Category Archives: pasta

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. 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.

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.

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 almost any white bean will do.  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

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 all 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.

Italian Wedding Soup made with Chicken Meatballs

It is most definitely soup season again. the chill in the air makes it the most perfect time of year to start making soup for dinner again. even if you live in a warmer climate this is a most wonderful meal. Paired with a salad and some crusty bread you have a very heartwarming meal.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes. 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 meatballs

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 it 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.

Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour.  While I love a real lasagna I didn’t want 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.  You will be making the sauce and it will all cook together in the pan .  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! Perfect Sunday night dinner and I am planning on making this tonight again.   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

*perfect for freezing leftovers

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 the 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!

Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now.  It’s a very seasonal ingredient and mostly because it’s really only available during the Fall. Sometimes I’ll buy a few extra cans to have for the winter because after Thanksgiving it becomes hard to find.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner and it’s a good one for all the vegetarians out there.  This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it on the Monday before Thanksgiving and freeze it without putting the mozzarella cheese on top.  I will take it out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will  put cheese on top and bake till bubbly , you’ll want to make certain that it is completely defrosted and room temperature before putting it in the oven.  I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 20 minutes or so till it gets slightly brown.   It should start bubbling and to check for readiness put a fork right in the middle . 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 should serve about 10-12 .

Ingredients:

1 box (1 lb.) penne pasta, cooked and drained well– cavatappi or rigatoni will work fine too.

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 pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer.

Kasha Varnishkes–Jewish Comfort Food

This is truly traditional Jewish comfort food made with buckwheat grains and bowtie noodles. I love it and grew up eating it and  try to make it a few times a year. It is super easy and super tasty. If you’ve never made it why not start now. It’s a wonderful side dish to any meal and it can be vegetarian for all of those who need some extra vegetarian dishes on their tables.

Kasha comes in a box. There are different types of Kasha and almost all will work. I use medium or coarse granulation.  Wolff’s brand is really wonderful so look for it and for this recipe I follow the directions on the Wolff’s box of Kasha. I actually had to order it on Amazon this year since I couldn’t find it in Colorado.

If you’re looking for an easy side dish to put together now is the time to look at this great recipe. This is also our go to the night before Yom Kippur. It’s tradition and delicious and comforting all at the same time.

Ingredients:

1 package bowtie ( farfalle ) noodles (app. 3/4 lb.)

1 white/yellow onion thinly sliced or you can use chopped onions , entirely up to you.

app. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil  you may need a  little more and may want a bit more to drizzle at the end plus more — probably 1/4 cup in total

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper–to taste

*1 small box button mushrooms sliced 8 ounce box — mushrooms are totally optional but sometimes I feel like they add a little something

1 cup kasha, medium or coarse granulation– I use Wolffs Kasha and follow instructions on the box which I have written below

1 egg for kasha as per instructions on the box

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth as per box instructions

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to directions on box for al dente.

Saute’ the onions in vegetable oil , salt and pepper until they just start to soften, about 5 minutes. I use a medium size frying pan large enough to add in the pasta, and make sure you have a tight fitting lid.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to soften as well, a few more minutes , set aside. Place mushrooms and onions in a bowl and you’ll use same frying pan to cook kasha.

Coat the kasha in a slightly beaten egg. You’ll just place kasha in a bowl and put beaten egg on grains. This will help the grains not to stick to themselves while you are cooking them. Make sure the grains are completely coated with egg.  Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a fairly high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for a few minutes till toasted and the egg has dried on the kasha and kernels are brown and mostly separate. Kasha instructions for cooking are usually on the box as well. Then I pour in the broth that I am using, a little margarine/butter is OK as well ( app. 2 Tbsp) bring to a boil, cover tightly, lower flame to simmer and cook for 10 minutes till kasha is fluffy–these are the directions on the box that I follow .

Add back in the mushrooms and onions and combine with chicken broth. Cook box of Bow Tie Pasta according to directions on box al dente.

Bring to a boil and cook over low heat covered tightly. Check on it after 10 minutes or so to make sure the kernels are tender and the liquid has absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for another few minutes till all liquid is absorbed.

Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if you’d like, mix in cooked pasta, and if you’d like drizzle a little more oil on it. I like to do it all in a large enough frying pan to hold pasta . You can always mix in pasta in a large bowl separately. I like it in frying pan on stove top till I serve it. You can always make ahead and heat up in oven at 350 degrees in a pyrex dish,  you’ll most likely need to add a little oil if you do so.

*Wolff’s Kasha has directions for cooking kasha on the box. It’s pretty much the same , I just add in the mushrooms and onions for more flavor.

*should serve 8 people

Summer Bolognese

this is the masher I used

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.

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.  In any event we make a pretty good team when it comes to shrimp dishes.
 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. 

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

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. You can use arugula as well.

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.

Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce — no cook sauce

This is a most delicious delightful easy way to make fresh tomato sauce. Very light served over angel hair pasta and summertime easy. No fuss no muss. I like to make tomato sauce and let it sit for about 4 hours so that’s all the planning you really have to do. Very little prep with very few ingredients and you have a delicious dinner. Summer in a bowl. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 pints small cherry or grape tomatoes — you can use different colors or all the same color–halved

1/2 cup Good Olive Oil

6 cloves garlic minced — app. 2 Tablespoons

Fresh Basil — I used a small package from grocery store but probably 15 Basil leaves — this is approximate — I use a kitchen scissor and snip it up into small pieces– you can roughly chop as well

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes — more or less depending on your own individual relationship with crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt — and more to taste if necessary

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound angel hair pasta

Grated Parmesan cheese — for serving

Directions:

 

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, 1/2 cup Olive Oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out at room temperature for about 4 hours. After 4 hours taste for Salt and Pepper.

When you’re ready to serve, cook up pasta according to box directions for al dente and be careful because angel hair cooks up very fast. Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. If you’d like you can add more basil and if you’d like you can add cheese to the bowl . I like to add cheese at the table individually. Use tongs to mix and get oil all over the pasta you’ll need a rather large bowl.

Enjoy! and this recipe can easily be cut in 1/2 but we like cold pasta for lunch so it makes for great leftovers.

 

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.

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.