Winter may not be known as a bountiful season for produce, but if you think this is the case, you’re missing out. The cold and darker days call for warm and comforting meals. From hot soups to roasted winter vegetables, there’s a lot of tastiness (and carbs!) to take advantage of this winter. If you’re looking for a little culinary inspiration this cold season, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these recipes that are sure to warm you up and satisfy your taste buds. Plus, they’re just as easy as your meal kit subscription.
Pine Nut and Bacon Pasta
Pine nuts are a nutritious and high-protein nut. You’ve likely used pine nuts in your summer pesto; however, this dish calls for making pine nuts the star of the show. You can forage pine nuts if you have pine trees in your area; however, that’s a topic for another day. Here’s how to make delicious pine nut and bacon pasta.
- 1 lb. of short-cut pasta such as fusilli or cavatappi.
- ½ pound of uncooked bacon.
- Garlic confit
- ½ cup of chicken stock
- ½ a cup of pine nuts
- ¼ cup of heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- Your favorite fresh herbs (we love sage in this recipe!)
- Salt and pepper
- Parmasean (stay away from the pre-shredded stuff)
How to make it
- Setting up for success in the kitchen means preparing your ingredients before you get started. Start by bringing your pot of water to a boil to cook your pasta. Once you have your pot of water over the heat, cut your uncooked bacon into thin strips. Then, wash and chop your herbs, as well as grate your parmesan.
- To get your garlic soft and caramelized, turn on your oven’s broiler at the highest setting. Cut off each end of your garlic, and peel off the outermost skin. No need to completely peel; we just want the extra layers off to prevent burning so the olive oil has enough room to coat your garlic. Glaze the garlic in olive oil, and top off with salt. Stick it in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until your garlic is softened and caramelized. You won’t need all of it for this recipe, so feel free to use the excess in other recipes that call for garlic. You can also use the remaining olive oil in usual recipes where garlic enhances your dish’s flavor.
- Once your ingredients are prepped, begin toasting your pine nuts. Using a stainless steel pan, put your pine nuts in the pan, and then turn on your heat to low. Never take your eyes off your pine nuts, and remember to move them around in the pan frequently to prevent burning. Pine nuts are pesky (and expensive) little suckers that seem to burn in the blink of an eye, so don’t take your eyes off of them. After your pine nuts are toasted, coarsely crush them using a mortar and pestle.
- Using the same pan, cook the bacon and reserve the fat to use in the sauce later.
- Once your pine nuts and bacon are cooked, feel free to start cooking the pasta according to the recommendations on the box. To achieve an al dente cook, subtract 1-2 minutes from the recommended cooking time, depending on the pasta you choose. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water for the sauce.
- To cook the light sauce, melt the butter over medium heat until browned. Once browned, add in the leftover bacon fat. Using a wooden spoon, mash four cloves of your garlic confit into the butter. Then add in your chicken stock.
This hash takes advantage of wonderful winter produce, and the best part is that you can serve it as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- 2 cups of butternut squash, chopped into ½ inch cubes
- Rosemary, to preference, finely chopped
- Mushrooms, to preference
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 cup of Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 1 stick of butter, or ½ cup of bacon fat. For a vegetarian option, coconut oil is a great substitution.
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced (bonus points if you use the garlic confit from earlier!)
- ½ pound of bacon, chopped into half-inch pieces, and cooked
- Baby carrots, cut in half
- Egg (if serving for breakfast)
How to make it
- Start by heating half of your oil over medium heat and browning the butternut squash and carrots.
- In a separate pan, cook your mushrooms over medium-high heat in some olive oil. Don’t disturb and rush cooking your mushrooms to avoid a rubbery texture. Once cooked through, add salt.
- Remove the squash and set it aside. Add your shallots to the pan and cook until translucent, adding more oil if needed. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add in your thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and cook until softened. Then mix in your bacon and all the squash and mushrooms back into your pan.
- Lower the heat and add your herbs. Mix everything together and allow flavors to meld together for another 3–5 minutes. Top with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- If topping your hash with an egg, we recommend cooking it poached or fried so you can get the yolky mixture onto your egg.
* Bonus tip: For a wonderful saucy topping, we recommend mixing together some kewpie mayo, garlic confit, a dash of lemon, and some of your herbs and topping your hash with it.
** You can also serve your hash over a bed of spinach for added nutritional value.
Two recipes to keep your belly warm and full
With these two recipes in hand, you’re prepared to take advantage of the season’s produce. From Brussels sprouts to nuts, mushrooms, squash, and more, you’re in for a nutritious, comforting, and delicious warm meal. Whether you indulge in the savory, nutty pasta dish or create a produce medley of your favorite vegetables, we’ve offered two ways to serve a warm meal this winter.
Remember, cooking is an art and expression of creativity, so don’t get bogged down by finding the ‘perfect recipe’. Cooking is about taking your favorite ingredients and finding new ways to use them. So get creative and experiment with the flavors each season has to offer!