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La Belle Cuisine
Spicy Penne Charmaine
Pasta: Italian, Asian, American...and More
Food & Wine Books, Editor in Chief: Judith Hill, 1997,
American Express Publishing Corp.
Fennelly of Mike’s on the Avenue [St. Charles, that is] in New
brings us this outrageous fusion of flavors from the Orient,
and the American Southwest. We think you’ll agree, the combina-
tion is not
at all strange tasting. In fact it’s superb. Mike created this
pasta for his
number-one assistant, Charmaine Morel, using all of her
Recommendation: Try to find an easygoing, undemanding white
drink alongside this dish. A reliable choice would be a Pinot
just about anywhere in Italy or an Orvieto.
3 tablespoons chopped spinach leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tomato
2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese,
plus more for serving
1 scallion including green top, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
(nam pla or nuoc mam)
1 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chimayo or ancho chile powder,
or any other
chile powder, or
1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 pound penne
1. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, basil, fresh and
sun-dried tomatoes, cream, Parmesan, scallion, oil, tomato paste, fish
sauce, jalapeño, lime
juice, garlic, sugar, chile powder, salt, and pepper.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the penne
until just done,
about 13 minutes. Drain.
3. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss. Serve immediately
with extra Parmesan.
- Mike Fennelly, Mike’s on the Avenue, New Orleans
Mike's on the Avenue is no more. However,
and Vicky Bayley reunite in New Orleans, open a new Mike's.
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