Farmers Market Pasta

Pasta has a reputation for being a heavy, carb-overloading, cheat-meal. But, it doesn’t have to be! This light, refreshing dish breaks through the confines of pasta barriers. It will leave you satisfied, but not overly stuffed!

 

Ingredients:

Pasta Puttana‘s Fiery Red Chile handcut tagliatelle (Spinach pasta is a tasty substitute. Just add crushed red pepper flakes or chili pepper paste to get the kick!)

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Freshly cut arugula

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Chiffonade your fresh arugula

Follow the package directions to boil the pasta. Fresh pasta cooks quickly!

Strain pasta.

In a small prep bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.

In a serving bowl, gently combine the pasta, arugula, and dressing.

 

Farmers Market Pasta

Farmers Market Pasta

 

Not-So-Typical Pizza

RPM Date Night!

RPM Date Night!

I recently checked another item off my Chicago bucket list and dined at Bill (my not-so-secret crush) Rancic’s RPM Italian. The food was incredible and they were more than accommodating when it came to my soy-free restrictions. The only disappointment of the evening came when I heard Bill & Guiliana had been in several times throughout the NHL playoffs and I had just missed them. Darn it. 

Since our visit, friends have asked if RPM lives up to its hype. ABSOLUTELY. For me, eating out is about the food. RPM’s food was to die for. We ordered wood-roasted octopus, morel mushrooms served on hand-cut tagliatelle, short-rib pappardelle, a wood-oven pizza special, and dessert (of course). Needless to say, I left stuffed! Over the next few days, I found myself daydreaming about how full of taste each dish was. Not one item we tried could be described as bland or average.

I decided to try my hand at recreating something with such profound and original taste. Let’s be honest, I’m not cooking octopus and I cannot afford fresh morel mushrooms. I’ve tried short-ribs before and they were a complete failure; I almost lost a tooth. So, pizza it was! I couldn’t tell you what cheese or toppings RPM used. My version is not meant to replicate theirs (I would insult them terribly), but rather to experiment with new flavors. Here it goes…

 

Ingredients:

Fresh whole-wheat pizza dough (Trader Joe’s offers a soy-free version. If gluten free – Better Bread Company offers a fresh option)

Pesto (Trader Joe’s now carries a soy-free pesto!)

Trader Joe’s freshly shaved parmesan, romano, & asiago cheese (If you’re lactose intolerant and can use Lactaid pills, I suggest this option. If not, a less flavorful rice cheese will suffice)

Cheese

Cheese

Fresh arugula

Fresh basil

Cherry tomatoes

Oyster mushrooms (Best from a farmers market- sometimes they offer mushroom medleys which will also work)

Crushed red pepper

 

Directions:

Follow the directions specific to your crust for rolling & baking. Regardless of the crust, I always sprinkle my stone with cornmeal to prevent sticking.

Once the crust is rolled out, paste it with a layer of pesto. Evenly distribute your cheese.

Wash & dry your greens. Tear the basil and arugula into smaller pieces. Layer them on top of the cheese.

Halve your tomatoes and layer them on with the mushrooms.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and bake.

Pre-baked pizza

Pre-baked pizza

Baked pizza

Baked pizza

 

A Twist on Fruit (in) Salad

A fruit salad is a typical side dish at summer get-togethers. It’s also naturally soy-free! However, I happen to loath cantaloupe, honeydew, and most-things-melon. As luck would have it, they are the cheapest of the fruits. Therefore, melon is typically the alpha fruit of the American fruit salad.

Can’t afford a fruit salad sans melon? My remedy: the fruit (in) salad. It’s delicious, cheaper, and still fruity!

 

Ingredients:

Greens (I’m partial to arugula, but anything will do)

Fresh blueberries and strawberries (your local farmers market is a great place to get fresh, organic berries at a reasonable price)

Dried cherries (dried cranberries are generally more affordable and I can hardly tell the difference once they’re mixed in)

(optional) Sliced almonds

(optional) Blue cheese

Italian dressing (Good Seasons’ Zesty Italian packet with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and water)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Wash the berries and greens.

Slice the strawberries.

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate if you’re saving it for later.

Add the dressing when you’re ready to serve! Dressing tip: less is more. With the juice from the strawberries, it can get soggy quickly.

 

Fruit (in) Salad

Fruit (in) Salad