Tag Archives: pasta

Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Veggie Pesto Pasta

Vegetable Pesto Pasta

One of my favorite stores is World Market.  When Scott and I are bored and looking to get out of the house, World Market , is a place we both agree to go look around in. It has some fun neat stuff such as soap that smells really really good, cool decorations, and of course my favorite- unique interesting foods from different parts of the world.  I found some delicious looking basil pesto this week-end and so I put it to the test.

fresh vegetables

Of course, I started with a lovely line up of fresh veggies. How could anything go wrong. It makes me happy to coat vegetables with the deliciousness of pesto so that my hubby will eat it.

Vegetable Pesto PastaVegetable Pesto Pasta

Vegetable Pesto Pasta

After taking our pup to the dog park,  Kindo spent the afternoon snoozing on the couch, Scott spent the afternoon gaming, and I happily spent the afternoon dreaming and cooking up a couple pesto recipes.  I love pesto; it is rich and creamy from the olive oil and bursting with the flavor of green ground spices.  It is not spicy, just flavorful, so I added it to some biscuits made moist by ricotta cheese and some easy to make vegetable pasta.

Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Veggie Pesto Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Spaghetti with pesto, abundant veggies, ricotta & parmesan cheese
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 8 oz mushrooms (1 pack)
  • ⅓ cup wine
  • 1 pack cherry tomatoes
  • ½ lb spagetthi (1/2 pack)
  • ½ cup pesto
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • ricotta cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Dice onion, chop mushrooms, mince garlic, and thinly slice bell pepper then sautee in nonstick pan with olive oil over medium heat
  2. In the meantime, thinly slice zucchini and squash, cut cherry tomatoes in half, then add to pan along with wine. Let the liquid cook off while preparing the noodles.
  3. Heat a pot of water over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add spaghetti or preferred pasta and cook according to package instruction.
  4. Drain pasta and mix with pesto. Mix in the vegetables.
  5. Serve each plate with 3 heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese and a heavy sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

 

Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Vegetable Pesto Pasta
Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Saffron Risotto

IMG_1607Risotto is an Italian rice like no other. It is cooked in broth and the starches of the rice blend with the liquid making the rice taste like it is in a rich creamy sauce. Using risotto, sometimes called Arborio rice, as a side dish instead of the usual pasta or rice with dinner is a great way to take your dinner from boring to BAM: a BA  Meal. I like to serve this with chicken, mushrooms, or a variety of roasted vegetables.

I have made risotto often, but in this recipe, it is the first time I’ve used saffron. I received the spice as a Christmas gift and was super excited to try it out in my risotto.  I’m not sure if the saffron gives it a different taste or if I am just imagining it tasted a little different; perhaps the saffron was just overpowered by the chicken broth I used.  Nevertheless, the spice did give this dish a nice rich yellow color. In conclusion, the spice is completely optional, so if you don’t have any fancy-smancy saffron lying around, omit it, no biggie.  Also, feel free to experiment with adding other spices such as basil or oregano.

IMG_1580 Making risotto does take a bit more attention than making rice or boiling pasta but is totally worth it. You just have to brown an onion in olive oil first, than toast the grains for a few minutes. Then just add wine and broth 1/2 cup at a time until it tastes good enough to eat!

Saffron Risotto
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3-4½ cups broth
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp saffron (optional)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Dice onion, mince garlic, and saute on medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add rice and stir for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Microwave wine and saffron 1 minute then add to rice. Turn heat to medium low heat and stir slowly until all liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add ½ cup of broth at a time, letting it absorb fully before adding more. Continue to stir slowly.
  5. After 3 cups of broth have been added, taste Risotto. It should be aldente. You may want to add more broth, or water depending on how done you want it to taste.
  6. Mix in cheese, saving some to sprinkle on top.
  7. Serve immediately when done, or it will loose creaminess.

 

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Gnocchi: Italian Potato Dumplings

Gnocchi: Italian Potato Dumplings
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Potato Dumplings
Ingredients
  • 1lb. potatoes ( about 3 small/medium or 2 large potatoes)
  • egg white
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Cut potatoes in halves and boil until soft when poked with fork, about 20-30 minutes. Be careful not to over boil as to make the potatoes full of water. This will make the dough very sticky later and trying to compensate with more flour will just make them too dense. Set potatoes aside in bowl to cool. Keep the pot of boiling water on the stove for later use. Take skins off and mash thoroughly.
  2. get that pot of potato water boiling again. Then put mashed potatoes in mound and pour egg on it. Mix in with hands and then knead in salt and flour, adding a little bit at a time, knead thoroughly. Dough should feel slightly sticky.
  3. Separate dough into 5 handfuls and roll each into long ropes, about 1 inch diameter. You may need up to ¼ cup more flour, to dust your hands and the dough, while rolling out.
  4. Cut the dough ropes into ½ inch pieces. To prevent the dough from sticking to the knife, coat knife with a little olive oil. Optionally, you many press a fork coated in oil in the side to make indentations to help it hold sauce
  5. Drop about 20 of the dumplings into the boiling water, crowding will make them stick. When it floats to the top, about 1 minute, it is done! Remove from water with slotted spoon into empty bowl. Repeat until all dumplings are boiled, then pour off any remaining water from bowl of dumplings.

 

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IMG_1141These little lumps have a really nice texture and are versatile. They go great with all kinds of sauces: cheese sauce, tomato, basil, and so on. I put them to use in a casserole.

 

 

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Venison Gnocchi Casserole

 

IMG_1147Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to watch some cooking shows, and one episode had me craving some good ol’ hearty chicken noodle soup.  I went off to the store and bought my celery and carrots and was mentally drooling over the idea of a warm soup with crusty bread for dinner.  I told my husband my exciting dinner scheme, and he said “no way, I had it for lunch at work yesterday, I would love some spaghetti though,” with a big charming smile. Normally that smile wins me over, but he literally wants to eat spaghetti once a week and then have the left overs for another half a week. The man seriously loves spaghetti.  I decided to create a casserole that would satisfy both of our cravings, Venison Gnocchi Casserole, complete with spaghetti sauce, potato dumplings, carrots, and celery.

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IMG_1111First, I gathered my fresh ingredients, and boiled the potatoes while simmering diced onion,celery, carrots, garlic, and fresh herbs in olive oil and wine until the onions looked translucent and the whole house smelled wonderfully delicious. I usually use what ever wine I have on hand . If it tastes good to me when I have a glass, I may as well use it in my cookin’ too. In this recipe I used a mildly sweet white wine.

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Then, I made the gnocchi, which is not for the faint of heart because it takes a bit more time than simply boiling some noodles. I first fell in love with the wonderful little delicate dumplings in Italy on a study abroad back in high school.  I was told it was too complicated to make and was best left to the experts.  That did not deter me.  After a few trails and errors, I have found a recipe that takes my taste buds back to Italy. It turns out, it is fairly simple; only four ingredients.  You just have to have the proportions right and enough time to make it.

Here is a link to the gnocchi recipe all by it self so you can make it for other dishes. It is the perfect side, and is especially great with pesto.

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IMG_1145Then mix it all together with some spaghetti sauce,  browned deer meat, and cheese, then bake.   This casserole turned out to have a taste factor on a whole other level of yum, full of complex favors and textures.  I guess it is fitting that this is my first recipe on my blog, because it is pretty epic. Kindo thought it smelled good too.

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Venison Gnocchi Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup wine
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano (substitute 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (substitute 1 tsp. dried)
  • ½ cup carrots
  • ¼ lb. ground deer (or meat of your choice)
  • 1 cup spaghetti or tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • For the gnocchi
  • 1lb. potatoes ( about 3 small/medium or 2 large potatoes)
  • egg white
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut potatoes in halves and boil until soft when poked with fork, about 20-30 minutes. Be careful not to over boil as to make the potatoes full of water. This will make the dough very sticky later and trying to compensate with more flour will just make them too dense. Set potatoes aside in bowl to cool. Keep the pot of boiling water on the stove for later use. Take skins off and mash thoroughly.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, dice carrots, celery, and onion. Mince basil, oregano, and garlic. Sauté on medium heat in olive oil, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until it starts to brown and oil burns off. Then add wine and simmer on low until onions translucent and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes.
  4. Pour celery/carrot/onion mixture in separate bowl and saute ground venison until brown throughout. *
  5. To make the gnocchi, first get that pot of potato water boiling again. Then put mashed potatoes in mound and pour egg on it. Mix in with hands and then knead in salt and flour, adding a little bit at a time, knead thoroughly. Dough should feel slightly sticky.
  6. Separate dough into 5 handfuls and roll each into long ropes, about 1 inch diameter. You may need up to ¼ cup more flour, to dust your hands and the dough, while rolling out.
  7. Cut the dough ropes into ½ inch pieces. To prevent the dough from sticking to the knife, coat knife with a little olive oil. Optionally, you many press a fork coated in oil in the side to make indentations to help it hold sauce and make it pretty, but I did not for this recipe.
  8. Drop about 20 of the dumplings into the boiling water, crowding will make them stick. When it floats to the top, about 1 minute, it is done! Remove from water with slotted spoon into empty bowl. Repeat until all dumplings are boiled, then pour off any remaining water from bowl of dumplings. Mix in sautéed veggies, ground meat, ½ cup mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and spaghetti sauce then pour in casserole dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake in covered casserole dish for 20 minutes. Uncover and broil until cheese starts to brown on top. Broiling should only take a couple of minutes (2-3) so watch the dish the entire time so it does not burn.
  10. Serve with fresh basil garnish and rolls. Enjoy!

 

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*Note-I actually browned a whole pound of deer meat and mixed with a whole jar of spaghetti sauce then just froze the extra not used in the casserole for an easy future meal of spaghetti.