Thursday, June 23, 2011

Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe: Green Bean and Tomato Tagliatelle

So, it's the middle of the summer, produce is fresh and fabulous, and you have a craving for...pasta?  Pasta always seems so incredibly heavy to me.  Especially in the summer, when the air conditioner is struggling against the 110°F outside ambient temperature.  A big stomach full of pasta just makes you feel even more sluggish than usual in those circumstances.  Unless you're using my new favorite cookbook.

This pasta dish, with fresh haricot verts green beans from Central Market and tomatoes from the farmer's market, was perfect.  And it certainly helps that there were only seven ingredients on the list.  Super quick, super fast.  The tagliatelle noodles held the creamy sauce, and the green beans still had some snap.  The tomatoes added a little acidity.  I was licking my plate.

Green Bean and Tomato Tagliatelle
From Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers

16 ounces egg tagliatelle
1 pound fine green beans
6 plum tomatoes
2 ounces Parmesan
1 garlic clove
 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoon basil leaves

Top and tail the green beans, cook in boiling salted water until tender, then drain.

Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the juice and seeds, and chop the flesh coarsely.  Season.  Grate the Parmesan.

Peel the garlic, add to the cream, and bring to a boil.  Season.  Remove the garlic, and add the tomato, green beans, and basil.  Stir to combine.

Cook the tagliatelle in boiling salted water until al dente.  Drain, and add to the tomato and beans.  Serve with Parmesan.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vinie Keattikul: Khao Neeo Mamuang (Thai Sticky Rice with Mango)

In case you haven't noticed, Asian restaurant menus don't really include a lot of dessert.  Sugar is a limited-quantity, limited-availability kind of thing.  If you do get a dessert, it's normally a European-style cake (although this, too, normally has almost no sugar in it, which is disconcerting to say the least).  So when I was first introduced to Thai food, I didn't exactly expect to find anything appealingly sweet.  Boy, was I wrong.  This dessert, a perfect combination of sticky rice, syrupy coconut, and sweet mango, is just about my favorite thing.  I have seriously considered skipping the dinner altogether (and I'm all about some green curry) and just moving on to the finale.

Khao Neeo Mamuang (Thai Sticky Rice with Mango)
From Vinie Keattikul

2 cups sweet (glutinous) rice
2 pandan leaves (optional)
1½ cups coconut milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
¾ teaspoon sea salt
3 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced

Wash rice several times to remove starch. Cover with water in a medium bowl, and soak for at least 2-3 hours or overnight. Steam sticky rice with pandan leaves for 30 to 35 minutes.

While rice is cooking, combine 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup sugar, and salt. Cook the sauce over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. When rice is done, combine cooked rice and sauce in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Let stand for 45 minutes.

Combine remaining ½ cup coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir together over medium heat until sugar melts (or microwave for about 10 seconds to warm). To serve, scoop a mound of rice onto a dish, spoon sauce over the rice, and place sliced mango on the side.

Makes 6 servings