Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Pasta

While this post is about dinner for two, I am posting my traditional meatball recipe because when I make the entire recipe. That way I can freeze them in small batches for the future. Add a Garden Salad to round out the menu.

Italian Meatballs

Makes 18 to 20 meatballs. Make the meatball mixture early in the day.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
Olive oil

Directions

Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Blend bread crumbs into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still, hold its shape. Refrigerate for several hours.
Shape the meat mixture into 3-inch balls.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches.

When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, remove it from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)
For dinner for two;
Place a ladle of sauce in a small baking dish. Place 4 meatballs in the dish. Cover with sauce. Cover the dish and bake in the oven with the ravioli.


Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
Two 26 oz containers can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until well mixed. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.

Ravioli Bake

I love that ravioli; i can be cooked this. No more breaking apart in boiling water. If you double the recipe use two baking dishes that can go into the dishwasher. The ravioli need to be in a single layer to cook properly.

Ingredients

2 cups marinara sauce
Half a package of frozen cheese-filled ravioli (25 to 27 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Defrost the ravioli on a plate in a single layer covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of rectangular baking dish 13x9x2-inches, with cooking spray.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in a baking dish. Arrange the ravioli in a single layer over the sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered 15 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center.


With all the fresh vegetables coming to market now, this is the best time of year to make Pasta Primavera.

Ingredients

1 lb bucatini pasta or your favorite pasta
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves mashed
2 medium zucchini, dices
Half a medium onion, diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
⅓ cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
A handful of basil leaves torn into small pieces

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large, deep skillet. Add the garlic and stir until incorporated. Add the diced vegetables and lemon zest. Sprinkle it with salt, black pepper, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook the vegetables just until they begin to soften. Turn the heat to low and add the cream and basil leaves.

Remove the pasta from the cooking water with a spider or large pasta fork and place the pasta right into the skillet with the vegetables. Mix gently and add the cheese. Serve in individual pasta bowls.


Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

16 ounces orecchiette pasta
16 ounces Italian sausage
1 large bunch Tuscan kale, de-stemmed, and leaves chopped
1 large shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup salted pasta water
1 lemon, juiced
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Fill a large pot with water and set it over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt) per quart of water.

When the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir it rapidly to separate the pasta, since the orecchiette has a tendency to stick together. Cook until al dente, 9-11 minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain.

Cut the sausage into small chunks.
Add the sausage into a large skillet coated with olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sausage is cooked through.

Add the chopped kale, shallot, red pepper, and garlic to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes until kale is wilted.

Add the cooked orecchiette, 1/2 cup pasta water, and lemon juice to the skillet. Toss to combine and heat until the pasta water thickens to form a light sauce. If the pasta seems dry, add more pasta water. Add Parmesan cheese and serve pasta in shallow bowls.


If you do not have an air fryer use the broiler. You may need a few more minutes for cooking depending on how well you like your fish cooked. Salmon and swordfish also work in this recipe.

Air Fryer Tuna Kabobs

Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Kabobs
2 fresh tuna fillets, about 6 oz each cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
Bamboo sticks soaked in hot water or metal skewers that fit your fryer
4 oz cooked thin spaghetti

Directions

 


Combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Thread the tuna on two long skewers. Thread the vegetables on 4 skewers, alternating the vegetables. Place the skewers on a platter and brush with some of the sauce. Let the skewers rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F and heat for 5 minutes.
Place the prepared skewers into the air fryer basket for 4 minutes. Brush with the sauce and turn the kabobs over. Brush that side with sauce. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes more depending on how well cooked you like your fish.
spread the cooked spaghetti on a platter. Place the kabobs on top of the spaghetti and pour the remaining sauce over the kabobs. Swerve immediately.


Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 lb short pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano, plus more for serving
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
½ lb shrimp peeled, deveined, and cut in half crosswise

Directions

Prepare a bowl of ice water and set it aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until bright green and just barely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a spider or strainer to transfer the green beans to the ice bath and let cool completely before draining. Keep the water boiling in the pot.

Add the pasta to the same pot of boiling water. Let cook to al dente, about 3 minutes less than the package instructions. Save ½ cup pasta water. Drain the pasta.

Heat the olive oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute, then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and pasta water.

Add the butter and shrimp. Stir for 2 minutes. Add drained pasta and blanched green beans, and cook, tossing, until well combined about 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and gradually stir in the cheese, tossing constantly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish with parsley, more cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.


Chinese Chicken Stock

Ingredients

3-4 lb chicken
10 cups water (cold)
3 slices​ fresh ginger
2​ scallions (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
Salt and black (to taste)

Directions

Place the chicken in a large pot with 10 cups of water (or enough to cover).
Add the ginger, green onion, rice wine, or sherry. Bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally skimming off the foam that rises to the top.
Add salt to taste and black pepper if desired.
Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the broth and use as called for in recipes. Shred one cooked chicken breast for the soup recipe below. Use the remainder of the meat for other recipes.

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

8 cups Chinese chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons sherry or Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 oz Asian curly noodles, cut into smaller pieces
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
6 denied shiitake mushrooms, soaked
1 medium onion, sliced
8 oz can water chestnuts, drained
Chilies, hot sauce, chili paste, optional

Add broth ingredients to a large saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
to have ingredients infuse flavors.

Cook noodles according to the package.

Cut vegetables as needed.

Add carrots to the broth and simmer for 2 min. and remove but keep warm. Add
chicken and bok choy and cook for 2-3 min. until bok choy is tender.

Divide the broth between four bowls, add the noodles, carrots, chicken, and
bok choy in sections around the bowl and the green onions scattered in the
middle or the side.

Serve with hot sauce, optional.

Ginger Pork in Lettuce Leaves

6 servings

Ingredients

3/4 pound ground pork
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
1 tablespoon Thai sweet chile sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
One 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
24 lettuce leaves

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork with bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chile sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil l.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the pork mixture and stir-fry over high heat, breaking it up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the water chestnuts, scallions, oyster sauce, and cilantro and remove from the heat.

Spoon the pork into bowls. Stack the lettuce leaves on plates. To eat, spoon the pork onto the lettuce leaves, roll up,


For the topping
3 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper

For the roasted cauliflower sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cored, cut into florets
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12-oz box spinach linguine (DeCecco)

Directions

For the cauliflower
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
In a bowl toss together the cauliflower florets, shallots, garlic, seasoning, salt, red pepper, and olive oil. Spread on the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and browned.

For the topping
Cook bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add panko and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer panko mixture to bowl and stir in cheese.

For the pasta
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water.
Return the pot to low heat and add the cream, roasted cauliflower, pasta water, and cheese. Stir until heated through. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Turn the mixture out into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the bacon panko topping. Serve immediately.


America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

Stroganoff (or Stroganov) is a simple and comforting Russian dish consisting of sauteed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce. It dates back to the mid 19th century and is named for a member of the Stroganov family, who were a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners in Tsarist Russia. The first known recipe is found in a mid-1800s Russian cookbook. The dish probably goes back to much earlier peasant fare but is now commonly attributed to the household of Count Pavel Stroganoff (1774-1817). Tolstoy’s War and Peace novel paints a picture of Russian society of that time which was fascinated with French culture and language. The interest in all things French extended to food, with chefs of the great households striving to create dishes in a more elegant and refined style.

After the fall of Tsarist Russia, the dish found popularity in China. Then, during WWII, Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as US servicemen, brought the dish to the US. The first English language recipe for Beef Stroganoff appeared in a cookbook in 1932, but its popularity didn’t blossom until after World War II. Servicemen who’d served overseas were open to new tastes and flavors. Some went on to become the food editors, writers, and chefs who redefined American cuisine. At the same time, families moved to the suburbs, and dinner parties became more fashionable than ever. Beef Stroganoff, luxurious yet easy to prepare, became a signature dish with countless hostesses, and a headline entrée in upscale restaurants. New York’s Russian Tea Room, founded by former members of the Imperial Ballet, was famous for this dish.

In the 50s and 60s, Stroganoff saw quite a bit of popularity in the US, but overtime its image was marred by canned cream of mushroom soup and poor cuts of meat that were poured over noodles or rice and served in cafeterias. Unfortunately, it was this cafeteria version that everyone in the States came to associate with the name. Beef Stroganoff is so much more than the 50s and 60s made it out to be. Authentic Russian Beef Stroganoff combines tender beef and flavorful mushrooms in a creamy sauce for an elegant, yet quick dish.

The best beef to use in beef stroganoff is a cut that works well with quick-cooking. That means you need something that is tender in its own rights, such as beef tenderloin or ribeye steak. The important thing is to cut the steak into thin slices by cutting across the grain. This shortens the fibers of the meat, making it more tender with less cooking.

In Russia, you will most often find traditional beef stroganoff served over fried shoestring potatoes (French fries). It can also be found served over mashed potatoes or rice. Here in the States, egg noodles are the most common accompaniment to beef stroganoff.

TRADITIONAL BEEF STROGANOFF

Ingredients

2 tablespoons salted butter
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lb beef tenderloin, sliced thinly, against the grain
2 tablespoons instant Wondra flour or all-purpose
1 cup beef broth
½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz egg noodles, cooked

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the butter. Add the beef to the saute pan. Cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are tender. Stir the flour into the beef broth and mix well.
Add the beef broth, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and tomato paste to the saute pan scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any stuck bits.
Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Place the sour cream into a small bowl and mix a little of the broth from the skillet with the sour cream to warm it. Pour the warmed sour cream mixture into the saucepan and mix to combine. Warm over very low heat,
Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve the stroganoff over the cooked noodles.

 

 

 

 

 


4 servings

Topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Pasta:
Kosher salt
8 oz bucatini or spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
4 slices applewood-smoked bacon, diced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup white wine
(1 pound or 1 bag or 30) small clams, cleaned
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

For the topping: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and breadcrumbs and toast, stirring often, until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt. Set aside to cool. Stir in the Parmesan.

For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the package directions, about 9 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

Put the olive oil and bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until browned and crispy, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook an additional minute. Add the tomatoes and red onion; toss to coat. Deglaze with the white wine and add the clams. Cover the skillet with a lid and shake gently. Cook until all the shells have opened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the clams to four individual pasta bowls, discarding any unopened clams.

Add the pasta to the skillet and toss in the sauce. Add the reserved pasta water to create a loose sauce. Toss with the parsley. Scoop equal amounts of pasta and sauce over the clams in the pasta bowls.

Sprinkle each with the breadcrumb topping. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and ciabatta br+ead.


3-4 servings

Ingredients

1 bunch udon noodles
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs

Marinade
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir-fry
1 whole stalk of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
3 scallions sliced

Directions

Slice the chicken into thin bite-size pieces, no thicker than 1/4”, transfer into a medium-size bowl. Add the marinade ingredients. Stir to mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir to mix well.

Bring 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and cover. Steam until the broccoli just turns tender and most of the water evaporates about 40 to 50 seconds. Transfer the broccoli to a plate.

Boil the udon noodles per the manufacturer’s instructions in the same pan. Drain the water. Set aside.

Wipe the pan with a paper towel held in a pair of tongs if there’s any water left.

Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Allow to cook without touching for 30 seconds, or until the bottom side is browned. Turn the chicken and stir and cook until the surface is lightly charred.

Add the garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the flavor.

Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely and pour it into the skillet. Cook and stir until the sauce thicken about 1 minute. Stir in the broccoli, walnuts, and noodles and heat gently. Sprinkle the scallions over the top of the mixture.

Transfer to individual bowls and serve immediately.



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