Cooking Fresh! Recipes

Four recipes below. More recipes at RECIPES.

  • Kale Salad with Apples
  • Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower & Leeks
  • Port Poached Pears with Maple Spiced Ricotta
  • Fresh Egg Pasta


It’s important to let the salad rest before serving so that the oil and lemon juice can tenderize the kale. This salad can be made up to one day in advance, and leftovers are good for at least 3 days.


  • 1 medium bunch kale, washed and dried
  • 2 crisp apples, quartered and cored, but not peeled
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional to coat apples
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces aged cheese (Herdsman, Pecorino Romano or Parmesan)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Destem and thinly slice kale. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Cut apple quarters into 1/2” X 1/2” wedges, transfer to another bowl & toss with additional lemon juice to coat.
  3. Finely grate cheese.
  4. Pour lemon juice and olive oil over kale. Toss vigorously. Add salt & pepper, half the apples and half the cheese.
  5. Toss thoroughly.
  6. Set aside for 15 minutes or up to 1 day. (If making ahead, re-toss periodically, cover and store in the fridge).
  7. When ready to serve, re-toss, add remaining cheese and apples, more salt & pepper to taste, fluff, and serve.


This can be made with almost any pasta you have on hand, fresh or dried. The sauce should be finished through step 6 before the pasta is dropped into the water.


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cored and cut into ¾” florets
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, halved lengthwise & cut into 1/3” half-moons, washed and dried
  • 8 oz. pasta, your choice, long or short
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups seeded and chopped plum tomatoes, or halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 6 oz. soft cheese (such as toma, fontina, gorgonzola or fresh goat cheese) – grated or cut small, at room temperature
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chopped chives


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place cauliflower in a single layer on sheet pans, cut side down. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  3. Roast cauliflower at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flip with a spatula, & roast an additional 10 minutes until spotty brown, soft and crunchy.
  4. In a large bowl, toss leaks, olive oil to coat, and salt & pepper. Pour leeks onto a sheet pan in a single layer and roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn over and roast an additional 10 minutes until also spotty brown, soft and crunchy.
  5. Set aside both roasted cauliflower and leeks in a bowl.
  6. In a large skillet or Dutch oven melt butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add cauliflower and leeks and toss to reheat. Add half the thyme and chives. Reduce heat to medium.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water seasoned generously with salt to a boil over high heat. When sauce is completed through Step 6, drop pasta into the boiling water, stirring to separate.
  8. When pasta is a bit underdone, still slightly chewy/firm, transfer pasta and any clinging pasta water to the saucepan, using tongs or a spider. Toss to integrate the sauce and pasta.
  9. Sprinkle/dollop cheese into sauce and using a coffee or measuring cup, add ½ cup to 1 cup of pasta water, tossing to create a creamy sauce. Add a lemon juice to taste and toss again.
  10. Add salt & pepper to taste, pour onto a platter, and top with remaining thyme and chives.


This dessert can be made a day in advance. If you leave the pears in the poaching port & refrigerate, the ruby color will penetrate throughout the pear. If you poach then serve, a pretty ruby ring surrounds the white center of the pear, revealed when they are sliced.


  • 2 firm pears
  • 1 bottle (750 ml or 3 ½ cups) ruby port wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • Lemon juice as needed
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) fresh ricotta (Drain in a sieve for 15 minutes if using supermarket ricotta)
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 10 mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 20 pistachios, chopped medium


  1. Peel, core and quarter pears, transfer to a bowl and toss with lemon juice to coat.
  2. Combine port, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and cardamom in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add pears and poach, turning every 5 minutes until a knife slips easily through the softened pear, about 20-30 minutes total. Remove from heat.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and salt & pepper.
  5. Drain and fan-slice pear quarters lengthwise, from the narrow end to the wide end, leaving a ¼” edge intact to create an attached fan.
  6. Mound/scoop ricotta into individual serving dishes, spread fanned pear over 1 side of the mound (leave some ricotta showing), top ricotta with chopped pistachios and sprinkle all with mint.

Cook’s Treat: Remove the spices from the remaining port. Drink port as mulled wine.


John Costanzo used Jack Bishop’s recipe for Fresh Egg Pasta, which appears on pages 130-131 of his book The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating.

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