Posts filed under ‘Pasta’

Classic Mac and Cheese

There aren’t too many mac and cheese recipes that I try and actually love. I keep searching ad trying new recipes hoping that one day I will find the perfect version. When I saw this Cook’s Illustrated version I figured it was worth a shot since they never let me down. I was pleased with this version and would definitely make it again. It’s makes a very large batch and I think next time I would bake in two smaller pans and freeze one for a quick weeknight meal.

Classic Mac and Cheese
bread crumb topping (see below)
1 pound pasta shapes
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3 1/2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)
1 pound colby jack cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
8 oz extra-sharp cheddar, shredded (about 2 cups)
ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring water to a boil in a large dutch oven set over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Drain the pasta and leave in the colander.

Wipe the pot dry, and add the butter, and set it over medium heat until melted.  Stir in the garlic, mustard, and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk, and bring to a simmer.  Whisking often, cook until large bubbles form on the surface and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses until completely melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir the drained pasta into the cheese sauce, breaking up any clumps, until well combined.  Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with crumb topping.

Bake uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are crisp, 25-35 minutes.

To store and serve later:  Wrap the dish tightly with foil, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  To serve, bake in a 400 degree oven until the filling is hot throughout, about 40-45 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to cook until the crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes.

Bread Crumb Topping
4 slices white sandwich bread, quartered
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

Pulse the bread and butter in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 6 pulses.  Spread the crumbs out over a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden and dry, 20-30 minutes.  Let the crumbs cool, then toss with parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated Best Make Ahead Recipes via Pink Parsley


May 20, 2011 at 10:53 am 1 comment

Weeknight Bolognese

One of my favorite meals growing up was pasta with meat sauce. My Mom would make it for me quite often and it was always a treat. I still enjoy that now, but am always looking for new variations. I absolutely love this recipe because it is quick and delicious. I was actually quite surprised by how flavorful it really was. Bonus – only 2 pots are dirtied! It definitely satisfies that pasta craving and tastes like it took a lot longer to make.

Weeknight Bolognese
1 lb lean ground sirloin
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 Tbs tomato paste
kosher salt and ground black pepper
3/4 lb dried pasta, such as shells or oricchiette
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


Add the sirloin to a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, 5-7 minutes, until the meat has started to brown and is no longer pink.  Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute, or until fragrant. 

Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.  Add the tomatos 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper, stirring until combined.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain and pour into a large serving bowl.

As the pasta cooks, finish the sauce.  Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and remaining 1/4 cup wine.  Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.  Add the sauce to the pasta, along with the Parmesan cheese, and toss well.  Serve hot and pass additional Parmesan at the table.

Source: Pink Parsley

April 1, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Greek Pasta Salad with Steak


My sweet husband cooks dinner for me every year on Valentine’s Day. It is always quite the production. First, he decides on a recipe, then he calls me to ask if we have every single ingredient listed, then he goes shopping and usually has to call me to ask where to find something, and finally he cooks. I’m never allowed to watch or even be in the kitchen. It’s always a complete surprise and he never disappoints. he actually really has a knack for picking out good recipes.

This pasta salad was really delicious. The sundried tomato pesto was a nice change of pace and the fresh herbs gave the dish a nice brightness. I even enjoyed the crunch of the sunflower kernals which I was really surprised about. Everything about this dish was great (and it’s quick too!). I’ll definitely be asking my honey to make this again.

On a side note – this was the first time we tried whole wheat pasta. I had always been afraid that I wouldn’t like it. We actually really liked it and could barely tell the difference. That is definitely one way to feel better about eating pasta.

8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 (1 pound) beef rib eye steak
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 cup sliced black olives (he omitted)
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sunflower kernels

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. When cooked, drain, then toss with olive oil, and keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the rib-eye on both sides until pink in the center, 7 to 10 minutes depending on thickness. Remove steak from skillet and cut into bite-size pieces. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet, and stir in the garlic and shallots. Cook 5 to 10 seconds until fragrant, then return the steak to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or to desired doneness. Stir in the soy sauce, and cook a few seconds longer, allowing it to evaporate.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sun-dried tomato pesto, olives, spinach, basil, parsley, feta cheese and sunflower kernels. Toss with the pasta in a large bowl and serve.

Source: Allrecipes

March 15, 2011 at 6:30 am 1 comment

Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta

I think it’s quite apparent from the past few posts that we love lemon. It’s just a flavor that is so fresh and compliments just about everything nicely. With the weather in the low to mid 80s this time of year we are transitioning away from our comforting winter foods to fresher lighter fare. This meal encompasses all of those requirements and it’s fairly quick and simple to throw together.

Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta
12 ounces angel hair pasta
2 slices bacon
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved and pounded to ¼ inch thickness
¼ cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 teaspoons capers, drained
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, chilled
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, cook through. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, and pepper. Lightly coat chicken with flour mixture. Without crowding, carefully place chicken in the bacon grease. Fry until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken to paper towels. Stir the mushrooms, artichokes, and capers into the pan; cook until the mushrooms are soft. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and lemon juice, cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the cream and the butter to the sauce, stirring until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the chicken breasts into strips, and return them to the pan. Stir the pasta and bacon into the chicken mixture. Serve.

Source: So Tasty, So Yummy

March 10, 2011 at 8:16 am 1 comment

Pasta Carbonara

Wow, it certainly has been quite awhile since my last blog update. I have good reason though. My husband and I welcomed our daughter, Alana Simone into the world on January 5th. I’m slowly getting back into the kitchen and hope to update more regularly from here on out.

Here’s a picture of the little darling

This is a dish I love to order when we go out to eat. It seemed more like a dish I couldn’t recreate at home — so creamy and delicious, but then I realized it is really simple to make at home. This will no longer be something I order out because it is so much better homemade. Plus, it really isn’t all that difficult either!

Pasta Carbonara
1 pound Bacon Or Pancetta
1 pound Linguine Pasta
1 whole Large Onion
8 cloves (to 12 Cloves) Garlic
1 cup White Wine (or Substitute Another Cup Of Stock)
1 cup Chicken Stock
4 whole Eggs
1-½ cup Parmesan Cheese
1 bunch Parsley
½ stick Butter
1-2 Tbsp Black Pepper

Slice 1 pound of bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook bacon in a stainless steel pan until brown and crisp. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cool linguine until al dente.

Next, chop your onion. When the bacon is cooked, remove it  with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving the bacon grease. Add onions to the bacon grease and cook until fragrant and transparent. In the meantime, thinly slice the garlic. After the onions have cooked for a couple of minutes,add the garlic. After the garlic has cooked for a couple minutes remove the onions and garlic and discard the grease.

Place the pan back on high heat until it starts to smoke a little. As soon as the pan begins to smoke, pour in the white wine (or chicken stock). Whisk until pan is thoroughly deglazed and all of the brown bits have come off of the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup of chicken stock. Return bacon, onion and garlic back to the pan. Let simmer over medium heat.

Crack four eggs into a large bowl. Add most of the Parmesan cheese, and rough chop the parsley, adding it into the eggs as well. Leave a little Parmesan and parsley out for a garnish. Mix well with a fork.

Drain the water from your pasta. Be sure the pasta is very hot. Add the pasta to the egg mixture and then add the bacon/onion mixture. Finally add a ½ stick of butter. Mix it all together well. Pepper to taste. Garnish with parmesan and parsley.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

March 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm 1 comment

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

I love meals that can feed an army. This meal in particular could feed a large crowd, be used for several meals and/or lunches, or be thrown in the freezer and used another day. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad stuffed shell recipe, but the flavors in this one are especially great. In lieu of traditional marinara sauce chopped tomatoes are used. I enjoy marinara sauce with my pasta and was a little nervous. I stuck with the recipe as is and am glad I did. The tomatoes were a perfect topping and let the sausage and spinach really shine through.

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells
1 12-oz package jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes with herbs, including the liquid

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Salt water and cook pasta shells according to package directions.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the sausage to the pan, and cook through breaking into smaller pieces.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg, ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, basil, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add the cooked sausage mixture to the bowl and stir until evenly mixed.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Spread a thin layer of the chopped tomatoes in a 9×13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with some of the sausage and cheese mixture (I like to use a pastry bag for easy filling), and arrange in the baking dishes, open side up.  Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.

Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling.  Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for 10 more minutes.  

Source: Annie’s Eats

March 24, 2009 at 7:08 pm 3 comments

Shrimp Lasagna Rolls

I thought a long time about making these. I saw the recipe, was intrigued, and then decided not to make them. Then, one day I got to thinking. I like several other pasta recipes with seafood in them so why was I discriminating against this one? Well, I finally made them and really enjoyed them! I just love lasagna rolls — perfectly portioned pieces of lasagna. If you think you might like these give them a try! You will not be disappointed.


Shrimp Lasagna Rolls
12 lasagna noodles
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (15 oz) containers ricotta
1/2 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 tspfreshly grated nutmeg
3 Cups marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
1 1/2 Cups grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender, but still first to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and garlic to the pan and saute until shrimp are cooked, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool. Coarsely chop the shrimp and place in a bowl with 2 cups ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, bails, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. In another bowl, combine the marinara sauce with remaining 1 cup ricotta and stir to combine.

To make the lasagna, cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 ince baking dish with 1 cup marinara mixture. Lay a lasagna noodle flat on a dry work surface. Spread about 1/4 cup shrimp mixture evenly over the noodle. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Pour remaining sauce mixture over the lasagna rolls and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese starts to turn golden brown.

Source: …and a cookie for dessert

February 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm 1 comment

Older Posts



Recent Posts