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Food

Make supper simple with Laura Vitale's mushroom bruschetta, linguine

Today

Tired of ordering take out or popping in those frozen dinners? Wish you could prepare a homemade meal but feel like you don't have enough time? Lucky for you, these super simple recipes from Laura Vitale the host of The Cooking Channel's "Simply Laura" won't take up your entire day.

Mushroom bruschetta
Recipe courtesy of Laura Vitale, 2014

Yield: 8 to 10 bruschetta

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

I like to make this recipe as a Cook's Treat, which is my term for a treat for the cook to enjoy while making dinner — why should it be only work? It's also a great way to keep the family at bay when dinner is nearly done. Make these first so people can grab them as they come home famished from work or school. These also make a great appetizer for a dinner party or make smaller ones for a cocktail party.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons butter, preferably Italian or European butter 
  • 4 cups mixed mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, sliced or torn 
  • 3 cloves garlic, 
  • 2 cloves minced and 1 clove left whole
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 cup white wine 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
  • About 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 8 to 10 slices fresh baguette or ciabatta 
Today

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter and heat until nice and hot. Add the mushrooms and cook until they develop some good color and cook down quite a bit, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the minced garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the wine and cook until the wine reduces and there is no liquid visible in the pan, a few minutes. Add the parsley, the last bit of butter and a touch of lemon juice and cook the mixture long enough for the butter to melt.

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill the bread slices until they have visible grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and rub on one side with the whole garlic clove.

Top each piece of the grilled bread with some of the mushroom mixture. Serve and enjoy!

Linguine with Shrimp all'Amatriciana
Recipe courtesy of Laura Vitale, 2014

Today

Yield: 4 servings

Active time: 35 minutes 
Total time: 50 minutes

Amatriciana sauce is used in the traditional Roman dish bucatini all'Amatriciana. This dish typically uses a cured meat called guanciale (pork jowl) or sometimes pancetta and a long noodle with a hole in it called bucatini. The story goes that the sauce originally came from the town of Amatrice, Italy, thus its name —all'Amatriciana. I'm from Naples, so naturally I like to put my own little seaside spin on the dish — shrimp! You can make this dish with the shrimp or without them but if you like shrimp, you're gonna love this dish. I use linguine but any long pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, perciatelli) will be just as delicious.

  • Salt 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • 6 ounces pancetta, cut into small cubes 
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped 
  • Pinch of hot pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1/2 cup white wine 
  • One 28-ounce can peeled cherry tomatoes or Italian whole plum tomatoes
  • 12 ounces linguine or bucatini 
  • 1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil.

Heat a large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat. Add the oil and pancetta and cook together until the pancetta becomes nice and crispy all around, about 3 minutes. Remove the pancetta onto a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside. If your pancetta has rendered a lot of fat, discard some and leave behind only 2 tablespoons.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and cook until it's softened a bit and developed some color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the hot pepper flakes and garlic and half of the chopped parsley and cook them all together for about 2 minutes.

Deglaze your pan with the wine, allowing it to reduce for about a minute. Add the cherry tomatoes or whole plum tomatoes (if using the plum tomatoes, make sure to crush them with your hand before you add them in) and the cooked pancetta and give everything a good stir. Cook the sauce for about 15 minutes.

At this point, add your pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions, about 9 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the sauce and give everything a good stir. Cover the skillet with a lid, increase the heat to medium high and cook everything together until the shrimp are fully cooked, 5 or 6 minutes.

I like to taste my sauce and season at this point because the pancetta is quite salty. Stir in the remaining fresh parsley.

Drain the pasta and add it back in the same large pot. Add the sauce and shrimp and mix everything together so that every strand of linguine is coated in that spicy sauce.

Cook Notes: Be sure to salt your pasta water well; it should taste like the Mediterranean Sea.

Laura's Insalata Tre Colori
Recipe courtesy of Laura Vitale, 2014

Today

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Growing up (and still to this day), I've had a salad at nearly every dinner. It's just the Italian way. This salad couldn't be simpler or more beautiful, making it a great salad for a weekday, when you need something healthy and gorgeous to get you through the week. Go ahead and mix up the greens using whatever you have around; it can be due (two) colori or quattro (four) colori. I just love the mix of textures and flavors you get from combining different kinds of lettuces.

  • 2 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated 
  • 1 small head radicchio, leaves separated 
  • About 4 cups baby kale greens 
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano 

On a large platter, arrange your Belgian endive and whole radicchio leaves. Scatter over the baby kale greens and toss everything lightly just so that you can mix up the different kinds of lettuce; set aside.

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Seal tightly with the lid and shake your dressing until it's all combined, about 20 seconds.

Drizzle the lettuces with some of your dressing (just use about half and serve the remainder on the side--no soggy salads here please!). Then use a vegetable peeler to shave some fresh curls of Parmigiano-Reggiano all over the top of the salad. Serve right away!

Cook Notes: This vinaigrette is a great make-ahead recipe. Make a double batch (or the recipe as is) and store it in the fridge well covered for up to a week.

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