Tag Archives: pasta

Stupendous Seafood Pasta

27 Aug

I’ll come out and admit it.  I’ve always been intimidated by seafood pastas and stews.

Okay, okay, I’ve made scampi.  But the prospect of a bouillabaisse or a paella or a pasta with various sea creatures on it…well, it just seemed too hard.  I can’t say exactly what made these dishes seem so unattainable, but I am pretty sure it had something to do with the challenge of obtaining three or four different fresh fish or shellfish on the same day in almost embarrassingly small amounts.  Now, this may be a real problem for folks who live in areas lacking good grocery stores, but as a person who lives just miles from TWO different Wegmans supermarkets, I really have no excuse.  So, recently, when Dan and I saw Lidia Bastianich making a mouthwatering seafood pasta on her show, we decided the time had come.

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Digging for Dough Scraps

4 Mar

I was so over this day by 9:45am.

William had an appointment at 8:00am, and I had to get both of the boys up, dressed, fed, and out the door by 7:40am.  Once we arrived at the appointment, I had to stand outside on the nearby playground in near-freezing temperatures with Cormac for the half hour while we were waiting for William.

Crack-of-dawn playground antics

Afterwards, despite my best efforts, there was a potty “incident” that forced me to drag both reluctant children back to the car and then drive all the way home to freshen up prior to getting back into the car so we could traipse to William’s new preschool and take care of some paperwork.  As you can imagine, this was like trying to conduct a business transaction while holding two excitable monkeys by the ears.

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Potluck Pasta

2 Mar

In case y’all aren’t sick of pasta (frankly, I never am) I thought I’d quickly share with you one of those shortcut meals I made using odds and ends I had in the fridge today.  It was so fast that I whipped it up for lunch.

Here’s what I had hanging around.

Potluck Pasta

Random and Flexible Odds and Ends:

Two different kinds of leftover pasta sauce

about 1.5 C of the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and egg mixture from the Meatball Ziti I prepared a few days ago.

Half a box of campanelle pasta (any chunky shape would have done equally well)

Half a bag of shredded mozzarella

One can of Hunt’s Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Preheated the oven to 350.

So here’s what I did with it.  I cooked up the pasta al dente and drained it.

Meanwhile, I warmed up the two leftover sauces in the empty pasta pot.  While it was warming, I sprayed a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Then I ladled a little sauce into the bottom of the dish to cover it.

I then threw the pasta and all the cheese mixture into the sauce pot and just blended it all until it was well-mixed.  It takes a little warmth to un-chunk the cheese from the refrigerator.

Once it was all mixed, I dumped it into the casserole.  Because I wanted a little more sauce, I drained a can of Hunts Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and dumped it over the top of the pasta mixture, spreading it out evenly with a spoon.

Lastly, I evenly covered the pasta with shredded mozzarella.

I baked it covered in foil in the oven for 35 minutes.  Then I removed the foil and let the cheese brown for 10 more minutes.

Voila.  I swear – it was about fifteen minutes of prep.

 

Quick. Cheap. Easy.

 

 

Pretty good for Wednesday lunch, eh?  Dan was working from home – I didn’t eat it by myself!

Here’s what’s great about this recipe.  You are using up things you might have tossed (a perfect example is two leftover sauces that are barely a portion each and are mismatched, or the small amount of cheese mixture I hadn’t needed for the ziti…or half a box of pasta that is not quite enough for a full family meal!).  It takes minutes to prepare.  Also, the ingredients are really flexible.  You could have used any sauce, a number of pasta shapes, and even substituted another kind of cheese for the topping (like cheddar).

Dan wants me to quote him.  He pronounces my grab-bag pasta dish “Delicious!”  Go forth and save your scraps.

Meatball Mafioso: A Ziti You Can’t Refuse

28 Feb

Sometimes I write up recipes because they’re really easy.  Sometimes I write up recipes that are good for the diet.  This recipe fulfills neither of those requirements.  But DAMN is it good.

I found out recently that my friend Steve, who lives in California and whom I haven’t seen since high school, was going to make a special stop at Dulles airport just to spend the evening with me and meet my family.  Considering that childcare duties and the shortness of the stay prevented me from taking him anywhere at all, our remaining option was to hang out at my house and enjoy dinner there.  So, I was thinking, “This had better be good.”

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Becoming a Saucy Wench

31 Aug

Yesterday I made pasta from scratch with William — and then I tried to blog about it.  Frankly, the post was boring to read.  I shelved it.  What can I say about making pasta from scratch?

1) Everyone seems to get a pasta maker for their wedding, yet nobody else I know uses theirs.  That’s a shame.

2) Fresh pasta is one of those things that is cheap to make and so superior to the dried kind that you hardly need any sauce at all.  The pasta is delectable and tender.

3) It’s a mess.  Even messier if you decide your preschooler is the next Lidia Bastianich and let him help.   Continue reading