Monday, April 13, 2009

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!!!

Some nights, no matter how hard we try to avoid to many carbs, you just need a good pasta! I should know, I love pasta but avoided it for as long as I could! Now I realized that in moderation, Once or twice a week, pasta is a great staple, especially for college budgets as it stays good for a long time once you buy it, and if you make a big batch, it can last you and roommates if you are going to share for a week! A big plus, is that pasta is easy to make, and if you add a few extra ingredients can seem very gourmet- so you impress your friends, your boy, your family, or any one else!
Here are a few of my favorite pasta dishes!
Grandma Kays Beef a Roni
This is a favorite of my childhood, and one the best dishes my grandma makes!
1 lb macaroni ( white or wholewheat depending on your preferences- I choose whole wheat!)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can pureed tomatoes
1/4 cup chianti ( any kind)
1 tsp red chili pepper (you can actually add more if you like a spicier dish)
1 tbsp Italian herbs ( basil, cilantro etc you can buy herbs fresh or just get a mix)
1 lb lean ground beef ( can subsitute with ground turkey)
5 sweet italian sausages- squeezed out of casing (kinda gross i know but its yummy)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic

Put olive oil and garlic in a pan, cook until garlic browns just a bit, add meat and sausage and cook until brown. Reduce heat
Combine diced and pureed tomatoes, wine, and spices in a large sauce pan. Stir until just about to boil, then simmer. Once simmering add meat/sausage combination
Boil macaroni until al dente. Drain and add sauce to pasta. Sauce should just cover pasta. This is a dish where the sauce should not be too overpowering!
Serve onto plates and cover with freshly grated parmesan cheese!

Macadamia Ntu-Pesto Fettuccine
from Cooking Light
I am big sucker for pesto- I brought a food processor with me to college so I could make it!
I found this recipe on Cooking Light (which is my favorite sight and a great go to guide for any time you want to cook)
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

1 (9-ounce) package fresh fettuccine
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons roasted macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

While pasta cooks, place basil and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine basil mixture and pasta in a large bowl, tossing to coat.

Building on the Pesto theme- is this next recipe. I love to experiment with recipes and use a wide array of ingredients as you will see in these next few dishes! This is another one from cooking light- featuring sundried tomatoe pesto!


1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh linguine

3/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained

1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

2 tablespoons preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.

While pasta cooks, place tomatoes and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.

Combine tomato mixture and the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk. Add to pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta.

These Italian dishes are great served with garlic bread! Garlic bread is so easy to make from scratch!

My Garlic Bread:

1 Baguette ( I use whole wheat)

4 tbsp earth balance spread

2 cloves finely diced garlic

Cut baguette into little 2 in portions, keeping the bottom uncut so it stays together. Melt butter spread and mix with garlic. Using a basting brush spread in between pieces and pour any excess over the baguette. Put in foil and cook on 350 for 20 min!




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