Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables 2 (640x480)

I love this recipe. Not only is this dish beautiful to look at, it is delicious and healthy, as well. This dish is perfect for summer because it’s not too heavy and it is bursting with fresh flavors, but it is also good anytime of the year.  Frozen corn works perfectly well when fresh is not available.  If you are gluten free you can use the corn spaghetti (which I get at the health food store) instead of regular spaghetti. I like crumbled goat cheese over the top, but parmesan or feta is good also.

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables (640x480)

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables

8 ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons corn oil or butter
1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 cups corn kernels, from 3 ears of corn
1 bell pepper, any color, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 tomatoes, halved, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 ounces queso fresco, feta, goat cheese, or parmesan

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and add the scallions, corn, bell pepper, and chile. Saute over high heat for 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, most of the cilantro, and a ladle of the pasta water. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a little pepper and turn the heat to low. Drain the pasta, shaking off the excess water. Add it to the vegetables and toss well. Divide among pasta plates, crumble the cheese over the top, and add the remaining cilantro.


Cavatappi with Rapini

I bought a beautiful bunch of rapini (also known as broccoli rabe). I thought it would go really well with pasta for a quick meal suitable for my low iodine diet. I thought this dish turned out better than expected. It’s so simple and not too heavy. Once off LID, I would probably add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Cavatappi with Rapini

Cavatappi with Rapini

1 large bunch of rapini (broccoli rabe), washed, stem ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound (1/2 a box) cavatappi or other pasta (like penne, fusilli, rotini, etc…) (I used Ronzoni brand cavatappi)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 Roma tomato, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of Kosher salt and the rapini. Cook until the rapini becomes bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes. Next, add the cooked and drained rapini, white wine, and chopped tomato. Bring to a boil and then add the drained pasta. Stir to combine and let cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Veggie Pasta Salad

This is an easy pasta salad that is open to interpretation. It is great for parties.  Play around with the pasta shapes and the types of veggies added.  If I don’t have Salad Supreme, I’ll add a few shakes of Mrs. Dash instead. My mother-in-law makes this pasta salad using spaghetti. It’s the best thing she makes.

Veggie Pasta Salad

1 16 oz. pkg. small shell (or fusilli or rotini) pasta – cooked, rinsed and drained
8 oz. Wishbone Italian dressing (or your favorite italian dressing)
4 T. McCormick’s Salad Supreme (this has cheese in it…so you could leave it out or use something else)
5 cups of assorted raw vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces
some veggies you can use:
cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
broccoli florets
carrots, peeled and sliced
grape tomatoes, halved
red onion , chopped
bell peppers (any color), chopped
black olives, sliced

Combine all ingredients and marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours.


Anthony Bourdain’s Baked Macaroni

I have never made/baked macaroni this way. I usually make a bechemel type sauce, add shredded cheddar cheese to make a creamy cheese sauce to mix with cooked macaroni (I usually also toss in steamed broccoli or cauliflower too). I almost never bake my macaroni.  Anyway, I wanted to try this method.  I cut this recipe out of some magazine years ago and saved it because I enjoy Anthony Bourdain’s shows (A Cook’s Tour and No Reservations) and books.  The recipe was easy to put together, but I thought it turned out kinda greasy, dry, and lacking flavor.  I didn’t really care for the crunchiness of the mac either.  It just wasn’t what I am used to.  So, I will stick to my version of macaroni and cheese which always turns out creamy and excellent.

Anthony Bourdain’s Baked Macaroni

1 lb macaroni, such as elbow or penne
3/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
16 ounces (about 4 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 T. butter
1 quart (4 cups of whole milk

Cook pasta in boiling water 3 to 5 minutes less than package directs.  Drain well.

Meanwhile heat oven 400 degrees and grease a 13 X 9-inch baking dish.

Spread about 1/3 of the pasta in the prepared dish.  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, some pepper, and 1/3 of the cheese.  Dot with 1/2 T. butter.  Repeat layers twice, dotting the top layer with 1 T. butter.  Don’t tamp down the pasta; it will make the dish too dense.  Pour milk over top.

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how crisp you like the top.


Quick Spaghetti Sauce

This is another recipe I developed for my kids’ cooking class.  It’s a scaled down version of a sauce I have been making for years.  I just love this sauce.  The whole can of tomato paste really gives it a concentrated flavor, as if the sauce had been simmering for hours.  Sometimes I add anItalian herb blend from Penzey’s to the sauce.  This sauce freezes really well.

Quick Spaghetti Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions (about 1 small onion)
1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (diced if you like a chunky sauce)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
pinch black pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and the remaining ingredients.  Cook, stirring
occasionally, for about 5 more minutes, or until sauce is heated through.


Penne Pasta with Spinach and Feta Cheese

From March 6, 2006:  I made this quick and easy pasta dish for dinner tonight. I loved the sunflower seeds in it! I did things a little bit different than the recipe states. As soon as the spinach wilted a bit, I added the cooked penne and the feta cheese to the mixture and tossed it all together in the pan. I used the Barilla Penne Plus which is a great tasting multi-grain pasta, which contains more fiber and protein than regular pasta, and even has omega-3 fatty acids. The next time I make this recipe, I will use chopped fresh rosemary instead of the dried. Tonight, without thinking, I measured out the dried rosemary and dumped it into the pan without first picking out the woody stems and crushing it a bit in the palm of my hand. I want to thank PT, list mom of The Feral Vegetarian for sharing this recipe.

Penne Pasta with Spinach and Feta Cheese

1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sea salt ~ or to taste
1/2 bunch spinach, washed and chopped
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Saute seeds and garlic in the olive oil for 2 minutes. Add herbs and spices, and stir. Add spinach and tomatoes, cooking until the greens wilt down a bit, about 2 minutes. Serve over penne pasta, cooked al dente. Crumble feta cheese over top before serving.


Pasta e ceci (pasta & chickpea soup)

Pasta e ceci (pasta & chickpea soup)

From July 31, 2008:  We got back from our trip to the beach in Ocean City, Maryland today and wanted something quick and healthy for dinner.  I remembered this super simple soup from Rome.  Last year I was teaching  topical cooking classes at my school.  When we studied Rome, I taught the kids to make some modern dishes from that region of Italy.  The kids loved this soup!  The children apparently went home and raved about the soup because I had a couple of moms come ask me for the recipe.  It is quite good…simple and inexpensive. ..the Roman way!  Tonight, this soup paired with a tossed salad made the perfect homecoming meal.

Pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpea soup)

4 cups vegetable broth
1 16 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, to taste
4 oz. short pasta (or break spaghetti into fourths)

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy soup pot and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender.