Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘pasta’

Wondering what to do with Swiss chard?  It’s one of the healthiest vegetables out there and bountiful at the grocery store and at farmers markets almost year-round.  I’m always looking for new, simple recipes that use this superfood.  This one is wonderful – it’s basically a Swiss chard pesto that would be great on orecchiette or penne pasta.  If you double the recipe, the pesto would freeze well for future dinners.  Enjoy!


Orecchiette with Swiss Chard and Parm

Recipe from Mario Batali; featured on the Today Show.

Orecchiette with Swiss chard and Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving

Combine the oil, onion, garlic, and chard in a large pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and chard are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Season well with Maldon salt, add 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is very tender, about 20 minutes. Season with pepper and remove from the heat. Place ingredients into food processor and finely chop. Set aside in large bowl.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Drop in the pasta and cook until just al dente.

Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the chard ragu and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated (add a splash or two more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce). Stir in the cheese.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and serve with additional grated Parmigiano on the side.

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This is a wonderful and interesting dish – a great option for a vegetarian night.  There are so many tastes (and textures) going on: salty feta and olives , sour dried cranberries, bitter kale, sweet red onion, and aromatic garlic.  I could eat this once every two weeks — and I don’t know why I don’t!  It’s great with linguine, but also great with healthier penne (we often use Barilla Plus or Barilla Whole Grain). In this photo I tried a brown rice penne from Trader Joe’s which was also good.  Two notes: 1) whole wheat pastas don’t reheat that well (so chewy!) just in case you plan to make enough to have leftovers and 2) I thought 5-6 cloves of garlic was plenty (recipe calls for an entire head).

Pasta with Kale, Olives and Cranberries

Recipe from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod.

Pasta with Kale, Kalamata Olives, Dried Cranberries, Toasted Garlic & Feta

Yield: Serves 6-8

This pasta dish is also known as “crazy spaghetti” because it is crazy good-a family favorite!


1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound spaghetti or other pasta (we use whole wheat)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into slivers-pits removed
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese


1. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cook onion in the remaining oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add dried cranberries and cook until plumped, about 1 minute.

2. Add kale leaves into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until aldente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain pasta.

4. Toss pasta with kale, Kalamata olives, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta cheese and garlic chips over the pasta dish and serve warm.

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I love this very simple recipe for spaghetti and meatballs.  Next time, I would make twice the amount of sauce.  I don’t think I would ever tire of this ultimate comfort food.

Spaghetti and meatballs

Recipe from The Saucy Apron.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

“There’s something oddly therapeutic about making meatballs. Which means when Monday rudely crashes the party on my weekend I sometimes find myself elbow deep in meatball therapy.  The result, a spicy, saucy, juicy, meaty, cheesy dish thats a few hundred bucks cheaper than a therapist.”

Start with the love-made sauce:
Two cans of tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
A good sprinkle of red pepper flakes
A bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Puree tomato in blender.  Cook onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add tomato, pepper and bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

Now the Meatballs:
1 pound of beef
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Using your hands mix beef, bread crumbs, cheese, oregano, garlic, egg, salt and pepper. Roll into large ping pong balls.  Now fry the meatballs until brown then simmer in the sauce until the inside is no longer pink.  About 30 more minutes. Stir a few times while cooking.

Serve over spaghetti with a big glass of red.

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My goal is to serve seafood once (or even twice) a week, but it requires me to get to Whole Foods or the fish market the day of … and life seems to get in the way of that.  I do think extra large raw frozen shrimp is great to have on hand for a last-minute dinner.  After all, many times when I buy raw shrimp, it’s already been previously frozen anyway.  I simply defrost it in a bowl filled with slightly cool water in the sink, peel and devein it … and I’m ready for our recipe!  This one is nice and simple and tastes great.

Shrimp Scampi

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

Serves 4.


1 pound uncooked orzo

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and olive oil; cover and keep warm.

2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

4. Toss shrimp and butter-lemon sauce with orzo and serve.

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I know this dish might sound a little strange, but we LOVE it.  It has the most delicious taste and it’s not hard to make.  I could eat this once every two weeks!  Two quick notes: 1) I add a bit more capers than the recipe calls for below and 2) If I ever have leftover white wine that would go to waste, I freeze it in little baggies for cooking.  This way, if a recipe calls for just 1/2 cup of white wine, I don’t need to open a new bottle just for this (although, that would be a good excuse!)  Hope you like this dish as much as we do!

Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine

Recipe from Food and Wine (contributed by Grace Parisi).

Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine

“The sauce fits the pasta,” said judge Marc Vetri in praise of this tender veal ragù flavored with white wine, capers, thyme and rosemary, then tossed with the little ear-shaped orecchiette. “The meat, the capers—they hang on to the pasta when you lift up your fork.”
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the veal, season with salt and pepper and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veal is no longer pink and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the white wine to the skillet and boil over high heat until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary and capers and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta well and add it to the skillet along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley and butter. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.
MAKE AHEAD The veal sauce can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Rewarm the veal sauce before serving.
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