Tag Archives: Olive oil

Meatless Monday: Emmer Fettuccine With Beans

Farro is a great grain, loaded with fiber and nutrients. Here at Al Dente HQ, we are big fans of emmer —  a type of farro which can be grown in fields outside of the Mediterranean and Middle East.

In the case of this pasta, the field is in Tompkins County. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Emmer Fettuccine With Beans

Al Dente On The Side: Basic Garlic Aioli

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An aioli is basically a Provençal mayonnaise. Rooted in coastal France, aioli and mayo share a lot of the same properties, namely egg and oil. It’s not a particularly healthy endeavor, though neither is mayonnaise when you come to think of it. And if you get skiddish about eating raw eggs, this is not likely for you either. But, if you can get over all that stuff, you will find a creamy, fatty, rich dressing that enhances the flavor of wherever it is applied. Just like mayonnaise. Continue reading Al Dente On The Side: Basic Garlic Aioli

Wednesday Dinner: Pasta With Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts, and Parmesan

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If I were to look back at my childhood and make a list of the reasons why I was overweight, the regular consumption of pasta would be in the top five. I make pasta once a week here at Al Dente HQ. Macaroni, frozen or boxed, was the basis of at least two meals a week as a kid, and may have been found in soups or other dishes that popped up during the same seven-day span.

I have cut pasta out of my diet totally in the past (namely during The Weight Loss Story), but it makes it very tough to feed The Wife and me. Plus, I like pasta. Continue reading Wednesday Dinner: Pasta With Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts, and Parmesan

Tuesday Dinner: Tomato and Sausage Risotto (or Why I Hate Pinterest)

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Melissa Hebert Meola, Martha Stewart accolyte and author of the Domestic Putterings blog, posted this to her Pinterest wall “Feed Yourself Why Not” last week. In my search for dinner ideas, I came across it and repinned it to my Pinterest wall “Things I Want To Cook.” Pinterest is fascinating to me, especially as the only heterosexual, naturally-born male in America that actively uses it. It’s a fantastic driver of traffic to Al Dente, and I’m grateful for that. It has led to more dinners featured on this blog than I can count.

It’s also everything I hate about people. Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Tomato and Sausage Risotto (or Why I Hate Pinterest)

Christmas 2013: Shallot and Red Wine Sauce

So, here’s the thing with my Christmas roast: it didn’t produce enough drippings to construct a gravy. All it really did was make a bunch of grease to burn on to the pan.

I was confident that roast would be moist, rendering a gravy or sauce unnecessary. But, people like something that they can ladle over roast beef. It’s habit and who am I to interrupt such a practice? Not wanting a traditional thick beef gravy and with a bunch of shallots in the house, I thought I would look for something else. Enter Gordon Ramsay’s shallot and red wine sauce.

Shallot and Red Wine Sauce
By Gordon Ramsay via BBC GoodFood (adapted and measures converted from metric)

  • 8 oz. shallots, sliced
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
  • sprig rosemary
  • 5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 13 oz. red wine
  • 13 oz. beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Heat oil in a medium saucepan until it shimmers. Add the shallots and cook until lightly browned and soft, 3 minutes. Season with ground black pepper and add the garlic and rosemary. Cook 3 more minutes, stirring to prevent the shallots from burning.

Add the vinegar and cook until it has a syrup consistency. Add the wine and reduce by two-thirds.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Remove the garlic and rosemary, add a pinch of salt to taste and whisk in the butter.

Meatless Monday: White Beans with Rappi and Lemon

Sometimes I love Wegmans. Sometimes I hate them. Take Sunday, for instance, when the store looked like its shelves had not been replenished in weeks. Skim milk? You had to open the door and shout back to the poor bastards in the cooler. Yogurt? Fat chance. Picked that up at Target. But anchovies were the one that threw me. Apparently, a run on anchovies in the Western suburbs left Wegmans out of stock and me S.O.L. for this recipe.

Epicurious and Bon Appetit offer this as a side dish, but this is not much different than escarole and beans. It worked quite well as a standalone dish, anchovies or not. It would probably go quite nicely next to roasted chicken or pork tenderloin.

WHAT WORKED: The lemon. It helped to take some of the pungency out of the rappi and provided a nice acid to the end product.

WHAT DIDN’T: Wegmans and the Great Anchovy Shortage of 2013.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Honestly? I have no idea. I either wasn’t listening or…yeah, who am I kidding?


White Beans with Rappi and Lemon
Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 15 oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add lemon, anchovies, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lemon is softened and brown in spots and anchovies fall apart, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Add beans and 1/2 cup water to pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and liquid is reduced by half (you still want it to be saucy), about 5 minutes. Mix in parsley and 2 tbsp. Parmesan.

Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and top with more Parmesan.

Al Dente On The Side: Old Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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I make sweet potatoes for every holiday that I host. And, every time, I’m the only one who eats them. Invariably The Wife or The Father will have a couple as a show of support for the hard work that went into the meal, but they are largely panned by the rest of the gathering at these meals.

This year, I decided that I was going to make a small sweet potato dish for me, and if anyone wanted some, they could join in. Ordinarily, I like my roasted potatoes to be burnt to an everloving crisp, but my single-oven setup meant that the turkey took priority. And the bird’s low and slow cooking method meant the sweets were going to cook at, oh, 175 degrees below the recipe’s recommendation. I threw them in for over an hour, but they were still a little soft.

But, they were good. Damn good.

I think that covering seafood in Old Bay is silly and takes away from the flavor of the fish. But, a heavy dusting of the stuff on potatoes is a very different flavor that complements the sweetness of the veggie.

Continue reading Al Dente On The Side: Old Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Meatless Monday: Hearty Escarole, Barley, and Parmesan Soup

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I got into a rut last year with Meatless Monday where everything was a soup. Frankly, it’s the easiest thing to assemble when we are talking about a completely meat-free meal. This year, I seem to be stuck in a pasta cycle when it comes to the first weeknight meal of the week. So, to break one rut I decided to reach back to the salad days of soupmaking on Mondays.

As advertised, this is a very hearty soup. The escarole and barley not only give the soup bulk, but a unique flavor that could ordinarily get lost in the mirepoix, tomato or soy sauce.

WHAT WORKED: Parmesan rind. That’s the other thing I wanted to mention. This is a mandatory ingredient. Parm rinds not only bring the salty, nutty cheese flavor to the stockpot, but it helps to thicken the broth. Just make sure to discard before serving because eating this would be disgusting.

Continue reading Meatless Monday: Hearty Escarole, Barley, and Parmesan Soup