Category Archives: Pasta

Baked Squash Mac & Cheese…

Photo Oct 06, 5 08 36 PM BAKED SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE

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Hi Everyone,

Well, I hope your Fall is off to a good start. For me, I am slowly adjusting to the season and the cooler weather.

I can’t say that I am at the pumpkin latte, apple cider donuts and big sweater level yet, but I am working on it. 

The cooler weather and the month of October always brings my mind to comfort foods. Soups, stews and mac & cheese. Mac & cheese being my favorite. 

I am always on a quest for new recipes and then I tweak them to my liking. The other day while searching for fall recipes, I found a great recipe that caught my eye on the website HalfBakedHarvest.com.

It is “Baked Squash Mac & Cheese”. Two things I like rolled into one entree- not bad.

The mac & cheese is served in a mini squash (or pumpkin) for a great presentation and can either be a lovely weeknight meal or a seasonal lunch for company, served with a salad.

I bought all the ingredients, tried the recipe, loved it and wanted to share it with all of you. So here we go…

A slideshow preparing this recipe will be posted after the written recipe.

I had one big problem, everywhere I went I couldn’t find really small squash and I didn’t want to use a small pumpkin so the squash I bought would be considered a medium size. 

I still think that this would look cuter with small individual squash, but the taste was great.

Ingredients…

Photo Oct 06, 2 35 14 PM INGREDIENTS ONE

Baked Squash Mac & Cheese

courtesy of HalfBakedHarvest.com

Photo Oct 06, 5 07 14 PM BAKED SQUASH CLOSE

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 small acorn squash or pie pumpkins
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt + pepper
  • 4 slices thin prosciutto
  • 4 slices sourdough bread pulsed into fine crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-pound short cut pasta
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less to taste

COOKS NOTE:  I added shallots to my onions…

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove the tops of the squash and scoop out the seeds. Rub the insides of the pumpkins with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet. Lay the prosciutto flat on the baking sheet next to the squashes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp. Remove the prosciutto from the pan and continue baking the squash another 10-20 minutes or just until tender to touch but not falling in.
  3. Add the crisp prosciutto and bread to a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the crumbs and cook until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sage and cook another 30 seconds. Spoon the crumbs out onto a plate. Set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain.
  5. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the same pot used for the crumbs. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute, stirring once or twice to avoid burning. Gradually whisk in the milk, whisking until combined. Raise the heat up to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the cheese, mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted (if needed, return the pot to the heat to fully melt the cheese). Stir in the pasta. Spoon the mac and cheese into the roasted squash bowls, you may have leftover mac and cheese depending on the size of your squash. Sprinkle on the bread crumbs over and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven…dig in!!

STEP BY STEP SLIDESHOW…

 

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Enjoy the recipe and let me know what you think.

Stay well, 

Diane

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Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce …

 

Photo Jun 28, 9 16 36 PM CAPELLINI WITH FRESH TOMATOES

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Hi Everyone, 

Very busy since my last post and the time is flying by. I can’t believe that we are at the end of June already. Wasn’t it just Easter?

I have received several emails regarding a recipe that I had posted on Instagram and I wanted to share it with all of my DishingwithDiane members. The recipe is for a tomato sauce that takes less than 20 minutes and is made with fresh tomatoes. I use cherry tomatoes.

Sounds to good to be true, but it is.

With all of our gardens that are bountiful this time of year with tomatoes and basil (one of my favorite combinations), this recipe is perfect.

It is a go to recipe of mine for the summer months. 

It is much quicker than ordering take out and much healthier.

I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think.

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Garden Tomatoes

Photo Jun 28, 7 30 40 PM INGREDIENTS

Ingredients

3 pints of cherry tomatoes – washed and sliced in half — ( Roma or vine tomatoes can be used as well- your choice.)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cloves of sliced garlic (or more)

Red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. of tomato paste

Salt and pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

Fresh basil leaves

Fresh thyme

1 tbsp. butter

Pasta of your choice

½ to 1 cup of white wine (optional)

1 cup frozen or fresh peas (optional)

Diane’s tips: 

Dry herbs are stronger than fresh herbs so you need to use a smaller amount.

Don’t just sprinkle dried herbs in your pot, instead rub dried herbs between your fingers to crush the herb. This releases the oils that are left in the leaves which adds more flavor.

Directions:

Wash and slice 3 pints of cherry tomatoes in half, set aside

In a large skillet, add 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 cloves (or more) of sliced garlic and red pepper flakes (the desired amount you want).

Once the garlic starts to turn golden, add the tomato paste and saute for a few minutes to toast the tomato paste and blend it well with the garlic.

Next, add all of your tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, dried oregano, some fresh basil leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  I added 1 cup white wine (optional).

Simmer for approx. 15- 20 minutes on medium heat partially covered. Stir occasionally and crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to release their juices.

Add peas now if using (optional)

In the meantime, make your pasta per directions, two minutes shy of al dente.  Reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water and add the drained pasta to the skillet to finish cooking.

If pasta sauce is too thick or too dry, add some pasta water- ( a tbsp. at a time).

Off heat, I finish the sauce with 1 tbsp of butter, grated cheese and a few fresh basil leaves.  Serve and enjoy!

Slideshow of steps starting with ingredients…

 

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog and please spread the word to your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane. 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments, I LOVE to hear from you.

 

Saffron Fregola with Clams, Shrimp & Scallops

Photo Dec 11, 8 57 17 PM FREGOLA

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Hi Everyone,

I found another recipe I wanted to share.

If you are Italian, like me, then you know that Christmas Eve is a big culinary feast for all Italian families.

It is the Feast of the Seven Fishes or La Viglia.  Personally my favorite meal of the year.

La Viglia was held until the midnight hour when baby Jesus was born. It is an extensive seafood dinner and there has to be seven varieties of fish.

Every year I basically prepare the same menu……

  • linguine with crab sauce
  • shrimp cocktail
  • fried calamari
  • fried shrimp
  • fried eel
  • coconut shrimp
  • stuffed calamari
  • baked clams
  • crab cakes
  • baccala (cod) with tomatoes and potatoes
  • cold seafood salad (shrimp, squid, scallops, scungilli, celery, olives in a lemon olive oil dressing)
  • stuffed shrimp
  • scungilli in hot sauce
  • cold broccoli salad

This year I wanted to add something different to the menu and I started searching for recipes. I finally found a recipe that looked interesting that was on the Williams Sonoma website and decided to give it a test run. It was made with fregola pasta which I haven’t had in years so I was all excited.

WE LOVED IT and I want to share it with you today. Easy to prepare too.

It will definitely be on my table Christmas Eve.

Saffron Fregola with Seafood

A bit of culinary exotica, fregola is a type of pasta from the Italian island of Sardinia. The more common Israeli couscous may be substituted. Serve this hearty stew with a refreshing butter lettuce and pear salad and plenty of crusty bread for dipping.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb. medium scallops, tough muscles removed
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup fregola (Sardinian couscous) or Israeli couscous
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. clams, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Crush the saffron in a small bowl and add the wine. Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot over high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. When the pan is very hot, add the shrimp and sear for 1 minute per side (do not cook all the way through). Transfer to a bowl. Add the scallops to the pot and sear for 1 minute per side, also without cooking all the way through. Transfer to the bowl with the shrimp.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the saffron mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the fregola and stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the clams, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Cover the pot tightly and steam for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly add the shrimp and scallops. Cover the pot tightly again and continue to cook just until the clams open and the shrimp and scallops are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Discard any clams that failed to open. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011).

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I hope you try this dish and enjoy it as much as we did.

 

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

 

 

Roses…Sweet and Savory

Photo Dec 03, 2 09 55 AM SWEET AND SAVORY

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Hi Everyone,

Well, I am back from my mini vacation visiting my son in upstate NY. In between going out and about on my visit, I spent my time cooking my son’s favorite foods along with a Thanksgiving dinner.

His refrigerator and freezer are stocked and now I am a happy mom.

He doesn’t have time to cook for himself with his work schedule and I feel better knowing that he is eating a home cooked meal instead of fast food.

While upstate, I had to visit my favorite grocery store, Wegmans. You all know by now that I just love that store. I am waiting for the day that they build one where I live.

Bob calls it Diane’s Disney for good reason. (I even went during snow flurries. Nothing was going to stop me.)

Anyway, we bought the most delicious (& huge) apples in Wegmans. On the way home, Bob asked if I wouldn’t mind making a dessert with them even though I had been cooking all week. So in the car, (I had eight hours to think driving home) I was trying to think of something to make with the apples. The usual apple pie and apple turnovers came to mind and then I thought about apple roses. They look beautiful and can be served warm with vanilla ice cream.

I always have puff pastry in the house and I had the other ingredients as well, so apple roses it is.

I had this recipe for a long time. I copied it from a post in Pinterest and I really don’t remember the original site I was on to tell you.

In addition, I have the perfect apple shaped dishes to serve them on.

I bought the apple dishes in Sur La Table when I went in to shop for a cast iron pan and found the dishes instead, along with an apple platter.

Here is a pic of my apple roses. They are Huge!

I told you the apples were big. Normally, I would serve 2, but with this size I chose to serve only one per plate. (Recipe will be at the end of the post.)

Photo Dec 03, 2 00 41 AM APPLE -CLOSE

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Since I was making a sweet “rose”, I decided I should make a savory rose and complete the meal. I had the perfect entree in mind too.

On our last trip to Boston, Bob and I ate in a great restaurant in the North End of Boston on the Freedom Trail called “Restaurante Limoncello” and I highly recommend it. I loved everything about this restaurant.

I had the best mussels and clams Calabrese style (spicy) appetizer I ever had. No other restaurant ever came close to the taste of that dish.

On the menu, their signature dish was “Rosette Limoncello”,  rosette means rose. Pasta roses? I had to order it and a beautiful plate of pasta shaped like roses in a cream sauce filled with ham and fontina cheese came to the table-  just delicious.

One day while browsing the “Chowhound” website, there was an article by “farmersdaughter” about pasta roses using the renowned Italian cookbook author, Marcella Hazan’s recipe. I finally had my recipe.

All in all they didn’t look too difficult. Much easier than I had imagined, but time consuming. Of course I had to make a little tweak. Her recipe calls for ham and Fontina cheese; I made mine with prosciutto and Asiago cheese. A combination that Bob and I like a little better.

The roses make a beautiful presentation for a primo piatto (first course) for a dinner party or the holidays.

Two or three roses with some basil for a garnish and you are done.

Here is the pic of my Rosette di Pasta (Recipe at the end of the post)

Photo Dec 02, 7 14 00 PM CLOSE UP

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I hope you try either of these recipes and add them to your holiday menu.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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RECIPES

Apple Roses

Photo Dec 03, 2 00 06 AM APPLE ROSES

serves 6

Ingredients:

2 apples (pink lady, braeburn, or honeycrisp)
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
3 tablespoons apricot or strawberry preserves
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a standard muffin tin.

Core the apples and slice in half. Using a very sharp knife or mandolin on the second setting, slice paper thin 1/8-inch slices and immediately sprinkle and toss in lemon juice prevent browning.

Toss in the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Microwave the slices for 45 seconds, or until soft and pliable enough to mold.

Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Cut six 2-inch wide strips of dough.

In a small bowl, combine the preserves with 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave for 30 seconds if it was refrigerated. Spread evenly over each strip of dough.

Arrange about 10 apple slices lengthwise in a straight line, overlapping slightly, on a strip of dough.

Fold up the bottom part of the dough and begin tightly rolling the dough to form the rose shape. Press the edge to seal. Repeat for all the pies and place in the muffin tin.

Make ahead: at this point the unbaked assembled roses can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 day before baking as directed.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Pastries are best served the day they are baked but can be stored in an airtight container and rewarmed in a 300°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until warmed through and flaky again.

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Pasta Roses

Photo Dec 02, 7 14 00 PM ROSES 2

Recipe for Roselline di Pasta alla Romagnola (Pasta Roses with Ham and Fontina) from the Chowhound article…

Serves 6

Ingredients:

about 1 pound fresh pasta sheets, cut about 4″ wide and 10″ long
salt
4 T unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 T tomato paste
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 lbs boiled, unsmoked ham, sliced very thin
1 pound fontina, shredded
about 3 T grated parmigiano-reggiano

Cook the pasta strips 2 or 3 at a time in boiling salted water for a few seconds, then remove from the water with a spider and shock in ice water. Rinse each pasta strip well in cold water and rub together to remove as much starch as possible—as Marcella says, “as if you are doing a fine laundry.” Lay the strips out on the counter on a towel and repeat with the remaining strips.

Preheat the oven to 450. Put butter and cream in a small saucepan and heat to medium and reduce the cream a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and the nutmeg and whisk lightly to dissolve the tomato paste, continuing to cook to thicken the sauce to about buttermilk consistency, about another 5 minutes. Spread a thin layer of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

On each pasta strip, place a single layer of sliced ham and then cover with a layer of cheese. My ham slices were exactly 4″ wide so no trimming was necessary, but the ham should fit the slice without overlapping it on the sides. Roll up the pasta like a jelly roll and place seam-side down on the towel while you do the other rolls. After you have done all the rolls, cut them in half so they are about 2″ thick. Then with a paring knife on one side of each ring, make an “X” about 1/2″ deep. This will help the roses “bloom.” (Mine didn’t bloom as much as I wanted, but they still looked very pretty.)

Put the roses in the baking dish with the cross cuts face up and distribute the remaining sauce over them with a pastry brush. Press down a bit on the roses to help them open slightly. Sprinkle with the parmigiano-reggiano and bake for about 15 minutes, until a light crust forms on top. Let them sit for about 5 minutes before serving. (Everything but the baking can be done in advance, just make sure that if you make it ahead and refrigerate it that it’s at room temperature before you put it in the oven.)

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Give these recipes a try and let me know what you think.

Photo Dec 03, 2 09 55 AM SWEET AND SAVORY

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

 

 

Linguine with Clam Sauce

2015-07-22 18.35.33- SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS for blog - Copy - RETOUCHED

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Hi everyone,

I have been receiving multiple requests for a recipe that I talked about in my

October 10, 2015 post, “One More Seaside Dinner” but never posted the recipe for.

 Well, here it is, my version of Linguine with Clam Sauce and I am giving away my “secret ingredient” for my members. Trust me, the secret ingredient makes a big difference.

 I hope you all try it and enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page. 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb. linguine or spaghetti

½ cup olive oil

2 dz. little neck clams, scrubbed and cleaned

1 cup dry white wine

1 small can (2 oz.) of anchovies in olive oil * SECRET ingredient

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small shallot, diced

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. butter

1 small bottle of clam juice (I use Cento 8 oz.)

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped (more for garnish)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Cover the clams with cold water in a bowl and add a fistful of salt. Let them stand for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, rinse and scrub the clams well under cold running water discarding any clams that are open.

In a large pot, boil water for linguine /spaghetti. When the water begins to boil, add salt liberally. Let the water return to a boil and cook your pasta al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté shallots and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes for 2-3 minutes. When the shallots are translucent, add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Take the pan off the heat (to avoid splatters) and add 2 tbsp. of butter and the can of anchovies. Stir well to dissolve the anchovies.

Put the pan back on the heat and stir in the clam juice, salt and pepper.

Add the white wine and the clams. Cover and steam until the clams open (approx. 7-10 minutes). Discard any clams that do not open.

Remove clams from their shell and leave some in the shell for presentation. (I chop some and also leave some whole).

Drain the linguine/spaghetti and add to the pot of clams. Toss well to combine and add the fresh parsley. Check for seasoning….garnish with more parsley.

download- clams