When I heard The New Sonoma Cookbook (Sterling Publishers) would be published this month, I was looking forward to the opportunity to review it. The cookbook was said to have “more than 200 new ways to celebrate the wholesome, sun-drenched flavors of Northern California, all while slimming down and boosting energy.” That sounded really good to me!
Author Dr. Connie Guttersen, RD, PhD, a nutrition instructor at the world-famous Culinary Institute of America, offers a wide range of healthy good-for-you recipes in this cookbook. And many look very easy to prepare. Everything from breakfast and lunch items to dinner and dessert…even some recipes for the holidays! There are also helpful cooking tips at the beginning of the book, along with a checklist of items to include in your pantry.
Some of the recipes I want to try from The New Sonoma Cookbook include the Tomato and Basil Frittata, Crustless Feta and Cheddar Quiche, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup, Curried Chicken Wrap, Thai Roast Beef Lettuce Rolls, Pan-Seared Salmon, Spice-Roasted Almonds, Mini Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecakes, and Ricotta Mousse with Berries…just to name a few! 🙂
The Sonoma Pasta Salad also sounded great and that’s what I decided to make first. It has lots of colorful veggies mixed with healthy multigrain pasta and a dash of balsamic vinegar for a slightly-sweet, slightly-tart flavor. And it’s topped with some chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese…yum! I hope you get a chance to try this because it’s very tasty! It doesn’t take long to make, either…about 35 minutes from start to finish. This recipe makes 4 servings.
SONOMA PASTA SALAD from The New Sonoma Cookbook
- 4 quarts water
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces fresh green beans or 3 cups frozen whole green beans
- 8 ounces dried multigrain penne (such as Barilla Plus)
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large red and/or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-size strips
- 1 Tablespoon bottled minced garlic
- 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (or you can use julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes, which is what I used–and since I love sun-dried tomatoes, I actually doubled the amount and used 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, flat-leaf parsley, and/or oregano, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut up
- Fresh basil leaves (optional)
1. If using fresh green beans: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 Tablespoon salt; then add fresh green beans. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain beans; place immediately in ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, drain well and set aside.
2. In a large Dutch oven, combine 2 quarts water and 1 Tablespoon kosher salt; bring to boiling. Add pasta. Cook according to pasta package directions, adding frozen green beans (if using) for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pepper strips; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds more. Add dried tomatoes, basil, and the drained green beans and pasta. Cook, tossing frequently, until heated through. Stir in balsamic vinegar and enough of the reserved pasta liquid to moisten pasta to desired consistency (I only added about a Tablespoon). Season to taste with additional kosher salt and black pepper. Top with cheese. If desired, garnish with fresh basil.
- Use leftover cooked green beans or broccoli.
- Replace green beans with spinach.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Sterling Publishers.