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Tag Archives: parmesan

My Pasta Rosa

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I’ve been looking up recipes online and through pinterest for quite some time now. And something just dawned on me. I need to stop. I have maybe 20+ cookbooks that are just sitting in the bookcase, and they are screaming at me to be used. My last cookbook purchase was Nigella Lawson’s new book, Nigellissima. Almost every recipe that I open this cookbook to, is a keeper. The one that I’ve been eyeing the most is Nigella’s Pasta Rosa.

I didn’t quite have the ingredients for her version, but I will admit I was heavily influenced by her recipe when making my own.

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Pasta Rosa

  • 2 oz (or whatever single serving of pasta you prefer) of spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup small, cooked shrimp
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp creamy horseradish sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • milk, to texture (I used almond milk, but you can use coconut, whole or part fat milks)
  • 2 tbsp or so of fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of water on stove and heat to a rolling boil. Salt the water heavily, and add the pasta. Cook till al dente, about 8 minutes or so, depending on if you’re using thin or regular spaghetti.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Heat through, about 5 minutes or so, turning occasionally. Add creme fraiche, horseradish, and paprika to the pan. Let everything melt together, creating a sort of thick sauce. Add a little bit of milk to get the desired consistency you like.

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When the pasta is done use a pasta spoon or tongs to remove from the water, and allow to drain excess liquid while holding over the pot, very minimally. The starchy water helps the sauce adhere to the pasta.

Before serving sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately, and eat greedily.


Chicken Parm Meatballs

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I love ground chicken. I love ground turkey, too. Basically, I feel like the chicken has a slightly creamy texture when cooked with. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but beef seems too, basic. It’s almost like it’s drying. Which isn’t the case if it’s not in ground form. Obviously, I’m not talking about the super lean beef, but the ground chuck that you’re supposed to use for good flavor. Nope, I just can’t do it lately, I can’t cook with beef.

I suppose that’s good for me, in the long run, so it works out.

But I have to say, I’ve used ground chicken in pasta sauces, with lasagna, stuffed into peppers, and made chili with it. I’ve been working with ground turkey less than chicken, but today I’m returning to my old poultry friend in these delicious, and giant (!) meatballs.

From Dinner, A Love Story

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill or parsley
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino (or Parm)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • paprika to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or there abouts)
  • 1 14-ounce can store bought pizza sauce (or pasta sauce, I had pasta sauce so that’s what I used)
  • about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly (I didn’t have that, so I used a shredded mozzarella blend, with a bit of cheddar mixed in)

Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.

In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 11 ingredients (everything up to the olive oil). Shape into lacrosse-ball size balls (that would be somewhere between golf and tennis) and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet.

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Brush oil on top of each meatball (I just drizzled it around them and on top so some oil got under the meatballs as well. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.  Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan.

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Serve with some pasta or potatoes. I used some spaghetti squash, to keep it healthy.

These meatballs (if the same, large, tennis ball size) are about 128 calories each. Two is more than enough, especially with a side, for a meal.

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My First Time with Spaghetti Squash

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It has been a crazy few months. This last class has been too hard to put into words. Needless to say, I have been aware that I’ve been away far too long from the blog here. I am sure that I will be keeping up now that I’ve gotten my grade for the class back (an A- woo hoo!), and with some unexpected free time, be prepared for lots of summer, healthy fun.

Onto to today’s recipe…

I’ve never eaten or cooked spaghetti squash. Till today. I went out to my local grocery store and bought it. I did the deed. And I have to say, that it was fantastic! I can’t believe that I’ve been missing out for so long, on such a delicious and simple meal. A half or a whole, with marinara or alfredo sauce, with meat or without, it’s delicious.

It took an hour to actually bake the squash, and maybe ten minutes to make the sauce and prep everything. That includes cleaning and doing the dishes while the sauce was simmering. I’m in awe, simple as that.

Recipe  slightly adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

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  • 1/2 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 milk or heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tablespoons extra for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, for optional garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, prep the squash. Cut spaghetti squash in half using a large sharp knife, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender, about an hour.

As an alternate way of baking: Poke a few holes deep into the whole squash with a paring knife. Bake for 60 minutes, remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing in half with a large serrated knife. Scoop out the seedy inside leaving the spaghetti strands.

Once squash is cooked, use a fork to gently scrape the “spaghetti” strands into the center. Place in a bowl.

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For the sauce, melt butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in milk or cream until no lumps remain. Once hot, add cheese, salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add to bowl and stir. Taste and season further.

Top each half with a pinch of red pepper flakes and fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot.

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Sweet Corn Risotto

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Today was a hot day. It was hot and it was busy. One of those days, you know. But I wanted to stand by the stove for a while, something about stirring risotto was very appealing to me. I think it just calms my nerves. In any case, as it’s about 98 degrees, I decided to go along with the heat, rather than grumble about it, and make this lovely, and sunny, sweet corn risotto.

I had to teak the recipe to my liking from the original as I had no desire to make enough to serve 8. Regardless of my tampering, the recipe came out wonderfully!

I give this a thumbs up and it was a total success.

Sweet Corn Risotto

adapted from The Novice Chef 

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallots, chopped
  • 2 medium fresh sweet corn husks, about 2 cups shaved off
  • 1  cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup pinot grigio wine (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 cans cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup Romano cheese (Parmesan), grated
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy pot (cast iron is always great), about 3 quarts, add the 3 tbsp butter and oil. Add the shallots and stir for about 2 minutes till softened, then add the garlic.

In a small saucepan or pot add the the 2 cans of stock . Bring the temperature up and allow it to slowly simmer. The broth added to the risotto must be hot in order to get properly absorbed.

sorry for the mess, I spilled a bit of the stock prior to taking the lovely photo

Cook for 30 more seconds. Add the corn and the rice. The rice has to cook a little, about 3 minutes, for it to start releasing the starches.

nice and toasty

Add in the wine and allow it to absorb completely, stirring constantly. This is a stirring heavy recipe. Stir always, I mean it.

Once that’s all set, start adding in 1-2 ladles at a time of the chicken stock waiting for the rice to absorb it between ladles, stirring constantly. Every ladle or so should take about 4-5 minutes to absorb. Rice is ready when it’s soft, I would taste it prior to the last ladle to see if you can stop there, you don’t want it to get mushy. Usually, 2 cans is just the right amount for 1 cup of rice.

Add salt and pepper to taste, I’d recommend adding less salt and more pepper, to balance the canned stock as it tends to be sodium heavy.  Add the parmesan, the last 1 tbsp butter, and the herbs.

Simmer and stir for about a minute more to make sure the cheese is melted and well incorporated.

It won’t last long, trust me. 

Martha’s Cookie of the Month and Dinner

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Martha Stewart Living for April came with a cookie of the month. That cookie was the Nutty Butters Cookie.  I’ve always wanted to make a peanut butter cookie and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Although it’s been a while since I baked, and a while since I did much of anything (what with grad school applications and work) in the kitchen.

In any case, I got the baking bug, and I knew I had to give my kitchenaid another whirl. I’ve been itching to use it for a month or so, but never thought to use it aside from muffins. And those were better served by a mixing bowl with a fork (chocolate banana muffins). Still, today was my day, and I was able to make my these lovely cookies a reality.

Total time: 1 hr 15 min

makes: 24 delicious cookies


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of your choice (I used peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (to match the butter)

Melt 1/2 stick butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add oats and cook, stirring, until toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Spread oat mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet, let cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Beat together remaining stick butter and the sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. Add nut butter, and beat on medium speed until well combined.

thick goodness

Add oat mixture and chopped nuts, and beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place cookies 1 inch apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cook completely on baking sheets.

Along with these yummy cookies I made dinner, FoodNetwork Magazines: Light Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Chiles served as my inspiration. I gave myself Friday’s as days to go crazy with the food, so I knew that since it was Saturday night it had to be a “lite” form of something, and potatoes are always my staple. Potatoes and chicken. This Saturday was no acception.

scalloped potatoes with roasted chiles and sticky lime chicken

For the potatoes:

  • 1 medium poblano chile pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 pounds new, yellow potatoes, sliced into discs
  • 2 cans chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Starting with the chile: wash it and dry it off slightly. Turn a burner on for medium-high heat and place the Chile on the grate, as shown in the image. Make sure that you keep turning it every 2 minutes or so till it’s charred, and completely black. Place on a wet paper towel and cover. Let cool.

been charring for about 5 minutes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a baking dish. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, chicken stock, cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste and bring to a boil (I used more salt, and it was sea). Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring gently, until the potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes.

By this time the chile should be cooled. Skin it, under cold water if preferred, and pat dry. Slice into strips and then into cubes.

Arrange half the potato-broth mixture int he prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle with the poblano chile pieces and the pepper jack cheese. Repeat with another later of potatoes and the parmesan on top. Bake until bubble and slightly golden, about 35 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.


For the chicken:

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • pepper
As soon as the potatoes go into the oven lower the temperature to 375 degrees. Arrange the chicken in a shallow roasting pan. Put the lime zest and juice, honey, oil, garlic, and oregano into a small bowl and mix. Spoon the mixture over the chicken to coat completely.
Roast the chicken in the oven for 35-40 minutes, basting about halfway. Take the chicken out and serve with the potatoes, which should have rested for about 10-15 minutes by now. Add 1/4 cup port to the roasting dish to de-glaze, place back in oven. Turn the temperature up to 475 and cook for 4 minutes. Spoon over the chicken.

My Version of Scalloped Potatoes

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I’m not an expert on potatoes, baked potatoes especially. It’s my secret mission to learn how to cook bacon perfectly (which I’m almost done perfecting) and how to bake potatoes perfectly.

So far I’m thinking that this is a success and is going in my notebook as such.

I am in a bit of a money squeeze this week, and probably next, and I had to use the potatoes somehow, and I’m really glad I was able to use them all.

my victims

9 red potatoes

equal parts thyme, oregano, mace, and garlic powder

butter, about 3 tablespoons for dotting on top

lots of Parmesan (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 a medium onion

2 cups heavy cream

lots of cheddar cheese (and by this I mean, about 3 cups of it)

special equipment: just a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish

The prep work:

I was freshly grating the cheddar, this is about a 1/3 of what's needed

slice as evenly as possible the potatoes

caramelized onions

So you start off by caramelizing the onions. This will take a good 20 minutes, and in the meantime, you slice the potatoes and grate the cheese. Or open the bag of already grated cheese, for lazy people, that one would get at the store. I decided to work for my supper, literally today, and grated all 3 cups of cheese necessary. Not counting the Parmesan which goes on top as a final layer of salty goodness.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Once the onions are caramelized you can start your layering process.

layer half the potatoes, like so

Dollop on as evenly as you can the first and only layer of onion on the potatoes, and follow with a layer of cheddar cheese. Repeat process by layering the potatoes again, then, this time, with the spices instead of the onions, and finally more cheddar.

Drizzle all of the heavy cream over this mixture and then dollop with some butter.

Over this add the Parmesan cheese.

dollop with the butter

Place in oven for about 55 minutes to 1 hour. But start checking it at 45 minutes, depending on your oven’s strength.

golden wonderfulness is all I can say