The recipe begins with cooking 6 slices of chopped bacon until crisp. When done, it's removed and set aside. Next, the whole kernels of corn are added to the pan and cooked until softened then removed. As the recipe called for toasting the orzo, I didn’t wipe out the skillet as the recipe called for, but used it to help toast the pasta. Once the orzo had toasted I added 3 cups of chicken broth and one cup of water versus 2 cups of each that the recipe called for. When the orzo is done, the corn, bacon, basil and chile paste are added and salt adjusted accordingly. As I couldn’t fine either harissa or Calabrian chile paste in my local markets, I used Wegman’s Italian Cayenne Chili Pepper Flakes. To serve, I added a dollop of ricotta on top of the pasta.
My husband would have preferred the dish without the ricotta topping. Initially, the dish lacked a little oomph. More salt (I forgot to taste before serving) and red pepper flakes helped. Overall, it was good, but the flavor needs to be kicked.
The last recipe I prepared was to use up the zucchini I had on hand. I follow Deb Perelman of “Smitten Kitchen” on Instagram and I subscribe to her free newsletter. Recently I saw a recipe she had for Zucchini and Ricotta Galette. While I still had some ricotta left from the orzo recipe, I decided to put this together late yesterday afternoon. For the crust recipe you’ll need all-purpose flour, salt, a stick of unsalted butter, sour cream, fresh lemon juice and ice water. The filling needs zucchini, olive oil, fresh clove of garlic, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.
I substituted Greek yogurt, which I always have on hand, for the sour cream. Although I used a pastry blender to cut the butter in, I didn’t make the pieces small enough. I had butter melting and dripping on to the bottom of my oven. Next time I’ll use my food processor to mix the pastry for the galette.
In any event, the dough was easy enough to make as was the filling. I used my mandoline to thinly slice the zucchini, placed them on a paper towel lined platter and lightly salted to extract the excess moisture. After making the dough, it needs to chill for an hour, which gives you time to make the cheese filling and garlic oil. The filling consists of 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. I used a little more than a 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese.
Once the preliminary steps were done, it was on to rolling out the pastry. I lined a cookie sheet with a silicon mat and placed the pastry on top. Leaving a 2-inch frame, I spread the cheese and topped with the zucchini. Next, time to fold the edges over, drizzle with garlic oil and bake.
My, my what an exquisite galette. The extra ricotta cheese was a boon to the filling, the Parmesan added another layer of flavor and the garlic just enough punch to make this one delicious bite. Although I finished baking this after supper, we had to give this a try. It was outrageous; so good that my husband had a second piece. He suggested using the cheese filling and zucchini as a topping for pizza. Doesn’t that sound yummy?
Well, that’s it for last week’s creations. I do hope that you give these recipes a try. Enjoy!
Creamy One-Pot Orzo with Corn and Bacon
By Samantha Seneviratne
The New York Times/NYT Cooking
Time: 40 minutes
“In “Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook,” Joe Yonan suggests grating corn to take the kernels off and extract the delicious milky pulp from the cob. This method maximizes the amount of pure corn flavor that you can add to any dish. Here, most of the corn is grated to create a super creamy, one-pot pasta that tastes sweet and summery. Calabrian chile paste, which is usually made of chiles from the Calabria region of Italy, oil and vinegar add heat, acidity and a bit of smokiness to this dish. If you can’t find it, swap in some homemade red chile sauce or harissa.”
4 large ears corn, husked
6 ounces bacon, cut into pieces
12 ounces orzo
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup basil, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
1 to 2tablespoons Calabrian chile paste (or harissa or homemade chile sauce), to taste
1cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, for serving
Donna’s Notes: I used one 16-ounce box of orzo without changing the quantity of liquid. I used the back side of a chef’s knife to scrape off the corn liquid.
Zucchini and Ricotta Galette
By Deb Perelman
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.
Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.