Best Veggie Pasta Ever

If I do say so myself. Inspired after watching favorite Lidia Bastianich’s Saturday show. Yet, I didn’t want meat or fish in the dish. A bright balance of ingredients came together just as I tasted them in my mind. A perfect supper with Frog’s Leap Zin. A little sauce dominates the taste.

Make spaghetti as directed. Half a DeCecco box for 2. Meanwhile, drain and chop a can of Cento whole Italian tomatoes. Chop 10 Crimini mushrooms into quarters. Chop 14 Kalamata olives. Chiffonade 20 fresh basil leaves and julienne half a lemon peel (no pulp). Mince 2 cloves garlic. Drain 1 tbs. capers.

In a heavy cast iron fry pan, brown the mushrooms in olive oil. Add ground black pepper, dried oregano and thyme, to taste; half the minced garlic. Deglaze with a quarter cup of the Zinfandel. Add the chopped tomatoes, olives and capers. Stir and heat for a couple of minutes only. Should stay chunky.

Stir the drained pasta with a little butter and pepperoncini flakes, rest of minced garlic. Serve in bowls. Spoon sauce on top of the pasta, then finish with the fresh basil and lemon peel. Amounts of ingredients need to be balanced so that none of the tastes overwhelm others. Basil and lemon shine.

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Strahl Brisket Season

It’s that time again. This year, the butcher gave us 6 lbs. of way too lean meat. No fat cap. A challenge. After preparing it the usual way, we added a bit of olive oil to preserve richness and moisture necessary. Dr.Husband (a Strahl) had the ingenious notion. Everyone raved. So…

6 lb. first cut fresh brisket of beef. Serves about 10-ish. It really does shrink. In a dutch oven, brown brisket well on both sides to sear. Take out and place on dish. Brown at least 4 large sliced onions, the more the better. Put the brisket back into the pan and season with generous amount of paprika, pepper, garlic powder, salt. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Take out of oven and pour 16 oz. canned tomato sauce over the meat. Bake at 350 degrees tightly covered for another hour. Uncover and add 1-2 cups sweet Jewish or another fruity red wine. I usually just show the Jewish wine to the meat, then use a good fruity pinot noir, so I can sip it while the meat cooks forever. Bake at 350 degrees covered for another hour.

Uncover and take out the pot roast. Let cool. Then, cut pieces against the grain. Put sliced meat back into the pot and make sure it is covered with liquid, add chicken broth if necessary. Cover and continue to bake at least another hour until tender. Let cool to room temperature. Drizzle olive oil over the meat and refrigerate until ready to eat. Best heated up the next day.

Serve with hot horseradish and potato latkes.