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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Green Peas

Basil Pesto Risotto

Marc J. Sievers

Risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods, and is probably one of the most versatile things you can make at home.  The base is always Arborio rice—an Italian short grain rice with a creamy and chewy texture—and brought to life with stock and other fresh ingredients.  If in your pantry you have Arborio rice, fresh herbs, left over vegetables (raw or cooked), and a bit of stock or broth, then an easy and cozy dinner can be ready in under 30 minutes (I love that!).  This would also make a fabulous side dish when paired with something like Crispy Eggplant - Oven Style.  

For my Basil Pesto Risotto, I chose to make a version of homemade pesto, swapping out some of the olive oil for heavy cream.  Using all oil made the finished dish too oily, but the addition of heavy cream made the risotto slightly creamy and more elegant.  Because fresh basil and peas are available in most grocery stores year round, take the extra time to make the pesto from scratch, and shuck the peas by hand—you will be amazed at the difference it makes when it comes to flavor and satisfaction!

Happy risotto-making!


Basil Pesto Risotto

Ingredients for the Pesto

  • Basil Leaves – 1½ cups, fresh, lightly packed

  • Garlic – 1 clove, peeled

  • Sliced Almonds – 3 teaspoons

  • Heavy Cream – 3 tablespoons

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Parmesan Cheese – ¼ cup, freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions for the Pesto

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the glass jar of a blender and puree until mostly smooth. Set aside.

Ingredients for the Risotto (serves 2)

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon

  • Yellow Onion – 1 cup, ¼-inch diced

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Italian Arborio Rice – ½ cup

  • Vegetable Stock – 1 ½ cups, barely simmering

  • Basil Pesto – *Recipe above

  • Green Peas – ½ cup, freshly shucked

  • Lemon Zest – ½ teaspoon

  • Parmesan Cheese – ¼ cup, freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

Directions for the Risotto

  1. Place the fresh (or frozen) peas in a bowl of very hot tap water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  2. In a small Dutch oven heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the Arborio rice and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes, until lightly toasted.

  4. Next, pour the hot stock over the onion and rice mixture and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Once almost all of the liquid is absorbed by the rice, turn off the heat and stir in the pesto sauce, peas, and lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Idea:  If you do not have a small Dutch oven, any 10-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid will work just fine. 

Tip:  If you want to make this ahead of time and serve it later, reheat over low heat with a few tablespoon of heavy cream.  This will allow the rice to be warmed through without becoming dried out.

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A Soul-Warming Dish: Sweet Potato Curry

Marc J. Sievers

Winter is one of my favorite seasons because the food can be so comforting, earthy, and filling!  Now that we are well beyond the (typically) over-indulgent holidays we have the opportunity to explore more flavors and ingredients beyond the staple dishes and recipes often repetitively (or traditionally) served in November and December.

To “spice up” your palate and repertoire there is nothing quite like a big bowl of my fragrant Sweet Potato Curry to warm you up while watching the snow fall.  It’s also a dish with a refreshing depth of flavor that not only comes from the spices but also the roasted sweet potatoes and fire-roasted canned tomatoes.

Roasting vegetables is my favorite way to cook them as the caramelization brings out their natural sweetness and imparts (and retains) the most flavor.  While the fire-roasted tomatoes have a kick (they are usually made with green chilies), you can always use crushed tomatoes for a milder flavor.

This recipe was inspired by classic Indian cuisine but uses ingredients familiar to the American palate and that are readily available at any local grocery store.  Get ready for a heart and soul-warming dinner; it is just 30 minutes away!  Eat well, laugh often, and share the love!


Sweet Potato Curry

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Sweet Potatoes – 2 large, peeled, ½-inch diced

  • Olive Oil – 4 tablespoons, divided

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon, divided

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked, divided

  • Red Onion – 1 small, ½-inch diced

  • Red Pepper – ½-inch diced

  • Garlic – 4 cloves, finely minced

  • Peas – 1 cup, frozen

  • Half and Half – ½ cup

  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes – (2) 15 ounce cans

  • Yellow Curry Powder – 2 ½ teaspoons

  • Turmeric – ½ teaspoon

  • Cumin – ½ teaspoon

  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

  • Parsley – ½ cup, Italian flat leaf, freshly chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Place the sweet potatoes onto a sheet pan and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil olive, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing once half way through the cooking time.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large sautée pan set over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, red onions, and red peppers. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the onions and peppers are tender.

  4. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes longer, being careful not to burn the garlic.

  5. Next, add the tomatoes, peas, half and half, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, honey, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper.

  6. Allow to come to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes uncovered.

  7. Transfer to a large serving bowl and add the roasted sweet potatoes. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Tip: This dish pairs well with Basmati rice.  For a healthy alternative serve it with a fresh green salad and cucumbers.

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Truffle Butter Fettuccine – An Easy and Elegant Meal

Marc J. Sievers

If you have never experienced truffles or truffle butter, you are about to have a culinary adventure in your own kitchen!

Savory truffles like the one’s used in truffle butter are a rare and extremely expensive mushroom that is considered to be a delicacy due to its intense aroma and characteristic flavor. They have a firm texture and are most often shaved on top of food before serving, although they can also be used to infuse flavor into dishes, oils, and butters. 

Truffles are harvested in the wild using specially trained dogs or pigs that are familiar with the very particular scent.  Because of their very fragrant and unique flavor not everyone admires them as much as others (like me!).  Truffle butter can be found at larger grocery store chains in the cheese department, gourmet food stores, and even online.

My Truffle Butter Fettuccine combines just a few, simple key ingredients that help bring out the luscious and elegant aromatics of the truffle.  Best of all, it take just mere minutes to prepare making it perfect for weeknight dinners or dinner parties on Friday night!  Once you make my version experiment with the addition of other fresh vegetables like sautéed red peppers, yellow onions, and even lemon zest.  I always keep an “extra” in the refrigerator for melting and drizzling over popcorn, instantly transforming it into élégant pop-corn salé (elegant savory popcorn)!  Happy eating!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Truffle Butter Fettuccine for a complete tutorial:


Truffle Butter Fettuccine

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Fettuccine – 1 lb.

  • Truffle Butter – 3½ ounces

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon

  • Parsley – 1 cup, flat leaf, whole

  • Heirloom Grape Tomatoes – 2 cups, halved

  • Parmesan – ½ cup, freshly grated

  • Green Peas – ½ cup, fresh (or frozen)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.  Add fettuccine and cook according to package instructions for al dente.

  2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch sauté pan set over low heat, add the truffle butter and melt completely.  Then, add the tomatoes to the melted butter to heat through, about 5 minutes

  3. When the fettuccine has 30 seconds of cook time remaining, add the peas to the boiling water.  Drain the pasta and peas well.

  4. Immediately transfer the drained pasta into the sauté pan with the truffle butter and tomatoes.  Add sea salt, black pepper, Parmesan, and parsley.  Toss to coat evenly.

  5. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve hot.

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Fresh Green Pea Hummus

Marc J. Sievers

Spring is here (I think)!  So many wonderful fruits and vegetables are in their prime this time of year, green peas being my number 1 favorite!  I love the earthy taste and “bite” they have when perfectly cooked or sautéed.  My recipe for Fresh Green Pea Hummus combines simple, fresh ingredients that create a delicious dip with crackers, a topping for tartines or a healthy spread for sandwiches.  The flavors are bursting at the seam (or should I say pod)!

Going “green” has never tasted so good!


Fresh Green Pea Hummus

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Red Onion – ½ cup, medium dice

  • Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Red Pepper Flakes – 1/8 teaspoon

  • Peas – 2 cups, fresh, uncooked

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Thyme – 1½ teaspoons, fresh

  • Hummus – 4 tablespoon, plain variety

  • Butter – 1 teaspoon, unsalted

  • Parmesan – for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Next, add the butter, peas, lemon zest and thyme. Continue cooking for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.

  4. Transfer sautéed mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

  5. Add the hummus and pulse 10 - 15 times, or until desired texture is achieved.

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