Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond
By Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox
Hardcover, 384 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
List Price: $35
Makes 6 servings
This is a pasta dish comprised almost completely of basic winter ingredients. It is creamy and rich, so small portions are best.
1 T unsalted butter
3/4 C chopped walnuts
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 small head red cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), cored and very thinly sliced
(Daniel Zwerdling note: a lot of people, including me, call it "purple cabbage" instead.)
1 t fine sea salt
1 C heavy cream (DZ note: Sara told NPR you can skip the cream and it will still be delicious)
1 C water
1 pound bucatini or spaghetti (DZ note: Sara made this dish for us with bucatini, which are like thick, hollow spaghetti. The noodles are nice and strong, so they hold up well with this dish)
2 C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (DZ note: Sara made this dish for us using 1 C of toasted seasoned bread crumbs — see separate recipe below — instead of the cheese.)
Coarsely ground black pepper
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add walnuts and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until nuts are toasted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Line a plate with paper towels. Add oil and bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered from bacon, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
Increase heat under pan to medium-high. Add a large handful of cabbage and 1 t salt and cook, stirring, until cabbage is wilted and you have room in skillet to add more. Continue adding cabbage in batches and cooking until it is all wilted. Then cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender and lightly browned around edges, about 10 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add cream and walnut mixture to cabbage, and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 C water and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add remaining 1/2 C water and bring to a gentle simmer; then reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce is thick and flavors are well blended, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon and remove from heat.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and immediately toss with cabbage sauce. Add half of cheese and toss; add remaining cheese and toss once more (or toss with bread crumbs instead of any cheese). Season generously with pepper, and serve at once.
Toasted Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Makes 3 C
These keep well in the freezer. I like to make a batch often so that I always have them on hand.
NOTE: To make homemade bread crumbs, tear or cut a fresh or day-old loaf of bread in 2-inch pieces and spread them on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees, tossing occasionally, until lightly toasted and dried, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then break into smaller pieces. Place in a resealable bag and crush with your hands for coarse crumbs, or buzz in a food processor for finer crumbs.
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 C chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 medium dried red chilies, crumbled
3 C coarse fresh bread crumbs
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until just lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add parsley and chilies, and stir together.
Add bread crumbs, return skillet to heat, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring constantly, until crumbs are crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Excerpted from Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Copyright 2008 by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.