Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’


…was completely foreign to us: we had never heard of it until I found an intriguing recipe for it in this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine.  This month focuses on the brilliance of Italian food, and this recipe is a perfect example of just how wonderful the country’s cuisine is.  A timbale is apparently a food that involves cooking cheese, meat, and pasta in a mold typically used for desserts.  Hence, this particular version looks like a cake made of rice and stuffed with a luxurious sausage filling.

For Sausage-and-Rice Timbale you need:

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • 2 oz. provolone slices

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it.  Add the rice, reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the rice is tender.  Stir the pot occasionally while you make the filling.  When the rice is finished, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool.

Preheat the oven to 450 and put a baking sheet on the middle rack.  Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high and add the onion.  Cook about 8 minutes, until soft, then add the sausage and cook until it is browned, breaking it up as it cooks.  Add the basil to the sausage mixture as well as the garlic and tomato paste.  Cook until the tomato paste browns, about 4 minutes.  Mix in the chicken broth and deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits off the bottom.  Continue to cook the sauce until it is thickened, about 15 minutes.

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8″ springform pan with butter.  Coat the bottom with the breadcrumbs, tapping to remove any of the excess.  Mix the eggs and all but 3 tbsp. of cheese.  Put the cooled rice in a large bowl and stir in the egg mixture to combine.  Place about 2/3 of the rice mixture in the prepared pan.  Using moist fingers, press the rice onto the bottom of the pan and up the sides, making a 1/2″-thick layer.  Layer on the provolone slices.

Top the provolone with 3/4 of the sausage filling.

Then, pat the rest of the rice on top to cover the filling and top with the rest of the pecorino.  Put the pan on the baking sheet in the oven and bake the timbale for about 20 minutes, until golden.  Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the “cake”, then remove the side of the pan.  Serve a slice of timbale with the remaining filling alongside.

We were so excited to try this recipe and were definitely not disappointed–it is super fun (and downright easy) to make, and is delicious!



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…has about a billion variations, and we love trying them!  Most recently, we made Rachael Ray’s Spiked Spaghetti with Portobellos and Kale, and it was most tasty.  Boiling pasta in wine is actually an ancient Italian method, and it really adds a lot to this traditional meal!

For spiked spaghetti you need:

  • 750 mL bottle dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 lb. kale
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Grated pecorino-romano cheese, for topping

Combine the wine with 3 quarts salted water and bring to a boil.  Toss in the spaghetti and cook to al dente, about 9 minutes.  When you drain the pasta, reserve about a cup of the liquid.

While that’s going, heat a large skillet and the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the portobellos and brown them for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic for one minute, then wilt in the kale.  Season the veggies with salt, pepper, and a bit of freshly grated nutmeg.

Toss the pasta with the veggie mixture and add just enough of the cooking water to help the two combine.  Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve up a plate of pasta topped with the cheese.

The Italians were really onto something when they came up with the idea to boil pasta in wine–it is such a tasty idea!  This is a great spaghetti, and is a particularly excellent dinner when you are cooking for vegetarians–it is quite hearty.


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…made into meatballs is one of the best ideas Rachael Ray has had yet!  It is pretty hard to go wrong with anything dealing with chicken parmesan (especially if you are Schatzi, who could live off the stuff), and this dinner is indeed ridiculously tasty.

For chicken parmesan meatballs you need:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted, wrung dry in towel and separated
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon
  • About 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped(we used a few tbsp. of dried)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or shredded
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Start by combining the spinach and chicken and preheating the oven to 400.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Add a clove of grated garlic to the chicken and grate about 3 tbsp. of onion right into the bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup cheese.  Mix in just enough milk to moisten the mixture–don’t use more than 1/4 cup of liquid.  Add the mixture to the chicken, then stir in 2 tbsp. tomato paste, the egg, parsley, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Use your hands to get everything well-incorporated and mold the mixture into a large oval.  Divide the meat into 4 portions, then make 3 meatballs out of each section.  Then, whisk together 1 tbsp. tomato paste and 1 tbsp. oil.  Brush each meatball with the oil mixture and bake on the prepared baking sheet for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are golden.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes.  Drain the pasta and toss with the butter and the rest of the cheese.

Meanwhile, heat a few tbsp. of oil in a large skillet and add the remaining garlic and the rest of the onion, chopped finely.  Cook the veggies for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat.  When they are a bit soft, add the tomatoes and wine, mashing the tomatoes as you go.  Season the sauce with some salt and pepper and the basil.  Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to incorporate.

Serve up a plate of pasta topped with 2 or 3 meatballs.

It is hard to wait for the meatballs to come out of the oven–they smell so good while they are roasting!  This is one delicious plate of pasta, and *bonus* it is a tad healthier than a typical plate of chicken parmesan, as the meat isn’t fried. Make a batch and enjoy!


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…is hard to beat when you are craving a creamy bowl of pasta.  But, that pesky guilt factor is almost always present when I try to enjoy it!  Alas, Rocco makes quite the excellent version of fettuccine, so now I can have my comfort food and eat it, too!

For Rocco’s fettuccine alfredo you need:

  • 8 oz. whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley, for garnish

Boil some salted water and cook the pasta for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook just until it becomes fragrant.

Combine the cornstarch and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk in the broth.  Add this mixture to the garlic and bring to a simmer over medium-high, whisking occasionally.  Then, whisk in 1/2 cup of cheese until it melts.  Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the yogurt until smooth.

Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and garnish with a bit of parsley and the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.

Serve a plate of pasta along with a spinach salad and some crusty bread.

You won’t believe how good this pasta is until you try it!  And, with 10 vs. 75 grams of fat and 336 vs. 1,220 calories, it just tastes all the better!


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Pad Thai…

…is one of the best Asian meals you can eat, period.  But, it is pretty terrible for you (think, over 2,000 calories a serving!).  As you probably already guessed, Rocco has a healthier version, yet again.  Thank goodness!  His recipe for Pad Thai is fantastic and you will never even know it’s homemade!

For Rocco’s amazing Pad Thai you need:

  • 4 oz. brown rice noodles
  • 12 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 cups beans sprouts
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 3/8 cup Rocco’s Asian sauce
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Boil a large pot of water and cook the noodles as the package indicates.  When 2 minutes are left, add the shrimp, 2 cups of sprouts, and the peas.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat Rocco’s Asian stir-fry sauce  over high.  Bring it to a boil, then stir in the peanut butter, lime juice, fish sauce, and scallions.  Pour into a large bowl and add the noodles and cilantro.

Serve a plate of Pad Thai topped with some more bean sprouts and edamame on the side.

As usual, this recipe is a major win.  And, a plate of this Pad Thai has under 300 calories and 5 grams of fat!


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Linguine with clam sauce…

…was my favorite meal as a child.  In fact, I have specific memories of giving up pizza at a friend’s house because knew Mom was making linguine with clams for dinner.  I found a RR recipe for a new version of my old favorite, and absolutely loved it!

For Rachael’s linguine with white clam sauce for 2 you need:

  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb. linguine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tin anchovy fillets, drained
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 15 oz. whole baby clams (we used unshelled clams)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped

Boil a large pot of water, salt it, and cook the pasta 6-7 minutes.  You want it to be slightly underdone.

Heat a big skillet over medium heat.  Add the oil, garlic, and anchovies, stirring until the fish dissolve into a paste.  Add the thyme and wine and simmer for a minute until reduced.  Stir in the clams and their juices along with the lemon zest.

Add the fettuccine to the pot and toss to coat with the sauce for a couple of minutes.  Mix in the parsley along with a bit more salt and pepper.  Serve up a plate of pasta with some crusty bread and asparagus alongside.

While i will gladly eat my mom’s linguine with clam sauce any day, this is a wonderful version of the dish.  When lemon zest, wine, and garlic combine, you know you are in for a treat!


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Papa Lawson…

…is a darn good cook and has handed down many a delicious dinner recipe.  Most recently, we had a craving for some good ol’ spaghetti, and knew that his family recipe would hit the spot!

For Papa Lawson’s spaghetti you need:

  • 1 lb spaghetti (we used whole grain)
  • 2 lbs beef (we used elk and beef)
  • a few Italian sausages
  • 1 large jar of Prego
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 stick butter (we only used a few tbsp…sorry, dad!)

Not only is this spaghetti delicious, it is super-simple!!!  Simply brown all that meat in a skillet (try to chop it finely as it cooks).

Then, add in the sauce, sugar, and salt.

Boil some salted water for your pasta and cook it for about 9 minutes.  When they are done, toss the noodles with some butter to loosen them up and help the spaghetti sauce stick.

Add the spaghetti sauce to the noodles and you are already done!  Serve up a plate of pasta and meat sauce with bread and, yes Dad, a salad, alongside.

When you are craving a plate of spaghetti, this is what you want!!!  It comes together so quickly and is absolutely delicious.  Plus, it makes a boatload of pasta, so you won’t have to worry about what’s for dinner for days!


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