Zucchini Corn Pasta

Summer is high and the produce is plentiful. Folks who are tired of the same old stuff made out of y our cherry tomatoes and squash should consider this dish. And it is an excellent use of corn on the cob; cooked and cut off. A certain famous lady chef whose name is Padma is credited with this recipe. I saw it on fb but they added corn and cherry tomatoes. I actually couldn’t find the recipe; link broken so I recreated it for myself. You can modify it as you like; my goddaughter tried it with roasted poblano peppers in it! Nice idea. Mine was lushly buttery and the corn was perfect. Every time I bit into a tomato it burst in my mouth into a delightful tomato treat.

Don’t skip the squash; it isn’t that squashy tasting; the other flavors are there and it is a symphony of summer produce. Good quality fresh sweet corn is critical. Use more cheese, or less, use vegan cheese! Fake butter if you must. Or Swap butter for olive oil if you want but I believe the butter to be a critical flavor ingredient.  Let me know what variations you try!

I served it with oven baked chicken thighs cooked in paprika, lemon, onion and garlic. And some great homemade focaccia and my garden steamed beans. Any summer protein will be awesome with this.

I just added the corn.
Tomatoes on board!
Fresh pasta added, I know it looks blah but trust me it was delish!

Zucchini Corn Pasta

Ingredients

4 cups shredded summer squash; I used a mixture of 50/50 zucchini and trombocini Italian long squash

2 ears of fresh corn

2 or 3 shallots; about 1/3 cup = chopped

4-6 tbsp butter

1 tbsp. EVOL

2 garlic cloves

1 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes

½ -2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

½ lb fettucine (gf for me!)

Directions:

Shred squash on large hole of grater; put in a strainer and let drain for 15-45 minutes.

Heat a big pot of water for the pasta. Steam corn in ¼ cup water in covered large frying pan for 6-7 min. Let cool; you are going to slice off the corn with a large sharp knife.

Cook your pasta one minute less than the directions on the packaging. I used some fresh pasta from Aldi’s so I only cooked it 4-5 minutes. Time it to be done about when you add the cherry tomatoes to the sauce.  Save ½ cup of the pasta water to thin the sauce.

Chop shallots, add to the big frying pan from the corn which you dumped out the water and heated with the olive oil and 2 tbsp of the butter. Cook the shallots 3-4 minutes.  Add the summer squash; I added the trombocini first as it cooks a tad longer than zucchini. Add 2 tbsp butter and 2 good sized garlic cloves. Cook 4 or 5 minutes, stirring to make sure nothing burns. While it cooks cut the corn off the cob. Add the corn, stir well, add the cherry tomatoes. Cook 2-3 minutes until they are warmed. Add the parmesan cheese. Stir well, add some hot pasta water and two more tbsp of butter (if desired) to thin it to your taste. Add salt and pepper as you wish. Eat immediately. Enjoy!

Note: I whipped this up on the fly so my cooking times are rough estimates. Next time I make it I will watch the time and update this recipe as necessary.

With oven baked chicken thighs, fresh focaccia and my garden beans.

Sausage Pasta Cheese Bake

It is summer and hot as heck (at times)  but you still gotta eat supper every day. Tonight I threw together a modified pasta bake that was quick to make, and, although it wasn’t too pretty to look at, the flavor was delicious and I know I want to make it again. This entrée used Italian sausage liberated from its casing.  It is a rustic Italian delight and all you need is a green salad and you have a satisfying meal to enjoy. My oven is well insulated so it really didn’t make my house feel that hot. The stove top portion is about 15 minutes worth of cooking, again, not too excessive in my book.

You could make this with spicy Italian sausage if that is more your style. Mushrooms are optional but I love the flavor they add. You could use spiral pasta. I, of course, used gf pasta; this time it was Aldi’s store brand which is inexpensive and has a great flavor. This bake seems slightly dry but the cheese makes a delightful bit of sauce with the tomatoes and veggies.  You don’t need to have a lot of tomato sauce to taste that Italian pasta bake flavor. Summer pasta on a plate! Leftovers are highly anticipated by me… I won’t have to cook much this week. Win win! If you have a big family this might be a go to recipe to quickly toss together and please the kiddos and the dad!

I know; not impressive but trust me; the flavor is building!
Another less than inspiring picture; just imagine it all melty and gooy with that yummy sausage sauce mixed in.

Angie’s Penne, Sausage and Cheese Bake

Ingredients

5 Italian sausage links, uncased (1 pound)

Cooking spray

1 large red or yellow onion, diced

1 large carrot diced

3 large cloves of garlic; put through the garlic press

1 14oz can diced tomatoes and juice

Rounded half tsp of sea salt, dried basil and dried oregano

A few grinds of black pepper

3 cups uncooked penne

1 small can sliced mushrooms (optional but I love them in this dish)

1 8 oz block of mozzarella cheese, grated on large hole side of your grater

Directions: Heat a large frying pan that you sprayed with cooking spray. I like olive oil spray. Add the sausage that you uncased, press it a bit to spread it out and turn in 2-3 minutes. I used a Teflon pan turner to chop up the links into small bits. Cook about 5 minutes until it doesn’t look pink. Carefully remove the sausage and let it rest in a bowl. Leave about a tablespoon of sausage oil in the pan.

Start a large sauce pan to cook the pasta; fill with salted water and get it heating.

Add the carrot to the frying pan and cook a minute, add the red onion; cook 2-3 minutes, add the garlic, cook one minute, stir well. Add The tomatoes and then return the sausage to the pan. Add the basil, oregano, salt and black pepper and stir well, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. While that simmers, cook the pasta. I cooked mine 3-4 minutes less than the package said since we will bake this in the oven. Drain it. I also grated the mott cheese during these 10 minutes and heated the oven to 375 degrees. Add the drained mushroom to the frying pan for the last minute of cooking. Stir the pan well before ladling it into the casserole.

Get out a 2 quart casserole, I used a tall sided glass one. Put a ladle of the sausage sauce in the bottom, add 1/3 of the hot pasta and 1/3 of the cheese, layer it up two more times with the last bit of cheese on top. Put a piece of aluminum foil over the top to keep in the moisture and bake it for 30 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.  You might want to stir it up before ladling out servings to ensure it is well mixed. It looks like a bit of a mess but I promise you will really enjoy this easy sausage and pasta bake. It makes about 6-8 servings, 4 if folks are starving! Enjoy.

There it is; a hodgepodge looking dish but you are gonna love it! And yes; do make that salad to accompany it; mine has some homemade green goddess dressing. Mmmm.

Seafood Alfredo 2.0

Long ago, I loved this seafood alfredo pasta dish: it was my favorite entrée at this French-Thai  restaurant on Linden Street in Allentown. I have replicated it once or twice before but, since then, sadly my paper version has disappeared. So I reviewed many recipes and used parts of several to come up with this version.  It is a budget and somewhat healthyish version (no heavy cream and minimal butter) and made quicker; no homemade pasta or crab meat. But, I think it does my memory justice and we sure enjoyed it for New Year’s Eve’s festive supper.

You could change up the seafood if you like. I sautéed my shrimp unpeeled and peeled them before putting them back in the sauce; more flavor that way. I cut the cooked big scallops in half to be the right size. I used gf pasta which doesn’t really have a true fettucine; it is about the width of linguini. Use whatever pasta you like. Use regular all purpose flour for creating the sauce if you aren’t gluten free. The secret to thickening this sauce is cream cheese. It melts into the cream sauce and vola! Thickened lush sauce but no heavy cream. My Italian friend Dan is probably shuddering at the seafood added and the lack of cream but I believe he would totally enjoy the flavors and textures of this seafood treat.

This fast snapshot does not do justice to this creamy delightful sauce and all the seafood in it.

Angie’s Seafood Alfredo for two

Ingredients

4 large sea scallops

8 large shrimps

1 Tbsp. mild olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

1 large shallot, diced fine

1 large garlic clove minced

1 small bay leaf

1 Tbsp rice flour

¾ cup whole milk or mixture of ½ cup whole milk and ¼ cup half and half [I did that]

2 ounces cream cheese cut into 4 cubes, room temp

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 small can minced clams, drained, save juice in case your sauce is too thick

½ of a 4 ounce can mushroom stems/pieces (drained)

3 Tbsp fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat a pot of water for pasta, salt it. Make the pasta (for two people) so it is timed to be ready say 12 minutes later. Melt 1 tsp of the butter with the Tbsp. of olive oil in medium sauté pan, let get hot but not smoking. Add scallops that you dried with a paper towel, add shrimps spaced out carefully so they each have room. After a minute flip the shrimp, 1- 2 minutes later carefully flip the scallops and cook them 1-3 minutes until just done. You should have taken out the shrimps as soon as their tails curl up after their flip. Put them all in a bowl. If your scallops are large cut them in half; I did. They matched the size of the shrimp better once I did that. Add rest of butter to pan and as it melts add the shallots and after a minute the garlic and bay leaf. Heat the milk in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Cook the shallots and garlic on medium heat while stirring; for a couple minutes, then add the flour; stir to incorporate it with the butter. Slowly add the hot milk to sauté pan stirring constantly. Next add the cream cheese cubes, hot pepper flakes, salt. Cook 2 minutes, add the mushrooms, clams and any clam juice you feel is needed to maintain the creamy texture. I used a tablespoon or so of it. Stir; add back seafood and then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and let it melt in as you stir it over low heat. When cheese is melted; serve over al dente pasta. I made skinny green beans and stirred a few into my sauce on my plate. Delish! Enjoy!

Cupboard Supper: Seafood Spaghetti

Spring is the season for asparagus, spring onions and peas. I love them all served together with spaghetti and garlic and lots of butter. This recipe can be made from stuff in your pantry other than the scallions. You could use red onion or shallots in place of the green onion but it wouldn’t be the same.

This is the only seafood and pasta dish where I grate cheese on top; normally taboo – considered not a good combination but it works fantastically in this fast to throw together entrée.  This meal is visually appealing with the greens and the white.  I have been making variations of it for many years.  This is one of my favorite versions.  Great flavor and so speedy to make; how fast can you get the water boiling and cook the pasta?  That is how long it takes to create a great meal in one fantastic dish.

Yes, I make it with gf pasta.  Use the brand you love, don’t overcook it; barely done is best.  I made it for years and years with regular pasta before I had to go gluten free.  The original recipe didn’t have the asparagus and peas; my addition.  Good no matter what veggies you add; just don’t take away any of the basic ingredients.

Try to use tuna packed in olive oil; makes all the difference, especially for Italian dishes, much better flavor than any other kind of tuna. Giant carries it as does Wegmans. If you totally hate tuna you could use half a pound of small cooked shrimp. Ditto on using real butter, margarine will ruin the flavor for sure.  And I really love the greens; especially the onions; buy scallions if you can’t find spring onions.  I always cook the white parts a few minutes but the green tops can be close to raw. Better that way than overcooked. Last but not least by any means, use the real deal for your parmesan cheese, that shreddy stuff in the jar is not gf a lot of the time and the flavor is sad when compared to a chunk you just grated on your pasta. You can thank me after you taste this masterpiece!

Seafood Spaghetti with Greens

Ingredients

1 package of gf spaghetti

½ stick of butter

6-10 spears of asparagus

½ cup fresh snap peas, cut in half (frozen oetite peas are fine)

1 can light tuna packed in olive oil

1 can diced clams

1 bundle scallions or spring onions

1 big garlic clove

Directions: Boil a big pot of salted water, add the entire box of spaghetti; usually 12 oz size in gf.  Cook stirring often until barely done.  Drain.  While it cooks make the rest of the dish.

Veggie Prep: I like to snap the asparagus into manageable lengths; like 1 ½ inches long.  Ditch the tough ends. Cut the peas in half, cut the spring onions into ¼ inch rounds. If using frozen peas add in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Melt 3 tbsp. of the butter in a big saucepan.  I use my mini wok. Add the veggies, cook a minute, and add the garlic pressed or minced.  Stir and cook another minute.  Throw in the white part of the onions; add the tuna and clams with ALL the juices and olive oil in the tuna can.  Stir gently and cook a minute.  Toss in the green parts of the scallions and the cooked hot pasta.  Stir a bit.  Add 1 tbsp. more butter if you dare and up to a quarter cup of pasta water to moisten the pasta.  It is really not a wet sauce; the stuff should cling to the strands of spaghetti.

Serve and top each portion with a healthy amount of finely grated real parmesan cheese.   Should serve four but if you are piggy only serves 3! seafood spagetti on plate

+++++++++++++ Variation for those with a garden +++++++++++++

Yes, you can eat kale flower buds, a lot like broccolini.  I sometimes blanch them in hot water before sauteing with olive oil and garlic.

pasta 012pasta 010pasta 013pasta 017pasta 018

These pictures above show my latest and quite yummy variation: I quick sizzled unopened kale flower buds from my last year’s plants and topped the finished pasta dish with it; really nice and I am guessing this kale option is quite good for your health

Originally posted May 2015.