“Borscht” Pasta (AKA Deconstructed Borscht with Beet Noodles)

'Borscht' Pasta

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 large beet, peeled and spiralized into noodles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsps butter or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or 1 tsp dried dill)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Heat the butter or oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saut├ę until the garlic is fragrant and is starting to brown. Add the tomatoes, and stir, cooking until the tomato skins blister and split. Next, add the beet noodles, stirring to coat the noodles with the butter/oil. Add the broth and cover the pan to allow the noodles to steam for about 5-8 minutes or until they become tender. Uncover and cook, stirring regularly, until the liquid is almost completely gone. Add the dill and stir. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

And now for the details…

Beet noodles. No, not beet-infused pasta, but actual noodles made out of beets. You’re probably already familiar with zucchini or carrot noodles by spiralizing the vegetables, but how about spiralizing beets? The inspiration for this dish came while I was grocery shopping. The grocery store had beet noodles already prepped for sale and my first thought was “what the heck would you do with beet noodles?”

Well… my brain wouldn’t let it go and I felt the need to figure out what I would do with beet noodles. The earthy flavour of beets is quite pungent, so just throwing them in with any old dish as a pasta replacement would heavily change the flavour of meal. Besides, that beety flavour is so tasty, was there a way to highlight it and make the beet noodles the star of the dish? And then it came to me: a borscht-inspired “pasta” dish.

In order to minimize the mess at home, since I’d never tried spiralizing beets, I chose to use a golden beet instead of a purple/red beet. I can only imagine what the kitchen would have looked like after trying to do this with the deeply coloured purple/red beet. Dark red stains everywhere, it would heavily resemble the scene of a murder. So let’s avoid that and go with the golden beet, shall we? Same great flavour. Less mess. *cheesy smile and thumbs up*

When choosing a beet, try to pick one that’s a little on the larger side, between the size of a tennis ball and softball. In order to spiralize, we need to peel the beet first. Don’t worry about peeling off the bottom of the beet, that’s going to be anchored into the end of our spiralizer. The mistake I made here was to spiralize the whole beet without cutting the noodles as I went. This resulted in looooooooooong Rapunzel-like strands of beet noodles that were a little challenging to work with. I would suggest giving them a little snip with food scissors every 8″-12″/20-30cm as you spiralize to form reasonable-length noodles.

Next, we start cooking! Heat the butter or oil in a large pan/skillet over medium heat. Add your minced garlic and stir until the garlic becomes fragrant (is there a smell much better than garlic cooking in butter?) and add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes, stirring regularly, until the skin on the tomatoes blisters and splits open.

Add the beet noodles into the pan. Stir them well so they become coated with the garlicky butter/oil. I found the easiest way to do this was to use some tongs to pick up the noodles and shift them around the pan. Add the broth to the pan, and cover the pan, allowing the beet noodles to cook and soften. This will take about 5-8 minutes.

Finally, uncover the pan, and sprinkle with the dill, stirring well. If there is still quite a bit of liquid in the pan, keep stirring and cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed/cooked off. Finally, transfer to a serving dish and serve with sour cream!

Happy eating.

Prawns in a Brandy Cream Sauce

Prawns in a Brandy Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 giant prawns
  • 1 cup seafood broth
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 85 g/6 Tbsps cream cheese
  • 1/2 tomato, cut in small pieces
  • 250 g/9 oz dry pasta

Directions

Set a large pan on a stove at medium-high heat. Place the olive oil, onion, and garlic in the pan. Cook, stirring regularly until the onions have started brown slightly. Add the prawns, cooking for several minutes, then flip, and cook for several minutes on the other side. Remove the prawns to a dish and set aside. Add the brandy to the pan. Cook down until reduced by half. Add the broth. Turn temperature down to medium. Cook down for five minutes. Add the cream cheese in small pieces. Stir and cook until the cheese has melted into the sauce. Add the tomatoes Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce. Add the prawns back to the sauce. Stir to full coat the prawns. Drain the pasta. Add to the pan with the prawns and sauce, mix fully. Serve.

And now for the details…

Here we are people, the final day of my personal daily recipe post challenge! Quarantine is officially done after today, and my plan for tomorrow afternoon is to go grocery shopping! Yeah, maybe not very exciting to some, but when you’ve been in a house and haven’t been able to leave in two weeks, it’s pretty exciting. I’m also going to be going shopping for another friend who is presently in isolation and can’t leave their house (if you can’t pay it forward, at least pay it back!)

Today’s recipe is yet again thanks to the frozen fish we bought out of a random man’s truck. This time, I am using the giant prawns we bought. If you don’t have giant prawns, regular prawns will do just fine, but use a few more.

Start by heating the oil in a large pan on medium-high heat, and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have started to brown. Add the prawns to the pan. Cook until the prawns turn pink and brown slightly. Turn the prawns, and cook on the other side.

Remove the prawns to a dish on the side, and add the brandy. Cook down until reduced by half, then add the broth. If you can’t find seafood broth (I have only been able to find it very recently), use chicken broth, which is neutral enough that it won’t affect the taste of the sauce too much. Turn the temperature down to medium.

Cook the sauce for 3-5 minutes. Add the cream cheese to the pan, dropping it into the pan in small pieces, which will help the cheese melt easier into the sauce. Cook the sauce, stirring regularly, until the cheese has melted completely. Add the tomatoes.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in heavily salted water according to directions. Once the pasta is almost done, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce, then drain the pasta. Add the prawns back to the sauce and cooking, stirring, to coat the prawns with the sauce. Add salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

Add the pasta into the pan with the sauce, and stir until the pasta is completely coated with sauce. Serve immediately.

Happy eating.

Browned Butter Ravioli with Blanched Broccoli

Browned Butter Ravioli with Broccoli

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 500g ravioli
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • dash of tarragon
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps parmesan, grated
  • 3 cups broccoli florets

Directions


Set a pot of heavily salted water to boiling. Cook the ravioli according to instructions. At the same time, place the butter in a large pan. Allow to melt and heat until it starts to foam. Add the garlic and cook until butter and garlic has started to brown. Add the broth and allow to cook down. Just before the ravioli is done cooking, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan, allow to reduce. Transfer the ravioli from the water to the pan. Cook until the liquid is completely reduced and the ravioli just starts to brown in the pan. While the ravioli is cooking, place the broccoli in the pasta water and blanch until just cooked. Remove everything from the stove, sprinkle the toasted pecans and the parmesan cheese over the ravioli. Serve.

And now for the details…

Here we are at day 11 of 14 of the daily post during my personal quarantine challenge. Today’s post is fairly simple, and will rely heavily on another’s production. In this case… I am relying on the fabulous production of Let’s Pasta. It seemed only appropriate that I go with an Alberta producer. We are probably going to be relying heavily on items produced closer to home in the next little while, so I used pasta obtained from a local company, and paired it with a beer that is also locally obtained, from the Establishment. In this case, the pairing I chose was with the Sky Rocket, version V. It was the perfect pairing with this brown butter sauced Lobster, Shrimp & Lemon ravioli from Let’s Pasta. The richness and potency of flavour of the pasta and sauce paired beautifully with the citrusy, fresh, and slightly bitter flavour of the NEIPA.

Let’s get to cooking, shall we? I may or may not strongly suggest the influence of the beer while you are cooking *raised eyebrows*

We start everything off by boiling a pot of water. This water is going to be for your pasta. While that pot is starting to boil, heat the butter in a large pan.

Heat the butter until it starts to foam. What does this mean exactly? Hopefully the next photo will help bring some clarity to what the butter looks like as it foams.

Now I jumped the gun just a little bit here; I added by garlic a little early. Wait until your butter starts to foam, then add your garlic. Next, cook the garlic and butter until they brown. Add the dash of tarragon. As soon as the butter and garlic brown, add the broth, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and allow this liquid to boil down to at least half.

Next, add the pasta to the pan. Use a wire strainer to pull the ravioli out of the water and drain before placing in the pan. Then, stir the pasta into the sauce until coated well, and cook down until almost no liquid remains and the ravioli starts to brown slightly.

Add he broccoli to the already simmering pasta water in order to blanch/steam the broccoli.

Sprinkle the chopped, toasted pecans over the pasta, as well as the shredded parmesan cheese.

Finally, plate the pasta and the broccoli, serve with the deliciously paired SRV ­čÖé

Happy eating.