11.21.2017

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It’s already (late!) November and I feel like we’re just beginning to find our fall rhythm. The first month back to school was fairly easy and cheerful (the amazing September weather and long afternoon light is mostly to thank) but now it’s hit me – fall, for better or worse, is here. I just walked downstairs from attempting to store all the boys’ summer shorts away but realized pretty quickly that Dylan is going to have a problem with that. He still prefers to wear shorts, even when the high is in the low 50s or upper 40s. Thanksgiving is my deadline – no shorts after turkey day.

The food we’re cooking and eating reflects this seasonal, albeit slow, shift as well. Last week I made a truly successful Sunday dinner – the kind of meal that is easy but satisfying, special but familiar enough to please everyone. The menu was Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil, a big salad, and Whole-Wheat Almond-Butter Sandwich Cookies for dessert. If you’re really hungry, a platter of grilled steak, loaf of garlic bread, or pan of roasted winter squash would be a nice accompaniment. As a matter of fact, I am planning on making this Sunday dinner again soon, with a few of these additions because when I find a new-to-us meal that works I always come back to it.

This post is In Partnership with Martha Stewart Living, Barilla® Collezione and Reynolds Kitchens™

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Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil

Serves 6

I really love the surprising addition of balsamic vinegar here and although the simplicity of red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil is perfect, many other things like roasted winter squash, mushrooms, wilted spinach, ground sausage or pancetta would be delicious tossed into the pasta as well. I chose the orecchiette pasta shape because its smooth inside and grooved outside perfectly grips the vegetable heavy sauce. We all loved the texture of the pasta too.

1 12-ounce box Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette

1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin

Olive oil

8 ½-ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls of basil, torn

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  1. Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Add pasta to boiling water. Boil for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. While the pasta boils, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and slowly fry the onion in a couple of glugs of olive oil for 5 minutes, until soft and tender. Stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar.
  1. When the pasta is tender, drain and add the orecchiette to the skillet. Season skillet with salt and black pepper and toss in the torn basil.
  1. Serve Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil warm with Parmesan cheese, if you’d like.

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Whole-Wheat Almond-Butter Sandwich Cookies

From A New Way to Bake: Classic Recipes Updated with Better-for-You Ingredients from the Modern Pantry

Makes 30 Sandwiches

Made with almond butter and toasted almonds, these cookies, which rely completely on whole-wheat pastry flour, are a scrumptious riff on the beloved peanut-butter sandwich cookie. The delightfully crisp almond cookies are also tasty all on their own.

1 ¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon coarse salt

1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup smooth natural unsalted almond butter, well stirred

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted and finely chopped

¼ cup honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid®

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  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high, 1 minute. Add almond butter, and beat until smooth. Beat in brown sugar, then egg, until well mixed. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in almonds.
  1. Form dough into a log roughly 11 inches long and 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour (or up to 3 months).
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Using a chef’s knife, slice log into scant ¼-inch-thick rounds, using one quick motion for each slice. (For easier slicing, keep log frozen between batches of cookies.) Arrange rounds 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheets lined with Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid®, pressing back into shape as needed. Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid® really comes in handy here because its SmartGrid guidelines make it easier to space cookie slices. The non-stick surface made removing the baked Whole-Wheat Almond Butter Sandwich Cookies a piece of cake.
  1. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are light golden on edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely.

5. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, honey, and vanilla on medium until combined. Spread 1 tablespoon each on the bottoms of half the cookies, then sandwich with remaining          cookies, pressing gently to spread filling. (Filled cookies are best the same day.)

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