Dec. 3, 2009
By Kim Dannies
Crowded streets, stores and schedules can sour a holiday mood, but a simple antidote — quick, scrumptious meals — will help to keep your merry on.
One place to score fast-fuel staples is at olive and salad bars. Clean spinach, roasted red peppers, artichokes, a variety of pitted olives, mozzarella balls and mushrooms are great basics to stock up on. Slide over to the deli and grab some salami, a package of whole-wheat pizza dough and some pasta and you are ready to go. From this stash you can whip up two hearty meals that will re-balance your attitude and energy to keep the jolly in your holidays.
Boil 1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta for 10 to 12 minutes.
While pasta cooks, prep the following into a large serving bowl: 1/3 pound sliced salami, cut into thick strips; 1 cup mozzarella balls, each sliced in half; 1/2 cup pitted olives, coarsely chopped; 1 cup roasted red pepper, cut into strips; 1 cup coarsely chopped canned artichokes; 1 cup mushrooms, sliced; 2 bunches of torn fresh spinach; 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
Drain pasta and toss into the serving bowl. Add 1/2 cup best quality olive oil; season with kosher salt and fresh pepper. Toss gently. Serves 8.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Scatter 1/4 cup of cornmeal over a large cookie sheet. Roll out whole-wheat pizza dough, thinly, on a cool surface; transfer to cookie sheet. (It’s fine — maybe even better — to keep the pizza dough in the fridge for a few days. Leave at room temperature before rolling out.)
Prep the following in a bowl: 1/3 pound sliced salami, cut into thick strips; 1 cup mozzarella balls, each sliced in half; 1/2 cup pitted olives, coarsely chopped; 1 cup roasted red pepper, cut into strips; 1 cup coarsely chopped canned artichokes; 1 cup mushrooms, sliced; 2 bunches of torn fresh spinach. Scatter ingredients all over the top of the pizza; bake 10 to 12 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.