Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summertime Spaghetti

Looking for a light, yet satisfying summertime pasta?  Look no further than my simple "Summertime Spaghetti" featured on The Daily Meal today!  Check out the recipe here!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pesto + Sun-dried Tomato + Shrimp Pasta

In the past, I've never been afraid to admit that I take shortcuts in the kitchen from time to time.  In fact, for the everyday guy or gal that finds cooking to be troublesome, I actually encourage the semi-homemade approach.

Of course, I say that full and well knowing that the Sandra Lee jokes will soon start to follow.  More or less, what I'm trying to say is that you don't always have to make everything from scratch to pull off an outstanding, healthy meal at home.

Take this recipe as an example.  I often find inspiration while walking the aisles of the grocery store - surveying what's on sale, what looks good, etc. as a guide to my nightly meal.  Whole Foods had some fresh GA shrimp on sale, so that was my starting point.  The unseasonably warm weather also had my mind focused on bright, fresh flavors.  But alas, my basil plant has yet to sprout, and purchasing enough of those $2.99 packets of fresh basil to make my own pesto would have been, well - unreasonable.

So I took a shortcut by picking up a freshly prepared jar of basil in the refrigerated section at the store.  Don't get me wrong - I'd always prefer to make my own pesto, assuming I have the ingredients on hand - fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and EVOO.  It's quite simple actually.  But without these ingredients on hand, it can be pretty expensive.

Better yet - the store-bought pesto turned out to be pretty darn good.

So, the next time you are thinking about hitting up the drive through or giving in to an expensive restaurant meal, think about taking a shortcut AT HOME.

It's cheaper, healthier, and more satisfying than letting someone else do all the work.  Even if you did 'cheat' - just a little.



Pesto + Sun-dried Tomato + Shrimp Pasta 
(Prep 5 mins, Cook 15 mins, Serves 2)

10 oz Dry Barilla Plus Rotini Pasta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb Fresh Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
1/2 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 Cup Prepared Pesto

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add pasta and cook for 10 - 11 minutes, or al dente.  Drain pasta and set aside to keep warm.  Meanwhile, add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat; add shrimp.  Saute shrimp for 3 - 4 minutes, or until just pink and firm.  Add pasta, tomatoes, and pesto to the pan and toss until thoroughly combined and shrimp are cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and serve.  (Can also be served at room temp/cold)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pan Seared Salmon with Whole Grain Spaghetti Pesto

Thankfully, training season - and my marathon - is over (for the year).  I probably won't miss logging 60+ miles per week, but I am going to miss my ability to eat whatever I wanted without feeling any guilt.  Especially carbs.

Daylight savings time is pretty depressing for someone like myself.  The idea darkness arriving by 4:30 p.m. everyday is frustrating - especially if you want to be outside taking in the sights and sounds of mother nature.

Nevertheless, there is comfort in a heaping bowl of pasta.  I've never been much of a sweets guy, so I typically drown my sorrows in a bowl of Linguine rather than a quart of Rocky Road.  To each his own, right? 

Anywho, I thought I would share one of my favorite training dishes that makes use of lean protein and Omega 3's with whole grain pasta and a fresh pesto.  Honestly, this ain't that bad for you... good fats, good carbs, and lean protein. 

Pike's Peak Marathon and the Grand Tetons - I'm coming for you.

Oh - and for those of you looking for great Thanksgiving recipes, please shoot us a request at with the item you are looking to prepare.  We'll do our best to shoot you an outstanding recipe before the big day.

Pan Seared Salmon with Whole Grain Spaghetti Pesto

1 8 oz Salmon Filet
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 oz Whole Grain Spaghetti
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Parmigiano Reggianno Cheese
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add salmon filet and season liberally on both sides with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Cook for 4 - 5 minutes per side, remove from heat and set aside to rest.  Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boiling and cook spaghetti until al dente, about 8 minutes, or box instructions.  In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, pine nuts, and basil leaves until broken down and smooth.  Add the lemon juice, cheese, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and pulse to incorporate.  Finally, with the processor running, slowly stream in olive oil to create an emulsion.  Remove and strain pasta and toss in the pesto sauce, ensuring an even distribution of the pesto in the pasta.  Top with salmon filet and serve.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sautéed Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Peas over Penne w/ Parmesan Cream Sauce

This week's cool weather is a a welcome change from the soaring three-digit temperatures and suffocating humidity we've experienced down south all summer long.

Unfortunately, a turn towards colder weather immediately amps up my craving for comfort food.  Thankfully it's marathon training season again, so I imagine I'll counteract the extra calories with plenty of miles.

That being said, this meal isn't a caloric disaster.  In fact, with the exception of the cream/cheese/butter - the rest of the ingredients, in moderation, are quite healthy.  Besides, I'd rather give in to extra 'homemade' calories than outsource them from a drive-thru or chain restaurant.

Keeping in the theme of cheap, simple meals - this dish is sure to suffice.



Sautéed Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Peas over Penne w/ Parmesan Cream Sauce

 8 oz Barilla Plus Penne Pasta
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Cup Frozen Green Peas
1 lb Medium (21 - 30 ct) Shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 Cup Dry White Wine
8 oz Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, plus more for garnish/taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add penne pasta and cook just under al dente, about 10 minutes, drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter into the olive oil.  Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until browned and tender, about 3 - 4 minutes.  Next add peas and shrimp and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, or until shrimp just begin to firm and turn pink.  Remove entire contents of the pan to a plate to keep warm;  return the pan to the heat.  Next, add the wine to deglaze the hot pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Allow the wine to reduce by 1/2, or 2 - 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low, add cream, and allow to simmer and reduce for 4 - 5 minutes; taste, adjust seasoning, and keep a close eye on the cream to prevent from boiling.  When the cream has reduced by 1/2, add the mushroom/pea/shrimp mixture into the cream to finish cooking.  Toss in cooked pasta and cheese, and mix thoroughly until well combined.  Remove from heat and serve with grated Parmesan to taste.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Back to the Basics

Sometimes it's the simple things . . . Sure, a recipe that requires French translation sounds impressive, but it may not always be on the mark.  Depending on your audience (beautiful dining partner), your efforts may be lost in translation.

Over the next few weeks, I'm focusing my work on simple meals.  Stay tuned for more quick and easy meals on my site, along with a few forthcoming articles that I've written for your favorite publications.  For those of you looking for something more complicated, just scroll through the last few months of posts, and I'm sure you will find meals to satisfy your palate, and your time.

When most people think of summertime, high humidity, and three-digit temperatures, the last meal they typically consider is a satisfying bowl of spaghetti.  After all, that's comfort food, right?

Wrong.  The following recipe is light, fresh, healthy, and easy.  

Somewhere along the Atkins Diet craze, people decided that eating pasta was akin to killing your neighbor's dog.  Sure, it's not the greatest thing to slurp up a bowl of noodles and sit on your ass, but then again, when has it ever been good to be a gluttonous sloth? (College Football weekends aside)  In this case, I've gone with a high fiber pasta that's lower on the glycemic index (carbs) than your traditional variety.  Of course, whole grain or wheat pasta could also be used.

The main rule of using fresh, quality ingredients is even more important in a recipe that requires so few items.  In other words, choose your ingredients wisely.  With that said, this meal is still easy on the wallet.

Simple. Easy. Cheap - oh là là.


Summertime Spaghetti
10 - 12 oz Barilla Plus Spaghetti
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Large (28 oz) Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes, preferably San Marzano variety
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
6 - 8 Fresh Basil Leaves
Crumbled Feta Cheese

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic and saute until tender, careful not to brown.  While tilting the pan away from you, add the entire contents of the canned tomatoes to the pan.  Using the back of a wooden spoon, break apart the whole tomatoes.  Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to medium and allow sauce to simmer and reduce while the pasta is cooking.  Add pasta to boiling water and cook until just under al dente, about 8 minutes.  Using tongs, remove pasta from the boiling water, draining off excess water, and add to the sauce.  Toss the pasta thoroughly in the sauce to coat the spaghetti and finish cooking, about 1 - 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Carefully stack, roll, and slice the basil leaves into long thin strips, or chiffonade.  Add a generous portion of the pasta and sauce to each serving plate.  Top with crumbled feta and fresh basil.  Serve.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fresh Clams over Linguine

It's time to branch out beyond the standard seafood fare of fish, shrimp, and scallops.  Out of habit, or out of fear, most of us tend to stick with what we know - especially with regards to food.

I decided to change things up a bit this weekend by creating a pasta around fresh littleneck clams.  Honestly, preparing clams couldn't be easier, and because they are often neglected by consumers, most markets are willing to offer these little guys at a very reasonable price.  The next time you are considering paying $15 - $20 per pound for jumbo shrimp or sea scallops, pick up a bag of clams.  Their sweet and delicate meat is sure to satisfy you and your beautiful dining partner.

I upped the ante by stopping off to visit Tom Lazzaroli to pick up some of his fresh linguine at Lazzaroli pasta.  I went with his straw/hay variety to add a bit more color to the final product.  As always, Tom's pasta was perfect.  For those outside of Nashville, do a little research on Italian markets in your hometown. Whenever possible, it's always best to use fresh ingredients.

I created a simple appetizer with a few odds and ends I had lying around.  Toasted French bread, sliced Salumi Hot Soppressatta, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and a jarred bruschetta mix a friend of mine brought back for me from Paris.  Sounds fancy, but incredibly easy.  4 kick-ass ingredients, simply served together.

Finally, I paired everything up with a nice French Bourgogne Blanc (Chardonnay) wine.  An oak-y California Chardonnay or a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc would also work nicely.

Fresh Clams over Linguine - when working with clams, it's important to only use those that are tightly closed.  Discard any clams that have opened before cooking.  Serve some toasted French bread on the side of this meal to 'sop' up the juices from the bottom of the bowl.  

Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
8 oz Fresh Linguine Pasta
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Chopped Italian Parsley
1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (see above)
25 - 30 Fresh Littleneck Clams, thoroughly rinsed
2 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter, diced
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated 

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.  Meanwhile, in a large stainless skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil; heat until oil runs fast and shimmers in the pan.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and saute 45 seconds - 1 minute, careful not to brown.  Next add diced tomatoes, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and simmer until mixture is reduced by half; about 3 minutes.  Add wine and chopped parsley and simmer for another 2 - 3 minutes; add a pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Add clams to mixture, cover tightly, and cook 4 -5 minutes, or until clam shells have completely opened.  Add pasta to boiling water and cook until just under al dente, 3 - 4 minutes.  When clams have opened and pasta is cooked, strain pasta and add into the pan with the clams and sauce; add butter.  Thoroughly toss pasta with the other ingredients to ensure an even coat.  Garnish with remaining parsley and top with grated cheese to taste.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grilled Skirt Steak with Orzo Pasta Salad

For anyone who's walked outside in the past two weeks, one thing is certain . . . it's hot.  Summer is definitely alive and well, especially down South.   Though I find myself eating lighter meals during the summer months, that doesn't mean I skimp on flavor.  The following dish provides a great warm/cool contrast that's absolutely perfect for a summer cookout.

If you're not familiar with Skirt Steak, you are missing out.  This flavorful cut is most often used in preparing Fajitas, as its tender and flavorful texture takes well to a heavy marinade.  More recently, I've been serving Skirt Steak as the star of the show.  When sliced thin and on the bias, it offers an affordable alternative to a Strip, Ribeye, or Filet.

Pair this up with either an Oregon Pinot Noir or a spicy SA Zinfandel.



Grilled Skirt Steak with Orzo Pasta Salad

1 lb. Skirt Steak
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Cup Orzo Pasta
1/4 Red Onion, finely diced
1/2 Cucumber, finely diced
8 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1/4 Cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 Teaspoon Fresh Mint, chopped
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

In a shallow baking dish, season steak with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and toss in olive oil and vinegar to coat; set aside at room temperature.  Meanwhile, heat a salted pot of water to boiling over high heat, add orzo and cook until al dente, 3 - 4 minutes; drain and set in fridge to cool 15 minutes.  Heat grill over medium high heat and grill steaks 2 - 3 minutes per side for medium rare; remove from heat and allow steaks to rest.  Remove chilled orzo from fridge and add remaining ingredients along with 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  Toss well to combine and plate.  Slice steak thin and on the bias and plate next to orzo salad.  Serve immediately.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shrimp Scampi over Linguine

Friday, February 26, 2010

Salumi/Lazzaroli Pasta

Last week I stopped in to visit Tom at Lazzaroli Pasta to pick up a few items for our book signing.  Anyone who's taken the time to stop by his Germantown store knows that his pastas, raviolis, and sauces are some of the best in town.  In fact, many of you may not even be aware that you've enjoyed his product.  Tom provides quite a bit of the fresh pasta freatured on the menu at City House located just a few blocks away.  Drop by, peruse, and get to know Tom and his wife.  I promise, the service is just as good as their products.

The secret is already out, but Tom has procured (and sold) one of the best and most highly sought after artisan cured meats produced by Salumi in Seattle.  Seriously, there wasn't much left of this product last week, and I have plans to stop back in to clear the shelves!  The smoked paprika salami is out of this world.  For the more adventurous, he's also got some Guanciali in stock that can be used as a pancetta or bacon substitute.

If you've turned on the Food Network anytime in the last 10 years, you've probably come across a portly fellow with shoes matching his ginger hair.  I'm talking about Iron Chef-extrodinaire Mario Batali.  Anyways, Salumi is owned and operated by Batali's family . . . need I say more?

Apparently, Tom was pretty persistent over the years in getting this product in our area.  Nashville is lucky to have someone who is so passionate about great food!  Stop in today and pick up what's left, and be sure to kindly urge (beg) the folks at Salumi to keep it coming by dropping them an email at (

Keep peaceful!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

House Made Rigatoni with Pancetta, Onion, and Spinach in a Tomato Creme Sauce with Ricotta Salata

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Pesto Linguine and Roasted Tomatoes