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Entries in Pasta (74)


Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage

Winter squash carbonara

We’ve been spoiled. Over the past few years, we’ve had relatively mild winters; light on the snow and temperatures in the double digits, which are very much not the norm in Buffalo. Needless to say, we got used to those winters, forgetting how cold and snowy it once was. This year, however, was very much like the winters I remembered as a kid; snowing pretty much consistently and temperatures well below zero. Since it has been a few years since we’ve experienced a winter like that, it came as a bit of an unwelcome surprise! While these last two days have been light on the snow, the temperatures have still been absolutely brutal! Since Mother Nature continues to blast us with her frigid air, we’ve been craving simple, yet hearty dishes to warm us up. As I flipped through the pages of the Bon Appetit magazine the other day, I knew that this dish would fit the bill. Easy enough for a weeknight, yet delicious enough to serve guests, this meal warmed us right up! 

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 ounces Pancetta, chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Sage, finely chopped
1-2 pound Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2” pieces
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
Salt and Pepper
2 cups Vegetable Broth
12 ounces Fettucine or Linguine Pasta
1/4 cup Finely Grated Pecorino, plus shaved for serving

Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Add the sage and toss to coat. Transfer the pancetta and sage to a small bowl and set aside. Add the squash, onion, and garlic to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is soft and the liquid has reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Combine the pasta and squash puree in the skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing the pasta in the puree to coat. Add reserved pasta cooking liquid, as needed (I didn’t end up using any). Mix in 1/4 cup of the grated cheese and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve pasta with reserved pancetta and sage, shaved pecorino, and cracked black pepper.

SOURCE: Bon Appetit, February 2014


Bolognese Sauce


There is no better way to spend a blustery, wintery day than by playing in the kitchen, making a slow-cooked meal, and letting it's aromas and warmth fill the house. It requires only a little bit of work at the start to prep the ingredients, and the payoff is amazing! Soups, stews, and sauce are perfect recipes to make on those long, cold days. When it comes to sauce, I’m generally a fan of meatless marinara. However, in the depths of winter, with the frigid temperatures we’ve been having, I’ve been feeling the need for something more substantial to keep us warm. This bolognese did just that. It also made more than enough to enjoy for 4 meals! Since I unfortunately don’t see an end to winter any time soon, I take comfort in knowing that I have plenty bolognese in the freezer to warm me up whenever I need it! 

Olive Oil
4 ounces Pancetta, diced
1 pound Ground Sirloin
1 pound Ground Italian Sausage
2 Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and diced small
1 Green Pepper, chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 can (6oz) Tomato Paste 
1 cup Red Wine
1 cup Beef Stock
2 cans (28oz each) Crushed Tomatoes
2 cans (14.5oz each) Diced Tomatoes
2 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flake
Parmesan Cheese Rind

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta in olive oil until slightly crisp. Add the sirloin and sausage, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned. You may want to drain some of the fat before going any further. Add the onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring frequently, and cook until the vegetables have softened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomato paste until it is fully incorporated, then add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and cook until the wine has reduced. Add the beef stock, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes, and parmesan rind, stirring to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and let the sauce simmer for 3-5 hours to thicken. Discard the bay leaves and cheese rind (if it didn’t already melt) before serving. Season with additional salt, pepper, oregano, or red pepper flakes, as needed. Serve over pasta. If freezing, let sauce cool completely before placing it into a freezer-safe container.

SOURCE: Cassie Craves


Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Butternut squash lasagna roll

Now that the cold weather is here, it’s time to break out the comfort foods. Lasagna is most definitely a hearty comfort food, in my opinion. Since it’s fall and there is an abundance of squash in the grocery stores, why not try a seasonal spin on a classic? Pureed butternut squash makes a sweet yet savory, almost creamy sauce without any guilt! Poured over a traditional ricotta and spinach filled pasta roll-up and you’ve got a beautiful, seasonally appropriate, and delicious dish.  

For the Sauce:
1 pound Butternut Squash, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Shallots, minced (I used 1/2 of a large shallot)
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the squash and cook until soft. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the water. Return the squash, along with 1/4 cup of the reserved water, to the pan and blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Add the oil to a skillet over medium-low heat. Saute the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 4-5 minutes. Add the butternut squash puree and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parmesan cheese, and thin the sauce out with additional reserved water, to your liking. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, then set aside.

For the Lasagna:
9 Lasagna Noodles, cooked
10 ounces Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed
15 ounces Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper
3 ounces (about 9 tablespoons) Italian Blend Cheese, shredded

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper. Lay the lasagna noodles out on a flat surface, making sure that they are dry. Take about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture and spread it evenly over each lasagna noodle. Carefully roll the noodle up and lay seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling. Ladle the remaining sauce over the top of each of the lasagna rolls, then top each roll with 1 tablespoon of the cheese blend. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the cheese melts and becomes bubbly and golden brown. 

SOURCE: Skinny Taste


Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted garlic mac

Yes, you read that right. Mac and cheese…in July. Yes, I did it, and no I don't regret it one bit. I know that I have five other mac and cheese recipes on my blog at this moment, but this mac and cheese is outstanding and quite possibly the best one I've had (at home) to date, so I couldn't help but add a sixth to the mix! When we sat down to eat, in between bites I kept announcing how delicious it was and I noticed Joel didn't seem to share in my excitement. When I tried to call him out on it, he just smiled and said "this is how mac and cheese is SUPPOSED to taste!" as he took another bite. I guess he did share in my excitement, but he just does a better job at hiding it than me…or I'm just a freak who gets overly excited about food (although if you are reading this, you probably do to…right? Please tell me I'm not alone!).

For the Crumb Topping:
4 tablespoons Butter
2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons Fresh Chives, chopped

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the Panko and chives, stirring to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until toasted and slightly browned. Transfer the crumb mixture to a small bowl and set aside. 

For the Pasta and Sauce:
1 Garlic Head
Olive Oil
1 pound Uncooked Pasta
1 stick Butter
6 tablespoons Flour
5 cups Whole Milk
5 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded (I used a mix of yellow and white)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Slice the top third off of the head of garlic. Place the bottom portion on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the top portion back on the head of garlic and wrap tightly in the foil. Roast the garlic at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. When it has slightly cooled, squeeze the cloves into a bowl and mash them into a paste using a fork; set aside (this part can be done a day ahead of time, which is what I did). Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. In a large, heavy sauce pot, melt the stick of putter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and garlic paste. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes until golden brown, then whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce to a simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, mustard powder, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with the crumb topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the macaroni and cheese is golden brown and bubbling. 

*Yield: One 9x13 baking dish, or two 8x8 baking dishes. I opted for two 8x8 dishes, one of which was foil. After it was cooled (but not baked), I wrapped the foil baking dish in plastic wrap and tinfoil, and placed it in a gallon-size freezer bag, then froze it for future use.

**Edited to add (7/21/13): We baked the frozen dish of mac and cheese for dinner tonight and it worked out perfectly. We pulled it from the freezer a few hours before baking so that it could defrost a bit before baking. To bake, I simply put it in the oven while the oven was preheating, and baked for 30 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and slightly browned.

SOURCE: Just A Taste


Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad

Broccoli pasta salad

I love a good pasta salad. They are the perfect summer dish, great as a side to a grilled meal or eaten in a big bowl as a main course. They are so versatile too, made up of seemingly random ingredients, tossed with pasta and dressing, creating a perfectly easy dish. Aside from broccoli, I generally have all of the ingredients of this pasta salad in my fridge or pantry at all times. I picked up a head of broccoli at the store for about 75 cents and got to work throwing this salad together.  We had it along side of chipotle bacon burgers, which sadly I didn't get a picture of, but this salad made enough for us to eat for another 2 days.  Between the fact that it was so cheap to put together, so easy to make, and so delicious, I can see this pasta salad becoming a summertime staple in our house!

1 pound Tri-Color Pasta 
4 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 medium Broccoli Head, chopped into 1/2-inch florets
8 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return to a pan or a large bowl. Add one tablespoon of oil and toss until well coated; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the broccoli, feta, and olives to the bowl with the pasta and toss. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the vinegar, then pour over the pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

SOURCE: The Kitchn