Fusilli with Pan Fried Sage and Marcona Almonds

Fusilli with Pan Fried Sage and Marcona Almonds

Pasta with Fried Sage and Marcona AlmondsAs much as I love pasta dishes with robust sauces, sometimes I crave something a little simpler. Heavy cream sauces like carbonara and alfredo are admittedly divine. And I’d have to turn my Italian card in if I didn’t enjoy a marinara or puttanesca sauce now and again. But sometimes I crave something less fussy. Something that doesn’t have to simmer for hours. Just a flash in the pan pasta dish with a few simple ingredients.

Pasta with Fried Sage and Marcona AlmondsThis recipe for Fusilli with Pan Fried Sage and Marcona Almonds speaks to that simplicity. Good food truly made simple. Quality ingredients like fresh sage, pancetta, Marcona almonds and good olive oil are all it takes to make a fast but memorable pasta dish.

Pasta with Fried Sage and Marcona AlmondsAnd I think it would be better said that this dish is dressed rather than sauced as it only has a splash of olive oil and a bit of butter in the mix. The nice thing about this is that the flavors of the almonds, sage and pancetta really stand out. Covering those flavors in a heavy sauce would be a tragedy.

But what I love most about this dish are the textures. You’ve got the crunch from the almonds, the salty bite of the pancetta and the lightly crisp sage makes for an interesting combination of textures and flavors.

Pasta with Fried Sage and Marcona AlmondsIf you want to serve this as a main dish, you can totally do so. But this also makes a fantastic side next to any protein. Seafood, pork, chicken and even beef would be worthwhile partners. And if you have any leftovers (not likely), you are TOTALLY going to want to make this Pasta Breakfast Skillet the next morning. Trust me on this one.

Fusilli with Pan Fried Sage and Marcona Almonds
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Fried sage and Marcona almonds make this pasta dish something extra special. Wonderful served as a main dish or a perfect side to any protein. Full of texture and flavor. A nice change of pace from your typical heavy sauces.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup Marcona almonds
  • ½ lb pancetta, diced
  • ⅓ cup fresh sage leaves, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot pepper flake (if you like heat)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add almonds and cook just until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove from pan, place on a paper towel and once cool, rough chop.
  3. Add pancetta to pan and cook until crisp. Add sage leaves and garlic. Cook for several more minutes.
  4. Add cooked pasta and almonds to pan and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. I also add some hot pepper flake at this point but it's totally optional. Place on platter and top with Parmesan cheese.

 

Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum Loaf

Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum Loaf

Costa RicaJust over a week ago I was in Costa Rica. A wildly exotic locale that is still mostly untamed, Costa Rica left me feeling exhilarated, inspired and about five pounds heavier. While every day brought about a new adventure, so did room service deliver an amazing Costa Rican breakfast…

Costa Rica BreakfastTamales, plantains, rice and beans, ham steaks and this crazy fried cheese. Baked goods in the form of fruit breads, muffins and danish. And the fresh fruit. Lord have mercy, the fruit. Fresh pineapple, mango and fresh squeezed orange juice. Paradise on a plate for sure.

Honestly, I would’ve been happy with the Costa Rican breakfast for lunch and dinner as well. And while this would’ve been quite welcomed in bed, it was even better on my private patio at the Westin where I could listen to the exotic birds singing their exquisite song. All while sipping Costa Rican coffee. I can’t believe I got on the plane to come home.

Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum LoafBut here I am. Back in New England. And while my suitcase has been unpacked and my bathing suit washed and packed away, I’m still dreaming about that lavish Costa Rican breakfast that was the indulgent start of each magical day in Costa Rica.

And even though the very best trips must come to an end, we can still keep them alive in small ways. Just because I’m home does not mean I can’t enjoy a bit of Costa Rica with my morning coffee.

No exotic birds are singing to me in the morning, but I can almost hear them thousands of miles away when I bite into the Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum Loaf I whipped up when I came home…

Tropical Pineapple Coconut Rum LoafA rich batter full of pineapple, coconut and a splash of white rum bakes into a golden loaf of tropical sunshine that’s just perfect with your morning cuppa joe.

Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum Loaf

Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum LoafAnd while it’s perfectly moist and satisfying fresh out of the oven, it’s even better when it’s bathed in a rum glaze after it’s cooled down. A handful of toasted coconut sprinkled on top is a most welcome crowning touch. How could it be tropical without it?

If you need a side of sunshine with your morning brew, this is the way to go. But you might want to buy a parrot to sing to you in the morning. It won’t be quite the same without it.

Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum Loaf

 

Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Rum Loaf
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Pineapple, coconut and rum baked into a tender loaf drenched in a rum glaze. An exotic way to start your day!
Ingredients
For the Loaf
  • 1 stick (4oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup white rum
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple
  • ½ cup sweetened flake coconut
For the Glaze
  • 6oz confectioners sugar
  • 4 Tbsp white rum
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a standard sized loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat at medium speed until incorporated.
  3. Add rum, milk and vanilla and beat at medium speed for three more minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add slowly to the wet ingredients until incorporated. Increase mixer to medium speed and beat for three more minutes.
  5. By hand, mix in the pineapple and coconut. Pour into greased loaf pan. Place into preheated 350º oven and bake for one hour or unit toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Allow loaf to completely cool.
  7. Whisk together all glaze ingredients until smooth. Pour over top of loaf and garnish with toasted coconut if so desired.

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