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Posts tagged ‘pasta’

Pasta with Turkey Sausage Ragu

“Hmmm, should I cook this or not”–these were the words that shot through my mind when I read this recipe in a copy of Clean Eating magazine.  The pasta with kale, turkey sausage sounded fabulous to me. However, I knew MrMango might not be too keen on having kale in his pasta. He is fine with decorative kale adding some autumn color in the planter on our patio, but in his dinner, perhaps not so much.

Well, I forged ahead and made it.  I adapted the recipe by using fettucine instead of parpadelle and reduced the amount of kale (as a pre-emptive strike against complaints from the hubster).

My husband liked the pasta in general but there was a little pile of kale on the side of his plate at the end of the meal. He said “next time use spinach instead”.  I liked the kale though. So maybe next time we can compromise and have half kale and half spinach.

Turkey Sausage Ragu

(adapted from Clean Eating Magazine)

Serves: 4

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 ounces spicy italian turkey sausage, casings discarded
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, torn
  • 1 large bunch fresh kale, cleaned, stems discarded, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole wheat fettucine
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for garnish
  1. Add 1 tbsp oil, onion and thyme to a medium pot over medium heat.  Stir to coat, cover and cook until onion is softened and just beginning to color, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.  Uncover pot, add sausage, chile flakes and garlic, and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Off the heat, carefully deglaze by adding wine.  Return to heat and reduce for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, oregano, and kale.  Stir well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove cover and continue coking until sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, 10 minutes.  Stir in additional 1 tbsp oil plus vinegar.  Season with salt and black pepper.
  2. When sauce is almost finished cooking, add pasta to large pot filled with boiling salted water and cook until al dente, following package directions.  Drain well and immediately toss with tomato sauce to coat.  Then serve with parmesan cheese shavings.

Baked Pesto Chicken Pasta

This is another recipe that falls in the category of quick & easy weeknight dinners. I first made this recipe when my son was just a few weeks old. It was one of my first jumps back into the world of cooking after a long break during my pregnancy and early days of motherhood. 

In the past 9 months I’ve made this pasta dish at least a half-dozen times more. It just comes together so easily and is very open to improvisation. I’ve added some veggies at time or change the pesto/tomato ratios.

Baked Chicken Pesto Pasta

(adapted from recipe in Food & Wine magazine)

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 2 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade pesto
  • 3/4 pounds medium pasta shells (or ziti)
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a large baking dish (~9 by 13 inches).
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over moderately low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the ground chicken and cook, breaking it up, until the meat is no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and salt to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until just done, according to package directions.
  6. Drain and toss pasta with the sauce. Put half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with half the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese.
  7. Bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes.


National Pasta Day

October 17th is National Pasta Day. Why not celebrate by cooking up a delicious pasta dish? (click on past name for link to recipe)

Tequila Shrimp Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Pasta with Shrimp, Spinach and Tomatoes

Pasta, Peas and Pesto Salad

Fettucine with Yellow Peppers

Chicken Tequila Fettucine


Chicken Tequila Fettucine

I am not the world’s biggest fan of chain restaurants. But occasionally you do find something tasty at one. In the case of California Pizza Kitchen (which one of my friends once referred to as “that weird Italian restaurant”…hmmm), one of those dishes is Chicken Tequila Fettucine. This restaurant-inspired pasta dish is one of Mr. Mango’s favorite meals. He’ll request for me to make it every month or so. We enjoy the flavorful combination of jalapenos, cilantro, and tequila. The dish is fairly easy to make and of course when I make it, the pasta dish tastes so much better than it does at California Pizza Kitchen. 😉

Chicken Tequila Fettuccine

(from California Pizza Kitchen
Serves/Makes: 4    |   Difficulty Level: 3    |   Ready In: < 30 minutes


  •  1 pound dry spinach fettuccine
    2 pounds fresh
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro reserved for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper (seeds and veins may be removed)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (reserve tablespoon for saute )
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons gold tequila
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/4 pound chicken breast, diced 3/4 inch
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1.  Prepare rapidly boiling, salted water to cook pasta; cook until al dente,8 to 10 minutes for dry pasta, approximately 3 minutes for fresh. Pasta may be cooked slightly ahead of time, rinsed and oiled and then “flashed” (reheated) in boiling water or cooked to coincide with the finishing of the sauce/topping.
  2. Cook 1/3 cup cilantro, garlic and jalapeno in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add stock, tequila and lime juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until reduced to a paste like consistency; set aside.
  3. Pour soy sauce over diced chicken; set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile cook onion and peppers, stirring occasionally, with remaining butter over medium heat.
  5. When the vegetables have wilted (become limp), add chicken and soy sauce; toss and add reserved tequila/lime paste and cream. Bring the sauce to a boil; boil gently until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick (about 3 minutes).
  6. When sauce is done, toss with well-drained spinach fettuccine and reserved cilantro.
  7. Serve family style or transfer to serving dishes, evenly distributing chicken.

Pasta, Peas & Pesto Salad

Pasta salads are pretty much a summer potluck staple.  If you go to a cookout you will more often than not find at least one pasta salad being served. I went to one cookout this summer where there were 6 (yes 6) different pasta salads.

I made this salad from Barefoot Contessa because it sounded like a different twist on your basic pasta salad. The dressing from this salad is made from mayo, spinach and pesto….with the addition of peas, this salad is a fun, green dish.

Pasta, Pesto & Peas

(from Barefoot Contessa:

Makes 12 servings

  • 3/4 pounds fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pounds bow tie pasta
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Real Spaghetti & Meatballs

Growing up, one of my favorite meals was my mom’s homemade meatballs. A recipe that was handed down to her from her mother. I haven’t made meatballs in years and was looking forward to trying Ina Garten’s meatball recipe.

Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake selected Barefoot Contessa’s Real Spaghetti and Meatballs as the first Barefoot Bloggers recipe for February.  I made some modifications to the original recipe. We don’t eat pork and the market had no ground veal, so I used half ground beef and half ground chicken. I was also generous with the cheese. I have a cheese addiction. Lastly, I let the sauce simmer for a little longer than the recipe called for to let the flavors develop.

The resultant jumbo-sized meatballs were full of flavor. I wish there had been a little more sauce In my opinion, there was about a cup or 2 too little sauce for the amount of meatballs. The leftovers made a great lunch the next day.


Real Spaghetti & Meatballs (Barefoot Contessa Family Style, page 103)


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
  2. Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.
  3. For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  4. Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Fettucine with Yellow Peppers

After reading the fabulous work of fiction: La Cucina by Lily Prior…I was inspired to cook some Sicilian style pasta. I found a recipe from the cookbook Sicilian Home Cooking by Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene that looked tasty to me AND conveniently enough, I already had most of the ingredients in my cucina.  The pasta was fairly easy to make with the most time consuming steps being roasting the yellow peppers and boiling the fettucine.

I enjoyed the pasta. It was different from most pasta dishes that I I usually make in that the “sauce” was mainly just olive oil with a few seasonings. In my opinion, for the amount of pasta and other ingredients in the pasta, the recipe called for a smidge too much olive oil.  Next time I might try adding shrimp or chicken to give it a little protein and make it more appeal ling to my husband who for whatever reason seems to be of the opinion that pasta without meat or seafood is like a sin against nature. 

Check out the Cook The Books Roundup for the dishes that others were inspired to whip up after reading La Cucina.


Fettucine with Yellow Peppers (from Sicilian Home Cooking)


  • 2 large yellow bell peppers
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup diced smoked pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound fettucine


Heat the broiler. Broil the peppers on a piece of aluminum foil on rack about 5 inches from the heat source, turning occasionally, until the skin has blackened all over.

Place the peppers in a brown paper bag. Close the bag securely and let the peppers rest for 5 minutes.

Remove the peppers. When cool enough to handle, remove the stem ends, seeds, and any white membrane. Cut the peppers into thin strips and put into a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, capers, basil, fennel, pecorino, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Set aside.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Stir in the fettucine and cook until al dente, stirring often.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of hot pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce in the bowl and toss, adding a little hot pasta water if necessary. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot.

Cooking: Tequila Shrimp Pasta with Tomato-Cream Sauce

Best Recipes from the Award-Winning International Cookbooks (Savoring ...)

I found this recipe while leafing through the Williams-Sonoma Savoring Pasta & Rice cookbook. It sounded unique and I just had to try it. Who can resist boozy pasta?!?! *hic*

In total it took me about an hour and a half to make the pasta. A majority of that time was spent roasting the tomatoes for an hour. But, in the end all that time was worth it.  I loved the way the citrus juice flavor combined with the tomatoes and chipotle peppers.  My husband declared this pasta as “best and a half!”

I will definitely keep this recipe in my repertoire.

(click “more” for the recipe)


What’s Cooking: Pasta with Shrimp, Spinach & Tomatoes

Mr. Me requested shrimp pasta for dinner… so I went out to the garden to pick some tomatoes and basil. I had found a recipe for Penne with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Basil on that I modified a bit based on our tastes (read as: more garlic and red pepper).

The tomatoes and basil I picked from our garden and used in the pasta.

The tomatoes and basil I picked from our garden and used in the pasta.