Category Archives: pasta

Lasagna in the Slow Cooker

I have to say when I first heard about lasagna in the slow cooker I was sort of skeptical.  My friend Cathy told me about it; she said she had made it for her family and I should give it a go.   The original recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld, who sneaks vegetables and healthy stuff into her food. I did make a few changes from original recipe , I used more sauce and a little more salt , I used fresh spinach which can easily be substituted for ground turkey, sausage, or any type of meat you like.  Next time I make this recipe I will be using meat because it really was quite easy and pretty quick even by slow cooker standards. It cooked in 3 1/2 hours, looked amazing and tasted delicious. I am still a little surprised by how good it was. The spinach wilts down and almost looks like basil in there. Even if you don’t like spinach, don’t worry because even though you start out with 5 ounces (which looks like a lot),  you hardly taste it at all but for those of you who do like it, it’s an added bonus. This lasagna was moist, cheesy and hearty.   So get out your slow cookers and give it a go. This is especially great for a big crowd. It easily serves 6 people.  We of course had a chicken dish alongside, because no amount of prodding could get Joel to try the lasagna, once he saw the spinach. Oh well, what are you going to do? He doesn’t know what he’s missing.  Thanks Cathy for the great idea, and of course, Jessica Seinfeld.


I used 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes (the recipe original calls for 3 14 oz. cans but I thought it needed a little more sauce and I used 2 large cans which are app. 28 oz. each . You can always use homemade sauce if you have it already made and want to use it. Just make sure you have enough.)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp. dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt

*1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (use as much or as little of this, whatever you like)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 containers (15 ounce each) ricotta (Fresh is awesome, but not always available. Use whatever you’d like. I used part- skim ricotta.)

2 cups grated mozzarella (again use whatever you’d like, package is fine. Just don’t use fat free, it doesn’t work well.)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

12 lasagna noodles (about 3/4 of a 1 lb. box) don’t cook them*see note at bottom

5 ounces (or 6 cups) of baby spinach (1 package in the produce section is 5 ounces)


In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper and black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella and Parmesan.

In the bottom of a 5 – 6 quart slow cooker (which I sprayed with Pam first), spread a thin layer of sauce. Top with 3 of the noodles (breaking to fit as necessary). Spread about 1 cup of the sauce over the noodles and layer with 2 cups of the spinach and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture. Repeat twice more with the noodles, sauce, spinach and cheese mixture. Top with the remaining 3 noodles, sauce and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.

Cook on low, covered, for 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Noodles should be tender in center by then, mine was. I then switched it to warm until we ate it. I served it from slow cooker with a big spoon, you don’t get those neat little squares but it really held together quite well,  I left some in fridge for leftovers and froze the rest for another time.

*I broke the side noodles in 1/2 and just angled them a little, keeping the center one intact. Once it’s all cooked it doesn’t matter that they were broken, it really came out perfectly.

Chicken and Rigatoni in One Pot–One Pot Pasta

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 (2) photo 5 (2) photo photo 2 (2) photo 1I must say that the first time I saw this recipe for one-pot pasta I was hesitant. I read up on it and found out that the actual recipe for this one-pot pasta hailed from Puglia. So for all of those “haters” out there I am just saying that I did do my homework here and found out that yes they do this in Italy and original recipe was from there. OK that’s enough of that. It doesn’t really matter where it’s from now does it? I have made 2 versions of this type of pasta and all I can say is yum. I will also add that you need to be a little bit more attentive during the cooking but the result was fabulous. We loved the creaminess and the pasta came out perfectly al dente.  You just don’t want to overcook it, taste for doneness and sit down and eat. It was delicious the next day cold out of fridge as well. Give this one a try you won’t be sorry. Joel was very happy with the clean-up detail as well because it was one pot! Whole thing took under an hour from start to finish. One pan, people!!! dry noodles, sauce ingredients, water, wine a few good things and you’ve got a delicious impressive dinner.

*I used my large Le Creuset pot. A large skillet would work fine here as well.


2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

app. 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breast, cut into small chunks. Just buy a regular package of chicken breasts and cut them up as I did ( see photos)

2 large roasted red peppers, sliced into thin slices ( straight out of the jar) see photos

6 cherry peppers, chopped and de-seeded , you can use hot if you like it spicy or just mild cherry peppers which is what I used (straight out of the jar) see photos

1 cup water, you will probably add about 1/2 cup more but you should start out with a cup

1 lb. rigatoni, I like the way the rigatoni works of course penne or another type of macaroni will work just fine

1 cup white wine, use what you have open as long as it’s not a sweet wine

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 cup Parmesan Cheese grated, more for serving

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons fresh basil torn, you’ll want to add a little more at the end of cooking as well.

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

Crushed red pepper flakes, optional. If you like the heat add a little bit during cooking and you can always add more at end. 1/4 teaspoon to start is good.


In a large skillet type of pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the garlic and chicken . Saute the chicken until it is just browned on the outside but not cooked through.

Stir in the roasted red peppers and cherry peppers, and sauté for another minute or so. Add in the crushed tomatoes and wine. Add in the water and the raw pasta and bring to a low boil. If you need more water you’ll know at this point , add a bit more water (a little at a time) Continue to cook, stirring very often, until the pasta has cooked to al dente , it will take anywhere from 15- 20 minutes. Taste pasta and judge how much longer it needs.

When pasta is done to your liking, reduce heat to low and add in the butter, basil and salt. When the butter is completely melted into the past, add in the cream and the cheese. Let simmer on low for another ten minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Top with additional cheese, basil and red pepper flakes if you like.

Serve warm.

Pasta Alla Norma



This past October we spent time in Sicily biking through various regions. The food in Sicily was definitely some of the best Italian Food I have ever had including mainland Italy. One of the mainstays was eggplant and I totally love eggplant and will eat it almost every which way it was prepared. This particular dish was always a favorite of mine and I decided to try to make it without frying the eggplant. It came out delicious and this is what I did. Of course if you’d like you can always fry up the eggplant and then add it to your sauce. This worked out very well.



1 large eggplant or 2 small ones

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil– divided

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2 sweet onion–thinly sliced

3-4 garlic cloves

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes–I love the heat but you can always let people add this at the table if you prefer

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 box –1 lb. bite size dry pasta, I love Rigatoni here but Penne works well as well as any small bite size macaroni

Grated Parmesan Cheese


Cut unpeeled eggplant into 1″ cubes — First cut into thick slices and then cut into 4 pieces –you can achieve this quickly by cutting 3 slices and then with a sharp knife cut slices into 4 pieces — Put cubes into a bowl and sprinkle with 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil some red pepper and Kosher Salt and Pepper mix up and spread on a sprayed baking sheet and place in oven at preheated 400 degree oven for approximately 30-40 minutes. You’ll want the eggplant softened but not mushy.

In a large saute pan heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium heat and saute the sliced onion until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. You can sprinkle onion with a little kosher salt here as well.

Stir in the 28 oz of crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add a little red pepper here, oregano and season with salt and pepper to your liking. It will take about 30 minutes for sauce to really develop and I then thinned it down by adding a little water . Add 1/2 cup at a time– I added a few times during the cooking process — just don’t add too much water at any given time. You can also throw in a little red wine to thin out which I’ve been known to do.

While the sauce is cooking I cooked my pasta al dente. I used some of the pasta water to thin out sauce at the end.

When eggplant is finished cooking add to the sauce, toss well to coat the eggplant and allow it to sit in sauce for a little bit ( app. 10 minutes or more )

I plated up my pasta and added sauce to each individual bowl and served with grated Parmesan Cheese. Also would be delicious with Ricotta Salata sprinkled on top of Pasta in place of Parmesan Cheese.

*you can add pasta to your pan if your pan is large enough to hold it all.

Should serve 4 very nicely

Fusilli and Roasted Cauliflower


We are out here in Colorado for the winter and we got our first real snowfall since we’re here. After driving in a snowstorm to get home I wasn’t stopping to pick up anything for dinner, I just wanted to get home. I had a head of cauliflower in the house, some capers , garlic, pasta and parmesan cheese. All the ingredients for this delicious pasta dish. It would have been delicious with some added pignoli nuts but I didn’t have any. Next time I’ll be better prepared. In any event this is what I did and while it’s not the most low in calories it’s high in flavor! Just delicious and the really good news is that Joel now loves cauliflower which is nothing short of a miracle . He ate this pasta with gusto and gave it a big thumbs up!

Perfect meatless meal for those of you who are vegetarians.

*this was for the 2 of us– feel free to double up on it


1/2 head of cauliflower –cut into small bite-sized florets

3 Tablespoons drained-capers

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon extra virgin Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed– I didn’t need extra

Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

2 medium garlic cloves, grated or minced well

Finely grated lemon zest of 1 lemon

Fresh Lemon Juice of the 1 lemon you just zested

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter softened at room temperature

3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese plus more if you’d like at the table

8 oz. Fusilli Pasta or any other macaroni that you’d like to use–I just like Fusilli because it grabs on to the sauce well

*1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted in oven for about 3-4 minutes –I didn’t have in the house but this would add a delicious layer of crunch


Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees

In a bowl, toss the cauliflower and 2 Tablespoons of the drained capers with the 1/4 cup of olive oil , 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. Spread the mixture out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast it, tossing it occasionally, until golden brown — app. 30 minutes.

Mince the remaining 1 Tablespoon of drained capers and add to minced garlic in a large bowl and add the lemon zest, butter, remaining 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil and I added the 3 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese. I mashed it all up together.

Cook Pasta according to directions for al-dente and drain

When the Pasta is cooked and drained add to the bowl along with the roasted cauliflower and pine nuts with the mashed caper mixture. I squeezed in 1/2 the lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper but I didn’t think it needed more because it tasted salty enough for us. Toss well and serve!

Add additional parmesan cheese at the table if you’d like.

Saucy Stuffed Shells – Baked and Meatless

Shells 004Shells 007Shells 009Shells 010OK 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. Super delicious and sometimes you just hafta roll with it. I wanted a crowd pleaser, vegetarian and something that can easily be made ahead and frozen.  My mind wanders to yummy, gooey food with a lot of cheese because who doesn’t love 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 must. This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time, and just pop into oven.

This would make a perfect dish for Christmas alongside any meat or fish entree.

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Plated up and ready to eat


Finished Product



adding mozzarella before placing under broiler



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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


*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.


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.