Endives, Apples, Grapes and Rosemary with Orecchiette

I always have fun with the recipes from Around My French Table that I make for French Fridays with Dorie.  Dorie Greenspan’s basic recipes are very well tested and work remarkably well, I can especially count on all her baking recipes.  I’m usually inspired to play around with the suggested ingredients or techniques in the recipes as I think was Dorie’s intention when she compiled these recipes collected from her years of living in France.  Around My French Table has been a culinary playground for me over the past year and a half since I joined the French Fridays with Dorie cooking group.  I’ve enjoyed following all the contributors who cook along with the weekly schedule of Dorie’s recipes.  This Friday’s recipe caught my eye and once again sparked my imagination.  I thought of the endives, apples and grapes caramelized in salted butter flavored with rosemary served in a pasta dish for dinner with either a piece of chicken of a green salad served along side.  I was particularly struck by the sweet apple and grape flavors contrasted with the bitter flavor of the endives in this dish as well as the beauty of the caramelized ingredients. I used a sliced Fuji apple which didn’t want to cook as fast as the endives and grapes so I ended up removing everything from the pan except the apple slices which I continued to cook for several minutes longer or until they softened up and turned golden.  I cooked about half a pound of pasta in boiling water, drained and tossed it into the hot pan with the apples.  Then I added the endives and grapes back into the pan, checked the seasoning and served 2 generous portions, I think enough for dinner! Here is the recipe for Endives, Apples and Grapes from Dorie herself.

Black Squid Ink Spaghetti Salad with Tomato and Arugula Pesto Sauce

 

The cool nights of Fall are here. I find myself closing windows at night instead of opening them and pulling up that comforter on the bed instead of kicking if off. I’m sad to see Summer go, especially in my garden where the tomatoes are just about finished for the season.  But on a bright note I see a row of  sprouted lettuce seeds beginning to take shape a few feet away from the tired tomato plants.  I found a pesto recipe that used up almost the last of the San Marzano tomatoes I planted way back in May or first of June(?)  This easy recipe for spaghetti sauce could be used on any type of pasta but for some reason the packages of black squid ink pasta caught my eye at the market.  The perfect strands of thin black spaghetti are so appealing and the idea of them coiled up right next to bright red tomato slices in the salad made that package jump right into my shopping cart!   Yes, the striking color is beautiful but the briny flavor of the squid ink has it’s appeal too, there’s no doubt about that. If you’re put off by the black squid ink spaghetti bring home a different kind of pasta that’s new to you and just for the adventure- give it a try.  But, please try this easy tomato and arugula pesto sauce on the pasta of your choice.  This recipe makes a fantastic make ahead pasta salad perfect for entertaining but the pesto sauce is also very good served on hot pasta.  I added some texture  and additional flavor to my salad by throwing in some toasted almonds, bread crumbs and cheese in addition to the homemade pesto but it’s not really necessary as preparing the spaghetti with all the fresh ingredients in the pesto sauce alone would be delicious. Here are a few photos from my end of season tomato patch, as you can see there are still quite a few different varieties of tomatoes left on the vines, looks like enough for another batch of fried green tomatoes before the first big frost.  I’ve also enjoyed the different kinds of fresh basil I plant every Summer, a new one for me this year was the Greek basil which I added to my spaghetti salad.

Black Squid Ink Spaghetti Salad with Tomato and Arugula Pesto Sauce

Serving Size: 6

Adapted from Pasta by Williams-Sonoma.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces San Marzano tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes
  • 3 ounces fresh arugula, for the 'pesto' sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 17.6 ounces Black Squid Ink Spaghetti, I used Rustichella D'Abruzzo Spaghetti Di Nero Black Squid Ink Pasta (17.6 oz. pkg)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 ounces fresh arugula, for the salad
  • 1 ounce Greek basil leaves, for the salad
  • 4-6 San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, sliced for the salad
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil- set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  3. While the pasta is boiling, place 3 ounces of the arugula in the bowl of a food processor with the tomatoes on top- with the motor running slowly add the olive oil, process, scraping down the sides until this mixture is smooth and creamy- check seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl, mix in the tomato/arugula sauce, saving a small amount to spoon on top for serving.
  5. Cool the pasta to room temperature- mix in the almonds, bread crumbs and cheese.
  6. In another large bowl mix together the arugula, basil and tomato slices for the salad.
  7. Place the arugula salad on a serving platter with the spaghetti mounded on top, spoon extra sauce on top, decorate with sprigs of basil and arugula.
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Beggar’s Fusilli Friday with Dorie

Did I use fusilli instead of the linguini called for in this recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan because I wanted to title my post French Fusilli Friday??  Maybe but more likely because I love a thicker corkscrew type of pasta to soak up the rich flavorful sauce I made using Dorie’s recipe for Beggar’s Linguine or Linguine Mendiante for French Fridays with Dorie.  The word mendiant means beggar in French but is normally associated with a rich chocolate candy covered with dried fruits and nuts found in chocolate shops all over France.  Chocolate, another good reason to get on a plane going to France.

We loved this brown butter sauced pasta made with fusilli cooked al dente with all the dried fruits and nuts.  I used dried cranberries instead of the golden raisins because I was thinking that if I made mendiants I would use dried cranberries for the color.  Cranberries aside, the dried figs with the orange zest made this dish.  I used 14 ounces of fusilli with the amount of butter Dorie calls for in the recipe but I added extra of each one of the dried fruits and nuts.  I also used chopped cilantro for the herb that I sprinkled on top and I think mint would be good too.  I would love to give the recipe but one of the rules of this online cooking group is not to give the recipe but to refer you to the source of all  French Friday recipes, Dorie’s cookbook  Around My French Table.

The dried fruits and nuts are cut in small pieces for the beurre noisette.
The top of the pasta is dusted with fresh grated orange zest, Parmesan Cheese and chopped herbs.
This is the second recipe I’ve made from French Fridays with Dorie and so far she’s batting a hundred, a small reference to my beloved San Francisco Giants.  Another good reason to get on a plane- Spring training in Scottsdale Arizona.  How about a long weekend in Scottsdale and off to France for a few weeks visit?
I feel a travel itinerary coming on that includes hot dogs, beer, peanuts, chocolate, wine and cheese;-)