Leftover roasted cauliflower may also be used, as I did, using the leftover roasted cauliflower from my Fall Recipes post.
12 oz short pasta (penne)
1/2 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 medium shallots, chopped fine
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (1 1/2-pound) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
Combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring until the mixture is well toasted and golden-brown; remove from the heat and reserve.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium baking dish, combine the cauliflower, oil, and salt. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the cauliflower is tender and browned.
Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the shallots, melted butter, garlic, cream, tomatoes, and red pepper. Place the dish bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while the pasta cooks.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pan. Turn the heat to very low and add the cauliflower sauce. Heat for a minute or two and pour into a pasta serving bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs topping over the top of the pasta and serve.
I used pappardelle pasta for this recipe because I wanted a lighter dish. Pappardelle noodles are very wide but lighter than lasagna. If you want a lower carb dish, I would recommend a low carb pasta I found made by Al Dente. It is a delicious egg/semolina pasta, that tastes like pasta but has half the carbs of regular pappardelle pasta. I like to serve a mixed green salad with Italian dressing with the casserole.
1 lb Pappardelle pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound Italian pork sausage
3-14 to 15 oz cans diced Italian tomatoes, undrained
One 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well and set aside
32 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley or ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cut the sausage into ¼ inch slices.
In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste, one tomato paste can of water, and the dried seasoning. Cook and stir for one minute. Add tomatoes salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Cook pasta two minutes less than the package directions. Drain.
Arrange a double layer of pappardelle (about a third of the pasta) in a 3-quart casserole dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Cover the pasta with 1/3 of the sauce and add half of the ricotta cheese. Spread the cheese to cover the layer underneath. Repeat the process for a second layer. Spread the remaining pasta for a third layer and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella.
Spray a sheet of foil with olive oil cooking spray. Place the coated side down on the baking dish. Bake at 375*F for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Skillet Chicken Parm
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 12 oz total)
Freshly ground pepper
¾ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
1 large egg
Warm Marinara sauce, recipe below
6 ounces fresh Italian Fontina cheese, sliced thin
For the Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
26-28 oz container Italian chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Prepare the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Prepare the chicken
Cut off any fat remaining on the chicken. Place a breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly with a meat mallet to an even thickness. Repeat with the second breast. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Spread out the flour and breadcrumbs on two separate plates. Beat the egg in a wide shallow bowl until thoroughly blended. Dredge the chicken in flour to coat lightly and tap off excess flour. Dip in the beaten egg, hold them over the bowl, letting the excess egg drip back into the bowl. Transfer the chicken, one piece at a time to the plate of breadcrumbs, turn it to coat with breadcrumbs, patting gently and making sure that each breast is well coated with breadcrumbs. If you have time refrigerate the breaded chicken for several hours.
Heat a layer of olive oil in a wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until a corner of one of the coated breasts gives off a sizzle when dipped in the oil. Add the chicken pieces without touching each other. Fry, turning once, until golden on both sides and cooked through about 6 minutes. Top each chicken breast with several spoonfuls of marinara sauce. Place the sliced cheese over the sauce to cover the chicken completely. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook a minute or two until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Pasta with Butter, Black Pepper, and Pecorino Romano Cheese
8 oz fettuccine pasta
1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
` tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
4 tablespoons butter
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and return the pot to the stove. Melt the butter in the pot and add the black pepper. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and slowly swirl in the pecorino cheese. Mix well and serve with the chicken parm and a green salad.
Szechuan peppercorns are a spice produced from the husks of seeds of two species of the prickly ash shrub. Szechuan peppercorns can be used whole or ground into powder. The spice is one of the five ingredients that comprise five-spice powder (the others are star anise, fennel, clove, and cinnamon), and it’s used in many savory Szechuan dishes. Check the peppercorns and discard any twigs, leaves, and any tiny black seeds in the package. Then heat the peppercorns in a frying pan over medium-low heat until they become fragrant. Remove them from the heat and grind them or crush them when cool. The roasted peppercorns can also be saved in an airtight jar to grind when needed in a recipe.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon crushed Szechuan Peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup Szechuan sauce (store-bought or homemade- see recipe below)
2 cups shredded napa (Chinese) cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2 scallions, sliced
Chinese noodles or rice for serving
Reconstitute mushrooms with boiling water to cover. Drain and slice.
Gently mix beef, onion, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, five-spice powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Shape the mixture into 15 meatballs (use about 2 tablespoons each to make 1½-inch meatballs).
Whisk broth and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet or nonstick wok over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning once, until brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring for 15 to 30 seconds. Add the reserved beef broth mixture, ginger. Szechuan sauce, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, and mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the cabbage is just wilted, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to a simmer, return the meatballs to the pan, cover and cook until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are cooked through 8 to 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with scallions over noodles or rice.
Keeps for 10 days in the refrigerator
1/2 teaspoon Szechuan Peppercorns (or substitute black peppercorns)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar or sugar alternative
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced ( or use ginger paste)
1 tablespoon garlic chili paste (like sambal oelek)
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch, to thicken
Toast Szechuan peppercorns in a hot dry skillet over medium heat, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Crush.
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl or small jar and whisk until well combined.
Whisk in 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
Makes a little over ½ a cup.
Serve with pasta.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1/4 cup minced fresh onion
2 red chili peppers, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can of Italian whole cherry tomatoes (Cento brand)
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 canned anchovy fillet, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
4 slices provolone cheese
Salt and pepper
8 oz fettuccine
Make the sauce
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the pancetta onion, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta al dente and drain.
For the chicken
Coat the chicken cutlets in flour, salt, and pepper. Shake off excess. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the cutlets about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Top each cutlet with a slice of cheese and cover the pan. Cook for a minute or two until the cheese melts.
Mix the cooked pasta with the sauce. Place an equal portion of pasta in four individual pasta bowls. Top with the chicken and serve.
Oven Roasted Zucchini
Two large Zucchini sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the foil with olive oil cooking spray.
Place zucchini rounds in a bowl. Add oil and spices to the bowl and toss zucchini to coat.
Lay zucchini on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
In New England, boiling and steaming are the traditional ways to cook lobster, but there’s another way. It’s called butter poaching where the lobster meat is cooked to sweet and tender delight. Butter poached lobster cooks the lobster meat slowly and gently so as not to make the meat tough. This method made for the best tasting lobster I have ever had.
For 2 servings
Two 5 to 6 oz lobster tails, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator if frozen
1 stick of butter
10 oz Sea Scallops
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Put the pasta on to cook in boiling salted water just when you start preparing the shellfish.
With kitchen shears, remove the membrane over the lobster meat on the underside of each lobster tail.
In a medium skillet melt the butter on low heat. Do not let the butter come to a boil or the butter will separate.
Once melted add the tails flesh side down and cook on low heat spooning butter over the shells once in a while for 6-8 minutes
Turn the tail on the shell side, continue basting and add the scallops. Baste the scallops with the butter for about one minute on each side.
The tails are ready when the shells are bright red and the lobster meat is firm and opaque. Be careful not to overcook the lobster. Poached lobster tails should have an internal temperature of about 140°F.
Remove the shellfish from the pan to a platter with the drained, cooked pasta.
Add the garlic, lemon zest and juice to the skillet and stir. Pour the sauce over the shellfish and pasta. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Serve with a green vegetable or salad.
Vietnamese Americans are the fourth-largest Asian American ethnic group after Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, and Indian Americans, and have developed distinctive characteristics in the United States.
South Vietnamese immigration to the United States began after the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Early immigrants were refugee boat people, fleeing persecution or seeking economic opportunities. More than half of Vietnamese Americans reside in the states of California and Texas. Other states with concentrations of Vietnamese Americans were Washington, Florida (four percent each) and Virginia (three percent). According.to the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS), 76 percent of foreign-born Vietnamese are naturalized U.S. citizens.
The April 30, 1975 fall of Saigon, which ended the Vietnam War, prompted the first large-scale wave of immigration; many with close ties to America or the South Vietnam government feared communist reprisals. Most of the first-wave immigrants were well-educated, financially comfortable, and proficient in English. Although Vietnamese immigration has continued at a fairly steady pace since the 1980s, the pathway to immigration for Vietnamese today has shifted entirely. As opposed to the earlier history of Vietnamese migration that stemmed predominantly from refugees, an overwhelming majority of Vietnamese are now granted lawful permanent residence (LPR) on the basis of family-sponsored preferences or by way of relatives who are U.S. citizens, at 53% and 44% respectively.
Many Vietnamese Americans are small business owners. According to a 2002 Census Bureau survey of Vietnamese-owned firms, more than 50 percent of the businesses are personal services or repair and maintenance. The period from 1997 to 2002 saw substantial growth in the number of Vietnamese-owned business. Throughout the country, many Vietnamese (especially first or second-generation immigrants) have opened supermarkets, restaurants, bánh mì bakeries, beauty salons, barbershops, and auto-repair businesses. Restaurants owned by Vietnamese Americans tend to serve Vietnamese cuisine, Vietnamized Chinese cuisine or both and have popularized phở and chả giò in the U.S.
While adapting to a new country, Vietnamese Americans have tried to preserve their traditional culture by teaching their children the Vietnamese language, wearing traditional dress (áo dài) for special occasions and showcasing their cuisine in restaurants throughout the country. Family loyalty is the most important Vietnamese cultural characteristic, and more than two generations traditionally lived under one roof. The Vietnamese view family as including maternal and paternal grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. In adapting to American culture, most Vietnamese American families have adopted the nuclear pattern while trying to maintain close ties with their extended families.
Erica J. Peters, director of the Culinary Historians of Northern California and author of “Appetites and Aspirations in Vietnam: Food and Drink in the Long Nineteenth Century,” says, “The immigrant story is that you miss the foods from your home country when they’re not available and you talk to each other a lot about, ‘Well, how can we make do? How can we recreate some of the flavors of what we had there?’
So, Houston, Orange County, CA and New Orleans became huge hubs for Vietnamese families. The matriarchs were all great cooks and their children had high standards when it came to Vietnamese food. So when they went out to eat in a restaurant, they wanted to have that similar taste or better; otherwise, they wouldn’t eat there.
Common ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, bean sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruit, and vegetables. French cuisine has also had a major influence due to the French colonization of Vietnam. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird’s eye chili, lime, and Thai basil leaves. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, complementary textures, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide
So what dishes did Vietnamese restaurant owners bring to the U.S. with them?
To mention just a few classics:
Pho is a simple staple consisting of a salty broth, fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef.
Banh xeo is a crispy crepe bulging with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, plus the garnish of fresh herbs that are characteristic of most authentic Vietnamese dishes.
Cao lau is a pork noodle dish from Hoi An that is a bit like the various cultures that visited the trading port at its prime. The thicker noodles are similar to Japanese udon, the crispy won-ton crackers and pork are a Chinese touch, while the broth and herbs are clearly Vietnamese.
Nem ran/cha gio
Vietnam’s bite-sized crunchy spring rolls might not enjoy the same popularity as their healthier fresh equivalent, but they deserve a special mention. The crispy shell with a soft veggie and meat filling dunked in a tangy sauce.
Most Vietnamese dishes are actually really easy to make at home.
Nem ran/cha gio are crunchy spring rolls with a soft veggie and meat filling dunked in a tangy sauce.
Bun bo nam bo is a bowl of noodles without broth, tender slices of beef mingle, crunchy peanuts, bean sprouts that are flavored with fresh herbs, crisp dried shallots, a splash of fish sauce and fiery chili pepper.
Xoi is a bowl of savory sticky rice. Rice is less of an accompaniment to meals in Vietnam and more of a meal itself. The dish comes with any number of mix-ins (from slithers of chicken, or pork to fried or preserved eggs), and always with a scattering of dried shallots on top.
Banh mi Sandwich. The French may have brought with them the baguette, but Vietnam takes it to a different level by adding a combination of cheese, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, fresh cilantro, and chili sauce.
Bbánh flan – a coconut and galangal crème caramel flan
Make this Vietnamese Dinner at home.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
1 cup shredded cooked pork
1/2 cup dried Asian mushrooms (rehydrate in water for 30 minutes or until softened then finely mince)
1/2 cup cellophane rice noodles rehydrated in water for 30 minutes or until softened then into 2-inch lengths)
1 green onion (trim off ends and slice thinly)
1/2 small white/yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
6 Spring Roll Rice Wrappers
Warm water to rehydrate the wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham), recipe below
In a medium-size bowl, mix together the pork, mushrooms, cellophane noodles, green onions, white/yellow onion, sugar, black pepper, salt and oyster sauce. Set aside.
The dried rice paper wrapper needs to be softened before wrapping. To do this, fill a shallow bowl with warm tap water Take one rice paper wrapper and immerse it completely in the water. Make sure that the wrapper is completely wet. Wait about 30 seconds for the wrapper to soften. It will turn malleable and start to feel sticky and that’s ok.
Put the wet wrapper on a kitchen towel or large empty plate or cutting board. Place 2 tablespoons of filling about 1 inch from the edge of the wrapper, on the side closest to you. Press the filling together.
First, fold the edge of the wrapper closest to you so that it covers the filling. Make sure that this first fold completely covers the filling, and pull the edge of the fold slightly under the filling making a taut, small parcel.
Using both your hands, fold the right side of the wrapper toward the center, stopping where the filling is. Do the same with the other side–fold the left side of the wrapper toward the center, stopping where the filling is.
Continue folding the wrapper by grabbing the enclosed filling and turning it over until it reaches the end of the wrapper. Check all sides to make sure there are no loose ends on the wrapper. This ensures the filling won’t escape when frying.
If you’re not going to fry the spring rolls right away, line them all up on a plate and cover with plastic wrap so that they do not dry up. Make sure that the spring rolls do not touch each other, as they can be a bit sticky and may tear if you need to pull them apart. If not frying right away cover the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Alternatively, you may freeze the wrapped spring rolls to be cooked at another time.
To bake the rolls
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Make the spring rolls: Pierce each roll with a skewer in a few places to prevent bursting.
Place a rack in a baking dish and brush with vegetable oil. Mix 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil; lightly brush on rolls. Place the rolls on the rack; bake until golden on top, about 15 minutes. Turn the rolls; bake until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 more minutes.
Serve with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce.
Nuoc Cham Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
Nuoc Cham is a must at every Vietnamese table, no matter what is served. You can use this condiment for dipping meat, seafood and vegetables, and for drizzling on rice. Although it will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, Nuoc Cham is best when freshly made.
3 Thai bird chiles, or 1 serrano chile
1 garlic clove, sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5 tablespoons fish sauce, such as Red Boat
2 tablespoons finely shredded carrots for garnish
Cut the chiles into thin rings and cut each in half. Place all the ingredients except the carrots in a small serving bowl. Stir well and set aside for at least10 minutes before using. Sprinkle carrots on top before serving.
Yield 1 cup.
Lemongrass Beef And Shrimp Skewers
1 pound top sirloin, strip or ribeye steak
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails intact
Skewers – metal or wooden soaked in warm water
1/3 cup minced fresh lemongrass, white part only
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 red chili pepper, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Finely chopped scallions
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
Rice Noodles with herbs, recipe below
Directions for the skewers
Slice the steak into small thin pieces approximately 3/4″ square and 1/4″ thick.
Combine all the ingredients for the Marinade. Add the marinade to the meat and mix well. Marinate for at least 1 hour. Insert the meat through the skewers.
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and add to the Marinade with the beef cubes. Stir to combine well and marinate for 15 minutes. Thread shrimp onto the skewers.
Heat a stovetop grill. Grill the meat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until desired tenderness. Grill the shrimp on both sides until they are charred and cooked through.
Place the skewers on a lettuce-lined serving platter. Place the noodle mixture in the center, the skewers on the one side of the plate and spring rolls on the other side.. Garnish the Skewers with bits of scallion and serve with the dipping sauce.
Rice Noodles With Fresh Herbs
3 oz dried rice noodles
3//4 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cucumber, cut in matchstick strips
1/3 cup mint leaves, cut into thirds
1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, cut into thirds
Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover. and stir gently to loosen. Set aside for 30 minutes.. Drain and let noodles sit until dry and sticky about 30 minutes
Gently toss together the bean sprouts, cucumbers, mint, and basil leaves in a mixing bowl. Add the sticky noodles and toss. Add a little salt and pepper.
Place the noodles in the center of the lettuce-lined serving platter and serve with the skewers and spring rolls. Serve the dipping sauce on the side.