Thursday, December 16, 2010

0 Recipe #217: Savory Stelline with Fresh Herbs & Sun-dried Tomatoes

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Stelline are miniature, star-shaped pasta that can incorporated into dishes in many different ways. They can be used much in the same way as couscous or orzo, i.e., as one of the ingredients in a rice pilaf or other side dish. Alternatively they can be added to soups (as in this recently-added recipe), or eaten as a main dish, perhaps with some Parmigiano-Reggiano & other complementary ingredients.

I made this recipe as an accompaniment to tonight's dinner, a Mediterranean-style chicken dish, which I'll be posting next. :)


Savory Stelline with Fresh Herbs & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:
4 c. water (for boiling pasta)
1/2 c. dry, uncooked stelline (mini star-shaped pasta)
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic, peeled & finely minced (about 2 large cloves)
1 large, fresh bay leaf
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely minced & tightly packed
2 tsp. fresh oregano leaves, finely minced & tightly packed
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced & tightly packed
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste (3/16 tsp. is actually the perfect amount)*
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
3 Tbsp. scallions, sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds (about 2 large scallions)
2 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes (i.e., the kind that's not packed in oil), diced
1 tsp. fresh mint leaves, finely minced & tightly packed

Directions: Bring a pot of lightly salted water, seasoned with a drop of olive oil, to a rolling boil, about 8 minutes. Add pasta & cook until al dente, according to package instructions. (Barilla's stelline takes 7 minutes to cook.) When ready, drain into a colander, fluff with a fork, & set aside.

After the pasta's been cooking for about 3 minutes, sauté the garlic, bay leaf, parsley, oregano, rosemary in olive oil on low heat in a large (12-13") sauté pan for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze with white wine, then pour in the drained pasta, stirring frequently. When liquid has almost completely evaporated, remove from heat. Season with salt & pepper, stir in scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, & fresh mint, & gently fluff. Discard bay leaf. Cover pasta & let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm.

Yield: 3-4 servings as a side dish, 1-2 servings as a main course.

Chef's Notes: *If you don't have a 1/16 tsp. measure, just fill the 1/8 tsp. only half way. ;) Speaking of which, I got a fantastic set of measuring spoons & cups at Amazon.com several months back. The measuring spoons go from 1/32 tsp. (a "smidgen") up to 1 Tbsp., and the measuring cups go from 1/8 c. to 2 c. I highly recommend them. They're SO useful & now that I have them, I can't imagine cooking or baking without them! They're well-made but only cost a few bucks (around $6). Not bad for a 19-piece set, eh?! Since I cook so much, I must confess that I bought multiple sets for when the other ones are in the dishwasher. ;) It's such a small investment but it really does help. Good measuring spoons are an essential kitchen tool that every cook should have!

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