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I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was as delightfully delicious as mine!

Looking for a light dinner? This week’s Meatless Monday is all about flavor with (almost) zero effort thanks to this Spaghetti al Limone. I stumbled across this recipe from O magazine on





  • 1 pound(s) spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3/4 cup(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoon(s) grated lemon zest
  • 2 cup(s) slivered firmly packed basil leaves


  1. In a large pot, cook spaghetti in salted, boiling water until al dente. Place a colander over a large serving bowl, then drain spaghetti into it (hot water will warm bowl). Pour water from bowl, wipe bowl dry, then empty spaghetti into it.
  2. Meanwhile, combine cheese and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Gradually beat in olive oil until mixture becomes thick and creamy and cheese “melts” into oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon zest.
  3. Pour sauce over cooked spaghetti in serving bowl; toss thoroughly. Add basil, toss again, and serve.

From The Oprah Magazine Cookbook ©2008 Hearst Communications, Inc.

Easier than pie…and no guilt! You have to love that. Enjoy your Cyber Monday, everyone!

I asked my darling husband to select the recipe for Meatless Monday. He made a beeline to one of his favorite cookbooks, Chris Carmichael’s Eat Right to Train Right. After considering a few recipes, he chose the Leafy Spinach Lasagna. And an excellent choice it was!

The recipe calls for fat-free cottage cheese and part-skim mozzarella, but I opted for regular. I mean, shouldn’t we get some reward for going meatless? Next time, I’ll add some mushrooms and perhaps try it with goat cheese. Mmm…

Join me tomorrow as I attempt to catch up on my Tuesdays With Dorie posts. I’ll have something for everyone – chocolate, mint, coconut, walnuts, toffee. Not all together mind you. Until then…

You may recall a recent post where I raved about a southwestern pasta dish. Well, get ready for another rave! I whipped up a walnut fruit salad earlier in the week with a fruity pasta from Pappardelle’s Pasta. In case you haven’t noticed, they are my current farmers market obsession.

This salad has loads of flavor and texture without being overly fussy or sweet. If you want to dial the sweetness up a notch, a drizzle of honey would be a nice addition. I cut back on the apple, knowing I would have to eat around those delicious, juicy morsels. It worked out well enough since my partner in crime isn’t enthralled with celery or mandarin oranges. We were reminiscent of children trading snacks in the cafeteria. 😉

Click here for the printable recipe from Pappardelle’s Pasta.

Pasta & Walnut Fruit Salad with Fanciful Fruit Blend

½ lb. Pappardelle’s Fanciful Fruit Blend Pasta
8 oz. non-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
1-15 oz. can drained mandarin oranges
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
1 apple, cored and chopped (* I used 3/4 of a Fuji apple)
1 stalk celery, sliced
½ cup walnut halves

1. Cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.

2. In small bowl, blend yogurt and orange juice concentrate.

3. In large bowl, combine pasta and remaining ingredients.

4. Add yogurt mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill thoroughly.

Serves 6-8

Copyright © 2010 by Pappardelle’s Pasta Co.

While I enjoy participating in Meatless Mondays, I find myself in a pickle every week because Monday also happens to be my favorite T.V. night. Between Chuck, 24, and the tough decision between CSI: Miami and Law & Order, I have to get dinner on the table much earlier than normal.

Well, last week threw one more Monday night task at me…our monthly neighborhood meeting. Bom, bom, bom… Never fear, Super Husband to the rescue! Not only did he accompany me to the meeting, he then cooked an amazing meatless dinner while I watched Chuck. Thanks, hon!

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a HUGE fan of pasta. Well, actually I love all carbs, but pasta and bread top the list for starch lovin’ gal. Last week we noshed on a Kevin original creation: tri-color rotini, fresh spinach, garlic, grilled artichoke hearts, baby portabella mushrooms, and feta cheese.


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 7.5-oz. jars grilled artichoke hearts (*do not drain)
  • 8 oz. sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 9 oz. fresh spinach
  • 12 oz. tricolor rotini
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Heat water to boil. In large skillet, combine minced garlic, artichoke hearts with liquid, and mushrooms over medium-high heat. Season with freshly ground black pepper (to taste). Once the mushrooms begin to soften and brown, add salt to taste.

Add salt to boiling water and drop the pasta. Just before pasta is al dente, add spinach to skillet with artichokes and mushrooms; cover and steam for 3-4 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet, tossing gently. Remove skillet from heat and crumble in feta. Enjoy!

    As Kevin and I strolled through Cathedral Square last weekend, perusing the goods from the local farmers and artists, we lingered at Pappardelle’s Pasta. The southwestern pasta caught Kevin’s eye and we decided to give it a try. Wow, I’m so glad we did!

    This recipe is a flavor explosion! Now, I’m not a big fan of leftovers, but this pasta is even better the next day. The flavors meld together and become even more intense.

    Saucy, Spicy Southwestern Blend Pasta with Black Beans and Cotija Cheese

    Recipe courtesy of Pappardelle’s Pasta

    1 lb. Pappardelle’s Southwestern Blend Pasta
    1 onion, finely chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
    ¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
    1, 10 oz can of enchilada sauce
    8 oz. Cotija cheese, crumbled (or feta)
    1 bunch scallions, chopped
    1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
    ½ cup green olives, cut in half
    1 avocado, cut into cubes

    1. Cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse with cold water.

    2. While pasta is cooking, in a heavy saucepan cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add beans and enchilada sauce, simmer gently, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and salt to taste.

    3. In a large serving bowl add pasta. Pour sauce over the top. Add cheese, scallions, cilantro, green olives and avocado. Mix well.

    Serve at room temperature.

    Serves 4-6

    The food world is all a buzz about fiddleheads this spring. Up until a year ago, I’d never heard of such a thing. Turns out, fiddleheads are actually unfurled ostrich fern fronds (say that 3 times fast!).

    Unfortunately, fiddleheads are not harvested here on the Gulf Coast. The best I could do was buying some from Fresh Market which made their way to me from Portland, Oregon. Eek!

    On to what you’re here for, the recipe! I made this dish partly because of my desire to try fiddleheads, but I also needed to use up some leftover veggies (i.e. clean out the fridge).

    Pasta & Fiddlehead Sauté


    • Egg noodles
    • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 pat of butter
    • Fiddleheads
    • Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
    • Leeks, chopped
    • Fresh thyme
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
    • Salt (to taste)
    • Coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)

    First, put on a pot of water for the pasta. Then, begin by thoroughly cleaning your fiddleheads (it will take several good rinses). Next, boil the fiddleheads in a pot of salted water for 3 minutes. While the fiddleheads are boiling, melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic and leeks, sautéing just until slightly tender. Add mushrooms and fresh thyme. Drain the fiddleheads and add to skillet. Once the mushrooms begin to soften and brown, add salt and pepper to taste. Add drained pasta to skillet. You may need to add a splash or two of pasta water to loosen things up a bit. Top with cheese and a little more fresh thyme. Serve immediately.

    There was a lot of variation in the flavor of these fiddleheads. Some were sharp like arugula with an extra burst of wildness. Others were bland, adding more texture to this dish than taste. Perhaps the poor little dears suffered motion sickness during their cross-country trek.

    I came across a fabulous site while on my fern fact-finding mission, Wild Harvest. This is the go-to resource for info on wild things…and where the wild things are. Sorry, I just had to go there. For more fun with fiddleheads (don’t you just love that word?), check this out.

    Now, I’m longing to plan a “gathering” vacation for next spring where I could forage for fiddleheads, ramps, and morels to my heart’s contents. Of course, I’ll need a new basket and a scarlet cape to properly traipse through the woods. It would be very Little Red Riding Hood-esque. 😉

    Finally, a new Meatless Monday post! This week I made lasagna with asparagus, leeks, and mushrooms as featured in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit magazine (the recipe is also available online here).

    The recipe specifically calls for either 4 ounces of morel mushrooms or 5 ounces of shiitake mushrooms. You may also use dried, reconstituted morels. Has anyone priced dried morels recently? At my local Fresh Market, they’re priced at $19.99 for 1 ounce – you’ve got to be kidding me! Needless to say, I opted not to use morels since I couldn’t find any fresh and the dogs would starve if I purchased the dried ones. I opted to use the readily available and much more affordable baby bellas.

    I made one other adjustment to the recipe by using the Parmesan Reggiano I had on hand instead of the regular Parmesan the recipe called for. The mushroom substitution was acceptable, the cheese substitution, however, was not. I didn’t get the golden, stringy crust I was looking for. No matter, this was one tasty dish. One that I will certainly make again – with the recommended cheese!


    Lasagna with Asparagus, Leeks, and Morels

    Bon Appetit Magazine – April 2010
    MAKES 4


    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
    • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
    • 1 pound thick asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
    • 4 ounces fresh morel mushrooms, rinsed, coarsely chopped, or 5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, coarsely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    • 1 9-ounce package no-cook lasagna noodles (12 noodles)
    • 1 1/4 cups (about) finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    If fresh morel mushrooms are unavailable, pour 2 cups boiling water over 1 ounce of dried morel mushrooms and let stand until the mushrooms are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and squeeze dry before chopping.


    Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook until wilted, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet. Add asparagus, mushrooms, and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until asparagus is crisp-tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add to bowl with leeks and toss to distribute evenly. Add broth, cream, and bay leaf to same skillet and boil over high heat until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle flour over and whisk to blend. Boil until sauce thickens, about 1 minute, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in nutmeg; discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Vegetables and sauce can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat four 2-cup shallow oval or round baking dishes with nonstick spray. Break off corners of noodles to fit flatly into dishes. Spoon 1/4 cup sauce into each dish. Place 1 noodle atop sauce. Scatter 1/4 cup vegetable mixture over, spreading in even layer. Drizzle 2 tablespoons sauce over. Sprinkle rounded tablespoonful cheese over each. Repeat layering 2 more times with noodles, vegetables, sauce, and cheese. Drizzle remaining sauce over lasagnas.
    Cover each dish tightly with foil. Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake until noodles are tender, about 40 minutes.

    Uncover and bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.


    One serving contains the following:
    Calories (kcal) 806.4
    %Calories from Fat 56.6
    Fat (g) 50.7
    Saturated Fat (g) 29.8
    Cholesterol (mg) 167.7
    Carbohydrates (g) 58.7
    Dietary Fiber (g) 4.7
    Total Sugars (g) 6.5
    Net Carbs (g) 54.0
    Protein (g) 30.7

    sauteed chicken, spinach, & pasta

    If you’ve tried my go-to sauteed chicken & pasta (and I know you have) you may be looking for a way to change it up a bit. Well, that’s just what I’ve done. I substituted fresh spinach and baby portabella mushrooms for the squash and  zucchini I normally use. The results? Fantastic!

    What you’ll need: garlic, red onion, olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin), chicken breasts (boneless, skinless), fresh spinach, fresh baby portebella mushrooms, feta cheese (I prefer feta with garlic & herbs), pasta (I like whole wheat linguine)

    Sautee fresh minced garlic and chopped red onion in a little olive oil. Meanwhile, cut 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces then season with salt & pepper. As soon as the garlic and onion are tender, add the chicken. Once the chicken starts to cook, add the baby bellas then finally the spinach. Serve over pasta and top with crumbled feta. I think I’ll add toasted pine nuts next time…yum. Enjoy!


    Last night was “sketti” night at our house. Since I was feeling lazy, I eagerly accepted the help of a premade sauce. <GASP> I know, I know…shame on me, but just hear me out.

    A while back, I made Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Spaghetti and Meatballs which calls for 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes. The result? Quite possibly the best Pomodoro sauce ever! So last night, I put my faith in San Marzano again this time purchasing two jars of their marinara sauce.

    Of course, I couldn’t resist jazzing it up a bit. I added a splash (okay, maybe 2) of Cabernet Sauvignon, a slight drizzle of EVOO, and an herb blend I mixed up with my mortar & pestel (oregano, basil, parsley, sea salt, and black pepper). You know how much I love to break out my mortar & pestel! The result? A rich, hearty sauce full of flavor. In a word, delizioso!

    I just can’t call it a “recipe” since I had so much help, so here’s the assembly:

    • 2 jars San Marzano marinara sauce
    • 1/4 lb. ground pork
    • 1/4 lb. ground sirloin
    • Roasted garlic, to taste (I love garlic, so I’m generous with it)
    • Button mushrooms
    • Grated Parmesan-Reggiano
    • Fresh spaghetti

    Notes:  I seasoned the meat while browning it in a non-stick skillet using the same herb blend mentioned above. Be careful not to add the garlic to the sauce too soon. Roasted garlic is already pretty soft and it doesn’t take very long for the flavor to incorporate into the sauce.

    This is a great back-up for those nights you need to have dinner ready ASAP or you’re just feeling lazy…like me 😉

    sauteed chicken & pasta

    This is one of my favorite go-to meals when I’m pressed for time and want something healthy.

    Go-to Sauteed Chicken & Pasta



    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    1 sprig fresh rosemary, snipped

    Zest & juice of one lemon

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    Olive oil (eyeball it)

    Sea salt

    Freshly ground black pepper

    2 zucchini, sliced

    2 squash, sliced

    Whole wheat linguine

    Parmesan-Reggiano cheese



    Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Combine rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, zest, and olive oil. Divide mixture evenly into two large storage bags. To one bag, add chicken breasts and to the other bag, add the zucchini and squash slices. Let marinate in refrigerator at least one hour.


    Cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and sautee in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water until boiling and add linguine. Remove chicken from heat and set aside. Sautee zucchini and squash over medium heat just until slightly tender. Add chicken and pasta to vegetables and toss. Grate parmesan-reggiano cheese over chicken and pasta just before serving.


    Like my cute serving bowl? It came from Inside Up (251-438-6788) and was a gift from some lovely friends of mine (thanks, again, Susan & Willie!). There’s quite a buzz about this store that features everything from barware to colorful purses to local spa butter. Sounds like my kind of place! If you’re in the downtown area, check ’em out. They’re located by the YMCA (look for the iron gates). Maybe I’ll see you there! 😉


    Stay tuned for part 2 in my Blogging for Babies series. I’m developing a sweet recipe you won’t want to miss!


    sauteed chicken & pasta 2

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