Pasta

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Recipe Swap: Penne Rosa with Shrimp

Published September 21, 2012 by jenmatteson

It’s time for another recipe swap, and this month, I was assigned Carrie’s Sweet Life.  Carrie is a fellow Minnesotan, and though we’ve never met in person, I feel we at least have some sort of  a local connection.  I was excited to see that I was assigned her blog, but definitely faced with a tough decision.

So many of her recipes looked wonderful, but in an attempt to add more seafood, and not as much chicken, I settled on Penne Rosa with Shrimp.  **Now that I’m looking back to link her blog, I’m seeing a new recipe for Honey Banana Peanut Butter Muffins.  I will be back!

In Carrie’s evaluation of her penne rosa, she said it was good, but she didn’t love it.  There wasn’t an indication as to why she didn’t love it, but I of course interpreted this as needing more flavor.  I made a few minor additions in an attempt to really bring out some deeper flavors.  One thing that stuck out to me is that there was a minimal amount of seasoning, so I added some fresh basil and red pepper flakes.  Additionally, I added a little white wine to amp up the flavor of the shrimp.  Instead of mincing the garlic, I sliced it so there were a little larger pieces throughout the pasta.  I love that.  If you don’t, mince your garlic.

The result was fabulous.  Nate and I really enjoyed this pasta, and the leftovers were almost as good (leftover shrimp just never seems the same, but the pasta was excellent!).  The red pepper flakes and basil was a nice combination of heat and flavor, and who doesn’t love a little wine in their shrimp pasta??  The picture doesn’t do it justice – in my opinion, penne is not photogenic.  Also, it’s starting to get dark earlier 😦

Penne Rosa with Shrimp

Source: Adapted from Carrie’s Sweet Life
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

12 oz whole wheat penne pasta
olive oil
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup dry white wine
9 oz fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Cook penne according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

2. In a large deep skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften stirring frequently, about 5-8 minutes.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes and tomatoes and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.  Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Increase heat to medium and add shrimp.  Add white wine and cook until shrimp become bright pink and are almost cooked through (don’t worry, they’ll continue to cook), about 4 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Stir in spinach and cover.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together marinara sauce and Greek yogurt.  Once spinach has wilted, add sauce to pan and turn heat back on low.  Add in pasta and stir until well combined.  Stir in basil.  Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese.


Simple Tomato Sauce

Published September 10, 2012 by jenmatteson

I love tomatoes.  I remember as a child, my mother introduced me to eating whole tomatoes with a little bit of sugar sprinkled on.  What an awesome treat, and not too unhealthy, depending on how much sugar I actually used.  I haven’t had a tomato that way in years, but recently it’s been on my mind with the bushels of tomatoes I’ve been receiving from my dad; he has two different kinds in his garden.  However, my dad doesn’t eat tomatoes, and my mom has been out-of-town for the last month.  So, in turn, Nate and I get deliveries of tomatoes every week.  More tomatoes than we could possibly eat casually.  Seriously, this is one week’s worth:

I had to take action before these beauties went to waste, so I decided to make enchiladasHow, you may ask, will this help me use up all of my tomatoes?  Well, I needed a tomato sauce to make a homemade enchilada sauce, and I’ve never made a tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, only canned.  I figured there’s no time like the present to give it a whirl.  I didn’t follow any particular recipe, but based it off of my marinara sauce, without the canned tomatoes and wine.

It turned out great and was a perfect base for my enchilada sauce.  The tomato sauce was very simple and relatively quick.  Adjust seasonings as desired.  I’d love to try this on some pasta or spaghetti squash this fall!  It’s easily adaptable to add veggies and proteins.

Simple Tomato Sauce

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Yields 2 cups

Ingredients:

6 large tomatoes
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Roughly chop tomatoes and puree in food processor.

2. In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add tomato puree, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, rosemary, sugar, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 35-34 minutes, until sauce thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Use immediately, store in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Published May 12, 2012 by jenmatteson

I made this sauce for my grilled pizzas, but I have a pretty good feeling that I’ll be making it a lot more in days to come.  It was so super simple and it tasted so delicious, I don’t know if I’ll be buying store-bought marinara anymore.  Not only did I find my recipe for grilled pizzas from Prevention RD, but I also found this mariana sauce recipe as well.  If you’ve never made your own, I urge you to try this one.  It doesn’t have to sit on your stove simmering all day long but it sure tastes like it did!  I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand, so I used dried and altered a bit from Nicole’s recipe.  Use fresh if you have it, it’ll taste even better!  I also added a bit more wine, because really, how could that hurt?

Marinara Sauce

Source: Prevention RD

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (reduce if you are opposed to heat)
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tsp sugar

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan and add garlic.  Cook for 30 seconds and add herbs.  Cook for another 30 seconds until herbs become aromatic.

2. Add salt, black and red pepper, tomatoes, wine, and sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Quite sure this is the best pasta I’ve ever made…or eaten for that matter

Published May 5, 2012 by jenmatteson

I can’t remember a time when I saw a recipe and decided that I needed to try that for dinner TONIGHT.  Well, yesterday was a first.  Another great recipe posted by Jessy at Gourmet: Day to Day.  I follow her blog, but I’m quite sure she must think I’m stalking her as I’ve made several of her creations!  We must just have similar tastes in food.  Very nice!

So back to the food.  This pasta is incredibly delicious, I want to make it again for dinner tonight, and the next night, and the next night.  Nate and I loved it so much, we each had a second helping!  It probably didn’t help that I had a horrible day at work, so this was super comforting as well.  But, the good news is that it’s not all that bad for you.  Jessy’s recipe has 400 calories per serving, but I altered mine just a bit, so we didn’t have a ton of extras.  I more or less cut it in half, with a little less shrimp and pasta.  Not only is this pasta way super good, but it’s really quick and easy to make.  You need to have this for dinner tonight.  Do not delay.  If you don’t have shrimp in your fridge, use chicken, or don’t use any protein at all, or get to the store.  Seriously, make it right now!

Shrimp Fajita Pasta

Source: Gourmet: Day to Day
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

6 oz. whole wheat linguine
olive oil
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (I used a green and a red)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tbsp fajita seasoning (see Jessy’s recipe below)
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 oz. enchilada sauce (I used a 10 oz can of hot enchilada sauce, and froze 1/2 for future use)
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Add peppers, onions, and fajita seasoning, and cook until they become soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add shrimp and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes, until shrimp is no longer opaque.  Note: Carefull not to over cook your shrimp – it can happen really fast.   I actually started step 3 just before the shrimp were cooked through so they didn’t over cook while the cream cheese melted.

3. Add enchilada sauce and cream cheese to pan.  Stir until cream cheese is melted and incorporated.  Add drained pasta to skillet and toss to coat.  ENJOY!

Fajita Sesoning Mix

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin

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