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Last week I made this amazing soup. It was so bright and summery, and perfect on a night that was just a bit crisp. For fresh herbs, I only had parsley and a little bit of basil on hand, but it made for a fantastic pistou (the french version of a pesto), and with just a squeeze of lemon in each bowl, I was in love. And it was still fresh and delicious the next day after a quick zap in the microwave and a mix-in of the pistou and lemon at work. I forgot to take a picture of the masterpiece, but the original one is so gorgeous, I just had to share. After browsing a bit, I think Love and Lemons might be one of my new favorite food blogs. I didn’t even notice most of the recipes were vegetarian or vegan, everything just looks so good! Click through the link below for the full recipe!

soup au pistou

image via love and lemons

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For you non-paleo followers, don’t let the tag frighten you away – this dish is awesome! We’ve made it twice now, and I know it’s going to be a regular in our weeknight rotation. I love the substitution of broccoli slaw for noodles. It’s still hearty and delicious, and possibly more flavorful! The recipe below makes about 3 servings, and we’ll usually double it so there’s enough for leftovers.

paleo pad thai

Paleo Chicken Pad Thai
via the paleo mom

1 1/2 lbs chicken meat, cut into small 1” chunks
4-5 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil (more if you use breast meat, less if you use thigh meat)
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (or use 1 more Tbsp fish sauce, or soy sauce if you’re not paleo)
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
½ Tbsp Coconut Vinegar (Apple Cider Vinegar would work too)
5 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
4-5 green onions, finely chopped
12oz package of broccoli slaw
2 medium carrots, cut into thin julienne strips

Heat a wok (or large saute pan) over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic, cook about 1 minute. Add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add fish sauce, coconut aminos, lime juice and vinegar. Cook at a rapid simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Add broccoli slaw and julienned carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft but still firm, about 3-4 minutes. Toss or garnish with green onion and cilantro to serve.

 

I’m pretty proud of the job I did cooking this year! I pushed myself and my tastebuds (and my husband’s!). I had some wins and some losses, but overall it was definitely a success!
Here are my favorites meals from the year:

Comforting and Warm:

best of 2013 comforting and warm
The Best Ever Turkey Chili / Sweet Onions with Lentil Stew

Quick and Chicken-y:

best of 2013 quick and chicken
Roasted Chicken & Beets with Couscous and Yogurt SauceOne Pot Lemon Chicken & Zucchini

Summer Magic:

best 2013 summer magic
Grilled Poblano & Corn Quinoa with LimeGrilled Chicken & Asparagus Salad with Parsley Pesto

Meatless: 

best of 2013 meatless
One Pan Farro with TomatoesAsparagus Carbonara

For the slow cooker:

best of 2013 slow cooker
Sunday Night Italian Meatballs / Slow Cook Corned Beef & Cabbage

Yum! What were your favorite things you made this year? I’d love to hear your best recipes.
Here’s to new flavors and challenges in the new year!

Oy! It’s the flu. My darling husband suffered through over the weekend and this week it’s my turn. Now that I’m working on eating again, I’m ready to get a few more vitamins in me. While perusing Pinterest in bed, I stumbled across this kicked up ramen recipe and knew it was just the thing for me today. Thankfully, we had a moderate range of veggies on hand already and very little effort was involved to make this veggie-packed meal.

ramen upgrade

Ramen Upgrade (for one)
adapted from martha stewart

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 medium yellow onion, diced medium
1 small carrot, diced medium
1 small stalk celery, diced medium
3/4 cup chopped kale
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1 package (3 ounces) ramen, broken into quarters (seasoning packet discarded)

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Season with pepper. Add broth, bring to a boil. Add ramen and kale, reduce heat, and simmer until noodles are tender and the kale is just wilted, 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve hot.

Home alone tonight and I whipped up a pot of this lovely, creamy but light summer pasta dish. The ricotta made it seem indulgent, but the lemon and hint of mint brightened it right up. Quick and perfect for a weeknight and just a little time.

bowties with sugar snaps lemon and ricotta

Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Ricotta and Lemon
via smitten kitchen

Salt for pasta water
1 pound sugar snaps
1 pound dried pasta bowties
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) finely grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
Glug, then drizzle, of olive oil
Coarse or fine sea salt for sprinkling
Ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
Few leaves of mint, slivered
1 cup ricotta; use fresh if you can find or have motivation to make it (I did not this evening, but look foward to trying it with fresh!)

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. While waiting, string sugar snaps and cut into 1/2-inch segments. Cook bow ties for two minutes less than the suggested cooking time on the package, then add sugar snaps to pasta. Cook for one minute more. Reserve one cup pasta cooking water, then drain sugar snaps and bow ties. Add them back to the empty pot with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, grated cheese, a glug of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook on high for one minute, tossing constantly. Add a splash more cooking water if pasta looks too dry. Turn heat off, dollop ricotta all over in large spoonfuls and gently stir, then tip the pasta mixture into a wide serving bowl. Drizzle pasta with a small amount of olive oil, then squeeze lemon juice over the whole dish, sprinkle with mint, and finish with an extra sprinkling of parmesan.
Serve immediately.

image via my iphone

There’s something about a great comfort meal on a Sunday night – although I did make this on a weeknight! It’s a pretty quick meal, but feels luxurious in it’s rich cream sauce. The bite of arugula and pepper and the sweetness of the corn make for quite the flavor.

Arugula Sweet Corn Gnocchi Cream Sauce

Arugula & Sweet Corn Gnocchi in Cream Sauce
adapted from vegan monologue
(click through for vegan version)

1 lb potato gnocchi
2 small ears fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off and set aside
3/4 cup half and half
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cups torn arugula
a few shakes of crushed red pepper
2 tbs flour, plus a little more, just in case

Cook gnocchi according to package and add the corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Do not rinse.
Meanwhile, make cream sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until just tender. Add half and half, cream cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper in medium saucepan. Cook sauce ingredients over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add reserved pasta water and flour to sauce, stir until thickened. You can add more flour until desired thickness is achieved. Pour cream sauce over gnocchi, stir in arugula, sprinkle red pepper flakes. Sauce will thicken more as it cools. Serve with additional crushed red pepper flakes.

New favorite alert! New favorite alert! I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked this recipe for dinner, I think I just saw asparagus and thought, ‘yum!’ But this recipe really knocked my socks off. I’ve never made a true carbonara before, and never added eggs to a tomato sauce, so I had no idea what kind of fabulous flavor I was in for. And it was easy! This is definitely going into our regular rotation… and next on my list to bring to a dinner party. I’m in love.

Asparagus Carbonara

Asparagus Carbonara
via food 52

1 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole cloves garlic
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, put through a sieve or grated coarsely
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
3/4 pounds penne, rigatoni, or other tubular pasta
2 eggs, plus one yolk, beaten well with a fork
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Have all the ingredients for this recipe prepared and ready to cook before beginning. Bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil and have it ready for the pasta. Cut the asparagus into lengths about 2 inches long. If the stalks are thick, cut them in half or quarter them. Leave the tips in tact. Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet and add the asparagus pieces, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender and lightly browned. Transfer the asparagus to a plate and reserve. In the same pan, add the oil and garlic. Cook until lightly browned and remove and discard garlic. Add the tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the pasta and salt to the water and, when it returns to a boil, cook for about 7 minutes or until tender. Do not overcook. Just before the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the tomatoes and add the beaten eggs, stirring vigorously so that they blend without curdling. Do not boil the sauce after the eggs are added. (If you are nervous about curdling the eggs, you may temper them in, by stirring a ladleful of the hot tomato sauce into the eggs, then whisking the mixture back into the pan.) Add the asparagus to the tomato sauce and stir to blend. Drain the pasta immediately. Add the tomato sauce and asparagus, and toss with half the cheese. Serve piping hot with the remaining cheese on the side.

image via my iphone