TIP My top choices when it comes to cooking apples are: Granny Smith for tart flavor and firm texture (as in the pasta dish), Golden Delicious for baking (bread pudding) and Gala or another firm, sweet eating apple when sautéing (broccoli rabe).
Apples fit into every meal and every course with ease. Here, they balance the bite of broccoli rabe for a quick and very nutritious side dish; add a burst of crisp, clean flavor to a sweet dessert and perk up an autumnal main course.
BROCCOLI RABE WITH APPLE
1 bunch broccoli rabe, about 1 pound, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the broccoli rabe and cook 5 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender. Drain and squeeze lightly.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and apple in a single layer and cook without moving until the apple is lightly browned on the undersides, about 6 minutes. Remove any garlic that becomes deeply browned, turn the apple and cook another 2 minutes, until apple is tender. Remove from pan and reduce the heat to medium.
3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan; add the rabe and salt and cook 2 minutes to heat through. Toss with the apples and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 147 calories, 4 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium
APPLE-WALNUT BREAD PUDDING WITH WARM MAPLE SYRUP
1/3 cup walnuts
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups cubed bread (6 to 8 ounces, depending on the bread)
2 apples, peeled and chopped into 1/3-inch pieces
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place walnuts in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Toast in oven until they just become aromatic and slightly darker in color, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven; transfer nuts to plate and let pan cool slightly before coating with cooking spray. Chop nuts into 1/4-inch pieces.
3. Combine eggs, milk, sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and vanilla in large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add bread cubes and toss. Stir in apples and walnuts and transfer to baking dish. Bake until golden, slightly puffed and set in center, about 35 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, warm remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup in small saucepan over low heat. Just before serving, drizzle syrup over pudding. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 350 calories, 8 g protein, 67 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 310 mg sodium
NOODLES WITH SAUSAGE, APPLE AND SAGE
8 ounces noodles
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small bits
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1. Cook noodles in plenty of lightly salted boiling water, according to package directions. Drain and toss with butter.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apple and cook 2 minutes; add the broth and simmer until apple begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
3. Return sausage to pan; stir in half the sage and pepper and simmer another 3 to 4 minutes, until sausage is cooked through. Toss with noodles. Top each serving with remaining sage and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 517 calories, 32 g protein, 59 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 841 mg sodium