Tag Archives: Pasta

Favorite Pasta Recipes~

I will start with the pasta dish that I prepared last Valentines Day which was a Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Kale. This was my first attempt at preparing a carbonara style pasta and we loved it! We indulge a little more for special meals and I believe that’s what makes them even more special.  This post also includes how to prepare Potato Gnocchi, a Spicy Red Sauce and a twist on a traditional gnocchi recipe, Toasted Potato Gnocchi with Golden Beets, Basil and White Wine. I say this often, and will say it again. Cook for the ones you love. Make special memories by cooking together. These are some of my most cherished memories.

 

Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Baby Kale

Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Kale
Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Kale


4 thick cut slices of bacon, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups bay scallops, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 to 7 ounces pappardelle pasta (cooked according to package)
1 1/3 cups of pasta water
2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh baby kale

Directions

1. In a large skillet, add the bacon and cook on medium/low until crispy and all the fat has rendered out. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and garlic slices, cook just until garlic becomes aromatic. Add the scallops and cook for just 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. In a bowl, combine the cheese egg mixture, set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1 1/3 cups of pasta water. As soon as pasta is cooked and before you drain the water, add the baby kale. Drain all together and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

3. Return the bacon mixture to medium heat. Gradually whisk in the pasta water to cheese/egg mixture. Add pasta/kale to the pan with bacon, add cheese/egg mixture and turn heat to low. Toss to combine and cook just until sauce becomes thick. Add more cheese at this time if you like. Yields 4 light servings.

Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Kale
Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Kale

 

Potato Gnocchi, little pillows of potato pasta toasted in olive oil with garlic and drenched in a spicy red sauce.  This is my husband Richard’s all time favorite in the whole world! Lol! Did that convince you on how tasty this dish is? I prepare gnocchi only twice a year. On his birthday and during the summer when the basil is fresh from my garden.

Potato Gnocchi in a Spicy Red Sauce
Potato Gnocchi in a Spicy Red Sauce


Potato Gnocchi
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour

This is a potato ricer for preparing homemade gnocchi and the best , creamy mashed potatoes!
This is a potato ricer for preparing homemade gnocchi and the best , creamy mashed potatoes!
Homemade Potato Gnocchi
Homemade Potato Gnocchi
After teaching cooking classes at the local kitchen store for a few years, I learned all about all these cool kitchen tools!
After teaching cooking classes at the local kitchen store for a few years, I learned all about all these cool kitchen tools!
At this stage, you could freeze theuncooked gnocchi on a lined baking sheet for a few hours. This will freeze then individually so you can then store them in a freezer bag for later use.
At this stage, you could freeze theuncooked gnocchi on a lined baking sheet for a few hours. This will freeze then individually so you can then store them in a freezer bag for later use.

Directions

1. In a medium pan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan, shake over heat until dry.

2. Working over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, rice the potatoes in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the salt, pour over potatoes. Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and stir gently just until a dough forms.

3. Gently roll dough into four 1/2 inch thick ropes. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1 inch pieces. Roll each piece against the ridges of the gnocchi board or you can also use a fork to create this effect. Transfer the gnocchi to the baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then cook them for 1 minute longer. Gently drain the gnocchi, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and transfer to baking sheet until cool. Yields about 2 pounds. The Recipe for the Spicy Red Sauce Follows Next!

Potato Gnocchi with extra Parmesan in a Spicy Red Sauce.
Potato Gnocchi with extra Parmesan in a Spicy Red Sauce.

 

Spicy Red Sauce For Your Favorite Pasta Dishes

Testing the freshly cooked potato gnocchi with the spicy red sauce
Testing the freshly cooked potato gnocchi with the spicy red sauce
Fresh Mozzarella, Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Parmesan and Fresh Basil Tossed in with The Spicy Red Sauce and Spaghetti
Fresh Mozzarella, Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Parmesan and Fresh Basil Tossed in with The Spicy Red Sauce and Spaghetti
Directions 

1. Preheat the olive oil to medium heat fro 3 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and serrano pepper. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

2. Add in the roasted red pepper and all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and taste for salt and pepper. Continue cooking at a low simmer for a good 45 to 50 minutes until the sauce thickens and reduces.

3. Now for the next step, I used a hand blender, but you can also blend sauce in batches in a regular blender. Blend the warm sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Yields up to 8 servings. I like to use this sauce for any pasta dish or as a pizza sauce. Cool completely for refrigerating or freezing.

I like to prepare a big pot of the Spicy Red Sauce and freeze it!
I like to prepare a big pot of the Spicy Red Sauce and freeze it!

 

Toasted Potato Gnocchi w/ Golden Beets, Chipotlé, Basil & White Wine. Once you have prepared a batch of the homemade Potato Gnocchi,  you can prepare this variation. This was in the middle of summer with all the wonderful fresh ingredients from the farmers market.

Potato Gnocchi with Golden Beets and Chipotle
Potato Gnocchi with Golden Beets and Chipotle


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound cooked potato gnocchi
4 to 5 golden beets, peeled and sliced thin, about 2 cups
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotlé in adobo, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 to 1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 to 5 large basil leaves, sliced
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced

Directions

1. In a large skillet, preheat the oliv oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the gnocchi and cook, stirring often until toasted and golden in most spots. 

2. Add in the beets, garlic, chipotle and red pepper flakes and toss to combine for just a minute. Add in the remaining ingredients, toss to combine. Taste for salt, serve right away.

Cook for the ones you love!!!!!!!!!
Cook for the ones you love!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon

Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon  although simple looking, the flavors combination is amazing!  My first taste of a Meyer lemon was actually from my sister’s lemon tree in California. They are more mild than regular lemons and have a hint of sweetness. For this reason we called them lemon/oranges, ha, ha… We had no idea they were Meyer Lemons.  All I heard was mmmmm…..mmmm…as I sat enjoying dinner with my husband the other night. Lol! I am pretty easy to please when it comes to pasta dishes. A little garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon and I am good to go. To satisfy the bacon lover in my husband, I decided to add the last two slices of super thick cut bacon I had for this recipe. I know that it would still be delicious without the bacon, but it was a nice treat for a Sunday night dinner.  A simple wedge of lettuce with the Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette and some toasted garlic crostini slices made for a very delicious meal. I loved the angel hair pasta in this recipe, but at times could be a little tricky trying not  to overcook it. Next time I prepare this I would like to try a hearty  whole grain pasta or even some homemade potato gnocchi, Richard’s absolute favorite meal. I like to save these type of meals for once in a while or for that special dinner. My best tip for this recipe is that you should prepare double the amount af vinaigrette to enjoy with your favorite salads the rest of the week. I really wish I would have had a few more Meyer Lemons on hand.

Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon
Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon

For Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Juice and zest of 3 meyer lemons (about 12 tablespoons)
12 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2  to 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2  to 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 shallot, about 1/4 cup, sliced
Salt to taste

Tips~ You could use all olive oil for vinaigrette, but I would use a light olive oil. I was curious about the avocado oil for dressings and vinaigrettes, so I purchases a bottle. I really liked it. 

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

 

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette Wedge Salad
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette Wedge Salad. Save some of the vinaigrette aside before adding it to the pasta if serving a wedge salad on the side.

 

You will also need
1/2 cup thick cut bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked spinach, press all the liquid out
5 cups cooked pasta (I used angel hair)
1/2 cup pasta water
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
* use a little fresh basil and parsley to garnish if available

Prepping for Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon
Prepping for Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon

Directions

1. Blend until smooth all of the ingredients listed for Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. I added a little more oregano and crushed red pepper after it was blended. Set aside.

2. Cook your pasta to al dente by shortening the cooking time according to package. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drizzle with olive oil so it does not stick. Set aside until ready to use. If using frozen spinach, make sure it’s defrosted and squeeze out any extra water. I cooked my own fresh spinach in a little bit of broth with salt and pepper.

3. In a large skillet, at medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. To that same pan, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for just 30 seconds. Add the spinach, vinaigrette, pasta, pasta water, butter and parmesan. Toss to combine and cook just until warm. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, taste for salt and pepper. Serve right away. Garnish with a little more grated parmesan. Yields 4 servings.

Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon Using The Camera On The Phone
Meyer Lemon Pasta with Spinach and Bacon Using The Camera On The Phone
Meyer Lemon Pasta
Meyer Lemon Pasta using the camera on my phone, different filter
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette using avocado oil, excellent flavors! Super tasty when added to warm pasta!
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette using avocado oil, excellent flavors! Super tasty when added to warm pasta!

Rustic Tomato Basil with Sausage and Shells

Rustic Tomato Basil with Sausage and Shells (Slow Cooker Recipe). I love the idea of adding pasta to my favorite  slow cooker soup recipes, but most times I would not add any for fear of overcooked pasta. An easy way to prevent this is to cook your pasta separate, according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse in cold water and drizzle generously with olive oil. It will keep it shape and texture until you are ready to add it to your recipes. And a little pasta goes a long way. Just one cup of uncooked mini shells was enough for this entire slow cooker recipe. This soup recipe was inspired by my fresh bruschetta that I enjoy all summer long. Fresh basil, tomatoes and garlic spiced up with crushed red pepper flakes. And don’t forget the balsamic vinegar that works well in soups, stews and marinades as well as the popular dressings. I use more canned tomato products during the cold weather months when fresh tomatoes are too expensive. As long as you cook them long enough, the results will be delicious! 

Rustic Tomato Basil with Sausage and Shells
Rustic Tomato Basil with Sausage and Shells

Ingredients

1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage, out of the casings
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced finely
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
3 fresh roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup fire roasted red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, diced
8 oz can tomato sauce
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked mini shells

A Rustic Tomato Basil Soup with sausage and Shells in the Slow Cooker
A Rustic Tomato Basil Soup with sausage and Shells in the Slow Cooker
Could not wait until the next day. I had to taste test the soup soon after it was done.
Could not wait until the next day. I had to taste test the soup soon after it was done.
Garnished the Rustic Tomato Basil Soup with Shaved Parmesan and Red Pepper Flakes...Toasted Crostini didn't hurt either...
Garnished the Rustic Tomato Basil Soup with Shaved Parmesan and Red Pepper Flakes…Toasted Crostini didn’t hurt either…

Directions

1. Add the sausage to crock pot and break into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon. Add all of the remaining ingredients, minus the pasta shells. Turn slow cooker on high and cook for 4 hours or cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

2. While soup is cooking, cookt the pasta according to package. Drain, rinse with cold water and drizzle with olive oil until ready to use.

3. Once soup has cooked for 4 hours, if serving right away, ladle in some of the cooked pasta to the bowl, then add soup on top. If serving later, let soup cool slightly before adding the cooked pasta. Stir gently to mix. Serve with toasted crostini slices, shaved parmesan and red pepper flakes. Yields 6 servings.

Phone Camera shot of the Rustic Tomato Basil Soup
Phone Camera shot of the Rustic Tomato Basil Soup