Like some of our best recipes, this pasta first came about by accident. The week before Ryan’s triathlon, we were doing lots of carbo-loading and also trying to clean out the fridge before leaving town for the big race. As you know by now, we love a good cheese board, and for the sake of having enough food we often have quite a bit of leftovers. To solve two problems in one, we made a hodgepodge pasta with all of the cheese board leftovers and called it Antipasto Pasta. It was a combination of prosciutto, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and olive tapenade. The result was good… like really good. So many salty delicious flavors melding into one decadent pasta dish. We enjoyed it so much that we have made it a number of times since and hope to share it to your homes as well.
Some of our favorite recipes happen by accident, and this antipasto pasta is one of our favorites. We have used all of our favorite cheese board ingredients to make a savory, delicious pasta dish.
1 lb of your favorite long pasta (we use bucatini or spaghetti)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
2 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
2/3 cup olive tapenade
1 cup artichoke hearts, cut in half if they are large and drained of any oil or water
4 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced and torn into bite sized pieces
6 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Heat a large pot of water over high heat. Bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the water is heating, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and red chili flakes to the pan and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers, olive tapenade, artichoke hearts, and proscuitto to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, gently stirring so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add the spinach to the pan and cover for another 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Give everything a good stir to combine all of the ingredients.
When the pasta has finished cooking, remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot before draining the pasta. Add the pasta to the saute pan (or back into the pasta pot if you are running out of room). Toss all of the ingredients together well to combine, adding pasta water as necessary to make sure that the pasta is not dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in big bowls with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
We love Asian food of all kinds (seriously, we are pretty obsessed) and for those lunches and dinners where we want to cook in, we jump at the opportunity to cook with some of the Asian flavors we like most. These crispy sesame chicken bowls are the perfect recipe for an easy and flavorful family dinner that everyone will be looking forward to. We have put a lot of love into creating a crispy sesame chicken that is sweet, spicy and savory. The chicken is combined with mushrooms, edamame and carrots – but really you can use almost any vegetable you have on hand – and tossed with a sesame flavored noodles. The results are simply to die for. Our audience for this meal was aged 1.5 to 65 and everyone was equally pleased and satisfied.
An Asian inspired noodle bowl that comes together in under 30 minutes.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
1 cup corn starch
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbs hoisin sauce
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sambel oelek (garlic chili paste)
1/2 orange, juiced
Noodle Bowl Ingredients
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
2 cups fresh ramen noodles (if you can’t find fresh, dry noodles work just fine)
2 tbs sesame oil
1 lb white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shelled edamame (defrost in advance if you purchase frozen)
Prepare the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and cornstarch. Use your hand or a spoon to toss the chicken in the corn starch until the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sambal oelek and orange juice.
Cook the chicken. In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tbs of the sesame oil. Add the chicken and sauté for 5 minutes until the chicken is crisped and browned on all sides. Add the sauce mixture and continue sautéing for an additional five minutes. The sauce will thicken and the chicken will be dark and sticky.
Prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. Set aside.
Cook the noodles according to package directions.
While the noodles are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Using the same sauté pan as the chicken (you don’t need to bother rinsing it out), heat the remaining sesame oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through. Add the edamame and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
Bring it all together. Add the noodles and sauce to the vegetables and toss together so that all of the ingredients are combined and warmed through. Serve immediately in a bowl and top with the chicken.
You may remember a few weeks ago that we put our chef skills to the test and made homemade fettuccini. We have to admit that even after Jamie’s famous pasta fail in culinary school, the homemade pasta process is a lot of fun and really not too difficult if you give it your full attention. That is why we decided to make it the main event of our 2021 Valentine’s Day Menu! It’s a fun bonding experience for a couple’s night in and a great activity to do with kids of all ages. There is something so satisfying about seeing your homemade pasta on a plate, even if it looks a little less perfect than restaurant quality.
To take things up another notch, we have made this preparation of pasta by incorporating lobster and a decadent cream sauce. It is Valentine’s Day, right?! We are pretty much obsessed with this recipe and we know you will be as well. Adding lobster, an ingredient that we don’t cook with often, to our homemade pasta and a creamy lemon sauce… .. well, let’s just say we are overwhelmed with food joy. If you don’t have easy access to live lobsters, you can buy lobster tails as an easy option for this recipe. Be sure to also take a look in the freezer section of your grocery store; Whole Foods sells frozen lobster meat that is delicious and had quite a bit of claw meat – our favorite!
Our decadent lobster pasta for two! The perfect addition to your Valentine’s Day celebrations.
1 recipe of our homemade fettuccini, or 1/2 lb fettuccini
12-16 oz lobster meat (thawed if frozen), or 3 lobster tails (thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
4 tbs salted butter, divided
5 large sprigs of thyme
2 lemons (the second lemon is for garnish and optional)
1 shallot, minced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Put the white wine, 2 tbs of butter, and thyme in a medium sized sauce pot. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot and add the lemon rind to the pot as well. Bring the pot to a low simmer and add the lobster meat. If you are using lobster tails, poach the lobster tails in their shells to get extra lobster flavor. Poach the lobster tails for about 6 minutes – until just warmed through. It is okay if the lobster is undercooked at this point, as it will be cooked again later. After the lobster has warmed, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and set the lobster meat aside. Remove the lemon rinds and pour the wine sauce into a bowl and reserve it for later.
Use the same pot to heat the remaining 2 tbs of butter. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of the wine sauce to the pot and let that liquid reduce by 1/3 up to 1/2 over medium heat. When the liquid has reduced, remove any thyme or lemon that is in the pot, and add the heavy cream. Give everything a good stir and let the cream sauce come to a slow simmer. Add the lobster back into the sauce and let the sauce reduce again over the lowest heat on your stove while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. If you are using our fresh fettuccini recipe, cook the pasta for about 3 minutes, or until al dente. If you are using a packaged pasta, cook to the lower time of the cooking instructions. Reserve some of the pasta water before draining the pasta.
Put the pasta back into its cooking pot and add the lemon cream sauce to the pasta. Gently stir it to combine all of the ingredients and to let the pasta absorb the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta water to thin it back out to your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Serve the pasta in two large bowls. Top with fresh parsley and additional lemon slices, if desired.
As you may recall from the holiday season, one of our gifts to ourselves this year was a subscription to Master Class. For the month of January, Jamie has been working through Gordon Ramsay’s class, which includes a section about making pasta from scratch. Ironically, Jamie failed her first pasta making class in culinary school, so this recipe is a little bit of a redemption song from that fateful day in Philadelphia.
While making pasta from scratch might seem intimidating, it’s actually quite easy and a lot of fun. It’s a great activity for an at home date night or a fun way to include your kids in the kitchen. We are giving you step by step instructions (with photos) so that you can easily follow along if this is your first time making any sort of pasta from scratch. We have purchased this pasta roller and cutter from Amazon- there are a million to choose from but this one is pretty inexpensive and gets the job done just fine. Stay tuned for an exciting recipe coming Valentine’s Day week, where we use this fettuccini to make lobster pasta!
Step 1: Measure the flour and make it into a well on a cold surface. We have used 00 flour for this recipe (you can find it at Whole Foods and most grocery stores).
Step 2: Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add 1/3 of the egg mixture + the olive oil to the center of the flour well.
Step 3: Use a fork to start dragging the flour in towards the center and mixing it with the eggs. Be careful not to break through the flour wall to help avoid having the eggs spill out of the center… you’ll make a big mess if you do!
Step 4: Continue this process until the egg is mostly absorbed by flour.
Step 5: Add another 1/3 of the egg mixture. Repeat the process of adding flour with your fork until the egg is mostly absorbed with flour.As you get towards the end of the flour, the dough should start to form into a wet ball.
Step 6:Ditch the fork and cover your hands in a light layer of flour. Start to use your hands to form the dough into a ball. At this point you will have to gauge if you need any more of the egg mixture or if the dough is at a good consistency. In the many batches of pasta we made for this recipe, we never used all of eggs.The dough should be dry enough to start forming a ball but not so dry that it has no traction on your surface when you knead it. When it doubt, resist adding anything to the dough at first.
Step 7: Start to knead the dough by folding over the top corner of the dough into the center of the ball.
Step 8: Use the heel of your palm to push the dough from the fold back towards the top. Turn the dough 1/4 of a turn and repeat this process for 5 minutes or so. This is where the gluten in the flour develops so that the pasta holds its shape during cooking.It is around this point that you might decide you need to add a little flour if the dough is constantly sticking to the counter surface or a little egg if the dough is dry and very crumbly.
Step 9: The dough will start to become more smooth and form into a ball with little cracks. Continuing kneading for a few more minutes.
Step 10: You will know when you are done kneading when the dough appears shiny and very smooth. At this point, you can tightly saran wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 20 minutes to rest.
Step 11: After refrigerating, lightly flourthe surface that you want to roll the dough. Put a dusting of flour on a rolling pin and begin to roll the dough out into a long rectangle, keeping in mind that the pasta will have to fit through the width of the roller.
Step 12: Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can make it with a rolling pin. Don’t go crazy to make this super thin- that is what the pasta roller is for!
Step 13: It is time to use the pasta roller! This is our favorite part. Put a light dusting of flour all over the pasta roller. Begin to gently feed the dough into the pasta roller on its thickest setting (1). Be sure to pull the pasta out of the roller as it goes through the machine so that it doesn’t stick. Roll the pasta through the thickest setting three times before moving down to the next setting. If at any point the dough appears to be sticking to the roller or to itself as it comes out, give it a little dusting with flour and continue.
Step 14: For this recipe, we are making fettuccini, which is a rather thick pasta. While the rolling is fun, unfortunately we are only doing to roll down to a 2 or 3 setting on the pasta roller. Make sure you roll the pasta through the machine twice on each thickness setting, for a total of seven times through the machine (three times on the 1 setting, two times on the 2 setting, and two times on the 3 setting). At this point, it is ready to go into the cutting side of the machine.
Step 15: Cut the pasta dough into the length that you want your pasta for cooking – we suggest anything from about 6 – 10 incheslong. You will have about 3 segments of dough based on the quantity of this recipe. Make sure that the cutting side of your pasta roller is well floured and feed each of the segments through the pasta cutter.
Step 16: Gently separate any pieces of pasta that have stuck together, using an extra light coating of flour if necessary so that the noodles don’t cook in one clump. If you don’t plan to use the pasta right away, store it in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
Step 17: Cook the pasta and serve with any sort of sauce variation that sounds good to you! Remember that fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta; it may be in the boiling water for only 2-3 minutes before it is al dente.Our recipe for Creamy Lemon Lobster Pasta is coming Valentine’s Day week… stay tuned!
We are taking things up a notch in the kitchen and making pasta from scratch!
1 cup 00 flour + more for rolling the pasta dough
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp olive oil
Pour the flour onto a flat surface and make a well with the flour so that when you pour the eggs in, none of the liquid will escape.
Put the eggs and egg yolk into a bowl and whisk well to combine.
Add the olive oil and about 1/3 of the egg mixture to the center of the well. Use a fork to gently pull flour in from the edges to the center of the egg mixture. Gently mix the flour into the eggs, pulling more flour in as needed. When the dough is starting to get too dry from flour, add another 1/3 of the egg mixture. Continue to the process until all of the flour and egg are absorbed. Pay attention at this point before adding the remainder of the egg- err on the side of not adding the eggs and seeing how the dough forms before you make the dough too wet. After making a few batches of pasta, we never added all of the egg to the flour.
Lightly coat your hands with some extra 00 flour. Use your hands to begin to form the dough into a ball. The dough will be on the wet side, which is why it is important to have your hands coated in flour. Start to knead the dough into a ball, adding flour as necessary so that it starts to take shape. Knead the dough by taking the top corner of the dough, folding it down, and using your palm to knead it. Repeat the process many times, for about 5 minutes. The kneading helps the gluten in the flour develop and will help the pasta keep its shape while cooking. You will know you are done kneading when the dough has an almost glossy appearance and the forms into a smooth ball without any rips. Wrap the pasta dough tightly in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, up to overnight.
Assemble your pasta roller and toss a light coating of 00 flour all over the pasta roller and your counter work space. Remove the dough from the saran wrap and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough lengthwise as thin as you can get it with a rolling pin, making sure to pick up the dough every once in a while to make sure that it isn’t sticking to the counter. Flour as necessary to make sure this doesn’t happen. You want the dough to be in a long rectangle, keeping in mind that it has to fit through your pasta roller.
When the dough is as thin as you can make it with the rolling pin, begin the process of putting it through the pasta roller. Set the pasta roller onto “1” thickness, or the thickest width option. Roll the pasta through the machine, being careful to gently drag it out from the bottom as you continue to roll. Roll the pasta through the thickest “1” setting 3 total times before moving it down to the next setting.
For this pasta recipe, we are making a fettuccini. That means that we will only go down to a 2 or a 3 setting, as fettuccini is much thicker than other pastas. Roll the pasta through the “2” setting two times before moving down to the “3” setting. If you like the thickness of the pasta dough at the “2”, you can stop there and continue to the next step.
When you are ready to use the cutting portion of the pasta roller, lay the pasta dough onto your workspace and use a pairing knife to cut the dough width wise into about 8″ long sections. The pasta cutter that we have linked above has a spaghetti width and a fettuccini width. Make sure you use the fettuccini cutter – it will be the thicker shape – to cut each of the segments of pasta. Make sure you flour the pasta before putting it through the cutter so that the strands of pasta separate from one another. After you have cut the pasta, keep it in an air tight container until you are ready to cook it.
To cook the pasta, bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta and cook 1-3 minutes, or until it is the texture you desire. Serve with whatever sauce pairings you can dream up!
We love a good comfort food recipe and are particularly fond of this cheesy baked penne. We recently had a friend who was ill, and to lend a helping hand, we prepared this recipe to send to his house. In the days of social distancing, dinner on the doorstep is an easy gesture for someone that could use some TLC. We love this dish because it has a little bit of everything including sausage and loads of cheese. You can make it and bake it all in one batch as the recipe describes below, or you can refrigerate it before baking and either deliver it to a friend or save it for yourself for later. It appeals to even the pickiest of eaters, so it’s great if you are looking for a kid friendly meal to add to your recipe rotation!
Our version of comfort food! We love making this penne on cold nights or to leave for a friend to bake later.
1 lb penne pasta
1 lb Italian sausage, removed from the casing (spice level is up to you)
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup tomato paste
15 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
15 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large stock pot full of salted water to a boil. When the water is rapidly boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Strain the pasta and place the pasta back in the pot you cooked it in.
Heat a large Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook to brown, about 5 minutes. Use your spatula to break the sausage up into bite sized pieces. When the sausage has browned (it doesn’t have to be cooked through), remove it from the pan into a bowl for later use. You want to leave about 2 tbs of fat from the sausage in the pot, if there is any. If there isn’t add the 2 tbs olive oil and let it get warm.
Add the onion to the pot; sauté for 4 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste to the pan and sauté for another 3-4 minutes- this helps caramelize and bring out the sweetness of the tomato paste.
Add the next 4 ingredients (whole tomatoes – dried oregano) to the pot. Give everything a good stir and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce into an even consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the sausage back to the sauce. Remove 1 cup of the sauce and 1 cup of the ricotta and toss it with the pasta. It’s okay if the pasta is at room temperature at this point, as it is all going in the oven.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the pasta in the baking dish. Use a spoon to put dollops of the remaining ricotta cheese throughout the pasta. Top the pasta with the tomato sauce, shaking the pan or using a spatula to dig the sauce into all the crevices of the pasta. Top the sauce with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the baking dish.**
Bake the penne for 20 minutes covered and another 10 minutes uncovered. Top with fresh basil, if desired. Let the pasta rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
** At this point, you can refrigerate the penne and bake at a later time. If you are cooking the penne from a refrigerated temperature, bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes; 30 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered so that the cheese is melted and bubbly. Rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
We only started having mac and cheese on Thanksgiving a few years ago, when our dad was inspired by a Cajun macaroni recipe he saw online and insisted on bringing it for dinner. After its introduction on our Thanksgiving plates, we couldn’t imagine another Thanksgiving without one of our all time favorite side dishes. We have a few variations of mac and cheese on our blog (Hatch Chile and Cauliflower) but what we like about this recipe is just how simple and classic it is. We have aptly named this variation Mac & Brie for the big pieces of melty brie cheese that have snuck into this recipe. Cheesy? Creamy? Brie-filled? Yes, yes, and yes. Sounds like our version of a perfect Thanksgiving menu addition.
A decadent way to level up your side dish game on Thanksgiving and beyond.
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 circle of brie (8 oz), rind removed and cubed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Cook the elbow macaroni a few minutes less than the directions on the macaroni indicate so that the pasta is al dente. Strain and set aside.
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously. The flour will form a paste. While continuously whisking, slowly pour in the milk, one cup at a time. Stir and heat for 3-5 minutes or until the milk starts to thicken.
Stir in the white cheddar and mozzarella until the cheese is fully melted and the milk and cheese form a thick sauce. Fold in the elbow macaroni and remove from the heat. Season to taste salt and pepper.
In a greased 8×12 baking dish, pour in the macaroni and cheese mixture in an even layer. Place the brie cheese cubes throughout the mac and cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the brie is fully melted and the mac and cheese is bubbling. If the top of the cheese and pasta is starting to get too brown, cover with foil and continue to cook. Serve immediately.
It is officially fall which means it is pasta galore in our kitchens. We have no shame posting two pasta recipes in one week, and you shouldn’t feel bad about cooking both of these recipes during a chilly week either! There is something so satisfying about a creamy, hot bowl of noodles on a cold evening. That being said, just because a dish is hearty does not mean that it has to pack on the calories. The sauce for this Butternut Squash Linguini is pretty much just that, pureed butternut squash. We add some decadence to the dish by mixing sautéed pancetta and fried sage, but those ingredients act like garnishes versus heavy handed ingredients. For those of you with kids at home, this is a great way to sneak in extra veggies during this winter.
Butternut Squash Linguini
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes
1 lb linguini
4 oz cubed pancetta
3 tbs olive oil
8 (approx) sage leaves
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
12 oz cubed butternut squash (thawed if using frozen)
3 sprigs thyme
2 cups vegetable stock
grated Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta. Heat a large stock pot full of water. Add about 2 tbs salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package directions, about 12 minutes. When the pasta is ready, remove 1 cup of pasta water and drain the noodles.
Make the butternut squash sauce. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes, or until the pancetta is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta and set it aside. In the same olive oil, fry the sage leaves until crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and again, keep the fat in the pan.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent. Add the butternut squash and cook another 3 minutes to lightly sauté. Season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme (keep the stems intact) and the vegetable stock. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is fork tender.
When the butternut squash is fork tender, remove the pan from the heat and remove the thyme leaves from the pan. Place the rest of the butternut squash mix into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add the pasta water in 1/4 cup increments as necessary to get the sauce to a smooth consistency. The sauce should be a little thinner than a butternut squash bisque. Reserve any extra pasta water.
Add the sauce, pasta, and pancetta back to the pot and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. If the pasta is starting to slurp up the sauce and it looks too thick, add more pasta water 1/4 cup at a time. If you don’t have any pasta water leftover you can use vegetable stock until you have the texture you are looking for. If you have added liquid back to the pasta, taste and season again. Serve the pasta in four bowls with the fried sage leaves (chopped) and a hearty serving of shaved Parmesan cheese.
As the weather starts turning cooler, we find that we start craving warm and hearty meals. One of our favorite family meals is stuffed shells. There are so many different ways to customize a stuffed shells recipe; you can incorporate the protein of your choice or add vegetables to get your greens in. For this version, we have chosen to incorporate ground beef, pesto and ricotta. We love the flavor combination of pesto and ricotta. The pesto brings in an herby freshness and the ricotta adds creaminess and unctuousness to the dish. This recipe can be prepared in advance and baked just as your family or friends come over for dinner. Serve this with our Kale Salad: Autumn Edition and you have balanced, full dinner.
Pesto and Ricotta Stuffed Shells Makes: 8 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes
Ingredients for the Sauce:
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2, 28oz cans tomato sauce
1 cup of water
1 tbs salt
Ingredients for the Shells:
1 package jumbo pasta shells
3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup basil, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Make the sauce. In a large pot, sauté the ground beef until it is cooked through. Set aside in a bowl but do not drain the fat. Add the garlic and parsley and saute in the beef fat for a few minutes. Add the tomato sauce, water and salt and bring to a simmer. Add the beef back into the sauce and keep on simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook your shells according to package directions. When the shells are cooked to al dente, rinse them with cold water. You will want them to be cooled before stuff them.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Create the filling. Combine the ricotta, pesto, egg, basil and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper. Put the mixture in a large Ziploc bag and cut the tip off the corner of the bag. Use the bag to pipe the mixture into each shell.
Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with a layer of the sauce. Add the stuffed shells on top of the sauce in an even layer. Fill the rest of the dish with the sauce and top with the mozzarella. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
Our inspiration for this recipe came from a weekend trip to the farmers’ market. There are so many fresh vegetables available this time of year, and we took a few things we bought and turned them into an orzo salad. This pasta has everything we love about summer- zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh corn- combined and tossed together with a delicious brown butter sauce. The sauce gives the veggies a decadent richness and makes the dish really pop. We topped the orzo with fresh basil and feta for the ultimate summer side dish. We like to serve this warm right after it is finished, but it also refrigerates well and leftovers can be served at room temperature.
Brown Butter and Orzo Salad Makes: 8 side servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes
1 lb orzo
1 stick of butter
3 tbs garlic, minced
1 white onion, chopped
2 ears of corn removed from husk
1 green zucchini
1 English cucumber
1 pound cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 bunch of basil, chiffonaded
Cook the orzo per package directions; about 10 minutes for most varieties.
While the orzo is cooking, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once it is nice and bubbly, add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
Chop the squash, cucumber and tomato into bite sized pieces. Combine in a bowl with the orzo. Pour the butter sauce over the top of the orzo and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with the feta and basil. This dish can be served warm or be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.
We love mac & cheese more than most things in life. It’s our favorite accompaniment for any bbq menu and most family gatherings. In the spirit of keeping ourselves “bikini ready” this summer, we wanted to create our version of a healthier mac & cheese recipe. Our goal was to create an alternative that is healthier than most recipes without sacrificing taste.
To do this we used cauliflower as the base of our cheese sauce! It might sound like an odd choice, but steamed cauliflower is a delicious, mostly neutral, creamy base and often used for similar vegan recipes. Our mac is hardly vegan, and to help cut having a strong cauliflower taste, we used sharp white cheddar and gruyere to cheese up our macaroni. We chose to steam the cauliflower to preserve most of the vegetable’s nutrients, but you can save some time by boiling the cauliflower or buying frozen cauliflower florets. As long as the cauliflower is fork-tender, it is ready to be made into sauce. The results are pretty darn excellent and we don’t feel bad about digging in all summer long!
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Makes: 8 servings Prep Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes
1 lb pasta
1 large head cauliflower
12 oz milk or vegetable stock
2 tbs butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground mustard
6 oz block sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
6 oz block Gruyere cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the leaves and excess stem from the cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Fill a large steamer pot with about 2 inches of water and heat on high. Put the cauliflower florets into the steamer basket, cover, and cook the cauliflower for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower can easily be pierced with a fork.
While the cauliflower is steaming, heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
When the cauliflower is fork-tender, remove it from the steamer and place it directly into a large food processor or blender. Pulse the cauliflower so that it starts to break down. Add the liquid- the milk or vegetable stock- to the blender 1/4 cup at a time, until the cauliflower forms a thick and smooth sauce. Reserve any extra liquid that you did not use in case you need to thin the sauce after adding the cheese.
Heat the pot you used to cook the pasta over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot and give it a quick stir until it is melted. Add the cauliflower puree, garlic powder, and ground mustard to the pot and stir. Add about 3/4 of each of the cheeses to the cauliflower and continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted. If at any point you think the sauce is too thick, add more of the liquid to the sauce. When the sauce is completely melted and has a thick but smooth texture, give it a taste and season it with salt and pepper.
Add the pasta to the sauce and stir thoroughly to combine. Spray a large pyrex baking dish with cooking spray and transfer the mac and cheese from the pasta pot to the pyrex. Use a spatula to spread the mac and cheese into an even layer in the dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly, before serving.