It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
I absolutely love this pasta dish from Noble Pig. The ingredients are quite simple–pasta, either fresh or frozen, summer squash and bit of cheese and cream. But when these ingredients are pulled all together the results are truly delicious. The secret is the combination of cream and parmesan cheese combined with bright and tangy lemon zest. It is unexpected yet so welcome. And as an added bonus you truly get a balanced meal in a single dish thanks in part to a generous amount of squash. What a perfect end of the week meal. Enjoy!
CREAMY RAVIOLI w/ SQUASH, LEMON & CHIVES
16 to 18 ounces cheese ravioli
1 Tablespoon olive
1 shallot, chopped
3 summer squash (zucchini and/or yellow squash; about 1-1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the squash and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to the skillet.
- Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the cream and lemon zest and cook until the vegetables are tender and the cream is slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the squash mixture, grated cheese and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water to the cooked ravioli and toss gently to coat. Add additional reserved water if the sauce is too dry.
- Serve sprinkled with the chives.
Some foods are just fun; thus the case with these finger noodles from The Food Republic. These fried strips of golden potato goodness are essentially chive mashed potatoes that are shaped and sauteed in butter until crispy. Sounds good right? Yes….and even my potato adverse five year old agrees.
I love mashed potatoes but sometimes you want something a bit different to accompany your grilled meat. When that is the case I turn to these. The recipe calls for chives but you can also use parsley, basil or whatever fresh herb you prefer. Because they taste best fresh from the pan, you can roll the fingers ahead of time, cover and refrigerate then saute them up right before serving.
And here’s an added tip: feel free to drop the whole potatoes with their skin on into a pot of boiling water to cook. Once they are fork tender, allow them to cool slightly then the skins will pop right off. It is so much easier than peeling them before cooking.
1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes
1 bunch chives, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt the water. Boil the potatoes whole, with skins on, until fork-tender, 35-40 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and pass through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl. You want to have 3 1/2 cups of riced potatoes.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg and stir in the chives.
- Stir the egg mixture into the potatoes, sprinkle in the flour and 1 teaspoon salt, and mix to form a dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for about 1 minute to develop the gluten. It will feel fairly soft.
- Divide the dough into 4 even pieces, cut each piece into eighths, and then pinch each piece in half.
- Flour your hands and roll each piece into a 4-inch noodle, kind of like rolling Play-Doh. Each one will look sort of like a slug, a little fatter in the middle than on the ends. Y
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat until the foam subsides and it starts to smell nutty and get golden brown.
- Working in batches, add the finger noodles so they are not crowded and sauté until all sides are browned.
- Add more butter to the pan as needed between batches. Transfer the noodles to a paper-towel-lined plate, and serve once the excess butter has drained.
Yields: Approximately 80 noodles