Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Your Royko Recipe for July, 2019

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
This salad has been an immediate hit with anybody who has ever tried it.
Serves 6 to 8. Canadian Living Magazine

[Paul’s editorial comment]
California black olives are unlike any other black olives in the world…and NOT for the better! They’re picked green and treated with a lye-based preservative which also bleaches them. Then, they’re died black using an iron-based compound. It’s no wonder they taste so bad, unless you’re an American who has never had the real thing.

1/2 lb. penne
2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1 small julienned red pepper
1 small julienned green bell pepper
3 oz. julienned pepperoni
1 fresh coarsely chopped tomato
1 cup julienned zucchini-unpeeled
3/4 cup grated provolone cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup imported black olives -NEVER use California olives
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions

6 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbl. balsamic vinegar
1 large clove minced garlic
2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne until al dente. Rinse under cold running water and drain well. Transfer to a large salad bowl and toss with olive oil. Add peppers, pepperoni, tomato, zucchini, provolone, parsley, olives and onion. Toss lightly.

Prepare vinaigrette. In a food processor or small bowl, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour over salad and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fenton’s Leek and Stilton Soup

Your Royko Recipe for June, 2019

Fenton’s Leek and Stilton Soup
A wonderful soup from the late, much-lamented Fenton’s restaurant in Toronto.
Serves 4 to 6.
This is essentially a leek and potato soup. The crumbled Stilton, however, adds a richness and a slightly tangier taste than is usual.

2 cup peeled, diced potatoes
2 tbl. chopped fresh Italian parsley
5 cups chicken stock
4 medium leeks
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. lemon juice
freshly grated nutmeg
white pepper
1/4 cup table cream [opt.]
1/2 lb. crumbled Stilton Cheese

Bring chicken stock and potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Meanwhile, wash and chop white part of leeks with 3 inches of green and chop. Sauté in butter with garlic until limp. Add to simmering potatoes with parsley and lemon juice. Simmer until leeks and potatoes are tender.

Purée mixture in a food processor using the steel blade. Add nutmeg, salt, white pepper and cream. Heat thoroughly but do not boil. Serve garnished with some crumbled Stilton in each bowl.

Lentil Casserole

Your Royko Recipe for May, 2019

Lentil Casserole 
Credit: Royko’s Fertile Imagination.

Lentils, tomatoes, onions and cheese, all baked in the oven.
Serves 6 to 8. 

Sweet potatoes and lentils make a complete protein. If you add them, do so 15 minutes before the lentil/vegetable mixture is cooked. Then, proceed as indicated. 

1 lb. dried green lentils
2 large ribs chopped celery
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
2 large chopped carrots
1 large chopped yellow onion
2 medium peeled, cubed sweet potatoes [opt.]
1 14-oz. can tomato sauce
black pepper
1/2 lb. grated old Cheddar cheese

Wash lentils thoroughly. Transfer to a large pot and add celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, basil, salt and pepper. Cover with about 1 inch of water. 

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender. Stir frequently. Depending on the size of the lentils, this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add more water if necessary. 

Using a slotted spoon to drain mixture, place a layer of lentils in a deep, oven-proof casserole. Top with a layer of tomato sauce and a layer of grated cheese. Repeat until casserole is full to within 1 inch of the top. 

Cover and bake in a 300 ̊ oven until the cheese is melted and mixture is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve as a side dish or as a meal on its own. 

Caesar Salad

Your Royko Recipe for April, 2019. I am surprised that it has taken me so long to post this one. It’s such a popular salad.

Caesar Salad

I [Royko] personally hate anchovies, so I’ve left them out of this recipe. However, if you like them, mash 1-2 fillets with a fork and add to the cheese just before you start whisking in the oil. If desired, you can use crumbled, crisp bacon bits rather than the anchovies.

Depending on the amount of garlic you use, this salad can be fairly mild, or it can set your mouth…and the whole neighbourhood…on fire. Do everyone a favour and don’t ride the subway after eating.

Serves 4 to 8.

1 head romaine lettuce
1-2 cloves minced garlic-to taste
1 egg
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly-grated Imported Parmesan
2 tbl. red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Remove the tough outer leaves from the romaine. With a sharp knife, slice out the centre rib from the larger remaining leaves. Cut into 1″ – 2″ pieces. Wash lettuce in lots of cold water, remove excess moisture using a salad spinner and place in a large salad bowl.

Put grated cheese and minced garlic in another, smaller mixing bowl. Add vinegar.
Cook egg in boiling water for 1 minute. Chill under running water, and break into the cheese mixture. Do not bother with the part of the white that has already set. Add the olive oil a bit at a time, whisking thoroughly.

Continue until dressing is the desired consistency, stiffer than normal salad dressing but thin enough to pour. Taste and add more vinegar, whisking it in, if desired. Season with pepper.

Top lettuce with croutons. Drizzle dressing over top and toss with two wooden spoons.


Your Royko Recipe for January, 2019

This soup is so full of vegetables that a bowl with a piece of bread makes a complete meal.
Makes 4 quarts
Food & Wine, Nov. 1991, Page 150. Credit: Diane Darrow.

1/2 lb. dried pinto beans
2 tbl. olive oil1/4 lb. finely chopped lean slab bacon
1/4 lb. finely chopped salt pork
2 tbl. finely chopped garlic
2 tbl. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbl. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. shredded Savoy cabbage
1/2 lb. coarsely chopped Swiss chard
1 medium halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick leek-white part only
1 rib sliced crosswise 3/8-inch thick celery
4 coarsely chopped canned Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 lb. peeled, cut into 1/2-inch diced potatoes
1 medium sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick carrot
1 medium halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick zucchini
2 tsp. salt
Simple freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Place beans in a large saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 1 hour before using. Drain and rinse well.

In a large stockpot, warm the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the bacon and salt pork, and cook until the fat is rendered (7 to 8 minutes). Add the garlic, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cabbage, Swiss chard, leek and celery. Cover and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Stir in the drained beans, tomatoes and 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and carrot, cover and cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Stir in the zucchini and salt and cook for 15 minutes longer. (The soup will keep for up to a week covered and refrigerated. Reheat before serving.) Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of Parmesan and black pepper.

Royko’s Recipes: We have a guest

After 3 years of posting recipes that were personally tested by my friend and former business partner, the late Paul Royko, I am finally running out of material that is seasonally appropriate.

While I search my files for more, Danica has stepped up with her recipe for a favourite at our house.

Your “Royko Recipe” for November, 2018 … from Danica Andersen

Hamburger Heavenly Hash

You will need a large frying pan and an oven-proof covered casserole (corning ware), approximately 3L capacity . If you have a Dutch Oven or Le Cruset type baker this can be a one pot/pan recipe!

Time 30 min
Yield 6 – 8 portions

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce (choose a lower sodium brand ;^)
1/2 tsp chili powder (more or less depending on how spicy it is) 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 lb uncooked macaroni (2 cup measure)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped or shredded
3 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Brown ground beef with onions and garlic (add cooking oil if necessary).
3. Add soy sauce, chili powder, mustard, tomatoes, water to meat. Heat mixture to boiling. 4. Place UNCOOKED pasta into a 3 L casserole dish. Sprinkle green pepper over pasta.
5. Pour hot meat-sauce-mixture over pasta and stir for one minute.
6. Bake, COVERED at 400°F about 20 minutes.
7. Uncover, stir. Sprinkle with cheese. Return uncovered to oven to melt cheese. Serve hot.

Notes: • Quick and tasty – kids love it!
• Serve with a green vegetable or salad.

Royko’s Vegetarian Chili

Your Royko Recipe for October, 2018

Royko’s Vegetarian Chili

Crispy vegetables and beans that range from mild to very spicy … you decide.

From: Royko’s Fertile Imagination. Serves 6 to 8

Use your favourite hot pepper(s), or use none. If using fresh hot peppers, remember that the heat is mostly in the ribs and seeds. To turn down the fire by about 75%, remove both before cooking.

1 tbl. olive oil
2 medium chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
2 large diced carrots
1 large chopped green bell pepper
1 to 2 seeded, chopped fresh hot peppers
1 cup frozen corn
2 large peeled, cubed potatoes
2 19-oz. cans drained canned stewed tomatoes
1 14-oz. can tomato sauce
1 19-oz. can drained, rinsed red kidney beans
1 19-oz. can drained, rinsed blackeyed peas
black pepper

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Sauté onions, garlic, carrots, green pepper and hot pepper until onions are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add frozen corn and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add kidney beans, blackeyed peas, salt and pepper and cook until potatoes are tender and beans are hot. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

Like all chilis, this one is best if made the day before and left in the refrigerator until the flavours blend.

Summer Ratatouille

Your Royko Recipe for August, 2018

Summer Ratatouille 

This recipe uses less heat than long-baked versions.
Food & Wine, July 1992, Page 85. Credit: Ann Haskell. 

Ratatouille is incredibly flexible. Enjoy it as a side dish. Use it as an omelette filling. Serve it over pasta. Or, fill cornmeal crepes with it. 

A personal note. Eggplant soaks up a great deal of oil in cooking. And if you feel as I do that its flavour is not worth writing home about, by all means eliminate it. If you want a substitute, slice 2-3 small zucchinis, washed but not peeled, and use them instead. 

Serves 4.

6 tbl. olive oil-or less
1 medium chopped onion
1 julienned green bell pepper-1/4-inch thick
1 julienned yellow bell pepper-1/4-inch thick
2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 julienned red bell pepper-1/4-inch thick
1 medium sliced globe eggplant-1/4-inch thick
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

Freshly ground black pepper

3 large halved lengthwise, sliced tomato-1/4-inch thick
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 ̊. In a large, heavy, nonreactive skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over moderately high heat. Add onion, garlic, peppers, eggplant and mushrooms and sauté, tossing and adding more olive oil as necessary, until the vegetables soften, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and add the basil. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute longer. 

Transfer the vegetables to a 14-inch oval gratin dish and sprinkle the cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve hot, warm or cold. 

Ratatouille will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days. 

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