Tag Archives: pasta

Pasta with Citrus Sauce

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This recipe will blow your mind.  If you followed the same path I did and made that quinoa bowl a few days ago, you should still have around a citrus sauce that is begging to be used up.  Your dinner plan will be as follows:

  1. boil water
  2. drop in store-bought tortelinni
  3. heat up store-bought baguette in 350 degree oven
  4. add dressing to cooked and drained tortelinni
  5. plate and eat (serve over a bed of arugula if you are feeling fancy)

No kidding…that’s it.  Dinner is served.

Sweet Potato Marinara with Vegan Tempeh Black-Eyed Pea Balls

I promise the process of this lengthy recipe is well worth the effort.  Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the genius behind cookbooks I regularly chastise you for not owning.  Just buy them already.

At any rate, this recipe is adapted from her marinara recipe (there are like 8 of them in her book) and her “meatball” recipe. The good news is, this recipe makes A TON of “meatballs” and they can be successfully frozen and reheated without too many issues.  Just be sure to freeze them first, then bag them otherwise you will get mush (yes, I got mush once, so I’m saving you the trouble).  The recipe as written fed Mr. Wonderful and I dinner one night, lunch the next day and the other half was frozen for a quick dinner later in winter when we are hibernating; so it’s a ton of food.  Take note, you have been advised (and warned).

Tempeh Black-Eyed Pea Balls

  • 12 ounces of tempeh (1.5 packages)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Black Pepper (several pinches)
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp salt

First, steam your tempeh.  Frankly tempeh isn’t that appetizing unsteamed.  This is probably why you avoid using it, you had that one bad experience where you just used it straight from the package and it was gross.  Give tempeh another try-steam it before you use it.  Off soapbox, back to cooking.  If you have a steamer, great, use it.  If you don’t or, if you are like me, and have no idea how to use the steamer you have because you use it like once a year, forget it and grab a glass microwave safe dish.  For you steamer elitists, once the steamer is ready, break the tempeh into bite-size pieces, and steam for 10 minutes.  For you rugged folks, break tempeh into small hunks, drop it in the bowl/dish, cover with water and zap it on high for 5 minutes or so, then leave in there for another 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the beans. They should be well mashed, with no whole beans left, but not totally smooth, like a puree. Add the herbs, minced garlic, spices, soy sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and mix well.  Isa says don’t use a food processor here, but if you aren’t a total ass about it you can use it, just DO NOT PUREE the mixture or you will be sorry.  Remember at the end you are trying to achieve hamburger-like [gag] meatball consistency.

When the tempeh is done, add it to the mix, and mash well. It’s good if it’s still steaming, because it will help all the flavors meld, before baking. When the mix is cool enough to handle (a few minutes), add the bread crumbs and salt. Unlike raw cookie dough which is amazing out of the bowl, do not eat these before you bake them, they don’t taste that yummy.  They become delicious with the addition of heat.

Make “meatballs” using a 2 tsp of the mix, roll the mixture into walnut size balls, placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I’ve said this twice, don’t forget the parchment paper).  Isa recommends to spray the balls liberally with cooking spray, and cover loosely with tinfoil. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the balls, and bake for 10 more minutes, uncovered.  I didn’t bother with the spray or the cover.  I baked them until they looked done, shook them once or twice while they were baking, then removed them before they were all dried up.  This is why I like cooking and not baking so much.  Lots more room for error.

So if you are still with me after all of that, marinara sauce coming your way next.

Basic Marinara

  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (24 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
I also added: 
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, washed, chopped and browned
  • 2 cups sweet potato, diced and steamed

Preheat a 2-quart pot over medium/low heat. Saute the mushrooms in the oil for until browned, add garlic and red pepper flakes into the oil, saute for about a minute-warning do not stand over the pan when you add the red pepper flakes unless you are wearing a gas mask.

Add thyme, oregano, and pepper, and saute for a minute more, adding a splash of water if necessary. Add the tomatoes, steamed sweet potatoes, salt, and stir to combine. Cover the pot, leaving a gap for steam to escape, and cook for 10 minutes. Salt if necessary.  This is ready to serve over pasta and “meatballs” above.

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If you plant a herb garden, you better damn well like pesto.

My herbs are staging a coup d’état in the backyard.

I’m striking back with pesto.

One of my fave 101cookbooks.com blog posts is entitled “How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother”.  She’s right.  It’s a brilliant recipe; however, sometimes I do not have 1) pine nut cash allowance (so expensive!), 2) oh, I don’t know 1000 extra calories to inhale a 2 tablespoon mouthful of wonderfulness or 3) time to chop BY HAND (wtf?!) a zillion leaves into a paste-like substance-I guess that’s where the grandmother part comes in for Heidi Swanson’s recipe; grandmothers have lots of extra time for this stuff.

Tonight when I realized my parsley was about to FLOWER for goodness sake, I took it upon myself to hack it all down, grab some garlic and headed to the food processor to make, “Certainly not an Italian Grandmother’s Pesto” while muttering to myself, “it’s a damn good thing I like pesto.”

Pesto from the Fridge

  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 large handfuls of something delish and green from your herb garden (could really be anything)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, 2 if you are not interested in vampire protection (TrueBlood starts at the end of the month)
  • 1/4 C good EVOO

**To make this real pesto, add 1/2 C toasted walnuts or pine nuts,  sometimes called Pinons and 1/2 C grated parm cheese to the mix then increase your EVOO as needed to get a nice puree.

Hack down a bunch of your herbs you have been neglecting, use the tender leaf part for the pesto (wash and dry it) and the stems to clean out your garbage disposal, it will make it smell better after you grind them up in there and send them to their new water home.

In a food processor, take the peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, lemon zest and all of that beautiful greenery and blend while slowly adding the EVOO.  You might need less than 1/4 C depending on how liquidy you want the pesto.  I like mine a little bit on the dry side.

To store, I take an old ice cube container, spray a little oil in the bottom and on the sides then portion out my pesto in the little wells which happens to make a nice amount of sauce for 2 people when I decide I need a pasta fix; freeze and then pop out and store in a freezer bag.

I have also used this concoction as:

  • Tofu marinade
  • Combined with greek yogurt to make dip, or thinned with water to make salad dressing.
  • Mixed with more EVOO and a dash of balsamic vinegar to create a quick and flavorful vinaigrette.
  • Tossed with pasta and raw veggies for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • Tossed with pasta, a little pasta water, goat cheese and toasted walnuts for a yummy dinner.
  • On top of crusty bread for the base for bruschetta or plain as garlic bread.
  • Tossed with saute’d mushrooms.
  • Base for marinated olives and bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) skewers.
  • Base for tortillini soup.
Technically this recipe might be considered a Coulis due to lack of cheese; but whatever the case, it’s a flexible, cheap, quick and yummy way to put that herb garden to use and just about any herb or green will due.  I’ve even used spinach with fantastic results.  Pulling one of these little cubes out of the freezer in February makes my heart remember spring.

Calling All Butternut Squash For Role In Pasta Dish

I purchased 8 huge, I mean HUGE butternut squash from the orchard last week. I began processing them this weekend in an effort to eat them, or store them before they go bad.  I cut up two of the bad boys and baked them, then I pureed them to an astonishing 13 cups of golden deliciousness.  They now are secure in 1 cup measurements in the freezer ready to use in a pinch.  So awesome!

I reorganized my recipe heap, yes, heap this weekend and came across this one from an old Rachael Ray magazine-so what if it’s from 2007, I mean I’m getting to it at least!

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Penne with Squash Cream Sauce

  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2T butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 C squash puree (butternut, pumpkin, etc)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or thyme (sage might be good here too)

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.

In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the squash and cream and bring to a boil. Return the pasta to the pot, along with the reserved pasta water, and toss. Stir in the parmesan; season with salt & pepper.

Top pasta with herbs and more parmesan to serve.

I know that so many people have such a love/hate relationship with Rachael Ray. I admit, I don’t watch her shows, nor do I like a lot of her recipes but this one is YUM-O (okay, that was sarcastic, sorry).

Oh, I almost forgot, the side dish pictured is my fave way to eat cauliflower. Break into smallish pieces, toss with EVOO (another Rach-ism) some kosher salt and bake until browned at 400 degrees.  Here is my second fave way to eat cauliflower.