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.
I love scones but they tend to be an overlooked breakfast item in my house. I will always select one when I am at a bakery yet at home, when it comes to making a breakfast treat, I am more apt to decide to make muffins. I’m not sure why because scones are so easy and often faster to make than muffins. They are tender and flakey and in many respects combine the best of a biscuit and a muffin. Simply put, they are so good. That said, I really need to make them more often.
And what better way to start making scones than with this so easy and tasty recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen. These scones are tender and filled with juicy blueberries. A generous dose of lemon zest brightens the berries and makes these the perfect way to start off your day. So pop them in the oven and before your coffee is brewed, they will be done. Enjoy!
2 cups all purpose flour
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for finishing
- Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, lemon zest, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the cold butter and using a pastry blender, work it into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas.
- Stir in the blueberries and the milk, mixing only until large clumps form.
- Use your hands to reach inside the bowl and knead the mixture into one mass. Do this quickly, kneading the dough as little as possible in order to make it come together.
- Transfer dough to a well-floured counter and pat into a roughly 1-inch tall disc.
- Cut into 8 to 10 wedges.
- Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart.
- Brush the tops of each with egg, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until scones are golden brown on top. Serve warm.
I”m not a fan of deep fat frying food but I do love ricotta cheese. So when I saw this recipe for ricotta fritters on the Food 52 website, I knew I was going to have to break out my oil. And oh my goodness, I am so glad I did.
The fritters themselves are so ridiculously easy with the batter being essentially ricotta cheese with a bit of flour and citrus zest for flavoring. To save on time you can start heating your oil before you begin mixing up the batter. The key to non-greasy fried food is to make sure your oil is hot before you begin the cooking process. Take the extra time to allow the oil to come to the proper temperature and you too can have crispy ricotta fritters in no time.
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Marsala wine
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Vegetable oil for frying
- Mix all of ingredients, with the exception of the oil, in a large bowl, beating well until fully combined.
- Place a small saucepan over low heat and add enough oil for the fritters to float in. Test the heat by dropping a cube of bread. Small bubbles should immediately appear around the edges of the bread.
- Using 2 tablespoons, drop tablespoon-sized blobs of the ricotta mixture into the hot oil, and fry until evenly golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes, turning them with a skewer to ensure that they cook on all sides. You can cook multiple fritters at once but do not crowd the pan.
- You can fry several at a time, but don’t overcrowd the pan or the temperature will drop too much.
- Drain on paper towels and, while still hot, roll the fritters in extra sugar to coat. Serve warm or cold.
Yields 16-18 fritters