Category Archives: pasta

Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour, and yes that’s lasagna folks. While I love a real lasagna I didn’t have the time to put the whole thing together and deal with it. Once you have the ingredients the prep time is minimal and you aren’t using store bought sauce , this is with sauce you make and I can’t say enough about the way it tasted! This can be done a few different ways and I invite you to play around with the ingredients and spices to your own liking. All I can say is Wow!  Delicious! Joel was very happy with our Sunday night dinner, I should have taken a picture of the big smile he had on his face when he saw this on his plate.  All in one pot is truly a great way to cook, no fuss, no muss and no having to deal with cooking lasagna noodles!!!!!! Yeah!

This can easily be made with ricotta cheese and spinach or any veggies you like. I would even try it with cut up eggplant!

*You’ll need a large oven proof skillet with lid

Ingredients:

1 to 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil–I used 1 1/2 you can start with 1 and add more to onions if you need it

1/2 lb. ground beef ( I used 80/20)

3 Italian sausage links, casings removed ( I used Hot Italian Sausage) use what you like , you can use turkey or chicken sausage as well

1 onion, diced

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 8oz.can tomato sauce

*Italian seasonings , if you have Italian seasonings in a jar that’s great if not use a little dried oregano and dried basil. Italian Seasonings is available in the spice department of all food stores.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

App. 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt and more to taste

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

app. 10 lasagna noodles, broken into 1/4’s, if it breaks up differently don’t worry it’s a very loose recipe! 8 ounces Farfalle Pasta also works if you don’t feel like using the lasagna noodles. Un-cooked Noodles!!!!!

8 oz. mozzarella balls ( fresh) I used the small ones this time. Use whatever cheese you like but these worked out beautifully.  You can always use shredded mozzarella, or just cut a large ball of mozzarella into small pieces ( as much or as little as you’d like) if using shredded mozzarella, you’ll need about 1 cup

2 cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

*you can also use 1 cup Ricotta Cheese for a very cheesy version, I would use this if I was making it with spinach and going veggie.

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook till translucent, add garlic towards the end of onion process. Add ground beef to the onions, stirring occasionally till browned. I removed with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. I then cooked up the sausage making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooked.  I then removed sausage to bowl with meat , onions, and garlic and drained all excess fat from pan.

Pre-heat oven to Broil

Return meat to pan, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spices, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to taste, if you need more add it. Add in the meat mixture and stir, bring to a simmer and add in broken lasagna pieces and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13- 15 minutes for al dente. I stirred it gently a few times just to make certain that the noodles cooked through and didn’t stick together.

Remove from the heat . I placed my Mozzarella on top and placed in oven under broiler for about 5 mins. Check on it because you don’t want it to blacken. All ovens are different, in mine it needed about 6 minutes to just start browning without burning, but you don’t want to burn this up so set timer and keep an eye on it!

Remove from the oven and let it sit out for a few minutes. Plate it up and let everyone add their own parmesan cheese! Enjoy! you will.

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Plated up and ready to eat

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Finished Product

 

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adding mozzarella before placing under broiler

 

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placing un-cooked noodles into sauce

 

 

This would serve 4. It’s tough to double because you would need a super large pan.

This makes for an amazing leftover!

 

 

 

 

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

 

Fully Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

This recipe belongs to my sister, Pamela. She is a great cook, and this is her signature Thanksgiving Dish. We count on it every year as her contribution.  I highly suggest it if you like spicy because it is! It definitley packs some heat, be careful when you buy the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce , just make sure they don’t say Hot or you might be blowing the roof off of your Thanksgiving Dinner! Be prepared for a lot of flavor !  If your family likes spicy this is an awesome recipe, and you all know how much I like spicy by now.  This is certainly a new take on Sweet Potatoes because they aren’t sweet.  I also make a Sweet Potato dish with Marshmallows (* see recipe) and the two are always on my table, one sweet and one spicy.  Thanks Aunt Pammy.

Ingredients:

5 lbs.Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Kosher Salt ( about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Heavy Cream ( about 1 1/2 quarts)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned) *look in Mexican Food Aisle in most supermarkets

Directions:

Slice Potatoes thinly and add salt. Place in baking dish you are going to use and cover with kosher salt, start with 1/4 cup and go to the 1/2 cup. Use your clean hands and toss together.

Puree Chipotles in small food processor .* you can keep pureed chipotles in fridge for up to 2 months. So you can do this step ahead.

Put approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of chipotle pepper puree in heavy cream and mix together

Pour Cream Mixture over Potatoes in an ovenproof baking dish ( earthenware is nice for this)

Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.

Potatoes should be somewhat set and browned on top when ready.

Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now. That’s why it’s odd that I only make it in the fall and mostly only on Thanksgiving. I suppose that’s what keeps the ingredient so special plus it’s hard to find at the supermarket after Thanksgiving. I always buy a few extra cans of pumpkin so when that pumpkin urge hits I am ready.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner. Usually I make my cremini mushroom and pumpkin lasagna. This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it Monday prior to Thanksgiving and cook and freeze. I will take out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will pop in oven just to re-heat. I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 10 minutes. To re-heat it will probably be 1/2 hour with aluminum foil on for the first 20 minutes. It should start bubbling and put a fork right in the middle to test for readiness. If it needs more time and is getting too browned put foil back on and continue heating it up. You will cook it at 350 degrees as directions state.

One of the best things about baked pasta dishes is that they freeze so well. Making them some of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead. This whole thing including chopping up sage took maybe 1/2 hour to prep. My kind of dish!

as a side dish it will serve about 10-12, as a main dish figure about 8.

Ingredients:

1 lb. box of penne pasta, cooked and drained well

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling

3 – 4  cups shredded mozzarella, divided , I used about 3 cups in pasta and another 1 cup on top. ( 2 packages 8 oz. shredded cheese) you’ll have a little left over

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, pumpkin,  2  cup- 3 cups mozzarella, heavy cream, sage, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Taste for salt.

Transfer mixture to a greased or well sprayed 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Since I was freezing I didn’t put cheese on top . I just baked the pasta without cheese on top for 20 minutes and I pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer. When it is time to re-heat I will remove from freezer Wednesday afternoon let it come to room temperature on Thursday afternoon and put extra mozzarella on top at that time. Bake  at 350 degrees for probably another 1/2 hour or so till cheese gets bubbly and browned as I said in the introduction here.

What I made for Dinner – Turkey Bolognese

It is finally cold out and it’s the time of year I break out my Le Creuset and make some heartwarming Bolognese sauce. It’s November so let’s make Turkey Bolognese!!!  This is one of our most favorite meals and I will have enough sauce for 2 meals because one 1/2 will get frozen for another day when I don’t have the time to cook. Perfect Sunday night meal. I must say Pasta is probably my most favorite food to eat. Bolognese sauce is one of my most favorites. Today I decided not to go to my usual Bolognese which is delicious but very heavy and rich. I went with a lighter approach today using Turkey and Chicken Sausage because I couldn’t find italian turkey sausage and didn’t feel like hunting it down, and the chicken sausage worked just fine. I did use dark meat turkey because it is much more flavorful, it is ideal but if you really don’t want to use the dark meat use 1/2 white and 1/2 dark or all white meat . The only negative to this sauce is that it really needs 3- 4 hours for the sauce to cook down. The longer the sauce cooks the more flavorful it will be.  This sauce would probably serve 4 nicely with 1 lb. of pasta. You can easily double it and freeze the leftover sauce. So nice to have it in the freezer and just have to make the pasta and you have a wonderful homemade meal. I have now started serving the sauce over shredded zucchini and spaghetti squash.  It is so delicious and you may feel a little bit better eating it over zucchini or spaghetti squash than noodles.  Pasta or Vegetable it’s pretty awesome. Look on my blog for Zucchini Bolognese Recipe for how to recipe, posted 12/20/2012.

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil, plus more if necessary

1 lb. Italian style Turkey or Chicken Sausage, removed from casings. You can also mix in hot or sweet Italian pork sausage if you don’t mind using the pork.

1 pound ground Turkey ( I used dark meat )

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced ( app. 2 cups)

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juice

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 box. Rigatoni ( or any other macaroni you like ) or spaghetti or if you like use *shredded zucchini or *spaghetti squash ( see notes)

Grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

Directions:

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy pan over medium high heat. ( I use my Le Creuset ) Add the sausage meat and break it up as it cooks, turning now and then, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside, add the ground turkey to the pan along with a good pinch of salt and a few fresh grind of pepper. Cook the meat stirring here and there, for 10 minutes as well, till meat is nicely browned. I remove and put in bowl with the sausage which was set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook until onion breaks down and gets soft, another good 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice along with 1/2 cup of water. ( You may need more water as you go) Add the sausage and ground turkey, stir the sauce well. Bring the sauce to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Cover almost completely with a lid (allowing a little steam to escape) and gently simmer for 4 hours. You may want to add splashes of water if sauce is drying out. After 2 hours I added the 1/3 cup of Tomato Paste, and replace lid and continue simmering for 2 more hours. I added water as it cooked, you’ll have to judge for yourself how much water you add. I added 1/4 cup at a time.

When the sauce is ready for serving, bring a large pot of water and prepare pasta according to package directions.

serve with sauce over the rigatoni ( or any pasta you like) with a nice grating of Parmesan.

Yum!

*so many stores now sell zucchini already shredded and it’s dry and ready to go. The only problem with doing it yourself is that you must get the extra moisture out.

*Spaghetti Squash – just have the store cut it in half because it’s a tough one to cut at home. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and scoop out the seeds. Spray a rimmed baking sheet and turn squash open side down on baking sheet and cook till soft, probably 45 minutes or so. Remove from oven and with a fork remove the inside of the squash into a bowl, it comes out like very thin spaghetti.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

this is one of my absolute favorite recipes–one of my top ten.  It is a soup , which is also a full meal. It is hearty and pretty healthy.  It is one of my staples from September through April. It freezes well and you can just take it out of the freezer the night before, and you’ll have a wonderful meal the next evening. When you defrost it you will probably want to add broth/water to it. add a little at a time till you get the consisitency you like. Enjoy:)

Ingredients: chicken balls

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 lb chicken sausage, casings removed

3 slices whole wheat bread for bread crumbs ( I put into food proccesor with steel blade for crumbs) i remove crusts . should be app. 1 cup of bread crumbs

2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 – 3 cloves)

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano ( fresh is best) but whatever you have will do

1/4 cup grated Parmesan ( again nothing beats fresh) but whatever you have will do here as well

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small -medium yellow onion minced

1 cup diced carrots ( 3 )

1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)

10 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine( use whatever you have open)

1 cup small pasta tubetini, ditalini, stars, etc.

5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed

*fresh dill ( I love the flavor) add at your own discretion about 1/4 cup minced fresh dill.

Directions:

preheat the oven to 350 degrees  put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

for the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage,bread crumbs, garlic, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt and pepper  all in a bowl and mix well with a fork.  I use a teaspoon, and make 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. you should have about 30 to 40 small balls. bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. set them aside. (I made about 30 balls, they were a little larger this time out)

For the Soup:

 heat the olive oil over medium – low heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot ( Le Creuset type pot) Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes, don’t brown. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil, at this point I let soup cook a while to soften the vegetables, app. 1 hour. ( a low simmer) if you’re in a hurry you can probably do the whole soup in 1/2 hour , veggies will be soft enough to eat. if some of the liquid evaporates you can always add a little more broth.

chicken balls out of the ovenItalian Wedding Soup cooking

 Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook another 6 – 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs and simmer for another minute or so. taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for another minute or so, the spinach will just wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Orzo with Lemon Shrimp and Spinach

photoDSCN0367DSCN0363DSCN0372DSCN0384DSCN0390By now you all know how very much we love shrimp. It comes in handy to have an ex-shrimp monger on hand to clean and devein my shrimp. I love cooking it but not so much cleaning and deveining it. Joel not only obtains the best shrimp around but he really does do a great job of cleaning and deveining. ( I think it’s in his DNA) In any event we make a pretty good team when it comes to shrimp dishes.
So now on to this delicious dish. I didn’t feel like grilling and this dish was calling out to me. I saw Giada de Laurentiis make a shrimp scampi on her show and she made it with arugula , it looked so awesome and light I figured I’d do it my way and make it with spinach even though I knew Joel wouldn’t eat the spinach. Our friend Drew was over and he loves spinach so we ate Joel’s spinach, once again it’s his loss. This dish was pretty easy to pull together once shrimp was prepped. Not a whole lot of ingredients, and whole thing took about 1/2 hour.  This dish was very light in flavor and a perfect summer night meal, doesn’t have to be served super hot , can be room temperature. Thanks again to Giada for the wonderfully inspiring recipe.

*once the shrimp is prepared this dish is a snap. Have your fish store clean and de-vein your shrimp for you.

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup olive oil

zest of 2 large lemons ( try to use organic if you’re zesting and eating the peel) and scrub those lemons well

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice ( from the 2 large lemons you just zested)

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth and set aside.

Ingredients:

1 lb. orzo

1 lb. shrimp , I used large under 10’s, peeled and deveined  ( you can have fish monger do this )

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot , chopped

app. 1 more teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup dry white wine ,  ( I used what I had on hand)

6 ounces of spinach , I used baby spinach, use whatever greens you like. Giada used arugula .

Directions:

Cook orzo according to directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper . Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped shallots and cook until soft for a few minutes. Add the shrimp, cook shrimp until they turn pink and are just cooked through depending on the size of your shrimp. When shrimp is cooked through remove the shrimp from the skillet. Increase the heat to high and add the 1/2 cup of wine, allow to boil up and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, cook for another minute or so until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Then add orzo to the pan along with the vinaigrette and the spinach and let it wilt down.  I added most of the reserved pasta water , you’ll use as much or as little as you need, I used whole cup of reserved pasta water. Add the shrimp back in and toss well until all the ingredients are well coated. Serve up and enjoy.

Fresh Basil Pesto

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Chicken and Pesto on the Grill

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Pasta Pesto

The original recipe for this delicious pesto appeared back in May 2011 on Cooking with Candi.  Yummy Pesto was the title. This is the same recipe from my BFF Suki. I have tried many pesto sauces and this remains my absolute go to favorite. It is super easy and while the basil is abundant you should make it and freeze it. When you freeze the pesto in a container, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top . I have it frozen for up to 3 months. I use it on chicken, pasta, and it’s wonderful as a spread. This recipe is good for 2 lbs. of pasta usually. So I use 1/2 and freeze the rest if it’s just the 2 of us.

Pesto Chicken on the Grill with Grilled Peppers and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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Fresh Basil

If you are going to use on chicken , just brush on the chicken sprinkle a tiny bit of  kosher salt on it and  let it marinate for a few hours at least and it can be marinated  overnight in the refrigerator. Take it out of fridge and let it sit at room temp. before putting on the grill. That’s it!

*You’ll need a food processor

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh basil (washed)

1/2 cup romano cheese (grated)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese ( grated)

1/2 cup pignolli nuts or walnuts

1 cup extra virgin olive oil–use a good one

1 – 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter (it’s good if the butter is softened before adding) you can soften in microwave

4 cloves garlic – peeled and whole

freshly ground black pepper–to taste

*kosher salt to taste if you feel you need it after finished making pesto

Directions:

I put all ingredients except for olive oil in the food processor. Give it a few grinds using the blade attachment. Then I slowly add in the olive oil through the top of processor while it’s on. Beautiful green pesto! so easy. Taste for salt and pepper

Cook pasta and drain and add pesto. Done!

Bucatini al’Amatriciana

Amatrice is a small town in Italy outside of Rome and this dish is named for it. This dish is intended to be made with guanciale , which is a pig jowl and it tastes like a porkier version of bacon or pancetta. I use pancetta, which now comes pre-diced in packages making for a very easy time. I also keep packages of the diced pancetta in my freezer, they defrost very quickly which makes them a perfect dinner ingredient.  I also use bucatini pasta which is thick and ropey with a hole like a straw. I wouldn’t wear white while eating this it’s a messy one. Super easy and delicious. I made it tonite with my marinated flank steak. I also used 2 containers of grape tomatoes, but you can easily substitute with 1 large  can of San Marzano tomatoes ( crushed )The cherry/grape tomatoes give it a lighter sauce, and I prefer it especially in the summer months.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 – 6 oz. diced pancetta ( or 1/4 lb. glacial)

1/2 yellow onion chopped finely

2 garlic cloves , minced

2 containers of tomatoes halved ( I used grape tomatoes , I love them )

*1 teaspoon red pepper flakes ( we like spicy) use your own discretion , can always add at the table

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese, or any kind of Parmesan Cheese

1 lb. bucatini ( you can obviously use 1/2 pound and save any leftover sauce to freeze for another time) any thick spaghetti will do but I love this one in this recipe. Perciatelli is another good choice.

Directions:

In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly. I like my pancetta crispy, but just get it golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove pancetta into a separate bowl. Add onions to olive oil till translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes , I do this off the heat. I then add all the tomatoes, some kosher salt ( to taste) and some black pepper and add back in the pancetta. I also add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the tomatoes till they start to break down and form a sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for at least 45 minutes , up to an hour for perfect sauce.

Cook Pasta according to package directions, tender but still firm to the bite. Before draining pasta take out about 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl, I add a little of the pasta water and then I add the sauce. Toss gently and serve. I served with Parmesan Cheese .

Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce

FullSizeRenderThis is one of my old tried and true recipes and also one of our family’s all time favorites.   I will be making this delicious side dish for our Father’s Day Barbecue.  Perfect for a large get together and totally tasty. There are a lot of ingredients but it is very easy to put together and it’s always a hit! I made the sauce a day ahead which I highly recommend doing, it gives flavors a chance to really come together.  I had all the ingredients in the house and day of I will cook the noodles and mix together. If making sauce ahead of time , take it out of refrigerator and let the sauce sit at room temperature before mixing with noodles. I used 1 teaspoon of cayenne, but because I wasn’t sure of everyone’s taste buds for hot and spicy I left out the chili oil. If you want it spicier you can always add some hot chili oil, or more cayenne pepper.  You can actually make the sauce a few days ahead of time. Enjoy this oldie but goodie. I have played around with the recipe a lot, and have found these ingredients work the best for me. I also like to put a little fresh cilantro on the side for those who love it ( like me) and don’t leave out the chopped peanuts they give it that extra yummy crunch. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

1 lb. linguine or spaghetti ( or you can use Chinese egg noodles)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

7 tablespoons Peanut Butter ( creamy ) by the way I always use the low-fat one, it’s perfectly fine

2/3 cup warm water

6 tablespoons soy sauce ( use low sodium)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more to specific taste

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic

3 to 4 scallions , finely chopped

*1 sliced cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned (optional) but tasty and crunchy

*fresh cilantro chopped (optional)

*sprinkle of chopped peanuts ( optional) but extra added crunch if you have them on hand

*dash of hot chili oil ( to taste) I usually just throw in a dash of this.

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, using a fork or a small wire whisk, beat the peanut butter together with the water until it is smooth. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, sugar, and salt. Beat till smooth. If you’re adding hot chili oil this is when you would add that.

Add the chopped garlic, and stir well. Because I was using it the next day, I left out scallions till I cooked pasta .

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water, until noodles are cooled down sufficiently. Place noodles in a large bowl, drizzle with the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and toss well. Refrigerate noodles until you are ready to serve. About an hour or so before I am ready to serve, I pour sauce over noodles and mix well. Make sure sauce has been left out at room temperature for a while till it’s not too cold.  Add the scallions and cucumbers and mix well. Right before serving you can sprinkle the cilantro and chopped peanuts if you like. I pour about 2/3 of the sauce over noodles and mix well, adding more sauce as I feel necessary. I definitely didn’t use all of the sauce that I made, add slowly and taste as you go along.  Right before serving I usually add some more sauce, but leave it out at room temperature. This is a deadly go to leftover the next day.

Springtime in a Bowl – Shrimp, Asparagus and Tomato Pasta

It is really Springtime now and it just makes you want to lighten up the menu a bit and my mind immediately goes to asparagus!  This recipe is a variation on my Summertime Tomato Pasta. I wanted to use some of those beautiful asparagus out there. Even though I knew Joel would pick them out , I still made this dish. The asparagus are large enough for him to easily pick out and put on my plate. This dish is light and delicious and pretty quick to prepare. It is like springtime in a bowl!  There are so very many things to do with asparagus but this just appealed to me tonite and if you leave the shrimp out you have a lovely vegetarian pasta dish. I used the shrimp.  I also used linguine in this , it just seems to hold on to the flavors nicely. Happy Spring and Enjoy. This recipe was inspired by Giada de Laurentis .

Ingredients:

1 lb. box linguine ( I used Fini Linguine , it was lighter than regular linguine and was just perfect)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 containers of little grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or any small tomato ( app. 20 oz. of tomatoes)  I cut tomatoes in 1/2.

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

* crushed red pepper ( we like the heat) use your own discretion depending on how you like it, totally optional

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1/2 cup dry white wine ( I use whatever I have open)

1 lb. Asparagus , trimmed, stalks cut on a diagonal into app. 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

fresh basil chopped ( app. 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to box directions.( Fini Linguine cooks in 6 minutes perfectly)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, app.  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and app. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft , it takes about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic. Cook for another few minutes ( don’t burn the garlic)keep on low heat and stir around. Add the wine and the asparagus. Bring to a low boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes . Taste for Salt and Pepper, if it needs more this is when I would add it, and I did. I added a bit more salt here, pepper was fine. You need to use your own discretion about the salt .

Sprinkle shrimp in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and continue to simmer until the shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Shrimp needs to be firm to the touch, and opaque if cut into. Stir in the chopped basil and the oregano.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.  You can always add more crushed red pepper when finished.

This was really delicious and light. Joel of course picked out every piece of asparagus, and put them in my bowl. That was fine with me because I love asparagus.

*this dish will easily serve 4, if you like you can always add another 1/2 lb. of shrimp for 4 people.