Books are big on ideas for small plates


September 06, 2006|By Holly Selby | Holly Selby,Sun reporter

Big Small Plates

By Cindy Pawlcyn with Pablo Jacinto and Erasto Jacinto

Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals

By Marguerite Marceau Henderson

Gibbs Smith / 2006 / $18.95

This highly accessible book features small plates drawn from countries throughout the world, including Greece, Italy, Spain and India. Aimed primarily at those in search of easy entertainment ideas, many of the recipes are light and sophisticated; others would make an excellent meal just for family.

The Pappardelle alla Primavera -- wide noodles with asparagus, red peppers, peas and carrots tossed in a light cream sauce and topped with parmesan cheese and chives -- was an instant hit in my household. This attractive dish is an excellent choice for an informal supper party.

Pappardelle alla Primavera

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound imported pappardelle or other wide, flat pasta (such as fettuccine)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced

1 can (15 ounces) artichoke hearts, quartered and drained

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced or julienne

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup fresh chopped chives

1 cup grated Romano or parmesan cheese

Cook pasta al dente, drain and set aside. In a large skillet, heat butter and oil. Saute onion until softened; add garlic, asparagus and bell pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add artichokes, broth, peas, carrot, half-and-half, salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened slightly. Stir the pasta into sauce; toss until pasta has heated through. Transfer to serving bowl and top with chopped chives and cheese.

From "Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals"

Per serving (based on 6 servings): 632 calories, 28 grams protein, 23 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 80 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fiber, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 898 milligrams sodium

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