Posts tagged ‘italian’

Tortellini and Asparagus in a Red Wine Cream Sauce

This recipe is one I invented, inspired by a dish at a favorite Italian restaurant. I’m curious to know your thoughts. If you try it out, please let me know if there’s anything you’d change. Thanks!

7 oz package refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 slices bacon
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1 Tbsp flour

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Separate bacon into bite-size pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the skillet. Add onion and mushrooms to skillet. Cook and stir for 4 minutes, or until onions are transparent and mushrooms are tender.

Add asparagus and stir. Add wine, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to half (about 7 minutes).

Add bacon and cream to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add flour, cook and stir for 30 seconds. Serve sauce over cooked tortellini.

This recipe is meant to be rich and creamy, so if you use a lean bacon, you might want to add a bit of butter to the skillet at the start. Also, I learned that if you add a touch of oil to the pot before you boil the tortellini, it’ll keep them from sticking together and tearing apart.


May 24 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Tomato Basil Chicken

We’ve made this recipe a couple of times now and love that it’s both easy to make and healthy, but also tastes fantastic. It came from one of our new favorite websites, Eat Better America, and there’s not a singe bad-for-you thing in it.

8 oz uncooked whole wheat fettuccine
2 tsp olive/vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped*
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey breast
3 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp red pepper sauce

Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except pasta; reduce heat to medium.

Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft. Serve over fettuccine.

*If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can substitute 2 14.5-oz cans of diced tomatoes. We did, and it definitely saved us on prep time.

March 24 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

World’s Best Lasagna

That sounds pretty cocky, huh?

Don’t blame me — I didn’t come up with it! The recipe is named as such on by user Johnchandler. So what makes this lasagna the best in the world? Well, it tastes amazing, for starters. And who am I to argue with the 2,500 people who have given this recipe an average of 5 out of 5 stars?!

The husband and I made this for Valentine’s Day. It was a little time consuming, but fun to make (a little work-together time, you know?)  and totally worth the wait.

The lasagna is really thick and hearty, so a 9×13 pan of it easily serves 12.

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
2 6.5-oz cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well-browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375º.

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

World's Best Lasagna

April 10 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

Garlic Artichoke Pasta

The cookbook describes it better than I can: Herb-infused tomatoes tango with garlic, artichokes, and cream–a dance that results in a sauce with Mediterranean flair.

I spent all day today on this pasta… Or rather, my slow cooker did. 🙂  This recipe came out of my 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes book.

3 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic
2 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 Tbsp bottled minced garlic (6 cloves)
1/2 c whipping cream
12 oz uncooked linguine, fettuccine, or other favorite pasta
(optional ingredients)
Sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives and/or sliced pitted ripe olives
Crumbled feta cheese or finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Coat a 3.5- or 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  Drain 2 of the cans of diced tomatoes (do not drain remaining can).  In the prepared cooker, combine drained and undrained tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and garlic.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.

Stir in whipping cream; let stand about 5 minutes to heat through.  Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Serve sauce over hot cooked pasta.  If desired, top with olives and/or cheese.

As usual with slow-cooker recipes, I mixed this up this morning and let it cook all day while I was at work (9 hours).  No optional toppings for us this time, and it came out great.

Bottom line: Good, unique pasta sauce.  If you’re not a huge fan of artichokes, though, I’d recommend using only one can.

July 29 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

Ziti with Chicken and Broccoli

“This is one of those classic dishes that always finds its way onto Italian-American restaurant menus…”

I found this recipe in the Lund’s and Byerly’s Real Food magazine, where I always seem to find recipes that sound amazing but I’m too afraid to try. 🙂 This one didn’t look too intimidating, so we gave it a whirl tonight.

1/4 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 lb broccoli florets (about 3 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c white wine
1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 c diced roast chicken (skin removed) and any juices
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 lb ziti

Boil pasta in a large pot for 10 minutes while everything else is cooking. Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until garlic starts to brown (about 3 minutes). Add broccoli, raise heat to medium high, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring often, until broccoli turns dark green and starts to brown (about 2 minutes). Add wine and cook, stirring, until it almost completely reduces (aout 2 minutes). Add broth, chicken, and thyme, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until broccoli is crisp-tender and mixture is hot (about 3 minutes). Stir in half of the cheese and a generous sprinkling of black pepper. Remove from heat. When pasta is finished, drain and return to pot. Add chicken and broccoli and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.

We totally loved this dish! We made ours with a Chenin Blanc and substituted pre-cooked chicken breast. The ingredients work very well together to produce a light but flavorful result. I definitely recommend this as a fun-to-make, simple one-bowl meal.


March 19 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

Cheesy Tortellini Casserole

This is a new recipe for me, from my 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes book (which, by the way, I LOVE!). I wouldn’t actually call it a “casserole” …It’s more of just a pasta with sauce, but whatever.

I mixed up the ingredients the night before and refrigerated it. All I had to do the next morning was drop it in the slow cooker and turn it on before I left for work. Now THAT’S how to do dinner!

2 15-oz containers marinara sauce
2 14 1/2-oz cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic (undrained)
1 12-oz package sausage
1 9-oz package refrigerated tortellini
1 cup shredded mozzarella (4 oz)

Lightly coat the slow cooker pot with cooking spray. Stir together the marinara, undrained tomatoes, and sausage.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

If using high-heat setting, turn to low-heat setting. Stir in tortellini. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tortellini are tender. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Let stand covered for 10 minutes until cheese is melted. 8 servings

My thoughts: This was pretty tasty and VERY easy to make. Nothing super out of the ordinary here… We had ours with Italian bread and green beans the first night, salad the second. I will mention that (for us at least) it made 6 servings rather than 8.
Things I used to make it healthier:

  • Turkey sausage rather than pork
  • Whole-wheat tortellini
  • Cheese made from 2% milk

March 12 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

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