Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tortellini and Cilantro Pesto Salad

from the American Medical Association Family Health Cookbook

1/2 cup chicken broth, plus 1/4 cup
1 oz. (about 1/4 cup) sun-dried tomatoes
1 pound refreigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 cup Cilantro Pesto (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 yellow crookneck squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 yello bell pepper; seeded and diced
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

1. Bring 1/2 cup broth to a boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the sun-dried tomatoes. Let the tomatoes stand until they are softened and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Drain off and discard any excess liquid. Thinly slice the tomatoes.
2. Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and transfer to a mixing bowl.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the cilantro pesto, remaining 1/4 cup broth, vinegar, and chili powder.
4. To serve, add the dressing, squash, bell pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes to the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Let the salad stand for at least 15 minutes or refreigerate up to 2 hours before serving at room temperature.
Nutrition Information: About 405 cals, 10g fat, 1g fiber.

Cilantro Pesto
1 cup lightly packed cilantro sprigs
1 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley sprigs
3 large garlic cloves (I use two, otherwise I taste garlic all night)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place the cilantro and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, drop in the garlic cloves and process until all ingredients are finely chopped. Add the cheese and process about 5 seconds until well blended. With the motor running, pour in the broth and oil. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until a thick, rough puree forms.
2. Use the pesto immediately, refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze up to 6 months.
Nutrition Information: about 103 cals, 9g fat, 0g fiber

Melba's Note: We LOVE this salad! As Sammie said, it goes really well with his bistecca. The chili powder gives it a southwestern kick. We actually make it without the squash and bell peppers cuz we're finicky eaters and squash is, well... squash.
The pesto is also really good for other things. We use it for mozzarella sandwiches - peasant bread, buffallo mozzarella, tomatoes, and this pesto. Yum!!
The first time we made this meal--steak and pesto salad--we had been fasting all day and were HUNGRY! Everything's better seasoned with a hearty appetite, but this really is good!

Bistecca Italiana di Sammie

1” thick cut New York Strip Steak
Brown Sugar
KC Masterpiece Steak Seasoning with Garlic
Emeril’s Italian Essence

Spread about 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar on one side of the steak. Use the back of a spoon to rub the sugar in. Sprinkle KC masterpiece Steak Seasoning onto the steak – don’t use too little or too much. Sprinkle Emeril’s Italian Essence on the steak. Turn steak over and repeat on other side. Let sit for 1-2 hours and grill on medium-low heat. Flip about every five minutes for 20 minutes or until done (I like medium rare).
Sammie's Notes:
• I’ve found that when I remove the steaks from the plate, the seasoning doesn’t stay on the side of the steak sitting on the plate. I place that side face-up on the grill and re-sprinkle both seasonings onto that side after putting them on the grill.
• I’ve tried letting these steaks sit for long periods of time after seasoning them – I didn’t like the flavor as much. For guests, I start seasoning the steaks about 2 hours before we plan on eating and I never start cooking steaks until the guests are here. Steak is best right off the grill – I seat the guests just before the steaks are finished and put the steaks on their plates straight from the grill.
• Extra special thanks to Elder Knudsen – a missionary from Arizona currently serving in State College – who taught me how to cut New York strip steaks from a cryovac and suggested I use brown sugar on the steaks. (Combining it with the other two seasonings was my idea…)
• Melba and I like to eat these steaks with a cheese tortellini pesto salad. (see next entry)

Melba's note: YUM!