Pistachio Pesto Pasta

This pistachio pesto pasta recipe is a bit different from standard pesto recipes. Most standard pesto recipes use basil and pine nuts.  A great combination, but it’s tough to use up a whole bunch of basil when cooking for one.  Either you have to make a big batch of pesto and freeze it, or it spoils.

I do have a basil plant, but cutting enough off to make pesto would leave me without much of a plant! This is a good compromise.

Plus, pine nuts have gotten awfully expensive.  It does have some basil, but I replaced most of it with broccoli. Then I substituted pistachios for walnuts or pine nuts.

Actually, to be entirely truthful, I ‘stole’ this idea from one of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. He seemed to like food as much as he enjoyed mysteries and books (my kind of author).

You get the sweet, summery taste of basil, the earthiness of  broccoli, and the crunchiness of the pistachios (use the unsalted kind).  You can use walnuts too, if you prefer.

Not to mention, the broccoli keeps better than basil. And, if you want, you can buy it frozen. That also means less prep time, and less cooking time.

It’s also quick and easy to make (which is always a plus).




 

Pistachio Pesto Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Use spinach in the pesto instead of broccoli
  • Skip the greens entirely and make a walnut pesto with walnuts, olive oil, parsley, parmesan, salt, and pepper
  • If you like your pesto spicier, add some chiles
  • Make it with walnuts instead of pistachios

Tools and Ingredients for Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Roasted Unsalted Pistachios

These are freshly roasted (unlike the stale bags you often get in the store), and already have their shells removed, so you don’t have to fuss with cracking them open. Just pour, measure, and eat.

More Pasta Recipes

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Salty sausage paired with crispy-tender veggies and pasta. An easy summer meal that’s also versatile. Switch the peppers for snap peas, or asparagus, or whatever other veggies you like.

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Takeout without takeout. Make this restaurant standard easily at home, with ingredients you likely already have.

 

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Rich, tender eggplant in a zippy tomato sauce that’s ready quickly.  Served with a caprese salad.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Pantry-friendly and works with either upscale or budget-friendly ingredients. Just a simple, flavorful meal of linguine, some garlic, olive oil, and a touch of broth.

 

 




Eggplant Parmesan Recipe for One

I have loved eggplant parmigiana (or eggplant parmesan, if you prefer) since I was a child. Back then, it was a special treat when we went to the dentist. Yes, the dentist!

There was a restaurant near my dentist’s office called Pippo’s (which is now, sadly, gone), that made the best eggplant parmigiana I have ever tasted. Mom tried her best to get the recipe, but without much luck. Drat!

Still, it was an incentive to have good checkups, so we could go out to lunch afterward! I’m sure we were the only kids in the neighborhood who looked forward to going to the dentist!

The restaurant, naturally, made it in huge batches, but this eggplant parmesan recipe is perfectly sized for one person. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. You can put the whole thing together in about thirty minutes.

I did “cheat” and use sauce in a jar, rather than making my own, but so what.  I do often make my own, but I didn’t have any handy, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty either.

When picking out your eggplant at the store, choose a light one (in weight, not color). The heavier ones have more seeds and are more likely to be bitter.

I know there is controversy about whether or not to salt the eggplant first. Some say it’s a must, to draw out the bitterness, and to cut down on the oil (eggplant does love to soak up oil). Others say don’t bother. I didn’t bother. One reason being that it takes time (and I was hungry), another being that I prefer less salt anyway.

Either way, just slice the eggplant very thin, dip it in egg, then flour (I used rice flour, but you can use the regular kind), and fry the slices in olive oil.

Top those with your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used a Robert Rothschild sauce, which was so thick I had to dilute it with some tomato sauce; Silver Palette sauces are good too), some fresh mozzarella, and pop it in the toaster oven to bake until the cheese melts. I had some tiny fresh mozzarella “pearls” so I used those. Fresh mozzarella slices are fine too.

Since it’s an eggplant parmesan for one recipe, you don’t have to heat up the whole oven (and the whole kitchen).

I served it with some fresh basil on top and a simple green leaf salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.




More Eggplant Recipes

sichuan chinese chicken and eggplant with garlic sauceSichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Why bother schlepping for takeout when you can make this spicy, garlicky favorite right at home? It’s a lot easier than you think (tastes better too).

 

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Pasta tossed with fresh eggplant, a slightly spicy tomato sauce, and topped with manchego cheese. Great when you’re in a hurry, as it takes under 30 minutes to make.

 

leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach saladLeftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad

Luscious lamb, crisp cucumbers, creamy eggplant, and earthy spinach, all topped with an easy garlicky aioli.

 

moussaka without bechamelMoussaka Without Bechamel Sauce Recipe

Standard moussaka is a lot of work and steps. This one is just as tasty, but a lot easier to make. Flavored with spicy/warm cinnamon and nutmeg, tender eggplant, ground beef, and tomatoes.

 




Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

This single serving of pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter sauce is quick, easy, and delicious. I was never a big fish fan growing up, but I’ve grown to like it as I have gotten older.  If you’re a bit wary of fish, tilapia is a good “starter fish.” It has a mild flavor and doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds (or your kitchen).

I got the idea from someone who said she made tilapia with butter, lemon, and rosemary.  I thought that sounded good, but that it would be even better with some olive oil and mustard powder (it was).

You can put the whole thing together and have dinner on the table in less than fifteen minutes. Make the fish, steam (or zap) some veggies and you’re good to go.

I made this recently (just as spring is finally showing signs of arriving, after a truly nasty winter), but it would be great in the summer when you want something fast.  There’s no need to heat the stove or the oven for an hour.

By the way, the fish came from Trader Joe’s.  They have great frozen fish. The tilapia was in a package with individually-wrapped fillets. Normally, I don’t like extra packaging, but in this case it was perfect, since I only had to defrost one fillet, instead of the entire bag.




 

Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • If you don’t have tilapia, use another mild, white fish such as cod, flounder, or Dover sole
  • Swap the rosemary for some capers
  • Skip the mustard and the rosemary and use dill instead

 

More Easy Fish Recipes

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Fish in a rich, tangy sauce that seems more decadent than it actually is.  There’s a bit of warm spiciness from cumin and garam masala, but it’s not “hot” spicy.

 

greek fish with lemon and tomatoesGreek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Make a quick marinade, let it sit, and pan-fry the fish. Dinner is done.

 

fish in peppery tomato sauceSephardic Fish in Peppery Tomato Sauce

In America, we tend to think of “Jewish” food as brisket, potato pancakes, and bagels. But there’s a whole world of spicier and more varied foods from India, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean. This is one of them.

easy mediterranean fish stewEasy Mediterranean Fish Stew

A variation on the classic cioppino, popular in San Francisco, this stew is easy and accessible.  You can even start it in advance (up to the point where you add the fish).

 




Easy Singapore Noodles with Chicken for One Person

Nobody knows exactly where Singapore noodles came from.  They’re not really native to Singapore, and the curry is more South Asian than North Asian.  I suspect they are no more “Singaporean” than fortune cookies are Cantonese.  In any case, easy Singapore noodles with chicken is a quick, weeknight dinner that’s a great way to “clean out your fridge.”

They don’t work too well as leftovers (especially if you use rice noodles, which tend to clump when they sit), so a recipe for a single serving is essential.  Since it makes just enough for one person, you won’t have leftovers to fill up the fridge again!

I used regular pasta here, because that’s what I had and rice noodles may not be readily available everywhere.  If you do use the rice noodles, get the vermicelli kind.  Soak them in hot water for thirty seconds to soften them and then add them to the vegetables and chicken once they’re cooked.

The recipe is flexible, so you can use chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp if you have that handy, or if you prefer it.

The vegetables are just suggestions too.  I used broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and two kinds of bell peppers (red and green). More suggestions (and variations) at the bottom of the post.




Easy Singapore Noodles with Chicken Substitutions and Variations

  • Use leftover roast pork or raw shrimp (or both) instead of chicken
  • Use a mixture of frozen Chinese veggies, such as Trader Joe’s stir fry, or harvest hodgepodge. Seapoint Farms Oriental Blend is also good; this will also speed up the cooking time
  • Mix and match the vegetables in the dish. Add snow peas, water chestnuts, or sprouts. Use different kinds of peppers.
  • Throw in a hot pepper or two (depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • Add an egg and scramble it

More Asian Noodle Recipes

spicy beef noodle soupSpicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

A quick, and healthy soup, packed with noodles, cabbage, and chili garlic sauce. All right from your fridge and pantry.

 

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Slightly sweet, a little spicy, and refreshing too. This takeout standard is easy to make at home. Add cucumbers for crunchy cool.

 

szechuan chili noodlesSzechuan Chili Noodles Recipe

A streamlined home version of Dan Dan noodles. Add meat (or not).  All you need is noodles, make your own chili oil for heat, sesame seeds for crunch, and bok choy (or cabbage) for color and a little crunch.

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

The aroma alone is enough to make you hungry. Breathe in the garlic, spicy chili, and honey, and then slurp it all down.

 




One Person Slow Roasted Lamb Breast Provencal Recipe

Lamb is one of my favorite foods and this lamb breast recipe for one is a great meal for a lazy, cold winter weekend.  It cooks slowly and heats up the house nicely. It’s mostly set it and forget it, so you can do other things while dinner cooks (and your home fills with the fragrance of lamb).There’s very little fussing.

I’ve updated and changed the recipe since I first posted this.  The original version called for boiling the lamb first, and then roasting it.  Great for tenderizing, but it meant an extra pot to clean. And boy, that pot sure got greasy.  However, you can then add the bones back, some barley, and veggies and make Scotch broth if you want.

If not, do it the easier way! Yeah easy!

Lamb breast is generally a cheaper cut of meat than lamb chops or a roast.  I spotted it on sale at the local supermarket for a mere $3.99 a pound, so I pounced!

This dish was inspired by a Jacques Pepin recipe, but naturally, even with a master chef as a guide, I felt compelled to change it a bit.  The original recipe called for vegetable oil, parsley, and bread crumbs.

I’m not a big fan of vegetable oil (olive oil has more flavor, and it fits the dish better, I think).  I never have parsley around, but I do have a pot of fresh rosemary, so I used that instead.  I didn’t want to bother with fresh bread crumbs, so I used panko.

And, of course, I reduced the original amounts to make it for one person (although, the recipe is so good, you may want to make extra and save it for dinner another day).




Tools and Ingredients for This Recipe

OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads

It’s much easier to lift the lamb out of the saucepan and remove it from the roasting pan with these tongs. They lock in place for storage, clean easily, and grip tightly.

The ends are covered in nylon so they won’t scratch your pans if they’re nonstick.

Cuisinart 12 inch pan with cover

I just bought this pan to replace one that gave up the ghost. It’s nonstick, not too heavy, and fairly wide and shallow. It’s the perfect size for the lamb breast or several pieces of chicken.  I also like that it comes with a clear glass lid. I haven’t used it for the pan yet, but it’s great for covering my large frying pan.

More Lamb Recipes

greek lamb breastGreek Lamb Breast Recipe

Marinated overnight in lemon, garlic, and olive oil, then slow-cooked. The result is tender, flavorful, and delicious.

 

spicy lamb and lentils

Spicy Lamb and Lentils

Meaty ground lamb, earthy lentils, and a touch of heat all in a remarkably easy meal.  Serve with cool cucumber to complement the spice, and add crunch.

 

spinach lamb meatballsSpinach Lamb Meatballs

Red wine vinegar stands up to the lamb’s assertive flavor, while cumin adds a hint of warm spice. The spinach lends color and those all important vitamins and iron too.

 

turkish lamb burgerTurkish Lamb Burgers

A marvelous blend of salty feta, robust lamb, and cool  mint. Make the patties, let them sit, and broil.  Then serve with a creamy, cucumber and dill-enriched yogurt sauce.

 




Single Serving Chicken Recipe with Tarragon and Mushrooms

This single serving chicken recipe flavored with tarragon and mushrooms will make you think you’ve gone to a fine French restaurant (without the big bill at the end of the meal).

I adapted the recipe from Pierre Franey’s 60 Minute Gourmet cookbook. Its official name translates to Fricassé of Chicken with Tarragon.  My friends and family used to call it “cholesterol chicken.”

The original recipe called for three tablespoons of butter and an entire cup of cream!  Much as I love butter and cream, that’s a bit…much.

So, I decided to make it a bit lighter, while also adapting the recipe to make it a single serving chicken recipe  instead of the original four.  I reduced the amount of butter and used canola oil instead.  Then, I replaced the cream with a mixture of Greek yogurt and milk.

It’s still a quick and easy chicken recipe and it still tastes great (though it’s certainly not low fat) and I haven’t sacrificed one bit of flavor.

Let’s call it Tarragon Chicken with Mushrooms for One Person instead.

I made a larger recipe for my parents recently, with a few variations, since mom had different ingredients and onions bother dad’s stomach.  I used “better than bullion” concentrate, garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, and dried shiitake mushrooms.  My dad is not a big fan of chicken, but he certainly liked this recipe. He licked his plate clean! Mom insisted that I write down exactly what I did so I could repeat it.




Tarragon Chicken with Mushrooms Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • If you don’t have the yogurt/milk use the cream, or mix butter and milk together and melt it before adding it to the sauce (since butter is essentially solidified cream)
  • The original recipe called for fresh tarragon.  I bought some and found it tasted like licorice.  Since I don’t particularly like licorice, I wasn’t too happy about that! On the other hand, if you do like licorice, or fresh tarragon, use one small sprig.
  • Try using wild mushrooms, like shiitake or chanterelle instead of white button mushrooms; this also works well with dried mushrooms (reconstitute them with hot water to cover and let them sit for five or ten minutes)

Easy Recipes Ready in Under an Hour

 

The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet

Here’s the 60 minute gourmet cookbook I got the recipe from. My copy is battered, beat up, and has been loved to pieces. The meals are all fairly easy to make and fast. In addition to the chicken, I recommend the chicken in red wine sauce, the chicken scarpariello, shrimp in creole sauce, broiled lamb patties, london broil with sauce chasseur, and the tongue in dill mustard sauce (which is both tasty and super-easy to make).

Cooking with the 60-Minute Gourmet: 300 Rediscovered Recipes

More from Pierre Franey; these recipes were published in his newspaper column but hadn’t been collected in a cookbook. There are plenty of chicken dinners here too, such as baked chicken breasts stuffed with ricotta and herbs, Indonesian chicken breast, chicken with spicy mango barbecue sauce, shrimp with snow peas, and fettucine with goat cheese and asparagus.

 

More Chicken Recipes

stovetop coq au vinStovetop Coq au Vin Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

Standard coq au vin is complicated and time-consuming. This version speeds that all up and makes it accessible for a home cook.

 

crispy lemon chicken thigh

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Great hot or cold, with a crispy, slightly sweet flavor, and three kinds of lemon. Think fried chicken with less mess.

 

Chicken Mushroom Skillet Recipe chicken mushroom skillet recipe

Pan fry the chicken, cut the mushrooms and veggies, and simmer. It makes its own sauce right in the pan.

 

chicken with balsamic vinegar sauceChicken with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

An easy and satisfying one pot meal.  There’s also a secret ingredient that deepens the flavor and provides just a little hint of spice and sweetness.