Tag Archives: Pasta

Anchovy Pasta Carbonara

Anchovy Pasta Carbonara

So this Seafood with Pasta dish came about in an effort to use up a box of linguine languishing in the pantry, and I also needed a good excuse to use some Sicilian anchovies I picked up at Fairway. Non-cheap Sicilian anchovies, I might add…

Sicilian anchovies

Now, I am an anchovy fiend. I love them. I’m constantly looking for excuses to cook with them, and if I don’t have one, I’ve even taken to eating them on toast. I just adore them! Matt is…. not as much of a fiend, we’ll put it that way. I have to sneak around with them sometimes. So the night we had this dish, when he asked what was for dinner, I simply said, “carbonara.” Little omission there, I admit.

anchovy pasta carbonara

Well he loved it. I mean, LOVED IT. He even said it was, and I quote, “the best carbonara I’ve ever eaten.” And yes, at some point he did figure out the anchovies. Well, his assessment of the dish was quite accurate. This carbonara is incredible. As is probably obvious, the anchovies replace the bacon/pancetta as the salty component. And it really does work, I promise!

anchovies and linguine for carbonara

This pasta dish is delicious, simple and kinda sexy. Perfect to make for your other half tomorrow! So even if you think you’re squicked out by anchovies, take a hint from Matt and give this one a go. I think you’ll love it!

Anchovy pasta carbonara

{One year ago: Pimento Cheese Spread}

Source: lightly adapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients:
1 lb. long-cut pasta (I used linguine)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
One 2-oz. can flat anchovies, drained
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs chopped oregano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 extra-large egg yolks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the past until al dente, according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil with the garlic and anchovies and cook over moderately high heat until the anchovies have dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper, zest, oregano and parsley, then add the pasta and toss to coat. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the yolks with the reserved cooking water and add to the pasta. Cook over low heat, tossing until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Soy-Ginger Salmon over Asian Veggie Noodles

Soy salmon over Asian veggie noodles

Continuing our theme this week of Pasta with Seafood, we have a delicious, healthy, flavorful, Asian salmon dish, that essentially got made because I’m trying to clean out my pantry and I ran across a half-used box of dried spaghetti. Score!

Did I mention this is delicious? Because it really was… soooo good. Clean flavors, perfectly cooked salmon that just melted in your mouth, and salty, chewy noodles. So awesome.

I used my wok for this, which worked beautifully, but any high sided skillet will do. This cooks up so friggin’ fast, which is great for a weeknight meal, but I highly advise having all the prep work done ahead of time and definitely do not walk away in the middle of this. I would also caution against marinating the salmon much more than the 5 minutes called for. There’s a bit of acid in the marinade, and if left to its own devices for too long, the acid will start to “cook” the fish, and then when you try to cook it yourself in the pan, the final product will be mushy. And no one wants that.

soy salmon over Asian veggie noodles

I also only call for cooking the salmon about 3-4 minutes per side, because I am so picky about the way salmon is cooked. I like mine to be between medium-rare and medium. To my personal palate, if salmon goes beyond medium, it just tastes like cat food. And if I wanted cat food, I’d go down to my local Petland and buy some salmon cat food for a lot less money than I spent on these beautiful wild-caught fillets. But that’s possibly just me. Of course feel free to cook it to your desired preference.

Soy Salmon over Asian Veggie Noodles

Anyways, enjoy this one, guys!

{One year ago: Malted Chocolate Ice Cream}

Source: adapted from Express Lane Meals by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
½ lb. dried spaghetti
Kosher salt
6 tbs soy sauce or tamari
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp crushed chili flakes
4 salmon fillets
Vegetable or olive oil
½ a small head of green cabbage, cored and sliced very thin (I used a handheld mandoline slicer on its thickest setting)
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, trimmed, chopped, green and white parts divided
2 tsp sugar
¾ cup chicken stock

Directions:
Place a large stockpot of water over high heat. Cover and let it come up to a boil. Generously salt the boiling water, then drop in the pasta. Cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain thoroughly when done.
Meanwhile, combine the tamari, ginger, lime juice, and chili flakes in a small baking dish or shallow bowl. Add the salmon fillets skin side up. Let marinate for 5 minutes.
Preheat a wok or high-sided skillet over high heat. Add a few drizzles of oil, then place the salmon in the wok skin side down. Don’t discard the marinade! Cook 3-4 minutes per side, or longer if you desire. When the salmon is done, remove to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Wipe out the wok and return it to high heat. Add another drizzle of oil, then add the cabbage, carrot, and bell pepper. Sauté until the veggies have softened and wilted a bit, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and white parts of the scallions and cook 1 minute more.
Add the sugar to the marinade and stir to combine. Then add the marinade to the wok. Let it simmer about 1 minute. Now add the chicken stock and let it simmer 2-3 minutes. Then add the cooked, drained pasta to the wok and toss to combine.
Pile some veggie noodles onto each plate and then position a salmon fillet over top. Garnish with the green parts of the scallions. Serve immediately.
As written, this will serve 4 people. Since I’m only cooking for two, I just made 2 salmon fillets, but kept the marinade amounts as written, and made the noodles as written, and the leftover veggie noodles are delicious!

Crab Macaroni and Cheese

Crab Macaroni and Cheese

Hey y’all! So this week’s theme is Pasta with Seafood! I’d love to say that this comes from a place of deep creativity and immense thought, but in reality it’s a result of trying to clean out my pantry and finding several boxes of dried pasta in there. And since Matt and I love seafood and felt like we didn’t eat much of it over the holidays, here we are. Exciting, I know. It will be tasty, though!

crab macaroni and cheese

I found this recipe on my good friend Aimee’s blog, which I profiled here, and it was a perfect excuse to use up some dried penne that was taking up space on my pantry’s bottom shelf.

Crab Macaroni and Cheese

This dish is delicious!! It’s so cheesy and creamy, but you can really taste the crab – it’s not hidden at all. And for that reason, you should definitely make sure you get quality crab meat.

crab mac and cheese

I had to make a few minor changes to the original recipe posted on Aimee’s site, simply because I found myself lacking a few ingredients at the last minute. Instead of lemon zest I used lemon pepper, and though I could’ve sworn I had some panko when I began cooking, I quickly found out how wrong I was, so fresh bread crumbs saved the day. Also, I added some chopped shallot and garlic, simply because I had some laying around and thought, “why not?” All in all, extremely tasty. I highly recommend!

Crab macaroni and cheese

{One year ago: Coffee Rubbed Bacon}

Source: slightly adapted from See Aimee Cook

Ingredients:
1 lb dried penne, or other short cut pasta
1 lb lump crab meat
10 oz crumbled feta cheese, divided
1 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 cup panko, or fresh bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
5 tbsp butter, divided and 1 tbs melted
1 large shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
8 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish and set aside.
In a large pot, boil the pasta in salted water for 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain well and transfer back to the large pot, or to a large mixing bowl. Add the crab to the hot pasta and toss to combine. If this is going to sit for a few minutes, I’d recommend stirring in a drizzle of olive oil too, to prevent sticking.
In a medium bowl, toss together a handful of feta, 1/4 tsp lemon pepper, panko or bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, and 1 tbs melted butter. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, or until light golden brown in color. Slowly stir in the milk until no lumps remain. Bring to a simmer and let it thicken, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. This should take 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining feta, lemon pepper, and parsley as well as the dill, Gruyere, salt, and pepper. Stir to melt the Gruyere. Pour this sauce over the pasta and crab in the large pot and stir well to coat.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved feta and bread crumbs mixture evenly over top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sides are bubbly and the top is evenly browned. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

I think it probably goes without saying that children growing up in Texas aren’t terribly familiar with that other chili from Ohio. You know, the one with beans. And pasta. And chocolate. Frankly, I’d never even heard of it until adulthood.

But, I do love me some chili, and though this version breaks many rules of the original from Texas, I have to admit I’ve been a bit intrigued. And so last weekend it became high time I give it a try.

Cincinnati chili
The verdict? I have to say, it’s pretty delicious! Definitely different from Texas, or even New Mexican chili; it is what it is, and I kinda loved it. It’s hearty, rich, cheesy, and you can play around with the spice level as you please. I’d eat it again (actually I just did, some leftovers for lunch).

Cincinnati Chili

As a complete aside, I do not feel like myself today, I’ve been struggling with a head cold the past week. I have a persistent, dry, hacking cough. Nothing remotely serious, of course, but it’s driving me batty! I’m ready to scream! But of course I don’t because that would make the cough worse. Does anyone have any foolproof tricks or home remedies for taming this beast? I’m all ears. So far I’m just using over the counter cough syrups, which taste beyond nasty, and they only help so much. Thanks you guys!

Cincinnati Chili

{One year ago: Pumpkin Muffins, Almond Pancakes, and Chocolate Anise Biscotti}

Source: adapted from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 tbs olive oil
2 ¼ lbs. ground sirloin
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tbs ancho chile powder
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs brown sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
1 lb. spaghetti
8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the ground sirloin. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon or potato masher, until the meat is browned and no traces of pink remain. Add three quarters of the chopped onion and the jalapeno, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Lower the heat to medium, and add the ancho, cocoa powder, paprika, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
Raise the heat back to medium-high and pour in the beer. Stir, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the beer has mostly evaporated.
Add the Worcestershire, tomato puree, and beans. stir to combine, then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the flavors have married and the chili has thickened somewhat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom.
When the chili is ready, turn the heat to low, and cover until needed.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well, and toss in a large mixing bowl with some olive oil to prevent clumping.
To serve, mound some spaghetti onto a plate. Top with chili, then with a generous handful of cheese, then sprinkle on some of the reserved chopped onion.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

Well, I’ve officially joined the ranks of cold and flu season with what is hopefully the last day of a bad cold. I hate getting sick. So our weekend was pretty quiet, though we did manage to get our Christmas tree up and mostly decorated. I say mostly because upon removing our box of tree ornaments from the back of the closet, we discovered that our Santa tree topper had somehow gotten himself beheaded over the last eleven months. I swear I don’t know how it happened.

making meat stuffed shells

But, the tree is up, some presents are wrapped, the cats have only tried to unwrap two of them, and I get the sinking feeling that I’m sliding down the slippery slope that is head-cold-induced blathering, so we’ll just get to the recipe now.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

I had a half a box of jumbo shells to use up, and I was thinking of making something vegetarian, but when I asked Matt his thoughts, he said no, he wanted MEAT! And RED SAUCE! And so it came to be. I found a recipe that added spinach to the meat filling, and we both found it hearty and scrumptious. I hope you will too. Enjoy!

Meat and spinach stuffed shells

Source: adapted from 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
½ a 12 oz. box of jumbo shells
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 ½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
10 basil leaves, julienned
1 (10 oz.) box chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
½ cup grated fresh mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then boil the pasta shells according to package directions. Remove with a spider or other slotted spoon to a plate. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, breaking up with a spoon or potato masher, until crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook a few minutes more, until the onion has softened. Add 2 cloves of the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Lower the heat to medium, add the Italian seasoning, nutmeg, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine and cook about 1 minute to let the flavors marry. Shut off the heat.
Make the sauce. In a small stockpot, add a small drizzle of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining clove of minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the crushed pepper flakes and stir about 30 seconds, then pour in the tomato sauce. Stir to combine; let it go about a minute to heat up slightly, then stir in about 2/3 of the basil and shut off the heat.
Remove the spinach from the box and place half of it in a clean, dry kitchen towel. Vigorously wring it out over the sink until the water is squeezed out. Place it in a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining half.
When the meat mixture has cooled somewhat, add it to the spinach. Also add the beaten egg, bread crumbs, and ½ cup parmesan. Stir to combine well.
Ladle some sauce into the baking pan. You want a thin layer. Using a small cereal spoon, carefully pack the meat mixture into the each individual shell. Place each stuffed shell in the prepared baking dish, on top of the sauce. When the shells are all assembled, top them with the remaining tomato sauce, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the shells. Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan on the mozzarella.
Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
Garnish with the remaining basil and serve hot.

Julie’s Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

spaghetti with meat sauce

Well, it’s official: we’ve had our first snow of the season. I can’t say that was terribly thrilling for me, but it was an inevitability, so I suppose I’ll just get over it. At least it was just big fat flurries that didn’t stick. And one of our cats very much enjoyed being in the windowsill and “chasing” the snowflakes. It was cute.

spaghetti with meat sauce

Since it’s so cold and gray today, I thought I would share some bona fide comfort food, with a generous side helping of nostalgia. This is the very first dish I ever learned to make. My mom taught me step by step, and I just tried to memorize it as I had no cooking intuition whatsoever at the time.

With some practice, and a few batches that flopped, I did master it. Eventually. It was the first dish I ever cooked for Matt while we were dating; fortunately he loved it and did not go running scared. Actually, this dish, which he has dubbed “Spaghetti, Julie Style” is one of his favorites too. I try to make it once every few months.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I grew up eating this dish often – it was one of the few things my mom knew she could make and serve for a whine-free dinner. I’ve updated her recipe little by little over the years, but it’s not terribly different from my childhood fave. I knew I had to immortalize it on the blog, and I’m surprised it’s taken me this long. Ah, well – it’s here now, and that’s what counts!

Julie's Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

{One year ago: Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Capers}

Ingredients:
1 lb. dried spaghetti
Olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
¾ cup dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 (28 oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes, with their juices
2 tbs tomato paste
1 generous cup pitted kalamata olives, halved or sliced
Fresh basil or parsley, torn or chopped, for garnish
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil. Salt it generously, then add the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions.
Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in some olive oil, then add the beef. Cook, breaking it up with a potato masher or large spoon, until it is browned and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1 more minute.
Now add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Now add the tomatoes. Use a potato masher to crush them. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate completely. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency. Stir occasionally, and you may need to adjust the heat level a bit. Make sure it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Add the olives and taste for seasoning.
Drain the spaghetti and add it directly to the beef mixture. Lower the heat to low and toss the pasta to coat it with sauce. Transfer the entire skillet to a serving bowl. Garnish with parsley or basil. Serve immediately with the cheese.

Apple-Pork Ragout over Pappardelle

pork apple ragout over pappardelle

I am such a sucker for a good pasta with red meat sauce. My mom makes a killer spaghetti with meat sauce, and it was hands down my favorite thing she made growing up. She taught me how to make it, and after a few misses learning curves, I did master it. I’ll blog it sometime.

Pork-Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

As much as I love the spaghetti and meat sauce of my youth, I do branch out and try other recipes. So today, we have this delectable meaty ragout made with pork, apples, and capers. I discovered this dish last year with my apple picking stash, but didn’t end up blogging it. Reason being, while it was initially simmering away, it looked rather odd for a meat sauce, and I was convinced the recipe wasn’t going to come together and work well, so I didn’t photograph it. One bite and I felt pretty darn stupid.

Pork Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

It’s a beautiful dish. Meaty pork, with a background hint of sweetness from the apples, and the salty bite of capers… Oh, it’s so good. And leftovers only get better. Feel free to use whatever cut of pasta you like. This would work just fine with fettuccine or linguine, and probably fine with rigatoni, too. This meal is PERFECT for fall and you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Enjoy!

Pork Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

Source: adapted from Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
2 oz. diced pancetta
12 oz. ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can stewed or whole tomatoes, with juices
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbs tomato paste
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lb. fresh or dried pappardelle, or other long cut pasta
2 tbs brined capers, drained
2 tbs thinly sliced basil
Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta. Preheat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the pancetta. Cook until browned and the fat has mostly rendered. Add the pork and cook, breaking it up with your spoon, until no traces of pink remain. Now add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and apples. Cook one minute.
Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by three quarters.
Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Stir to combine, then hit the pan with your potato masher to crush the tomatoes and apples. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it go for about 15 minutes, until thickened and more uniform. If after 15 minutes it has not thickened to your liking, simply turn up the heat and let it go until it is. Don’t forget to stir occasionally during this time, as that will prevent the sauce from scorching on the bottom of the skillet. Season the sauce lightly with salt and generously with black pepper.
Meanwhile, generously salt the pasta water once it reaches a boil, drop in your pasta and cook according to package directions.
Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Lower the heat, then add the capers and basil. Combine everything in the pot, then taste for seasoning. Adjust as necessary.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Chipotle Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

Chipotle Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

I made this as a side dish for Labor Day, and it’s a damn good thing I did, because our main dish was a complete and utter disaster. In hindsight, it’s a funny story, one I’ll tell you very soon. Suffice it to say, this mac and cheese can become a main dish if need be. And well, we needed be the day I made it.

mac and cheese before baking

That said, this mac and cheese was outstanding and very easy to pull off. Truth: it is a little bit spicy. The abundance of dairy does cool down the chipotles, but let’s face it, there’s only so much dairy can do – chipotles are hot! Matt and I love our spicy food, so it was great for us. You can back off to one chipotle chile if you prefer.

chipotle bacon mac and cheese

chipotle bacon mac and cheese, almost done

In other admittedly unrelated news, it was a busy weekend for us – we dropped our little rescue kitten off at the wonderful no-kill shelter where I volunteer. She’ll be available for adoption in a couple of weeks, and I’m sure she will find a good home quickly. We miss her a little bit, but I have to admit that it was nice to not wake up to my feet being attacked and my bare toes being bitten this morning. Yeah, she did that. Every. Single. Morning. Now there’s an effective alarm clock for you!

Chipotle Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

Anywho, enjoy this mac and cheese. It’s rich and cheesy and perfect. It would make terrific tailgating or game day fare! Or just some wonderful comfort food to spice up an otherwise dull evening, or make up for having a bad day. Or just because! That always works too. 🙂

Chipotle Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

Source: adapted from The Homesick Texan

Ingredients:
2 tbs unsalted butter
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
2 chipotles in adobo
1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 lb. elbow macaroni
3 cups total grated cheddar and Monterey jack cheese
4 slices bacon, fried until crispy and chopped

Directions:
Heat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 12-inch cast-iron skillet by melting the butter over medium heat, making sure to brush it on all the sides of the skillet.
In a blender, mix together the milk, cottage cheese, chipotle chiles, mustard powder, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper until it’s smooth. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the dry pasta and stir until sauce is evenly distributed.
Stir in two cups of the shredded cheese, then transfer the mixture to the greased skillet. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil and stir the macaroni and cheese a couple of times. Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and chopped bacon and cook for another 25 minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling.
Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, and serve.

Zucchini Arugula Lasagna

zucchini arugula lasagna

So a couple weeks ago I was menu planning, and suddenly it occurred to me that it has been, I don’t know, maybe FOREVER since the last time I made a lasagna. How terrible of me! Time for that to be rectified, stat.

arugula ricotta lasagna filling

As much of a lasagna lover that I am, I really was a bit baffled at how I could have let such a culinary sin occur in my kitchen. So, okay, time to fix the misstep. But it’s still the last vestiges of summer, and maybe a full on meaty dish isn’t appropriate or appetizing right now, and I have to admit that the traditional meat and red sauce version is what I think of most when I picture lasagna, despite all the infinite variations out there. But, no matter what my childhood lasagna first impressions were, it’s just too heavy for right now. Veggies to the rescue!

Zucchini Arugula Lasagna

I chose a recipe featuring zucchini and arugula since they are both very currently seasonal. This one did feature a tomato sauce, but it wasn’t heavy or the least bit greasy. The dish turned out perfect for the weather and for our taste buds. Extremely flavorful, satisfying, with the familiar comfort of the tomato sauce but the fresh pop of zucchini. We loved it. And as always with lasagna, the leftovers just get better.

zucchini arugula lasagna

A few recipe notes: I really, really, really should have used a larger/taller baking dish. I used a pretty, kind of frouffy one, where the sides aren’t very high, accidentally forgetting that I have a pretty lasagna pan with high sides (d’oh!) and well, my lasagna runneth over. Quite a bit. Thank god I had the good foresight to place the pan on a baking sheet, but still. I’d recommend a higher-sided pan. Also, slice the zucchini very thin, to ensure it cooks through in the oven. I absolutely adored the smoky smoked mozzarella here, but you can certainly use regular mozz if you prefer.

Zucchini arugula lasagna

Zucchini Arugula Lasagna

{One year ago: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs}

Source: slightly adapted from Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp

Ingredients:
TOMATO SAUCE:
2 tbs olive oil
½ a medium yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp crushed chile flakes
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and black pepper

CHEESE FILLING:
5 oz. baby arugula, tough stems removed
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt

LASAGNA:
2 tbs minced fresh oregano leaves
2 tbs olive oil
2 lb. zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced thin crosswise
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (8-9 oz.) box of no-boil lasagna noodles
12 oz. smoked mozzarella cheese, grated
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
First, make the TOMATO SAUCE. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook until softened. Add garlic and chile flakes; cook one more minute. Stir in the tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes start to simmer. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, at least 20 minutes longer.
Now make the CHEESE FILLING. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
For the LASAGNA: preheat the oven to 375 F and arrange a rack in the middle. Toss together the oregano, oil, and zucchini in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble the lasagna: grease a high-sided 9×13” baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange one-fourth of the lasagna noodles over the bottom of the pan, breaking to fit as necessary. Top with 2 cups tomato sauce and spread it evenly. Dollop one-third of the ricotta mixture over the sauce. Spread it evenly. Layer one-fourth of the zucchini over the ricotta, then top with one-fourth each of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat to make 2 more layers.
For the final layer, top the lasagna with the last of the noodles, sauce, zucchini, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
Cover with aluminum foil, tenting it along the center of the lasagna to avoid the cheese sticking to it. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the liquids are bubbling and the noodles are beginning to soften, about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and the noodles are completely tender, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 15 minutes before serving.

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta Alfredo

Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta Alfredo

Happy Monday everyone! Last week was crazy for me thanks to fostering a sick and very high maintenance rescue kitten. And yes, she’s still with us. She is getting much better though. I’ve downgraded her from Unholy, Goopy-Eyed Terrorist to Insane, Entitled Diva. I volunteer at a wonderful no-kill shelter, and they have agreed to take her in once her eye infection clears up. She is adorable, so I think she’ll be adopted fairly quickly. And I would post a picture, but she’s rarely sitting still, so we haven’t gotten many good ones.

roasting red bell peppers

Anyways… let’s talk pasta, shall we? We are big fiends for alfredo sauce in this house, so when I ran across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a go. Since we also love roasted red peppers and tangy goat cheese, I figured it would be a big hit. I was correct!

roasted red pepper goat cheese alfredo

So flavorful, perfectly creamy, and a very pretty reddish, pinkish hue from the peppers.

In fact, I really think my sister should make this one for her three-year-old son. A few months ago, I was visiting them and I made the standard chicken fettuccine alfredo for everyone; upon serving it, said three-year-old promptly requested ketchup on his. We both shuddered and stifled giggles, and fortunately she was able to convince him to eat it ketchup-free. But I was thinking, hmm, maybe he would like this one in particular because it might look to him like there’s already ketchup in there! Who knows. It’s a thought. 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta Alfredo

I roasted my own peppers for this; I love roasting chiles or peppers myself – it makes the house smell amazing, and I think they taste better than jarred. But you can certainly use jarred in a pinch or if that’s your preference. Either way, this dish is really very easy to pull together. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta Alfredo

{One year ago: Mussels in Red Chile Broth}

Source: adapted from Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 whole roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and rough chopped
1 cup half and half
4 oz. soft goat cheese
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for the table
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. linguine, cooked to al dente
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:
In a medium to large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Transfer the cooked onions and garlic to the blender. Add the roasted red peppers and the half and half. Puree until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer the mixture back to the skillet and heat on medium-low. Add the goat cheese and parmesan and stir to let melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the cheeses are melted, add the cooked pasta and toss for about a minute to coat well. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed. Garnish with the parsley, if desired, and serve with extra parmesan for passing at the table.