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Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Don’t let it fool you.  This pasta has heat.  It’s reminiscent of spaghetti aglia e olio but with a lot of veggies and minus a bunch of olive oil. Sounds healthy right?? It’s great with whole grain pasta, and  if you minus the cheese it would be a good diet alternative.  I’m not getting rid of the cheese though.  Go Me!

To cut down on the heat, reduce or remove the red pepper flake.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 1/3 pound spaghetti noodles (about a quarter sized bunch)
  • 6-8 ounces of sliced mushroom
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (I used Roma)
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup canned artichoke quarters
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

In a medium pot, bring your water to a boil. Once boiling, add in your pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, heat up two tbsp of olive oil and saute the mushrooms.

When the mushrooms have browned slightly, pour in the onion slices, separating the rings while stirring. Cook for 4-6 minutes, to soften the onion.

Add in the chopped tomato, and the last tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until the tomatoes begin to break up, about 5 minutes. Add in the spices and garlic and stir.

Once the garlic is cooked (about a minute) add in the spinach.

Toss until wilted. Add in artichoke hearts and set aside.

Once the pasta is finished, pour 1 cup of pasta water into the vegetables. Drain the rest of the water from the pasta.  Toss the pasta and vegetable mixture together.

Now comes the big choice…  to stir in the cheese before, or to serve sprinkled on top.  Umm yeah, I do both.

Enjoy!!!

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I’m posting a basic recipe since it’s so easy to modify.  Add some mayonnaise, peas, and bacon, you have a creamy pasta salad. Egg crumbles, spinach, sliced red onion, and bacon and you’ve got a spinach pasta salad.  Add green onion, brown sugar, and ginger to the basic recipe and you have an Asian style salad. Add peanut butter, and red bell pepper to the Asian style and you have Thai. The list goes on.  Experiment for yourself, or just leave it basic. Perfect for a potluck or on a hot summer day.

This recipe serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • t tbsp of spicy brown or dijon mustard
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 1/2 lemon, for juice
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of canola or olive oil or blend of the two
  • 1 cup of broccoli, cut small and steamed for about two minutes
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 6-8 oz of rotelle, bow-tie, or mini penne pasta

Optional add ins:

  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup garbonzo and/or kidney beans
  • 1 small can of sliced olives
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, asiago or romano cheese

Start by getting your pasta ready.  Boil according to the manufacturer’s direction for al dente pasta.

While your pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl whisk the water, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, garlic salt, onion powder, and red pepper flake.

Whisk in the mustard,

then stir in the carrot.

After stirring in your carrot, VIOLA! You have mustard-carrot vinegrette! You can store it and use it on a lettuce salad if you’d like. OR…

Stir in your broccoli, onion, and any other add-ins.  Then set aside.

When the pasta is finished cooking, rinse thoroughly under cold water to stop it from cooking further.  Drain,and add to the veggie-vinegrette mix. Stir, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Stir once again before serving.

Asian style salad: Add additional 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1-1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger, 3 sliced green onions and substitute salt for 1 tsp soy sauce.  Mix into the vinegrette before adding the pasta

Thai: Whisk 1/4 cup of peanut butter into the asian style vinegrette, and 1/2 or a red bell pepper diced

Southwestern style: Add 1 packet of  taco seasoning to the vinegrette, omit broccoli, add corn and olives.  Top with cheese.

Greek: Whisk 2 tsp oregano into vinegrette. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped peppercini, 1/2 chopped cucumber, a handful of kalamata olives, 1 cup of chopped salami, and 1/2  cup of crumbled feta cheese.

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Nothing celebrates spring like a bright plate of pasta chock full of veggies.  I find myself craving this every year as the fields turn bright green with new foliage. It always makes me think of my friend Trina, and trips to Alexander Valley for wine tasting. Oh, the days when I didn’t have kids…    OK,  enough with the daydreaming.  At least there’s still the primavera. PS:  T- I miss your little water-tower house!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta of your choice (Fettuccine is the norm, but I didn’t have any so I used farfalle in this recipe)
  • 16 stems of asparagus, woody end snapped off
  • 2 small zucchini (6-7 inches long)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 tbsp butter, separated into tbsp sized pats
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 4 tomatoes, preferably Roma or Plum but whatever is on hand will work
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a garlic press (which is my personal favorite way!)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, or Italian cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup of loosely packed basil, chopped
  • the juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 large bowl of ice water

This will make enough for 6-8 entrée sized servings, so beware! You can always cut the recipe in half.

Put two pots on the stove with 3-4 quarts of water and 1 tbsp of salt in each. Start prep work while bringing the water to a boil.

I cut up the vegetables in a specific way to speed up the cooking process. Be sure to keep them separated since they are initially cooked separately. Start with the asparagus. I cut two inches of the tips off, then slice in half lengthwise along the remaining stalk, and in half again as shown in the picture below.

As for the zucchini and carrots, take a peeler and press down a little while making your peeling motion in order to get a slightly thicker peel.

Then stack up the peeled strips and cut them in half lengthwise.

If you buy whole mushrooms, slice them!!!

Once your water is boiling, drop in the asparagus and boil for 45-60 seconds.

Then remove using a slotted spoon and plunge immediately into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Ta-dow. Once it’s cooled down (about a minute) remove from the cold water with a slotted spoon (you’ll need the water for cooling down the other cooked veggies) and put into a colander to finish draining.

Next cook the zucchini for 30-40 seconds

then plunge into the ice water, repeating the cooling down and then draining process. Next are the peas for 30 seconds, remove, cool-down and drain, and then the carrots for  1-1/2 to 2 minutes. I bet you can guess how you cool these down.  Once all veggies are cooled and drained, you should end up with a big and beautiful bowl of color. Take a look!

Purty!

Cut an “x” into the tips of your tomatoes like so –

and put into the boiling water.  Cook until the “x” on the end just starts to peel back or split, then plunge into your ice bath to stop the cooking process.  They should look something like this –

The skins should slide off pretty easily. Use the peeler on any stubborn pieces of tomato skin.  Now cut out the stem and chop them up.

Now is the time to cook your pasta. Pour it into the second pot of boiling water and stir to prevent sticking.

You can finally dump out that boiling veggie water from your first pot, and rinse it out since we’re going to use it to make the sauce while the pasta is boiling. Yep, we’re only using two pots to make primavera. How great is that!

Put 3 tbsp of butter into the dry pan and saute your mushrooms until lightly browned. Add in the chopped tomatoes.

Cook until the tomatoes start to break up about 8-10 minutes.

Check you pasta. If it’s done, drain and set it aside. If not quite done, continue to boil.

Add in the last tbsp of butter and your garlic to the mushroom mixture.

Cook until the garlic has mellowed, approximately 3 minutes. Turn down the heat to low, then add in the cream and half of the parmesan cheese (Save the rest of your cheese for sprinkling on top!) and stir until the cheese has melted and blended in with the sauce.  Simmer for an additional 3 minutes stirring until the sauce has slightly thickened. Set aside off of the heat until your pasta is done.

Pour drained pasta and veggies into the sauce and stir until completely combined.

Stir in basil and lemon juice and serve! Of course I sprinkle mine with more cheese due to my dairy addiction.

Join me.

I’m a dairy pusher.

Cut to 3 minutes later.

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This recipe is so yummy that even my 2 year old loves it.  Gotta have something to do with the vodka . It’s an oldie, but a goodie!

  • 3-4 mild Italian sausages
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as rotelle or penne
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • Approximately 1  cup of chopped or shredded basil, more if you like it!
  • Parmesan for sprinkling

Lightly brown the Italian sausage in a non stick pan for 5-7 minutes.  Just enough to firm them up and make them easier to cut. They do not have to be completely cooked at this point.  Pull sausages out of the pan and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.  Throw them back into pan and fry until browned and cooked thoroughly, about another 7-10 minutes.  Place sausage pieces into a bowl and set aside.

Start boiling pasta according to directions

Clean your current pan or be lazy like me and get out another pan.  Pour in olive oil and butter, then heat over medium high heat until butter is frothy but not browned.  Quickly stir in onion and shallots, cook for 2-3 minutes then add in mushrooms. Saute for an additional 5 minutes. Don’t forget to check to see if your pasta is done!!!!

Add vodka to the mushroom mix and cook until the liquid reduces by half. Next pour in chicken stock, tomatoes(including juice from cans), and garlic, then lower heat. Add sausage pieces back to pan.   Simmer for  10-15 minutes until flavors of your sauce are combined.

Whisk corn starch into cream until blended. Mix cream mixture with sauce and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and stir in pasta and 1/2 cup of the basil. Sprinkle parmesan and remaining basil on top.

I love serving this with french bread and a salad…    total pasta basics!

For a vegetarian version: Omit sausage, and chicken stock.  Substitute veggie stock , add  1/2 tsp fennel seeds  and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes when putting in the tomatoes and garlic. I think fresh sliced fennel bulb might be a good addition to saute with the mushrooms and onion if you like as well. MMMMmmmmmMMMMMmmmm!

Ta-Da!!!!!!!

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