Flourless Dark Chocolate Torte with Chocolate Ganash

Oh my!  Just look at this beautiful heart shaped chocolate torte.  It is a decadent dessert, worthy of a 5-star restaurant.  I still can’t believe I made it at home.  Because I have the “best husband ever” I wanted to do something special for Valentine’s Day this year.  I even bought special heart shaped pans.  It was worth the effort.  Mr. Extruded Noodle thinks I am amazing.

Valentines-Day-The-Extruded-Noodle-015a You may be surprised to know that this cake contains only a scant 2 tsp. of flour.  And a ganash is not that difficult to make.  I know, I was surprised too!

I wanted a petite sized cake, something for the 2 of us to enjoy.  The 6 inch heart pans were perfect!   The set actually contains 5 pans.  This recipe has just enough batter to fill 3 of the pans.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 8.5 oz. good quality dark (bittersweet) chocolate, divided
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, ground fine in a food processor
  • 1-1/2 tsp. flour
  • 2-1/4 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup half and half or cream
  • 2 tsp. rum
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

Melt 4 oz. dark chocolate with 6 tbsp. butter in a double boiler, whisking until smooth.  Set aside to cool before adding to the egg mixture (so the eggs don’t cook).  Beat together the eggs, sugars and extract.  With the mixer running, gradually add the melted chocolate, ground almonds, flour and cocoa and beat until well combined.  Pour into 3 pans that have been misted with cooking spray.  I set my pans on a baking sheet to make it easier to transfer them to the oven.

Flourless-Dark-Chocolate-Torte-The-Extruded-Noodle-004a Bake 15-17 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer the layers to a rack.

Flourless-Dark-Chocolate-Torte-The-Extruded-Noodle-006a When the layers have cooled to room temperature, make the ganache.  Place 4-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (break into small pieces) in a medium bowl with the rum.  Heat the half and half (or cream) in a small sauce pan, stirring frequently.  As soon as it comes to a boil, pour over the chocolate and whisk whisk whisk until it is perfectly smooth.

Flourless-Dark-Chocolate-Torte-The-Extruded-Noodle-007a Allow the ganash to cool 5 minutes.  Now arrange the first layer of the torte on a serving dish.  Pour a little of the ganache in the center, and spread it outward to the edges with a spatula.  Top with the next layer of torte and do the same.

Flourless-Dark-Chocolate-Torte-The-Extruded-Noodle-008a Now place the top layer and pour the rest of the ganache over it, letting it drizzle evenly over the sides.  Let it set for 2 hours at room temperature.

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Friends, this cake was sinfully rich!  Look at it!  We had a thin slice each and it was so delicious and filling.  I was so pleased with how this came out, I think it is going to become a Valentine’s Day tradition at our house.

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American Chop Suey

Today we had our first real blizzard of the season.  We were very lucky not to have lost power and it was fun to spend a cozy day at home.  Tonight we are eating out of the pantry and I’ll bet you have all of the ingredients for this meal on hand too.  This is an easy recipe and a family favorite.  Here’s what you need.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef or veal
  • 1/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1-1/2 tsp. basil
  • 6 oz. whole wheat elbow
  • grated cheese
  • fresh basil

Preparation:

Heat a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium low.  Add olive oil, sausage and ground beef (or veal).  Break up the meat with a spatula, turning to brown all sides, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook 5 minutes longer.  Add the tomatoes, garlic, ground pepper, garlic pepper, dried basil and oregano.  Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently.  For a nice thick sauce, I covered my skillet with a splatter screen to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.

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Cook the elbows according to package directions.  Drain and add to the skillet, tossing well.  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve with grated cheese.  Yes, I know it’s winter but I do have a basil plant growing on my window sill!

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Days like today call for comfort food.  I made a side of garlic bread to go with the meal and it was just enough.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed our easy skillet dinner.

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Posted in Comfort Food, Healthy Italian Favorites, Italian Sunday Dinner, Pasta, Skillet Dinners, Under an hour, Whole Grains | Leave a comment

No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread.  What is all the fuss about this technique?  Can you really make a good loaf of bread without kneading the dough?  You know we love our bread at The Extruded Noodle, and I will not settle anything less than GREAT results.  So, this weekend I decided to put this popular method to the test.  If you don’t own a stand mixer but want to bake bread at home then this is something you must try!

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A full 24 hours from start to first bite, the process is mostly hands off so you can time it around your schedule.  Along with each step I have included the time, so you can envision how you might fit this into your weekend.

I used a sourdough and freshly milled whole grain flour in this recipe, a combination of white wheat, spelt, Khorasian wheat and barley.  Substitutions are provided if you want to try baking with store bought flour and commercial yeast.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup white wheat berries, milled
  • 1/3 cup hulled barley, milled
  • 1/3 cup spelt berries, milled
  • 1/3 cup Khorasian wheat berries, milled

OR —> substitute 2 cups purchased whole grain flour

  • 1 cup white bread flour
  • 1/2 cup fully active sourdough starter
  • 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. diastatic malt powder
  • 1 cup warm water + up to additional 1/2 cup as needed
  • extra flour for dusting and shaping
  • cornmeal for dusting

OR —> omit the sourdough and increase instant yeast to 1/2 tsp.

Preparation:

Saturday, 6:00 PM  Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt, and diastatic malt powder.  Whisk together the starter and 1 cup of the warm water.  In a large bowl, stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.  Add additional water, up to 1/2 cup more as needed to form a wet sticky dough.

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Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel, then leave at room temperature for 18 hours.  The surface will be bubbly.

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Sunday, 12:00 PM  Flour a cutting board or work surface.  Turn out the dough and perform a stretch and fold using a dough scraper to help fold the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes.

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Sunday 12:15 PM  Heavily flour a cotton dish towel, then sprinkle with cornmeal.  Use a tightly woven dishtowel, not terry cloth (you don’t want fabric lint in the dough).  Turn the dough out onto the dish towel.

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Fold over the floured dishtowel, place in a large bowl and let it rise for 2 hours.

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Sunday 2:15 PM  Preheat the oven to 450º for one half hour before baking.  Place the Dutch oven uncovered in the oven while it preheats.

Sunday 2:45 PM Carefully remove the Dutch oven.  Sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom and immediately turn the dough into the pot, cover and return to the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

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Sunday 3:15 PM  Remove the cover and bake for 15 minutes more.

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Sunday 3:30 PM Remove from oven and turn the loaf onto a rack.  Cool completely before slicing.

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Sunday 6:30 PM The Verdict is in.  Our loaf has a crispy crust and open, spongy crumb.  It had a strong sourdough flavor from the long rise time.  I made a dipping oil with extra virgin olive oil infused with fresh garlic and rosemary.  It was divine!  We toasted it up for breakfast and the crust was fantastic.

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One drawback, there were a few streaks of dry flour in the center of the loaf.  Next time I will do several additional stretch and folds to encourage the flour to distribute and hydrate evenly.

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I think it’s a do over!  What are your thoughts?  Give it a try and I welcome your comments.

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Posted in Bread, From Scratch, Sourdough, Whole Grains | 2 Comments

Crock-Pot Beef Stew with Homemade Egg Noodles

What could be more comforting than Beef Stew simmering all day in the crock-pot?  How about serving it over Homemade Egg Noodles?  Look at them!  Yes, they are from scratch and they are delicious.  I used my KitchenAid® pasta roller and cutter attachments to make the egg noodles.  Use any pasta roller or rolling pin and a sharp knife!

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Ingredients:

  • 100 g. semolina flour
  • 100 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 100 g. 00 flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 8-12 tbsp. ice water
  • 2 lb. chuck roast, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. onion dip mix, divided
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 bag (~15) cipollini onions, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1-1/4 cups Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1-1/4 cups Homemade Beef Broth
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Wondra flour
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

To make the noodles, combine the first 5 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add the ice water, 1 tbsp. at a time until you have a dry crumbly dough.  It should hold together when you give it a squeeze.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest 15 minutes at room temperature, then divide into 4 pieces.

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Cover your work surface with floured sheets of waxed paper.  Working with one section of dough at a time, roll the dough out into long thin sheets.  I used my KitchenAid® pasta roller attachment and rolled the dough to thickness #4.  Then I used the fettuccine cutter to cut the sheets into ribbons.

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Once the ribbons were cut, I used a bench knife to divide them into 4″ egg noodles.  I then dusted lightly with flour and separated them a little so that the noodles didn’t all clump together.

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Follow food safety guidelines, refrigerate fresh pasta within one hour.

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To make the stew, cut the chuck roast into 1-1/2″ chunks.  Toss with flour and onion soup mix.

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Brown the meat in olive oil.  Cook in batches if needed, so that the meat isn’t crowded in the pan.  I divided mine into 3 batches using 1 tbsp. olive oil per batch to get a good browning.  Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the crock-pot.

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Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of red wine.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the browned bits.

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Pour the deglazing liquid over the meat.

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Soak the cipollini in cold water for 15 minutes, this will make them easier to peel.

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Peel the cipollini and slice them in half lengthwise.  Brown them in 1 tbsp. olive oil for 2-3 minutes then add them to the crock-pot.

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Add the beef broth, cream of mushroom soup and garlic.  Stir well, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  During the last half hour of cooking, saute the mushrooms in butter then sprinkle with Wondra flour to thicken.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Stir the mushrooms into the beef stew and keep warm until ready to serve.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Cook the noodles for 3 minutes.  Don’t overcook!

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Drain and transfer to a large serving platter.

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Spoon the beef stew over the noodles and garnish with fresh parsley.

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Friends, what a meal this was!  So rich and hearty, perfect for a cold winter night.  Of course we had homemade bread to go with it.  Pour yourself a glass of red wine if you indulge.   I hope you enjoyed reading about our crock-pot dinner and will be inspired to try making your own egg noodles!

 

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Posted in Comfort Food, Crockpot, fresh pasta, handmade pasta, Pasta, Stew | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dutch Oven Country Style Ribs

When country style ribs are on sale you can be sure that Mr. Extruded Noodle will be coming home with a big family pack!  So what to do when winter is here and the grill is covered with snow?  Make these mouth watering Country Style Ribs in a Dutch oven.  A long slow cook time on low heat yields moist, falling off the bone tender meat.

Dinner for 2.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large bone in country style pork ribs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

Whisk together the seasoning ingredients and rub all over the ribs.  Mist the Dutch oven with cooking spray and add all of the diced onion.  Place the ribs over the bed of onion.  Do not add any liquid.  Cover and bake for 1-1/2 hours at 250º (yes, that’s 250º, not a typo).

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You can see how the onion and juices from the meat have created their own liquid.  As the liquid evaporates it will condense on the cover of the pan and drip back down to baste the meat.  Brush with BBQ sauce, cover and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

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When the ribs are done, meat will easily pull away from the bone.  It will be moist and tender.

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Plate each rib and spoon some of the onions over the top with their juice.  Serve with more BBQ sauce.

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Even in winter you can still enjoy a great BBQ dinner.  Bring it indoors and enjoy Dutch Oven Country Style Ribs no matter what the weather.

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Breakfast Muffins with Dried Fruit

Over the holidays we were gifted a beautiful dried fruit tray (thanks Uncle Dan and Shirley!).  Since then I have been on a muffin kick, trying out different fruit and grain combinations.  Here are 2 of my favorites so far.  Dried fruits can be a little tricky to work with, as they absorb moisture from the batter and you can end up with muffins that are on the dry side.  Prevent this by adding the dried fruit to the wet ingredients first, and letting it soak for 10-15 minutes before folding in the flour mixture.  First up is a banana muffin with dried fig and apricot.  In the second recipe I use dried apple and dates.

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Recipe#1  Banana Muffins with Dried Fig and Apricot

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole grain flour, milled from white wheat, millet and sorghum
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot, fig and prune

Preparation:

In this first recipe the addition of ripe banana was just the thing to produce a moist, mildly sweet muffin.  I used a blend of white wheat, millet, sorghum and all purpose flour.  1 cup whole grain blend + 1/2 cup all purpose flour.  For the dried fruit I used apricot, fig and prune.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and honey.  Switch to the paddle attachment and beat the egg mixture with the ripe banana.  Stir in the oil, vanilla extract and milk.  Use an electric chopper to mince the dried fruit and add it to the egg mixture.  Let it soak for 10-15 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 400º and mist a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.  Whisk together the dry ingredients, spices and sugars.  Gently fold together the wet and dry ingredients, just until moistened.

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Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake 15 minutes.

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Recipe #2  Muffins with Dried Apple and Date

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup low fat ricotta (or sour cream, or yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup dried apples and dates

Preparation:

For the second recipe I used a blend of whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour.  For the dried fruit, I used apple and date.  Follow the same steps as above.  Combine the wet ingredients, add the dried fruit and allow it to soak for 10-15 minutes.  Fold in the dry ingredients, just until moistened.  Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 15 minutes at 400º.

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Serve warm with fresh fruit for an easy breakfast.  Pack them for lunch, or enjoy with your afternoon coffee.

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The muffins freeze well, so you can make a big batch and defrost them during the week for breakfast and snacks.  They won’t last long!

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Baking, Breakfast | Leave a comment

Shrimp with Wild Rice

Shrimp, sprinkled with Old Bay® seasoning and quickly sauteed in butter is served over a bed of wild rice.  There is no reason you cannot have a healthy home cooked meal during the week.  It doesn’t get any easier than this!  Dinner for 2.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. large raw shrimp
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Old Bay® seasoning
  • 1/3 cup long grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Preparation:

I usually buy raw, frozen shrimp.  It’s more economical and I can defrost just the amount that I need for dinner.  Measure a little extra to allow for thawing and peeling.  Place the shrimp in a colander and rinse under cold water.  Peel off the shell, leaving the tails on.  Run a sharp knife down the back of the shrimp and remove the black vein (yes, I know it’s not a vein #keepitclassy).  Rinse well, drain and sprinkle the shrimp with Old Bay.

Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid.  Add the rice, and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast.  Add the broth, salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer on low, for the time indicated in the package directions.

When the rice is ready, melt 2-tbsp. of butter in a nonstick skillet.  Add the shrimp and cook 2 minutes, turning frequently.  Sprinkle more Old Bay.  Shrimp is done as soon as it turns pink.  Spread the rice in a layer on a serving dish and spoon the shrimp over the rice.

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Turkey Meatballs

Foodie friends, when you feel like having a little “Thanksgiving Lite” try these Turkey Meatballs.  The flavors of sage, thyme, onion and celery mirror the big Thanksgiving dinner in a fraction of the time.  A little ricotta in the mix keeps the meatballs nice and moist!  You are going to love this easy entree!  Complete the meal with a side of stuffing and drizzle of turkey gravy.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup low fat ricotta
  • 1/2 stalk celery, fine minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, fine minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs, divided

Preparation:

Use an electric chopper to finely mince the onion and celery.  Combine all of the ingredients through poultry seasoning in a bowl and mix thoroughly (use your hands).  Add the breadcrumbs a little at a time, using just enough to bring it all together.  I used about 1 cup.  Line a baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.  Spread 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs in a bowl or plate.  Form 1 dozen meatballs, roll each meatball in the breadcrumbs and arrange on the baking sheet at least 2″ apart.  Broil 5 minutes on high, turn and broil another 5 minutes.

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With dinner on the table in under a half hour, you will want to add this to your weeknight rotation.  Everyone will love it!

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Comfort Food, Holiday Favorites | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

There are so many good cooks in our Extruded Noodle family.  Credit for this recipe goes to my cousin Donna, who made this delicious soup for our Christmas dinner. ♥  Sweet and savory come together in a smooth puree of butternut squash and pear, with just the right balance of onion and garlic.  A drizzle of half & half, stirred in at the end is the perfect finish.  Start the New Year with a comforting bowl of soup that is good for you!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken brothbutternut-squash-and-pear-soup-the-extruded-noodle-017a
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 2 pears, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup half & half

Preparation:

In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil and butter.  Add the remaining ingredients through Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until soft.  Remove from heat, puree and stir in the half & half.  Serve with a garnish of fresh sage.

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Special thanks to my cousin Donna for this recipe 
Posted in #dashdiet, Comfort Food, Dash Diet Friendly, Eat your Vegetables, Soup, Under an hour | Tagged | 1 Comment

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti are at the top of my list of treats to bake for Christmas visits and gifting.  Everyone loves this traditional Italian cookie, even Santa!  There are so many variations of biscotti but this one is my favorite.  Each year my Chocolate Almond Biscotti get rave reviews from family, friends and co-workers.  You will be surprised at how easy they are to make, learn how here!

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. rum extract
  • 1/4 tsp. orange extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips

Preparation:

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 350º.  Set them aside to cool then coarsely chop them, just a few pulses to break them up a bit.

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Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and dry spices.  Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and the extracts.  Beat well then incorporate the flour mixture just until moistened.  Last add the nuts.

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Preheat the oven to 325°.  Divide the dough into 2 pieces, and roll each into a log.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the logs about 2″ apart.  Pat and press each log to about 1/2″ high and 4″ wide.  An easy way to do this is to cover the logs with another sheet of parchment and use a small rolling pin.

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Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before slicing.  Use a serrated knife or a bench knife to slice the biscotti about 1″ thick.  If you like a softer cookie, stop here.

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For a crisper cookie return the slices to the baking sheet cut side up, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  For extra hard cookies (great for dunking), turn and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

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Arrange the biscotti on a cooling rack over a sheet of wax paper to keep the counter clean.  Let them cool completely before frosting.

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Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.

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Now for the finishing touch.  Use a 1/2 teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over each cookie.

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Let the biscotti stand at room temperature until the chocolate is completely set, then arrange on a platter.

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Now that you know how easy it is to prepare this holiday treat, start your own Christmas tradition and bake up a batch for gifting your family and friends.

 Merry Christmas

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Soft Sourdough Loaf

Look at that gorgeous loaf, all tricked out in sunflower and sesame seeds!  Every loaf I bake is a little different, but when something this good comes out of the oven I want to be able to recreate it again and again.  So with that in mind, I always keep a notebook in the kitchen to jot down my ingredients and preparation.  I’m glad I did!

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The ingredients are similar to my other artisan loaves, but this a softer bread with a delicate crust.  I have made it a few times now and it has quickly become a family favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup red wheat berries
  • 1/3 cup white wheat berries
  • 1/3 cup spelt berries
  • 1/3 cup Kamut (Khorasian wheat) berries
  • 1-1/4 cups + a little more of bread flour
  • 3/4 cups fully active sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. diastatic malt powder
  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • a little less than 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • tbsp. whole milk

Preparation:

I milled 1-1/3 cups of grain to yield 1-3/4 cups of whole grain flour.  You can substitute 1-3/4 cups purchased whole grain or multi grain flour.  Together with the bread flour there is just a bit over 3 cups total.  Whisk together the whole grain flour, bread flour, salt, diastatic malt powder and instant yeast.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sourdough and honey.  With the dough hook attachment, gradually add the flour and water on low speed, alternating flour and water until it is all incorporated.  Increase the speed to #3 and knead for 5 minutes.

The dough is soft and supple, but should completely pull away from the sides of the bowl.

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Use a dough scraper to transfer the dough to an oiled bowl.  Turn the dough to coat.

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Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and set it in a warm spot to rise for 3 hours.

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Perform a stretch and fold, and shape the dough into a long rectangular loaf.

I used a perforated loaf pan because it was the shape I wanted.  Often I sprinkle the pan with cornmeal to crisp up the bottom of the loaf but I omit that here.  Instead I lined the pan with parchment paper.  Don’t oil the parchment.

Cover the shaped loaf with plastic wrap for a 2nd rise, about 45 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 425º.  Set up a jelly roll pan on the bottom shelf and fill with 1/2″ of water to create steam.  Set the top shelf several inches above.

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Brush the risen loaf with milk and sprinkle with sunflower and sesame seeds.  Just before placing in the oven, use a sharp knife to score the loaf down the center, about 1-1/2″ deep.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Your nose will tell you when it’s done!  Let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then turn it out onto a rack.  Try to wait several hours before slicing, if you can resist!

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Look at the beautiful open crumb!  I served ours with dipping oil at dinner and we toasted it for breakfast the next day.

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I know this bread will be a regular at our Sunday dinner table!  I hope you have enjoyed Today’s Bake.  Your comments are welcomed!

 

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Chicken Fried Rice

The next time you are craving Chinese food, try this delicious homemade version of everyone’s favorite, Fried Rice!  I had leftover chicken in the fridge but you can use pork, beef or shrimp.  For best results, cook the rice in advance and keep it refrigerated until ready to prepare the dish.  4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • salt
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 3 cups leftover cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup pancetta cut into small dice
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 tbsp. mirin
  • 4 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Preparation:

Use brown rice for a healthy whole grain option.  Simmer the rice 45 minutes in 2-1/4 cups water, pat of butter and pinch of salt.  Cook the rice at least several hours ahead of time and refrigerate until cold.

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Whisk the egg with one tbsp. water.  Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large skillet and pour in the egg.  As it cooks, turn and cut into small pieces with a spatula.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

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Render the pancetta, then add the onions.  Cook in the rendered fat, about 5 minutes.  Add the shredded carrot, garlic and ginger and stir fry 2 minutes more.

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Add the cooked chicken with 1 tbsp. each of sesame oil and mirin.

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Add the rice and peas, 1 tbsp. sesame oil and 2 tbsp. soy sauce.  Spread the mixture out in the skillet and stir fry several minutes longer.  Add back the egg and toss until combined and warmed through.

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Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Stir in 2 more tbsp. soy sauce.  Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

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This was a fun dinner, a little different from my usual!  My family gave it 2 thumbs up.

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Sausage and Pancetta

Pumpkin Ravioli was the star of this week’s autumn inspired Italian Sunday Dinner.  I served it in sage infused butter sauce and tossed it with sausage coins and rendered pancetta.  Oh my!  Toasted pignoli, fresh Italian parsley from my container garden and grated cheese complete the dish!

Special Tools: I used my KitchenAid® pasta roller and a ravioli mold to make this pasta.

yield, 4 servings (about 48 ravioli)

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For the pasta dough:

  • 100 g. “00″ flour
  • 100 g. semolina flour
  • 100 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 12 tbsp. ice water

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup fat free ricotta
  • 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage cut into coins
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 12 whole fresh sage leaves
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. toasted pignoli (pine nuts)
  • fresh Italian parsley
  • grated cheese for serving

Preparation: Drain the pumpkin and ricotta in a fine mesh sieve or use a colander lined with cheesecloth.  The filling should be firm, not watery.

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Add the spice, whisk together and refrigerate.  It may not look like enough, but each ravioli will need only 1/2 tsp. of filling.

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Combine the pasta dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add the ice water 1 tbsp. at a time, until you have a shaggy dough that holds together when you give it a squeeze (think pie dough).

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Press the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.  This allows the flour to hydrate and makes the dough easier to work with.  Divide the dough into 3 pieces and flatten each into a disk.

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Roll out each piece into a long thin sheet.  I used my KitchenAid® pasta roller attachment and rolled to setting #5.  Use any pasta roller, or your rolling pin.

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Lay the sheets on a floured dish cloth or wax paper, and sprinkle the top lightly with flour.  Trim the ends even.

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Lightly flour the ravioli press.  Working with one sheet at a time, cut the sheets of dough to length.  Keep the remaining sheets covered with a dish towel so that they don’t dry out.  Lay one sheet of pasta over the press and fill each mold with a heaping 1/2 tsp. of filling.


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Set up a small bowl of water.  Dip you finger (or use a small brush) and lightly moisten the edges of each square.  Lay another sheet of pasta over the top and use a rolling pin to seal and separate the edges.

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Gently separate the ravioli and lay them on a lightly floured dishtowel, or sheet of wax paper.

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Continue with the remaining sheets.

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Refrigerate the ravioli until you are ready to cook.

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Toast the pignoli in a stainless steel pan (not non-stick), just until lightly browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

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Heat a large non-stick skillet and add the pancetta.  Cook it down, rendering the fat.  If pancetta isn’t available, you can substitute bacon.

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Cut the sausage into coins and brown in the same skillet.  When cooked through, remove the sausage and pancetta, and drain on paper towels.  Wipe the skillet clean.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil for the ravioli.

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Melt a stick of butter in the skillet.  When the butter begins to simmer, the solids will separate and rise to the top.  Skim off the solids and discard.  Add the sage leaves and stir to release their essence.  Drop the ravioli into the boiling water and cover the pot so the water returns to temperature.  Set the timer for 3 minutes.  They will float to the top when done.

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Remove the sage leaves from the butter sauce and add the sausage and pancetta back to the skillet.  Lift out the cooked ravioli with a spider strainer, and add them to the skillet.  Use 2 spatulas to gently turn and coat the ravioli with the butter sauce.

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Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with toasted pignoli, chopped parsley and grated cheese.

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Foodie friends, this dish is a must try!  I hope you enjoyed our Italian Sunday Dinner and that you found some inspiration here today.


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Cornbread Stuffing

For me, the best part of Thanksgiving dinner has always been the stuffing.  Here is my moist and delicious “in or out of the bird” recipe, starting with homemade cornbread.  Forget the packaged stuffing that is loaded with sodium and preservatives, from scratch is best!

Cornbread Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • cooking spray

Stuffing Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cubed cornbread
  • 1/2 lb. sausage, casing removed
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 2 small apples, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. sausage seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • sage and thyme

Preparation:

Make the cornbread one day ahead.  Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, milk, and oil.  Stir together the wet and dry ingredients, just until moistened.  Coat an 8 x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 425º for 20 minutes.  Cool in the pan.  When the Cornbread has cooled, cut into 1″ cubes.

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The next day, make the stuffing.

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Cook the bacon in a large skillet.  Remove and drain on paper towel.  Cook the sausage in the rendered bacon fat, breaking it up with a spatula.  When completely browned, remove and drain on paper towel with the bacon.

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Chop the sausage and bacon into 1/4″ bits.  Add 2 tbsp. butter to the skillet.  Add the onion and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Sprinkle with sausage seasoning.  Add the celery and apple to the skillet and cook 3 minutes more, with additional seasoning.  Add the sausage and bacon back to the skillet and toss well to combine.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  You can prepare up to this point the night before and refrigerate.

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When cooled, stir in the cornbread cubes.

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Lastly, whisk together the egg, milk, and broth with a pinch of sage and thyme.  Pour over the cornbread mixture and toss well to until everything is moistened.

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To stuff or not to stuff?  You decide.  Always follow food safety guidelines.  If you stuff the turkey, do so just prior to roasting.

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I had enough to fill the turkey and a little extra.  For those who prefer out of the bird, spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray and spread the stuffing evenly.  Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges.

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Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you enjoyed this post.  As we prepare to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, I wish you all a day that is blessed with love, good food and a thankful heart.  Happy Thanksgiving!    

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Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Welcome fall with this hearty and flavorful soup that will warm you to your toes!  I’m on a barley kick this month and it’s a great addition to this soup.  Also featured in the recipe are mushrooms, I used a combination of dried porcini and fresh baby bella (cremini) mushrooms for a more intense flavor.  Finally, in addition to beef broth, which can be home made or readily purchased, I’m using a cup of beef stock that was reserved from another meal, a bone in chuck roast that I had braised over a bed of carrots, celery and onion.  I strained the liquid, reduced it by half and froze it for future use.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 lb. stew beef cut into 1″ dice
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1/4 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz. fat free, low sodium beef broth
  • sage and thyme, to taste
  • 1 cup baby potatoes, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked barley
  • fresh chives for garnish

Preparation:

Good quality dried mushrooms are a must have in your pantry.  These are imported Porcini mushrooms, and they are wonderful.

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To reconstitute them, simmer gently in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes.  Then strain the mushrooms through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the liquid.

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Chop the mushrooms and they are ready to use.

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Here is my beef stock, defrosted and fat skimmed from the top.  It is going to give our soup that simmered all day flavor in just a few hours.

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Chop the stew beef into small dice, and brown it in a heavy stock pot with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Remove the browned beef from the pan and set aside.

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Add more olive oil, and begin cooking the carrots, celery and onion.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir for several minutes, until the onions are translucent.

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Stir in the fresh mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the reconstituted porcini mushrooms, along with their strained cooking liquid.  Add the beef stock, beef broth, garlic and potatoes.  Return all of the browned stew beef to the pot.  Season the soup with sage and thyme, to taste (I like about 1/2 tsp. each).

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Cover and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.  While the soup is simmering cook the barley according to package directions.  Add the barley to the soup during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

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Doesn’t that look great?  Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with fresh chives.

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This is one of my favorite soups.  It’s very filling and you can make a meal of it along with some thick slices of country bread.  Barley is a very versatile grain and you may see it turning up in some of my stews this season, or even milled into flour for one of my bread recipes.   Thanks for stopping by today and hope you found some fall cooking inspiration!

 

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Horn of Plenty Pumpkin Pasta

For an autumn inspired Italian Sunday Dinner I’m making pumpkin pasta with a ridged, horn shape.  The dough is enriched with egg and pumpkin puree, imparting a rich golden color.  The pasta was hand rolled on a bamboo mat to create the deep ridges.  It was a labor of love that turned out absolutely delicious.  In keeping with the season I’m calling it Horn of Plenty Pumpkin Pasta.  I topped our Cornucopia with a Harvest Pasta Sauce full of fall veggies like butternut squash.  Here’s how to make it.  6 servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 100 g. semolina flour
  • 100 g. 00 flour
  • 100 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 8 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Preparation:

Combine the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  You will notice that there is no water listed in the ingredients.  The egg and pumpkin are enough to moisten the flour.

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Press the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Let it rest for 20 minutes.  The rest time allows the flour to fully hydrate, and it will be easier to roll and shape.

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Use a bench knife to divide the dough ball into 4 pieces.

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Work with one section at a time, keeping the rest covered so it will not dry out.  Roll each piece between your palms, into a long rope 1/2″ thick.  Cut the rope into 1/2″ pieces.

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Roll each piece into a ball.

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Place a ball on the bamboo mat, and roll it out with a dowel or wooden skewer to create ridges on one side.

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Mr. Extruded Noodle made me a 1/2″ wooden dowel to use for my pasta creations.  If you don’t have one, you can use a pencil (a new, very clean pencil) or a wooden barbecue skewer.

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Once you have created the ridges, roll the dough around a skewer, ridged side down.  Keep the opening narrow on one end and wide on the other to create the horn shape.  Press down with the skewer to seal the edge.

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I promise, once you have done a few you will begin to pick up speed.  Watch!

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Place the finished pasta on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and dusted with flour.

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Follow food safety guidelines!  Pasta made with eggs should be refrigerated within one hour.  When you are ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta and cover, so it will promptly return to temperature.  Cook 3 minutes.  Fresh pasta cooks quickly, don’t overcook!  It will float to the top when done.

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Drain and transfer the pasta to a large serving platter.  I love these!

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Top with your favorite pasta sauce and grated cheese.

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Learn how to make this chunky Harvest Pasta Sauce here, made with butternut squash, pumpkin and carrots!  What a meal this was!  I hope you have enjoyed our Italian Sunday Dinner.  Thank you for stopping by today and please check out my other Handmade Pasta, all from scratch made right here in my kitchen.

 

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Harvest Pasta Sauce

Foodie friends, this pasta sauce truly captures the colors and flavors of the autumn harvest!  It’s thick and chunky, loaded with veggies!  Make it this weekend for your Italian Sunday Dinner.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh ground pepper
  • 1 sweet Italian sausage (4 oz.), sliced into 1/4″ coins
  • 1 boneless chicken breast (12 oz.), sliced into 1/4″ medallions
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

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Preparation:

Brown the chicken and sausage in a little olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Dice the vegetables and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes at 425º.

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Heat the tomatoes in a heavy sauce pan.  Season with basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and fresh ground pepper.

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Stir in the cooked chicken and sausage.

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Finally, stir in the roasted vegetables, pumpkin puree and 1 tbsp. brown sugar.

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Cover and keep on a very low simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Serve a generous amount over your favorite pasta with grated cheese and fresh parsley.

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Everyone loved this sweet hearty sauce, it was the perfect topping for my homemade pumpkin pasta.  That’s coming up in another post!

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Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you have enjoyed this recipe.  It’s easy to make so give it a try for your next pasta dinner.

 

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Roasted Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables.  It’s only in season for a short time, so  when you see one at the market, be sure to snap it up!  Delicata Squash is aptly named.  It is sweet tasting, easy to slice and seed, and you can eat the skin!  My favorite preparation is a simple toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and oven roasted.  You can add other veggies as I have for a fall inspired vegetable medley.

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To prepare, use a sturdy knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds then cut into 1/2″ slices.

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Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer in a baking pan.  Add other veggies like Brussels sprouts, red onion, or potato.  Use a large enough pan so that the vegetables are not crowded.

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Roast for 30 minutes at 425-450, stirring every 10 minutes.

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The veggies should be browned and nicely caramelized.

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Enjoy this delicious side with all your favorite fall meals!

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Posted in #dashdiet, Dash Diet Friendly, Eat your Vegetables, Farmers Market Favorites, Side Dish | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Polenta

Polenta!  In a bowl or on the grill, this humble porridge is simple comfort food at its best.  This weekend I made Polenta 2 ways.  First, a warm creamy bowl topped with Crock-Pot Braised Beef for our main course.  The next day, as a side dish to go with our barbecue dinner.  Gruel or grill, here’s how to make it…

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

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Preparation:

The cooking method is very much like making risotto and will take a full 40 minutes.  Heat 5 cups of water in a sauce pan.  In a second sauce pan, combine 3 cups of the heated water, salt and bay leaf.  Gradually stream in the Polenta, whisking with each addition.  Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring frequently.  As the liquid becomes absorbed, add the remaining water 1 ladle at a time.  Continue to stir the Polenta frequently until it reaches the desired thickness, about 40 minutes.  At the end of the cook time, remove the bay leaf and stir in butter and Parmesan.  Yes, it’s that easy.  So now that you have made a batch of Polenta, how will you serve it?

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You could serve it in shallow bowls with extra Parmesan as a side dish.  Or, enjoy it as a main course, topped with Crock-Pot Braised Beef for dinner.  Check out the link for the beef recipe, this is what I made and Mr. Extruded Noodle thought it was very good.

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What a meal!  But what about the leftovers?  Once cooked, Polenta will begin to firm up almost immediately.  Before that happens, pour it into a baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Cover and refrigerate.

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The next day you will easily be able to slide out the Polenta, peel away the parchment and lay it on a cutting board.  Slice into wedges.

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Now out to the grill.  Lightly oil the grates and grill the wedges for about 6 minutes per side.

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I made a grill meal of  Ribs, zucchini and Polenta.  Here is our Italian barbeque!

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I thought the grilled Polenta was delicious, and this was my favorite version.  It was pretty tasty dipped in BBQ sauce. :-)

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I’ll definitely be making this again over the winter months, and can’t wait to experiment with different ways to serve it.  Now that you know how easy it is to make Polenta, stir up a batch at your house this weekend.

 

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Posted in Comfort Food, For the Grill, Italian Sunday Dinner | 3 Comments

Crock-Pot Braised Beef

Fall is here and with it a return to comfort food.  Soups, stews and braised dinners will be on the menu as we welcome cooler weather.  Today I’m making a Braised Beef dinner in the crock-pot that will be served over a warm bowl of Polenta.  This is a simple dish to prepare.  Go about your day as the crock-pot transforms a tough cut of beef into tender, melt in your mouth goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. chuck roast (pot roast)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 large cans plum tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

Mist the crock-pot with cooking spray.  Cut the onion, celery and carrots into large chunks and layer them in the bottom of the crock-pot.

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Season the roast with salt and pepper, then brown it in olive oil on all sides.  Place it in the crock-pot on top of the veggies.

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Add the red wine and garlic cloves, then cook on low for 10 hours.  Turn the roast occasionally, spooning the liquid over the meat.

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An hour or so before the meat is done make a tomato sauce.  Break up the tomatoes with an immersion blender and season with garlic, basil, oregano, and freshly ground pepper.  Simmer 45 minutes.  When the beef is ready, remove from the crock-pot, slice and top with the tomatoes.  How good does that look, served over a bowl of warm Polenta?

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When your beef is done cooking you will be left with a good amount of liquid in the crock-pot.  Don’t throw it away!  It will make an amazing stock for your beef based soups and stews this winter.  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and freeze it for another meal.  Wondering about Polenta?  Learn how to make it in my next post!

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Posted in Comfort Food, Crockpot | Tagged , , | 2 Comments