Pasta with Cauliflower and White Beans

Pasta with Cauliflower and White Beans
1 large cauliflower, washed and cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can white beans/cannelini beans
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup room temp water
a pinch of salt and pepper for taste

1 lb pasta, cooked

 

Instructions

1. Before starting, bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

2. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let heat through.

3. Add cauliflower. Stir, coating with the oil and garlic.  

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4. Add a 1/4 cup water, then add beans.

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5. Cook through till cauliflower is soft when poked with a fork, adding salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Toss with cooked pasta and Romano cheese.

DONE!

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

Ingredients

    • 3 Italian sausage links, removed from casings
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2/3 cup of fresh baby spinach, torn by hand (or a rustic chop)
    • 1/4 cup room temperature water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Grated Romano Pecorino cheese
    • 1 lb of your favorite pasta

 

Instructions

1. Before starting, bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

2. Remove casings from sausage, crumble by hand onto a dish.  Set aside.

3. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let heat through. Add crumbled sausage.  Cook sausage, crumbling it more with a wooden spoon, until it is cooked through. Turn heat down to a simmer. (at this point you should be close to an al dente cook to your pasta)

4. Add water, simmer until you see a yellowish hue to the sauce.

5. Add spinach, salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Add pasta to mixture; mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, until pasta is tender, and sauce is absorbed.  Toss with cheese, then top for presentation.

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Done!

Gnocchi with Grape Tomatoes

This pasta dish is one of my favorites for two reasons.. it tastes amazingly rich and it takes MINUTES to cook! Great for those of us who are always on the go! The sauce really only takes as much time as the pasta takes to cook.  Who doesn’t have time for that?  

 

 

Gnocchi with Grape Tomatoes
1 Package Gnocchi
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
15-18 Grape Tomatoes, washed and halved
A Few Basil Leaves, whole
1 Large Garlic Clove, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

For the gnocchi:

Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Once the water boils, add salt, then the gnocchi.  Cook till they float to the top, or per the package’s instructions.

 

For the sauce, which can be started at the same time you start the pasta:

Over medium heat in a medium-sized pan, heat the olive oil. Add in garlic and saute till translucent.

Add halved tomatoes. Heat through.

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Once the olive oil turns a marigold shade (from the tomatoes’ natural juices), gently smash the tomatoes with the back of your spoon. Keep doing so until the sauce thickens.

Add in the basil. Stir, and heat through. At this point, add in S&P to taste.

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Before draining the pasta, spoon one ladle of the pasta water and add to the sauce. This will thicken the sauce and help coat the gnocchi.

Drain the gnocchi, add directly to the sauce.

Mix thoroughly and done!

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Gnocchi with tomato and basil

 

 

Another reason it’s such a great dish is that you can use any type of tomatoes.  I like using grape or cherry tomatoes as we have them always hanging around for snacking.

Pasta al Forno with Roasted Eggplant

Pasta al Forno with Roasted Eggplant

1lb cooked ziti
My Marinara Sauce  (click link for recipe)
1 eggplant, washed, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cup grated Romano Cheese
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into rough pieces
16 oz skim Ricotta
1 handful fresh parsley, washed and chopped (2 tablespoons dried)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

There are many parts to this dish, so keeping track of when things are done is key. First start by making the sauce. Once the sauce is a third way cooked, start cooking the pasta and work on the eggplant.

For the Eggplant. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the eggplant then cut lengthwise. Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper that is drizzled with 1 tablespoon of oil ( via two sheets= 2 tbsp ). Let roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until fully cooked and browned around the edges.
Set aside one slice of eggplant cut into strips for the top of the pasta. Cut the rest of the eggplant into small pieces then fold into the sauce.
Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the ricotta, 3/4 cup of Romano cheese, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Incorporate fully.
Set aside.
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Set oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking pan, 13×9, ladle a spoonful of sauce on the bottom and tilt till covered. Add in half the pasta, and ladle sauce over top, slightly mixing in the pan. Then top with remaining pasta.

A tablespoon at a time, dollop the ricotta mixture and place onto the pasta, gently spreading and weighing it into the pasta with a spoon till it almost is to the bottom of the pan. Continue till a few tablespoons are used.
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On top of the ricotta, sprinkle about a quarter cup of Romano on top, then cover with more sauce.

When the top is covered with sauce, dollop more ricotta in spots spreading it through,  Then place the mozzarella on top as well, then cover with remaining Romano. Add the eggplant strips.
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Place in top rack of oven then let bake for 35 minutes until the top is crunchy and the sauce is boiling around the edges. Let stand for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven before serving.

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Gallery

A Pasta Primavera with Peas, Artichoke Hearts, and Grape Tomatoes

Nothing makes me feel better at the end of a long day than a pasta primavera.  It’s hearty, quick, and DELICIOUS! Even leftover to the next day! Also, the variations of vegetables are endless.   

Pasta with Peas, Artichoke Hearts, and Grape Tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup peas
1 cup artichoke hearts (Trader Joe’s sells great frozen ones)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup of tepid water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt n pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

Artichoke hearts and peas

Artichoke hearts and peas- shown here are the frozen organic vegetables they sell at Trader Joe’s.  They are my go to for a lot of my dishes. LOVE THEM.  But. Before using them, run under warm water and let sit a minute.  Drain and use.

halved cherry tomatoes

halved cherry tomatoes

In a large stock pan, over medium high heat, heat the olive oil and saute garlic and onions till translucent.

onion and garlic

onion and garlic

Add in the artichoke hearts, and coat with the onion and garlic. Let cook for a minute, while stirring frequently.

Then add in the peas.  Coat with the mixture, let cook 1-2 minutes.

Add in water.

artichokes with peas

artichokes with peas

After 5 minutes of cooking, add in the tomatoes.

add in the tomatoes

add in the tomatoes

With your spoon, smash up the tomatoes as they are simmering.

Let simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat.

smash the tomatoes with your spoon as it is simmering together.

smash the tomatoes with your spoon as it is simmering together.

Once the vegetables are tender, salt and pepper to taste, and it is done.

Toss with your favorite cooked pasta and the cheese.

And enjoy!

Toss with pasta.. and DONE!

Toss with pasta.. and DONE!

Pasta with Asparagus

Pasta with Asparagus
2 cups chopped Asparagus (about 17 spears)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup tepid water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lb pasta cooked and drained- use a dense pasta like rigatoni or penne. Here I used celentani, which is a corkscrew type pasta

Asparagus

Asparagus

2 cups chopped asparagus, 1 medium onion chopped and 2 large cloves of garlic minced

2 cups chopped asparagus, 1 medium onion chopped and 2 large cloves of garlic minced

In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add in the oil.  Once heated add in the onion and garlic, saute until translucent.

Saute onion and garlic till translucent

Saute onion and garlic till translucent

Add in the asparagus, and toss in the oil.

Add asparagus and toss in oil

Add asparagus and toss in oil

Once the asparagus is coated well in the hot oil add in the water and continue to cook for 6 minutes, until the asparagus is tender.

Add water and cook for 6 minutes.

Add water and cook for 6 minutes.

Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add in the pasta along with the asparagus mixture.

Toss and coat the pasta completely, then add in the grated cheese.

Mix well.

Done!

Done!

Done. Ready to serve!

Gallery

Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower

This is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes.  My type of comfort food, if you will. Which has also become both of my daughter’s favorite meal all year round.

Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower (shown topped with toasted breadcrumbs)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large crowns of broccoli, washed and cut into a slightly bigger than bite sized pieces*
1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cut into a slightly bigger than bite sized pieces*
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1 large clove garlic chopped
3 cups of room temp water
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1lb of cooked pasta, preferably a larger cut pasta like the rigatoni shown here.

*You can substitute 2 cups each of frozen vegetables if you don’t have access to fresh.

The perfect Cauliflower

The perfect Cauliflower

Trimming the cauliflower stem and leaves

Trimming the cauliflower stem and leaves

Chopped cauliflower- bigger than a bite size and washed

Chopped cauliflower bigger than a bite size and washed

Two large crowns of broccoli with stems and leaves attached

Two large crowns of broccoli with stems and leaves attached

Chop the broccoli stem off and seperate the crowns into larger than bite sized pieces (chopping them in half etc)

Chop the broccoli stem off and separate the crowns into larger than bite sized pieces (chopping them in half etc)

chopped broccoli, larger than a bite size

chopped broccoli, larger than a bite size

1 medium yellow onion chopped and 1 large clove of garlic chopped

1 medium yellow onion chopped and 1 large clove of garlic chopped

In a stock pan, one large enough to hold all the vegetables, heat up the olive oil on medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic until translucent.

Sautee the onion and garlic

Saute the onion and garlic in heated olive oil (on medium heat)

One they are translucent, add in the broccoli and cauliflower. Mix well to coat them in oil. Stir for about a half a minute, then turn down the heat to medium. Add in the water. Then S&P. Stir.
At this point you can start your water for the pasta.

Mix the cauliflower and broccoli in the pot with the olive oil, and add 3 cups of water (shown at the bottom of the pan)

Mix the cauliflower and broccoli in the pot and coat with the olive oil; then add 3 cups of water and stir

Cover the pot and let cook for 10 minutes at a medium simmer. Continuing to stir every minute or so. As you are stirring the pieces of the vegetables will start to break down into smaller bite sizes.

After 10 minutes, there is significant wilting and change of color

After 10 minutes, there is significant wilting and change of color

Turn down the heat to a medium low and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
By the end of the 10 minutes your pasta should be cooked, ready to be drained and for the vegetables.

In a bowl, mix together the stock from the broccoli and cauliflower with the pasta (to coat and to absorb the flavors). Plate the pasta in a bowl, top with the vegetables and you are done!

I love to sprinkle toasted bread crumbs and pecorino cheese on top. Super delicious!

Done!  Finished Dish! Shown with toasted breadcrumbs

Done! Finished Dish! Shown with toasted bread crumbs


TOASTED BREAD CRUMBS

This will only take 5 minutes.

Set stovetop to high heat.

In a small frying pan place a cup of dried, plain bread crumbs.
Add in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
Mix until the bread crumbs change color and get coated with the oil.
The heat will start to toast the crumbs. Keep stirring and moving the crumb until it is toasted to a golden brown.
It can easily burn if you let it sit for a second too long, so keep moving it! My trick is to flip it. Like you would sauteing something. It helps to flip the crumb and you can see the toasting color.

Once golden take off the heat and remove from pan.

The bread crumbs shown with 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Mix the bread crumbs well making sure they get coated. The color of the crumbs will stay the same and the addition of the oil helps the texture and the browning. The next photo shows the finished toasting color.

The bread crumbs shown with 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Mix the bread crumbs well making sure they get coated. The color of the crumbs will stay the same and the addition of the oil helps the texture and the browning. The next photo shows the finished toasting color.

Bread crumbs toasted in the pan.

Bread crumbs toasted in the pan.