Recently in pasta Category

Roasted beet, feta and toasted walnut ravioli

I had the roasted beets that I made earlier and was thinking of what I could make with them for lunch.

I thought combining the roasted beets with feta cheese and toasted walnuts would make an excellent ravioli, and it indeed was very tasty!

I started by toasting some chopped walnuts.

Here's the filling mixture. I diced the roasted beets into smaller pieces and crumbed the feta. There's a little salt and pepper, too. There is enough for at least 10 ravioli.

For super quick and easy ravioli I use wonton wrappers. I was making smaller round ravioli, but you could also make giant square ravioli with a lot more filling.

Moisten the edges and lay another sheet of wonton wrapper on top. Press down.

You could just crimp the edges with a fork, but I used a round ravioli cutter.

Boil the ravioli for 1:30 to 2:00. Don't overcrowd the pan since they may stick together.

I served them with a little olive oil and a little microplaned Parmesano Reggiano cheese. Very tasty!

Whole wheat pasta with zucchini, tomato and prosciutto

I made up this recipe based on what I had from my CSA and it was delicious!

There is an updated version of this recipe that omits the onion, adds hot pepper vodka and changes a few cooking steps. I like the new version better.

Makes one serving, scale as desired.

2.0 oz. whole wheat penne
olive oil
onion, finely diced (one very small onion)
zucchini, finely diced (about 1/2 of a small zucchini)
2.0 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced, then sliced into strips
garlic, 2 small cloves or one large, minced
red pepper flakes
tomato, diced
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Start the pasta cooking; for my pasta it takes 9 minutes.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and cook the onions for a few minutes until softened.

Add the zucchini, prosciutto, garlic and red pepper flakes are cook for a few minutes.

Add the tomato.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauté pan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Plate and microplane a little Parmesano Reggiano over the top. Serve.

Update 8/20/2012
: I made it again and it was excellent! The grocery store started selling prosciutto in 3.0 oz. packages instead of 4.0 oz., so there's only 1.5 oz. in this and it's still enough!


Pasta with chicken, zucchini and garlic scape pesto

This dish is delicious and quite healthy with whole wheat pasta and only 2.8 oz. of grilled chicken breast. It's pretty much the same as my original version without the chicken but I simplified a few steps.

Serves 1, multiply as necessary.

2.0 oz. whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
olive oil
half of a small zucchini
2.8 oz. grilled chicken, diced
salt and pepper
garlic scape and basil pesto
Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

When about 6 minutes from completion, heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add a little olive oil and the zucchini. After a few minutes add the diced chicken.

Season with salt and pepper. A minute before the pasta is done, turn off the heat for the sauté pan.

When done, drain the pasta and add to the sauté pan.

Add the pesto. You don't want to cook the basil pesto because it will lose flavor. I used one of my pre-packaged jars, 1/3 of a recipe of pesto.

Thoroughly combine everything.

Plate. Microplane a little Parmesan cheese over the top. Serve!

Update 6/24/2013: I made this again and it was still excellent! This time I served it with homemade ciabatta bread.

Of course you could leave out the chicken and it would be vegetarian and still delicious.

It would probably be pretty good vegan, leaving out the chicken and Parmesan cheese. But you'd need to plan ahead, because there's Parmesan in the garlic scape pesto as well.

Pasta with zucchini and garlic scape pesto

Yesterday I made a delicious garlic scape and basil pesto so I needed to come up with a recipe to use it. I decided to sauté some zucchini and add that to whole wheat penne pasta and combine that with the garlic scape pesto, a little olive oil and a little Parmesan cheese. It was delicious!

Prepare 2.0 oz. whole wheat penne pasta per serving.

Dice a small zucchini or half of a large zucchini per serving. Maybe a little less.

Mince a glove of garlic. This might not be necessary because the garlic scapes are pretty garlicy on their own.

Finely chop some fresh flat leaf parsley and fresh basil. This is probably optional.

Here's the mise en place:

Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add a little olive oil, the zucchini and garlic and sauté until softened. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Remove from the heat and add the drained pasta. Add the garlic scape pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped fresh parsley and basil. Combine well.

Plate then microplate a little Parmesan cheese over the top. Serve.

This dish is delicious and quite healthy. It's vegetarian.

There's Parmesan in both the pesto and sprinkled on top so it's not vegan, and I think it's a good flavor to have, but certainly it could be omitted to make it vegan.

Pasta with zucchini, onion and meat sauce


This simple dish is delicious and quite healthy, thanks to careful portion control. 

There's 2.0 oz. of whole wheat pasta, the recommended serving size. And that is a surprisingly small amount of pasta.


To fill up the dish there's one small zucchini and a half an onion - and that's for one serving! 


The rest is 3.1 oz. of organic ground beef and 4.1 oz. of Bove's marinara sauce. It could have used a little more sauce, but I had pre-cooked the beef, added sauce, vacuum sealed and froze the individual serving packages. 

Topped with a very tiny amount microplaned Parmesano Reggiano cheese.

And one small slice of wheat Italian bread with olive oil.

Asparagus (or green beans) and prosciutto pasta


I made this dish up because I had some leftover asparagus and it was so delicious! It's definitely a keeper.

Makes one serving, multiply as necessary.

asparagus, preferably baby asparagus, cut into 1" long pieces, or substitute green beans
2.0 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
2.0 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into strips
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
olive oil
crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
Paremesano Reggiano cheese

Cut a good amount of asparagus into 1" long pieces. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Update: See note at the bottom for slightly modified cooking method.

Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside. 

Bring a fresh pot of water to a boil (can use the same pot), add salt and cook the pasta according to package directions. For my De Cecco #41 penne regate, whole wheat, that's 12 minutes.

When the pasta is about 6 to 7 minutes from being done, heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, the prosciutto and separate the strips. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes. Add the cooked asparagus.


When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauté pan with the other ingredients. Add salt, if desired. The prosciutto is salty as is everything else, but I added some more. But then again, I like salt. And freshly ground black pepper. And a little more olive oil. Stir or toss to combine.

Plate, then, with a microplane, shave a little Paremesano Reggiano cheese over the top. Serve.

I also had a glass of Valpolicella with it. Delicious!

Update 3/23/2012:

The timing works out better if you use three pans. I didn't do this initially to save washing a pan, but it really does work better this way:

ate.2012.03.22.c3.jpgBring two pots of salted water to a boil. The pasta takes 12 minutes to cook so that starts first.

-12:00 start pasta
-7:00 heat sauté pan over medium-low heat
-6:00 add the prosciutto, garlic and red pepper flakes
-4:00 if using frozen French-cut green beans, add them now
-3:30 start asparagus (cook for 3:00)
-0:30 drain asparagus, add to sauté pan
0:00 drain pasta, add to sauté pan
season with salt and pepper, plate, microplane some Paremesano Reggiano on top

I also browned the prosciutto a bit this time which worked out well.

Update 5/5/2012: I made it with green beans instead of asparagus and it was equally delicious! The preparation was identical to the most recent update.

Update 10/26/12: I made it with frozen French cut green beans and it was excellent! Instead of boiling them separately, I just tossed them into the sauté pan for the last 4 minutes of cooking. With full green beans, I think I would still boil them first.

ate.2012.10.25.c1.jpg ate.2012.10.25.d.jpgI increased the cooking time for the prosciutto from 5 to 6 minutes, above, as well.

Update September 9, 2014: I also made this with fresh, pre-blanched green beans and arugula and it was delicious!


Chicken Parmesan

Most of the time I have my pasta with Italian sausage or meatballs. But once in a while I'll make Chicken Parmesan.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta and prepare according to package directions. For the 2.0 oz. of Barilla spaghetti here, 9 minutes.

Start with 5.0 to 6.0 oz. of chicken breast or chicken breast tenders. If the breast is thick I find it works best to slice it into two thin slices to make it easier to cook.

Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and granulated garlic.

Set up a breading station with a plate of all-purpose flour, a bowl with an egg, beaten, and finally seasoned breadcrumbs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese in it.

Dredge the chicken in flour, then egg, then the bread crumb and cheese mixture.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and cook the chicken until browned and cooked through (160°F in the center), 5 to 10 minutes. Update 3/12/2012: See note below for alternate cooking method.

Since I don't use enough tomato sauce to consume an entire 26 oz. jar of sauce before it goes bad, I vacuum seal and freeze 5 oz. packages of my homemade sauce, or sometimes sauce from a jar.

I defrost the sauce ahead of time - the vacuum sealed bags can go into a bowl of cold water for 1 to 2 hours, about the amount of time a slice of frozen bread, wrapped in plastic wrap, will defrost at room temperature.

Pour the sauce into a bowl, add some seasonings (I like red pepper flakes and oregano), cover, and microwave for 1:20.

Plate the chicken, the pasta, and add sauce. Serve!

The chicken can be frozen, but like many breaded foods, it really is best fresh.

Update 3/27/2012:

Instead of cooking in a sauté pan, it really is much easier to deep fry it. 3 minutes at 360°F for boneless chicken breast tenders works great. The chicken is perfectly browned, moist and juicy, and you don't have to worry about the cheese and breading sticking to the pan!


Pasta with meat sauce and zucchini

This is my take on goulash, with a little added vegetable to make it a bit healthier.

One of the problems of cooking for one is that tomato sauce with meat is hard to scale, and I refuse to buy a jar of sauce with unknown meat already in it. Fortunately, it freezes really well, so I cook ground beef (preferably ground at home from chuck steak), then scale out about 3 oz. of ground beef and 5 oz. of tomato sauce (possibly homemade), vacuum seal and freeze. Then it's ready whenever I want meat sauce.

Prepare 2.0 oz. of pasta, such as elbows or the Barilla cellentani pasta, below.

Finely dice a small zucchini or half of a larger one.

In a sauté pan, add a little olive oil and sauté the zucchini until softened. Add the tomato and meat sauce.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce and zucchini.

Serve with bread with a little olive oil, salt and pepper dipping sauce.

Obviously you could make this with plain tomato sauce instead of meat sauce, and it would be vegetarian.

I've also made it with zucchini and Italian sausage instead of ground beef meat sauce.


Here it is with 1.6 oz. whole wheat penne, finely diced zucchini, 6.0 oz. homemade tomato sauce and 3.0 oz. homemade ground beef.

And with 1/3 of a medium zucchini, 1.8 oz. whole wheat penne, 1.8 oz. beef with onions and garlic, and 5.0 oz. marinara.


I've since reduced the sauce to 4.2 oz.; this seems like a good amount with 1/3 of a zucchini, 1.8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta and 1.8 oz. beef with onions and garlic.


Spaghetti and meatballs or Italian sausage


I make a large batch of homemade pasta sauce, then divide it into 6 oz. servings, vacuum seal and freeze them. I usually defrost the sauce and the meat in their vacuum sealed bags, in cold water, for an hour or two until defrosted.

At the same time I usually grab a slice of frozen wheat Italian bread, wrap it and plastic wrap, and let it defrost at room temperature.

I pre-cook homemade meatballs freeze them 2 or 3 to a package, then vacuum seal them. Vacuum sealed meatballs can go directly into the 140°F sous vide frozen for 45 minutes, or defrosted for less, probably about 30 minutes. 

I also pre-cook a whole package (sometimes two) of spicy Italian sausage and individually vacuum seal and freeze them. A defrosted Italian sausage can be reheated in the microwave in 30 seconds.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Measure 2.0 oz. dry pasta and cook according to package directions. For my Barilla spaghetti, that's 9 minutes.

I transfer the defrosted sauce to a bowl, add some seasoning, usually some dried oregano and red pepper flakes, cover, and microwave for 1:20.

If making sausage, microwave that for 0:30.

Drain the pasta then plate it. Add the meat. Add the sauce over everything. Serve.

I don't make any extras or leftovers, since pasta doesn't reheat well. And, if you haven't noticed, I basically don't ever eat leftovers and I cook everything as exactly one serving. No second helpings!

While I do really like garlic bread, I usually just serve the bread with a little condiment bowl of olive oil with salt and pepper.

Here it is with Italian sausage:


Update January 9, 2013: I've determined that it works much better to reheat defrosted pasta sauce in a pan on the stove instead of the microwave. The sauce gets a little liquid-y after defrosting, and the stove works better at evaporating the excess water. It takes less than 5 minutes. Here's my sauce cooking on the induction burner.

When ready, plate the sausage and spoon a little sauce over it.

Then mix the drained pasta into the sauce in the pan to coat the pasta completely.

This works much better than just pouring the sauce of the pasta!

Update December 29, 2014: I don't know why it never occurred to me to thinly slice the cooked Italian sausage and reheat it in the sauce. I like this way better.


Shrimp fra diavolo with spinach

This delicious dish partly mussels fra diavolo with shrimp instead of mussels, with spinach and spinach linguini like shrimp scampi with spinach.

Serves 1, multiply as necessary.

1.5 oz. linguini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large or 2 small Italian plum tomatos, diced
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
0.5 oz. fresh parsley, chopped (1/4 c.)
1 oz. white wine
4 oz. uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cups fresh spinach

Cook pasta according to package directions. I used Barilla spinach linguini though regular or fine linguini also work well.

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic, diced tomato, dried oregano, crushed red pepper, chopped fresh parsley and white wine. Add the shrimp, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the cover from the pan. Add the spinach, leaving the pan uncovered. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about a minute. If it looks too dry, add a little more wine.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the pan and toss.

Plate the contents of the pan.

Pictured with a slice of Red Hen Bakery Mad River Grain bread and Schmitt Söhne Riesling.

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