Summer Garden Pasta

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If you are looking for that under thirty minutes to-cook-to-table dish without compromising flavor for time, this is it. And, variations on this recipe are very easy to do. My summer garden sauce recipe is without a meat/protein in the ingredients, but feel free to add grilled sausage, chicken, or shrimp if desired. Adding fresh summer corn adds sweetness and a little texture to this fresh pasta dish.

This pasta sauce is great served warm or chilled added with a tube shaped pasta.

Chef George Hirsch Summer Pasta

George's Summer Garden Pasta

Makes four servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 pound spaghetti or linguini

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 green zucchini squash, cut into small pieces 

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine

¼ sweet onion, chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes, split in half

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

1 cup fresh green beans, split and steamed

1 ear fresh corn on the cob, steamed and removed from cob

½ cup fresh ricotta

¼ cup parmesan cheese

pasta water, variable

4 fresh basil leaves to top pasta

fresh ground pepper to taste

Note: The amount of pasta water you will need to add to sauce will depend on the quality of pasta you use and how hot your pan is when adding water to pasta. 

Pre heat a large saute pan to medium heat while waiting for water to boil. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, green squash and cook for 2-3 minutes until light brown in color. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, corn and ½ of the basil. Cook for about 5 minutes over a low heat, until the tomatoes cook down. Meanwhile, steam green beans al dente and reserve. 

Bring a large pot of water to a good rolling boil. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, reserving a small amount of pasta cooking water.

Remove saute pan from the heat and reserve. Drain the pasta, and immediately toss it into the saute pan, mix well. Immediately add the remaining olive oil to the hot pasta and blend using a large kitchen fork or tongs. Add a 1/4 - 1/2cup of pasta water and continue to mix well. Top with remaining basil.

Top with additional cheese, basil, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately with a small scoop of fresh ricotta and a basil leaf. 

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Grilled Tomato-Basil Soup

 

What better way to fire up the grill midweek by whippping up one of everyone’s comfort favorites — tomato soup. I’m not talking out of a can, but cooked on a grill. Surprised, soup on the grill? You bet. My recipe for Grilled Tomato-Basil Soup is in my Gather Round the Grill cookbook; a tasty way to start off the menu for mom with many other choices from the grill such as: Asparagus Bundles, Grilled Coho Salmon Fillets with Couscous Salad, and Fruit Parcels for dessert. 

You can choose from a wide variety of 30 menus for all occasions with over 200 recipes for year round outdoor cooking on the grill. With recipes like Florentine Chicken to Pork with Red Pepper Pesto, I am sure everyone gathering 'round your table will be pleased. Give the cookbook that keeps on giving; holiday is right around the corner!

Grilled Tomato—Basil Soup
From Gather Round the Grill, A Year of Celebrations,
by George Hirsch pg 258

4 to 5 large ripe tomatoes, grilled (page 303) and chopped
2 medium onions, thickly sliced, grilled (page 303) and chopped 
Puree from 1 head caramelized Garlic (page 302)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup tomato puree, or crushed San Marzano tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream

Combine the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a 4-quart pot and simmer 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the basil and the butter and cook until the butter melts. Add the flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, allspice, hotsauce, salt and pepper and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, pour into a food mill or use a food pulser and puree. Return to pot, bring to a boil, and add the half-and-half or cream. Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes.  

Croque-Monsieur

Think savory French toast meets toasted ham and cheese sandwich; which makes one heck of a lunch, or snack. Cut up into quarters for game day apps!

There are so many versions of this classic Parisian sandwich dating back to 1910. Classically you would use a béchamel or cream sauce over toasted bread with ham and cheese. But seriously, who makes cream sauces today, never mind for a sandwich?

Here’s my version, sans le sauce; so don't have a tizzy all you classical foodie folks! Mine version is simple, easy and well from the many empty plates I’ve seen, I report not one complaint to date!

image, Hirsch Media

Croque Monsieur

by George Hirsch | Makes two sandwiches

4 slices good quality firm textured sliced bread; I used an oatmeal bread for texture and flavor
4 slices of thin sliced good quality smoked ham
4 slices of sliced gruyere or emmental cheese, or good quality swiss
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Dijon mustard, enough to serve with sandwich

For The Batter:

2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons milk
4 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh grated black pepper

Mix eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese and pepper in a shallow bowl.

Assemble sandwiches with bread, 1 slice cheese, 1 slice ham, 1 slice cheese and top with slice of bread. Repeat for second sandwich. Press sandwiches lightly.

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pre heat a large sauté pan to medium high heat.

Add 2 Tablespoons butter to sauté pan. When butter stops sizzling add each sandwich to sauté pan. Allow to cook for one minute or until bread is nicely browned. Add additional 2 Tablespoons butter, turn and repeat on second side. Remove sandwiches to an ovenproof pan and heat in oven for five minutes. Serve immediately with Dijon.

Power Foods

Winter is a good time to literally take inventory of how many of these power foods you have on hand, restock and reminds you to incorporate them into your daily diet. I also take this as a good opportunity to go through non perishables + canned goods to give to my local food pantry.

Almonds: good fiber, protein good for your heart. Go ahead and go nuts!

Apples: Vitamin C and soluble fiber and helps keep the doctor away.

Beets: rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters; save fresh stems for salads for a double bonus.

Blueberries: big plant compounds to prevent chronic diseases. Toss in cereal and yogurt to get your day started right.

Broccoli: missed your O.J. today? Have a glass of broccoli; it’s powerhouse of calcium, potassium, folate, fiber, Vitamins A & C. 

Red Beans: excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and copper, low fat low cal source of protein and fiber. A complete meal with steamed brown rice.

Spinach: Vitamin A and C folate. Good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium iron and magnesium. Boost your immune system and keep hair and skin healthy. Seemed to work for Popeye.

Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids, aids in keeping blood from clotting, good source of protein. Need more reason, just try this tasty recipe for Cedar Planked Salmon.

Sweet Potatoes: high in antioxidant beta-carotene which can slow the aging process. Good fiber, fat free, and under 60 calories per tuber.

Swiss chard: a leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes. Sorry, the DMV still requires an eye test for drivers license even if you eat your Swiss chard.

Pumpkin seeds: the most nutritious part of the pumpkin. Full of magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death. Helpful in the dugout during a Game Day too.

Sardines: high in omega-3’s, loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. Enough said.

Turmeric: more than just a yellow color to paella, it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Wheat Germ: great boost to your immune system and cardio health. Go ahead treat yourself to an ice cream topped with wheat germ, you are doing yourself good. 

Vegetable Juice: when choosing, select a low sodium version because it’s filled with lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces risk of heart attack and prostate cancer. 

Source: 'Recipes for a Healthy Active Life', by George Hirsch, Living it UP! TV series companion cookbook

Power Pantry

Although it may not be time for spring cleaning in your pantry, winter is a good time to literally take inventory of how many of these power foods you have on hand, and more importantly incorporate into your daily diet. If I could offer you a magical way to stay looking younger, be healthier and feel great - wouldn't you take me up on it? OK, then here you go. They may seem obvious, but it's a good reminder. 

Almonds: good fiber, protein good for your heart. Go ahead and go nuts, it's good snack.

Apples: Vitamin C and soluble fiber and helps keep the doctor away. 

Beets: rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters; save fresh stems for salads for a double bonus. 

Blueberries: big plant compounds to prevent chronic diseases. Toss in cereal and yogurt to get your day started right.

Broccoli: missed your O.J. today? Have a portion of broccoli; it’s powerhouse of calcium, potassium, folate, fiber, Vitiams A & C.  

Red Beans: excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and copper, low fat low cal source of protein and fiber. It makes a complete meal with steamed brown rice.

Sardines: high in omega-3’s, loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. Enough said.

Spinach: Vit A and C folate. Good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium iron and magnesium. Boost your immune system and keep hair and skin healthy. Seemed to work for Popeye.

Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids, aids in keeping blood from clotting, good source of protein. Need more reason, just try this tasty recipe for Planked Salmon.

Sweet Potatoes: high in antioxidant beta-carotene which can slow the aging process. Good fiber, fat free, and under 60 calories per tuber. 

Swiss chard: a leafy green vegetable, packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes. Sorry, the DMV still requires an eye test for your drivers license, even if you eat your Swiss chard.

Turmeric: more than just a yellow color to paella, it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer

Pumpkin seeds: the most nutritious part of the pumpkin; full of magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for an early death, that's good. Also helpful in the dugout during a World Series Game too.

Wheat Germ: great boost to your immune system and cardio health. Go ahead treat yourself to an ice cream topped with wheat germ, you are doing yourself good. 

Vegetable Juice: when choosing, select a low sodium version; filled with lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces heart attack and prostate cancer. 

 

Source: 'Recipes for a Healthy Active Life', by George Hirsch, Living it UP! TV series companion cookbook