Tag Archive for 'pasta'

Langostino “Lobster” Tail Bucattini

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There are times when you just need a pasta fix and this is especially true when you’ve got a house guest from Italy. While there are many pasta dishes that please, it’s fun to get out of your comfort zone and mix up your pasta fixins’. While I am typically a Bolognese or pesto kinda gal, I was craving seafood. I had every intention of making linguini with fresh clams, but I when none were available at the store I quickly switched gears. Continue reading ‘Langostino “Lobster” Tail Bucattini’

Linguini with Clams

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‘Tiz the Season to gather with family and friends and indulge in some “Festivus for the Rest Of Us!” Don’t know what Festivus is? Really, you didn’t see the December 18, 1997 ‘Strike’ episode of Seinfield? Well then, you need to know more. Continue reading ‘Linguini with Clams’

Wis Dells Fried MAC & Cheese Bites


One of my favorite things about traveling is the opportunity for food discovery. Even common dishes can take on a new local spin or inspire food creativity. This summer we headed to the mid-west to spend some time with good friends. Had it not been for them we may have never made it to Milwaukee and I can honestly say that we would have really missed out. Continue reading ‘Wis Dells Fried MAC & Cheese Bites’

Ricotta Kale and Spinach Gnudi (pronounced “nu-dee”)

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Summer in Florence, Italy conjures up memories of light meals involving quick summer preparations. And this past week with the heat temperatures hitting over 100 degrees Fahrenheit I was on the prowl to capture a taste of Italian summer.

Whenever I think of Italy, I flashback to my year spent in Florence Continue reading ‘Ricotta Kale and Spinach Gnudi (pronounced “nu-dee”)’

Summer Pesto Pasta Salad

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Eight weeks ago I had my first hand surgery and six weeks post surgery I practically made this pesto pasta salad myself. It was a simple and yet significant task, as it was like getting back up on the horse that threw me. I’ve often times told family and friends over the past few weeks that while I know I was lucky not to have injured my dominant hand (AKA my right hand), I am in no way a one-handed individual. I have learned to adapt to my situation at an exhausting pace – and my milestones have included saying things like, “I can put my hair in a pony tail!”

No gift of accomplishment goes unnoticed. Continue reading ‘Summer Pesto Pasta Salad’

Mock Alfredo- Cauliflower Sauce


I really swing from two ends of the pendulum, I love my sweets and yet I *try* to eat healthy when not eating sweets, or comfort foods, or sweets. 😉 While I don’t always post my crazy healthy concoctions it is usually because I am cooking from available goods in the fridge without a glimmer of confidence that the crazy concoction du jour will be successful. This one held up well, and since it was requested a number of times after I posted images of it, I am finally sharing it now that I’ve written it down in actual measurements. Continue reading ‘Mock Alfredo- Cauliflower Sauce’

Broken Lasagna with Portobello Mushrooms and Chèvre Creamed Baby Spinach


If I was in the Star Wars movies I could imagine Daddy Darth Vader saying – The pasta is strong with this one – no surprises here. I love my pasta. Sadly my frame size does not support my habit. Too much pasta = a chubbier version of me. Continue reading ‘Broken Lasagna with Portobello Mushrooms and Chèvre Creamed Baby Spinach’

Fat Hawaiian-Style Macaroni Salad

There is nothing more yummy than Hawaiian diner food, in particular, over cooked (or ‘fat’) macaroni salad. The perfect ‘plate lunch’ is two scoops of sticky rice, one heaping spoon of macaroni salad and some type of protein such as Huli Huli chicken, BBQ English Short Ribs, or a thick cut pork chop. As tempting as it might be to make this pasta recipe ‘low fat’ to shave off a few calories, substituting low-fat milk or low-fat mayonnaise will make the dressing too thin. Enjoy every bite and forget about the carb-fest.

Fat Hawaiian-Style Macaroni Salad


2 cups whole milk

2 cups mayonnaise

1 TBS light brown sugar

salt and pepper

1 lb elbow macaroni

1/2 cup cider vinegar

4 scallions, sliced thin

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 rib celery, chopped fine


In a large pot, bring 4-quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 TBS of salt and pasta and over cook, until very soft, approximately 15 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add vinegar and toss until well absorbed. Transfer to a bowl to cool for 10-15 minutes.

While pasta cools prepare dressing. In a medium-size bowl whisk 1- 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup mayonnaise, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsps pepper. Pour dressing over pasta and coat well. Allow to cool completely.

Add scallions, carrot, celery, remaining mil and mayonnaise to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and no longer than 2 days.

Serves 8-10.

Baked Ziti Gets Healthy Mid-week Makeover

With the cold weather moving in, it seemed like the perfect time to make some healthy comfort food. This dish turned out to be very popular with the little ones, veggies were well hidden and hardly noticeable (all were greedily eaten), and it was a snap to pull together.

Turkey Veggie Ziti


Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce (Sugo di Pomodoro)
1 lb dried ziti pasta, cooked
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 medium-size yellow or white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 ribs celery, strings removed and diced
1 TBS Italian Seasoning (or 1 TBS of each: fresh parsley, oregano and basil finely chopped)
1 lb ground turkey meat
2 tsps kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
Parmesan Cheese, to taste, finely grated (optional)


Cook ziti according to package directions, but make sure to not overcook, as pasta will be baked in the oven before serving. Once drained, mix with a small amount of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking to itself while preparing the remainder of the meal. Set aside.

Prepare pasta sauce (recipe above), or if you are in a rush, you can use your favorite ‘stand-by’ sauce in a jar.

In a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and onion; saute until translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and the herb seasoning. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add in the ground turkey meat and break into small pieces. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. When cooked, add in the cooked pasta and tomato sauce. Stir until well mixed. Using cooking spray, coat your 2.5 quart baking dish. (It is also fun to make individual servings and cooking the ziti in 4-6 large ramekins. Be aware that cooking time will be reduced as it will cook quicker in these smaller containers.) Fill baking dish, or ramekins, with pasta mixture and top generously with cheddar cheese.

Cook 30-40 minutes until cheese bubbles and is lightly browned. If using, sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Serve immediately!

Time Saver Note: If you happen to make pasta often, make extra, coat the overage lightly with vegetable or olive oil and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days until you have the ingredients to make this dish.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio con Fritti Misti

Despite such cool weather in NorCal this year, which resulted in our garden being a bit behind schedule, it’s August and I am again nostalgically transported into the world of Italian Summer fare. While many jest that ‘the coldest winter they ever spent was a summer in San Francisco’ (Mark Twain) – it typically remains the case ONLY in San Francisco, and seldom in the other areas of the Bay Area. Typically, once one ventures 15 minutes by car to the North, South or East of San Francisco the weather is HOT. Note, I did say ‘typically’; albeit this year would be the exception. Finally, with a batch of summer veggies at the ready, I decided to get greasy and do a plate of pasta with some friti misti (mixed fried veggies). The key to these simple dishes is good olive oil.

You can eat this fried goodness on top of pasta, on a soft baguette or even on their own.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Pasta with oil and garlic)
e Fritti Misti (and mixed fried veggies)

* note there are two ingredients lists for the two recipes provided*

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Ingredients

1 lb dried long pasta
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 1 TBS
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 TBS minced fresh herbs such as parsley, fresh oregano or a mixture (optional)
Parmesan, freshly grated

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Directions

In a large-size pot add 1 TBS oil to water and bring to boil. Once boiling add in salt and then pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions, al dente and drain, saving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta is cooking, warm the olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic and heat just until the garlic turns golden. If using the red pepper flakes, add them. Set oil aside until pasta is drained. Place oil back on a medium-low flame and toss pasta, in the pan, with a light amount of salt until well coated. If the pasta seems dry add a bit of the of the pasta water to loosen it up. Add herbs and heat until warm. Serve immediately with a black pepper, and season with grated cheese.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish, or 8 if eaten with a heaping mound of pasta.

Fritti Misti Ingredients

2 zucchini, sliced length-wise 1/8 inch thick
3 yellow squash, sliced length-wise 1/8 inch thick
6 zucchini flowers
3 small Japanese Egg Plants, sliced length-wise 1/8 inch thick
parmesan cheese
olive oil
** paper towels**

Fritti Misti Directions

Wash, dry and cut zucchini, yellow squash and egg plant length-wise. In a pan, avoid a non-stick pan if possible for better browning results, add ½ inch of olive oil in your pan and bring to medium heat. Line a baking sheet with paper towels so that you can transfer the fried veggies over and drain off some of the olive oil. Complete all of these veggies before frying the zucchini flowers, as you do not want to risk dirtying the oil.

To prepare the zucchini flowers, remove the stamen (or stem in the middle of the flower), wash well inside and outside. Pat dry with a paper towel. Whisk egg and lightly coat flowers. Dredge flowers in flour mixed with a dash of salt and pepper and pan fry until golden brown.

Beautiful Zucchini Flowers

Zucchini Flowers in frying pan.

To truly garner an Italian summer meal flair, make a nice antipasto plate. No directions necessary, there are no rules, just a mixture of nibbles and you are ready to feast.