2015-02-27 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

There is a pot luck supper coming soon
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

This time of year is great because there are so many pot luck suppers. A time to spend with friends, taste everyone’s great recipes and have some fun.

I’ve included some great recipes that are perfect for pot luck suppers. I hope you enjoy them. Mexican rigatoni and cheese

Nonstick cooking spray; 12 ounces dried rigatoni pasta (4 cups); 8 ounces uncooked chorizo sausage; ½ cup chopped onion (1 medium); 1 medium poblano chile pepper (optional); 3 tablespoons butter; 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour; 1 teaspoon chili powder; ½ teaspoon cumin; 2 ½ cups milk; 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 ounces); 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained; chopped fresh cilantro; and Pico de Gallo, if desired (recipe follows).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Place pasta in a very large bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage, onion and poblano pepper over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is tender and sausage is browned. Drain off fat. Add chorizo mixture to bowl with pasta.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, chili powder and cumin. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts. Pour over pasta in bowl. Add black beans. Stir to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared dish.

Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. If desired sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. Top each serving with Pico de Gallo.

Serves eight.

Pico de Gallo

1 medium tomato diced; 1 onion, finely chopped; ½ fresh jalapeno pepper (optional), seeded and chopped; 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped; 1 scallion, finely chopped ½ teaspoon garlic powder; and salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Stir until evenly distributed. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Chicken Florentine artichoke bake

8 ounces dried bow tie pasta; 1 small onion, chopped; 1 tablespoon butter; 2 eggs; 1 ¼ cups milk; 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning; ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional); 2 cups chopped cooked chicken; 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (8 ounces); 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered; 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained; ½ cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped; ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese; ½ cup soft bread crumbs; ½ teaspoon paprika; and 1 tablespoon butter, melted.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In medium skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, set aside.

In bowl whisk together eggs, milk, seasonings, salt and pepper and crushed red pepper. Stir in chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, cooked pasta and onion. Transfer to 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish.

Bake covered for 20 minutes. In a small bowl combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta. Bake uncovered 10 minutes more or until golden.

Serves eight.

Brussel sprouts casserole with pancetta and asiago cheese

1 ¼ pounds Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and coarsely chopped; 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 medium); 3 ounces pancetta or 8 slices bacon, chopped; ¼ cup finely chopped shallots (2 medium); 1 tablespoon butter; 3 cloves garlic; 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour; 1 cup finely shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese (4 ounces); salt and pepper to taste; 1 cup whipping cream; 1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard; dash of crushed red pepper; and ½ cup panko bread crumbs.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish. In a large saucepan cook Brussels sprouts and carrots in lightly salted water for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender; drain well. Return vegetables to saucepan.

Meanwhile in a large skillet cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in skillet. Add shallots, butter and garlic to drippings in skillet; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in flour. Stir shallot mixture into the vegetables in saucepan. Stir in pancetta, ½ cup of the cheese and salt and pepper. Spoon Brussel sprout mixture in the prepared casserole dish.

In a small bowl stir together the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper. Pour mixture over Brussel sprouts mixture. In another small bowl stir together the remaining ½ cup cheese and the panko. Sprinkle over the Brussel sprout mixture.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and topping is golden.

Now, you are all set for your pot luck supper that is if it doesn’t snow. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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