Seafood Alfredo 2.0

Long ago, I loved this seafood alfredo pasta dish: it was my favorite entrée at this French-Thai  restaurant on Linden Street in Allentown. I have replicated it once or twice before but, since then, sadly my paper version has disappeared. So I reviewed many recipes and used parts of several to come up with this version.  It is a budget and somewhat healthyish version (no heavy cream and minimal butter) and made quicker; no homemade pasta or crab meat. But, I think it does my memory justice and we sure enjoyed it for New Year’s Eve’s festive supper.

You could change up the seafood if you like. I sautéed my shrimp unpeeled and peeled them before putting them back in the sauce; more flavor that way. I cut the cooked big scallops in half to be the right size. I used gf pasta which doesn’t really have a true fettucine; it is about the width of linguini. Use whatever pasta you like. Use regular all purpose flour for creating the sauce if you aren’t gluten free. The secret to thickening this sauce is cream cheese. It melts into the cream sauce and vola! Thickened lush sauce but no heavy cream. My Italian friend Dan is probably shuddering at the seafood added and the lack of cream but I believe he would totally enjoy the flavors and textures of this seafood treat.

This fast snapshot does not do justice to this creamy delightful sauce and all the seafood in it.

Angie’s Seafood Alfredo for two

Ingredients

4 large sea scallops

8 large shrimps

1 Tbsp. mild olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

1 large shallot, diced fine

1 large garlic clove minced

1 small bay leaf

1 Tbsp rice flour

¾ cup whole milk or mixture of ½ cup whole milk and ¼ cup half and half [I did that]

2 ounces cream cheese cut into 4 cubes, room temp

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 small can minced clams, drained, save juice in case your sauce is too thick

½ of a 4 ounce can mushroom stems/pieces (drained)

3 Tbsp fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat a pot of water for pasta, salt it. Make the pasta (for two people) so it is timed to be ready say 12 minutes later. Melt 1 tsp of the butter with the Tbsp. of olive oil in medium sauté pan, let get hot but not smoking. Add scallops that you dried with a paper towel, add shrimps spaced out carefully so they each have room. After a minute flip the shrimp, 1- 2 minutes later carefully flip the scallops and cook them 1-3 minutes until just done. You should have taken out the shrimps as soon as their tails curl up after their flip. Put them all in a bowl. If your scallops are large cut them in half; I did. They matched the size of the shrimp better once I did that. Add rest of butter to pan and as it melts add the shallots and after a minute the garlic and bay leaf. Heat the milk in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Cook the shallots and garlic on medium heat while stirring; for a couple minutes, then add the flour; stir to incorporate it with the butter. Slowly add the hot milk to sauté pan stirring constantly. Next add the cream cheese cubes, hot pepper flakes, salt. Cook 2 minutes, add the mushrooms, clams and any clam juice you feel is needed to maintain the creamy texture. I used a tablespoon or so of it. Stir; add back seafood and then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and let it melt in as you stir it over low heat. When cheese is melted; serve over al dente pasta. I made skinny green beans and stirred a few into my sauce on my plate. Delish! Enjoy!

Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

We love fresh pasta especially stuffed pasta. The usual choice is ravioli although I sometimes make cannelloni; those long tube-shaped ones that I stuff with this same filling and bake with tomato sauce and mott cheese.  This time I made puffy ravioli well stuffed with a simple ricotta and parmesan cheese filling. The sauce was my homemade wild mushroom and cream sauce. Links of country sausage was added as a protein as well as a hearty side of steamed homegrown Romano green beans. It was a great meal. We enjoyed an excellent Riesling from Boundary Breaks Vineyard in the Finger Lakes of New York State with this meal; used some in the sauce too.

I have decided to share with you today both the pasta recipe, it’s filling and the sauce I served. This pasta dough can be formed into wide ribbons like fettuccini if you prefer.  The pasta dough is based on one from my favorite cookbook; Annalise Robert’s Classic GF cookbook: “Gluten-Free Baking Classics”. In the back she has a few items that are not so much baking but are essential recipes including this one. I upped it by half.

The sauce is a simple cream sauce. You could use baby Bella mushrooms or even plain white mushrooms. Do not use canned ones; this is definitely a recipe where the shrooms shine and canned is just unacceptable.  I used whole cream but I suppose you could use something lighter like half and half or whole milk. Nope on the skim milk folks!

Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Pasta:

1 ½ cups King Arthur basic flour blend

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

3 eggs

Put flour and gum in stand mixer bowl; blend. Add eggs. Blend 1-2 minutes until a fully formed and smooth dough is created. Wrap in plastic if you aren’t using it immediately.  Roll out in thirds, keeping rest wrapped so it doesn’t dry out. I had to hand roll this batch as my pasta machine is just acting up. I made a long thin band about 4 inches wide. Due to my machine I lost nearly a quarter of the dough; you should get 4 long bands. I ended up with 15 ravioli; if you use all the dough  you should get 20.

Cheese Filling:

5/.6 of the container of whole milk ricotta

1 large egg

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese  – Mix  the ingredients in a bowl.

I put out a bowl of water to dip my finger in. I dollop about a Tbsp. of filling every 4 inches. My favorite tool for ravioli making is a wheel that cuts zigzag points. It seals the edges perfectly. So I cut between the filing bloops and fold over the dough for each after wetting the edges with my fingertips making sure to press out from the filling to get the air out of the ravioli . Press and then recut all around except the fold using your knife or ravioli roller. You could cut the fourth edge if you like. Be sure  to have a sheet pan sprinkled liberally with flour ready to receive the ravs. Put them about an inch or two apart on the sheet. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist. 

Mushroom Sauce:

Ingredients

½-1 lb. wild or baby Bella mushrooms sliced medium wide. Not thick or thin

½ a large onion or a whole smaller one, diced small

2 garlic cloves minced

3 Tbsp butter

½ cup dry white wine; Riesling works well

½ cup veggie or chicken broth

1 big sprig or 2 smaller ones of fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water

2/3 cup heavy cream

1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Heat butter in big frying pan, add mushrooms and let them cook a few minutes; once they have shrunk a bit in size add the onion.  Cook a few more minutes until mushrooms and onion are softened. Add garlic; cook another minute. Add wine, cook 2-3 minute, add broth, cream and thyme. Simmer 5-6 minutes, do not boil or the cream may curdle. Should get thicker by half. Add cornstarch slurry and mix well. Let cook 1-2 minutes to thicken sauce.  Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over pasta and enjoy!

Cupboard Supper: Seafood Spaghetti

Spring is the season for asparagus, spring onions and peas. I love them all served together with spaghetti and garlic and lots of butter. This recipe can be made from stuff in your pantry other than the scallions. You could use red onion or shallots in place of the green onion but it wouldn’t be the same.

This is the only seafood and pasta dish where I grate cheese on top; normally taboo – considered not a good combination but it works fantastically in this fast to throw together entrée.  This meal is visually appealing with the greens and the white.  I have been making variations of it for many years.  This is one of my favorite versions.  Great flavor and so speedy to make; how fast can you get the water boiling and cook the pasta?  That is how long it takes to create a great meal in one fantastic dish.

Yes, I make it with gf pasta.  Use the brand you love, don’t overcook it; barely done is best.  I made it for years and years with regular pasta before I had to go gluten free.  The original recipe didn’t have the asparagus and peas; my addition.  Good no matter what veggies you add; just don’t take away any of the basic ingredients.

Try to use tuna packed in olive oil; makes all the difference, especially for Italian dishes, much better flavor than any other kind of tuna. Giant carries it as does Wegmans. If you totally hate tuna you could use half a pound of small cooked shrimp. Ditto on using real butter, margarine will ruin the flavor for sure.  And I really love the greens; especially the onions; buy scallions if you can’t find spring onions.  I always cook the white parts a few minutes but the green tops can be close to raw. Better that way than overcooked. Last but not least by any means, use the real deal for your parmesan cheese, that shreddy stuff in the jar is not gf a lot of the time and the flavor is sad when compared to a chunk you just grated on your pasta. You can thank me after you taste this masterpiece!

Seafood Spaghetti with Greens

Ingredients

1 package of gf spaghetti

½ stick of butter

6-10 spears of asparagus

½ cup fresh snap peas, cut in half (frozen oetite peas are fine)

1 can light tuna packed in olive oil

1 can diced clams

1 bundle scallions or spring onions

1 big garlic clove

Directions: Boil a big pot of salted water, add the entire box of spaghetti; usually 12 oz size in gf.  Cook stirring often until barely done.  Drain.  While it cooks make the rest of the dish.

Veggie Prep: I like to snap the asparagus into manageable lengths; like 1 ½ inches long.  Ditch the tough ends. Cut the peas in half, cut the spring onions into ¼ inch rounds. If using frozen peas add in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Melt 3 tbsp. of the butter in a big saucepan.  I use my mini wok. Add the veggies, cook a minute, and add the garlic pressed or minced.  Stir and cook another minute.  Throw in the white part of the onions; add the tuna and clams with ALL the juices and olive oil in the tuna can.  Stir gently and cook a minute.  Toss in the green parts of the scallions and the cooked hot pasta.  Stir a bit.  Add 1 tbsp. more butter if you dare and up to a quarter cup of pasta water to moisten the pasta.  It is really not a wet sauce; the stuff should cling to the strands of spaghetti.

Serve and top each portion with a healthy amount of finely grated real parmesan cheese.   Should serve four but if you are piggy only serves 3! seafood spagetti on plate

+++++++++++++ Variation for those with a garden +++++++++++++

Yes, you can eat kale flower buds, a lot like broccolini.  I sometimes blanch them in hot water before sauteing with olive oil and garlic.

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These pictures above show my latest and quite yummy variation: I quick sizzled unopened kale flower buds from my last year’s plants and topped the finished pasta dish with it; really nice and I am guessing this kale option is quite good for your health

Originally posted May 2015.

Aldi’s New Fresh Pasta: Perfection!

Recently I bought some of the new Aldi’s products including fresh fettuccine. I paired it with a cremini mushroom and tomato sauce and it was just perfection. The taste and texture of the pasta was spot on and I can’t wait to use the package of linguine I also purchased. The price was about $3.45 for 8 ounces. Not a bad price for fresh pasta. It has a use by date several weeks away so I am sure I will be able to enjoy it almost as fresh as if I made it myself. Don’t have time for that right now so I am super pleased with this great addition to the Aldi gluten free line. It is everything you could want in a gf fresh pasta.

This is a riff on a mushroom sauce I often make; just more simple.

mushroom linguini

Angie’s Mushroom Red Sauce with Fettuccini (3-4 servings)

 

1 8 oz package of cremini mushrooms

2-3 Tbsp. EVOL

1 medium onion diced (optional)

1 large garlic clove

1 14.5 oz can petite cut tomatoes

2-3 Tbsp heavy cream or half and half

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

8 oz fresh fettuccine

1 Tbsp fresh parsley or basil

 

Directions: Slice the mushrooms which you have cleaned; I washed mine briefly to get all the dirt and dust off. My slices were thick and meaty. Heat the EVOL in a wide saucepan. I used my mini wok. When it is fairly hot add the onion and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes until both are soft and mushrooms look fairly cooked. Add the garlic clove, minced. Stir. Add the can of tomatoes, stir well. Turn down heat and cook 10 minutes. Add cream, stir. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and then add the pasta which you have cooked according to the directions (Do not overcook pasta; always best to subtract one minute from directions to allow for a minute in sauce.) Stir well and cook one minute; top with grated cheese. Enjoy!