Posts Tagged ‘Pasta


Roman-Style Chicken

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Fusilli with Creamy Leek Sauce


Fusilli with Creamy Leek Sauce

This is a quick and easy recipe from Food and Wine.  The lemon and parsley give it a fresh, bright taste.  Despite the “creamy leek sauce” name, this recipe really isn’t all that creamy, but it is flavorful and satisfying.  The Parmigiano Reggiano gives it some kick.  I considered sauteeing some chopped pancetta and adding that, but thought better of it because I didn’t know how it would work with the lemon.  I’m glad I left the recipe as-is — this turned out well.



Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Vermicelli


Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Vermicelli

Food and Wine is becoming my favorite source for fast, easy, reliably good recipes.  Here’s another one.  I would also venture to say that it’s decently healthy.  I halved the recipe and used just one tablespoon of olive oil.  Hate to admit it, but when I order this from my favorite restaurant in Saranac Lake, NY, the Red Fox, my plate looks like a red oil slick when the meal is over.  So darn good.  But this version of Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a little healthier.  I followed the recipe for the most part, but added some extra crushed red pepper to make it a little spicier.  My husband is not a huge fan of shrimp, so I grated a little Romano cheese, left the shrimp off his plate, and topped it with the Romano.  As the recipe says, the sauce with the vermicelli really is good enough to stand on its own.



Big-Kid Pigs in a Blanket, Steakhouse Mac and Cheese and Apple Cider Slaw

This is a fun, satisfying meal for a cool fall night.  It’s all quick and easy, too.  I garnished the plates with apple slices and served more on the side.  The slaw and apples are a refreshing complement to the heavier sausages and mac and cheese.

Big-Kid Pigs in a Blanket

4 Chicken Apple Sausages (Pre-cooked)
1 package dough for bread sticks
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and more for serving

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Brush each sausage with Dijon mustard and wrap in bread dough strips (approximately 2 strips per sausage).  Bake for 15 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Makes 4 servings.

Steakhouse Mac and Cheese

I usually make baked mac and cheese in a casserole dish with breadcrumbs.  We went to Manny’s Steakhouse the other night and my husband spotted their mac and cheese side dish and asked me if I could make it like that – a huge bowl of cheesy mac mounded high without any topping.  It’s actually faster than the casserole way since you don’t have to bake it.

8 oz. elbow macaroni or small cut pasta shape of your choice (I used campanelle)
2 tablespoons butter
2.5 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I used sharp cheddar and Parmesan)
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.  Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and blend thoroughly.  Continue cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add milk, stirring thoroughly.  Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium after the mixture reaches a boil.  Add cheese and melt throroughly.  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Mix pasta into cheese sauce.  Season with additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Makes 4-6 servings.

Apple Cider Slaw

½ package bagged shredded coleslaw cabbage mix
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

I would recommend adding a little of the oil and vinegar to the slaw at a time until you get the balance you prefer on the dressing.  You can add a little extra zing by adding a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro if you like it.


Spaghetti with Bacon, Parmesan and Cheese

Spaghetti with Bacon, Parmesan and Cheese

This is a fast and easy comfort food recipe from Cooking Light.  It makes a lot of food, too – I halved the recipe and had enough for about five generous servings.  I usually make this pretty much by the book.  If anything, I add more peas.  Be sure to use good freshly-grated Parmesan.  I like to serve this with breadsticks and a salad or fruit like red grapes on the side.


Mahogany Short Ribs with Rosemary Noodles and Wilted Spinach Salad

I love this short rib recipe from the Washington Post.  It’s so easy to make and great for a buffet or football party.  The short ribs end up so tender they’ll fall apart on your fork, thanks to the tenderizing secret ingredient, prune juice.  Simple pasta with butter and rosemary is a great complement.  I served this with a wilted spinach salad.  The amounts I made served two with some leftovers.  I garnished the plates with a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary.  Nice how the peppercorns make the short rib look like it has eyes.  That was an accident.

Mahogany Short Ribs

I halved this recipe and used boneless ribs.  I marinated them for two and a half hours instead of all night and they were still fall-apart tender.  The short ribs took about an hour and twenty minutes to cook rather than the full two hours suggested in the recipe.  I sprinkled a few fresh rosemary leaves on top of the short ribs after pouring a little of the sauce on them on top of the noodles.

Pasta with Rosemary and Butter

I made ½ pound of fettuccine and added a tablespoon of butter, a teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary (leaves stripped from stems), and freshly ground sea salt and pepper.  The Washington Post short ribs recipe suggests wide noodles such as pappardelle.

Wilted Spinach Salad

This recipe turned out to be a disappointment.  The dressing was way too thick and lacked the right zing.  There’s no way you should add two tablespoons of flour to the dressing.  I’m not totally convinced there should be any flour.  After making the recipe exactly according to the directions, the dressing was way too thick and “floury.”  I added about 5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, one at a time, to thin it out and a tablespoon of honey to counteract the bitterness.  I also added bacon bits, from the bacon cooked to get the drippings, to the final salad for more flavor.  This recipe failed to live up to the wilted spinach salads I remember growing up, but I’ll try it again sometime, probably adding little if any flour.  The dressing should be mainly bacon drippings and vinegar.


Bucatini All’Amatriciana

Pecorino Romano is one of my favorite cheeses and I was looking for a dish to make with it.  This simple pasta recipe doesn’t take long to make and is full of flavor.  You can make it as spicy as you want with red pepper flakes.

I combined parts of two recipes I found online:  Bucatini All’Amatriciana from’s Italian food section, and Bucatini alla Matriciana from Trulli Italian.

I didn’t have pancetta so used prosciutto instead.  Probably less authentic for this dish but it still tasted great.   Drawing from the first recipe, I used blanched, peeled and seeded fresh tomatoes.  I incorporated the following parts of the second recipe that weren’t in the first: added red pepper flakes and a minced clove of garlic to the onions while they were sautéing.

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