FOOD: LINGUINI WITH BROCCOLI RABE, GARLIC & OIL

Hello Westchester Food Finders!

I want to introduce you to one of my favorite, quick and easy meals. This one should take you under 20 minutes from start to finish and is a great combo of vegetables and pasta that will satisfy the most discerning tastes and will keep your kids coming back for more as well.

Linguini with Broccoli Rabe, Garlic, and Oil

The ingredients are few but flavorful.

Broccoli Rabe

Linguini

Garlic

Pecorino Romano Cheese

Olive Oil

Start by cutting and cleaning your broccoli rabe. You will want to cut off the bottom end of the stems as they are not really tender. Now if you have time, cut your stems individually, I tend to not have the time, so a good time saving rule is to cut the stems at the point where the packaging ends. Take look at the illustrations below.

Individual Cut

Quick and East Cut

 

Once cut, wash your vegetables.  Boil some water and drop in your broccoli rabe. You will want to boil for 3-4 minutes or until tender to the touch. Once tender, strain and place in a cool water bath. The cool water will stop the cooking process and will keep your vegetables green.

Pulling the veggies out of the boiling water allows you to reuse the water to boil your pasta and thus cut down your cooking time. Drop your pasta in the boiling water. While e the pasta is boiling, peel some garlic and slice. Fill a small pan with half a cup of olive oil on low heat and toast your garlic. The low heat will warm your oil and help infuse the flavor of the garlic without burning. Remember burnt garlic gets bitter.

Take your garlic off the heat as soon as it starts to get golden. It will get darker off the heat, so don’t overcook.

When your pasta is cooked you are less than a minute away from sitting down and enjoying your meal. Strain your pasta, toss in your broccoli rabe, and drizzle with the garlic and oil. Add some fresh pepper and cheese, and now you have a meal in minutes. You can cut some strips of grilled chicken for a lean protein, or feel free to grill some spicy sausage, cut on a bias and toss in as well for a bigger kick. If you can’t decide, try both.  I have and the dish is even more delicious!

Linguini with Broccoli Rabe, Garlic, & Oil

 

SPOT: FIG & OLIVE (SCARSDALE)

Hello Food Finders!

I want to tell you briefly about one of my favorite Westchester spots. Fig & Olive released a Pink menu to support The National Breast Cancer Foundation. They are offering  “Pink” Thursday drink specials and tasty bites from 7pm-10pm with a portion of each sale being donated to their cause.

If Thursday nights are not your thing, Fig & Olive is also offering a special pre-fixe menu featuring soup, choice of salad, an appropriate “pink” salmon, and something sweet to wrap it all up. During the month of October, their pre-fixe is $55 per person of which $10 is donated to The National Breast Cancer Foundation.  No spoilers here, find out more by visiting them at http://www.figandolive.com/

If their mouth watering menu options aren’t enough to entice you to drop in, visit often in October for their commitment to the cause.

I plan on visiting again this month with a pen and paper so that I can take notes on all their delicious offerings and report back….but don’t wait on me, go indulge yourselves!

 

 

 

SPOT: MEZZA LUNA PIZZERIA & RESTAURANT

Hello Westchester Food Finders! I am pleased to share that one of my favorite restaurants has now become one of our first sponsors.

Last week we made dinner plans with another couple at Mezza Luna on Brook Street in Eastchester. The restaurant delivered as usual. Mezza Luna is our first choice for smart casual dining, whether with friends or with the little ones. The chefs offer a wide range of appetizers, pizzas, pastas, entrees and desserts.

mz-buildingmz-sign

 

The couple we were with was hoping for a “pick at everything” kind of dinner, so we were happy to oblige. We started with an order of eggplant rollatini and a Caprese salad. The appetizers are generous portions and a wonderful warm up for the evening.

The eggplant is thinly sliced, gently fried, and stuffed with fresh well seasoned ricotta and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. This dish is topped with their in house marinara and melted mozzarella. When this dish gets to your table, you know you’ve ordered the right appetizer.

eggplant-rollatini

Eggplant Rollatini

 

The crispy eggplant and soft creamy ricotta gives you wonderful texture, and the marinara cuts the creaminess perfectly. When you order this dish, definitely have the wait staff place the warm bread on your side of the table.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

We also ordered a caprese salad. The salad was a crisp, light appetizer with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, peppers and giardiniera. All the components of the dish were lightly drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with freshly ground salt and pepper. The dish was perfect as a share, but can easily hold up as a delicious lunch option on a Saturday afternoon.

Next up we decided to share a pasta special of the day. The Gemelli alla Zia Maria were gemelli pasta tossed with smoked mozzarella, crisp asparagus, and diced tomatoes. They sauce is light, velvety, and smooth! We sprinkled it with some fresh Parmigiano and cracked pepper and we were very happy.

Gemelli Pasta

Gemelli Pasta alla Zia Maria

Keeping with the sharing spirit we split an order of grilled chicken with broccoli rabe. The dish comes with a side order of penne with house marinara or a house salad. The grilled chicken dish delivered on its promise. The dish had two large grilled and thickly slice chicken breasts on top of a bed of broccoli rabe tossed in garlic and oil. The dish is simple, and yet still perfect for those who may want a hardly meal and still have room for something sweet after dinner. Now on to dessert.

Cannoli!

Cannoli!

We were thrilled to have just enough room to order a few cannoli. This is a part of the meal where you may not want to share. We ordered two cannoli for the four of us. These cannoli are large. They are filled to order, so you are served a crispy crunchy shell stuffed with creamy, sweet ricotta filling that is restaurant made. Visit Mezza Luna for dinner, or place an order to take out. Their full menu is available for either option. They cater as well so keep them in mind for your next event.

Mezza Luna Pizzeria & Restaurant, 118 Brook St., Scarsdale, NY 10583 (914-722-4854)  http://www.mlpizzeria.com

SPOT: RED HAT ON THE RIVER, IRVINGTON

Summer spot with a view.

If you are trying to make the most of your summer make reservations for this beautiful locale. Nestled by the water in Irvington, Red Hat offers great waterfront views and dishes that will inspire you to sit and stay for a while. Great for a date night or meeting up with friends.

I recommend making reservations well in advance, especially if you are planning on visiting from 6:30 to 8:30 on a weekend. No reservations, is not necessarily a problem. Embrace the wait and take an adult beverage from the bar to the outdoor patio area and enjoy the breeze and whispers of the water spraying the rocks.

When you are able to pry yourself away from the patio, you will enjoy the trendy dining area and bountiful menu. If by land or by sea, you will be enticed to try many of the chef’s selections. We visited with another couple on a Friday night and after some time on the patio, I believe the waves motivated us to all order seafood. Here’s what we had, and as you can see all of the dishes ordered made the review, which says something about the quality of the food.

Red Hat Scallops

Red Hat Scallops

First the sea scallops. The scallops were the dish of choice for two of us. Scallops cook quickly, but cooking them just enough to get a crispy outer crunch and getting them to keep the soft non-chewy delicate center is easier said than done. Our chefs accomplished both, and infused a lemon and mild spice seasoning that was just as delicious and consistent on our first bite all the way through to the last. The mushrooms at the center of the dish complemented the scallops in both taste and texture.

Red Hat Mussels 1

Red Hat Mussels

The mussels were cooked in a velvety white wine, butter, and lemon sauce. They were excellent on their own, but irresistible when eaten with a sauce-drenched piece of bread. The herbs were both aromatic and flavorful. Be warned that if you drink white wine, you may drink more than what you are used to with this dish!

Red Hat Salmon

Red Hat Salmon

Our salmon was cooked to order and had a crispy skin and an almost drawn on looking char on top. The mustard herb vinaigrette worked well with the fresh fish and was tart enough to hold its own with the radishes and potatoes.

We passed on dessert only because our bellies were full with food, wine, and drinks. The selections are reason to go back simply for something sweet and another chance to sit by the patio. See you there!