One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta

garlic pasta

This is a fantastic pasta to serve as a side dish or even as a main meal. The nice part is that it’s made in one pot and basically cooks itself. It doesn’t get much easier than that! To serve this as a main meal, simply add in some grilled chicken and steamed broccoli and you have a nice, quick dinner. To save even more time, use a rotisserie chicken instead of grilling your own.

I came across this recipe online at Damn Delicious blog, you can find the original recipe right here . I followed the recipe pretty much “as is” with only a few minor substitutions. Instead of chicken broth I used chicken stock which is more flavorful and rich and I used Pecorino Romano cheese in place of the Parmesan. Since it was the only side dish that I was serving alongside my Chicken Caprese , I doubled the recipe.

This pasta is best when it is served right away so that the sauce is silky and smooth. Once it stands, it tends to clump. If that happens, just return the pasta to the pot over medium low heat and stir in a little extra milk until the sauce loosens back up. Serve hot and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 1 cup milk, more as needed
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 8 oz uncooked fettuccine or thin linguine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir in chicken broth, milk, butter and fettuccine. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked through, about 18-20 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately, garnish with fresh parsley.

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza

Potato and Leek Pizza

This is seriously the BEST. PIZZA. EVER. It is SO ridiculously good! The leeks add such a nice, mild onion flavor and the bacon, ricotta, and potatoes taste absolutely amazing together. This is truly one of the most unique and delicious pizzas I’ve ever tried and it was quickly added to my recipe binder. This recipe is another gem from The Pioneer Woman  and you can find the original recipe here .

I made just a few adjustments to the original recipe and it came out great but feel free to leave it as is if you prefer. She calls for using frozen bread dough for the crust however, the first time I made this I found that to be too dense and dry, the texture just wasn’t right for pizza crust. So the next time I made it I used the same dough recipe from my Pizza Margherita and it was SO much better. If you’re pressed for time or don’t feel comfortable making a homemade crust you can easily pick up a ball of pizza dough in your local pizzeria or even the supermarket. Also, I do not like goat cheese so instead I used large dollops of whole milk ricotta all over the pizza and it was excellent, a perfect substitution! Lastly, feel free to use whatever potatoes you have on hand for this. The recipe calls for red potatoes but I used Yukon Gold because they are my favorite and I always have them in the house.

If you have a pizza stone, use it, as it makes for a nicely baked crust, If you do not have one a plain oiled baking sheet will also work fine. When you take the pizza out of the oven, give it a few minutes to rest so that the cheese sets and doesn’t run all over the place when you slice it. Make extra because it’s THAT good. You can thank me later.

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 leeks, rinsed well to remove grit and thinly sliced 
  • 1 ball of pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
  • 2-3 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced paper thin with a mandoline or sharp knife
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced thin 
  • 6-8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil or heat up a pizza stone in the hot oven.

In a skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crisp, remove and set aside. Pour off most of the grease but do not clean the skillet. Return the skillet to the stove and turn the heat to medium low. Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.

Roll out the pizza dough and place on the oiled baking sheet or a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal to be transferred to the hot stone. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer all over the crust, slightly overlapping the edges. Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt, then lay the mozzarella slices in a single layer on top of the potatoes. Arrange the leeks on top of the cheese. Drop large dollops of ricotta all over the pizza then sprinkle the fried bacon pieces over the top. Add the grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer the pizza to the hot stone or place the oiled pan in the oven. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 11 to 13 minutes. Rest the pizza for 5-10 minutes and then cut into squares and serve immediately.

Potato Pizza 2.jpg

Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Grilled Summer Veggies

summerpasta1

Pasta salads are the perfect light, easy, summer meal. They come together quickly, make a nice dinner or side dish, and they are a great way to use up all of the delicious vegetables that are growing in your garden. For this recipe I used a mix of zucchini, red bell peppers, corn on the cob, and green onions but you can substitute any or all of these with whatever favorite vegetables you have on hand. Pasta salads are extremely versatile in that you can add in whatever meat, cheese, dressing, and veggie that you like and it will always turn out delicious.

Because I had a nice amount of basil growing in my yard I decided to make a quick and easy fresh basil pesto . It takes only minutes to pull together and it’s the perfect “sauce” for both the pasta and to season the chicken that I added into the salad. The fresh grilled vegetables are really what amps up this salad to awesome, they impart such a nice, sweet element to the dish. I happen to love fresh mozzarella, preferably from my local Italian deli, but in a pinch I do use pre-packaged “fresh mozzarella” from BJ’s. For this recipe I threw in some of the fresh mozzarella pearls, teeny tiny little balls, from Bel Gioioso. They aren’t as amazing as true fresh mozzarella but in this dish where they are tossed together with pesto, chicken, pasta, and fresh veggies they work just fine.

If you don’t have time to make everything for this dish all at once you easily make much of it in advance. The pesto will keep for 5-7 days in the fridge, the vegetables can be grilled and diced ahead of time as well as the chicken. When you’re ready for dinner just boil the pasta and toss everything together. Super easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ thick slices
  • 2 ears of fresh corn on the cob
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into sixths
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 4 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh mozzarella pearls (or torn up fresh mozzarella)
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cubed and cooked
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 3/4 cup pesto

Instructions

Heat the grill to medium-high. Toss vegetables in the olive oil with a little bit of salt and pepper. Grill corn, turning periodically, for about 10 minutes or until slightly charred in spots. Grill the pepper and zucchini slices for about 4-6 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbs of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the cubed chicken and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until slightly browned and cooked through. Towards the end of the cooking, add in 2-3 tbs of the pesto sauce and stir to combine. Set the chicken aside on a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool off the pasta just a bit, you don’t want it steaming hot.

Combine the cooked pasta, chicken, mozzarella balls, green onion, and grilled veggies. Toss gently with the pesto until well combined. Season with salt and pepper as needed and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve warm, at room temp, or cold.

summerpasta3

 

Pizza Margherita

pizzamargh1

I was dying for my favorite margherita pizza in Port Jefferson however, it’s Monday, it’s kind of yucky out, and I am just flat out too lazy to drag the kids there this evening. Instead, I decided to make my own! Granted, it’s not quite the perfection of my favorite place but it was pretty damn delicious. When the kids ask for thirds and your husband can’t stop eating it, you know you did good.

I found this recipe on Epicurious, it was the Pizza Margherita by Melissa Roberts and Maggie Ruggiero. I didn’t deviate at all from the recipe except to use San Marzano tomatoes in place of regular whole tomatoes. I also doubled both the sauce and the dough so that I could make two pizzas. I used my large, round pizza stone to bake the pizzas and they came out excellent. The recipe suggested to use parchment paper on the pizza peel and then transferring that directly to the stone. What a fantastic idea!! It made the transfer of the pizza from the counter to the stone to the cutting board a cinch. I was also able to assemble both pizzas at one time which was very convenient so as one pizza came out of the oven I was able to slide the next one right in. Easy peasy.

Overall, this recipe made a delicious pizza that was pretty easy to make. The only “trouble” you might encounter is when making the dough, getting it to be less sticky requires that you keep adding extra flour. That usually makes me a little nervous because I don’t want to end up with a brick in the end but if you don’t add a little as needed, you will have a giant, sticky mess on your hands. I used my stand mixer with the dough hook to bring the dough together and then proofed it in my oven as I have a “proof” setting. If you do not have that feature, just be sure to allow the dough to rise in a warm area free of drafts.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 (1/4 oz) package of active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 unbleached all purpose flour, divided (plus more for dusting)
  • 3/4 cup warm water, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbs olive oil

For the sauce

  • 1 (14-15 oz) can of whole tomatoes in juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 basil leaves, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

For the pizza

  • 6-8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

Instructions

In a large bowl, stir together the yeast, 1 tbs flour, and a 1/4 cup warm  water (105 – 110 degrees). Let stand until the surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes. (If the mixture does not appear creamy, throw it out and start over with new yeast)

Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup of warm water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) so that the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Dough will be slightly wet.

Knead on a floured surface or use the dough hook of your stand mixer and work the dough until smooth, soft, and elastic. About 8 minutes. Form a ball, place into an oiled bowl and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a draft free place for about 1 1/4 hours. Dough should double in size.

While the dough is rising, make the tomato sauce. Pulse the tomatoes with the juice in a blender to make a chunky puree. (You can also just squeeze the tomatoes in their juices as well and avoid the blender.) Cook the garlic in oil over medium low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, and 1/8 tsp salt and simmer until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt as needed and cool.

At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, heat the stone in a 500 degree oven on the lower third rack.

While the stone is heating, shape the dough. Do NOT punch the dough down. Dust with flour and transfer to a parchment lined pizza peel or large baking sheet. Pat out the dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 14″ round.

Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1″ border. Arrange the cheese. Keep the pizza on the parchment and slide right onto the hot stone. Bake until the dough is crisp and browned and the cheese is golden and bubbling, about 13-16 minutes. When the pizza is done, use the peel to transfer to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil, slice, and serve hot.

pizzamarh3.jpg

 

 

 

 

Garlic Oil Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

18835991_10211661339522374_4610994279162784107_n

This is my go to dinner when I need something quick and easy. It’s absolutely delicious, very versatile, and even my kids love it! The key to this dish is in the garlic preparation, you don’t want to just chop up raw garlic and toss it in or ((GASP)) use something like garlic powder. I always use fresh garlic and I cook it until is softens which allows it to take on a nice, mellow flavor that really enhances the flavor of the meal.

For every pound of pasta I use a full head of garlic however, if you like a more subtle or even stronger garlic flavor feel free to use less or more depending on your taste. You can also switch out the sausage for thinly sliced chicken or even mini meatballs.  Don’t like broccoli? Use spinach, zucchini, kale, or whatever produce you prefer.  I happen to love penne pasta but you can make this recipe with angel hair, spaghetti, rigatoni or any other pasta that suits you. You can really experiment and make this dish your own.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta, any
  • 1 lb sausage links (I like sweet sausage with fennel)
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 – 3/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bag of broccoli florets (I like the Bird’s Eye Steam Bags)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves

Instructions

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente.

In the meantime, smash the garlic cloves with the back of a knife, give them a rough chop and add them to a small saucepan. Cover the garlic with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn the stove to medium high heat. Once the oil starts to bubble bring the heat down to low and let the garlic cook until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the garlic infuse into the warmed oil.

Thinly slice the sausage or remove from the casings all together. Heat up a small pan on medium heat and drizzle a little olive oil in. Add the sausage and cook until nicely browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Set aside and reserve the cooking oil.

Remove the garlic from the oil and using kitchen sheers, mince up the softened garlic. Add the garlic back into the oil and then prepare the broccoli. Allow the broccoli to cool for a minute and then chop the stems and discard.

Drain the pasta and add to a large bowl. Tear a handful of basil leaves and toss them in along with the sausage, broccoli, grated cheese, and a pinch of red pepper. Drizzle in some of the oil from the sausage pan along with all of the garlic infused oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss until everything is evenly coated and combined. Adjust your seasonings, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese, and serve hot.

**Note** – I always keep fresh basil on hand in my freezer. Buy a bunch of basil, tear off the leaves, wash, allow them to dry in between paper towels, and then toss them into a Ziploc bag and freeze. Whenever a recipe calls for fresh basil just grab what you need and crumble it right into whatever you’re cooking.

18835494_10211661339122364_4304339622430484123_n