Tag Archives: pasta

Penne with Butternut Squash and Kale

14 Jun

OMG, so far all I have written is the title of this post, and my stomach is already growling. Penne with Butternut Squash and Kale is my new favorite pasta! And I am a pasta fanatic, so that’s saying something.It’s so different from all of the other pasta recipes I’ve tried, which are typically tomato based (and often have ample cheese).

Butternut squash kale pasta
In this recipe, the butternut squash and caramelized onions give the dish a magnificent sweetness that that complements the savory kale and Parmesan. And dare I say this pasta is healthy? I think so! Butternut squash and kale are both superfoods, and sauce is made from a little white wine, not oil.

Butternut squash kale pasta 2
I admit, this recipe is a little time-consuming (the caramelized onions and squash take a while), but not necessarily labor intensive– you just have to plan ahead. I tend to get the onions and squash started, go do things around the house for a while, and then resume. Once the onions, squash, and pasta are cooked, it all comes together quickly. And oh my goodness, is it worth the wait!! If you love it half as much as I do, you’ll be very pleased.

Butternut squash kale pasta 3

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Kale

(recipe by Rikki Snyder)

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan, to taste

Preparation:

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until completely caramelized, stirring occasionally at first, then more often as the onions begin to brown. This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to up to an hour. Season with pepper and remove from skillet when done.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash with 2 tbsp oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • When onions, squash, and pasta are ready, add 1 tbsp oil to a large skillet (you can use the same one you had used for the onions to cut down on dishes). Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  • Add kale and saute for 1 minute, then add wine to the skillet. Continue to cook until the kale has wilted, about 2-3  minutes.
  • Stir in pasta, onions, and squash; cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes more.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

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Pasta Primavera

21 Aug

Yikes, it has been almost a month since I’ve posted! I have been super busy between having my three beautiful sisters visit from New York, and preparing for my doctoral preliminary exams. The visit was wonderful, and the prelims…well, I’m just relieved that they’re over! I’ve been studying for the past six weeks, and before that, I had two summer classes. So basically this weekend is the first and last weekend I’ll have to myself this summer 😦 Oh well, such is the life of a grad student.


But summer’s not all bad. One of my favorite things to do in the summer months is to go to the farmer’s market. I love supporting local agriculture, and getting fresh, high quality fruits and veggies. Pasta primavera is one of my favorite dishes that takes full advantage of all the veggies in season.


This dish is full of zucchini, squash, peppers, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, all roasted to perfection with some olive oil and herbes de provence. In case you’re unfamiliar, herbes de provence is just a mixture of dried herbs traditionally used in French cooking, including savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender.


Hehe, I remember the first time my husband and I shopped for ingredients for pasta primavera. We had never had the occasion to buy herbes de provence before making this dish, and it seemed to be such a specialized ingredient that we assumed we’d never finish the jar. Every time I’ve made pasta primavera since then, I’ve joked to my husband that we were “almost out!” But then last night when I made it…we finally were almost out, for real! Clearly, we have made pasta primavera many times. It’s a keeper 🙂

Pasta Primavera

(recipe by Giada de Laurentiis)

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de provence
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the parmesan and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

9 Jun

Bleh, I am feeling terrible lately. The cold that has been spreading like wildfire around my summer classmates has finally reached me, with a vengeance. Cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose…the whole 9. To make matters worse, I think I accidently took Nyquil instead of Dayquil this morning because when I awoke, I was surprisingly refreshed, but about 1/2 hour after drinking that disgusting liquid medicine, I felt like I was about to fall asleep standing up. So it was either a cold-medicine mix-up…or something very weird is happening to me. Whatever the case, I am not  a very productive worker today.


But despite being stricken with the plague, I’ve managed to throw dinner together the last three nights because my husband was working late. Given my condition, it really says something about (a) my husband’s [unfounded] confidence that I am not going to spread my sickness to him through food preparation, and (b) the level of ease of these dishes.

On the first night, as agonized as I was, I made Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes. It is uncharacteristically hot here in Indiana (think, Sahara desert), so I went for something light and refreshing, yet comforting. My husband came home and said, “You didn’t have to make something so complicated!” But, alas, it’s not! This dish is super quick simple to make, yet quite delicious. Asparagus is in season now so I am eating it with every opportunity, and cherry tomatoes are a great, springy, refreshing accent.

Sick or not, give it a try!

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes (adapted from recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

Ingrdients:

  • 8 ounces whole grain penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups (about 9 ounces) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Preparation:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  • In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus, season with the salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the stock is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 of the parmesan. Toss well, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and chopped basil.

Makes 4-5 servings.

Fear of Making Fresh Pasta: Conquered!

10 Feb

Yes, I have been neglecting my blog lately…but not for lack of recipes to share! I’ve just been busy with school and such, but got an unexpected and welcome reprieve tonight when my class was canceled. But which recipe to share first?

I suppose I will tell you about my adventure in pasta-making last night. I was always somewhat afraid of making fresh pasta, so I never tried anything beyond the short-cut of filling wonton wrappers with cheese and calling it ravioli. I think I was most apprehensive because I felt ill-equipped. I have no KitchenAid mixer and no pasta attachment, or  any special pasta-making tools of the sort. Thus, I was delighted when I stumbled upon Confetti’s recipe for “Homemade Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Basil Sauce” — no fancy tools required! Could it really be so simple? Yes, yes it could. I think dinner came together in a half hour last night, and I also made a side dish.

I think that part of the ease comes from the strategy of folding the raviolis around the filling instead of pressing together two layers of dough. The result are pillow-shaped ravioli that are cute as a button! I could just lay my head on them!

Besides the ravioli being cute, they’re delicious! By adding chives and basil to the cheese, you get such great flavor into the ravioli.

Really the only adjustments I made to the recipe were that I added a little mozzarella (just because I had some on hand and love cheese, so I figured, why not?) and used store-bought marinara (out of laziness; her sauce  looks really good though).

Homemade Feta Cheese Ravioli (adapted from Homemade Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Basil Sauce by Confetti)

Ingredients:

For the Pasta:

* 2.5 cups flour
* 1 cup boiling water

For the Filling:

* 1/2 cup feta cheese
* 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
* 2 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
* 1 large egg
* Black pepper, basil, and chopped chives, to taste

For the Sauce:

* Store-bought marinara, or the homemade tomato basil sauce linked above

Preparation:

  • Sift the flour into a bowl and add the hot water over it. Carefully, with your hands, knead the ingredients into a dough. Add flour if you feel the dough is sticky. Let is rest for 10 minutes (while you prepare the filling).
  • For the filling, mix the ingredients listed above into a thick cream.
  • Dust the surface you’ll be working on with flour. Roll out the dough into a large circle, thickness 1 cm.
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut out the edges of the rolled out dough leaving it rectangular in shape.
  • Place one-teaspoon measures of the filling all over the dough placing them an 3 cm apart.
  • Again using the pizza cutter, cut between the empty spaces leaving each spoonful of the filling in a square on its own.
  • Fold the dough over the filling and seal with your fingers. Repeat for all the filling. You should end up with about 16 pillow-like raviolis.
  • Throw the raviolis in a pot of salty boiling water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the raviolis float.
  • Drain the raviolis and set aside. Optional: After they cool a bit, cut out the uneven edges with a knife.
  • Toss the ravioli with the pasta sauce over medium heat until warmed.
  • Top with parmesan and chives.

Makes 2 servings.

So freshly cooked, you can see the steam coming off of it!

I encourage any other amateur chefs out there to try out this recipe. It’s a great foray into pasta-making!