Are you ready to kiss the Blarney Stone? Of course you are. It’s St. Paddy’s Day, in case you didn’t know, and it’s time to get into the go-green spirit. While the many shades of green are a stunning sight when you visit Ireland—the Emerald Isle—you’re probably not about to hop on a plane. So, we’re here to help you bring that vibrant colour straight to your dinner table.
To celebrate the Feast of Saint Patrick, we’ve got two simply delicious recipes for you. Thanks to Dairy Farmers of Canada, we’re bringing the luck of the Irish right to your dinner table. We dare you dress in green when you serve them up. Dinner tonight should begin and end with this tasty pasta dish. The simple white sauce sauce blends wonderfully with a nutritious and flavourful—and green!—pesto of spinach, broccoli and basil, and it’s all topped off with the zest of Canadian Parmesan cheese.
Then get ready to feel special with these adorable and delicious pot-of-gold cupcakes. This rainbow ends with a moist chocolate cupcake (made from scratch in just one bowl!), rich, creamy icing and, of course, golden treasure. Treat yourself. After all, it’s a holiday.
THE EMERALD ISLE PESTO PASTA
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooking time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
4 cups (1 L) packed baby spinach (about 4 oz/125 g)
2 cups (500 ml) frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
½ cup (125 ml) packed fresh basil leaves 2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
¾ cup (175 ml) grated Canadian Parmesan cheese, divided
12 oz (375 g) spinach or regular fettuccine
2 tbsp (30 ml) all-purpose flour
½ tsp (2 ml) salt ¼ tsp (1 ml) pepper
2 cups (500 ml) milk
WHAT YOU’LL DO
1. In a food processor, combine spinach, broccoli, basil, garlic and lemon juice; pulse until finely chopped. Add ½ cup (125 ml) of the Parmesan and process until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook fettuccine for about 10 minutes or according to package directions, until tender but firm.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together flour, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, for about 10 minutes or until thickened and just starting to bubble. Stir in spinach pesto.
4. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add sauce and toss gently to coat. Serve sprinkled with remaining Parmesan.
COOKING TIP: If you don’t have a food processor, you can use an immersion blender in a large, tall cup or an upright blender to make the pesto but you will need to add about ½ cup (125 mL) of the milk to help purée the vegetables. Just make the sauce in step 3 with the remaining 1½ cups (375 mL) milk.
VARIATION: For a protein boost, add 1 to 2 cups (250 to 500 ml) shredded cooked chicken to the milk sauce and heat through before adding the pesto.
POT OF GOLD CUPCAKES
- Prep Time: 30 to 40 minutes
- Bake Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 12
WHAT YOU’LL NEED CUPCAKES
1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar ¾ cup (180 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (250 ml) 10% half-and-half cream
½ cup (125 ml) butter, melted
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
3 oz (90 g) bittersweet (dark) chocolate, (65 to 70% cacao), chopped
¼ cup (60 ml)
10% half-and-half cream
¼ cup (60 ml) butter, softened
¼ cup (60 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (250 ml) icing sugar
OTHER STUFF Yellow candies or gold decorator sugar (see Tips) 12 paper rainbow picks (see Tips)
WHAT YOU’LL DO
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with large-size paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cocoa powder. Gradually whisk in cream until blended; whisk in butter, egg and vanilla. Without stirring, add flour, baking powder and salt; stir until batter is smooth and blended.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes; transfer to rack to cool completely.
4. Icing: In a small saucepan, combine chocolate and cream. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking often, for about 3 minutes, until melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature, stirring often.
5. In a deep bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, cocoa and cream mixture until blended. Add icing sugar and beat until fluffy. 6. If desired, peel papers off cupcakes. Spread tops generously with icing, creating a hollow “pot” in the centre. Fill with yellow candies or sugar and arrange on a green platter or tray. Insert rainbow picks to hover above the gold.
COOKING TIP: Cooled, undecorated cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. Decorated cupcakes can be kept refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, for up to 8 hours. If you prefer to decorate them a day ahead, spread with icing but don’t add the candies as they’ll soften. Fill the pots and insert the rainbow picks just before serving.
- Look for small yellow candies about 1/2 inch (1 cm) in diameter such as candy-coated chocolates or fruit candies.
- Alternatively, you can slice miniature marshmallows crosswise into 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) thick slices and either dip them into a mixture of yellow food colouring and water, or dip them in plain water and press into gold decorator sugar to coat.
- Place coated marshmallows on a plate to dry for several hours before assembling cupcakes.
- To make rainbow picks for your Pots of Gold, cut out arc-shapes from heavy paper and colour strips of a rainbow, or search online for rainbow templates to print out and cut.
- Glue rainbows onto toothpicks to insert in the cupcakes. There are also printable rainbow cupcake wrappers available online.
- Alternatively, look for rainbow ribbon candy and cut pieces to arch over the pot, inserting in the edges of the cupcakes.
For hundreds of deliciously easy recipes online, check out Dairy Farmers of Canada.