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Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

beefbolognese

I grew up on good old fashioned spaghetti sauce. One weekend when I was in college I went home and my dad served beef bolognese.  It was incredible! I found myself craving it and asking for it when I came home to visit.

My dad emailed me the recipe a couple years ago and it’s now one of my favorite “comfort food” Italian dishes to make. While I still love basic spaghetti sauce and keep it in the freezer at all times, I’m glad to have this in the repertoire and make it a few times a year.

Beef Bolognese
(Recipe source my Dad)

Ingredients:

1 -3  tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diceed
1 carrot,  shredded
3-4  cloves garlic, minced
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup red wine
1 cup whole milk
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried
About 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish

Directions:

In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook ground beef until browned. Drain and set aside.

Wipe out Dutch oven and heat the oil. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften and onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, then add the beef back to the pot. Add the wine and the remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. (Note, the longer it cooks, the better it gets. Leftovers are even better).

Serve with cooked  tagliatelle or thin spaghetti pasta . Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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pastavodka

Brandon is in the middle of law school finals and I haven’t been seeing much of him lately. He’s been studying around the clock. He had a final from 6-9 last night and I wanted to have a simple dinner waiting for him when he got home. I’m not going to lie that the inspiration for this dish was a great bottle of Toscano Rosso that I tried while I was wandering around Whole Foods after work yesterday.  I picked up a bottle and decided it would be a pasta night.

I had all the ingredients on hand for Pasta with Vodka Sauce and it was perfect with ciabatta served alongside. I love how easy this dish is to put together – the touch of red pepper and fresh basil definitely set it off. Try this out next time you are looking for a simple pasta dish.

Pasta with Vodka Sauce
(Recipe source mostly Bakin’ and Eggs with guidance from the Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup vodka
1 tablespoon butter
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
1 15 0unce can of tomato sauce (pureed tomato)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
Basil, thinly sliced, for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2-3/4 box of pasta (a little less than 1 pound) ziti or penne recommended
1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Directions:

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until it starts to get tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add vodka and let cook for about 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add butter and red pepper flakes. Let butter melt into onion mixture. Pour in tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Follow directions on pasta packaging for cooking. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water in case you need to thin your sauce.

Pour cream into tomato mixture and stir to combine. Add drained pasta and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish plates with Parmesan and basil.

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One of our favorite vegetarian meals is red coconut curry with tofu. When I saw this recipe on A Year in the Kitchen I thought it would be a fun version to try.

This recipe was originally titled “Spicy Thai Coconut Tofu Soup” but ours ended up being more noodle bowl than soup. It wasn’t very brothy (which was tasty anyway).

I made a few modifications to the original recipe so I’m going to post my version of the recipe. This definitely fits the quick and easy category and it’s very filling and tasty.

Spicy Thai Noodle Bowl with Tofu
(Recipe adapted from A Year in the Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1/2 a cup)
3-4 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable stock to make this meal vegetarian)
1 15 oz can light coconut milk
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced white or baby bello mushrooms
1 cup sliced snap peas
1/2 package thin rice noodles
1 tbsp hot red curry paste
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (optional, can sub soy sauce)
2 tsp honey
1 block extra firm tofu, diced
Directions:
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper and saute for about 1 minute until fragrant. Stir frequently and watch it closely. Don’t let your garlic and red pepper burn.
Add chicken broth, coconut milk and carrots and mushrooms and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Add all the remaining ingredients and cook for another 10 minutes.
I served this in bowls with soy sauce and red chili sauce (like Sriracha) on the table so we could season to taste.

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pennebetsy

After hearing rave reviews, I’ve been wanting to try Penne a la Betsy from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. If you’re not familiar with the Pioneer Woman, you should definitely check out her site – especially her food blog. You’re in for some serious entertainment and great recipes. Now, I will say that most of her recipes are a bit of a splurge – think Paula Deen-esque. But I’m a firm believer that everyone has to splurge sometimes and we had some leftover heavy cream from a Tres Leches cake I made last week.

This dinner was a hit. Brandon told me several times how delicious it was and requested the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I’m going to do some brainstorming about how to lighten this up a bit so we can add it to the dinner rotation.

Penne a la Betsy
(Recipe source The Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

1 lb uncooked shrimp
3/4 lb penne pasta (about 3/4 a box – I used Barilla Plus and Brandon was none the wiser)
Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine (can sub chicken broth)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream (I only used about 1/2 a cup and it was plenty)
Fresh parsley, chopped (As always, Publix was sold out on Sunday so I used dried)
Fresh basil, chopped (definitely splurge for the fresh basil – it makes so much difference in the flavor)

Directions:

Follow cooking directions on package for pasta.

In the meantime, peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add the shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes until they turn pink. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, they cook quickly! Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.

In the same skillet, add a little more olive oil – another tbsp or two. Add the onion and sautee for a few mintues until it starts to become translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two, careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the wine or chicken broth and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionaly. The wine will evaporate.

Add the tomato sauce and stir well. Then stir in the heavy cream and continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer while you chop herbs and shrimp. You want to chop about 1-2 tbsp each of basil and parsley (to taste) and chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces.

Add shrimp and herbs into tomato cream sauce and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add cooked pasta and stir until combined. Top with grated parmesan if desired.

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Greek Pasta

We love anything with Greek flavors and have tried several variations of Greek pasta. Usually we find that something seems to be lacking but I think we’ve finally found one to stick with. This was delicious and came together really quickly. The flavor was great and you can definitely play around with the ingredients and try different substitutions. For example, I forgot to buy kalamata olives at the store and we had green in the fridge. Rather than omit olives, I decided to throw the green in and it worked great.

Greek Pasta
(Loosely adapted from Mediterranean Pasta in Minutes, Tyler Florence)

Ingredients:
1/2 box of penne pasta (or your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 8 1/2 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water
1/3 kalamata or green olives, pitted and halved
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (divided into 1/4 and 1/4)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Follow cooking instructions on box for pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat (depending on your oven). Add olive oil and heat until shimmery. Add chicken strips and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add diced onion and garlic and saute for about 3 more minutes, until onion begins to look translucsent. Add in artichoke hearts, olives, diced tomatoes, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce heat and cook on low until heated through. Stir in 1/4 of feta cheese and remove from heat.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Pour chicken mixture over pasta. Top plated dishes with remaining feta cheese.

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