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Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

Chicken and Sausage Orzo

The star of this delicious dish is Orzo which is a small rice-shaped pasta. I would like to point out that Orzo comes in slightly different sizes (from small to smaller) and so they can vary a little in cooking time. Make sure you taste the pasta for doneness and you can always add a small splash of extra chicken stock if the Orzo needs to cook a couple of minutes longer. At first glance this recipe seems labor intensive because it has both sausage and chicken in it, but really it’s not. Making the dish is simply a matter of tossing everything into one cooking pot, so clean-up is a breeze, and¬†I just love the flavor combination that’s going on here within this dish.

Chicken and Sausage Orzo (6 servings)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 spicy italian sausages, casings removed (9.5 oz or 270 g)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (1.2 lbs or 540 g)

3 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed (709 ml)

1/2 cup tomato sauce (118 ml)

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo (280 g)

salt to taste

1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (25 g)

a big handful parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a large cooking pot, break up sausage and cook over medium-high heat, remove sausage from cooking pot and set aside. Using the grease from the sausage, add raw chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink. Add chicken stock and tomato sauce, lower heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Once liquid is bubbling add uncooked orzo and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until orzo is tender. Add a little more stock if liquid is cooking off too fast. Add salt to taste. Add cheese and parsley, stir to incorporate and serve. Enjoy!

Source: slightly adapted from Food Wishes

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Veggie Roll-up Lasagna

Veggie Lasagna Roll-up

My husband Joe is a meat lover so when I told him that I was making vegetable lasagna roll-up he immediately wrinkled his nose and I assured him that he was going to love it. And while I was cooking the sauce he kept asking me if I was adding some sausage to the sauce, but I stood my ground with a firm “no” ūüôā And when it finally came time to taste the much anticipated lasagna roll-up, guess what, he loved it and I must say that this recipe really is wonderful…even without meat.

Separate and cover noodles until ready to use. Spread ricotta cheese, roll tightly, place in pan.

Separate and cover noodles until ready to use. Spread ricotta cheese, roll tightly, place in pan.

I am always looking for good recipes that you can cook ahead, freeze and then thaw and cook for those nights when you come home tired from a long day at work. I love this recipe because it can be made into small portions, it is loaded with delicious vegetables and there is less cheese involved than a regular lasagna. Of course you can always add some meat to the recipe or change the vegetables around as you please, but all kidding aside, this recipe will definitely be a staple recipe here at our house and sometimes there may even be some meat in it.

Layer: sauce, rolled up noodles, sauce and a thin layer of cheese.

Layer: sauce, rolled up noodles, sauce and a thin layer of cheese.

Veggie Lasagna Roll-up, makes 3 foil loaf-size pans

Ingredients:

12 lasagna noodles

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 zucchini, cut into bite size chunks

1 yellow squash, cut into bite size chunks

mushrooms, sliced or diced

1 cup white wine

salt and pepper, to taste

14 oz diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the cheese filling:

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

large bunch fresh basil

salt and pepper

For the topping:

Your favorite Italian cheese (I used a store-bought blend of Mozzarella, Asiago, Provolone and Romano)

Directions:

Cook lasagna noodles in salted water according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and place one layer of noodles, alternate plastic wrap with noodles ending with plactic wrap on top, to prevent the noodles from drying out. Set aside.

To make sauce: heat olive oil in a large cooking pot, add onions and bell pepper, cook until onions are starting to turn translucent. Add garlic, zucchini, squash and mushrooms, cook for a few minutes. Pour in wine and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, your favorite marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese, simmer 15-20 minutes.

To make cheese filling: in a small bowl add ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and chopped basil, stir to combine.

To assemble: line up 3 loaf-size foil pans. Spoon a small amount of sauce into bottom of loaf pan. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles and spread each noodle with a thin layers of ricotta cheese mix. Roll each noodle up tightly and place on top of sauce inside foil pan. 4 rolled up noodle will fit inside each pan. Top noodles with more sauce and your favorite cheese. Close pan off with tinfoil. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cook immediately or let cool down in refrigerator before placing in freezer.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cook covered for 40 minutes. Turn heat up to 400 degrees F and continue to cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until cheese is golden in color. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Ree Drummond

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Garlic and Anchovy Farfalle

Garlic and Anchovy Farfalle

Now that the holidays are over and we are settling back into our everyday routines, I think we need something quick and easy on the dinner menu. And this pasta dish is so easy to make, not to mention very delicious. The recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis and I just made some slight little changes. Enjoy!

Fresh Baby Spinach

Fresh Baby Spinach

Garlic and Anchovy Farfalle (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 pound farfalle pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

3 cloves of garlic, minced

5 cups baby spinach leaves (6 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until tender. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Rinse spinach in cold water, drain and set aside. In a large pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and garlic, cook for until aromatic, 1-2 minutes.  Add spinach and salt, cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Add cooked pasta to pan, add 1/2 of the grated cheese to pasta, add some of the reserved pasta water to pan, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Pour pasta into serving dish and top with remaining cheese. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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Stuffed Pasta Shells

I love stuffed pasta, actually I love anything pasta. But if the pasta is stuffed with just cheese, I am not a fan. So I like to mix something else in with that cheese, in this case, some spicy sausage and lots of fresh basil. The basil gives a wonderful flavor, and the spicy sausage adds a little heat and a better texture. It’s a win win! I hope you enjoy these Stuffed Pasta Shells as much as we did.

Ingredients:

6 oz jumbo pasta shells (1/2 box or 16 individual shells)

8 oz spicy ground sausage, cooked and cooled

15 oz ricotta cheese, part skim

1 egg

10 large basil leaves, chopped

1 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1/2 tsp salt

your favorite marinara sauce

mozzarella cheese, for topping

Directions:

Cook sausage, drain off fat and place in refrigerator to cool.

Combine ricotta cheese, egg, basil, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and salt in a small bowl. Add cooked, cooled sausage. Stir to combine and place in refrigerator to keep cool.

Cook pasta in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a baking dish place a small amount of marinara sauce. Fill cooked shells with cheese/sausage filling and place in baking dish. Top with more marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Penne Pasta with Shrimp

I had a craving for pasta and shrimp but didn’t want Shrimp Scampi since we had that not too long ago. Then i remembered this pasta dish which I have been meaning to try out. I made some adjustment to fit my likings and it turned out really good. The flavors are mild, a little sweet and creamy. I think I might add¬†a little red pepper flakes next time I make this just to give it a kick.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound penne pasta

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes

1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

8-10 basil leaves, chiffonade

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Bring salted pasta water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.

Peel and devein shrimp, season with salt and pepper and set aside. In a large pan, melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook for two minutes, turning shrimp over half-way through cooking time. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil to pan and lower heat to medium. Cook diced onions until tender and translucent. Add minced garlic and cook one minute longer, add wine and reduce for 2-3 minutes.  Add tomato paste and stir to blend. Add canned tomatoes and continue to simmer covered until pasta is ready.

Add pasta, parsley, basil and half/half. Bring to a simmer and turn off heat. Add shrimp back into pasta dish and arrange on serving dish. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks Book

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Pasta Salad with sun-dried tomatoes

I was looking for a good Pasta Salad to serve for the “BurleyMen Club”¬†ūüôā aka Artist Blacksmith Group of Tidewater for their monthly meeting held at Gentile Forge. I came across this Pasta Salad and thought it sounded super delicious. Sun-dried¬†tomatoes and Kalamate¬†olives, what a winning combination. And it was delicious!….but….I’m now thinking that it might have been the wrong type of food to serve for all those MEN. Don’t get me wrong, they liked it, but the wrong type of food nonetheless. The sun-dried tomatoes may have been too refined, too¬†delicate and too modern. This Pasta Salad would fit-in much better at my work with¬†all the GIRLS there.¬†I’ll try it out there for our next potluck.

Sun-dried Tomato Dressing

If your not able to find pitted olives use a Cherry Pitter, it works great. 

Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

7 oz Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, drained

2 small or 1 large Garlic Clove

3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Salad:

8 oz Spiral Pasta

20 Kalamata Olives (a good handful), sliced or chopped

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, cut in halves

10 Basil leaves, julienned

1 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Directions:

In a food processor combine sun-dried tomatoes (drained), garlic, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Start the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue blending until a homogeneous mass. Store in an airtight container for 1-3 hours or preferably until the following day to allow flavors to marry. Note: this dressing recipe makes enough for 2 pasta salads.

Cook pasta in salted water until desired consistency, rinse under cold running water and drain. Add about 1/4 of dressing to pasta and stir. Add cherry tomatoes, olives, Basil and about 2/3 cup Parmesan, stir gently. Continue to add more dressing and Parmesan cheese to your liking. Note: reserve a small amount of Parmesan for topping. Enjoy.

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa

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Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my son’s all-time favorite dishes, mine as well. But then again, I’ll eat any type of¬†pasta, anytime. The thing about Lasagna is that it’s a time-consuming dish, so lately when I make it, I make two dishes and freeze one. You want to make sure you freeze the assembled Lasagna before¬†it is baked. Then just thaw it in the refrigerator for a day before baking.

What I really like about Anne Burrell’s¬†recipe is how the Basil is mixed in with the Ricotta cheese which gives it a wonderful flavor. In my opinion, the greatest thing about Lasagna is how versatile it is. You can make it a hundred different¬†ways¬†by¬†substitute whatever type of vegetables¬†and/or meats your heart¬†desires. I don’t really think that I have made the same Lasagna twice because it is always a little different. A very helpful tip that Anne Burrell also gave on her show was to¬†layer the lasagna noodles in a criss-cross fashion to help prevent the lasagna from gliding apart once it’s cut and to let it cool down for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting into. Fifteen minutes are¬†an eternity when your hungry and it’s Lasagna your waiting for.

Ricotta Cheese with Basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Sausage and Spinach

 

Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano

 

Home-made Marinara

 Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage

12 oz mushrooms, sliced

a pinch crushed red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 oz fresh baby spinach

2 cups ricotta cheese

8-10 basil leaves, chopped

1 egg

2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

your favorite home-made marinara sauce

16 oz package lasagna noodles

1 lb grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles for 7 minutes, drain and lay flat on a baking sheet, set aside.

Break apart Italian sausage and brown in pan, set aside. Add sliced mushrooms and crushed red pepper flakes to pan, season with salt and cook until soft. Add garlic and spinach and cook just until spinach is wilting. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a small bowl combine ricotta cheese, basil, egg and 1/2 the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix to combine and season with salt. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish add a couple of ladles of marinara sauce and spread evenly. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles over sauce. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles in the opposite direction and top with sauce, 1/3 of mushroom mixture, mozzarella cheese and some of the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat these layers until all ingredients are used up and the pan is full. Make sure that the top layer consist of marinara sauce topped with cheese.

Place dish on baking sheet, cover with foil and bake in oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove foil for the last 15 minutes of baking time to brown the top. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Lasagna

Source: adapted from Anne Burrell

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Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi¬†is elegant, intensely flavored and surprisingly easy to make. It seems like a complicated dish because it’s usually something you would choose to order at a nice restaurant and not something you would think of to make at home. And the shrimp and pasta does not¬†have to swim in butter like some places like to serve them. There wasn’t a lot of butter in this recipe to begin with but I cut it back even further and it is still delicious. I love Shrimp Scampi and serve it quite often, try it, I really think you’ll like it.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound angle hair pasta

3 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, finely diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

Cook angle hair pasta al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes until shallots are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add them to pan and cook until they turn pink, 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice to pan and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil and once butter has melted return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Source: adapted from Tyler Florence

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Best Marinara Sauce

Best Marinara Sauce

I love love love tomatoes and Marinara sauce. I would eat it 7 days a week if they let me. But they won’t let me. Actually, truth be told, I eat a tomato every day for lunch and my coworkers¬†love to point it out to me and so¬†I never hear the end of it. ūüôā But I can’t help myself, lunch just dosn’t seem right without my shiny little red friend. Sorry, got a little sidetracked there.

Now for the Marinara sauce. This is without a doubt the very best Marinara¬†sauce that I have tried out so far. This has become a favorite in our house and I’m happy to report that even my son likes it (and that’s saying a lot because he is used to only the best from his grandmother who makes a mean¬†pasta and meatball). If you have a food mill this is a breeze to make, if not, it’s a little more work but well worth the effort. This sauce freezes really well so I always make a big batch and keep it in the freezer for easy use.¬†Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound diced pancetta

2 large Spanish onions, diced

Kosher salt

4 large garlic cloves, minced

4 (28 ounce) cans Italian diced or plum San Marzano tomatoes

Directions:

Coat a large sauce pot with olive oil and add diced pancetta. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat and cook pancetta for 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion and season generously with salt, stir to coat with olive oil. Cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes stirring frequently. The onions should become soft and translucent but have no color. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring frequently.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill or if you don’t have a food mill simply just pulse the tomatoes in a food processor to break them up and then press the tomatoes through a sieve. Make sure to press until you have a dry paste¬†left in the sieve. This part can be a little bit of a workout. Make sure to scrape all¬†the delicious pulp off the bottom of the sieve¬†or the food mill.¬†Add the tomatoes to the pot and¬†rinse out 1 of the empty cans with water and add the water to the pot (about 2-3 cups). Season¬†generously¬†with¬†salt (season in baby steps) and taste¬†it to¬†make sure it is seasoned enough. Let the sauce simmer¬†for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting frequently.

Serve sauce right away or cool down and then freeze.

Source: Anne Burrell

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Orzo with Grape Tomatoes and Feta Cheese

I just love Orzo! I serve it with everything, even things Orzo¬†should not be served with. Orzo is so versatile and¬†the combinations for what you can add to these tiny little pastas are endless. I saw this recipe on TV somewhere but I don’t recall which¬†TV show it was on, so I am not able to give proper credit.¬†

And so, the other day my son¬†came home from College. After a semester of cafeteria food he seems really happy to finally get some home cooked¬†meals. I served this Orzo¬†with my Teriyaki¬†Chicken Nuggets and it got the official “head nod” stamp of approval. I was delighted! This Orzo dish is¬†light, delicious and so easy to make that even a college student could¬†make it.¬† ūüôā¬†

Ingredients: 

1 cup Orzo pasta 

5 oz. grape tomatoes 

3-4 tbsp feta cheese 

1 tbsp butter 

1 large sprig Basil 

Directions: 

Start by cutting grape tomatoes into halves. Fill a small cooking pot with water and season with salt. Once water is boiling add Orzo and cook for 9 minutes. Drain pasta and place back into cooking pot. Add butter, tomatoes, feta cheese and basil. Stir and serve. 

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