Category Archives: pasta

Summer Bolognese

I call this summer bolognese because it’s lighter than my regular bolognese recipe . It’s made with fresh tomatoes which makes all the difference. I made this sauce the other night and I have to say it was just perfect . It cooked up in no time ( about 1/2 hour) and tasted fresh and delicious. Of course if you would like it vegetarian just omit the chicken. I wanted the protein so added a pound of ground chicken you can also use turkey and if you want ground beef. This time I kept it fairly light and used ground chicken. Used a thick ropy pasta — Bucatini and it was perfection on a plate made with fresh tomatoes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 garlic cloves– minced– I use a mini food processor always for mincing garlic — just makes it easy

1 lb. ground chicken, turkey or beef

Kosher Salt to taste

1/4 cup dry white wine

4 Tbsp. tomato paste if you use double concentrate use 2

1 lb. cherry tomatoes ( which are abundant and fresh right now)

12 oz. Bucatini or any spaghtetti you like or rigatoni or penne would work here as well

about 1 cup of Pasta Water — which you may or not need

Finely Grated Parmesan for serving

Directions:

In a large skillet or pot heat oil then add garlic and cook till softened ( a few minutes) don’t brown it just soften it — sometimes you’ll need to turn off stove and let it just cook for a couple of minutes to soften.

With pan at medium high add chicken and cook, breaking up chicken for about 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and fully cooked.

Add wine and reduce heat to medium low. Continue breaking up meat till it’s small pieces until wine is evaporated– another 5 minutes or so. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring till absorbed into chicken and cook for another few minutes.

Add tomatoes and let it cook down, stir to coat the tomatoes with the mixture — allow the tomatoes to cook till they are ready to burst — about 5 minutes. I used a masher ( see photo) and I smashed down on the tomatoes and burst all of them. You can leave some whole if you like but I didn’t because this is where the sauce will come from. Stir occasionally on medium low but don’t allow to burn. Allow sauce to thicken for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until very al dente ( at least that’s how we like it)

Reserve about 1 cup of cooked pasta water because you may need it if sauce is too thick.

Taste sauce for salt and add accordingly. I probably added a teaspoon of Kosher Salt — everyone’s taste is different for salt so add to your liking.

Drain pasta and I used tongs and transferred pasta to pan with sauce. Tossing it in and cooking at a low simmer the pasta and the sauce thickened and I added a little pasta water at a time till I reached a perfect consistency . I probably used about 1/2 cup of pasta water. ( which also contains salt so consider this and don’t over-salt sauce — you can always add salt but it’s tough to take away if you make it too salty. The sauce was creamy and delicious .

Remove from heat and if you’d like add fresh basil.

Transfer to pasta bowls and top with Parmesan.

Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce –Perfect Summer Pasta

FullSizeRenderThis is one of my old tried and true recipes and also one of our family’s all time favorites.  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! Excellent addition to any Father’s Day or BBQ.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

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.

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 and this pesto sauce has summer written all over it. Basil is abundant in the summer and it’s great on pasta as well as chicken. Yummy Pesto was the original title for this recipe way back in 2011.  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.

Enjoy!

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!

Springtime in a Bowl – Shrimp, Asparagus and Tomato Pasta

Since it is really Spring 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  and if you leave the shrimp out you have a lovely vegetarian pasta dish and if you leave the pasta out you have a super light dish!  I used the shrimp.  I also used linguine in this recipe because it just seems to hold on to the flavors nicely. Happy Spring and Enjoy.

Ingredients:

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

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 pint size containers of little grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or any small tomato ( app. 16-20 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) scoop out a little pasta water after cooking about 1/2 cup to 1 cup and keep it handy if pasta is too dry, you can add water to it a little bit at a time.

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 at least 5 minutes . You want the tomatoes to start to burst so they make a delicious sauce.  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.

Chicken Rigatoni a la Vodka

This was one delicious pasta meal made with ground chicken this time around. Pretty easy to make and the only special tool I used was an immersion stick blender but a blender will work as well. Easy ingredients and easy prep and came out just perfectly. Most perfect weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil plus 2 teaspoons of Oil for cooking the meat

2 Tablespoons Un-Salted Butter

1 Medium yellow onion — small dice

5 Medium Garlic Cloves minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes– use to your own liking — we like a little kick

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Vodka

12 oz. box Rigatoni or Penne

Kosher Salt and Coarse Black Pepper

Fresh Basil for garnish

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese for garnish

Directions:

Cook the ground chicken in a large saucepan with 2 teaspoons olive oil and italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with a bit of Salt and Pepper. Cook till crumbly and fully cooked. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

Heat the 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and butter in the same saucepan over medium high heat . Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook the onions down stirring frequently, until softened and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes ( 1 Teaspoon ) cook stirring for another minute or so. Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low so the mixture is barely bubbling — a simmer and cook for another 1/2 hour or so. Sauce will thicken and reduce somewhat. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.

After sauce has cooked for 1/2 hour or so I turn off the heat and add the vodka and cream and then I use my immersion stick blender to blend the sauce till I like the consistency. I blended till completely smooth . You can use the blender just let sauce cool down first and work in batches. I then let sauce simmer for about 10 minutes to cook off the vodka. Taste for Salt and Pepper. 

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of pasta water to thin out the sauce — I did because it thickened up a lot. Add the chicken to the sauce. Stir to combine and add water if too thick, stirring frequently. Let it cook for a little bit and then I plated up pasta added sauce and topped with fresh basil and grated cheese .

I froze leftover sauce.

This would probably serve 4 nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta with Sausage, Beans and Greens

I love pasta and am always on the lookout for new and delicious ways to prepare it. This recipe is the real deal and reminded me of many a pasta dish I enjoyed in Italy.  If Joel liked greens more I would have added more kale and as it is he always wonders why I contaminate the pasta with all the beans and green stuff. If I were making for myself I would have added more kale or whatever greens you like. It’s not the most simple recipe as it has a few steps but thoroughly worth the effort involved. I loved the way the beans gave it so much flavor. I used Paccheri Pasta — I was able to pick up a homemade version of this pasta.  It’s just a smooth, giant rigatoni with thinner walls . It soaked up the beans and broth ! I used a can of cannelinni beans but fava beans would be a nice change or chickpeas. I used Italian spicy sausage but you can try spicy lamb sausage as well or any sausage you would like.

Now if you leave out the sausage it can be made completely vegetarian!

Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

8 oz. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed

1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney) rinsed and drained. You can use fava or chickpeas but I prefer the soft white kidney beans that are cannellini

1/2 cup dry white wine if no wine in the house try chicken broth

12 oz. paccheri, rigatoni or any tubular pasta–try a homemade pasta from your local market

6 cups (lightly packed) torn escarole, baby kale, regular kale, Swiss chard leaves, regular kale even spinach will work–whatever you like

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-heat. Add sausage to pot and cook breaking up with a wooden spoon, stir occasionally until browned and cooked through, app. 10 mins. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a separate plate.

Add white beans to pot (drained and rinsed) and cook tossing occasionally, I mashed some beans with the back of a wooden spoon. So about 1/2 the beans mashed and the rest I left whole. Cook beans till slightly browned for about 5 minutes. Transfer 1/2 of this mixture to plate with sausage. Leave the other 1/2 in pot. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a boil and cook until liquid is almost gone–about 2 minutes. I sprinkled a little kosher salt in to the bean mixture at this point. You’ll taste again for salt .

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, cook until very al dente, a few minutes less than you would normally cook. Don’t overcook!

I used a pasta insert to cook my pasta . I reserved a few cups of the cooking water –you’ll need it. Don’t throw it down the drain. Drain Pasta and then transfer pasta to pot with beans and add your greens and 1 cup of pasta water . Your heat should be on low under the pot just so it’s cooking without burning. Cook and stir often until greens are wilted , pasta is al dente and sauce is thickening up probably 5 minutes or so. Stir and Stir. Add another 1/4 cup of pasta water, then gradually add in 1/2 cup of grated cheese, tossing until melted and cheese dissolves into a beautiful glossy sauce. Thin out the sauce with more pasta water if too thick. Taste for salt  and I put a little freshly ground black pepper in at this point.

Now add in reserved sausage and beans. Delicious pasta right here right now in your pot! and so professional looking and tasting.

Sprinkle with extra cheese if you’d like and crushed red pepper if you’d like.

Pasta was rich and tasty served hot off the stove.

Bowtie Pasta with Sausage, Peas, and Mushrooms

This is one of my “oldies but goodies” if you’ve been following my blog you most likely have seen this recipe or made this recipe and if you haven’t it’s time to make it.  It is a sauce-less pasta and a perfect week-night staple. One of our very favorite go to dinners.  Very light, very tasty, and very easy to make. There aren’t a lot of ingredients, and it doesn’t take a long time to make. My husband, Joel, hates green things and loves this dish. And he even eats all the peas on his plate, which makes me very happy. A shout out to Giada de Laurentis for the inspiration here.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 lb turkey sausages, casings removed (just squeeze all the meat out; I like Italian-style turkey sausage) or chicken sausage works perfectly if I can’t find turkey or chicken sausage I use regular Italian pork sausage — and I like the spicy one but sweet will work just as well

1 box of cremini mushrooms (Baby Bella), approx. 10 oz. (roughly chopped) I actually used 2 small  8 oz. boxes because I had them ( not an exact science)

About 3/4 bag frozen peas (take them out of freezer about an hour before, just slightly thawed is perfect)

1 box Farfalle pasta (bow ties) or any pasta you like , bowties are perfect  (1 lb.)

Salt and pepper, to taste — adjust to your own taste , you can do at the very end but I usually add with mushrooms and then check at end

Freshly grated parmesan, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large, sauté pan, heat up two tablespoons olive oil (medium to high flame). Add the broken up turkey sausage and make sure to break up the large clumps. Cook for about 10 minutes (I like the sausage browned). When finished cooking, remove sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Heat a little more olive oil (approx. 2 TBSP). Add the chopped up cremini mushrooms and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (approx. a little less than a teaspoon of each, depending on your taste. Keep in mind that sausage is naturally salty.) Sauté until all the liquid is gone—about another 10 minutes. Add the frozen peas and cook for a few minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and cook for another few minutes (I turn off the heat at this point and just let the flavors blend.)

In the meantime, cook pasta (according to package) al dente. Drain the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water from pasta (this is the trick with “sauceless pasta”) and add pasta to the pan with all other ingredients. Combine well, adding some of that pasta water at a time; as needed. Drizzle in the 1/2 cup of olive oil, mixing as you go. Taste for salt and pepper. I also add red pepper flakes, but I love spicy.

Serve with freshly grated parm cheese and you’re good to go.

*Serves 4 as a main dish and 8 as a side.

Lasagna Two Ways – Turkey Sausage or Spinach Filling (or Use Both)

photo 2 (15) photo 1 (19) I made this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa many moons ago and it has since been my go-to lasagna ever since.  I love the goat cheese in it and I love the turkey. In the years since, I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe, including substituting spinach for turkey, which makes it a perfectly delightful vegetarian (not vegan) lasagna, and you all know by now that I am always looking for vegetarian ways of doing things for my daughter. I do use frozen spinach and the only thing I will say is that you really, really need to get all the water out of that frozen spinach, so let it drain well and then actually wring it out with your hands–really wring it out till there is no more water, it may take a while to do this and you can actually do all the other steps while you are doing that. Lasagna is always a lot of work, but well worth it. It can be made a few days ahead; I like to cook it almost all the way and then wrap it and leave it in the fridge until I ‘m ready for to eat it. It can also be frozen in portion size pieces which is really the best, and it will stay frozen for a while. I’ve actually frozen it in one season, come back to Colorado the next season and defrosted it and reheated it, and it tasted awesome! So here you go, my go-to lasagna. If you’d like to use both spinach and turkey go right ahead!!! I always say that I have never met a lasagna I didn’t like but this is one you’ll love. The secret ingredient is the goat cheese for sure.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs. sweet (or if available, I do 1/2 sweet and 1/2 spicy) Italian turkey sausage, removed from casing (you can actually buy it this way) if you’d like you can use all pork sausage as well

If you are substituting spinach for turkey you’ll need about 4 boxes of frozen spinach, well-drained (read above) or use both the turkey  and spinach and then about 2 boxes of spinach

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

lasagna noodles (I use pre-cooked noodles…I love them)or use the regular boxed ones whichever you prefer (both are shown on photos) I really am loving those pre cooked ones though

15 ounces ricotta cheese (skim is fine but don’t use fat-free)

6 ounces creamy goat cheese (crumbled) this is what makes it so unique

1 cup grated parmesan, plus you may need a bit more for sprinkling on top

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 pound shredded mozzarella (However you can get this is fine; fresh is always delicious but the packaged ones aren’t bad for this purpose. I use skim here but never use fat-free cheese please.), but nice touch)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium low heat, until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so (don’t burn it.) Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, about 10 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and if you’d like add some of the fresh basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until sauce thickens. Taste for additional salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of parmesan cheese, the egg, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside. Now if you were adding the spinach this would be the time, in with the cheeses.

In a nice lasagna baking dish or Pyrex–whatever pan comes closest to 9 x 12. Ladle some of the sauce over bottom of the pan, then add layers of noodles over. With the pre-cooked I usually use 3 or 4 depending on the size of the dish but you do not have to overlap as they cook up nicely. (I never use the other noodles anymore.) Next, layer mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one-third of the sauce. Add more pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan on top. Bake for 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. I usually cook my lasagna covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15. If I am cooking it ahead of time, I only cook for 45 minutes covered and then I will brown it up when I reheat it. Also if you are reheating it, please take it out and let it sit at room temperature before putting it in the oven.

Obviously if you are using the spinach, that will be in your cheese layer, and your sauce will be without turkey. I mean…turkey and spinach would be pretty awesome, as well.

Good Luck! Have fun with this. Everyone loves lasagna.

Saucy Stuffed Shells – Baked and Meatless

Shells 004Shells 007Shells 009This is an oldie but goodie recipe of mine originally posted in 2013.

You must be thinking is she kidding Stuffed Shells? gotta be the most fattening food to eat , and it probably is outside of lasagna, baked ziti and the like.  I just love a baked pasta — nothing like it for good old fashioned comfort food. This recipe is delicious and sometimes you just hafta roll with it. I wanted a crowd pleaser that was vegetarian and something that can easily be made ahead and frozen.  My mind wanders to yummy, gooey food with a lot of cheese . Ah , yes Stuffed Shells.  I wouldn’t cook like this all the time, but once every blue moon no one is getting hurt, right? I served with a salad , no need for bread and butter here. Homemade Maple Syrup Salad Dressing ( see on blog) and it was really pretty awesome. Took a few hours to prepare, mostly because I made my own sauce ( Sunday night sauce) but feel free to use a jar of prepared sauce if you’d like. This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time, and just pop into oven.

Perfect for Christmas and New Years.

Of course if you love it with meat you can make a meat sauce and follow same directions.

Happy Holidays to all — and visit me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

1 box Jumbo Shells ( you won’t use all but a lot of them break, etc.)

1 lb. Ricotta ( I used Part Skim)

1 lb. Mozzarella Shredded ( I used Part Skim) if you can obtain fresh mozzarella and shred it that would make it even better! whatever works for you

1 cup grated Parmesan ( any kind you like)

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*marinara sauce or any red sauce I made my own and use my own recipe. If buying sauce and there are some delicious good sauces out there, you’ll need at least 1 jar and maybe a 1 1/2 jars. I make a big batch of sauce and freeze the remainder. It’s nice to have a little extra sauce in case you need it when you re-heat the stuffed shells.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare Pasta , cook for between 12 and 15 minutes, you’ll want them soft but not undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool for easy handling.

Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, parsley and egg in a bowl. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

When shells have cooled down, fill them with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in casserole dish. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex. Top Shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and grated cheese. Place shells in very hot oven . You can turn on broiler for last few minutes , it should be slightly browned and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Delicious!

Clams and Spaghetti–White Sauce

I made this recipe for the first time back in 2014 and highly recommend it for a quick and delicious meal.IMG_6286IMG_6287 (2)IMG_6283 (2)It is super easy and not intimidating at all. I got the recipe from Jessica’s Seinfeld’s book The Can’t Cookbook even though I know how to cook.  

Pick up Clams at your local fish store and just follow instructions for cleaning.

http://www.doitdelicious.com this is Jessica Seinfeld’s site or you can just buy the book “The Can’t Cookbook”.

Ingredients:

2 dozen littleneck clams

3 cloves garlic

app. 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc. I actually used what I had open which was a Pinot Grigio

1 box spaghetti, you can use any kind of spaghetti you like. I actually had bucatini style in the house so that’s what I used

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

*if you’d like a little heat and you should know your audience because mine didn’t so I put on table for those who wanted to add heat. If you are adding add app. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Kosher Salt , to taste. I have to say I added almost no extra salt at all.

You’ll need a large deep pot to cook clams in. I used my Le Creuset Pot.

Directions:

I placed my clams in a colander and I put the colander in a larger bowl in the sink and I filled the bowl with cold water. I let the clams soak for a few minutes, then rubbed with my fingers to dislodge any dirt; then drained the clams. Throw away any clams that remain open or were smashed. ( my clams were pretty clean) I purchased them clean from Whole Foods. Any Fish Store will clean them for you, but always run them through this process to remove any residual sand, etc.

Smash the garlic and chop it . Chop the Parsley. Measure the Wine. Place all your ingredients near to the stove.

Cook Pasta according to directions on box.

Place a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Pour in 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil until it heats up and shimmers ( a few minutes) Add chopped garlic to the pot, and cook , stirring , for at least a minute, until you can actually smell the garlic breaking down. Don’t Burn!!!! Now add the wine and the clams and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and you’ll want a fairly high flame, probably medium-high . Cook clams until they open, I probably cooked for about 10 – 12 minutes. Looked so beautiful! Add the parsley and the red pepper now if you’re using. Throw away any unopened clams, they are no good.

Once pasta is al dente and drained I transferred to a large serving bowl and added 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil to pasta, top with clams. Sprinkle if you’d like a tiny bit of coarse salt now if you feel it needs it. I did not need to add any additional salt or pepper. Adjust to your taste.

Amazing!!!! and did I mention Super Easy!!!!!