Archive for ‘Pasta’

September 24, 2011

Ravioli with sauteed butternut squash and thyme

Woman’s Day 


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp small fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 16-oz pkg cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the squash, season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, uncovered, tossing occasionally, until the squash is tender and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions. Transfer the ravioli to plates, top with the squash mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
*Chef’s note: This dish was simple and delicious. I added a link of mild Italian sausage, my favorite pairing with butternut squash, which turned it into a satisfying, complete meal for us meat-eaters. You could sub your favorite pasta for the ravioli.
August 14, 2011

Crispy Parm-crusted fillet of fish and buttery bow ties with peas

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • Salt
  • 1 pound bow tie pasta
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 6-ounce filets of tilapia or sole
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup plain, fine breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons
  • 7 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Heads up: you need to reserve a ladle of starchy cooking water for pasta and peas just before draining.

While water comes to a boil, set up three dishes for breading the filets: In the first, combine the flour with the Old Bay. In the second, beat the eggs with a splash of water. In the third, combine the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmigiano, thyme and lemon zest. Dip each fish filet first in the flour mixture, then the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Place the coated filets on to a sheet try and reserve.

While the pasta is cooking, preheat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat with 1/4 cup of EVOO, 4 turns of the pan. Saute 2 filets at a time 6-7 minutes until golden, turning once. Place the first batch in low oven on cooling rack over baking sheet to keep crisp. You’ll need to add 2 tablespoons more EVOO to pan for next batch and let oil get hot again before cooking second batch.

While fish cooks, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan to a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook to tender, 5-6 minutes. Add the peas and butter to the skillet with the onions and garlic and heat the peas through. Add starchy cooking water, drained pasta. Turn off the heat, toss with mint, parsley and a couple of handfuls of cheese, season with salt and pepper.

Serve fish alongside pasta. Cut lemon into wedges and serve for topping fish.

*Chef’s note: My girl Rach delivers again! Aside from leaving out the mint, I followed the recipe as listed (using bread crumbs, not cracker crumbs). Yum!

August 5, 2011

Penne with butternut squash and goat cheese

Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 4 to 6

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 (2-pound) butternut or kombucha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (To toast the walnuts, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly toasted, about 6 to 8 minutes Cool completely before using.)
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix the squash and onion together and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

*Chef’s note: This dish is a winner. I also added two links of browned mild Italian sausage; I had made this dish at least twice before without and loved it, but now that I’ve tried it with the sausage I never will leave it out! Definitely a dish great for fall, but I recommend it for any time of year. Also, don’t leave out any ingredients! Each has its place to perfect the meal.

July 6, 2011

Whole-wheat penne with cauliflower

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower, onion, garlic and rosemary; season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the pasta and cheese and toss. Serve in shallow bowls.

*Chef’s note: Pretty good. Definitely had a lot of flavor, and I felt good eating it. I used a combination of Parmesean and Romano cheeses because that’s what I had on hand. My mom thought it would be great with some mushrooms added, and I agree! And I might add a little more nutmeg and a little less salt next time.

July 4, 2011

Pesto macaroni salad

Better Homes and Gardens

Serves: 14 (as a side)

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 5 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1  cup)
  • 1 pound small mozzarella balls, drained and sliced
  • 1   7-ounce container purchased refrigerated basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again. In a saucepan cook beans, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp tender; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again.

In a large bowl combine macaroni, green beans, mozzarella and pesto. Stir in basil and salt. Chill up to 2 hours before serving.

*Chef’s note: I like to use corkscrew pasta with this recipe instead. When I made it for the Fourth of July alongside some hot dogs, my grandpa couldn’t eat enough of it! It’s simple and yummy. The basil is the best part, for me. I also think you can use whatever type of fresh mozzarella you can find and simply cut it down.