quick toss pasta

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Simple pasta recipes are usually the best. This one I am sharing with you is not rocket science, it was sort of what I had left over to cook with one night.

I boiled pasta of my choosing according to the package directions. When it was ready I drained it but did not rinse and tossed it into a bowl with the following:

Garlic powder
Salt-and-pepper to taste
Couple healthy dashes of dried oregano and basil
Olive oil
Hot red pepper flakes
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
About half a package of washed and dried baby fresh arugula

I just tossed it all together. It ended up being a fabulous combination.

the fall kitchen

applebutterWhat is cooking in your fall kitchen?  I have been asking people what they are cooking with and Chef Angela Carlino of Carlino’s in West Chester said to me “I love butternut squash, turnips and sweet potatoes.”

shrimp ricottaI am right there with her.  You can do so much with all of those.  I used fresh turnips from the East Goshen Farmers’ Market in a recent soup. And sweet potatoes I love whenever I can get them and they are versatile…like pumpkin is too.

pork tenderloinPumpkin and sweet potatoes aren’t just for desserts and can be in soups, in a main course becoming things like pumpkin and sweet potato gnocchi (with a brown butter sage sauce – yum!), and baked to perfection. And making butternut squash soup is another favorite of mine as well.  I have been working on reducing the calories in it by using plain Greek Yogurt and buttermilk instead of cream and crème fraiche.

Isoup have a cinnamon sweet bread recipe I have been tweaking and once I bake it and like it, will post the recipe.

I have not only made pickled beets, but a small batch of the most delicious apple butter ever.

Dinners have been rustic pasta dishes potatoes and mushroomswith homemade sauce and pasta.  I have been experimenting with pastas that have ricotta cheese and whole wheat flour in them with great success. And yes, my own recipes and I do have to write more down. The problem is I learned how to make pasta from feel. I know when the dough feels right…until that point it is a little of this, a dash of that.pasta

Dinners have also been marinated pork tenderloins roasted to perfection served with a mushroom, white wine, and apple reduction. Or traditional old-fashioned pot roasts and roasted chicken.  The roasted chickens have then become things like zesty chicken chili loaded with spice.

Pumpkin bread has returned and other fun things like sweet biscuits on weekend mornings.

I love to cook and every season offers you fun! What are you cooking?

another recipe for the pasta coma category…

pasta coma just made this up….yesterday.  I am sure many people do something similar, but this is all me:

Ragu of Pork and Veal

In a large Dutch oven, sauté one large sweet onion and one medium-sized regular onion cut into very thin rings.

Sauté in a few healthy tablespoons of olive oil and include four cloves of garlic
minced (I just pour oil in the bottom of the pan until it looks right, but not an elephant’s foot bath.)

Add oregano, and basil. A little marjoram. And kosher salt to taste.

When almost at the point of caramelization, add 1/3 cup good balsamic vinegar.

Allow vinegar to mostly cook off, leaving a darkish sauce in the bottom.

Add to this two grated carrots, two fresh bay leaves, and 6 ounces of chopped baby Bella mushrooms.

Next add one package of ground veal.

Add one package of ground pork.

(Both should be no more than a pound.)

yumAs the meat cooks down and browns slightly (ground veal and pork do not brown like ground beef), add one-third of a cup of 2% milk or half-and-half. large

Allow the milk solids to cook off as if you would with a Bolognese sauce, and when all simmered and brown and delicious, add two 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes. One can should contain purée.  (And buy good tomatoes – it does make a difference.)

pasteAdd one small can of tomato paste. (6 oz)

Cook on medium low for about 15 minutes or until it starts to gently bubble up from bottom

Adjust salt and pepper, add rough chopped fresh basil and Italian flat leaf parsley to taste. (for me that means a fistful – love both)

Simmer on very low for a couple of hours

Cook spiral pasta, as in the spiral shaped pasta that is called cavatappi. You can cavatappi_nudoalso use ziti.

Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Do not rinse

Get out your giant pasta serving bowl and ladle some of the sauce into the bottom. Next add on top of that sauce a third of the pasta you cooked – I cook the whole 16 ounce box.

On top of pasta add a healthy sprinkling of shredded Italian cheese – I like the six cheese Italian blend

Ladle more sauce on top, and repeat the layers twice more.

Top off with a little more sauce and cheese and some more fresh parsley.

Served with a salad, pasta coma guaranteed.

gnocchi for dinner

Well I already told you how to make my Bolognese made with ground turkey, right?  Lucky you all, I will give you the quick and dirty on easy as pie homemade gnocchi. After all, they are  just  Italian dumplings, kids.

But before we get to the gnocchi of it all, I messed with my sauce today.  Did not have mushrooms, so I omitted those.  Diced up a handful (four) sun-dried tomatoes though to add another layer.

I make gnocchi when I have leftover mashed potatoes.  I learned how to make potato and ricotta gnocchi from my great aunts by feel, so the ingredients are an approximation, maybe might need tweaking (or not.)

2 cups flour (all-purpose)

1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (they were plain mashed.  You can use sweet potatoes, and pumpkin as well as ricotta to make gnocchi but that is another conversation entirely.)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I like the Parmesan-Romano blend)

Italian seasoning and garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 -3 tablespoons olive oil

Mash the flour, grated cheese and potatoes together.  Add the egg, olive oil,  and Italian seasoning and a little salt and pepper.

Do not overmix, but gather your dough into a ball, break off pieces you roll into uniform dough tootsie rolls with your hands (you know so they are round?)

Take a small sharp knife and on a board covered in parchment slice out even little bits of dough.

Lay out on lightly floured board for a couple of hours to dry a bit. I refrigerate mine right on the baking sheet.

Boil water with salt and oil, cook your gnocchi until they all float to surface (5 minutes or so.)

Scoop out gently with strainer.

Add sauce.

Eat yourself into a pasta coma.