I enjoy Nordstrom’s Cafe. For years my daughter and I, or my friends and I, would lunch at Nordstrom Cafe. Just so happens last week when we were mother-of-the-bride dress shopping we had lunch there and what was staring at us – a new cookbook. Well, we had time and that front cover was a great enticement to open it.
I’m somewhat of a cookbook lover but only if I’ll use what’s in it. My requirements are that pictures be accompanied by the recipe because I would like to see what I’m trying to create. I also peruse to make sure I’m not purchasing something that I have a lot of already. So it takes a while to go through the book before I purchase.
I broke my rule of pictures because this book doesn’t have all the pictures but it does have a lot of pictures of recipes. I actually made one of them last week and it turned out well. (after a recipe rewrite to lower fat and calories.)
Many of the recipes in the book require Simple Roasted Garlic which they give you a recipe to make it. So I did. WOW the house was pungent. NOT KIDDING. I wanted to make their Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Fresh Mozzarella recipe using the roasted garlic instead of the fresh but also to use up a delicious pasta sauce a very good fireman friend and his wife shared with me – it’s really good!
So let’s start with the roasted garlic. It couldn’t be easier! The recipe of course says peel your garlic etc., well, skip that. Just go to your local store and purchase the already peeled garlic. Caputo’s has it in the organic section in a #1 container. You get 30 cloves to a container and you need two containers. I take the Sandra Lee theory of semi-homemade when I can.
Simple Roasted Garlic
- 4 large heads garlic, or 60 peeled garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon restaurant black pepper
- ½ cup water
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Place the garlic in a single layer in a small baking dish. Drizzle the olive oils and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Add ½ cup of water. Cover with foil.
Roast for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the foil carefully as there’s a lot of steam in the roasting pan. Place the garlic back in the oven without the foil cover for 10 more minutes or until the garlic is golden brown and tops are dry.
Remove the garlic. Let the garlic cool. Mash the garlic well with a fork or potato masher. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (I think longer).
This next recipe I really modified because I had many ingredients already prepared and had to use up soon. My firefighter friend and his wife make pasta sauce that is delicious. She stopped by last week with a big container of it. The sauce is delicious and feeds many firefighters. Plus, I wanted to try the roasted garlic instead of fresh garlic. I made only half of this recipe. (So it could be for 2 people instead of a family of four) It was really good.
Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Fresh Mozzarella
Garlic Tomato Sauce
- 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) plum tomatoes in tomato puree, preferably San Marzano (I haven’t been able to find the brand.)
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons extra light virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, shopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound spinach, stemmed, well rinsed but not dried, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes (I used packaged shredded mozzarella)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- ½ cup (2 oz) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
I cut this recipe in half. I used prepared pasta sauce.
Preheat the oven to 350°. I used a 10” Pyrex pie pan prepared with Pam.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, (or 1 teaspoon of the roasted garlic) for 1 minutes. Add the spinach in bunches letting it wilt before you add the next batch. ( In mine this is where I added 1 cup of the pasta sauce and heated through.) Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to directions until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the cooking time recommended on the package. Drain the pasta. Add to your spinach mixture. Then add your sauce. Add your mozzarella.
Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Add more sauce if needed. Bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 5.
Makings for a fabulous dinner.