Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Pears, Radicchio, and Brown Butter

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Pears, Radicchio, and Brown Butter

Here is a simple weeknight pasta dish full of fall’s flavors and colors. The sweetness of the ripe pears plays wonderfully together with the bitterness of the radicchio. Adding tangy, rich Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (get the real stuff for this recipe!) takes the dish to a whole new level. Serve this pasta as a meal in and of itself, or use it as a side dish for a simple roasted chicken.

Ingredients
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons salted butter
1 head radicchio, cored and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 ripe USA Pears, such as Green Bartlett or Starkrimson, sliced
⅓ cup chopped hazelnuts
3 ounces (about 1 cup very loosely packed) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions
Place the pasta water on to boil, adding 1 tablespoon of salt to the cooking water. Once the water boils, add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions. In the meantime, place the butter in a wide sauté pan over medium heat. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until the butter is beginning to brown lightly and become fragrant. Add the radicchio to the browned butter and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until wilted. Turn off the heat and add the sliced pears, gently stirring to combine.

When the pasta is done to your liking, drain it in a colander. Add the hot pasta to the sauté pan with the sauce and toss with tongs to combine. Transfer to a bowl or platter and garnish with the cheese and hazelnuts.

prep time: 20 minutes
yield: 4 entree-sized servings

Pear and Red Potato Gratin

Pear Potato Gratin

This savory pairing of Pacific Northwest potatoes and pears makes a great side dish for roast pork or barbecued chicken. For a reduced fat approach, substitute chicken stock for half the cream.

Ingredients
2 pounds Anjou USA Pears, cored
2 pounds Northwest-grown red potatoes
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
½ cup Rogue Creamery Oregonzola or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Directions
Thinly slice pears into rings using a mandoline or knife. Slice potatoes to the same thickness as pears.

In a saucepan, mix seasonings together with cream and carefully bring to a brief boil.

Layer a third of the potato and pear slices in the bottom of a 10 x 2 round baking dish, alternating pears and potatoes. Sprinkle ⅓ of the Gruyere and Oregonzola on potatoes and pears. Repeat layers until complete. Pour cream sauce atop.

Cover baking dish with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Remove foil and bake until golden brown and bubbly. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

yield: Serves 8

Pear, Roasted Carrot, and Ginger Quinoa Pilaf

pear quinoa pilaf

Fall is in the air, and all types of fresh pears are arriving at local grocers. This pear and quinoa pilaf makes a healthy and filling side dish or lunch. I love finding new ways to use quinoa, and roasted carrots and ginger make a wonderful savory contrast to the honey sweetness of the pears in this dish. Try this recipe with small and colorful Seckels if you can find them, but if not, any firm-ripe pear will do!

Ingredients
2 cups multicolored carrots, medium dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 ¼ cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
Half an orange, zest and juice
6 firm-ripe Seckel USA Pears (or substitute 2 large pears), sliced or diced
¼ cup roasted and salted pistachios
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the diced carrots in a small baking dish and toss with the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned on the edges. While the carrots roast, place the quinoa, broth, and ginger into a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 8 – 11 minutes, or until quinoa is just tender. Uncover and allow any extra liquid to evaporate, stirring often. Remove the quinoa from the heat.

When the carrots come out of the oven, stir them into the quinoa along with all of the remaining oil from the roasting pan. Add the zest and juice from the orange half, the pear slices, and the pistachios. Stir together gently and season to taste. Serve the pilaf warm or allow to cool—the combination is wonderful served at room temperature as well.

prep time: 30 minutes
yield: 6 servings

Pear, Fig, and Salami Salad

pear fig salami salad

This salad of pears, figs, greens, salami, and cheese is full of subtle flavors that celebrate transition from summer to fall in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy it with simple pork chops cooked on the grill or a lovely fillet of roasted salmon.

Ingredients
Dressing
¼ cup fresh orange juice (from about half an orange)
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon toasted almond oil
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salad
4 cups baby arugula, packed
2 heads Belgian endive, halved lengthwise and sliced into ½ inch strips
10 – 12 fresh figs, halved or quartered
2 ripe USA Pears, such as Red Bartlett or Starkrimson, sliced
3 oz. mild salami, cut into ¼ inch cubes (or salami slices, cut into strips)
¼ cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

Directions
For the dressing: Combine the first four ingredients in a blender. Combine both the oils in a measuring cup and with the blender running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify the dressing. Set aside until ready to use.

For the salad: In a large bowl, combine the arugula and sliced endive and toss with about ⅔ of the dressing. Transfer the greens to a platter and place the figs and pears decoratively on and around the greens. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the fruit. Top the salad with the salami, followed by the crumbled cheese.

prep time: 20 minutes
yield: 4 – 6 servings

Pear and Pineapple Green Smoothie

Pear and Pineapple Green Smoothie sm

Looking for a smoothie that combines both fruits and vegetables and still tastes delicious? Look no further! This recipe includes a full cup of spinach and several sprigs of brightly-flavored cilantro. These flavors are balanced by the honey-sweetness of pear and the tanginess of pineapple. Add refreshing coconut water as a base, and you’ve created the perfect green smoothie.

Ingredients
1 ripe USA Pear, such as Anjou, Bartlett, Concorde, or Comice, cored and cut into large chunks
1 ½ cups cubed pineapple
1 packed cup spinach
10-12 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 cup cold coconut water

Directions
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and puree at high speed until smooth.

prep time: 5 minutes
yield: 2 servings

Pear Bread with Brown Butter and Cardamom

Pear Bread with Butter and Cardamom

Got ripe pears? This pear bread recipe is simple to make and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. The loaf is lightly spiced with cardamom and made moist and sweet with the addition of two ripe USA Pears. Browning the butter in a small saucepan before mixing up the batter gives this bread a wonderfully nutty flavor. Enjoy it as an easy breakfast, pack it into lunchboxes, or have a slice with a cup of afternoon tea.

Ingredients
¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ripe USA Pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett
1 ⅔ cups all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Directions
Place the butter into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter begins to sizzle, cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter has taken on a golden brown color and smells nutty. Remove the pan from the heat and set the brown butter aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan by greasing it with butter and dusting it with flour. In a medium bowl, combine the brown butter and sugar and stir well to thoroughly combine. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix. Grate the pears on the large holes of a box grater and add them to the wet ingredients as well.

In a second small bowl, combine the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold together gently just until the flour is moistened – do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the pear bread for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan.

Autumn Concorde Pear Salad

Concorde Pear Salad

This salad, created by Chef Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant in Boston, spotlights the distinct vanilla flavor in Concorde pears against savory fennel and celery root to refresh the tried-and-true combo of greens, nuts, and cheese.

Ingredients
Vinaigrette
¼ cup moscato vinegar or champagne vinegar
1-½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ shallot, finely minced
¾ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salad
2 Concorde USA Pears, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
½ small celery root, peeled, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 head endive, halved, then cut in ¼-inch thick slices on bias
1 cup watercress
¼ cup blue cheese
¼ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Whisk the vinegar, mustard and shallot together. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Gently toss the sliced celery root and fennel with the endive. Add the sliced pears and watercress and gently toss again, to evenly distribute the ingredients. Crumble the blue cheese over the top, add the walnuts and ¼ cup of vinaigrette and toss gently to coat all of the ingredients.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide between 6–8 plates and serve immediately.

yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Summer Showdown!

As the summer months come to a close and fall is on the horizon, it’s back to school! This August marks the inaugural year of Kids Eat Right Month from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The idea is that as summer draws to a close and kids head back to the classroom, we need to focus on healthful eating and an active lifestyle. In light of the obesity epidemic and what this suggests for the future, the campaign focuses on children, but it’s a healthy reminder for all of us!

USA Pears MerchandiseWe all need to shop smart, cook healthfully, and eat well. I start with fruits and vegetables; they are at the core of every meal and snack I have. My tricks are easy for busy adults and kids! On weekends I shop and pre-package my fruits and veggies, so I can just grab and go during the week. This means tossing salad mix into containers; dicing, slicing, and bagging veggies; placing fruit in easy-to-reach spots; and pre-portioning dips, sauces, and dressings. Then, I can just grab some carrots or pepper slices and a dip—hummus or peanut butter being my favorites—and throw a pear in a pear packer. Even if I’m in a rush, I already have these handy and won’t stray to the vending machine in a stressful pinch! This is also key for busy moms – throwing together a healthy lunch your kid will love requires a very small amount of prep. Start fall with health in mind, and good health will follow!

Pear, Hoisin, and Sesame Glazed Beef

Pear and Sesame-Glazed Beef

This recipe is a riff on classic Korean barbecued ribs. Pears provide most of the sweetness for the marinade, with the toasty flavor of sesame oil and a hint of savory garlic coming through. If you can’t find cross cut ribs, this sauce is equally delicious on beef or pork kabobs. After marinating, grill these beauties over a hot fire and serve with steamed rice and a side of kimchi or a simple cucumber salad seasoned with rice vinegar.

Ingredients
12 beef ribs, kalbi-style (sliced across the bone)
¼ cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons mirin
2 ripe USA Pears, such as Bartlett or Bosc, quartered and cored
3 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 medium clove garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
For garnish
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions
Wash the ribs in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place into a large, shallow baking dish in a single layer. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Pour the marinade over the ribs, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for between 4 and 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook the ribs, preheat your grill to medium high. Cook the ribs for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, or until they are nicely grill-marked and cooked through. Transfer the ribs to a platter and sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds.

prep time: 25 minutes plus marinating time
yield: 4 – 6 servings

Find Your Farmer

fruits and veggies

Summer is the perfect time to find fresh fruits and vegetables, including some you may have never tried! Farmers’ Markets are in full swing, and the abundance of summer produce may surprise you. Along with fruits and vegetables, many markets also offer local meats, eggs, cream and butter, honey, flowers, spices and herbs – along with products distinctive to your area! What’s nice about going to a local market is these ingredients are in season and at their ripest, meaning most delicious and bursting with nutrients; plus, you can find fresh ideas to inspire your staples. For instance, I always have lettuce on hand – romaine, arugula, maché – and with all the fresh produce available, I’m able to come up with fresh, new ideas! This weekend, I made a salad with fresh arugula, prosciutto, lemon, sliced grapes and pears, shaved parmesan, and a splash of olive oil…  So light and refreshing! Tonight’s dinner includes fresh squash on the grill drizzled with locally harvested honey and topped with grilled pear and melon slices – delicious!

Interested in seeing what your local farmer has? Check out these links for ideas!

http://www.localharvest.org/

http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/