Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

The last macaroni and cheese of the season… Because it really is much more of a hearty wintertime dish, even though it is oh-so good. It follows pretty much this recipe here, adapted from Gourmet Magazine. Here’s the way I make it…

  • 1-lb Maple Bacon
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2-3/4 cups Milk
  • 3/4 cups Half and Half (because that is what is in the house)
  • 4 cups Shredded and/or Cubed Cheeses (I use a variety of cheese, also depending on what is in the house. This batch had: Smoked Cheddar, White Cheddar & Monterey Jack.)
  • 2 tsp Mustard
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1-lb Whole Wheat Pasta (this batch was elbows and they worked very well.)

1. Boil water for pasta. Cook as directed, drain and set aside.
2. Rough cut bacon and cook. Drain and set aside.
3. Melt butter in a large pot over medium low heat. Whisk in flour and red pepper flakes. Cook, while whisking, for 3 minutes to make a roux. Continue to whisk and add milk in a slow stream. Bring the sauce to a boil and continue to whisk constantly. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 and 1/2, cheeses, mustard and salt. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked bacon.
4. Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce. Pour mixture into a lightly-oiled baking dish. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Uncover, and cook for approximately 10 more minutes, until bubbly and golden. Enjoy! It’s really really good…


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I had a recipe from years ago, when I first started gathering recipes, for a Scrambled Pasta dish.  Oddly, I had never tried it… Odd, because I love pasta, and I do rather enjoy eggs (though I do tend to eat them off and on, in phases).  Anyway, I’ve recently been enjoying eggs in various ways, so I decided it was time to try this dish.

I looked at my old recipe, and also took a gander at some other ones on the web.  I came up with a very basic way to try adding eggs to pasta.  The meal did feel like comfort food and it was fairly good.  I think it would be even better by adding some fresh herbs or some fresh veggies in the summertime.  I did add asparagus on the side to this dish… We’ve finally got some fresh asparagus here, and honestly, I think I was more focused on enjoying that!  🙂  But all in all, a scrambled pasta is an interesting way to make a quick pasta meal… It’s filling, somewhat light and overall pretty darn tasty. I’d also say it would make a yummy base with some fresh herbs and/or veggies, too.

  • 12-oz. Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta – I cooked the whole box and then set a bit of the cooked pasta aside.
  • Olive Oil
  • Minced Garlic
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded (plus extra for topping, if desired)

Cook pasta according to directions; drain and set aside. As pasta is finishing cooking, saute minced garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Beat together the 4 eggs in a small bowl, and then stir in the shredded parmesan cheese. Add cooked pasta to garlic and warm through. Pour egg mixture over pasta and stir. While stirring (and also scraping the eggs from the bottom of the pan), cook until the eggs are set, about 4-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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I mostly followed the recipe for ‘Ziti Baked with Spinach, Tomatoes and Smoked Gouda’ found here. I used penne pasta instead of the ziti, and I omitted the yellow pepper. I just wasn’t in a particularly peppery mood that night. The dish came out quite good. I’ve been enjoying using diced tomatoes in recipes lately… probably because it’s wintertime and you can’t really get good ‘fresh’ tomatoes anywhere here. I quite enjoyed the smoked gouda as the cheese in this dinner. The smokiness complemented very nicely with the tomatoes and pasta. All in all, I’m sure I’d make this again…

  • Penne Pasta
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion, chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • 2 cans Diced Tomatoes
  • Baby Spinach
  • Smoked Gouda Cheese

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I took this recipe for Inside-Out Lasagna from my Eating Well magazine… it’s like a deconstructed lasagna of sorts. I added mozzarella cheese to the mix, and, well, I mixed it all up. I also used a full box of whole-wheat pasta and more mushrooms. The picture at the bottom shows the recipe version of this dish, before I added the extra cheese and mixed mine together.

The dish had a familiar taste to it, similar to lasagna… I think the ricotta cheese added the most for that effect. The diced tomatoes made it lighter than the traditional tomato sauce, and we enjoyed this as a weeknight meal. This dish had all my required elements for such weeknight meals: it is basically quick to prepare; it is healthyish and good-for-you; it provides leftovers; and it is simply quite tasty. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call it lasagna-like, but I’ll definitely be adding it to my menus on a regular basis.

  • One package (13.25-oz.) Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 16-oz. Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 14-oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
  • One bag (8-oz.) Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1.  Bring large pot of water to boil.  Add pasta and cook accordingly.  Drain and transfer to large bowl.

2.  As pasta cooks, heat oil in saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook, while stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until it begins to soften.  Add mushrooms and salt.  Cook, while stirring, for 5-6 minutes or until mushrooms begin to release their liquid.

3.  Add diced tomatoes, spinach and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.

4.  Toss sauce with pasta and serve with 3 Tbsp. dollops of ricotta cheese on top (bottom pic).  This is where I added some shredded mozzarella and mixed everything together (top pic).  Yum!

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Pasta Fresca

This recipe comes pretty much verbatim from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. It is a seasonal favorite of mine, for when the tomatoes are abundant and fresh. The ingredients are all the ones I love… pasta, mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, garlic… And that’s pretty much it!

The picture above doesn’t really do the sauce justice, since you really can’t see it. But it’s basically tomatoes and basil pureed in a blender, which turns out to be a lovely shade of pink and pretty darn yummy!

  • 4 cups Tomotoes, chopped
  • 8 large Basil leaves
  • 1 large Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. Pasta  (I used Whole Wheat Rotini)
  • 1/2 lb. Fresh Mozzarelle, cubed

1.  Bring a large covered pot of water to a boil.

2.  Set aside 1 cup of chopped tomatoes and 2 of the basil leaves.  In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining tomatoes and basil with the garlic and olive oil.  (This time, I sauteed the garlic with some olive oil first, instead of adding it raw.)

3.  When the water comes to a boil, stir in the pasta and cook as directed.  As the pasta cooks, chop the remaining basil leaves.

4.  Drain pasta and toss immediately with mozzarella cubes.  Add the sauce and mix well.  Top with reserved tomatoes and basil.  Serve immediately.

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Quick and easy, and flavorful too… that’s how I’d describe this dish. It’s almost a quirky mix of ingredients, in my opinion, mostly because it’s a pasta dish with salsa and such. But it’s a fun way to mix it up a bit. And as I said, it’s tremendously quick and simple, yet there’s room for variation or doing it a bit more from scratch. Tonight, I was looking for fast and that’s what we got!  Makes about 8 servings…

  • 1-lb Pasta of choice – I used medium shells this evening
  • 16-oz jar of Salsa – I used mild
  • 4-oz can Green Chilies, drained – I used the pre-diced variety
  • Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans Black Beans, rinsed thoroughly and drained – I used organic*
  • 2 cups Cheese, shredded – I used a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend
  • Optional: Lime Wedges – I opted
  • Optional: Fresh Cilantro, chopped – I opted out tonight

1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta and cook as directed.

2.  In a medium saucepan, combine salsa, green chilies and black beans.  Warm over medium heat until simmering.  Keep warm as pasta cooks.  (I’m guessing this step could even be omitted and the ingredients mixed in with the pasta once it’s finished cooking.)

3.  Drain pasta.  Add salsa-bean mixture, followed by green onions, and stir together.  Add cheese and stir.  Serve with a sprinkling of lime juice on top, if desired.  Enjoy!

*I had two different brands of black beans, and I noticed quite a difference in the sodium content between the two… one can had 440 mg, while the other had 140 mg.  Either way, thoroughly rinsing canned goods helps rinse away some of the excess.

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I picked some fresh basil leaves and chopped up some fresh tomatoes to go on top on this pasta dish. Yum! I love being able to go out onto the balcony and get me some basil when I like. My tomato plants are obviously just started to get established now. I did get some salad mix and baby romaine lettuce, which I hope to get planted this weekend. I’d like to be able and pick some of that when I like too!

This dish ended up being a mix between macaroni and cheese and a pasta fresca. Yes, there were two competing themes going on there, but hey… It happens sometimes.

  • Whole-Wheat Penne Pasta
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Shredded American, Monterery Jack and Cheddar mix
  • Fresh Basil, chopped
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Turkey Sausage, chopped (leftovers)

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