Archive for the 'pasta' Category

Penne with Pancetta, Grape Tomatoes, Peas and Romano

Barilla 1 Penne with Pancetta, Grape Tomatoes, Peas and Romano

I’m officially ready for a long winters’ nap. This past weekend was the official start of the season of leftover party food, mince tarts, cheese balls and Christmas crack for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all snacks between – however, I am responsible for the care and feeding of another human, and feel like I should give him the occasional proper meal.

Also: I find we all get a little squirrelly when we subsist on shortbread and Toffifee.

W and I just taped a cooking segment together in my mom’s kitchen, cooking with Barilla pasta – and I tried a recipe I likely wouldn’t have otherwise made, and the results were devoured by everyone present, including W and his cousins, who were still there from a sleepover and watched, giggling, from under the camera stand and lights. W hadn’t slept and intermittently burst into tears, but was excited to get to be in the kitchen with me – he wanted to call it the crazy pirate cooking show and came up with a Jolly Roger logo where a knife and fork replaced the crossbones, and the skull is wearing a chefs’ hat. Pretty genius, I think.

I usually don’t go for whole wheat or grainy pastas, as they tend to be as tweedy as an Oxford suit jacket. But this has a smooth mouthfeel, and the added fibre and protein comes from chickpeas and lentils, and barley, flax and oat fibre along with the traditional semolina. Pasta made with prairie ingredients! It has 14 grams (!) of protein per serving – which is pretty amazing for pasta. I admit I’m as guilty as anyone of opening jars, but this is a little more interesting than the usual ground-beef-and-tomato-sauce-pasta, and it takes less time than cooking the pasta itself – the whole thing is done in under 15 minutes. One bowl and fork. One couch. One Christmas movie. All good.

Barilla 2 Penne with Pancetta, Grape Tomatoes, Peas and Romano

Penne with Pancetta, Grape Tomatoes, Peas and Romano

Adapted from Barilla.

1/2 box Barilla PLUS® penne or other chunky pasta
1/2 cup thinly sliced prosciutto or pancetta
extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large pot of water, cook the penne according to package directions. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain and set aside.

In a large, heavy skillet, sauté the prosciutto or pancetta in a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat until crisp. Add the tomatoes and cook until the skins are slightly blistered. Add the peas (they can go in straight from the freezer, even) and cook for a few minutes. Return the pasta to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add the cooking water, tossing to combine everything and create a bit of sauce. Add the Romano, too.

Serve immediately, passing extra grated cheese at the table. Serves 4-6.

button print gry20 Penne with Pancetta, Grape Tomatoes, Peas and Romano

December 17 2013 | one dish and pasta | 5 Comments »

Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta

brussels sprout pasta 2 Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta

It’s pasta time. Also: wooly sock time and turning-on-the-furnace time. I saw my very first bin of pumpkins at the grocery store. We discussed Thanksgiving plans at dinner tonight (and ate roasted turkey, in fact). It was dark by 8:00. I’m fine with it. Really.

I’m OK with pushing aside fragile greens in favour of beets and Brussels sprouts. I’m ready. Summer is lovely, but at some point you have to stop making the most of brilliantly warm and sunny days or you’ll never get anything done. I’ve had enough of it being too hot to sleep. Bring on the seasons.

Brussels sprouts Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta

This pasta has been on my must-make list for eons, ever since Jan posted it, because shredded Brussels sprouts with pasta? Hello, delicious. I added bacon, because it gets along with pasta and Brussels sprouts so well, making this reminiscent of a kind of Brussels sprout carbonara. The hot pan, after cooking the bacon, does a brilliant job of caramelizing the shredded sprouts into a sort of salty, bacony, easy-to-twirl-on-a-fork-with-spaghetti slaw.

Brussels sprout pasta 3 Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta

I love dishes in which everything winds up in a big skillet together; in this case the hot pasta go in along with a crumble of intense, salty feta, or creamy goat cheese, which melts more quickly into everything else in the pan, and a long pour of cream. (Or not.) Either way, it’s a delicious hot mess.

brussels sprout pasta 1 Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta

Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta

1/2 lb. spaghetti or other dry pasta
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions, or until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat; once the pieces are crisp, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pan.

Add the butter to the skillet, and then the Brussels sprouts. Cook them for 5-7 minutes, tossing as needed and seasoning with salt and pepper, until they are soft and starting to turn golden on the edges.

Reserve 1/4 cup of your pasta cooking water when you drain the pasta, then and add it to the skillet along with the cream. Add some of the reserved pasta water if it seems dry, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning (this dish loves pepper) and top with feta or goat cheese, tossing once or twice to combine.

Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

pixel Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta
button print gry20 Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta

September 22 2013 | one dish and pasta | 13 Comments »

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