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Pork Tenderloin And Cannellini Beans

Pork Tenderloin and Cannellini Beans

 If you’re looking for an easy, delicious way to serve a crowd (Election Day comfort food perhaps?) that’s also healthy and reasonably priced, pork tenderloin is your answer. 

I love any cuts of pork, particularly the shoulder, which is loaded with fat, resulting in savory meat that falls off the bone. That, however, takes 12 hours to cook with this recipe, if you’re interested.
I’m more likely to buy the tenderloin when time is a factor, and even though it’s so lean, with proper seasonings and accompaniments, it can be just as satisfying as the fattier cuts of pork.
After seeing an Instagram photo from my friend Domenica of her cannelloni beans soaking, I was inspired to do the same as an accompaniment to the pork.
  I’ve had friends say that they made dried beans that ended up too hard, probably from not cooking long enough. That’s happened to me too and the way I prepare them now to avoid that is this way:
Wash the beans and drain them, then put into a pot with water about one inch above the beans and bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes. Skim off the scum that forms. Turn off the heat and let the beans sit in the water overnight.
The next morning, drain the beans, add fresh water to cover, plus a few squirts of olive oil and some fresh sage. Let the beans simmer for two hours, then turn off the heat and let the beans sit for a few more hours.
Come back to the beans before you’re ready to serve them and test for doneness. They should be soft enough now, but if not, cook a little longer. Drain the beans again, saving some of the cooking liquid.
Place a healthy amount of olive oil (1/4 cup or so) on the bottom of a clean pot, add as much minced garlic as you like (I like a lot); briefly soften over mild heat, then add the beans back to the pot, to reheat. At this point, season them with salt and other herbs of your choosing – sage and/or rosemary are nice here. (don’t add the salt before the beans are soft or it will impede the cooking). Add a little more olive oil if you like (a few tablespoons), and some of the reserved cooking liquid if they seem too dry (but not too much, since you’re going to have more liquid from the roast to drizzle on later).
 I flavored the beans using some of the seasoned salts I made from some of the herbs growing in my garden – thyme, sage, rosemary, lemon balm and bay leaf. If you’ve still got herbs growing in your garden, it’s not too late to make the salt. It makes a great hostess gift. Just cut the herbs, dry them on a cookie sheet and after a few days, put them in the food processor with some coarse salt. I used a salt from Sicily that I got from Gustiamo.com, but you could also use kosher salt.
The salt is fantastic on vegetables, fish and meats – in this case the pork tenderloin. Just slather some Dijon mustard on the pork, then sprinkle on a generous amount of the seasoned salt and a good grinding of fresh black pepper.
Cover it with aluminum foil, and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Reserve the liquid to pour over the roast later (Before serving it, I whirred it with a stick blender to make it more homogenous.)
Arrange the beans on the bottom of the serving dish, then place the sliced pork on top. Just before serving, pour the heated sauce on top. It’s tender enough to eat with just a fork, and it’s so easy and delicious, it’ll become one of your go-to recipes.

Cannellini beans and pork tenderloin
printable recipe here


Pork Tenderloin
Smear pork tenderloin with Dijon mustard, then sprinkle on freshly ground black pepper and seasoned salts. (If you don’t have seasoned salts, use some kosher salt and sprinkle on herbs de Provence, or use minced fresh rosemary, sage or a combination of herbs.)
Roast covered at 400 degrees for 45 minutes-one hour. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the liquid from the pan, strain it and whir it with a stick blender to homogenize it (or use a whisk if you don’t have a stick blender).

Arrange the cooked beans on the bottom of a serving dish, then slice the meat and place it on the beans. Finally, reheat the liquid and pour it over all the meat and beans.

Cannellini Beans
Wash the dry beans and drain them, then put into a pot and bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes. Skim off the scum that forms. turn off the heat and let the beans sit in the water overnight.

The next morning, drain the beans, add fresh water to cover, plus a few squirts of olive oil and some fresh sage. Let the beans simmer for two hours, then turn off the heat and let the beans sit for a few more hours.
Come back to the beans before you’re ready to serve them and test for doneness. They should be soft enough now, but if not, cook a little longer. Drain the beans again, saving some of the cooking liquid.
Place a healthy amount of olive oil (1/4 cup or so) on the bottom of a clean pot, add as much minced garlic as you like (I like a lot); briefly soften over mild heat, then add the beans back to the pot. to reheat. At this point, season them with salt and other herbs of your choosing – sage and/or rosemary are nice here. (don’t add the salt before the beans are soft or it will impede the cooking). Add a little more olive oil if you like (a few tablespoons), and some of the reserved cooking liquid if they seem too dry.

 

 Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.
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Pasta Alla Norma

Pasta Alla Norma

 It’s easy to be inspired to cook in the summer, with all the fresh, seasonal produce available from farmers’ markets and backyard gardens. 

It’s also easy to be inspired when a company like Olio2go sends you some outstanding extra virgin olive oils from Tuscany.
This trio arrived in the mail the other day and I knew exactly how to start using them, after harvesting a ripe eggplant from the garden.
It had been at least a year since I made pasta alla Norma, the iconic Sicilian dish with eggplant, named after Bellini’s opera. It was time once again.
You don’t have to peel your eggplant, and I was sorry I had, since the skin was so thin and the purple color would have made a nice contrast to the sauce. Slice the eggplant (about 1/2 inch thick – any thinner and the pieces will fall apart in cooking), then cut into cubes.
I spread the cubes on paper towels and salted them. It’s supposed to help remove the bitterness and some of the water. I’m not so sure it’s necessary when the eggplant is so young and fresh, but I do it anyway if I have time. I let the cubes drain on the paper towels for at least 1/2 hour.
Many people grill or broil the eggplant, rather than fry, since eggplant is notorious for soaking up oil.  I’ve done it myself and it works just fine. But it’s just not as flavorful as cooking it in oil and if you cook it in a nonstick pan, it minimizes the amount of oil needed.
 I chose to cook the eggplant using the Guadagnolo Primus extra virgin oil from Olio2go. This is an intensely spicy oil that comes from pressing of the earliest ripening olives. I thought it would hold its own with the tomatoes and eggplant, and it did. But I didn’t want the eggplant laden with oil, so I limited myself to four tablespoons, enough to grab the flavor of the oil without overly drowning the eggplant. I also added a drizzle at the end to finish the dish.
A nonstick pan (I love the ones from ScanPan) is almost essential in keeping the cubes from attaching to the bottom of the pan.
Toss them around until they’re cooked through and golden brown.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. I used fresh tomatoes from the garden, cooking them for only about 1/2 hour, to keep the sauce nice and light. Feel free to use a good canned variety. Gustiamo.com sells fantastic ones, including these Piennolo tomatoes from Mt. Vesuvius.
A crucial ingredient to pasta alla Norma is ricotta salata cheese – a dry, salty ricotta cheese that can be found in Italian specialty stores or supermarkets.
 Can you make this dish without it? Yes, you can use parmesan or pecorino, but it won’t be the same. So search out ricotta salata if you can.
Toss the pasta (traditionally rigatoni) with the sauce and eggplant, top with the ricotta salata, a drizzle of a little more olive oil, and a basil chiffonade.
 It will make you wish summer could stay all year.

 

Stay tuned for more recipes using these fantastic olive oils from Fattoria Ramerino.
 Don’t forget to check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter.



Pasta Alla Norma
printable recipe here
(serves two or three)

1 medium eggplant, peeled (peeling is optional)
salt
4 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

for the tomato sauce:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup minced onions
2 small, or 1 large clove garlic
5 fresh ripe medium tomatoes, peeled and diced (or use about two cups canned tomatoes with juices)
salt, pepper to taste
fresh basil, about a half dozen leaves
pinch of crushed red pepper

1/2-3/4 cup shredded ricotta salata

1/2 pound rigatoni pasta

a drizzle of olive oil to finish

Peel the eggplant, if desired. Cut into cubes, about 1/2 inch square. Sprinkle with salt and let them drain for a half hour or longer.  Place the olive oil in a nonstick pan and toss in the olive oil, cooking until softened and lightly browned. Set aside and make the sauce.

For the sauce, peel the tomatoes by placing in boiling water for a minute or two. Slip off the peels, core and dice. Pour the olive oil into a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until softened. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and basil. Cook at low to medium heat for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Cook the pasta, drain into the tomato sauce, and add the eggplant. Toss all together, then top with the ricotta salt, more minced basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

Penne Pasta With Mussels

Penne Pasta With Mussels

Summertime’s great not just for the fresh produce in farmer’s markets, but for the abundant local seafood here in New Jersey — including mussels that I love to serve with pasta in a red sauce. But this isn’t just any pasta and this isn’t just any red sauce. 

The tomatoes are from Italy and really do taste superior to the canned tomatoes grown in the U.S. They’ll cost you more, but it’s worth it. The ones I used were flavorful pomodorini from the Campania region, labeled as cherry tomatoes, but I’d say they are slightly larger than cherry tomatoes. You can buy them online from Gustiamo.com.
And don’t expect to pair your glorious tomato sauce with insipid, limp pasta. Get something that has some bite to it and really tastes like wheat. In this case, I cooked with pasta from Benedetto Cavalieri, an artisanal pasta company that began more than 100 years ago in Puglia, Italy.
I met the fourth generation pasta maker in the family – Andrea – at New York City’s Fancy Food Show last month, and he proudly described the methods that are used in the production of their durum semolina pasta.
The pasta is made using what’s called the “delicate method” which means kneading the dough at cold temperatures, pressing it slowly through molds made of bronze alloys and drying it at low temperature. “This is very, very important,” he said, “Because with the delicate method we can preserve the typical taste of the wheat.”
The pasta really does hold up well to an assertive sauce and has a fine, toothsome bite and distinctive wheat flavor.
Benedetto Cavalieri pastas can be purchased at Sur La Table or other fine food stores, as well as through Amazon.com, among other places.
Start out by sautéing the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened, then add the jar of tomatoes, breaking them up slightly with a wooden spoon.
Add the white wine and seasonings and let simmer on low to medium heat for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour. Meanwhile, steam the mussels in another pot and remove them from the pot as soon as they start to open. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove most of them from their shells, leaving some still in the shell to decorate the top of the pasta bowl. Save the liquid the mussels cooked in, then strain it and use put some of that into the tomato sauce. When the sauce has thickened to the proper consistency, (and while the pasta is cooking), add the mussels you removed from the shells to the tomato sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Drain the pasta, then add it to the pot with the sauce and stir to blend the flavors.
Serve in warmed bowls or plates.

 

Penne Pasta with Mussels
1 lb. pasta (preferably Benedetto Cavalieri pasta or a similar artisanal, Italian brand)
for the sauce
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar Maida Pomodorino Corbarino (or a 23.9 ounce jar of tomatoes)
1/4 cup white wine
salt, pepper
a good handful of fresh basil leaves, minced
a shake of hot red pepper flakes
 
to cook the mussels:
2 T. olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
3 to 4 dozen mussels
Start by making the sauce. Pour the olive oil into a pot, and add the onion, cooking them on low heat until softened. Add the garlic and sauté until softened. Add the tomatoes, breaking slightly with a wooden spoon, then the wine and seasonings. Keep some basil aside to use at the last minute to sprinkle over the top at the end. Let everything simmer for a half hour to an hour, while you cook the mussels.
In a separate pot, add the olive oil and cook the onion and garlic until slightly softened, over low heat. Turn up the heat to high when the onion and garlic are softened, pour in the white wine and add all the mussels. Place a lid over the mussels, and in a few minutes, they should start to open. Take off the lid, and using a pincers, remove the mussels that have opened to a bowl. Continue to do so until you have removed all the mussels. Save the liquid. Some of them may not open, even after five minutes. Throw those out. Let the mussels cool to a point where you can handle them, and remove them from the shell, keeping some intact to decorate the bowl with later.  Strain the liquid through a coffee filter (or paper towels) and pour some of it – maybe 1/2 cup to a cup) into the pot with the tomato sauce. Turn up the heat and cook a little longer to thicken the sauce.
When the sauce is cooked enough to the proper consistency and the pasta is almost finished cooking, add the mussels that you have extracted from the shells and let them simmer in the tomato sauce for a few minutes while you drain the pasta.
Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine flavors. Serve in warm bowls or plates with some of the mussels in half shells on top.
Pistachio Olive Oil Cake

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake

 I would never have made this cake if it weren’t for two gifts that arrived simultaneously: a bag of pistachio flour from my neighbor Insung and a jar of pistachio paste from Gustiamo.com, importers of fine Italian artisanal foods.
As it turns out, it’s not that hard to find pistachio flour. You can buy it online here. And now you can buy pistachio paste online too, from Gustiamo.com.
I had bought pistachio paste on recent trips to Italy, and used it for gelato (click here for recipe), but armed with a new jar of pistachio paste, along with the pistachio flour gift direct from Sicily, I knew that a cake was in my future.
Combining the paste with mascarpone cheese yielded a rich, spreadable frosting for the cake, and I topped it with chocolate leaves.
  Using mint leaves from my garden, I “painted” some melted chocolate on the leaves, then placed them in the refrigerator for about a half hour. Don’t leave them in the refrigerator too long, or they’ll become so hardened that it becomes more difficult to peel the leaves from the chocolate. In this case, I used mint leaves growing in my garden as the base.
 You could leave the cake in one layer, but why not split it in two and provide another vehicle for frosting? Use toothpicks to help guide the serrated knife evenly through the center of the cake.
Spread a little less than half the frosting on the inside layer, then cover and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides. Skip the chocolate leaves if that’s too fussy for you, and just decorate with the chopped pistachios instead.
 Gustiamo.com threw a party this past Saturday at the company’s warehouse, located in a gritty neighborhood in the Bronx. The walls at the site are decorated with highly creative and fanciful art created by local graffiti artists.
 The wall art adds a fun and spunky vibe to the outside courtyard of Gustiamo, words that could also be used to describe Neapolitan-born Beatrice Ughi, owner of the company. She started the business 15 years ago, after tossing aside her corporate career to pursue her passion for quality products from small Italian farms and producers.
At this point, she’s caught the notice of many high-end Italian restaurants, including New York City’s Del Posto, who rely on ingredients from Gustiamo for their recipes.
With my recent order, I’ve now got my own stash of wonderful Italian products to play with too, from small white purgatorio beans to a yellow tomato passata.  Stay tuned for future posts using these great ingredients – and check out their website on your own too. Gustiamo.com

 

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake
cake recipe adapted from Naturallyyella.co

 

  • Cake
  • 1½ cups (180 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (100 g) pistachio flour (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and 8-inch round pan with oil.
  • To make the cake:
    In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, pistachio flour, lemon zest,
    baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive
    oil, honey, milk, and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry
    ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Scoop
    the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Bake for 20 to
    22 minutes, until the cake is golden and has domed. Let cool for 10
    minutes.
  • Once the cake has cooled, run a knife along the edges to loosen. Flip the cake over onto a cake plate and finish cooling.

Frosting:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 jar Pistachio paste from Gustiamo.com (the full jar is about 9.8 ounces)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For Decoration (optional): chopped pistachios and chocolate covered mint leaves

Mix the mascarpone cheese, sugar and pistachio paste together in a mixer until smooth. Make sure the paste is thoroughly blended into the cheese, or else you’ll have lumps or streaks of pistachio paste.

Cut the cake in half using a sharp serrated knife. Spread part of the frosting on the inside of the cake; cover with the other half of the cake, and spread the rest of the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
Optional: Decorate with crushed pistachios on the side of the cake and with chocolate covered mint leaves.

To make pistachio flour, take shelled, unsalted, roasted pistachios (buy
them unshelled and save yourself some time) and pulse in ¼ of the
pistachios in the food processor just until beginning to break down.
Pass through a sieve to get the flour and return the pistachio pieces
back to the food processor. Repeat until a good amount of the pistachios
are flour (you will have meal left over, use it to top the cake.) Just
be careful not to over pulse the nuts and turn them into butter-
patience is key. If you try to make the cake with pistachio meal, the
texture won’t be the same.