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Archive for March 14, 2015

RECIPE: Kale, Bacon & Pistachio Pasta

This recipe may not be Irish (kale and bacon work, but pistachio nuts are originally from Central Asia and the Middle East, and pasta is from Italy by way of China and Arabia).

But it sure is green and right on trend, if you’d rather not have the conventional corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew on St. Patrick’s Day.

The recipe is from McCormick: In this fresh pasta sauce, kale, avocado and pistachios are puréed with chicken stock, garlic and Italian seasoning for an easy dish that packed with flavor.

And it uses a charming short cut of pasta, the campanelle (cahm-pah-NELL-lay), a delicate-looking but sturdy shape that looks like a bell-like flower. It is typically served with a thick sauce, or in a casserole, where its fluted shape and hollow center help catch the sauce.

Barilla makes campanelle, and you may be able to find imported brands. If you can’t find them locally, you can order them online.

By the way, although no market carries them all, there are hundreds of different pasta shapes. Check them out in our Pasta Glossary.

Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

RECIPE: KALE, BACON & PISTACHIO PASTA

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 package (16 ounces) pasta, such as campanelle or fusilli
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 6 cups chopped kale, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning*
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 avocado, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, divided
  •    

    campanelle-kale-bacon-pistachio-mccormick-230

    A sauce of kale and bacon for St. Patrick’s Day pasta. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    *You can purchase an Italian seasoning blend or make your own. Combine two tablespoons each of, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Store in an airtight container away from light and heat.

     

    campanelle-barilla-230

    Instead of the same old same old, try a new
    pasta shape every time you buy short cuts.
    Photo courtesy Barilla.

     

    Preparation

    1. COOK the pasta as directed on the package. Drain well. Meanwhile…

    2. COOK the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain it on paper towels; then crumble and set aside.

    3. ADD 2 cups of the kale to the bacon drippings in skillet; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or just until kale is tender-crisp. Remove the kale and set aside.

    4. ADD the onion to the skillet; cook and stir for 2 minutes (add oil if needed). Add the chicken stock and seasonings; bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.

    5. PLACE the remaining 4 cups of kale in a blender. Add the avocado, pistachios, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of the crumbled bacon. Add the hot stock mixture. Cover the blender with the lid, with center part removed. Cover the lid with a towel. Blend on low speed for 15 seconds. Blend on high speed until mixture is smooth.

    6. PLACE the pasta in a serving bowl. Top with the kale sauce, cooked kale, the remaining crumbled bacon and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with additional chopped pistachios, if desired.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake A Pie, It’s Pi Day Of The Century!

    Mathematically, today is Pi Day: 3.14. As you learned in high school geometry, the Greek symbol is used in mathematics to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, a constant which begins with 3.14159.

    Sorry we can’t show the Greek symbol in these paragraphs: WordPress keeps converting it to a question mark and we couldn’t make any of the help forum ideas work. So we’ve chosen the fetching “pi pie” in the photo at right to help out.

    Today is actually an extra-special Pi Day, the Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15. The first ten digits of pi, which extends to infinity beyond the decimal point (it has been calculated up to trillions of places), are 3.141592653. There’s more about pi below.

    Thus, 9:26:53 a.m. is the Pi Moment of the Century.

    Some people are obsessed with memorizing as many digits of pi as possible. The Guinness Book Of World Records names the record holder as a man named Lu Chao. He set the record in November 2005 at Northwest A & F University in the Shaanxi province of China. It took him 24 hours and 4 minutes to recite the 67,890th decimal place of pi without a mistake. [Source]

    Congratulations, Mr. Lu, but we’d prefer to eat pie rather than memorize pi. Culinarily, we use Pi Day as an excuse to have a different type of pie each year.

       

    pi-pie-day-greatmindsofscience.tumblr-230

    Since we couldn’t get the Greek symbol for pi to appear in WordPress, we found a photo of a real “pi pie” on GreatMindsOfScience. Tumblr.com. The pi symbol is in the center and the first 31 digits circle the rim. If you know who created this masterpiece, let us know.

     
    Yes, Pi Day is celebrated by pastry fans around the world. How about a piece of the award-winning pie below? It won a blue ribbon at the 2014 National Pie Championships.

    Norske Nook is a restaurant and bakery in western Wisconsin that has received 36 blue ribbons in the past 10 years at the National Pie Championship, competing in a field of more than 500 pies.

    The restaurant announces its new cookbook today: The Norske Nook Book Of Pies & Other Recipes. It will be released next month, but you can pre-order it now.

    In the interim, they provided this delicious pie recipe.

    RECIPE: LEMON CREAM CHEESE PIE

    Most icebox pie recipes require no cooking: You simply refrigerate or freeze the completed pie. Others, like the recipe below, need only a bit of time on the stove top or in the oven. This recipe requires a bit of both.

    After you get the pie into the fridge, check out the different types of pies in our delicious Pie & Pastry Glossary.

    Ingredients For An 11-Inch Pie

  • 1 single crust, baked
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 container (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 large egg yolk
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cups hot water
  • Garnish: fresh whipped cream
  •  

    lemon-cream-cheese-pie-norsknook-uwisconsinpress-230r

    An award winning pie for Pi Day. Photo courtesy University Of Wisconsin Press.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX the cream cheese and powdered sugar in an electric stand mixer until smooth. Fold in half the whipped topping and mix to combine. With a rubber spatula, continue mixing by hand.

    2. SPREAD the filling into the bottom of the baked crust.

    3. MIX the sugar, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the egg yolks, lemon juice and hot water. Cook until thickened and the center is boiling. Transfer to a plastic bowl and refrigerate until cool.

    4. MOUND the cooled mixture over the cream cheese layer. Top with the rest of the whipped topping or fresh whipped cream. Keep refrigerated.

    THE HISTORY OF PI

    Pi is a mathematical constant, a special number that is significantly interesting in some way to mathematicians.

    But why was the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet (it translates to “p” in the Roman alphabet), chosen as a mathematical symbol to represent the constant ratio of the circumference to the diameter of any circle?

     

    The credit for what turns about to be a great idea goes to a Welsh mathematician William Jones (1675-1749). In a 1706 work called Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos (A New Introduction to the Mathematics), he abbreviated the Greek word root for periphery, meaning “circumference,” to pi.

    Before Jones used the pi symbol, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle was referred to in this wordy phrase from medieval Latin: quantitas in quam cum multiflicetur diameter, proveniet circumferencia (the quantity which, when the diameter is multiplied by it, yields the circumference). Whew!

    Here’s more about pi.

      

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