Posts tagged pasta

Spinach Pesto Trottole

I’ve never had trottole before so I thought I’d give it a whirl to see how it is, texture-wise. It looks like a really long macaroni and it feels like you’re eating just that. Strange, but yummy. In other words, I’m an instant fan.

And it’s pretty obvious that spinach is my go-to vegetable. I eat it more than any other veggie in existence. Yet, believe it or not, I’ve never had spinach pesto either. About time I made some.

And dagnabit! I am impressed! Wow! I vow to make it again here very soon.

Ingredients (2 servings):
1/2 lb. Trottole Pasta (or any pasta you want)
A couple handfuls of Fresh Organic Baby Spinach
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

For Pesto:
1 lightly packed cup of Fresh Organic Baby Spinach
1/2 lightly packed cup of fresh Basil
1/4 cup toasted Pine Nuts (or walnuts)
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Garlic Cloves
1 tbs. Grated Lemon Zest
1 tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/4 EVOO

Cook pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, put all the pesto ingredients, except for the EVOO, in a food processor. Slowly pour in the EVOO while lightly pulsing the machine until you have a creamy mixture.

Blend pasta with pesto in a large bowl. Mix in the other cup of spinach and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if you want.

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Strawberry Bacon Galletti

I love this dish. I’ve made it several times before (albeit in different configurations) and it’s just one of those things I come back to, every once in a while. And usually, it’s because it’s lunch time and you know you have leftover strawberries that will go bad if you don’t use them, like now. So…

You can even omit the bacon if you don’t like meat. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the meat but don’t like the smoky flavor of bacon, use pancetta instead. I’ve done it in the past. It’s really good, too.

Ingredients (2-3 servings):
1 lb. Galletti Pasta (or Farfalle)
15 Fresh Strawberries (more or less, depending on size), diced
5-6 strips of Bacon, diced (or pancetta)
1 tbs. minced Shallots
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
A handful of Flat-Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
Balsamic Vinegar
Grated Parmesan
Fresh Ground Pepper

In a bowl, macerate the diced strawberries in a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Set aside. Cook pasta to al dente.

Meanwhile, saute bacon and shallots with a little EVOO in a medium-heated pan until bacon is lightly browned. Add in garlic and cook for another few minutes or until bacon is golden brown and crispy. When pasta is cooked, combine everything together, add in the strawberries, parsley, some grated parmesan and a few cracks of black pepper. Toss well.

Serve on pasta bowls and garnish with some more fresh strawberries and parsley. Finish with a drizzle of EVOO.

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It could’ve been any type of pasta but that’s what I have at the moment. Works for me, though! I like the thickness of the campanelle which gives it a meaty texture. The ridges are good for holding thick sauces, actually. But I wanted something simple right now, so no sauces this time.

I had some leftover fresh mozzarella so I diced it up and added it but you really don’t need it. Just some grated parmesan and you’re good to go.

So easy to make, too. Ready in 15 minutes.

Ingredients (2 servings):
1/2 lb. Campanelle Pasta
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
A handful of Parsley (or Cilantro), chopped
1 Lemon, cut into 4 wedges
Grated Parmesan
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Cook pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, in a medium-low heated large pan, sweat garlic in EVOO for a few minutes until fragrant but not browned. Add cooked pasta, chopped parsley and fresh cracked pepper. Toss well. Squirt some lemon juice and serve on pasta bowls. Garnish with grated parmesan, a lemon wedge and a drizzle of fresh olive oil.

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Cilantro-Infused Chicken & Pasta

I have finally discovered the joy of cilantro oil. Aaaahhhh!!!! Yeah, I know… I’ve been living in a cave!

Although I have seen many recipes suggesting the use of neutral-flavored oil (canola, safflower, etc.), I prefer combining the pungent taste of coriander with the fruitiness of EVOO. I believe this combination allows for a bit more depth and complexity in flavor, especially when used in a naked pasta dish like this one.

Also, you can strain the oil so that the solids are removed but I’d rather go rustic and leave everything mixed in. After all, it’s all about the cilantro, isn’t it? And remember to only make enough for each time you’ll use it since you want it as fresh as possible.

Now, if you’re a cilantro freak like I am, this dish will definitely put a smile on your face. And possibly, a few pounds more than you’d probably want.

Ingredients (4 servings):
4 Split Chicken Breasts (or tenderloins)
1 lb. package Pasta of your choice
1 Bunch Cilantro, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup EVOO
Salt & Pepper
Hot Sauce (optional)

Make cilantro oil by combining one bunch of cilantro (don’t forget to reserve a few whole leaves for garnish later), EVOO and a pinch of salt in a food processor or blender and running it for a few minutes or until the mixture is completely liquefied. Store in fridge until ready to use. Strain it if you want or stir well before using.

Rub chicken pieces with cilantro oil, season with salt & pepper and let it marinade for a few minutes in the fridge while you preheat the grill to 450F. Grill until done and set aside in a covered container.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the water afterwards then pour cilantro oil over until every piece of pasta is fully coated. Salt & pepper to taste and toss to combine.

Plate the pasta. Top with slices of chicken pieces and if you want, drizzle a little hot sauce on top. Garnish with leftover whole cilantro leaves and maybe a lemon wedge, if you have it.

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Fusilli Florentine

Ok, I omitted the cream and all the bad stuff. Ha! Now, it’s good… and good for you!

This is actually quite similar to something I had made before. I remember wanting to try it again at some point. But instead of arugula, I was going to use spinach. And so, I did! Also this time, I opted to not boil the oil and sauté the garlic. So, the EVOO is almost like a finishing ingredient. Everything is fresh and barely cooked. Except for the fusilli and my leftover chicken, of course.

Speaking of chicken, if you have leftover meat of some kind, it would be perfectly fine to throw it in there, as well. Just dice it first, if it isn’t already.

So, there you go. Delicious dinner in a snap! I actually liked this better than the first one I had made. But if you’re a fan of arugula, feel free to substitute.

Ingredients (2-3 servings):
1/2 lb. Fusilli
3 cups Baby Spinach
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Chicken Breast Filet, cooked and diced (optional)
1/4 cup EVOO
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste
Grated Parmesan, to taste

Cook fusilli to al dente in a pot. When done, drain the water and turn heat down to low. In the same pot with the fusilli, add EVOO, spinach and garlic. And if you have leftover meat, dice it and throw it in there, too. Season with salt and pepper flakes. Toss until spinach leaves are wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Serve with parmesan.

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Pasta on the Border

So here I am, playing with my food again. It’s supposed to be a carné asada burrito. Maybe a fajita. Enchilada? Can’t remember now. But in the middle of my preparation, I had this quirky thought of cutting the tortilla into strands so they end up looking like strings of fettuccine. Yes… happy happy joy joy!!!

Hey, not only was this dish fun to eat, it was mighty tasty, too!

Well, I guess you could also add melted cheese, if you want. Maybe, even a little sour cream. Personally, I didn’t think it needed anything else. But it’s your call.

Ingredients (4 servings):
4 Large Low-Fat Flour Tortilla
1/2 lb. Flank Steak, sliced into thin strips
1 Red Bell Pepper (or any color combination), julienned
1 Onion, julienned
1 cup Unsalted Black Beans, drained
1 1/2 cup Chipotlé Enchilada Sauce
1 cup Pico de Gallo
4 Garlic Cloves, 2 smashed, 2 finely minced
8 Tbs. chopped Cilantro
Mexican Dried Herb Seasoning
Cholula Seasoning Powder
2 Limes (or lemons), sliced into wedges
4 Jalapeno Peppers (optional)

Marinate strips of flank steak in a drizzle of EVOO, 2 smashed garlic cloves, juice of 1 lime (or lemon), 4 tbs. chopped cilantro and a dash of the seasonings for an hour or two.

If desired, brush jalapenos with a little oil and roast in 400F preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, turning over once halfway through.

In a sauce pan, heat the enchilada sauce until boiling then add the beans. Stir for another couple of minutes and turn off heat.

In a medium-heated skillet, add a little EVOO and sauté the beef strips along with the minced garlic and the julienned onion and bell pepper(s).

Stack the tortillas on top of each other and roll as tight as you can without tearing it. Now, using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the roll from one end to the other creating fettuccine-like strands. Loosen strands and coat with EVOO and a dash of the seasonings.

Spread tortilla strands out on individual serving platters, top each with enchilada/bean mixture, salsa and beef/veggie mixture. Garnish with remaining chopped cilantro, a lime (or lemon) wedge and a roasted jalapeno pepper.

Another optional item you can add is shredded cheese. Before garnishing, top with shredded cheese and pop the plate in the microwave for a minute or until cheese has fully melted.

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Pasta Alla Carrettiera

Nothing can be simpler than this Sicilian classic. I was watching an old Molto Mario episode a few days ago and was inspired by the simplicity of this dish. He used spaghetti as it is the classic approach but all I had at the moment was leftover rigatoni so I had to use that instead. Also, he had the heat on high but I thought it better to sweat the garlic and everything else in low heat for a longer period of time. This way, the olive oil’s flavor doesn’t burn off and the garlic infuses its own to the max.

Just make sure your EVOO is top notch as it is the flavor base. Although, the real signature of this dish is the heat. So, you should put as much pepper flakes as you can tolerate. And the fresher your flakes are, the better the flavor.

I have to admit though, I’m not a big fan of arugula just by itself. However, it tastes very sophisticated mixed in with the whole thing. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. Although next time, I’d like to try mâche or spinach instead, since they’re milder. I’m sure they’ll be a great substitute.

1/2 lb. Pasta (tube or noodle)
4-6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tsp. Dried Oregano (thyme, basil or whatever you have will work)
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (more or less, depending on how spicy you want it)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
A couple handfuls of Baby Arugula
Grated Parmesan

Cook pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, in a low-heated skillet, pour olive oil and sweat garlic, fennel seeds, oregano and pepper flakes for about 10 minutes or until garlic is light golden brown. Drain pasta water and combine pasta with oil mixture. Add in arugula and parmesan and mix thoroughly. Enjoy!

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