Tag Archives: pasta recipes

10 of My Favorite Pasta Recipes

When the weather blows cold and the snow and rain fall in heaps, there’s literally nothing better than a nice big bowl of soul-soothing pasta.  Whether it’s a cheese sauce, a tomato sauce, a beer sauce, or a garlic sauce, these delicious pasta recipes are sure to warm you up from the inside out!

To make today an even BETTER day for eating pasta, it’s WORLD PASTA DAY!  I mean if that’s not the perfect excuse, I don’t know what is.

Pinterest Top 10:  My Favorite Pasta Recipes

pasta-recipes

Creamy Mozzarella Sun-Dried Tomato Tortellini

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Chicken Parmesan Pasta Skillet

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One Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta

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Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

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Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

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Crispy and Baked Toasted Ravioli

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Pasta with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

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Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce

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Slow Cooker Beer Mac & Cheese

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Orecchiette with Baked Mini Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

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Want to see more of my favorite recipes?  Check out my Pinterest board, Favorite Recipes!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Baked Penne with Spicy Chicken

This yummy pasta recipe is so easy to make and tastes delicious! This recipe gives you enough to make two casseroles, so you can cook up one tonight and freeze the other for later in the month.

Filled with sun-dried tomatoes, provolone, and Parmesan cheese, this pasta dish explodes with great flavor. Cooking the mushrooms ahead of time also add a depth of flavor that’s really tasty.

I like a little spice in my food, so I seasoned my chicken with some cayenne pepper to add a little heat. You could also add red pepper flakes right to the sauce if you’re looking for something with a bigger kick.

Served with a Greek salad, this casserole makes a wonderful and easy dinner for any night of the week.

 

Baked Penne with Spicy Chicken

*Adapted from Marta Stewart’s Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe.

baked-penne-spicy-chicken-recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 pounds penne rigate
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders (you can also use chicken breasts, but tenders cook up quicker and are usually more budget-friendly)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 (8.5 oz.) cans oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups shredded provolone cheese
  • 1½ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter two shallow baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salt water, cook pasta just short of al dente. Drain and return to pot.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken as desired. Cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. OPTIONAL: I pre-cooked the mushrooms here because I like getting a nice brown on them. You don’t need to do this if you don’t want…but it does add great flavor to the pasta! I just cooked them in the same pan I cooked the chicken in to pick up that great flavor.
  4. In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, for 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute.
  5. Remove pot from heat and add provolone and 1 cup Parmesan.
  6. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes. Sprinkle each with ¼ cup Parmesan.
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  7. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

To Freeze: Prepare your casserole through step 6; let cool. Cover dish tightly with foil and freeze. Pasta will stay up to three months. To Bake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place covered dish in oven and bake until center is hot, about 1½ hours. Remove foil and bake until top is golden, about 15 minutes.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Cheese Ravioli with Peas and Arugula

I don’t know about you, but I love anything with arugula in it.  Spicy and refreshing, this green adds a great bite to everything from a plain salad to a pasta dish.  In this Cheese Ravioli with Peas and Arugula recipe, it brings a bright, springy flavor to this comforting winter stable.

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I meant to make this meal with smaller mini raviolis, which are better for cooking and browning in the pan, but all I could find were these larger rounds.  They did work really well and gave this dish a nice look, but the raviolis did tend to fall apart once I tried browning them.  Something to look out for if you decide to tackle this recipe.

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Like all my favorite recipes, this one can easily be altered to suit your needs.  If you want more/less peas, bacon, arugula, or want to try adding something totally wonky, go for it!  Despite the fact that this recipe uses heavy cream, it’s actually quite light.  It’s wonderful in the winter, but would also be a great dish for the spring.

And, like most other pasta dishes, this one is quite tasty cold, as well!

 

Cheese Ravioli with Peas and Arugula Recipe

cheese-ravioli-with-peas-and-arugula-recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 20-ounce package frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Cook frozen ravioli according to package directions.  Drain ravioli and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.  Add the ravioli and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the frozen peas, heavy cream, and garlic powder into the saucepan.  Mix carefully so ravioli doesn’t rip apart.
  4. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce is proper consistency.
  5. Add arugula and toss until arugula begins to wilt, about 1 minute.

 

Do you like arugula?  Share your favorite arugula recipe below!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Spicy Sausage and Spinach Gnocchi Recipe

Looking for a delicious and easy recipe to feed your soul?  Look no further than this delicious Spicy Sausage and Spinach Gnocchi recipe.  Great for cold winter evenings (and perfect for a meal for 2!), this recipe is just spicy enough to make it insanely addicting!

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It may seem weird to not cook the gnocchi in water before browning them, but trust me, this trick works.  Pre-cooking the pasta in water makes it soft and tender and makes browning basically impossible without ruining the pasta.  The “dry cooking” of the pasta gives the gnocchi a yummy crunch on the outside and still keeps the pasta tender and soft on the inside.

spicy sausage and spinach gnocchi recipe

The spicy turkey sausage really adds great flavor to this dish, but if you’re not a fan of spice, you can easily use mild sausage as well.  The reason I chose spicy sausage was that gnocchi really doesn’t have much flavor on its own and adding spicy sausage gave it a great kick that puts this recipe over the top!

 

Spicy Sausage and Spinach Gnocchi Recipe

Spicy Sausage and Spinach Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 links hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 5-ounce bag fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi

 

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, 8-10 minutes.

    spicy sausage and spinach gnocchi

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes more.  Increase heat to medium and add sausage, garlic, and pepper.  Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add water and cook, stirring up any browned bits, until the water has evaporated, about 1 minute.  Add spinach a handful at a time and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3-4 minutes.

    spicy sausage and spinach gnocchi

  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Stir the gnocchi into the spinach mixture.

    spicy sausage and spinach gnocchi
    spicy sausage and spinach gnocchi


What tips do you have for making recipes for 2?  Share your knowledge below!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Fettuccine with Sausage and Kale

As you all may have guessed, I love kale.  It’s one of the best foods you can eat and it really goes well with soups and pastas.

I usually mix sausage and kale in a delicious soup, but I was feeling adventurous the other day and decided to try a pasta combination.  This is a simple recipe for a weeknight meal and it can easily feed 4-6 hungry mouths.  You could also use chicken and spinach instead of sausage and kale, if you prefer.

One reason I like cooking with kale is that it’s very forgiving.  It takes quite a while for kale to really cook and wilt down…so it’s great for those who tend to be a little flaky in the kitchen (*raises hand*).  I also love that kale maintains its crunch and shape after being cooked, unlike spinach which wilts and becomes a soggy mess if you’re not careful.

Veggie lovers can also omit the sausage from this dish without any problem.  This recipe originally calls for 1 lb. of sausage, however I only added 1 sausage link (about the size of a bratwurst).  That way there was just a taste of meat without all the fat and sodium.

This is a great meal for a Wednesday or Thursday night.  As a matter of fact, I think I made this one rainy Thursday evening and enjoyed it with a marathon of Law and Order: SVU.  Strange combination, I know…but I can’t help myself!

Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. whole wheat fettuccine
  • 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or your favorite white sauce)
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bunch of kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 4-5 leaves)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until it’s al dente; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-low until browned, about 7 minutes. Add ½ cup water and cream; simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes.  Add Cayenne pepper, if desired, and salt and pepper.
  3. Add kale; toss until wilted. Remove from heat; toss with pasta.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Pepita Pesto Pasta with Roasted Squash

I love cooking with squash in the winter and fall.  If you get it at the right place and time, you can get an awesome deal, and 1 medium butternut squash can easily feed several people.

While I have to credit Rachel Ray for this delicious meal, I will say that this is no where near a 30 minute meal, as she claims.  It does take some time, but it’s well worth the wait.  Perfect for a cold winter night, this meal is soul food at its finest.

You can also liven this dish up by adding some sausage, like we did here, or some blackened chicken.  The squash is good in this recipe, but I think using a meat would be much better.  And I don’t recommend altering the pesto at all…it’s so good just as is!  If you don’t like pumpkin seeds or have any allergies to them, they can easily be omitted without loosing flavor, but the pesto is my favorite part of this dish!  I might make it again in the summer to marinate chicken or maybe fish.

Pepita Pesto Pasta with Roasted Squash

Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. quinoa penna or whole wheat penne
  • 1 ½ lbs. butternut squash or pumpkin—pealed, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Nutmeg, for grating
  • 1 cup chopped parsley and cilantro
  • ½ cup grated romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lime, juiced

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. While the pasta is working, on a baking sheet, drizzle the squash with oil and season with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Roast until tender and charred at the edges,, about 18 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, using a food processor, pulse 1/3 cup oil, the herbs, cheese, peppers, garlic, pumpkin seeds, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the pesto, reserved pasta cooking water and squash to the drained pasta. Toss gently and serve.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Cheese Tortellini Soup with Chicken and Kale

In my apartment, Sunday means 1 thing…sports.  More specifically, Bears.  My boyfriend is a huge sports fan and Sunday is his day to watch men pummel and pound each other while enjoying the simple thrill of throwing a ball around 😉

I kid, but I know how important sports are to him…and to the general population of Chicago.  I grew up in a household where Sunday was football day and we’d all gather around the TV with a bowl of hot chili or soup.  I cherish those memories so much that I often crave chili or soup every Sunday afternoon.

This is my favorite go-to soup recipe.  It’s hearty, but light…filled with veggies and garlic.  Like many soups, you can add or omit to your taste, but I highly suggest you try this soup as is.  It’s delicious and nutritious, and perfect for an afternoon of football.

This recipe originally calls for spinach rather than kale, but I love kale so much in this soup!  It goes perfectly with all the other flavors.  If you’d rather add spinach, add it right before serving…as you don’t want it to wilt too much.  The kale has a similar taste, but holds up better to the heat (meaning temperature) of the soup.  And if you’d rather use meat tortellini, go right ahead!  Try adding Italian sausage instead of chicken and using meat tortellini rather than cheese.  This is a great soup for mixing and matching…so be creative and have fun!  Oh, and GO BEARS!

Cheese Tortellini Soup with Chicken and Kale

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breast fillets (or 2 full chicken breasts)
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 14-oz cans of chicken broth
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bunch kale
  • Water
  • 2 medium carrots, cut up into matchsticks
  • 12-19 oz cheese filled tortellini

Directions:

  1.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, if desired.  Cut into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cook chicken in oil in soup pot.  When chicken has slightly browned, add garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in broth and add equal parts water (if you add 2 cans broth, fill both cans with water and add that as well).  Bring to a simmer, then add mushrooms and carrots.
  4. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes.  Add tortellini and let simmer 5-6 minutes.  Reduce heat and add kale.  Let cook 2 minutes.  Serve.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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