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Zesty Italian Wedding Soup

22 Apr

Zesty Italian wedding soup

Soup with this much meat and cheese has to be delicious.


Ingredients

  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 300 grams of chopped cooked sausage or meatballs
  • 125 grams orzo – or other small pasta
  • a handful of fresh (or frozen) spinach, chopped
  •  1 carrot – grated
  • The zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Parmesan

Step 1: Add the 6 cups of vegetable broth to a large pot and simmer over medium heat.

Step 2: Add all of the ingredients (except the parmesan) and cook until the pasta is tender.

Step 3: Serve sprinkled with a good amount of fresh parmesan.

ENJOY!

Zesty Italian wedding soup

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Look! There’s green in my pasta!

13 Feb

I’ve pretty successfully fattened myself up for the winter.

The bad part is.. It’s really not that cold here. So in an effort to be a bit healthier (since my winter flub is sadly not needed) I’ll be trying to trim down on the elaborate meals. For a while anyway.

Now, I think it’s pretty obvious that this is indeed a plate of pasta. Since I don’t believe in starving myself for the sake of trimming down, I’ll just cut down on some of the extras I usually include. This pasta is still very delicious and it cuts down on a few of the unnecessary calories that other pastas (and pasta sauces) might have.

Serves 2

Ingredients
Whole wheat linguine
Extra virgin Olive oil – to taste
Lemon Juice – to taste
2 Chicken breasts
3 Tbsp Finely Grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp Whole Wheat Flour
Salt & Pepper – to taste
2 Large handful of arugula leaves 


Step 1:
Cook the pasta as directed from the package. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in Olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and lemon juice, then set aside. 

Step 2: Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tbsp of parmesan, 2 tbsp whole wheat flour, salt and pepper. 

Step 3: Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and cook the chicken until the juices run clear (covering the pan will reduce the cooking time).Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and slice into thin strips. 

Step 4: Return the pot with the cooked and drained pasta to the stove and heat on low just to warm the pasta slightly. Once warm, toss in 2 handfuls of arugula and then immediately remove from the heat. Plate the pasta.

Step 5: Top with chicken strips and the remaining parmesan.

ENJOY!

TIPS: 
When trying to lose weight, do NOT eat half of a chocolate cake. I’ve learned that does not help.

Every time you buy a jar of pasta sauce, an Italian grandmother dies a little inside.

27 Jan

Alright people, enough with the shenanigans. No more store-bought pasta sauce.

Home made pasta sauce is actually incredibly easy. It does take a bit of time, but if you make a big enough batch, you can always freeze it for the future. Future sauce!

Here’s how to make your own Italian inspired, mouth-watering sauce:

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 2 cans of peeled plum tomatoes (2x 16 oz/450 ml)
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (2x 16 oz/450 ml)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • **I also add a bunch of Italian seasonings, whatever I have in the cupboard. Usually:
    • 1 tsp Thyme
    • 1 tsp Oregano
    • 1 tbsp Parsley
    • 1 tbsp Basil

Step 1: Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 cup of finely chopped onions. Cook until onions are tender and translucent (about 8 minutes).

Step 2: Add all of the remaining ingredients, stirring them until combined. 

Step 3: Simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Serve warm over your favourite pasta

ENJOY!


TIPS:

You don’t have to follow the recipe exactly, but don’t forget to add the sugar. It helps bring out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.

Season your sauce 3 times: once at the beginning, middle, and end.

Homemade gnocchi! (apparently not pronounced guh-notch-chee)

16 Nov

Alright. So here’s the thing. I had NO idea what guhnotchee was until this year. Definitely proof that I need to culture myself just a wee bit more. Either way, I found out it’s delicious with wine.. but I guess in my books, everything is delicious with wine. I digress, this potato based pasta is definitely going to impress. Especially if you pronounce it right (correctly pronounced nuh-yock-key).

Shaped Gnocchi

Yum tastic

This gnocchi was prepared with fried sausage, chopped tomato, garlic, oil, pesto and fresh basil. BAM!

 

This recipe is quite a few more steps than usual. But suck it up. It’s worth it.

Ingredients

  • 4 Large Unpeeled Potatoes – Russet or mashing potato2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Butter for frying
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Step 1: Put potatoes in a pot so they are just covered with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes. Do NOT overcook the potatoes and do NOT cut potatoes before boiling. That is a gnocchi no-no. If water gets into the potatoes, your gnocchi will be lumpy and sad.

Step 2: Once the potatoes have cooled, peel the skins off and mash em’ up. Add in the eggs and oil. Once mashed, fluff them slightly with a fork to get them nice and airy.

Step 3: In a large ish bowl, mix the 2 cups of flour and the tsp of salt and pepper.

Step 4: Sprinkle the flour mixture into your potatoes until it forms a dough. Add more flour if it’s too sticky.

Step 5: Knead dough on a floured surface until it’s mixed well. Try to avoid over mixing it, 2-3 minutes usually does the trick.

Step 6: Wrap your dough in plastic and let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Feel free to use this time to have a nice glass of wine. Or two. Just try not to down the whole thing, there are still a few steps left.

Step 7: Break off small sections of the dough and roll out into a 1/2 inch thick log. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Step 8 – Optional: The fun part. Shape your gnocchi using whatever you can find. As you can see from the last picture, the broken side of my cutting board worked just fine! But Using a fork works too. Click here for a short video on how to roll gnocchi.

Step 9: Bring a large pot of water to a nice simmer – rapid boiling will cause the gnocchi to fall apart. Drop the gnocchi in and simmer until they float to the top. I usually let mine cook for an additional 30 seconds after they float.

Step 10:  Heat a large frying pan and add butter. Fry the gnocchi until golden brown. Add a few spoonfuls of pesto while in the pan. Serve to a dish and throw some parmesan on top and BAM! You just made some bad ass gnocchi.

ENJOY!

TIPS:

Seriously, don’t overcook the potatoes

If you have a potato ricer, use that on the potatoes instead. I do NOT have one. Because I’m not entirely sure where to buy one.

You don’t have to shape your gnocchi. It’s going to taste the same either way.

You may not need all the flour. Just add flour until dough is no longer sticky.

Gnocchi and pasta sauce are delish too.

Freeze your gnocchi on a floured baking sheet after cutting. Transfer to airtight containers or bags. Save until you have someone to impress.

Homemade Pasta – not just for Italian grandmothers anymore

16 Nov

It’s True! Making homemade pasta is SUPER easy. Who knew, right?

I used to always buy that “fresh” pasta you could get at the supermarkets . But for $5 a bag? Please. What a rip off. I made an entire freezer full of pasta for about the same price, and without bragging too much, mine was a wee bit better.

Here is how you can make your own pasta. It’s a little time consuming, but trust me, it’s totally worth it for the bragging you’ll get to do later!


Ingredients
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Water

Step 1:  In a bowl, mix together 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup of flour. Make a well in the flour and add the egg and 1 tsp olive oil. Mix together! (If needed, mix in the 2 tbsp of water).

Step 2: On a floured surface knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Put in a bowl and cover with a tea towel, let rest for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Since I don’t own a pasta machine.. and I don’t know a lot of people that do, just roll out the dough by hand with a rolling pin. This part is going to take some muscles – but at least you will be getting some exercise before filling your face with delicious pasta!

Step 4: Cut pasta into desired thickness with a knife. Check out my tips on cutting pasta.

Step 5: Put into a large pot of boiling salted water. Once pasta floats to the top, wait another minute. Make sure to test your pasta before draining – I find that it acts a bit differently than dried pasta and needs more time to boil!

Next Up? Homemade pasta sauce!


ENJOY!


TIPS:

Double the recipe and after cutting, freeze it!

Get a little crazy and add some pesto or other flavouring right into the pasta! Just add a bit more flour to compensate for the extra liquid.

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