Seems like forever since I've been able to kick-back and do one of my favorite things: cook. So on this gorgeous day (the sky is blinding blue, and the temps are in the mid 60s)--the first day in who knows how long when I didn't have to write--I opened the windows and doors, cranked Norah Jones ... and cooked (thank you, Giada [both recipes are hers]). And cooked. And sipped (thank you, Messina Hof). And cooked. And celebrated (thank you, God).
penne with treviso and goat cheese (4 to 6 servings)
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved
1 poind treviso (or radicchio [I used radicchio]), chopped (about 4 cups)
3 packed cups (5 ounces) baby spinach
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
The pre-(during)cooking toast --
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Remove the garlic and discard.
Add the treviso/radicchio, spinach, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until the treviso and spinach wilt, 6 to 8 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and Parmesan cheese to the skillet. Toss well, thinning out the sauce with little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt, if needed.
Transfer the penne to serving bowls. Top each portion with the crumbled goat cheese and garnish with basil before serving.
But wait ... there's more ....
raspberry pound cake with vin santo cream (4 to 6 servings)
~ pound cake ~
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpoe flour, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, lightly mashed
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
~ vin santo cream ~
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablesppons vin santo or Moscato wine [I used Moscato]
Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine.
Place 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture in a small bowl. Add the mashed raspberries and gently toss until coated (the mixture may clump).
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, mixing until just incorporated. Gently fold in the raspberries with a rubber spatula.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the vin santo/Moscato cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until it hold soft peaks. Add the vanilla extract, confectioners' sugar, and vin santo/Moscato. Continue to whip until the cream holds stiff peaks.
Transfer the pound cake to a serving platter. Slice and serve with a dollop of vin santo cream.