May 23, 2013

A Favorite Italian Dish ~ Farfalle Estive

On Tuesday I had lunch with my sister and parents down in Lahaska Pennsylvania. The reason for us meeting for lunch was to say good bye to our parents because they were leaving the next day to go back home to Florida. (sad face) We met at one of my favorite Italian restaurants Villaggio,located across the street from beautiful Peddler's Village. So of course if I am eating in one of my favorite eating places then I must have a favorite dish there right? Well I do and it is Farfalle Estive. This dish is typically made with a pasta, assortment of vegetables, a protein like chicken or shellfish and this particular recipe it is tossed with a garlicky pesto. I wanted to copy Villaggio's interpretation of this entree, and this for the most part is what they use.

1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned and grilled (I  grill mine on our Foreman Grill) and cut into 1 inch bite size pieces.
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups of fresh asparagus cut into one inch log pieces. (I really only use the thin asparagus, the thicker spears can be use to make soup.)
8 oz. baby portabella (bella) mushrooms chopped
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes, cut jullienne style
One pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
One 15.5 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Pesto, about 7 ounces and blended with 1/3 cup olive oil (I used Buitoni Pesto with Basil.)
EVOO for sauteing 
Fresh basil to garnish

And of course farfalle pasta, about half a box (6 ounces of dry pasta).

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Then in a large deep sided pan or large pot, saute the garlic in the olive oil being sure not to burn the garlic, for about 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and mushrooms and continue to saute until asparagus softens and mushrooms release their juices. Finally add the beans, meat and the tomatoes, blend with other ingredients, toss mixture with the pasta and pesto until everything is well coated with the pesto. If you need to you can add more EVOO and mix. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt. I also like to toss in some fresh basil to garnish and flavor the dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This is sooo yummy and does go a long way. Serves about 6 good sized portions.

Ciao 4 now and have a great day!!!

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May 20, 2013

Strawberry Balsamic & Cracked Black Pepper Jam

We are now getting into strawberry season and the price of these yummy little berries has really begun to drop. I snagged some at my local grocery store and decided to make this jam which packs a little bit of heat. I was inspired by the recipe I came across over at the beautiful blog Honey&Jam

First rinse and hull your berries and then chop them into smaller pieces.

Then in a smaller pot add...

5 cups of chopped strawberries 
3 1/2 cups of sugar 
1 - 2 (depending on how much heat you prefer) teaspoons of cracked black pepper 
6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
1 tablespoon butter 
I also use one packet of unsweetened fruit pectin

Heat ingredients in the pot until they begin to meld together. Simmer on the stove for about 15 to 20 minutes, until mixture becomes translucent and thickens.

In prepared jars, ladle hot jam into jars and then making sure the rims are clean, place the lid on top and screw on the ring.

Set jars aside and wait until you hear the "ping", this means your jars are sealed.

Once cooled you can enjoy the jam. Actually right after I shot these pictures I tried the jam with cream cheese...sooooo yummy! You can also spread the jam over the top of a block of cream cheese and use it as a spread with crackers.

Wishing you a wonderful week!
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