Category Archives: Pasta

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Ravioli

Right before Christmas some family came to town, and we had a night in at my place where we cooked dinner.  Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto mixed with some ricotta cheese and stuffed inside homemade ravioli, to be exact. 🙂 I had some pasta dough in the freezer, so all we had to do was make the filling and assemble everything.  Everyone pitched in and we created an insanely delicious meal.  Fun stuff!

We played around with the best way to make ravioli, and settled on using a round ravioli stamp.  Cutting them by hand was messier and just not as pretty.  Since they were big, the trick was not to over-stuff it, and find a good balance of pasta and filling.  I think we nailed it!



We cooked everything up and topped with a lemon brown butter sauce, fresh basil and Parmesan.  No leftovers in sight!

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Ravioli

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Ravioli

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Filling Recipe

1 cup artichoke heart, cooked (canned would be fine, and roughly chopped)
1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
pinch coarse salt
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
1 -2 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 – 3/4 cups ricotta cheese, to taste

  1. Pulse the first 7 ingredients together in a food processor. Stir in the ricotta and the tarragon and season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Note: Omit ricotta and serve pesto mixed with spaghetti or spread on some grilled bread for a tasty snack.

Fresh Pasta Recipe:

2 organic large eggs
10 organic large egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting

  1. Whisk together the whole eggs and yolks in a bowl.  Put the flour on a large board or in your biggest mixing bow, make a well in the centre, and pour the eggs into the well.  Slowly bring in the flour using a fork and then knead by hand just a few times or until a nice dough forms.  Add  a bit more flour if the dough is very sticky.  Let the dough rest under a tea towel for at least 10 minutes before proceeding.
  2. Take out your pasta machine.  Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roughly form into rectangles.  Dust each rectangle with a bit of flour.  Starting on the widest setting, put one piece through the machine, dusting with more flour if it’s at all sticky.
  3. Fold the dough over itself and go through again on the same setting (you are essentially kneading and stretching the dough). Repeat this process on each setting, going from widest to thinnest, until you are left with a long, thing sheet of pasta. Be gentle during the process and careful not to tear your sheets.
  4. Repeat the whole process with all the pieces  of dough, laying them on tea towels or your clean counter. Cover with plastic wrap or a barely damp towel.
  5. Add a few tablespoons of filling every few inches to the top of a sheet, and top with another sheet of pasta.  Stamp or cut out your raviolis, making sure the edges are sealed so none of the filling escapes.
  6. Top with sauce of choice.  I used a brown butter sauce with a bit of lemon, but I bet this would be great topped with something creamy, as well.  Don’t forget the Parmesean, basil and fresh ground pepper to finish it all off!

From:  My Father’s Daughter


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Filed under Main Courses, Pasta, Vegetarian

Drunken Soba Noodles

Waaaaay back in December I tried the Drunken Soba Noodles from Sidedoor restaurant and they definitely left a lasting impression.  I loved everything about this dish; the perfectly cooked steak, the balance between the cool noodles and the heat from the sauce, the crunchy fried shallots and the flavourful herbs.  So when I picked up an issue of McLean’s magazine one day that featured “Canada’s Top 50 Restaurants”, imagine my delight when not only was Sidedoor one of them, but they published their recipe for Drunken Soba Noodles!  Rejoice!  I wasted no time in trying to recreate this for myself – take a look 🙂

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

At the restaurant they use steak, but since I didn’t have any on hand I sautéed up a nice chicken breast instead.  No complaints about how this turned out!


Sautéed chicken

Boil the soba noodles for about 4 or 5 minutes and allow them to cool.  Then pile them in a bowl and top with veggies.

Noodles and Veggies

Noodles and Veggies

Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil) and toss with the noodle/veggie mixture.  Then just top with chicken or steak!  And some black sesame seeds for visual interest.

Drunken Soba Noodles

Drunken Soba Noodles

Then all you have to do is work your way through this flavour heaven of a dish.  Enjoy the journey!


Drunken Soba Noodles – Halfway through

Drunken Soba Noodles Recipe

 1 3/4 lb (340 g) package buckwheat noodles
Canola oil
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
3/4 lb. strip loin or rib-eye steak
Salt and pepper1 cup julienned cucumber
1 cup julienned bell pepper
1 cup julienned napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Fried shallots, to taste
Thai basil, to taste

  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook soba noodles according to package directions, about four to five minutes.  Drain and transfer to iced water.  Drain once chilled.
  3. Toss noodles very lightly with canola oil in a large bowl to prevent sticking.  Reserve.
  4. Whisk soy sauce with rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Preheat grill to medium high.
  6. Season steak lightly with salt and pepper.  Grill steaks to medium rare.  Remove from heat and let rest.
  7. Divide the noodles between four bowls.  Arrange the cucumbers, peppers and cabbage on top of the noodles in separate piles.  Top with a small mound each of green onion and fried shallots.
  8. Slice steak thinly and add to bowls.  Top with a sprig of Thai basil.
  9. Divide the sauce into four small ramekins and serve with the bowl.  Let guests pour the sauce on top of the noodles and mix with chopsticks.

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July 24, 2013 · 11:55 PM

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

No disrespect to beef  meatballs, but these turkey meatballs are tops.   Lots of fresh spices and lots of simmering infuse these meatballs with loads of savoury, tomato flavour.  And if you know how to mix things together and roll something into a ball shape, you know how to make these.  That puts this recipe into the simple and delicious categories, and of course they are healthier than using beef or pork, so score a whole bunch of points for turkey meatballs!

Mix all of your meatball ingredients together in a bowl to start….ground turkey, parsley, rosemary, garlic, breadcrumbs, etc, etc, etc.

Ground Turkey

Roll up bits of the turkey mixture into whatever size meatball you like best.

Turkey Meatballs

Fry them up until browned in some onion, garlic and butter 🙂  There are so many delicious aromas involved with this recipe!

Fried Turkey Meatballs

Add chopped veggies and tomato sauce, and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes.  The flavours only get more intense the longer it simmers, and your home will only smell more tantalizing!

Simmering Spaghetti sauce

Start with my all time favourite ingredient – complex carbohydrates – and top with the meatballs and a few heaps of sauce.  Fresh black pepper and Parmesean cheese will only help things here.  Dig in!

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs Recipe

1 lb ground turkey
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 cups assorted veggies, chopped (ex. Peppers, carrots, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, etc. etc. etc.)
4 – 6 cups (Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti, cooked to al dente

  1. Mix ground turkey, bread crumbs, herbs, spices and an egg in a bowl until completely combined.
  2. Grab about 1 tbsp  worth of turkey mixture and roll into balls.  Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add onions and garlic; fry until golden brown and aromatic.  Add a bit more oil if necessary, and add meatballs to pan.  Cook on medium-high heat until browned and nearly cooked through, flipping every few minutes.
  4. Add veggies to pan and cook for a few minutes.  Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  5. Simmer for as long as you like.  The longer it simmers, the more delicious the flavours will be!

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Filed under Main Courses, Pasta

Chicken Spaghetti

Some days I feel like I’m just coming up with different ways to consume cheese and carbs.  This is one of those days.  Allow me to introduce you to Chicken Spaghetti; a creamy casserole concoction that’s got a bit of a cayenne pepper kick, and delicious veggies to boot. It’s shameless, glorious, comfort food.  Don’t be shy, dig in.

Line up your ingredients:  chopped peppers, pimentos, cream of celery soup, cayenne pepper, season salt, broth and CHEESE. Lots of wonderful cheese.  And a big pile of spaghetti, naturally.

Chicken Spaghetti Ingredients

Throw your ingredients into in the pasta pot.

Chicken Spaghetti Ingredients

Don’t forget the shredded chicken!

Chicken Spaghetti Mixture

Stir it all up and inhale those intoxicating aromas……ahhhhh.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Chicken Spaghetti Mixture

Bake with an extra layer of cheese.  Ah, anticipation.

Baked Chicken Spaghetti

Serve it up.

Chicken Spaghetti Dinner Time

Mandatory close-up!

Chicken Spaghetti Close-up

Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

2 cups Cooked Chicken
3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
2 cans Cream Of Celery Soup
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 tsp Seasoned Salt
1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

  1. Prehat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 cups of cooked chicken – roasted, baked, fried, whatever.  Breasts, thighs, legs, wings, whatever.
  3. Cook Spaghetti in chicken broth (or water) until al dente.  Drain and return to pot, then add remainder of ingredients, except addition cup of cheese.
  4. Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly.  Cover with foil if cheese starts to overcook.
  6. Eat!

From:  The Pioneer Woman

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Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes with Fresh Pasta

As I’ve mentioned before, I love carbohydrates intensely.  And for this reason, I think this might be in my top five favourite homemade recipes of all time.  But I’ve only made it the once…  It takes a long time to make pasta from scratch, it can’t be denied, but it’s also what makes this recipe so outlandishly tasty. Of course it will still be amazing using store bought pasta, but if you have a few hours to kill one afternoon (and a pasta maker), I strongly encourage you to try it.

AND this dish is perfect if you’re having company.  Impressive presentation is simple because everyone gets their own lovely roasted tomato on top of a heap of pasta!  Add a leafy green salad on the side, and tada!

So, get all your pasta making gear set up to start.

Pasta making Set-up

Make and knead your dough.

Dough Kneading

Pass it through the pasta maker a few times.

Dough through the roller

It should start to get really long, narrow and thin.  And try not to get too jealous of my gray jogging pants.

Dough rolled through the pasta maker

Next, put it through the spaghetti attachment.


Lay it out to dry.  Beware, it will take over your kitchen.

Spaghetti Invasion



Now prepare delicious stuffed tomatoes to roast, and then devour with some fresh pasta. Start with the filling.  AKA:  Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, fresh parsley, fresh basil, garlic powder, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper and olive oil.

Roasted tomato filling

Scoop out of some of the tomato filling (dicing it if necessary), and stir it into  the bread crumb mixture.  Stuff everything back into the tomatoes, and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes

Toss some fresh pasta with a bit of olive oil and/or melted butter and a bit of fresh parsley.  Top with roasted tomatoes. And if you feel like getting fancy, sautée up some pancetta in a little bit of maple syrup.  MMMMMMMmmmmmmm, crazy ingredients mixing and causing intense flavour sensations 🙂  IMAGINE IF YOU ADDED ROASTED GARLIC TOO????  Why didn’t I think of this before? 😦

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Fresh Pasta

From another angle…

Birdseye view

Fresh Pasta Recipe

6 cups (+ more as necessary) all purpose flour
5 Eggs (Tip:  Don’t use eggs straight from the fridge!)

1.    Pour flour into large mixing bowl, and add eggs to centre.
2.    Mix eggs with a fork until completely blended with the flour.  Knead the mixture with your hands until it is completely homogenous and consistent.  If the mixture is too dry, add some water.  If it is too soft add some flour.  A good mixture should never stick to your fingers.
3.    Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut mixture into small pieces.
4.    Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and pass a piece of the pasta mixture through the machine.  Repeat this 5-6 times, folding the dough over and adding some flour to the middle if necessary.
5.    When the dough has started to take shape, pass it through the smaller settings once or twice, until you obtain your desired thickness.
6.    With a knife, cut the dough crossways in pieces that are approximately 10 inches long.
7.    Switch your machine settings to the spaghetti attachment and pass the dough through to make your pasta!  Note:  if the rollers won’t “cut” this means the dough is too soft.  In this case you should pass the dough through the smooth rollers, adding some flour to the mixture.  If the dough is too dry and won’t catch in the machine, add a little water to the mixture and pass it through the smooth rollers once again.
8.    Place the pasta on a table-cloth (or hang from a pasta drying rack if you’ve got one) and leave it to dry for at least an hour.  This pasta can last a long time (1-2 weeks) if stored in a cool, dry place.
9.    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes, averaging about 2-5 minutes, depending on thickness.  Stir gently and then drain the pasta once it has finished cooking.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

6 Big, Juicy Tomatoes
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
½ cup chopped artichoke hearts (optional)
¾ cups Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp each kosher salt and pepper
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup pancetta, sautéed in maple syrup until crispy (optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.    Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out 2-3 tbsp of the innards.  Dice tomato innards into bite size pieces.
3.    Put diced tomato into big mixing bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until everything is thoroughly combined and stuff mixture back into tomatoes.
4.    Put in oven for 45 minutes until tomatoes are soft.  Serve on top of fresh pasta, and add sautéed maple pancetta if desired.

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Filed under Pasta, Vegetarian

Cleaning out the Fridge Pasta

I had some spinach that needed to be used up, so I decided to whip up a pasta dish for dinner tonight. Then I poked around the fridge and pulled out some tomatoes to dice up and some nice soft Boursin cheese for the sauce.  I usually have garlic in the fridge, so I thought it would be in my best interest to roast a bit, and add a slightly nutty and creamy flavour.  I thought right.  I always forget how delicious roasted garlic is, and it’s so simple to make.  You just have to think ahead by about 45 minutes, because it does take a bit of time to roast.

Let’s start by roasting the garlic:

Cut the top off a bulb of garlic, and drizzle some olive oil over top.  Make sure most of exposed garlic has a bit of oil on it, or else it will burn.  Add some salt and pepper, cover with aluminum foil, and put in the oven @ 350 for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove foil and put in oven for another 10 – 15 minutes.  When garlic is golden brown and aromatic, scoop the cloves out and you’re good to go.

Garlic prepped for roasting

45 minutes later.

Golden and aromatic roasted garlic 🙂

Had the Admiral firing on all cylinders tonight – literally.  That nice big burner on the front left?  Doesn’t work.  Always have to use the three smaller ones, haha.  Oh, Admiral.

ANYWAYS, cooked up some shallots and chicken, then added diced tomatoes, spinach and roasted garlic;  threw together a cheesey-white wine-ish sauce creation;  and finally, some linguine.

Busy night for the Admiral

Then I threw it all together, and topped it off with fresh basil and ground black pepper.  When the sauce is mixed into the tomato mixture it takes on a nice rosé flavour.  Heavenly.

Cleaning out the Fridge Pasta

Cleaning out the fridge night is starting to become my favourite night! This was very tasty 🙂

Cleaning out the Fridge Pasta Recipe

I 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 Shallots, diced
1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, chopped
4 – 5 Diced Tomatoes
3 Cups Fresh Spinach
1 Bulb Roasted Garlic
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Butter
1 – 2 Cups Skim Milk
1/2 Cup soft cheese, such as Boursin
1/4 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Fresh Basil

1.  Heat frying pan to medium-hot, add olive oil and shallots.  Cook for a few minutes until golden brown.  Add chicken and cook until no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes.
2.  Add diced tomatoes, spinach and roasted garlic, and cook for a few minutes, until spinach is slightly wilted.
3.  Add linguine and top with a few big spoonfuls of sauce.  Sautee on a high heat for a few seconds.  Top with Fresh Basil, ground black pepper and Parmesan cheese.
4.  Pour a big glass of wine and enjoy!

For Sauce:

1.  Melt butter in saucepan, and slowly add flour, stirring the whole time.  Once a paste has formed, slowly add milk and stir until fully blended.
2.  Add cheese, white wine and sour cream, and mix until fully melted and blended together.  Add salt and pepper.  Taste and more milk, wine or sour cream to get desired flavour and consistency.
3.  Bring to a simmer, then spoon overtop of pasta.

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Filed under Main Courses, Pasta

Three Cheese Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese?  When I used to get the Food Network,  Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives always made me drool, and this recipe from the show’s cookbook is no different.  Don’t make this if you are on a diet, since there is literally pounds of cheese in it, but if you’re looking for something creamy and indulgent, this will definitely satisfy you.

Creamy Three Cheese Sauce

After making the sauce, stir in the cooked macaroni noodles, add some fresh ground pepper and prepare your taste buds for a party.

Creamy, gooey Mac and Cheese

Three Cheese Mac and Cheese Recipe


* 1 tablespoon salt, plus more for pasta water
* 1 pound large elbow macaroni
* 6 tablespoons butter
* 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 3 cups milk
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound white Cheddar, shredded
* 4 ounces Romano, shredded
* 4 ounces Asiago, shredded
* 2 cups bread crumbs (suggested: panko (Japanese) available at most markets)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In large pot filled with water add 3 pinches of salt and the macaroni and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking until a roux or paste forms. Add cold milk and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly. Add heavy cream, all cheeses, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Cook until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 by 9 baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and serve.

For variations, add cooked lobster meat, truffle oil, bacon and/or garden fresh vegetables.

From the Diners, Drive-ins & Dives Cookbook!

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Filed under Comfort Food, Main Courses, Pasta, Vegetarian