Summer Pasta with Charred Roma Tomatoes

Zucchini nad Cherry Tomato Pasta with Charred Roma Tomato

Summer Pasta with Charred Roma Tomatoes

The ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried gluten-free pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, grated
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, to serve

The method:

  1. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender.
  2. Preheat the broiler, and oil a cookie sheet for roma tomatoes, add the tomatoes until crispy (around 3-5 minutes total).
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a small, non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add garlic, zucchini and tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until tender.
  4. Drain pasta, reserving 2 tablespoons cooking water. Return pasta and reserved water to saucepan. Add zucchini mixture, salt and pepper to pasta. Toss over low heat until heated through. Spoon into bowl. Top with parmesan, broiled tomatoes and serve.

Fresh Tomato, Pecorino and “Sausage” Pasta (GF)

fresh tomato arugula Fresh Tomato, Pecorino and “Sausage” Pasta

The ingredients:

    • 8 ounces uncooked gluten-free pasta
    • 8 ounces veggie Italian sausage(or real sausage for meat-eaters)
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 cup vertically sliced onion
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, chopped
    • 6 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 cup fresh arugula leaves

     

The method:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage.
  3. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes.
  5. Add arugula and remove from heat; stir in pasta, 2 tablespoons cheese, salt, and pepper.

 

Vegan Rustic Pasta

A couple a years ago when I was still working as a server, one of my favorite customers had told me about a new vegan cookbook called The Kind Diet – written by Alicia Silverstone. At this time, I had been a vegetarian for a couple of years and was very interested in experimenting with vegan cuisine.  Needless to say, once my shift was over, I pedaled my way to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy.

I knew I wasn’t ready to be fully vegan (I love cheese more than anything) but quite a few of the recipes looked lip-smacking delicious – and they were. Now, I will admit that the longest I’ve ever gone being a vegan is a little over a month – but I do like to take “vegan” weeks every now and then if I feel like I’ve over-indulged on the dairy.

So, even though I know that I could never be 100% vegan, I still refer to this book all the time for some yummy recipes. One of my favorite dishes from this book is the Rustic Pasta. It’s so tasty and hearty that even a meat-eater would approve and probably wouldn’t complain about the lack of animal product. I like serving this dish with a big fresh salad or with some veggie sausage on top.

You should also check out Alicia’s vegan website: The Kind Life.

Rustic Pasta

The ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound pasta (you can choose long or short shape)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 large onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used more)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced or thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/4 cup shoyu
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 tablespoon marinara sauce

The method:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook just until al dente. Drain the pasta well.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook for 7 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes longer. The onions should transparent and turning golden.
  3. Add the celery to the skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the shoyu, salt, garlic powder, then add the cabbage; saute for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Broccoli Gruyere Pasta Bake

 

I decided to forgo the gym yesterday – the weather was just so rainy that it just felt better snuggled up on the couch next to my pup Eleanor and watching the SVU Marathon that is on constant record.  I know what you’re thinking… I live in AZ – the desert – how much rain could you possibly get? Well, it wasn’t so much the rain that prevented me from journeying to LA Fitness, it was the intense dust storm and powerful winds that prevented me from even opening my front door. Basically, the weather held me hostage, which I was okay with.

So I busted out my emergency bottle of red wine and indulged in this pasta dish:

 

Broccoli Gruyere Pasta Bake

The ingredients:

  • 1 lb penne or any pasta
  • 1 red onion , roughly chopped
  • 1 lb head broccoli , stalks chopped and florets halved
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tsp French or German mustard
  • 1 cup pot half fat crème fraîche
  • 1/2 c grated mature Gruyère or cheddar
  • small handful parsley leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs (or put 1 slice crustless white bread through a food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs or thyme
  • Parmesan, optional

The method:

  1. Boil the pasta, onion and broccoli stalks in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for about 7 mins, then add the florets and cook for another 3 mins. Reserve about 1 1/2 cup of the water, then drain the pasta and vegetables.
  2. Return the reserved water to the pan and dissolve the stock cube, whisk in the mustard and crème fraîche, then season to taste. Bring to the boil. Stir in the drained pasta, vegetables and half the cheese, mixing until melted. Stir in the parsley.
  3. Heat the broiler for 3 mins. Tip the pasta and vegetables into a shallow, ovenproof dish. Mix together the remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and herbs, then scatter on top.
  4. Broil for 3-5 minutes, turning if it starts to brown. Keep watching so the top doesn’t start to burn or the cheese will toughen. Remove and leave to stand for 5 mins before serving.

Summer Skillet Pasta

So, I’m not a huge fan of zucchini. There’s something about its vibrant color that makes you think you’re biting into a veggie that’s packed full of flavor. It’s actually the same way I feel about eggplant. However, the Whole Foods by my work had the most beautiful zucchini arrangement last week and I couldn’t help but buy one and hope that I that I find a yummy recipe to put it in. Turns out, I did.

I introduce to you, Summer Skillet Pasta. I took this recipe from one on of my favorite blogs, Iowa Girl Eats. Her recipe calls for chicken sausage, but since I am a vegetarian, I decided not to use that ingredient (obvi). I know that there is some yummy vegetarian sausage at every grocery store, and I’m going to be honest with you ­– I was too lazy to get it. In my opinion, omitting that spicy sausage flavor didn’t take away from the dish at all.

This skillet took about 20 minutes to make, so it was perfect. (Did I mention how lazy I was feeling that day?)

Summer Skillet Pasta:

Ingredients:

8 oz penne, dry (or any pasta)
1/2lb spicy chicken sausage
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 shallot, sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
salt & pepper
10oz cherry tomatoes
fresh basil
Romano or parmesan cheese, if desired

The Method:

1. Heat the skillet over medium and add extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Add garlic slices and shallots and cook until they start to turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Add zucchini, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes then place a lid on top of the skillet and allow tomatoes to get hot and tender, about 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2. Meanwhile, cook penne in a large pot of salted boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water before draining.

3.. Add some of the pasta cooking water to create a sauce and make sure pasta isn’t sticking together Serve topped with torn fresh basil, and grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Creamy Caprese Pasta

There is something about the flexibility of the word “caprese” the sparks my immediate interest whenever I’m looking through recipes. I’ve made caprese skewers, caprese pizza and of course, the world-famous caprese salad. My roommate and her father can vouch for my overwhelming love for plump tomatoes. Her dad grows them himself and they are so perfectly ripe that I MUST cook with them.

 

After receiving my latest batch of tomatoes, I stumbled across yet ANOTHER version of caprese – Creamy Caprese Pasta. The flavors of the plump tomatoes, fresh basil and ooey-gooey mozzarella complement each other so well – not to mention, it was really easy to make and cheap too AND it’s carnivore approved – right Nick? I’m a mean girlfriend and didn’t pair any meat with this dish, but I think it was rich enough to satisfy the taste-buds of a hungry bear boyfriend J.

 

If I can offer one more tip, make a HUGE batch of this stuff. It keeps well and is perfect as lunch the next day or even for dinner with a fresh salad. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta (noodles such as penne work best)
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes (I cut some in half and left some whole)
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

The Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan.
  3. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turning off heat.
  4. Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too.
  5. Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  7. Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese.

Baked Gemelli with Pecorino and Smoked Mozzarella


Yeah… so you may have noticed that I’m kind of in the middle of a love affair with smoked cheeses. They are just so gosh darn yummy!

Since it’s birthday season in my world, my wallet has been a little tight – not to mention Mondays are usually very long days for me with work, gym, boy toy, loving on my dog… you get the picture. I had slacked on my running schedule over the weekend so I really pushed myself yesterday. When I left the gym, all I really wanted to eat was a big heaping bowl of pasta. I wanted a recipe that was full of flavor but required minimal effort.

Enter the simple and oh-so-scrumptious Baked Gemelli. As simple as it was, this is one of my favorite things I’ve made so far. I think Nick would have to agree…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Gemelli pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups My Favorite Tomato Sauce (or any type of tomato/marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • Thyme, to taste (I like A LOT)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, heat the EVOO in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and thyme. Saute until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the tomato sauce, sauteed onion/garlic/thyme mixture, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.