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 & Arugula Pesto Stuffed Chicken


pear pesto stuffed chicken heroThis recipe takes several ingredients that one might use to make a delicious pear salad and incorporates them into a pesto-like stuffing for chicken. The filling consists of sweet pears, salty pumpkin seeds, earthy arugula, and big, crumbly chunks of dry Jack cheese. Dry Jack is simply an aged version of Monterey Jack cheese, and is sometimes described as having a butterscotch flavor. The dry Jack is an important component to the stuffing, so don’t skimp on it!

Once the chicken breasts are stuffed and in the oven they don’t need to be fussed with, so you can get to work on a side dish. The chicken would be perfect served alongside your favorite type of rice with a side of grilled or roasted vegetables.

Ingredients
3 ounces baby arugula (2 packed cups)
3 tablespoons hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted
4 ounces dry Jack cheese, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning the chicken breasts
2 small firm-ripe USA Pears, such as Anjou, small dice
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the arugula, pumpkin seeds, cheese, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt into the bowl of a food processor and process until the cheese has broken down. The mixture will be very thick – you’ll need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides a few times with a spatula. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and fold in the diced pears. Set aside while you prep the chicken.

Drizzle the chicken breasts with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season them liberally with salt. Place the chicken breasts rib-side down on a cutting board and using a sharp paring knife, cut a pocket horizontally into the thickest part of the breast. Cut as deeply and widely as you can without letting the knife come through at the sides. Stuff each pocket with approximately ¼ cup of the pesto and pear filling and secure the breasts, pocket-side up, with two pieces of butcher’s twine.

pear pesto stuffed chicken prep

Place the breasts into one or more pans so that they fit snugly and will not fall over during cooking. Transfer the stuffed chicken breasts to the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast until the chicken is fully cooked, 40-45 minutes longer.

Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully snip the butcher’s twine and remove just before serving.

Crispy Pork Cutlets with Fresh Pear Sauce

crispy_pork_cutlets_pear_sauce-046

This recipe was inspired by two classic dishes: Schnitzel, the crispy, thinly pounded cutlets so popular in Germany, and the classic all-American combination of pork, applesauce (or in this case, pear sauce), and sour cream. This recipe makes for a delicious and warming winter dinner, and it’s perfect served with a simple steamed or roasted vegetable – I highly recommend Brussels sprouts.

Ingredients
Pear Sauce
3 ripe USA Pears, such as Red Bartlett, Anjou, or Comice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Pork
4 pork cutlets, 4 – 5 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
Equal parts butter and olive oil for frying

Directions
For the pear sauce: Roughly chop two of the pears and place them into a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, and salt, and cover. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the pears have released a lot of their liquid. Once the mixture is liquidy, uncover and increase the heat to medium high. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened. Lastly, dice the remaining pear and gently stir it into the sauce. Set aside, covered, until ready to use.

For the pork: Place the pork cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them until they are ⅛-inch thick. If you don’t have a proper meat pounder, a rolling pin or an empty wine bottle will do. Once the cutlets are nice and thin, season them lightly on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside. Next, place flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs into three separate containers large enough to dip the cutlets into. To bread the cutlets, first dip in the flour, coating as evenly as possible and shaking off any excess. Then dip the floured cutlet into the egg mixture, coating both sides, and lastly into the breadcrumbs, which will stick easily to the egg. Place the cutlets aside while you prepare for frying.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add approximately equal parts butter and olive oil—just enough to coat the bottom of the pan to a depth of ⅛-inch. Fry the cutlets in the hot fat one at a time, for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. As the finished cutlets come out of the pan, transfer them to the warm oven while you cook the others. You will need to add a bit more butter and oil between each cutlet.

Sprinkle the cooked cutlets with a little more salt to finish and serve with the warm, fresh pear sauce and a spoonful of sour cream.

yield: Serves 4

Pasta con Peras y Queso

Stumped about what to have for dinner tonight?  Try this quick and easy recipe – just pick up some fresh, new season USA Pears at the store – the yellow of a ripe Bartlett and bright red Starkrimson add beautiful color to this dish from Mexico!

Pasta with Pears and Cheese

Pasta con Peras y Queso (Pasta with Pears and Cheese)

Ingredients

2 USA Bartlett pears, ripe & chopped
2 USA Starkrimson pears, ripe & chopped
6 ounces penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
½ cup cream
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
Salt, chopped onion, garlic, and olive oil as desired to season pasta while cooking

Directions

Boil the pasta in water with some salt, onion, garlic, and a little olive oil.  When the pasta is al dente, drain the water and set pasta aside.

In a skillet, melt the butter, then add the parmesan, gorgonzola, and cream. Poor the milk in slowly and still in the chicken bouillon. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce begins to boil.  Add the pasta and pears to the same skillet, mixing with the sauce and heating through, reserving some chopped pears for garnish.

Difficulty: easy
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings