Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Mushrooms

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I’ve always loved using whole wheat but have never been a big fan of whole wheat pasta.  But I’ve been trying to use more whole grains and less refined flour so I experimented with a couple brands.  And I was super happy to find one we all love.  Delallo for the win! I find it locally at New Seasons Market but it looks like you can order it from their website as well here.
I love mushrooms but if you don’t, you can leave them out for a roasted garlic sauce… because everyone loves roasted garlic.  At least in my book.

This is a hearty and super satisfying meal and bonus, it comes together in a flash!

PASTA WITH ROASTED GARLIC AND MUSHROOMS

1/2 lb whole wheat capellini (or spaghetti if you like)
2 T unsalted butter
1 lb mushrooms, halved
2 T roasted garlic paste
2 T whole wheat flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk (I use fat free)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Cook the pasta according to package directions. (Capellini only takes a couple of minutes to cook, so I bring a pot of water to a boil while I’m making the sauce, then cook the pasta when the sauce is almost done.)
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, until caramelized.
Add the roasted garlic paste and flour and continue to cook for a 1-2 minutes.
Add milk and chicken broth and stir until thickened, a few minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
Add the noodles, and some of the pasta cooking water to the sauce if needed to thin and coat the noodles.
Top with basil and serve.

Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb whole wheat capellini (or spaghetti if you like)
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 lb mushrooms, halved
  • 2 T roasted garlic paste
  • 2 T whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use fat free)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. (Capellini only takes a couple of minutes to cook, so I bring a pot of water to a boil while I'm making the sauce, then cook the pasta when the sauce is almost done.)
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, until caramelized.
  • Add the roasted garlic paste and flour and continue to cook for a 1-2 minutes.
  • Add milk and chicken broth and stir until thickened, a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the noodles, and some of the pasta cooking water to the sauce if needed to thin and coat the noodles.
  • Top with basil and serve.
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    Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

    Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
    You may be familiar with making your own pumpkin puree, but butternut squash is another favorite of mine.  I make some every fall and freeze in 15 oz containers (so it translates well for recipes that use a 15 oz can).  I use it to make sauces, like this one, or gnocchi (you can follow the recipe for the pumpkin gnocchi, just sub out the butternut).
    Butternut squash has a great texture and mouth feel so it makes a wonderful sauce without needing to add milk or cream.  This is such a quick and easy recipe, and having the squash made ahead of time makes it ridiculously easy.

    BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA SAUCE (With homemade bacon!)

    8 oz (or a pound if you like) bacon lardons (you could also use chopped bacon, or panchetta, or omit entirely)
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 T fresh sages, very finely minced
    15 oz butternut squash puree
    2 cups chicken stock
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 pound pasta (something with lots of nooks and crannies to hold the sauce works best)
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

    Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy.  Drain and set aside.
    Remove all drippings but a light coating in pan.  Add garlic and sage and saute until fragrant.
    Add squash and chicken stock to pan and cook for 5-10 minutes over medium to medium high heat until reduced slightly and thickened slightly.
    Season with salt and pepper to taste, add pasta and toss to combine.
    Top with Parmesan cheese and reserved bacon.

    NOTES: To make this without any meat, just use a tsp of olive oil to saute the garlic and sage.
    If you have fresh butternut squash, peel, seed, and cube it.  Add about 2 1/2 cups to pan instead of the puree along with the chicken stock.  Cover pan and cook through, then puree.  Proceed again per recipe.

    Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz (or a pound if you like) bacon lardons (you could also use chopped bacon, or panchetta, or omit entirely)
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 T fresh sages, very finely minced
    • 15 oz butternut squash puree
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 pound pasta (something with lots of nooks and crannies to hold the sauce works best)
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

    Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Drain and set aside.
  • Remove all drippings but a light coating in pan. Add garlic and sage and saute until fragrant.
  • Add squash and chicken stock to pan and cook for 5-10 minutes over medium to medium high heat until reduced slightly and thickened slightly.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, add pasta and toss to combine.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and reserved bacon.
  • NOTES: To make this without any meat, just use a tsp of olive oil to saute the garlic and sage.
  • If you have fresh butternut squash, peel, seed, and cube it. Add about 2 1/2 cups to pan instead of the puree along with the chicken stock. Cover pan and cook through, then puree. Proceed again per recipe.
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    Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

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    This is a great make ahead salad, since it tastes even better a few hours later, or even overnight.  You can add lots of other things to this if you want, like olives, roasted red peppers, arugula, or even some pine nuts for texture.  While I like making it plain like this, you can also add some olive oil and vinegar to the pesto to make a vinaigrette, or if you want it creamy add a few spoons each mayonnaise and sour cream to the pesto.

    EASY PESTO PASTA SALAD

    1 lb pasta, cooked al dente and cool
    1 cup Fresh basil pesto (or premade)
    Marinated fresh mozzarella (or chopped mozzarella)
    2 or 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or grape tomatoes, halved)

    Toss all together, add a little olive oil and vinegar to the pesto to make more of a vinaigrette if you want it thinner.  Chill until serving.  Like I said.. Easy! 🙂

    Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb pasta, cooked al dente and cool
    • 1 cup Fresh basil pesto (or premade)
    • Marinated fresh mozzarella (or chopped mozzarella)
    • 2 or 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or grape tomatoes, halved)
    • .

    Instructions

  • Toss all together, add a little olive oil and vinegar to the pesto to make more of a vinaigrette if you want it thinner. Chill until serving.
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    Macaroni Salad with Broccoli and Ham

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    This is my homemade version of the Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad with Broccoli and Ham at Sweet Tomatoes Salad Buffet Restaurant.   Went there with my hubby for date night recently and they had this on the buffet.  Totally brought back memories of working there many years ago.  I used to be a trainer for them and would travel around the US to train employees for the new openings.  It was pretty fun (most the time anyways) 😉
    I like the crunch in this salad from the raw vegetables.  It adds a much needed texture.  I don’t like alot of dressing on salads or pasta salads, so I wouldn’t use the whole amount of dressing, but add as little or as much as you like.
    And I used my homemade Canadian Bacon, but any cooked diced ham would fine.   This holds well, and is maybe even better the second day.

    MACARONI SALAD WITH BROCCOLI AND HAM
    1 pound large elbow macaroni
    2 cups fresh broccoli florets
    3/4 cup olives, sliced
    1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
    1/2 cup celery, diced
    3/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced
    1 1/4 cup diced ham (I used my homemade Canadian Bacon)

    Dressing:
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup sour cream (Or use an additional 1/2 cup mayo)
    1/4 cup milk
    1 T sugar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Cook macaroni and rinse with cold water until cool.
    Toss with remaining salad ingredients.
    Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
    Toss with salad, reserving some to see how dressed you want it, then add more if needed.
    Chill for a couple hours or overnight.

    Macaroni Salad with Broccoli and Ham

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
    • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
    • 3/4 cup olives, sliced
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
    • 1/2 cup celery, diced
    • 3/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced
    • 1 1/4 cup diced ham (I used my homemade Canadian Bacon)
      Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (Or use an additional 1/2 cup mayo)
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 T sugar
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Cook macaroni and rinse with cold water until cool.
  • Toss with remaining salad ingredients.
  • Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Toss with salad, reserving some to see how dressed you want it, then add more if needed.
  • Chill for a couple hours or overnight.
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    Ziti with Bolognese

     


    Time seems to be flying by so quickly anymore.  My babies are growing up so fast… well, okay, so they’re 9 and 5.  But they’ll always be my babies.

    While I love getting all crazy and adventurous in the kitchen there is always room for simple meals.  That doesn’t mean simple can’t be delicious and homemade.  That’s why I keep some meal components in the freezer to help make a quick dinner that’s still homemade and make my hubby smile.  (Bolognese is at the very tippy top on his list of favorite things too).
    This is perfect with a big salad and maybe even homemade baguettes or garlic bread.

    ZITI WITH BOLOGESE
    1 lb ziti, cooked just underdone
    1 quart Bolognese (or your favorite spaghetti sauce)
    1 cup ricotta cheese
    1 T oil
    1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
    1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
    1/2 grated Parmesan
    1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade, optional

    Mix the mozzarella and parmesan together in a bowl and set aside.
    Mix the ricotta, oil, salt, and pepper together in another bowl and set aside.
    Mix the ziti and bolognese together and pour half in a greased 9 by 13 inch pan.


    Dollop the ricotta mixture over pasta in pan.

    Top with remaining pasta mixture and then sprinkle the cheeses over the top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
    Sprinkle with basil if using.

    Ziti with Bolognese

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ziti, cooked just underdone
    • 1 quart Bolognese (or your favorite spaghetti sauce)
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1 T oil
    • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
    • 1/2 grated Parmesan
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade, optional

    Instructions

  • Mix the mozzarella and parmesan together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the ricotta, oil, salt, and pepper together in another bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the ziti and bolognese together and pour half in a greased 9 by 13 inch pan.
  • Dollop the ricotta mixture over pasta in pan.
  • Top with remaining pasta mixture and then sprinkle the cheeses over the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with basil if using.
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    BLT Pasta


    Bacon seems to mysteriousely dissapear once it’s cooked.  I think it’s that naughty kitchen fairy… or my hubby and kids. 🙂
    I threw this together when I needed a quick pasta dinner to make and figured if I threw bacon in they would like it.  I was right.

    BLT PASTA
    3/4 lb bacon (about 8 thick slices)
    1 medium red onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
    1/2 cup cream
    1 lb pasta (I used campanelle, which is like torn little lasagna noodles), cooked
    4 cups arugula
    1 cup basil, torn
    salt and pepper to taste
    grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

    Cook bacon and crumble, saving 1 T drippings.
    Cook the pasta a minute underdone, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
    In the reserved tablespoon of drippings saute the red onion and garlic over medium high heat.
    Add the tomatoes and cream and cook briefly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Add the pasta and let it finish cooking in the sauce, adding water as needed.
    Add arugula and basil off the heat and toss together.
    Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    BLT Pasta

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 lb bacon (about 8 thick slices)
    • 1 medium red onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 cup cream
    • 1 lb pasta (I used campanelle, which is like torn little lasagna noodles), cooked
    • 4 cups arugula
    • 1 cup basil, torn
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

    Instructions

  • Cook bacon and crumble, saving 1 T drippings.
  • Cook the pasta a minute underdone, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • In the reserved tablespoon of drippings saute the red onion and garlic over medium high heat.
  • Add the tomatoes and cream and cook briefly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the pasta and let it finish cooking in the sauce, adding water as needed.
  • Add arugula and basil off the heat and toss together.
  • Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
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    Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs with Tomato Cream Sauce

    I always have a stash of meatballs in my freezer for quick dinners, but every now and again I’ll make these for something a little more special.
    This is one of my hubby’s favorite meals, and on the top of my list as well.  I love that it’s so simple to make, but feels like a special dinner.
    Especially if you serve it with fresh baguettes.
    One warning though, if you don’t get these to the table and serve dinner promptly… well, there won’t be any for dinner. : )
    Between my hubby and 5 year old, these can be polished off in a flash.

    MOZZARELLA STUFFED MEATBALLS
    WITH TOMATO CREAM SAUCE
    For the Meatballs:

    3 T olive oil
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 slices firm bread, cut in small cubes
    1/2 cup milk
    1 lb ground beef
    1 lb ground pork
    1 egg
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    2 T Italian seasoning
    8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 24 cubes

    For the Sauce:
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    2 tsp thyme
    2 tsp oregano
    1 tsp sugar
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1 cup milk or cream

    To serve:
    1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

    Heat 1 T olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic, saute until softened, then put on a plate to cool.
    Place the bread cubes in a bowl and pour the milk over.  Let soak.
    Combine the beef, pork, egg, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a large bowl.
    Squeeze excess milk from bread and add to meat mixture along with cooled onions.
    Use your hands to gently combine everything.  Divide mixture into 24 balls (I find it easiest to divide bowl contents in quarters, then each quarter into 6).

    Wrap each meatball around a cube of mozzarella, incasing completely.
    Place on a cookie sheet and repeat until done.
    Heat the  remaining 2 T olive oil in a large skillet (I find a large electric skillet makes this go quite faster.)
    Working in batches, sear the meatballs on all sides, don’t cook all the way through, just brown the outside.
    Then return to the cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

    While meatballs are baking, cook the noodles and make the sauce.
    In same skillet used to sear meatballs, saute garlic.
    Add crushed tomatoes, thyme, oregano, and sugar.
    Let simmer for a few minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
    Stir in cream or milk, then add noodles and toss with sauce, then add meatballs and top with basil.

    Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

    Tuscan Pasta


    This is one of those wonder dinners that you can pull off while juggling 5 other balls.  I first made this years ago as a newleywed, trying to think of a good pantry pasta dinner and remembered the tuscan pasta we made when I worked for Sweet Tomatoes.
    While my hubby isn’t the biggest fan of capers, I love them (of course I love all things briney), but even he doesn’t mind them in this dish.
    I have also added fresh basil or baby spinach to this with good results as well.  Just add it at the end with the parsley.
    Now go forth, and conquer the battle that is family dinnertime.  Amen.
    And p.s. if you really want to make everyone happy, serve the pasta with these super duper easy homemade baguettes.

    TUSCAN PASTA
    1 lb Italian sauasage
    6 1/2 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained
    1/2 cup capers
    2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes (or chopped large)
    1 cup sliced black olives
    1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
    1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente

    Crumble sausage in skillet over medium high heat and cook through.
    (I usually start this just before putting the spaghetti in the boiling water and it’s done at right about the same time.)
    Add artichoke hearts, capers, tomatoes, olives, and cooked pasta (reserving a little of the pasta cooking liquid).  Turn off heat.
    Toss everything together, then add parsley and cheeses.  Add a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water to make a little saucier, if desired.

    Simple Tomato Basil Sauce


    Let’s face it.  As much as I enjoy cooking, life happens.  And it is a life saver to have meals like this in my game plan to keep me sane.
    And you know what? It tastes better than anything you’ll get passed to you thru your car window.  Especially if served with some hot baguettes.

    SIMPLE TOMATO BASIL SAUCE
    Olive oil to coat pan (about 2-3 T)
    1 shallot, finely minced
    3 garlic cloves, finely minced
    2 cans (14.5 oz ea) whole peeled tomatoes
    2 cups basil leaves
    12-16 oz spaghetti

    While you cook the sauce, cook the spaghetti in a pot.
    Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil over medium heat.
    When hot, add shallot and garlic.  Cook a few minutes, until softened.
    Roughly chop tomatoes, and add to pan with juice and all.
    When noodles are a just under done, add to pan with sauce with a scoop of the pasta water (the starch from the pasta will help make a sauce).  Let noodles finish cooking in the sauce until done.
    Chop the basil and add to dish off the heat.

    PUMPKIN GNOCCHI WITH MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE

    When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it.  I love making gnocchi, and pumpkin gnocchi was too intriging to pass on.   I’ve included some step by step pictures so hopefully no one feels intimidated if they haven’t made it before.  Gnocchi really is incredibly quick and easy to make, easy enough so that kids can even help as well. 
    The pumpkin flavor in these aren’t overwhelming, but just right to me.  We loved the combination with the mushrooms in the sauce and fresh chives.  Allthough, next time I think I’ll leave off the chives and instead add some thyme to the mushrooms when they’re cooking. 
     Happy Fall! : )
    PUMPKIN GNOCCHI WITH MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE
    FOR THE GNOCCHI:
    2 1/2 cups flour (plus more if needed)
    1 T salt
    1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    FOR THE SAUCE:
    2 T unsalted butter
    2 shallots, finely chopped
    8 oz mushrooms, sliced
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 T fresh chives, chopped
    Make the gnocchi: In a large shallow bowl mix the flour, salt, and nutmeg.
    Make a well in the center and add the pumpkin and parmesan to well. 
     Using a fork to stir, start incorporating the flour to the pumpkin and cheese.
     Mix until dough gathers, then knead until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.  Add extra flour if needed.
    Dough should be very soft and moist, but not too sticky, or too dry.
     Divide dough into 6 pieces. On a lightly foured counter, roll each piece into a rope about 3/4 inch thick. 
     Cut into half inch pieces and set out on lightly floured tray and cover with a tea towel.
    (TO FREEZE: At this point you can lay single layer on a baking sheet or tray in the freezer and after frozen, about an hour or two, put all together in a zip lock in the freezer. Boil straight from freezer.)
    Bring a medium to large pot of salted water to a boil and add a couple hand fulls of gnocchi at a time. Boil for about 4 minutes.  Drain.
    Make the sauce: (I like to make this while I’m waiting for the water to boil for the gnocchi, so it has time to thicken).  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
    Add the mushrooms and shallots, saute for a few minutes.
    Add chicken stock, cream, and parmesan.  Let cook until thickened.  Toss with gnocchi and top with chives. 
    Recipe Source: Gnocchi adapted from Martha Stewart, sauce by My Stained Apron
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