Tag Archives: pasta

simple bolognese sauce


Pasta bolognese. The meal that will ensure that everyone in the household eats a good hearty meal. It’s all about the basics, isn’t it? I sometimes wonder why I bother with the fancy, complicated stuff sometimes when something as simple as a bowl of pasta with a rich meat sauce makes everyone happy.

I whipped up this lovely version of a simplified bolognese recipe from Giada De Laurentiis – simplified because it uses only ground beef and leaves out the pork, pancetta and wine that usually goes into a bolognese. Although simplified, the taste is still full and rich. We served the pasta on rotini which I find holds the sauce really well.

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Simple Bolognese Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chuck beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes – I used a 28 oz can of whole San Marzano tomatoes which I crushed in my hands
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chiffonade
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil until almost smoking. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes.

Add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

Turn up heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Season to taste and top with parmigiano.

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beef taco pasta


I’ve found another winning recipe from Budget Bytes! This time, their Beef Taco Pasta was tried, tested and deemed worthy of being added to our regular meal rotation by all four of us.

This recipe is really reminiscent of old school Hamburger Helper with a lot less sodium, a lot less processed and a whole lot more flavour.

Beef Taco Pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning (see recipe below)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
2 cups beef broth
8 oz (about 2 cups, dry) extra wide egg noodles
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 green onions, sliced
Sour cream for garnish

In a large pot, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Throw in your onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

Add the taco seasoning and jalapeno. Stir to combine and cook another minute or so.

Add the noodles and beef broth. Stir and push the noodles down until they are completely covered by the broth. Cover your pot and let it come to a gentle boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Make sure to stir so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot!

After 10 minutes, the pasta should be cooked and most of the broth absorbed. If it’s still too runny, cook for another 3-4 minutes with the lid off.

Add cheese and stir until completely melted. Top with green onions and sour cream.

Serve and enjoy!

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Homemade Taco Seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and you’ve got yourself a low-sodium, tasty, taco seasoning. I usually triple or quadruple the recipe and keep it in my pantry, ready to go!

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penne with honey garlic sausage & tomato sauce


Pancetta and sausage. How could this recipe go wrong?

It didn’t. It was delicious. So delicious in fact that I’ve skipped making dinner tonight and we’re eating leftovers.

I had some honey garlic sausage in the freezer which needed to be used up. A quick google search and I inspired myself from this recipe. I did make a few changes; I added some roughly chopped red bell pepper, omitted the mushrooms, capers and shallots, used my own tomato sauce and used fresh basil rather than Italian parsley. The end result was superb and I highly recommend it for all you meat-lovers out there.  The honey garlic sausage could easily be replaced with Italian sausage, and I will probably use that the next time I make this recipe (because there will be a next time!)

Penne with honey garlic sausage & tomato sauce
1 lb penne pasta
4 medium-sized honey garlic sausage
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 large red pepper, chopped
100 grams pancetta, sliced
2-3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (I used closer to 5-6 tbsps)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (I used dehydrated tomatoes and covered them in boiling water for about 10 minutes before slicing them)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 cups tomato sauce

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook your pasta as per the instructions.

While your pasta cooks, grill your sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the same pan, fry up your pancetta until it is crispy. Turn down the heat and add the onions. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and add bell pepper.Cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, sausage and about half the basil to the pan. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once your pasta is cooked, drain and add to your pan. Toss to coat and remove from heat. Add half the cheese and stir. Serve and garnish with remaining basil and parmesan.

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spicy sausage pasta


Guess where I found this recipe? That’s right. Pinterest. It’s been my main source of inspiration as of late.

This recipe is quick (I whipped it up in less than 30 minutes), easy and best of all, it only uses up one pot. Score!

Spicy Sausage Pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage (I bought mine at our local butcher’s)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used 5% and it was just fine)
8 oz pasta (I used bow tie but penne would work fine)
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup shredded cheese. The original recipe called for Monterey Jack but I had none and used a mixture of sharp cheddar and mozzarella instead
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

Add the olive oil to a small dutch oven over medium high heat. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover dutch oven and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the oven from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.
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Recipe inspired from http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/spicy-sausage-pasta.html#ixzz2ZupBBXCy

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sour cream noodle bake


When you have small children and an enabling husband, they make you do stuff like this while photographing your meal for your blog.

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Obviously, placing LEGO Minifigures on one’s dinner plate and making Mom photograph them is way more fun than eating itself.

Despite the dinner games, everyone really enjoyed this recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s website.

The Pioneer Woman’s Sour Cream Noodle Bake
The original recipe can be found here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/03/sour-cream-noodle-bake/

1-1/4 pound ground beef
1 can tomato sauce (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
8 ounces, egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown your ground beef in a large skillet. Drain any excess fat and add tomato sauce, salt and pepper.Stir and simmer.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

Add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

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bruschetta chicken


This recipe is yet another Pinterest find. I really enjoyed its simplicity and how it used fresh, in season ingredients I was able to find at the local produce stand. Everyone really enjoyed it, and I particularly loved how easy it was to make.

Bruschetta Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 large red onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Season your chicken breasts with some salt and pepper. In a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, brown them and set aside.

In your blender or food processor (I used my mini-processor), place the garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar and water. Pulse until it is smooth.

Place the cooked chicken in an oven-proof baking dish and cover with the basil mixture. Top it all off with the tomatoes and onions. Bake for 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Serve over some brown rice, or pasta. I served it atop some garlic butter spaghetti with fresh herbs. Delicioso!

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pasta carbonara with freshly shelled peas


It was a Throwback Thursday of sorts. I decided to re-use this pasta carbonara recipe I posted last year only modify it to use fresh green peas instead of asparagus.  SO good! Is there anything better than freshly shelled peas? They’re an awesome snack! The boys and I ate about half of the haul as we were shelling all of them.  They also took to flinging a few at each other (and eating them off the floor…Oh well. Good times were had!)

I made a few modifications to the recipe, so I’ll repost it here.

Pasta Carbonara with Freshly Shelled Peas
500g spaghetti noodles
8 slices of bacon, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cream (I used 10% as it’s what I had on hand)
1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to directions. In the last 30 seconds or so of cooking, throw in the peas to blanch them.

While noodles are cooking, heat oil and cook bacon until crisp. Drain some of the excess fat and add garlic. Sauté until aromatic.

Whisk together eggs, cheese and cream.

When the pasta is cooked, reserve the pasta water, then drain. Make sure to keep the pasta hot (this is key and is what will cook your egg mixture!), slowly pour in your egg mixture, stirring and tossing your pasta. The sauce will thicken and coat the pasta. If it becomes too thick, add some pasta water. Now add your bacon and garlic mixture. Stir until everything is combined.

Crack a boatload of freshly ground pepper on top (this is my favourite part!), serve immediately with extra Parmesan. Enjoy!

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