipe from Suite 101.com: Summer Lasagna with Vegetables, Sausage and Pesto.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers

26 07 2010

Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers, made with fresh corn and sweet summer peppers.

When I was a kid, one of my favourite soups was corn chowder.  My mom made it using canned creamed corn, green peppers, onions, potatoes and milk.  It was simple, delicious and comforting.  I took the basic concept and dressed it up a little with fresh corn and added some red peppers, a hint of jalapeno, some garlic and fresh thyme.  It’s a great way to use up corn on the cob and can be a summery starter or a hearty meal on its own.  You can add some protein such as shellfish, chicken or ham if you’d like.  It can also be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock in place of chicken in the base. Serve the chowder with fresh bread or biscuits.

Click here to get the recipe from Suite 101.com: Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Baby Red Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

16 07 2010

Potato salad made with baby red potatoes and a mustard vinaigrette is a delicious change from mayonnaise-based salads.

I love potatoes.  I grew up in an area that was originally settled by the Irish and potatoes were the main starch that accompanied most of our meals.  I tend to think of them as a winter vegetable because they can be stored year round but new baby potatoes are a special summer treat.  They are sweet, tender and have very thin skins.  New potatoes can be prepared very simply – just steam or boil them and top with a bit of salt and pepper.  They also are great in potato salads and don’t require a lot of work to prepare.

For a great mayonnaise-free potato salad that is full of zesty flavour, check out my recipe on Suite 101.com: Baby Red Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

20 05 2010

Strawberries and cream is a classic combination.

I was very excited yesterday to find the first Ontario strawberries of the season at the market.  They were considerably more expensive than the anemic imported strawberries sitting next to them but their sweet flavour was worth the extra couple of dollars. They actually tasted the way strawberries should taste and not like half-ripe, flavourless berries that were shipped hundreds of miles!  Hopefully the great weather we’ve been having this spring means we’ll have a long season to enjoy them.

Bigger isn't always better: The imported strawberry (left) may be big, but it doesn't have the juicy, bold flavour of the small, locally grown berry (right).

A perfectly ripe, in-season strawberry is pretty much perfect as-is but you can have fun with them too.  They’re great in pies, shortcakes, jam or even cocktails but one of my favourite ways to enjoy them is sprinkled with a bit of sugar and topped with real whipped cream.  Strawberry and vanilla-flecked cupcakes topped with creamy frosting and fresh berries turn this idea into a fun dessert that is perfect for summer gatherings.  They’re sure to be a hit with kids of all ages (the last time I made them, they disappeared within minutes!).

Click here to get the recipe from Suite 101.com: Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

A Strawberries and Cream cupcake