Categories
Fish/Seafood Pasta

Mediterranean Pasta with Sardines, Capers and Olives

We’ve all been struggling a bit during this long year of staying at home. Many of us want to go somewhere, anywhere, but right now it just isn’t in the cards. I have a feeling we’re all blissfully imagining the same getaway — sitting at the beach, being waited on with a drink in hand. 

Over the last few weeks, I have found myself daydreaming about vacations to places like Nice, Corsica, southern Italy . . . pretty much anywhere on the Mediterranean. I can just picture that perfectly blue water, feel the rocky beach pebbles underneath my bare feet, smell the enticing scents of beautifully crafted meals being cooked with care, and taste the otherworldly delicious seafood-abundant dinners. 

This pasta infuses so many of the most delicious flavors that are so popular in the Mediterranean: sardines, capers, olives, red peppers, and fresh lemon. This meal feels and tastes like a luxurious restaurant meal you would enjoy next to the sea with a pitcher of local wine and fresh bread. Next time there’s patio weather, cook this for your significant other or best friend, pour some great wine, go outside, eat a truly wonderful meal, and make the decision to live your best life wherever you are.  

Ingredients:

8 oz. angel hair or thin spaghetti

1 4.4 oz can of high-quality sardines (or 4-5 oz. fresh!)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 large shallots, chopped

¼ red bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Juice from 1 lemon

1 Tbsp. capers

12-15 kalamata olives

2 tsp. oregano

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the sardines and cook for one minute, breaking them down into smaller pieces. Add the lemon juice, capers, olives, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and use tongs to combine everything thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with parsley.

Categories
Pasta Pork

Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna Roll Ups

Ever since I made my spinach lasagna roll ups a few weeks ago, my kids cannot stop asking for them again. Since I’m always making different things, I didn’t want to make the exact same meal again . . . at least for a few more weeks. 

So, I decided that I could adapt the recipe a bit to showcase a different (and not as healthy) ingredient: pepperoni. Spinach is much healthier, but pepperoni is so comforting and yummy. Let’s face it: sometimes you just need comfort food and you’re not worried about it being healthy. There’s pretty much nothing more comforting than pizza and lasagna morphed into one dish. Try it, and you’ll definitely agree! 

Ingredients:

10-12 uncooked lasagna noodles

3 c. marinara sauce

16 oz. whole milk ricotta

¾ c. shredded mozzarella

½ c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 5 oz package of pepperoni slices

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Cook lasagna according to package directions and drain. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. 

Mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl. 

Lay out the dry noodles flat on a clean surface, such as wax paper on the counter. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles in a thin layer. Place pepperoni slices along the length of the noodles on top of the cheese mixture and roll up carefully. Then, place the roll ups seam-side down in the baking dish. Leave a little space between the roll ups. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the roll ups and then top with mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese melts. 

Categories
Pasta

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

I know, I know. Snicker, snicker. Everyone likes the name of this pasta because of its, ahem, questionable origins. Nobody seems to be able to pinpoint exactly why this dish is called “whore’s pasta.” And frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. 

This pasta is so good that I would eat it even if it had a far worse title. All of that salty, briny goodness wrapped up in pasta is pure heaven. Add the anchovies to that and you’ve got a masterpiece. I can almost hear some of you thinking that you’ll just eliminate the anchovies because you think they’re gross. Don’t. Even. Think. About. It. Trust me. They add flavor that can’t be described as anything but magical, and they don’t add the fishy flavor you’re expecting. Go all in with those little fish and you’ll be glad you did.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

4-6 anchovies, finely chopped

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. capers

½ c. pitted olives, e.g. kalamata

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

3 tsp oregano

1 16 oz. package of spaghetti

Salt and pepper to taste

Handful of chopped parsley, for topping

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add anchovies and garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes. 

While the sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Add sauce slowly and mix together until the amount of sauce desired covers the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Top with parsley.

Categories
Pasta Vegetarian

Quick and Delicious Pesto

Pesto may be one of the simplest foods to make and one of the yummiest foods to eat. Most people associate pesto with pasta, but you can serve it on top of just about anything from sandwiches to omelettes to fish. In other words, everything it touches turns to pure gold. 

Ingredients: 

1 bunch of basil, about 3 cups

2 cloves of garlic

½ c. pine nuts

½ c. Parmesan cheese

⅔ c. olive oil

Salt and pepper

To make the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 

Categories
Pasta Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Kale and Lentil Pasta with Caramelized Onions

Do you have a special meal in your rotation that you love so much that you obsess about it all day when you know you’re going to eat it for dinner? This is my obsession meal. And I’m fairly certain my kids would second that and declare it their obsession meal too. This healthy, vegan pasta meal is off-the-charts good. 

Most of the amazingness can be attributed to the caramelized onions. They are, without a doubt, the star of this show. But when you combine these heavenly onions with garlic, tender kale, and earthy lentils, you’ve got a meal you’ll be obsessing about long after you’ve eaten it. Top it with Parmesan (or vegan Parm), and you may eat multiple servings . .  which is actually ok because this is such a clean meal.

Ingredients:

One bunch of organic kale, curly or lacinato

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ c. uncooked lentils

1 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ c. red wine

½ c. vegetable broth

1 16 oz. package of pasta

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Vegan Parmesan cheese or regular Parmesan cheese, for topping

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat high, drop in onions and then reduce to medium low heat. Cook onions very slowly stirring often until they are light brown and very soft. This will take 30-45 minutes.  You can cook the lentils and pasta while the onions caramelize.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of salted water and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are fork tender. Drain and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. 

When the onions are nice and brown, add garlic and cook for one minute. Then, add the kale, broth, and wine and cook until the kale is wilted and soft. Add the lentils and mix together. Finally, add in the drained pasta and toss everything together in the skillet. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. 

Serve immediately and top liberally with vegan Parmesan (or Parmesan)!

Categories
Pasta Uncategorized Vegetarian

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Do you have a craving for vegetarian lasagna but don’t want to put in the effort of layering and layering? These spinach lasagna roll ups are super simple to make and will certainly quench your craving for a comforting, flavorful lasagna. These roll ups are perfect for meatless Mondays, or any day of the week that you need a healthy and delicious meal on the table with little effort.

Ingredients:

8 c. fresh spinach

10-12 uncooked lasagna noodles

3 c. marinara sauce

16 oz. whole milk ricotta

¾ c. shredded mozzarella

½ c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 large egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook spinach until it is wilted, about 2 minutes, and set aside to cool. Cook lasagna according to package directions and drain. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. 

When the spinach has cooled, mix together the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl. 

Lay out the dry noodles flat on a clean surface, such as wax paper on the counter. Spread the cheese and spinach mixture evenly over the noodles in a thin layer and roll up carefully. Then, place the roll ups seam-side down in the baking dish. Leave a little space between the roll ups. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the roll ups and then top with mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese melts. 

Categories
Chicken/Turkey Pasta Uncategorized

Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

Chicken paprikash is a popular Hungarian comfort food meal loaded with paprika and sour cream and usually served over buttered egg noodles. It’s perfect for a cold winter night, so last night when it was insanely windy and cold I decided to whip up a batch for dinner. It did not disappoint. The luscious and tender pieces of chicken bathed in a creamy aromatic sauce is just what the body and soul craves this time of year. 

Chicken paprikash is traditionally served with spaetzle, but can be paired very successfully with egg noodles, rice or potatoes. Whatever pairing you choose, it will be heavenly! 

Ingredients:

1 lb. chicken breasts

½ c flour

3-4 Tbsp. paprika or hot Hungarian paprika if you like it spicier

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Pepper

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 c. yellow onion, chopped

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. sour cream

Parsley, for garnish

Mix together flour, 2 Tbsp. paprika, salt and pepper on a plate. Dredge the chicken on all sides and save the flour mixture for later. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Set the aside on a plate. 

In the same skillet, add onion and the remaining paprika and cook for about 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape all of the bits of chicken from the skillet for added flavor. Pour in the chicken broth and stir. Add chicken back to the skillet and cook for 30-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. 

In a small bowl, mix together the leftover flour from dredging the chicken, ½ c. sour cream, and ½ c. liquid from the skillet. Add it to the skillet to thicken the sauce and mix together thoroughly. Turn off the heat on the stove and add remaining sour cream. Mix together and serve hot with noodles.

Categories
Chicken/Turkey Pasta Uncategorized

Slow Cooker Sicilian Turkey Meatballs

I’m always a bit perplexed when I see people buying giant bags of frozen meatballs at the grocery store. I think too many people believe that making good meatballs is labor intensive and time consuming, so they take a meal shortcut by using frozen meatballs. The thing is, frozen meatballs never measure up to their homemade counterparts; and oftentimes, they just plain suck. 

This recipe is ridiculously simple, so there’s really no excuse to not make homemade meatballs. In order to make this meal just a little healthier, I opted for turkey in this particular recipe. But because good meatballs are all about ratios of meat/other ingredients, you could easily substitute with a different type of meat, e.g. pork, beef. I have made this many times with beef or a beef/pork combo and it turned out beautifully.

Meatballs:

⅓ c. seasoned breadcrumbs

⅓ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

1 garlic clove, minced

3 Tbsp. basil

1 egg 

1.3 lb ground turkey

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Sauce:

1 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly with clean hands. Form meatballs in your hands and set aside on a tray.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the garlic, onions, and oil into the slow cooker. Then, add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and red pepper sauce into the slow cooker. Finally, gently place the meatballs into the sauce.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4-5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite type of pasta! 

Categories
Pasta Uncategorized Vegetarian

Pasta with Creamy Rainbow Pepper Sauce

This magical pasta sauce may change the way you think about those cute little snacking peppers. You might associate mini rainbow peppers with healthy snacking, but have you ever thought of them as indulgent? Me either, until I made this sauce. 

A few months ago I went a little overboard shopping for produce at Costco and ended up with piles and piles of veggies in the fridge I needed to use up quickly. It was cold outside and I wasn’t feeling the vibe of snacking on cold peppers while it was blustery and snowy, so I started thinking creatively about how I could use those little guys to make something warm and satisfying. The lightbulb went off in my brain. Roasted pepper pasta sauce made with those perfectly sweet little peppers! 

This isn’t your average roasted red pepper sauce, and I can’t imagine making it with anything other than mini peppers. Sometimes overshopping at Costco really  pays off. 

Ingredients:

20-25 mini rainbow bell peppers

1 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 c. whole milk

½ c. cream cheese

¼ c. Parmesan cheese

1 16 oz box of pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

PInch of red pepper flakes, if desired

Fresh basil, as garnish

Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Roasted mini peppers:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds and place them in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil (about 1 Tbsp. or so) over the peppers and add salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands so that all of the peppers are coated with oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast the peppers for about 15-20 minutes or until the skins are dark and wrinkly. Let the peppers cool and then peel the skins off. They are ready to use!

Pasta and Sauce:

Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent (5 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not burned (about 1-2 minutes). Pour in the milk and stir, being sure to mix the onions and garlic well. Add the roasted red peppers, Parmesan and cream cheese. Stir until well mixed. 

Pour the sauce into a food processor and process until the mixture has a creamy, saucy consistency. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Drain the pasta and put it back into the skillet, pour the sauce in, and mix together so that the flavors meld together. Add to a large serving bowl and serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. 

Feel free to add protein, such as chicken or shrimp, to this pasta. It tastes great as a vegetarian dish, but is versatile. Enjoy immediately.

Categories
Pasta Pork Uncategorized

Spaghetti Carbonara

Is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of warm, yummy pasta? I think not. I don’t know about you, but when the leaves start falling off the trees I start craving comforting food that warms me from the inside out. Spaghetti carbonara is literally made up of all of the best things: eggs, bacon, cheese, pasta! What is not to love about this wonderful dish?

While some people prefer carbonara without peas, I think they add a little sweetness and cut the heavy taste, creating a more balanced flavor and visual palette. Carbonara can be made with all types of pasta, but I like to make it with traditional spaghetti.

Ingredients:

16 oz. high-quality spaghetti

5 eggs

1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan

6 slices of thick-cut bacon or pancetta, diced

4 cloves of garlic

1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed

Italian parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)

Salt/pepper

Makes 4 servings.

Cook pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water. 

Separate eggs and yolks from 4 eggs. Set aside the yolks for later. Whisk the egg whites and extra egg together in a bowl. Add Parmesan cheese and whisk until combined.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy. Set bacon on a plate, leaving the excess grease in the pan. Add garlic and thawed peas to the pan and cook for one minute. 

Drain pasta and put the pasta into the skillet. Quickly pour in the egg/Parmesan mixture and add bacon. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top each bowl with an egg yolk and chopped parsley. 

Enjoy immediately!