23 February 2010

Does it Get Any Better? Funny Curtis Stones Healthy Pasta, Chocolate Recipes

From Denny: Yesterday actually got warm that it felt like Spring finally arrived. It was up to almost 70 degrees F.! Woo! Hoo! Today? The sun went to sleep and it's cloudy and chilly again, down to the low 40's. Yesterday I was thinking about summer food. Today? It's definitely pasta! :) There is something about how pasta and chocolate belong on the same blog...

I found this little gem of a recipe from Australian hunk Chef Curtis Stone. This time of year we still have access to butternut squash in the grocery aisles. Yellow, orange and red vegetables are extremely important during cold weather for immune system support. What better way to feed our immune systems than to have a wonderful plate of comforting pasta? The pasta recipe can be made with veggie stock to make it vegetarian if you prefer.

Here are some of the benefits of including butternut squash into your diet:

* low in fat and high in fiber it is heart healthy

* good amounts of potassium which is important to bone health

* good amounts of vitamin B6 which is important for nervous and immune system health

* very high levels of beta-carotene (your body automatically converts to vitamin A) good for protecting against heart disease, breast cancer, eye disease like macular degeneration which is age related

* 1 cup serving of this vegetable and you get half the daily amount of vitamin C

* high in anti-oxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties which is good to combat a wide range of diseases and illnesses.

Nutrition Breakdown of Butternut Squash

Per 1 cup cooked, approximately 205 grams

Calories: 82 k cal
Fat: 0.2 g
Vitamin A: 1,144 mcg = 163 percent* of DRI**
Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg = 20 percent of DRI
Vitamin C: 31 mg = 41 percent of DRI
Folate: 39 mcg = 10 percent of DRI
Potassium: 582 mg = 12 percent of DRI

* Percentages are for women 31 to 50 years old who are not pregnant
** DRI, Dietary Reference Intake, is based on National Academy of Sciences' Dietary Reference Intakes, 1997 to 2004

Oh, and did I happen to mention he also supplied a wonderful chocolate dessert recipe? Oh, yeah!

Recipes Featured:

Vegetable fettuccine with butternut squash and white wine sauce
Orange and dark chocolate mousse

This video is funnier than most demonstration food videos. Chef Stone is a bit hung over from hanging out at a New York nightclub with a best friend celebrating a happy life event. The two female hosts keep ribbing him, getting him off balance and off topic from the demo, so that the demo starts to look like a completely sloppy disasterous comedy improv. Of course, he throws in Chinese Snow Peas because they have him so rattled he thinks it was a bowl of green onions. It's cute; take a look:

Vegetable Fettuccine with Butternut Squash and White Wine Sauce

Chef Curtis Stone

Serves: 4


For the sauce:

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 onion, roughly diced
• 1 clove garlic, chopped rough
• 2 cups diced butternut squash, skin removed
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock

For the pasta:

• 1 pound fettuccine noodles
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 onion, julienned
• 1 leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise and cut across into thin ribbons
• 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
• 1 small fennel bulb, julienned
• 1 cup snow peas, ends trimmed and cut in half diagonally
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 4 tablespoons whole butter, small diced
• 1 small block of Parmesan Reggiano, for grating
• 1/4 cup chopped chives


Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

Add the oil and sweat the onion for 2 minutes, stirring often, then add the garlic and the squash and saute for 1 minute.

Add the white wine to the pan and allow to reduce by half, then add the chicken stock.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.

Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the squash has become soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and puree the squash with the cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. If the puree is too thick, thin out with a little water.

Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer, season to taste with salt and pepper and reserve.

While the squash is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Once the puree is made, add the pasta to the water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat.

Add the oil to the pan and sweat the onions and leek for 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add the garlic and fennel to the pan and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes.

Add the snow peas and the wine and allow the wine to reduce by half, then add the sauce to the pan and mix well.

Strain the pasta into a colander set in the sink, then add the drained pasta to the pan of vegetables and sauce.

Add the butter and, using a pair of tongs, toss well to mix and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Using a two-pronged meat carving fork, swirl a quarter of the pasta onto the fork and mound the pasta onto the center of a warm pasta bowl in a spiral shape, then repeat with remaining pasta and bowls.

Spoon the remaining vegetables from the pan evenly over the pasta in the 4 serving bowls.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave some Parmesan onto each bowl of pasta and garnish with the fresh chives.

Orange and dark chocolate mousse

Chef Curtis Stone

Serves: 4


• 2 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• Zest of 2 oranges (grated with a fine rasp grater such as a Microplane)
• 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup sugar


Place the yolks, orange juice and the sugar into a medium mixing bowl set over a small pot of simmering water.

Whisk continuously for 10 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl often until the liquid has become thick and tripled in size. It will look light and airy and have a foamy texture.

Remove the liquid from the heat and allow to cool to almost room temperature, whisking it every couple of minutes to keep the airiness in the liquid.

Whisk the cream in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form, reserve.

Place the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl set over the small pot of simmering water until the chocolate melts, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to ensure the chocolate has melted evenly.

Once the chocolate has melted, add the remaining ½ cup of cream and mix well over the heat. Once incorporated, add the orange zest and mix well.

Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and allow to cool slightly, it should just be warm to the touch.

Slowly fold the chocolate into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula until it is completely incorporated. Slowly fold the orange and egg yolk mixture into the chocolate and cream until a uniform mixture is achieved. This will take a few minutes and at first the mixture will be a little loose, but once all of the ingredients are fully incorporated the mixture will be light and airy like a liquid mousse.

Gently spoon the mixture into 4 individual glasses or ramekins and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours.

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepot and cook over medium heat, allow the syrup to simmer for 1 minute then add the orange zest to the mixture and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the orange zest is tender and the syrup has thickened slightly, then transfer the orange zest and syrup to a bowl set over ice to cool completely.

Once cool, remove the zest from the syrup and reserve. Syrup can be saved for another use such as sweetening iced tea, or discarded.

To serve, remove the parfait from the freezer. Place a small pinch of the candied orange zest over the top of each parfait and serve.

*** THANKS for visiting, come back often, feel welcome to drop a comment or opinion, a big shout out to awesome current subscribers - and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain