Category Archives: Pasta

Linguine Carbonara with Bleu Cheese, Asparagus and Artichokes

While dining out, I once heard a fellow diner refer to spaghetti carbonara as “poor man’s spaghetti.”  At first I was a little insulted because that was what I had ordered and enjoying at that very moment.  But really, it is true.  carbonara is SO cheap to make and stretches to a couple of meals (or feed a few people).  And it’s delicious.

I pretty much drooled when I saw the recipe for linguine (my pasta of choice) carbonara with bleu cheese (YUM!), asparagus (mmm) and artichokes (yes please!).  This was no poor mans carbonara.  Well, maybe it is because you are poor once you are done buying the ingredients!  This was a nice change from the norm, definitely delicious, you should definitely give it a try!

Linguine Carbonara with Bleu Cheese, Asparagus and Artichokes
Recipe from Gourmet Day to Day

Ingredients:
1 lb. linguine
1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can quartered artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, beaten
8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  You’ll need the water to be ready to add the pasta while you cook your sauce.
  • In a large pan, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add the olive oil to the bacon grease and reduce the heat to med-low.  Add the artichokes and garlic, saute about five minutes.  While the artichokes are cooking, add the pasta to the water.  Add half of the bleu cheese, cream, half and half, red pepper, black pepper and salt to the artichokes and simmer about five minutes, until the sauce thickens some.
  • When only about 3 minutes remain to your pasta cooking, add the asparagus to the water with the pasta and let it cook with the pasta.  Drain the linguine and asparagus, reserving half a cup of pasta water.
  • Add the pasta and asparagus to the artichoke mixture and toss well to mix.  Remove from heat.
  • Add the eggs to the pasta (make sure it’s not over a burner that’s on) and toss quickly.  Add the bacon, the remaining bleu cheese, basil and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Toss well to incorporate.
  • If your sauce is too thick, you can add some of the reserved pasta water to thin it, but I didn’t need to.
  • Top with extra Parmesan cheese.

Linguine Carbonara with Bleu Cheese, Asparagus and Artichokes

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Our weather has been flip-flopping around like crazy lately, but it’s given us enough cool days to put us in a Fall state of mind.  And I don’t know about you, but to me, Fall = pumpkins, apples, chili and soup!

This was a quick and easy soup and it was very fresh tasting.  It was hearty without breaking the calorie-bank.  In other words, it was great!  We served it with some andouille and swiss chard hand pies, but I think it would also be great with a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold night!

Vegetable Tortellini Soup
Recipe adapted from Sing for Your Supper

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 /2 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
a few mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 (12 oz.) pkg cheese tortellini (look in the freezer section near the breakfast items for the best value)
Seasonings to taste:  Tony’s, salt, pepper

Instructions
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion and carrots.  Cook until tender and add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the wine and deglaze the pot (scrape off any bits from the bottom).  Add in the tomatoes, zucchini, seasonings and broth and bring to a boil before reducing the heat and simmer for twenty minutes or until the vegetables are all soft.  Stir in the spinach, mushrooms and tortellini and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the tortellini is completely warmed through (taste test!).

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter Sage Sauce

A couple of weeks ago (whew am I behind in blogging!) I went down South to visit my parents.  Before heading back home, I stopped off at Whole Foods to pick up something quick and easy for dinner.  I settled on the butternut squash and already knew I’d want it with a browned butter sage sauce I’d heard so much about.

A quick Google led me to a list of recipes and I picked the one that looked super easy.  That’s how I roll.  After 3 hours in a car with a 3-year-old, I was not in the mood for something lengthy!  This didn’t disappoint and I’m really glad that I doubled the recipe, since my husband and I are pigs.  We ate it all.  That’s how good it was.  I’ll include the single version though.  And since no stores near me sell butternut squash ravioli, I guess I’ll just have to ask Santa to bring me a pasta attachment for my mixer (affectionately known as Sir Mix a Lot) so I can make my own.  Hear that, Santa?  Seriously though, this recipe is GREAT and it’s so dang easy.  Winner!

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter Sage Sauce
Recipe adapted from: Emeril Live

Ingredients:
1 pkg butternut squash ravioli, cooked in boiling water just until it floats up.
1 stick butter
12 fresh sage leaves
Parmesan cheese, cooked and crumbled bacon and chopped walnuts for serving (optional)

Instructions:
In a large skillet, melt the butter then add the sage leaves.  Cook over medium heat (to med-low), stirring until the butter turns brown.  Remove from heat and toss with the ravioli.  Top with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, bacon crumbles and chopped walnuts, if desired.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter Sage Sauce

Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad

It’s been so dang hot lately that there are times I don’t even want to leave my house.  I know, those who know me are shocked!  I love to be on the go!  But since I have a few half-empty packages of pasta in my pantry, fresh tomatoes from the garden and some leftover baby pearl mozzarella cheese, I figured I could make a better lunch than anything I’d get from a takeout window.

This is one of those recipes that I hate to actually call a recipe, because it’s so easy and thrown together.  But hey, that is how recipes go.  It was delicious, so simple to make and perfect for a VERY hot summer day!

Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad
Recipe is a Christen original

Ingredients:
2 cups pasta of your choice, cooked and drained
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-2 tbsp prepared pesto
tomato wedges
fresh pearl mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Method:
Combine all ingredients, using more pesto if you want it to be more well-coated.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.  Refrigerate and serve cold.

Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I’m in a local MOMS Club that has activities several times a week.  It’s a great way to let my little girl play with other kids and socialize, while still being at at-home parent.  In addition to those activities, we also have a Mom’s Night Out once a month.  Last month we went to a local Italian restaurant and I ordered the spaghetti carbonara.  It was so delicious that I’m embarrassed to say I ate it all.  But it didn’t take long before I was looking up recipes for it.

Tyler Florence (of the Food Network) had great reviews of his recipe and it seemed pretty easy so I went with that one.  I was so happy with how simple this is to make and it’s so filling!  My husband and I both loved it – so much that we’ve already had it twice!  It’s a great thing to cook when you don’t have a lot of ingredients in the house – it calls for very little!    The second time I had to use fettucine noodles (as you’ll see in the picture) but it still came out well.  Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the parsley in it so the second time I opted to use fresh basil.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Recipe slightly adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients:
1 lb. dry spaghetti
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (since I used bacon and it makes its’ own grease, I didn’t use this)
4 oz. bacon, cut into small pieces
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
4-5 basil leaves, washed and cut into small strips

Method:
Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking, so the pasta will be nice and hot when you add the eggs to it.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it and add the pasta, cook until done but reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Drain off the rest of the water.

While that’s cooking, brown your bacon in a large nonstick pot.  Add the garlic and cook until turning golden.  Add the hot spaghetti and toss well with the bacon and garlic, cook for two minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk together your eggs and 1 cup Parmesan cheese.  Remove the pot of pasta from the heat and stir in the eggs.  Whisk together quickly so the eggs do not scramble (this is why you’re removing it from the heat) but the sauce does thicken.  You can thin out the sauce to your desired consistency with the reserved pasta water.  Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with the basil and extra Parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Penne a la Betsy

Yesterday I really did have good intentions to cook a healthy meal.  I started trying to decide what to make and nothing sounded good.  I decided to browse on the Pioneer Woman’s blog which probably wasn’t my smartest decision ever.  All of her recipes are great, but not what you want to cook on a diet! 

I’ve been hearing rave reviews on her Penne a la Betsy so I decided to give it a try.  I mean can you really go wrong with pasta, tomato cream sauce, wine and shrimp?  Nope!  I only had a half pound of shrimp so I made do with that and it as fine, I don’t think a full pound is really necessary unless you just want it.  It really was delicious, very easy to make and was also quick to cook.  All things I like in a good meal!  I was also pleasantly surprised at how much it made.  Hubby and I both went back for seconds and there is enough left over for our dinner tonight – can’t wait!  This is a definite must try!

Penne a la Betsy

Penne a la Betsy
Recipe from:  The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Ingredients:
3/4 pound of penne pasta, cooked al dente
1 lb (or half pound) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tbsp butter (told you it’s not diet!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce – plain
1 cup heavy cream (told ya)
salt, pepper to taste (I also sprinkled in some Tony’s seasoning)
Fresh basil (I think I put about five large leaves), chopped
Fresh parsley (about a tablespoon worth), chopped

Method:

In a large nonstick pan, heat one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon of butter together.  Lightly season shrimp and add to the melted mixture.  Cook just until done then remove and set aside on a cutting board.  Add the remaining butter and oil to the pan then add the onions and garlic.  Saute until soft then add the wine.  Let this cook so the alcohol evaporates some, then stir in the tomato sauce and cream, allow to simmer a few minutes. 

While that’s simmering, chop your shrimp into smaller pieces.  Add this to the sauce, stir in well then add the basil and parsley.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.  Add in the pasta and toss well to coat. 

Penne a la Betsy

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Manicotti

I first had Swiss chard a few years ago and ever since then I vow every year that I will plant some in my garden.  And each year comes and goes and I never get around to it.  So I’m very grateful to farmers that allow me to be lazy yet still enjoy this tasty veggie. 

This recipe is a product of that promise that I made to start making some heart healthy recipes.  A few months back I received a complimentary “cookbook” from the American Heart Association.  Seemed like the perfect place to get the first recipe from and when I saw this one I knew that it would be the winner!  I was a little unsure because I’m not the biggest fan of ricotta, I usually sub cottage cheese for it in my lasagna.  But I stuck with the recipe exactly as is, to protect the health facts.  As my husband declared, this is a keeper!  It was very easy, the only thing I’d do differently next time (and there will be a next time) is spread the sauce over the whole top of the manicotti, instead of just down the middle.  The edges got dry and hard.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Manicotti
Recipe from:  American Heart Association Light & Easy Recipes

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
8 dried manicotti shells
Filling:
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 8 ounces)
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 large egg white
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Sauce:
2 tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1/4 cup no-salt added tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Topping:
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Method:

Cook pasta al-dente’ (omitting salt and oil), drain in a colander but be careful not to tear the shells.  Set aside.

Spray a 13×9 casserole with cooking spray and set aside.

Discard the stems from the chard.  Stack several leaves on top of each other and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Repeat with remaining leaves.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over med-high heat and cook onion and garlic until soft, about three minutes.  Stir in the chard and cook until wilted and liquid has evaporated (about 3 more minutes).  Let cool slightly and stir int he remaining filling ingredients. 

Preheat oven to 375.

In a food processor, process the sauce ingredients together for about 20 seconds or until chunky.  Pour 1 cup of sauce into the baking dish and spread evenly along the bottom.  Gently spoon about 1/4 cup filling into the manicotti (be gentle so you don’t break them!).  Place into the casserole and top with the remaining sauce and the cheese. 

Bake, covered for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10-15 more minutes, or until heated through.

Swiss Chard & Ricotta Manicotti

Calories: 324
Total Fat:  8.5 g
Saturated Fat:  4.0 g
Trans Fat:  0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat:  0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat:  2.5 g
Cholesterol:  28 mg
Sodium:  606 mg
Carbs:  44 g
Fiber:  5 g
Sugars:  11 g
Protein:  19 g
Dietary Exchanges:  1.5 lean meat, 2 starch, 3 veggies