Tag Archives: pasta

Hamburger Soup

zippysoup

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Soup is one of my favorite meals and since so many soups are quick to make, they are a  staple in my house. Filling, warming and satisfying soups make for the perfect dinner when paired with crusty bread and make even better leftovers for lunch the next day. And just about anything can be turned into a satisfying soup. This recipe, adapted from The Noble Pig has quickly become a favorite in my house where I liberally substitute the vegetables and even the ground meat depending upon what I have on hand. And thanks to the tangy and flavorful V-8, another favorite pantry staple, the broth is rich and flavorful without hours of cooking.

So if you are looking for a fast and tasty weeknight dinner idea, look no further than this soup. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

HAMBURGER SOUP

1/4 pound pancetta, diced

2 pounds ground beef

1-1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch thick coins

1-1/2 cups celery, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 leek, white and green parts only, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup frozen corn

4 cups beef broth

1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

15 ounces V-8 vegetable juice

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 pound small dry pasta

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • Place a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, using a spoon to crumble the meat.
  • Drain off the fat.
  • Add the carrots, celery, leek, corn, broth, V8, garlic and oregano to the meat mixture.
  • Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Return the temperature to high, add the pasta to the pot and cook until the pasta is al dental,8-10 minutes depending upon the size of your pasta.
  • Stir in vinegar right before serving.

Serves 6-8

Pappardelle w/ Sausages, Fennel & Ricotta Cheese

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love this pasta dish from Williams Sonoma. Their version has you making homemade pasta which while not difficult, is too time consuming for a Fast Friday dish. I used fresh pasta from my local grocery store which when combined with ricotta cheese, fennel sausage and fresh sauteed fennel, produces a wonderfully satisfying dinner in a matter of minutes. I did, however, use my own fresh ricotta cheese (which I already had on hand). Not only is making your own ricotta easy, but when I use the wonderful fresh raw milk that I can buy from local Belgian farms, it simply tastes so good.

PAPPARDELLE w/ SAUSAGES, FENNEL & RICOTTA CHEESE

10 ounces fresh pappardelle or other long pasta

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound loose fennel sausage

2 fennel bulbs, cored and julienned

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup diced shallots

1/4 cup chopped garlic

2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan set over medium high heat.

When the oil shimmers, add the sausage and fennel to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into small pieces.

Saute, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the wine, shallots, garlic and thyme and cook until the the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken broth to the pan and continue to cook until the sauce is further reduced by three-quarters, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cooked pappardelle to the pan along with the reserved cooking liquid. Toss well to coat.

Transfer the pasta to warmed serving dishes, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and top with dollops of the ricotta cheese. Diners can stir the warmed ricotta into their pasta making their own creamy sauce.

Serves 4

Ravoli w/ Gorgonzola & Pears

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

There is nothing like a perfectly ripe pear. Sweet and juicy, for me, eating one is a special treat. The only thing that makes a pear better is coupling it with a bit of salty and pungent gorgonzola cheese. In fact, I love this combination so much that both pears and gorgonzola cheese are kitchen staples. So these ingredients were my inspiration for my latest quick and easy “experimental dinner”. (“Experimental dinners” are what I affectionately refer to when I’m pulling together a dish for the first time). And after eating this dinner my entire family agreed that this meal was a success. Not only was it delicious but it was truly fast–as in I was able to pull all of the ingredients together and have dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes.

RAVIOLI w/ GORGONZOLA & PEARS

12 ounces fresh 4-cheese ravioli, cooked according to package instructions

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 ripe pear, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

dash freshly grated nutmeg

4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

  • While the ravioli is cooking, heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-low heat.
  • When the butter has melted add the shallot and saute, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes or until the  shallots are beginning to soften.
  • Add the pears and stir gently taking care not to break the slices. Saute for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until the pears are soft.
  • Add the cooked ravioli to the skillet and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.
  • Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Divide the ravioli between four serving dishes then sprinkle with the gorgonzola cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Ricotta & Artichoke Pasta

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

What makes an already fast dinner even faster? Cooking the entire dish in one pan and that is exactly what you have with this recipe that has been adapted from Cooking Light. The fresh pasta cooks quickly right in the skillet with the vegetables and the cheese. Easy peasy and oh so tasty. Enjoy!

RICOTTA & ARTICHOKE PASTA

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup prechopped onion
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups artichokes, halved
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 – 14.5 ounce can tomatoes
9 ounces fresh fettuccine
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
  •  Preheat broiler to high.
  •  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat.
  • Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic to pan and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chicken broth, the artichokes, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and pasta to pan, and bring to a boil. Stir to combine.
  • Cover; reduce the heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and dot the pasta mixture evenly with the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses.
  • Place pan under broiler. Broil mixture 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
  • Sprinkle evenly with basil.

Serves 4

Penne a la Vodka

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Penne ala vodka only sounds complicated but in reality it is a super easy and fast dish to make. This recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma and is the perfect way to end a busy week. The combination of tomatoes, cream, and vodka with just a touch of red pepper flakes make for a spicy yet creamy and satisfying dish. The alcohol in the vodka cooks off leaving just a hint of vodka flavor. If you like your dishes on the spicy side feel free to add additional red pepper flakes. The pasta and sauce cook simultaneously so this dish is truly fast. Add a green salad and a bottle of Italian red wine and dinner is done.
PENNE A LA VODKA
1 pound penne pasta
6 large tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup vodka
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water accordingly to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, seed the tomatoes and cut them into a small dice.
  • Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and saute until it just begins to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the vodka.
  • Return the pan to medium heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the tomato mixture in the saute pan.
  • Add the cream and cook, stirring over medium heat until the pasta is well coated with the sauce, about 2 minutes.

Serves 4

Caprice Pasta

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This quick dish brings together the best flavors of a Mediterranean summer.  Ripe tomatoes pair with fresh basil and mozzarella to make a flavorful Caprice salad. Add this to pasta and you have a complete meal.  The balsamic reduction brings a rich sweetness to the dish making it fancy enough for a dinner party but also simple enough for a casual meal.

CAPRICE PASTA

1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

1 pound ziti or other tube-shaped pasta

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-sized pieces

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste

  • Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat until the vinegar boils.  Reduce heat to a temperature that allows the liquid to simmer and continue to cook until the mixture is syrupy and has reduced to approximately 1/4 cup.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
  • Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.  Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the pasta and toss to coat.
  • Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to the pasta and season with salt and pepper.  Stir gently to combine.
  • Divide amongst four serving dishes and drizzle the balsamic reduction evenly over the top of each bowl.
  • Serve immediately

Serves:  4

 

Summer Squash Pasta w/ Frizzled Prosciutto

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A fun, easy and delicious family friendly meal? Yes, that is what you have with the fun pasta dish courtesy of Cuisine at Home. There is really something for everyone in this dish. Kids loved the “frizzled” prosciutto which is essentially strip of prosciutto that have been cooked until they are crispy. A healthy dose of both yellow squash and zucchini ensure that there are vegetables in every bite while the mild white wine and cream sauce disguises the squashes from vegetable adverse dinners. But for me the best part is the combination of the fresh basil, mint and lemon zest that tops the entire dish. There are truly so many flavors in one bowl that everyone is sure to leave the table happy.

SUMMER SQUASH PASTA w/ FRIZZLED PROSCIUTTO

8 ounces small dried pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 ounces prosciutto, sliced into 1/2 inch strips

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 medium yellow squash, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of water according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp. Transfer to a paper lined plate to drain.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the onion, zucchini and yellow squash. Cook until the onion softens, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and cook until it is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and pasta, tossing to coat. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, basil, mint, lemon zest and prosciutto.
  • Add the reserved pasta water if necessary to thin the sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Spring Vegetable Pasta

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By the time late spring rolls around I’m all about lightening up my dinners and taking advantage of the fresh vegetables that are popping up in the local markets. Pastas are always a go-to meal in my family and they serve as the perfect canvas for highlighting the best vegetables of the season. In this dish adapted from Cooking Light, fresh snap peas, carrots and radishes are the featured vegetables. Many people shy away from radishes thinking their flavor is to pungent but when they are sliced thinly then lightly sauteed in butter, they emerge sweet and tenderly crisp. Topped with lemon zest and a handful of freshly chopped dill, this dish is bright, flavorful and a true spring celebration.

Use the recipe as a suggestion and choose whatever vegetables you prefer. Really, your options are endless so pick a few vegetables that look good, add in the freshly chopped herb of your choice and enjoy!

 

SPRING VEGETABLE PASTA

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup thinly diagonally sliced baby carrots

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

8 ounces snap peas

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon zest, divided

5 ounces cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

10 ounce fresh noodles of your choice

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain into a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the carrots and radishes and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt; simmer 4 minutes.
  • Add the snap peas, green onions and half of the lemon zest. Simmer for 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup and vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cream cheese, and pepper to vegetable mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
  • Add the cooked noodles to vegetable mixture; toss to coat.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid; adding additional cooking liquid as needed to thin sauce to your liking.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest and dill over pasta mixture.
  • Divide pasta mixture into 4 shallow bowls.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Greek Chicken Pasta

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Who doesn’t love an easy yet tasty pasta meal? I know I certainly do and this chicken pasta dish adapted from the Noble Pig doesn’t disappoint. The chicken adds protein to the dish while the addition of spinach makes this a complete one pot meal. The feta and olives give the dish a Mediterranean flair. Depending upon what I have on hand, I’ve used both Greek and Spanish olives so simply choose one you like. If you are short on time or have leftovers, use rotisserie or pre-cooked chicken. Simply add the chicken in during the final step and cook until heated through.

GREEK CHICKEN PASTA

12 ounces spaghetti

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces baby spinach

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 cup whole olives of your choosing

1 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

  • Cook spaghetti as package directs.
  • While the spaghetti cooks, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken breasts and tossing regularly, cook until browned on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add in the onion and the garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach, wine, oregano, chile flakes, olives, pine nuts, salt and pepper.
  • Drain pasta and return it to the pot.
  • Add the chicken and spinach mixture and cook over medium heat until warmed, about 4 minutes.
  • Transfer to plates and top with feta cheese.

Serves 4

“Sauceless” Fettuccini Alfredo

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Ask most Italians about fettuccini alfredo and they are likely to not recognize what you are talking about. Or at best they may shudder since they don’t recognize the often gloppy cheese and cream sauce that covers pasta as being remotely Italian. They would say it is Italian American cooking and nothing like what Grandma used to make. Personally, I’ve always found alfredo sauce to be too rich so rarely have I partaken in this American pasta tradition. But when time is tight I do whip up my own take on the dish and think it is so much better.

My version is inspired by The Splendid Table and is fast, delicious and decidedly not covered in thick sauce. With all of butter and the cheese is it still decidedly rich but an occasional splurge never hurt anyone. I prefer to use fresh pasta; not only does it cook faster but I think it tastes better as well.

“SAUCELESS” FETTUCCINI ALFREDO

1 pound fettuccini

3/4 cup diced pancetta

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

2 cups grated parmesan cheese

  • Cook the fettuccini according to package instructions. Drain and return to the pot.
  • While the pasta is cooking, saute the pancetta in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Once the pancetta is crispy, turn off the heat and add the butter, allowing it to melt.
  • Pour the butter and pancetta mixture over the cooked pasta and toss well to coat.
  • Sprinkle with the red chili pepper flakes then add the grated parmesan cheese, again tossing well to coat.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 6

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