Category Archives: pasta

Summer Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

This recipe is taken from The New Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman.  I love the BBQ flavours in this pasta salad, along with the fresh basil!  A vegetable grill rack is a must in this recipe.

1 pound rotini, shells, or other short pasta shape
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium-size zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium-size onion, diced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup black brined-cured olives, such as kalamata
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, oregano, summer savory, tarragon, thyme, or a combination)

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill with a lightly oiled vegetable grill rack in place. 
2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until just tender.  Drain and rinse thoroughly to cool.  Transfer to a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
3.  Combine the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat.
4.  Lift half of the vegetables out of the marinade with a slotted spoon or tongs and transfer to the grill rack.  Grill, tossing frequently with tongs or a couple of spatulas, until the vegetables are tender and grill-marked, 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to the bowl with the pasta.  Repeat with the remaining vegetables.
5.  Scrape any remaining marinade into the salad.  Add the olives and herbs.  Toss to mix well.  Season with salt and pepper and add additional lemon juice, if desired.  Serve immediately. 

Pasta e fagioli soup

I took this recipe from the Winnipeg Free Press Recipe Swap (November 23rd, 2011). I’ve never had the original version of this soup, but according to the article it’s supposed to be like the soup served at Ciao. This soup is really good and super easy to make. I used chicken bacon instead of real bacon. The fake bacon doesn’t crumble like bacon, so I just diced it. I also used 6 cups of packaged chicken broth instead of the cans. I also used all fresh herbs and fresh spinach.

1 x 796ml (28oz) can diced tomatoes
2 x 398ml (14oz) cans Great Northern beans (or cannellini or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed well
3 x 284ml (10oz) cans chicken broth
750 ml (3 cups) water
1 x 213ml (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 x 398ml (14oz) can chopped spinach, drained, or about 250ml (1 cup) fresh chopped spinach, added just before serving
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
5 ml (1 tsp) garlic powder, or 15ml (1 tbsp) minced garlic
15 ml (1 tbsp) dried parsley, or 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh, chopped
2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried basil, or 10ml (2 tsp) fresh, chopped
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) black pepper
250 g (about 500ml or 2 cups) seashell pasta or macaroni
Romano or Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. In a very large pot, heat diced tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, tomato sauce, canned spinach, (if using fresh spinach, add only before serving), bacon, garlic, herbs and seasonings. Simmer for about 20 minutes until flavours merge. Add pasta and cook uncovered on medium until pasta is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Serve with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese. 

Pasta Fasta

Super easy after a busy day!  This recipe is taken from The Best of Bridge, the Best of the Best and more.

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
enough rotini or penne for 2
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

In the morning: Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover and leave to marinade on the counter.

Dinnertime: Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.  Add marinated veggies (don’t drain) and cheese.  Toss, cover.  Set aside for 5 minutes, until cheeses melt.  Place in your favorite pasta bowl and serve immediately. 

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Happy 60th Birthday Mom!  I made this dish for her tonight.  We both love Guy Fieri and what better dish to make then the winning recipe that won him the title of The Next Food Network Star. The flavors of the Alfredo sauce and the spice rub on the chicken is amazing.  I wish this wasn’t such a fattening meal or I’d make it all the time!  This recipe was taken from Guy Fieri’s Food -Cookin’ it, Livin’ it, Lovin’ it.

4 5-ounce boneless, skinless breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 cup Blackening Spice rub (recipe below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup roughly chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1 pound fettuccine
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat.
2. Dredge the chicken breasts in the spice mix.  Place in the cast-iron skillet.  Blacken both sides of the chicken, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F on an instant-read thermometer.
4.  Remove from the oven and slice the chicken into strips on the bias.
5.  In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic and lightly brown it, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the wine.  Pour in the heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken slices.
6. Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine al dente, according to the package directions.  Drain.
7. When the sauce is at the desired consistency, stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the salt, pepper and pasta.
8. To serve, toss the pasta with the sauce on large rimmed plates.  Garnish with 1/4 cup green onion and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. 

Blackening Spice Rub
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons paprika

1. Combine all the ingredients and store in tightly sealed container in a cool place until needed, for up to 6 months. 

Manicotti with Sweet Peas

Love this! The recipe is taken from “The Italian Way – Cooking with the De Lucas”. I used a food processor to finely chop the onions and to puree the tomatoes. The great thing about this recipe is that you can make parts of it ahead of time.

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
4-5 basil leaves, torn in small pieces
2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, pureed in a food mill
1 cup sweet peas, fresh or frozen
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Tablespoon Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fresh lasagna noodles cut in half (to 6 inches long) or 12 dry manicotti shells

1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute about 20 seconds.  Set aside half of the onion mixture to use in the filling.  To the remaining mixture, add the marjoram, or oregano, basil, and tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a skillet, cook the sweet peas with the reserved onion mixture for 4-5 minutes or until peas are tender.  Remove from heat and allow peas to cool (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish). In a bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, cooled peas, egg, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 375F.  In a large pot over high heat, bring water to a boil.  Cook fresh lasagna noodles 1 minute, or cook dry pasta according to package direction.  Drain and cool completely in cold water.  Drain again then lay cooked noodles on a clean kitchen towel to dry.  Spoon the filling, about 2 tablespoons, along the short end of each noodle and roll up. (If using manicotti shells, pipe the filling into the cooked shells).  Place half the sauce in a 9×13-inch baking dish and arrange the manicotti in a single layer, seam side down.  Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Uncover and broil for 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, let stand 5 minutes, and garnish with reserved peas.