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Monday, February 21, 2011

Penne and Vegetable Gratin


Tired of Eating the same old pasta dishes? Did I say this before? Maybe I did...I lose track now of days, having to spread myself so thin...Here is a delicious and heart healthy dish you might want to try one afternoon when you've got time on your hands-

INGREDIENTS:


1/2 pound penne or other tubular pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

3/4 pound vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)

1 cup coarsely grated chilled Fontina cheese (preferably Italian, about 1/4 pound)

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, washed well, spun dry, and chopped

1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, washed well, spun dry, and chopped.

For sauce -
2 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (about 3 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For topping -

1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil


DIRECTIONS:


In a 4-quart kettle bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes. (Pasta will cook more when baked.) Drain pasta in a colander and rinse well under cold water. Drain pasta well and in a 2- to 2 1/2-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish toss pasta with zucchini, tomatoes, Fontina, and herbs.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Make sauce:
In a large heavy saucepan cook garlic and red pepper flakes in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and salt to taste and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and give off their liquid. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, milk, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil, whisking. Simmer sauce, whisking, 30 seconds.

Pour sauce evenly over pasta mixture and shake gratin dish gently to coat pasta mixture with sauce.

Make topping:
In a small bowl with a fork stir together bread crumbs and oil until crumbs are evenly moistened.

Sprinkle topping over pasta mixture and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes. Cool gratin 10 minutes before serving.


Enjoy!

2 comments:

Yvonne Anderson said...

Excellent Keith....I'm going to make this tonight!

Lisa said...

MMMM this looks delish!


Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.


1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov






Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household