Man, this pasta is BOMB. It's creamy and hearty with a hint of sweetness from the caramelized onions, and a delicious earthy note from the mushrooms. My secret is that I use dried mushrooms when I make this pasta. Don't be intimidated by dried mushrooms- they can be found in any grocery store, usually right next to the fresh mushrooms or in the canned foods aisle, and just require 1 or 2 more steps than when working with fresh mushrooms. Of course, you can totally use fresh shroomies, but I love using the dehydrated puppies because their flavor is more concentrated, and the rehydrating liquid adds amazing depth to the cream sauce. The results are tremendous! When paired with a nice, full bodied red wine, this dish is the ultimate comfort food. Also pairs well with Netflix and a Saturday night in.
Hello from Atlanta!! As most of you know, Sterling and I moved from Chicago to ATL last week. He received a promotion (woop woop!) about 6 weeks ago, and it brought us here. I'll be doing a little blog post about the move in the next coming days... right now let's focus on the food.
Memorial Day was this past Monday. Sterling grilled up some chicken, burgers, and hot dogs on the balcony, and I made mac & cheese, creamed corn, baked beans, and veggie kabobs. We had a few new friends over, drank a few drinks, ate a few plates of food, and lounged by the pool. Summer is approaching (allegedly it's not actually summer yet, although this Atlanta HEAT is telling me otherwise), which means cookout season is upon us. One of my new goals is to be more conservative with the amount of food I waste, striving to make meals solely with what I've got in the fridge and pantry. Back in Chicago, we were around the block from a grocery store, so I literally stopped in every day after work to pick up ingredients for dinner. It was expensive and wasteful. So, in the light of conserving food and embracing cook out season, I came up with this quick and easy pasta idea that uses leftover veggie kabobs.
This may come as a surprise to you, but veggie kabobs are usually the last to go at a cookout, so there are usually plenty of skewered leftovers. Add 'em to some whole grain pasta with sautéed garlic and tomatoes, and you're good to go. It aint fancy, but it's delicious, quick, and practical.
Cook time: 15 minutes
• 8 oz whole grain pasta
• 2 veggie kabobs, removed from skewers (should yield about 1 heaping cup of veggies)
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
• Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
• Quarter tsp garlic powder
• Half tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1-2 tbsp olive oil
Optional toppings: chopped italian flat leaf parsley, basil, sun dried tomatoes
• Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside
• Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet and add leftover veggies until heated through
• Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
• Add tomatoes, stir, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until tomatoes have softened without becoming mushy
• Stir in pasta, season with salt/pepper and garlic powder, and drizzle with remaining olive oil, as desired
• Finish with optional toppings of choice and serve hot!
When I was in high school, I went to the same restaurant for lunch every thursday. I always sat in the same booth, and I always ordered the Penne Puttanesca. I love the tangy tomato sauce with the salty capers and the briny olives. I would smother my pasta in parmesan cheese and finish the leftover sauce by spreading it onto half a loaf of french bread. Now, while I will not sit here and pretend that I don't do the exact same thing when I go out to eat now, I will say that I have lost my teenage metabolism and do strive to lighten it up now and then. This puttanesca that I present to you tastes almost exactly like that dish I remember so fondly- only it is carb and anchovy free. Which means that now I can eat that half loaf of french bread without thinking twice.
I know I previously said that I don't consider zucchini noodles to be an adequate substitute for pasta, but I was wrong. I was so wrong. Today I've learned that it's all about the sauce, man. I've made a pretty vast range of sauces to cover my zucchini noodles in the past- alfredo, creamy red pepper, lentil marinara, pesto- and while it all tasted good, it just never felt as satisfying to me as a big ass bowl of pasta. I do not know what the difference is here today, but I have half of this puttanesca left over and I am so satisfied that I am actually leaving it for my lunch tomorrow. It's salty, briny, tangy, spicy, texturally pleasing, smells amazing. I dunno. It just works. It is really damn good, and I am so excited to share it with you.
Serves: technically makes 4 servings, but it's zucchini which means it's less filling than real pasta so let's call it 2 servings, shall we?
Cook time: 10 minutes (no joke)
• 3 zucchini, julienned. (as mentioned in my last zucchini noodle post, you'll only want to use the firmer parts. stop peeling once you've reached the seedy, softer center)
• 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (I use the "fire roasted" flavor)
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• Half a large sweet or white onion, diced
• 1 1/2 heaping tsp capers
• 2 heaping tbsp kalamata olives, sliced thinly
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings: red pepper flakes, fresh basil, shaved parmesan
• In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
• Add garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
• Add diced tomatoes, and heat for a minute, stirring occasionally. Then add olives and capers, and stir to combine. Let simmer for 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
• Next, add the zucchini in bunches. It'll seem like too much zucchini at first, but as it cooks, the zucchini will release its' moisture and get smaller. Keep adding and stirring continuously until all of the zucchini has been incorporated. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until all of the zucchini is coated in the sauce and heated through. It should still have a bite to it.
• Remove from heat, top with desired optional toppings of choice, serve hot, and enjoy :)
Continuing with the weeknight dinner thing, this is a quick meal that I swear by when I want to make something good, but really don't feel like cooking. I'm sure you have those nights too, so keep this one in your arsenal! Chicken parm is often served with spaghetti, so I love the idea of cutting out the extra steps and just preparing the whole meal together. This pasta is cheesy and crumbly, and highlights all of the flavors of chicken parm, all in one little dish. Best part- it takes about 30 minutes to make, and because you'll be poaching the chicken, requires very minimal hands-on time. I like to poach the chicken because it keeps the meat super tender... And requires little effort. To round out the meal, I like to serve this with a side of vegetables, like sautéed garlic green beans.
As a side note, I have actually always preferred eggplant parm to chicken parm, and I think this would be SO great as a vegetarian version. I'll try it with eggplant sometime and let you know how it goes. Or YOU can make it and let ME know how it goes... Morgan M., I'm lookin at you, girl.
Ingredients (makes approx. 3-4 servings):
• 8 oz pasta (penne is my preference, because you get a little burst of sauce with each bite. Bowtie is what I had on hand, and is a great substitute)
• 1 large chicken breast
• 1 garlic clove (gently smashed)
• 24 oz marina (my favorite to use is this spinach and parmesan flavor)
• 1/3 cup Italian panko breadcrumbs
• 1/4 tsp dried basil
• 1/4 tsp garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I like a mix of mozzarella and 6 blend Italian)
• Ground black pepper and cracked black pepper to taste
• Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8"x10" dish.
• Rinse chicken breast under cold water and place in a small saucepan with your garlic and 1/2 tsp of salt. Add cool water to the pot, covering the chicken by about an inch. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook chicken for about 10 minutes, or until opaque through the middle.
Note: chicken will need more or less time depending on thickness. Smaller cuts will need about 9 minutes, larger could go up to 14.
• While chicken cooks, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for ten minutes.
• Add panko breadcrumbs, basil, garlic powder, and oregano to a small bowl. Stir to combine. (Yes, I knowwww this is already Italian flavored, but adding more herbs and seasoning just kicks the flavor up a notch, and flavor is what we're all about here at Trilla's Table)
• Once chicken has cooked, remove from the water, let cool, and then cut into bite sized pieces. Season both sides with a pinch of black pepper.
• Building in layers, add half of the pasta to your baking dish, then half of the chicken, half of the marina, and a generous sprinkling of cheese. Give the dish a little shake to help the marinara reach all of the pasta, then repeat these steps with the remaining half. Top with the panko breadcrumb mixture.
Note: I like to taste the marinara first to see if it needs any more seasoning. Feel free to add more seasonings or herbs to your liking. I usually add cracked black pepper, garlic powder, and basil.
• Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
This concoction is a product of one of my famous freestyling kitchen binges (benders? psychotic breaks?). It has so many different flavors, textures, and antioxidants I could cry. The sauce is both creamy and acidic, and has that subtle sweetness you get when you roast vegetables. It balances out the heavier notes of the garlic and caramelized onions, and helps to perfectly incorporate the broccoli and kale, without being overpowering. I finished it off with a few sundried tomatoes to really build on that complex tomato flavor, and topped my bowl of pasta with a few kale chips for added texture. I don't mean to toot my own horn here but *drives down Lake Shore Drive honking at everyone on the road*
Ingredients (makes exactly 2 servings):
• Half box of whole grain rotini (about 6-7 oz)
• Half small sweet onion, sliced
• Half head of broccoli, cut into florets
• Quarter head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
• 1.5 cups of kale (de-stemmed and cut into bite sized pieces) plus a few extra leaves for the kale chip garnish (stemmed and cut into 1 inch pieces)
• 3-4 sundried tomatoes, cut in quarters
• 2 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 cup of small tomatoes, halved (I used cherry, grape, and sunshine yellow cherry)
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• Cayenne powder
• Cracked black pepper
• Sea salt
• Cook pasta according to package instructions. Save about 1/3 cup of the pasta water before draining
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees
• Place tomatoes and red pepper on lined baking sheet
• Place cauliflower on separate lined baking sheet. Drizzle very slightly with olive oil
• Bake toms/peps/caulis for about 10-15 minutes, rotating pepper halfway through
Note: cauliflower will need more time to turn golden, so remove tomatoes and peppers first to avoid burning (hence the separate baking sheets)
• While veggies are roasting, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat and add onions. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and let caramelize until nice and golden brown (about 5-6 minutes)
• Add broccoli and just a pinch more salt, sauté until bright green and tender
• Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute
• Add kale and cook down until tender. Toss in sundried tomatoes, and remove skillet from heat
• Once roasted, remove cauliflower, peppers, and tomatoes from oven. Let cool completely before removing stem and seeds of red bell pepper. Make sure to also peel off the black charred skins from the tomatoes and pepper. These are tough to chew and won’t blend into the sauce
• Place your smaller cut leaves of kale on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, and let those bake for about 5 minutes in the oven until crispy.
• Add roasted veggies to a blender or food processor and pulse to incorporate. Add your saved pasta water in small increments, and continue blending until smooth. Add in a drizzle of olive oil as well as salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste (taste before adding salt. your pasta water may be salty enough)
• Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the broccoli/kale and pour sauce over top. Turn heat on low and stir to combine, allowing veggies, pasta, and sauce to heat through and giving all of the flavors a chance to marry..as they say
• Scoop yourself a fat bowl, top with your baby kale chips, and enjoy!! I like to sprinkle on some red pepper flakes too :)
I’d suggest making this when you’ve got extra time on your hands. This is a really fun dish to make because it pushes you a little out of your comfort zone, without being too technically complex. I woke up at 7 am on a Saturday morning, hungover and hungry, contemplating where the day might take me. The first thing I do in the morning, like any douche of a millennial, is check social media, and the first thing I saw on Facebook was this scratch-made-no-ravioli-mold-necessary recipe from Proper Tasty. I immediately decided that I would be making ravioli that night. Would I have made this decision if I wasn’t in a hazy, morning-after-a-3-am-night fog? Yes, probably, because I love pasta and I love cooking.
The first step is to make the dough. You’ll let it rise for about an hour, while preparing the filling, shrimp, and blackened seasoning in the meantime. Once the dough has risen, you’re going to roll it out long and THIN across a floured surface. As thin as possible without being transparent. Then add dollops of the filling, evenly spaced about 3/4 inch apart, along the left half of the dough.
Slice the dough down the middle, leaving about half an inch of space between the filling and the edge of the dough. Brush water (or beaten egg white) around the filling. This will act as a glue to help bind the two layers. Press the naked slice of dough on top of the strip with the filling. With your fingers, press around the filling to eliminate air bubbles, and flatten the edges while fusing the two strips together. Slice evenly between the filling bubbles in that empty, flat portion of dough.
Once done, you’ll be left with this decadent masterpiece. Keep reading for a detailed step by step :)
• 2.5 cups all purpose flour
• 3 eggs
• 1/4 cup water
• 4 oz goat cheese
• 2/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (or you can do 1/3 parm, 1/3 Italian 6 cheese blend)
• Bag of spinach (about 9 oz)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Dash of nutmeg
Sauce (adapted from Damn Delicious)
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1.5 cups milk (I used unflavored, unsweetened almond milk to lighten it up)
• 1.5 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 cup half & half
• 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese or Italian 6 cheese blend
• 1/4 cup pasta water
• Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
• 1 lb raw or frozen (and thawed) large shrimp (shelled and deveined)
Note: I used medium sized shrimp in this recipe, which is what I had on hand, but I think it would be better with the larger guys
• 1/2 tbsp and 1 tsp paprika
• 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
• 1/2 tbsp onion powder
• 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
• 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/2 tsp cayenne
• 1/2 tsp dried basil
Pasta Dough: add flour to large mixing bowl. Create a small well in the middle and add eggs and water. Mix with fork until incorporated, then knead with hands for 5 minutes to get the gluten working. Work those biceps, boo. Cover in saran wrap and let sit in fridge for an hour
Filling: Add spinach to non-stick skillet, cover, and cook over low heat, allowing spinach to wilt down. Once wilted, remove cover and let cook until water evaporates. Make sure to stir every few minutes or spinach will stick to the skillet. Once water has mostly evaporated, remove from skillet and lay on paper towel. Take another paper towel and press down on spinach to absorb excess water (if you have a cheesecloth, that would be easier ~and more environmentally friendly!). Now combine all filling ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
Create the ravioli:
• Preheat oven to 400º
• Flour work surface. Remove dough from fridge and cut in two equal halves. Take the first half and roll it out to somewhere around 16″ x 6″. Again, make sure it’s nice and thin.
• Add dollops (a tbsp or so) of filling evenly along one side of the dough. Leave about 3/4 inch between each dollop.
• Brush water (or beaten egg whites) around each dollop to create a glue to seal the two layers of dough
• Cut the sheet of dough in half lengthwise, leaving about half an inch of space between the filling and the edge of the dough
• Lay the naked sheet of dough evenly on top of the filling, and with your fingers, press around the filling to release any pockets of air. Press the top layer into the bottom, fusing the two
• Cut the ravioli into individual pieces. Set aside.
*now bring a large pot of salted water to a boil*
Shrimp: Add all blackened seasonings to a small bowl and mix. Season shrimp with salt, then toss in blackened mixture. Space shrimp evenly across lined, greased baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.
• Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, while stirring, until fragrant. Whisk in flour until lightly browned.
• Gradually whisk in milk, thyme, and black pepper. Make sure to add the milk slowly, while whisking quickly, to avoid any clumps.
• Once incorporated, stir in half & half and cheese.
• Allow to simmer while pasta cooks. If sauce gets too thick, add about a quarter cup of the pasta water
Pasta: Add ravioli to boiling water and cook for five minutes (fresh pasta cooks much faster than boxed), or until the raviolis rise to the top. Remove with slotted spoon or oil skimmer.
Now just plate the pasta, pour on the sauce, top with the shrimp (if you must) and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and more cracked black pepper! Enjoy and pat yourself on the back!
Hi! I'm Shantal.