Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer-Time Sides

I love looking up new recipes and storing them in binders - hence where these next two recipes came from... One night last week Shaun (the boyfriend) and I decided to grill up a few sausages for dinner and I thought it would be best to use up some of the vegetables I had in the fridge from that weekend's food shopping run. I decided on a Cherry Tomato and Lemon Salad and Penne with Grilled Zucchini, Ricotta Salata and Mint. Both recipes were adapted from the Epicurious website.

The Cherry Tomato and Lemon Salad was actually very simple to make and amazingly delicous after it marinated in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes! Each bite was bursting with lemon flavor, but not sour at all because of the sugar added in the beginning. I personally adore cherry tomatoes and the sweetness they bring to summer so this recipe is one that I will make over and over again. Maybe next time I'll really change things up and add it to a Brunch Menu. It is so light and refreshing so why not!? The Epicurious website suggests great menu using this recipe that you might see on this Blog one day.

2 large lemons
1 tablespoon sugar
1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes (3 cups), halved or, if large, quartered
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Finely grate enough zest from 1 lemon to measure 2 teaspoons. Trim ends of both lemons, then stand lemons on a cut side and cut peel, including all white pith, from lemons with a sharp paring knife (discard peel). Cut segments free from membranes, then cut segments crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss lemon segments gently with sugar in a bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and zest, then let stand, covered, at room temperature 15 minutes (to allow flavors to develop).

The Penne with Grilled Zucchini, Ricotta Salata and Mint was less impressive... I like each of the ingredients used separately so it seemed like a no-brainer to make this, but apparently I do not like these ingredients mixed together. Honestly, I would even say it was a bit bland. Next time I think I'll skip this recipe and just serve Grilled Zucchini! That was the best part of the recipe in my opinion. I'll also be saving my mint for Mojitos only, thank you very much.

2 pounds small zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing)
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
2 pinches of dried crushed red pepper
1 pound penne or ziti pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta cheese; about 3 ounces)*
*Ricotta salata is a firm cheese with a mildly salty flavor

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Arrange zucchini on rimmed baking sheet; brush all over with oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper. Grill zucchini until tender, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface; cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Place in large serving bowl. Add vinegar, mint, and crushed red pepper; set aside. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Add pasta to zucchini mixture, then add 3 tablespoons olive oil and ricotta salata and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tutti Mangia!


Alyssa said...

The salad sounds yummy and I think I could even handle making that! Thanks for the recipe :)

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