Pasta with Swiss Chards

Pasta with Swiss Chards
1 lb swiss chards, stems removed, washed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 cup grated Romano cheese
a pinch of salt and pepper for taste

1 lb pasta

Swiss Chards
Swiss chards whole. Remove stems. Wash to remove debris. Then roll a few leaves at a time, and slice into strips


In a large stock pot, start boiling water for pasta.

Then proceed with the recipe while working on the pasta –Add in a pinch of salt when the water comes to a boil. Add pasta. Cook till al dente during this recipe process.

In a separate stock pot, heat up olive oil over medium heat.

Add garlic and onion.  Cook till translucent.

Add in the swiss chards.

Sprinkle with the vinegar  Stir.

Wilt Swish Chard

Cook until the chards have wilted and the inner stems of the leaves are tender.

Toss with cooked pasta and cheese…  Voila!!

Pasta with Swiss Chards


Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Shells
32 oz container of part skim Ricotta Cheese
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (1/2 for the ricotta filling, and the rest to sprinkle on top)
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
5 oz Skim Shredded Mozzarella
1/4 tspn grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

3 oz fresh Mozzarella (for top)

1 package of cooked pasta shells, cook to packaging directions (usually are to cook for 9 minutes in boiling salted water)

2.5 cups of Tomato Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, place all the filling ingredients and mix until incorporated well.

All the ingredients ready to be mixed.
All the ingredients mixed.

In a 9×13 baking pan, cover the bottom with 2 ladles of sauce. Set aside and start filling the pasta.

Cover the bottom of the baking pan (9×13) with two ladles of sauce.

Handle the shell gently, and open it up.  Take a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and place inside the pasta.  Place the filled shell on top of the sauce in the baking pan, opening of the shell facing up.  Continue lining them up until the pan is filled.

Line up the stuffed shells along the sauce lined pan.

Once pan is full, place remaining sauce atop the shells.

Add the fresh mozzarella ripped into pieces on top of each shell.

Then add the grated cheese over the whole pan.

Cover the stuffed pasta with more sauce, the grated cheese and mozzarella.

Cover the pan with tin foil and bake covered for 30 minutes.

Then remove the foil and let cook for another 6-7 minutes.


Done! Cover and cook for 30 minutes, then another 6-7 minutes uncovered.
Up close and YUMMY!

Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni

Another quick pasta dish!  Caramelizing the zucchini gives it a richer, sweeter flavor.

Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni

  • 2 large zucchini chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • S&P for taste
  • 3 tbsp Pecorino Cheese
  • 1 lb Rigatoni pasta cooked al dente (I prefer De Cecco pasta, but any short pasta shape and brand is ok)

In a skillet on medium heat, heat up the oil.  Add in the garlic and then the onion; cook until translucent.

Add in the zucchini, stir and cook through until tender, about 10 minutes. Then let stand to brown by stirring less and less. DO NOT BURN.

Caramelized Zucchini
Caramelized Zucchini

Once browned to desired color add 1/2 the zucchini to the cooked/strained pasta and mix in the cheese.

Serve topped with a little more zucchini on top of pasta and sprinkle with cheese.


Finished dish! Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni
Finished dish! Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni

Linguine Fini con Pane Grattugiato Tostato (toasted bread crumbs)

One of my favorite and super, quick dishes to make for my family is a long pasta with toasted bread crumbs. My pasta of choice is always a linguine fini, but any long pastas will work.
The great thing about making this dish is that it literally takes only a few minutes to make- in the time you boil the water and cook your pasta…you are done!

I love having toasted bread crumbs handy for a variety of dishes, as well; so in this recipe I made enough to keep on hand. Toasted bread crumbs last a long time in the fridge and can be kept easily in a plastic zip-loc.

1 cup plain bread crumbs (do not use flavored)

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 clove of garlic minced

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb cooked pasta

Put the bread crumbs in a small pan on high heat.  Add in the extra virgin olive oil and constantly stir until all is a golden brown.  DO NOT let the bread crumbs sit on the stove unattended as they will burn quickly. I like to stir and ‘flip’ the bread crumbs to get an even toasting.
Bread crumbs toasted in the pan.

In a bowl, take the cooked, strained pasta and mix it with the garlic, S&P, and extra virgin olive oil, make sure it’s all coated. Then add in a 1/4 cup bread crumbs that you toasted and toss them together.  Top with your favorite grated cheese.

Linguine Fini con Pane Grattugiato Tostato (toasted breadcrumbs)

Pasta with Sauce and Eggplant

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large eggplant partially peeled and cubed (partially peel the eggplant in stripes)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup of water (room temp)

1.5 tbsp tomato paste

2 (28 ounce) can kitchen ready tomatoes,

3 fresh basil leaves

salt & pepper

Sautee Garlic
On medium-high heat, saute minced garlic, in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, until the color is translucent.
Try to not brown or burn the garlic. If you end up doing so, you’ll have to start over with new oil.
sautee eggplant
Once the garlic is translucent, add in the cubed eggplant.
Eggplant acts like a sponge, and will soak in all the oil, quickly add in the 1/4 cup of water.
Cover. Let simmer until the eggplant is tender and has changed to a more brownish color. 
crushed tomatoes and eggplant
Add in 2 cans of kitchen ready crushed tomatoes.
Personally, I prefer using the homemade crushed tomatoes my mother makes, but I didn’t have them handy today.
Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Adding Tomato Paste
Add 1.5 tbsp of tomato paste.
Once you have stirred the tomato paste in, it’s melted,  cover and let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.  Though, like with most sauces, the longer the better.
At this point you can start to boil water for your pasta.  This way by the time your sauce is done your pasta will be ready. 
Add in the salt and pepper to your taste here.  Then turn down the sauce to low and add in the basil.  
Turn off the heat, and by now your pasta is fully cooked and ready to strain. 
Not Pasta Alla Norma
The finished product!
Serve with a sprinkle of pecorino Romano cheese on top.
Tonight we paired this with a simple salad of greens, topped with warmed porcini mushrooms, and, a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau 2012.
Buon Apetito! 

Hope you enjoy making this dish as much as eating it!