Scampi Primavera

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It seems I got this recipe from a box of Ronzoni pasta long ago. It’s been a standard in our home for many years.  Always a little different, but always delicious.

2-3 portions

  • 1/2 box (about 1/2 pound) of pasta (Fusili as shown in photo is our favorite.)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped lemon peel
  • 1-2 carrots, cut in 2-inch thin strips
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, cut in 2-inch thin strips
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, cut in 2-inch thin strips
  • .5 – .7 lb cleaned medium shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (also have used chicken broth)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (or 1- 2 teaspoons dry)
  • 2 tablespoons torn Italian parsley (optional)

Cook pasta as directed on package.  Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet, add and stir garlic and lemon peel about 30 seconds. Add vegetables. I normally add the carrot first. Then add zucchini and shrimp.  Cook, stirring in lemon juice, salt and pepper and red pepper.  Stir in basil or parsley when the shrimp is pink all over and just cooked through.

I pour my cooked pasta into the skillet so it will absorb the juices. (warning; you don’t have to put all pasta in; You don’t want to drown out the shrimp and veggies with too much pasta. Put only as much in as you feel will balance the shrimp and veggies.  If I have it I may add a bit of chicken broth to keep everything slightly juicy.  Of course I sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top as well

Published in: on March 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lemon Pepper Shrimp & Green Bean Pasta

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Not exactly sure where this recipe comes from. I suspect it was one that I created based on other recipes.  It’s definitely something you can mess around with to make according to your taste. You could easily swap out the green beans for broccoli or asparagus.  Key is always good shrimp. These were wild-caught from Mexico, our favorite.  This makes two portions.

  • 1/2 lb shrimp – Rinse, peel and devein. Keep shells to make broth
  • Green beans cooked al denté and cut in 2 – 3 inch lengths
  • Pasta for 2 cooked al denté
  • 2-3 Tbsp. red, yellow or orange pepper cut in small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine or minced
  • olive oil and butter

Marinade:

  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour 1/2 over peeled shrimp.  Let set about 30 minutes, turning occasionally while you cook beans and prepare other ingredients.

Put shrimp shells  in small pan.  Fill water to just cover shells.  Add sliced garlic, dash of creole seasoning, celery green, bay leaf. Let simmer.  Add salt to taste and anything else you have on hand that you think might make the broth better  — e.g. parsley, dash of wine, etc.

Cook pasta and start combining the sauce below about 5 minutes before the pasta is finished.  You want to pour hot, al denté pasta into the sauce.

  1. Saute garlic, onion in oil and butter in a pan large enough for the entire dish.
  2. Add shrimp and cook just till pink on both sides.
  3. Add peppers and cooked green beans.
  4. Add remaining marinade and cook a minute or 2.
  5. Add pasta and broth, about 1/4 cup.
  6. Stir well and keep adding small amounts of broth till pasta has soaked up broth flavor. But don’t allow it to become mushy! Your goal is flavorful but firm pasta.
  7. Add spices to taste such as dill, basil, oregano.
  8. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top when serving.

 

Published in: on December 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spinach Lasagna with non-precooked Noodles

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I got this recipe from my friend Susan Baranowski back in the 70s when I had never heard of not needing to pre-cook lasagna noodles so it was an instant hit with me.  Now I see this as pretty common in recipes for lasagna, but I’ve always stuck to this one.

These days I normally use jarred marinara sauce rather than make the sauce the recipe calls for. The only problem is that jars only have 24 oz. and I think the sauce recipe below will yield a little more which you really do need. You need to have 3 layers of sauce so be sure to portion it out so you have enough for the third layer. If you like lasagna juicy, have a little more than the standard 24 oz jar on hand. (Or, stretch your sauce with a 1/2 cup of wine!) Actually it’s always good to have a little more on hand.  If you even slightly overcook it, it can be slightly dry and you’ll appreciate being able to top with a little more warm sauce when serving.

Sauce:

  • 1 (29 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp onion salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley

In a medium saucepan combine all sauce ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Lasagna

  • 1/2 lb lasagna noodles (I put in as many as fit in the two layers. Don’t think it’s 1/2 lb, but it’s what fits in the pan)
  • 1 lb ricotta or cottage cheese (standard packaging has been reduced to 15 oz. these days)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package (10 oz?) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well so excess water is all gone (I’ve also used 16  oz. of fresh spinach leaves, chopped coarsely, wilted, and drained well)
  • Ev’s extras:
    •  2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 large onion, chopped fairly small
    • mushrooms – as many as I have and want to add
    • 1 small Italian sausage (optional)
  • 1/2 lb sliced or shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Assemble lasagna.

  1. Saute onion in a little olive oil briefly until just starting to get translucent.  Add garlic and mushrooms.  Stir and cook another minute or two until mushrooms get slightly soft. Mix into drained spinach.
  2. Combine Ricotta and Parmesan cheese with Spinach mixture and mix well.
  3. Cover bottom of a 11-3/4 X  7 1/2  X  1-3/4 inch baking dish with sauce.
  4. Arrange uncooked noodles to fit on top of sauce. (Usually 3 fit with 3rd one needing a trim.) Press lightly into sauce.
  5. Cover lasagna with more sauce. (If adding sausage, put it in with sauce) (The sauce cooks the noodles so don’t be too stingy.)
  6. Spoon 1/2 of the ricotta/spinach mixture over noodles.
  7. Place second layer of noodles; add another layer of sauce, then rest of ricotta/spinach mixture.
  8. Cover with remaining sauce.
  9. Cover top with Mozzarella.
  10. Cover with Aluminum foil. (This will stick to the cheese as it cooks so I always put 4 toothpicks in the lasagna to keep the foil off the cheesy top.)
  11. Bake covered at 375 for 45 minutes.
  12. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more. Let stand before serving.
  13. May be frozen after baking in individual portions. (never did that, but sounds like a good idea)

lasagna

Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stuffed Shells with Turkey and Eggplant

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This was one of my first attempts to slip turkey into our meals.  As the article on the recipe says, “Turkey in this form is low in fats, calories and cholesterol when compared with most other meats.”  There’s so much “stuff” in the stuffing that Luigi never really noticed that it was turkey rather than beef.  In the meantime I cook with a lot of turkey and he is used to it. I don’t make this much any more so whenever I do make it, Louis is quite thrilled, turkey stuffing or not.

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup grated, peeled eggplant
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup red wine OR water
  • 1 tsp. each garlic salt, oregano, basil
  • 1/2 tsp. each tarragon and crushed red pepper
  • 1 package (12 ounces) jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

Brown turkey, onion, eggplant and garlic in hot oil, but do  not burn; season with salt and pepper and reserve. Simmer tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and seasonings for 15 minutes. Cook pasta shells until done, but still firm; drain. Combine turkey mixture and Parmesan cheese with half of tomato sauce.  Stuff shells; place in 9 by 13-inch pan.  Spoon remaining sauce over each and top with Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: If shells are stuffed ahead of time and refrigerated, do not add sauce or grated cheese until just before baking and increase cooking time by 8 to 10 minutes.  I have also frozen them by first placing them in the freezer on a  baking pan so they don’t touch.  When they were frozen I tossed them into a freezer bag.  When I  was ready to use them, I defrosted them, added the sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked till they were heated through. Tasted just as yummy to us as the freshly made ones.

Published in: on October 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ravioli with Pesto Sauce

Ev wrote:

I know this looks awful.  Cheese-filled ravioli and pesto sauce from Costco with the addition of sliced red pepper and just-picked tomatoes from my balcony tomato plant to try to help the whole thing along.  But basically this pesto is too greasy for me. It was like warm, mushy baby food which is always a comfort in spite of how it looks. Oh, and then there was the red wine and salad, so not a complete loss.

Here’s a prettier sight.  My tomato plant is still going strong.  It’s got new flowers as well as some tomatoes ready to eat.

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca is a no-cook sauce of fresh tomatoes and olive oil, a favorite dinner when I’ve got sweet summer tomatoes. It’s one of the few “seasonal” recipes left because the tomatoes must be good (no boring winter tomatoes for this dish) and you need fresh basil. (absolutely no cheating with dried basil allowed)

It’s also the perfect Italian supper for warm summer nights because you only have to cook pasta. The sauce stays cold and you can make it earlier in the day when it’s cool enough to be in the kitchen. I’ve found various recipes, but this is what I generally use for two people:

• 2 fresh medium to large tomatoes that are sweet, but firm. I also like to use grape or other small sweet tomatoes. You need to chop the tomatoes and even the grape tomatoes need to be sliced once. You want the juice of the tomato to form the sauce.

• Black olives, coarsely chopped, about 3 or 4 tblsp, but add according to your taste.

• Garlic (at least 2 cloves chopped fine)

• Lots of fresh basil (original recipe calls for about 20 torn leaves)

• Capers (about 1 tablespoon, but again, depending on your taste for these salty little balls)

• Olive oil (maybe up to 1/4 cup for two)

Stir all ingredients gently and let stand for at least half an hour.

Cook rotini (curly) pasta, (good because all the good juices will stick to it) drain, and immediately mix with tomato mixture. Stir gently with a big spoon to let the pasta soak up the sauce. Add parmesan cheese and red pepper and salt to taste.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Shrimp pasta

A perennial favorite! 

And not just because it is not leftovers, like the last three nights {duck & cover!}

No really, this one is a favorite!


Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mescolanza Italiana

Mmm bene!

Nothing like Italian when you don’t even have to work for it! But Ev had the concept, so she can give the details…


We had a few different things in the frig that were Italian so I figured I could serve them as various courses and call it Italian Melange.  We had canneloni and tortelonni that we brought from Lorna’s on New Years Eve.  So voila! we had a pasta primi.  Then I had some  chicken with spinach cream sauce left from a previous meal.  Aha!  el Secondi! — Carne.  (but I made fresh cream sauce and added a bunch more spinach so it was much better than the first time I made it.)  Then, as the third course we had our salad. I think the French have the salad after the main meal; not sure, but Louis likes to “cleanse the palate” with a salad.  Oh, and I almost forgot the bread which really made the meal a hit.  We had a good asiago cheese baguette that was perfect for sopping up the cream sauce with the chicken and then as an addition to the salad.

Typical Lou thinks you don’t have to “work for ” the meal, but I still had to make the spinach cream sauce and chop everything for the salad.  Meal prep was an easy ride, but not a free ride.

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Year’s Eve Italian


Lorna’s — an Italian restaurant that’s been in San Diego at least as long as we have been.  Pretty casual and for some reason it reminds me of San Francisco restaurants.  Food has varied in quality over the years, but this year we were quite pleased.  The first pleasant experience was seeing a sign that said wines were 1/2 price on Thursdays and it was Thursday!

We asked the waiter and in spite of the fact that it was New Years Eve they were still running that special so waahoo! half-price wine!  Lou wanted to go for the cheapest wine, but I decided that we could order the most expensive wine on the menu and still pay 2 dollars less than what we would have paid for the least expensive wine had there been no special— so still a bargain.  I don’t think it was my logic that won; I just ordered the most expensive bottle and the waiter quickly left the table to get it.

Bread was warm and very good, and that is always a good sign. The salad came next which seemed out of order.  I thought you get your appetizer and then your dinner salad.  The salad seemed bigger than in previous years and was just OK.  Then came the appetizer which was very good.  Roasted egg plant and peppers with gorganzola cheese.  Warm, cheesy mush…. yum… and with that good bread… very yummy.  Main course was canneloni for Luigi and a special of the day for me — house-made 4-cheese chicken tortelloni with a creamy tomato sauce.  It was excellent!  Luigi was also happy with his canneloni.

No dessert as christmas cookies were waiting at home.

And the wine… well, it was OK.  Hard to believe that they regularly charge $35 for it.  I would have been very disappointed had we paid that much for it, but it was good at half the price.

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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Butternut squash ravioli a la Nathan

Special creation by chef Nathan in the mmm-dinner blog! It fits because it was serendipitous – the macademia nuts, for example, just happened to be sitting on the counter. Nice work!


Ev: But there was so much more good stuff that we need to learn about.  He used the orange pepper sliced in tiny slivers and I think brown sugar… ??  Nathan please let us know what you did in a comment.

This was not the only item on the menu.  We also had lasagna with Chicken Meatballs (from Costco) and a cucumber salad made of Persian Cucumbers and the Creme Fraiche with horseradish sauce from the day before (really good).

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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