Tag Archives: pasta

Tips for Making Perfect, Top Chef Canada-Worthy Fresh Pasta

Perfecting pro-level pasta at home may seem like a daunting feat, but we’ve got you covered with these tips from Top Chef Canada’s recent pasta-making elimination challenge, plus a few recipes to get you started in your own kitchen. From soft and supple gnocchi to tender ravioli, this advice from professional kitchens will get you rolling in no time.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Homemade Fettucine

The Best Flour For Homemade Pasta

The lucky cheftestants got to work with freshly milled flour from urban mill Brodflour, but chances are, you’ll have to settle for supermarket flour. Nonetheless, a few wise choices will help your success rate when making pasta. The specialty flour known as 00 or tipo 00 is the traditional pick when it comes to making pasta, due to its fine grind (this attribute also make it a good option for pizza dough). Depending on the kind of pasta, which dictates other factors such as the amount of eggs added, coarsely ground semolina or all-purpose flour can also be used in forming pasta dough.

Related: This Week on Top Chef Canada…

Eggs in Fresh Pasta

For some types of pasta, especially fresh egg pasta, the golden yolks lend a sunny hue to the finished product. Recipes vary in terms of the number but it is generally around a 1:1 ratio of eggs to cups of flour. Some kinds of pasta dough, such as tagliatelle, use a combination of two whole eggs and four egg yolks per four cups of flour for added richness.

Eggs also play a crucial role in the elasticity and texture of fresh pasta, although dried pasta is often made with no more than flour and water.

Related: Get Funky With 10 Fermented Foods

Methods For Making Homemade Pasta

Although the tried-and-true method of making a well in the flour and adding the wet ingredients in the centre, then drawing the flour slowly inwards, works well to combine the ingredients gradually, this process can be automated using a stand mixer or other equipment (Alton Brown has an easy food processor method for his ravioli dough, for example). The dough is then kneaded, shaped into a disk and rested before rolling through a pasta machine or by hand using a rolling pin for flat types of pasta such as fettuccini, or shaping using molds or one’s hands with smaller shapes, such as pici.

Related: Get the Recipe for Valerie Bertinelli’s Homemade Pici Pasta With Carbonara Sauce

Homemade Pasta Shapes and Tips

There’s still more choices awaiting you: pasta shape dictates cooking method, time and even which type of sauce you should use. In a stressful double-elimination, the remaining five chefs had to choose their pasta types, make their own dough and create their best dish for guest judge Danny Smiles (a former Top Chef Canada contestant himself and now owner of three restaurants including Osteria Fortuna, planned to open in June 2020). Adding to the pressure was the freshly milled flour, which will cause pasta dough to oxidize (changing colour and flavour) if made too far in advance. As a result, chefs couldn’t use the one hour prep time the day before to make their dough, instead needing to make it the day of the Eliminate Challenge.

At home, however, you have the advantage of all the time you need to tackle a fresh pasta project. Take some inspiration from each of the Top Chef Canada contestants and their dishes to create your own prize-worthy creation.

How to Make Homemade Orecchiette

Orecchiette is made by hand, with the pasta maker’s thumb forming the distinct indents that give each piece its distinctive “little ears” shape (Francis used a non-traditional method of forming it on a paddle, giving the pasta small ridges). Although he had never made orecchiette before, Francis’ precautions in making a test batch to experiment with the fresh flour and his technique paid off. The judges raved about his version with broccoli sauce, crunchy broccoli stems, fried spelt grains and an Asiago emulsion. Judge Danny Smiles observed that the dish adhered to its roots from Puglia, where orecchiette and broccoli are frequently used together.

Pro tip: Francis put his pasta dough in a vacuum bag to take the air out and speed up the resting process. If you have a vacuum sealer at home and are in a hurry, you can try this technique as well.

Get the recipe for Orecchiette With Homemade Ricotta And Cherry Tomatoes

How to Make Homemade Gnocchi

Due to the time constraints, Stephanie didn’t have time to make the traditional potato-based version of gnocchi, which requires cooking and cooling potatoes before putting them through a food mill, combining with flour and eggs and shaping into individual pieces. Instead, she opted for Parisian-style gnocchi, beginning with a choux paste (similar to eclairs) where butter and water are cooked, then combined with flour before putting it in a stand mixer to beat in the eggs. The mixture is piped into a pot of boiling water to cook. The judges liked the softness of Stephanie’s gnocchi, although they felt that they were a bit lost amidst the cornucopia of other ingredients in her Parisian gnocchi with pattypan squash, white asparagus, wild rose harissa and white asparagus sauce with ricotta.

Pro tip: When combining the eggs in the stand mixer, add them slowly one by one to ensure a soft and tender, eggier dumpling.

If you’d like to try a potato-free version of gnocchi, take a look at these Ricotta Gnocchi from head judge Mark McEwan.

How to Make Homemade Ravioli

Lucy’s first job on her first day as a chef at Terre Rouge was making pasta, so it’s no wonder that her cashew, caramelized onion and Gruyère ravioli won favour with the judges for its texture, winning her a place in the finale. Ravioli is made by running pasta dough through a pasta roller to achieve a thin, smooth sheet, then dolloping spoonfuls of filling in a single row across the bottom half. After folding over the top and pressing gently between sections of filling to remove excess air and seal each ravioli, a pasta cutter is used to trim each piece.

Pro tip: Listen to sound of the dough in the stand mixer — it will tell you when the dough is reaching the right consistency (you are looking for a stiffness similar to play dough).

Want to tackle your own ravioli? Try this Short Rib Ravioli and Creamy Mushroom Sauce, or Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli.

Related: How to Host a Top Chef Canada-Worthy Drag Brunch

How to Make Homemade Agnolotti

This pocket-sized filled pasta (or “little cute pillows with a beautiful pocket of filling on the inside”, as Imrun described it) starts out the same way as ravioli. The dough is rolled and dots of filling are piped onto the sheet of pasta, but before the final cuts are made, imprints are pushed into the sides of the filling to create a pillowy dent. Although Imrun’s use of nutritional yeast to top his kabocha squash and mascarpone agnolotti mystified the judges, they loved the thinness and execution of his pasta.

Pro tip: Using a piping bag to fill the agnolotti ensures even distribution and neatly centred dots.

Try one of these tasty ravioli recipes and adjust the method and filling size as described above to try them with agnolotti.

How to Make Homemade Tagliatelle

Rich with added egg yolks, tagliatelle’s long, flat ribbons make it a tender and versatile pasta. Adrian discovered the perils of deviating from the traditional recipe when he attempted to substitute squash purée for eggs, resulting in a soggy dough that stuck and broke in the roller during his first attempt. His second try was also too wet, forcing him to roll out the dough by hand, which ended up with tagliatelle that “looked more like spaetzle”, according to head judge Mark McEwan. Overall, although the judges liked the flavour of his butternut squash tagliatelle with butternut béchamel and scotch bonnet cremini mushrooms, the errors in executing the pasta itself sent Adrian home.

Pro tip: Be careful when substituting ingredients or adjusting your recipe, especially when using wet ingredients such as butternut squash that add moisture to the dough and can disrupt the water to flour ratio. Try making it yourself with this recipe for Homemade Tagliatelle.

Once you’ve made your fresh pasta, try one of these 50 Best-Ever Pasta Recipes for Easy Dinners. Watch Top Chef Canada Mondays at 10ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

One Humble Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals to Remember

Beans are not only one of the most versatile pantry ingredients, they offer a variety of health benefits, too! Chickpeas in particular are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Aside from turning that can of chickpeas hiding in your pantry into homemade hummus, here are six ways you can incorporate them into a healthy snack or meal. Be sure to rinse and drain the chickpeas before using them to remove any excess sodium. OK — here we go!

Chickpea Pasta
I grew up eating chickpeas in pasta, so this dish is one of my favourite quick dinners to whip up! It adds a serving of protein and fibre to an otherwise carb-heavy dish, which will keep you fuelled for longer. To make: simply simmer the chickpeas in marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade) until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Put it on top of the pasta of your choice and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Related: The Best-Ever Pasta Recipes for Easy Dinners

Roasted Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas make for a filling and healthy afternoon snack. You can toss them in any flavours or herbs you favour. My favourite flavour is everything bagel with a hint of garlic, but feel free to use any spices you already have on hand (onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, dried herbs, etc). To make: toss the chickpeas in extra-virgin olive oil and desired seasoning. Roast at 400°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until crispy. Enjoy them as is or add to a salad.

Salad With Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a great alternative to diced chicken on salads as it adds a plant-based protein, but they also work as a gluten-free substitute for croutons. Prepare your favourite mixture of vegetables and top with a handful of chickpeas. For additional crunch and flavour, try adding leftover roasted chickpeas.

Related: 70+ Chickpea Recipes to Make Your Heart Happy

Chickpea Salad Sandwich
This recipe is a twist on a tuna salad sandwich. It is great on its own or served between two slices of toasted bread. To make: add one can of rinsed chickpeas to a mixing bowl and mash slightly with a fork. Toss with mayo (regular or vegan), dijon mustard, diced celery, minced shallots, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Make a big batch and enjoy over several days for lunch.

Chickpeas and Eggs
For this quick morning breakfast, you can scramble the chickpeas right into the eggs or top the scrambled eggs with roasted chickpeas. If you have additional ingredients on hand such as cheese, spinach, tomato or roasted red pepper, try scrambling those in with your eggs and chickpeas too.

Related: The Most Creative Ways to Cook With Eggs

Chickpea-Stuffed Red Peppers
For this recipe, the red peppers can be stuffed with just about anything you have on hand including herbs, cheese and grains. I like to start with a base of chickpeas and quinoa, tossed with olive oil, parsley, crumbled feta, shallots and lemon. To make: hollow out each red pepper and stuff with filling. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is warmed throughout and the pepper has softened.

Want to cook with more pantry staples? These canned salmon recipes and tortilla recipes might do the trick!

This Cozy One-Pot Pasta and Chickpea Stew = Love at First Bite

Don’t be surprised if you instantly become smitten with this alarmingly simple, yet charming, comfort food – it really is love at first bite. The kid in you will delight in the pasta and chickpea combo, with the fun shapes making it all the more scrumptious.

Related: 25 Comforting One-Pot Recipes That Will Warm Your Belly

One-Pot Pasta and Chickpea Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (6 cups)

Related: 30 Recipes That Will Make You Rethink Canned Beans

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil
Half onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 ½ Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup small pasta such as baby shells or ditalini
2 cups drained and rinsed can chickpeas
1 cup can cherry tomatoes (optional)
4 cups water or no-salt added vegetable broth
Olive oil and Parmesan for garnish

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and rosemary, and cook, stirring until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute.

2. Push onion mixture to one side of pan. Add tomato paste on other side, and cook, stirring until colour deepens, 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, cherry tomatoes (if using) and water and stir to combine.

3. Add pasta; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until pasta is al dente, following package directions.

4. Divide among bowls; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Tip: Add 1 chopped carrot to the onion mixture for a vegetable hearty stew.



Tip:
If you don’t have can cherry tomatoes, increase the tomato paste to 3 Tbsp and adjust the seasoning after adding the water.

For more quick and breezy comfort food inspiration, try these easy stuffed pasta recipes that start with store-bought noodles or this healthy three-cheese cacio e pepe in spaghetti squash form.

Spaghetti with Olive Tapenade and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

One of my best friends thinks that I’m Italian. Maybe it’s because I made rigatoni Bolognese during the first cottage weekend I spent with her, or maybe it’s because I really enjoy feeding everyone, have dark hair and an olive skin tone, and happened to grow up in New Jersey. All to say, this is how I inherited the name Nona.

If you’re like me, you always have spaghetti in your cupboard. Spaghetti is one of those pantry items you should always have on hand come Sunday night, when you want carbs. If you’re really like me, you put more carbs on your carbs. In this recipe, it’s in the form of garlic breadcrumbs on top of spaghetti.

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This dish is so simple to throw together and it’s made completely from scratch; big Spanish olives with red peppers are paired up with lemon zest, fresh parsley and anchovy, adding a kick of umami flavour.

My husband and I eat this standing up, right out of the pan, mostly because we don’t feel like doing dishes on a Sunday evening, but I would like to believe that it’s the Italian Nona in me. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Olive Tapenade and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: 4 servings

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Ingredients:

For the Tapenade:
2 ¼ cups large Spanish green olives with red pepper
2 Tbsp drained capers
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup very roughly chopped parsley
1 anchovy fillet, optional
Zest from 1 lemon

For the Garlic Breadcrumbs:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 pinches of salt
¼ tsp fresh black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp chopped parsley

1 lb (454 g) spaghetti
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided in recipe
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

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Directions:

For the Tapenade:
1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor.
2. Pulse until coarsely chopped (just a few pulses). Set aside.

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For the Garlic Breadcrumbs:
1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil.
2. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. About 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to coat them with the garlic-y butter/oil.
4. Cook and toss for about 2 minutes to toast the breadcrumbs, and then season with salt and pepper.
6. Turn the heat off and add the red pepper flakes and parsley, and toss to combine. Set aside.

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For the Spaghetti:
1. Cook the pasta in heavily salted boiling water until just al-dente (9-11 minutes, depending on the brand).
2. Before draining the spaghetti, reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid then drain the spaghetti.
3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of butter with the olive oil.
4. Add the tapenade and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5. Add the spaghetti, 2 more Tbsp of butter, parmesan cheese, reserved cooking liquid, salt and pepper to taste.
6. Cook and toss for about 1-2 minutes until the spaghetti is coated with the tapenade.
7. Turn the heat off and sprinkle the garlic breadcrumbs over top. Serve with extra parmesan cheese and fresh black pepper.

Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad

Often, we end up cooking more pasta that we can chew on a giving evening, which means: extra helpings for the week ahead! But before you lather those leftover spaghetti noodles in tomato sauce and call it a meal, think outside the pan. This creative 20-minute dish gives leftover pasta a delicious makeover, resulting in a comforting, cheesy frittata. Top with fresh basil and tomatoes, and serve alongside prosciutto and a simple salad for a complete bacon and egg Italian mash-up!

Leftover Pasta Frittata with Quick Radicchio Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Frittata
2 slices prosciutto or thick sliced bacon
5 eggs
⅓ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups leftover cooked spaghetti or other long pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
⅔ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Basil leaves

Radicchio Salad
1 head radicchio, torn
1 Tbsp olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Cook prosciutto or bacon in a 10-inch heatproof skillet or cast-iron pan over medium heat, turning once, until crisp. Set aside. Wipe pan clean.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with sour cream, and salt and pepper until blended. Toss in pasta and 1/3 cup of the cheese.

4. In same pan, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium, add pasta mixture and cook without stirring, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese. Transfer to oven.
5. Cook until puffed and slightly jiggly, about 5 minutes. For a crispy browned top, broil 2-3 minutes. Top with tomatoes and basil, and serve with bacon/prosciutto (or chop in pieces to scatter on top).

6. Tear radicchio and toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (if desired), garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Tip: Radicchio lettuce is slightly bitter and lends itself easily to a good olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese for the quickest and elegant weeknight salad.

Tip: The centre will look slightly loose, puffed and jiggly, the hot pan will continue to cook the frittata with residual heat called carryover cooking.

How long do leftovers last in the fridge? We break it down. Plus, 30+ meals that taste better as leftovers, and tasty ways to use leftover rice.

30-Minute Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

It’s always exciting when the farmers’ market stands start to show signs of spring and summer. Often, though, this produce doesn’t stick around for very long, so you need to take advantage when it’s available. One way of making spring last a little longer is to make pesto from some of the best seasonal offerings – in this case, green garlic (also known as young garlic that boasts a milder, more delicate flavour) but you can easily substitute for garlic scapes or ramps – then freeze to relish the flavours even when they’ve disappeared from the market.

The best thing about this recipe? Even though it features a few different components, if you multitask, it’s ready in about 30 minutes – leaving you more time to enjoy those lovely longer daylight hours we’re all so grateful for this time of year.

Spring Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

Pasta
250g dried bucatini pasta

Roasted Tomatoes
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pesto
6-8 green garlic shoots
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated (approx.)
⅓ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ – ¾ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

Assembly
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay the tomatoes in a single layer on the tray.
3. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast the tomatoes for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.
5. While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
6. Make the pesto: Clean and trim the green garlic, and roughly chop.
7. Place the green garlic in a food processor with the Parmesan and the pumpkin seeds.
8. Start processing the mixture, slowly pouring in the oil until you reach your preferred consistency. Season to taste with salt.
9. Add approximately ½ cup of pesto to the pasta, using tongs to toss so the pasta is completely coated. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
10. Divide the pasta between four bowls, and top with the roasted tomatoes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

Notes:
● This makes approximately 1 cup of pesto, which is more than you’ll need for this recipe.
● If you won’t use the pesto immediately, place it in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrap touching the surface. You can also freeze the pesto for up to 2 months (in ice cube trays for convenient portioning!)

Looking for more easy and ultra-satisfying pasta recipes for spring? This 15-minute three-cheese pasta with peas is a seasonal must-make. We’ve also rounded up 25 spring dinners ready in 30 minutes or less.

A Slow Cooker Lasagna You Wouldn’t Believe is Gluten- and Dairy-Free

If you can’t eat gluten or dairy, it can be a little difficult to find a lasagna that you are able to eat. Look no further! This delicious vegan recipe will leave you feeling satisfied  even without the cheese! To make it even better, it’s easy to prep the ingredients and is completely hands-free once the slow cooker is turned on. While it cooks, the noodles remain tender and soft so they are less likely to dry out. Plus, you get to skip pre-cooking the noodles altogether. Make this recipe on days when you need some comfort food that tastes delicious and leaves you feeling healthy.

Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus soaking time for the nuts)
Cook Time: 3 hours
Servings: 6

Vegan and Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Lasagna

Ingredients:
1 package gluten-free lasagna noodles
1 jar marinara sauce
3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin pieces
3 cups butternut squash, cut into cubes
½ box of baby spinach

Dairy-Free “Cheese”
1.5 cups cashews, soaked in water
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Prep the dairy-free cheese first. Soak the cashews in a bowl of water for 4 hours. If you’re short on time, soak them in very hot water for 30 minutes.
2. Drain the cashews and add them to the food processor with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, garlic powder, water and extra virgin olive oil. Blend on high until the cashews are chopped up well and the mixture is soft, similar in consistency to ricotta cheese.
3. Prep the vegetables next. Slice the cremini mushrooms. Slice the zucchini into thin pieces, about 2 inches in length. Chop the butternut squash into small cubes.


4. Place the mushrooms in a large skillet with a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Turn heat to medium and let the mushrooms sit for about 5 minutes, without stirring them. This helps remove the excess liquid from the mushrooms, so they don’t become too mushy. Give them a stir and then remove from the skillet.
5. Next, saute the butternut squash with a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil and pinch of sea salt for about 5 minutes, to lightly cook. Remove from the skillet.
6. Rub the slices of zucchini with some extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

7. To compile the lasagna, it’s easiest to place all of the ingredients on the counter. Put the squash, mushrooms and zucchini on separate plates. Place the baby spinach on the counter as well. Have a spoon ready to ladle out the marinara sauce and the cashew “cheese.”
8. Start with spooning out a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker.
9. Then place a layer of lasagna noodles. Since the slow cooker is not shaped as a rectangle, you’ll have to break some of the noodles into smaller pieces to fit in the curved places.
10. Add a layer of the cashew “cheese” using ⅓ of it and spread out ⅓ of the veggies over top. Place a layer of lasagna noodles on top and then spread some more marinara sauce over them.
11. Repeat this again twice to make additional layers. Pour marinara sauce over the top layer of noodles. Extra sauce is good to prevent the lasagna from drying out.
12. Cook on high for 3 hours.

For similar recipes, see our 20 Best Dairy-Free Dinners and 15 Extra-Creamy Vegan Pasta Recipes.

Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

A comforting bowl of spaghetti bolognese is always necessary on a chilly winter day. No meat is used in this protein- and fibre-packed veganized version of the comfort-food classic. Chewy mushrooms, filling lentils and meaty walnuts add a pleasing texture and flavour contrast to this delectable dish.

Perked up with a bit of balsamic vinegar, the tomato sauce benefits from a slow simmer, resulting in a dish that’s every bit as rich, hearty and flavourful as traditional bolognese.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (if using canned, drained and rinsed)
1 cup raw walnut halves, chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb spaghetti or pasta of choice
Fresh basil, for serving

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Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt well.
2. In a large high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and nutmeg; sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add wine, increase heat and cook until most of wine has evaporated. Stir in lentils, walnuts, tomatoes, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring a few times throughout.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to warm bowls. Top with bolognese and a few basil leaves. Serve.

Looking for more delicious dishes? Try these 20 Vegan Recipes That Will Leave You Satisfied.

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Still craving pumpkin everything this fall? I know I am. So I made a comforting meat-less pasta dish that you can throw together in no time. Consider this a fancy mac and cheese of sorts; creamy, cheesy, smooth…I’ll take one bowl of comfort, please!

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For this recipe, I use canned organic pumpkin purée to make it a quick weeknight meal. But if you have time to make your own pumpkin purée, I would recommend roasted a kabocha or butternut squash to really elevate the dish. Both are the perfect amount of sweet, and roast and purée beautifully. This dish is a great way to hold on to that fall feeling before winter arrives!

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

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Ingredients:
1 lb (454 g) fettuccine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp flour
15 oz can organic pumpkin puree
1 cup table cream or half & half (10%-18%)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh black pepper
½ tsp fresh thyme
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

Shaved parmesan
Thyme leaves
Fresh black pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the fettuccine until al dente, about 8-9 minutes depending on the brand.

2. Before straining, reserve 1 ½ cups of pasta water. Drain into a colander and run cold water over fettuccine until cool to the touch.

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3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add olive oil, butter and garlic cloves. Sauté garlic for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

4. Add the flour and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it begins to brown and smell nutty.

5. Transfer all of the contents from the skillet into a blender. Add pumpkin purée and table cream to the blender, and purée until smooth.

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6. Transfer the sauce back to the pan and place over medium-low heat.

7. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and parmesan cheese to the sauce and cook until bubbling and thickened.

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8. Add the fettuccine and combine. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with the pasta water (I added about ¾ cup). It will continue to thicken after turning off the heat, so it’s OK if it’s slightly thin. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

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9. Serve immediately. Plate the fettuccine and garnish with shaved parmesan, thyme leaves and lots of fresh black pepper.

Pesto

5 Pesto Recipes to Preserve That Garden-Fresh Flavour

It’s the end of summer, and gardens around the country are overflowing with beautiful, aromatic herbs. While this bountiful news is very welcome for flavour-craving home cooks, it can also be a little daunting. One can only garnish so many pizzas with fresh basil, and there’s a limit to the amount of tacos one can top with cilantro. But don’t let those gorgeous greens go to waste; instead, make pesto.

From classic basil-pine nut to a more modern kale-walnut creation, there are countless pesto possibilities and combinations to inspire new dishes and brighten up old favourites.

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Classic Basil Pesto
In a food processor, blend 2 cups packed fresh basil, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

 Parsley and Pistachio Pesto
In a food processor, blend 1 1/2 cups packed fresh parsley leaves, 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, 1/3 cup pistachios, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

Cilantro, Mint and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
In a food processor, blend 1 cup packed fresh cilantro (including tender stems), 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, 1/2 cup toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds, 1/3 sliced green onion, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

Arugula and Almond Pesto
In a food processor, blend 2 cups packed baby arugula, 1/2 cup toasted almonds, zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

kale-pesto

Kale and Walnut Pesto
In a food processor, blend 11/2 cups packed green kale leaves including ribs, tough ends discarded, 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

How To Store Pesto
Store pesto airtight in the refrigerator with a thin layer of olive oil over top to avoid oxidation and preserve that vibrant green colour. Or, spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze; pop out pesto “ice cubes” and store in a zip-top bag for portioned use throughout the fall and winter.

How To Enjoy Your Resh Pesto
– Mix pesto with your favourite vinegar to create an herbaceous salad dressing
– Mix pesto with mayonnaise to create a herby dipping sauce for kebabs, vegetables and chips
– Spread pesto onto sandwiches, burger buns or avocado toast
– Dress warm or cold pasta with pesto for a vibrant pasta dinner or lunchtime pasta salad
– Add a pop of freshness to soups and stews with a dollop of pesto on top
– Mix pesto with cream cheese for a fresh bagel topper
– Mix pesto into quiches, frittatas or spoon into omelettes

While you have the food processor out, try your hand at a few more pesto variations.

Top 10 Tips for Making Homemade Pasta Like an All-Star

Pasta can be simple and rustic, or decadent and elegant. It can be dished up on a massive platter and passed around a boisterous table, or perfectly, artistically plated and served with pristine silverware and white linen.

TCC-All-Stars-Nicole-Pasta-Finale
Nicole’s Goat Cheese Tortellini

For Top Chef Canada: All-Stars winner Nicole Gomes – as revealed in the finale last night – it was a key part of her five-course menu. The judges fell in love with her Goat Cheese Tortellini with Preserved Lemon, Ricotta Salata, Peas and Pancetta in a Butter Sauce (not to mention the other components of her Italian-themed dinner).


Nicole channeling her inner Italian nonna while prepping her tortellini.

Head judge Chef Mark McEwan highlighted Nicole’s pasta as the best part of her finale menu. “Just her finesse on that meal was really extraordinary,” he said.

Top-Chef-Canada-Finale-Nicole-Andrea-Making-Pasta
Nicole preps the filling while Andrea uses a stand mixer attachement to roll out the dough.

Whether it’s to impress a panel of Top Chef Canada judges or to feed the family at home – who, no doubt, can also be tough critics – pasta fits the bill. At its heart, no matter who’s being served, it’s the same basic dough; rolled, stuffed or cut in many ways and topped with sauce. The trick is having a good recipe (see our list below) and remembering these 10 essential tips and tricks:

1. Trust Your Gut
Making pasta from scratch is really more about a feeling, rather than measurements. Depending on the humidity, the flour, the size of the eggs, you may need more or less flour going along, so getting a feel for the dough is essential.

2. Traditional Is Best
The traditional way of making dough from scratch – with a well of flour, and the eggs and salt in the middle and using a fork to draw the flour slowly in to the liquid – ensures the perfect amount of flour gets added before kneading into a nice ball of golden dough.

3. But If You Don’t Have Time… 
However, for those of us who prefer to use our stand mixers, simply hold back a bit of the flour and only add it when necessary, or add a spoonful or two of water if the dough is too dry.

4. Remember This Basic Ratio for Ingredients
As a general rule, the ratio is three parts flour to two parts eggs by weight. There are tons of variations on this, many depending on if you also want to add water, the type of flour (all-purpose versus durum semolina versus the finely-milled 00) and if you want to add a couple of additional yolks to the mix for a richer dough. (Water-only dough is also common.)  However, this basic ratio will serve you well.

5. Pasta Dough Needs To Be Kneaded
Once your dough is mixed, it’s all about the kneading. It will take up to 10 minutes to transform the shaggy mix into a smooth and elastic ball.

6. Take A Rest
After kneading  it will be time for a rest – for both you and the dough! A little forethought here is key because you’ll want to let the dough relax for at least an hour before proceeding. This will make it smoother and easier to deal with when rolling it out.

7. Salt Cooking Water Generously
Pasta water should be salted to taste like the ocean (or the Mediterranean!) – because that is going to flavour the noodles.

8. Never Rinse Your Pasta
Don’t ever do this! If you rinse pasta after cooking, you rinse off the starch adhering to the noodles. That starch helps the sauce cling to the noodle.

9. Store It If You’re Not Cooking It Right Away 
If waiting, divide the pasta into portions, dust with a little bit of flour to keep the noodles from sticking together and then make nest-like bundles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside until ready.

10. Fresh Pasta Freezes Well
Fresh pasta can also be frozen for future meals. Just put the baking sheet of noodles into the freezer for about 15 minutes – to keep the pasta bundles from sticking together – and then transfer to a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Frozen pasta should be cooked directly from the freezer. Add about 30 seconds to 1 minute to the cooking time.

Anna-Olson-Mushroom-Ravioli
Anna Olson’s Mushroom Ravioli with Asparagus and Tarragon

Want to try making fresh pasta at home?  

Here are great pasta recipes from our chefs:
Michael Smith’s Homemade Pasta Recipe
Ricardo’s Fresh Pasta
David Rocco’s Basic Fresh Pasta Dough Recipe
David Rocco’s Fresh Tortellini (Use His Basic Fresh Pasta Dough Recipe for this)
Anna Olson’s Homemade Pasta with Garden Vegetables and Parmesan
Anna Olson’s Mushroom Ravioli with Asparagus and Tarragon

Have the pasta ready and need some inspiration for sauces?

Try these delicious sauce recipes from our chefs:
Chuck’s Bolognese
Tomato Sauce
Giada’s Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
Giada’s Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce

Fridge-Pasta

Versatile Clean-Out-Your-Fridge Pasta

We consider pasta to be the great unifier. No matter what you have in your fridge, chances are you can make a pretty good meal if you toss it together with some pasta.

This recipe uses a something-from-nothing sauce, relying on a few fridge and pantry staples like anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. The vegetables we’ve included are easily switched out for ones you have on hand, and swapping the chicken for another protein like shrimp or sausage would work just as well. So get ready to clear out your fridge and make a delicious pasta dish all at once. You call it magic, we call it dinner.

Fridge-Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp lemon zest
175g penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 227g pkg (about 1 1/2 cups) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini (about 3/4 cup), cut into 1/4-in cubes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
3 anchovies, minced
1/2 bunch kale (about 3 cups), roughly chopped
1 cooked chicken breast, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup Parmesan, finally grated (optional)

Fridge-Pasta

Directions:
1. Toast panko crumbs in a small dry pan set over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Let cool then mix with parsley and lemon zest. Set aside.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain pasta.
3. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp oil, then mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
4. Lower heat to medium, then add remaining oil, anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. Cook until garlic has softened and anchovies have disintegrated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until slightly softened, 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and season with salt. Add kale, then chicken, pasta and cooking liquid. Stir until kale is wilted and sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.
5. Divide pasta among plates and top with bread crumb mixture and Parmesan. Enjoy!

Looking for more ideas? Learn 14 Clever Ways to Use Almost-Expired Food.

The Perfect Vegan Lasagna

It’s a vegan lasagna! I’m sure Italians would kill me for putting vegan and lasagna in the same sentence, but it’s delicious and very easy to make.

It may look like a lot of work, but the only thing that takes time is the baking of the lasagna. Everything else is just prep, and you can do it all in 25 minutes. If you plan ahead, you can make both sauces and the tofu ricotta, and keep them in the fridge until your ready to assemble and bake the lasagna for dinner.

Vegan-lasagna-recipe

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp light vegetable oil (sunflower or grapeseed oil)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp each of fresh chopped basil and parsley
1 Tbsp fresh or dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. In a heavy sauce pan, sauté onion in oil for 1 to 2 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and herbs and stir into the onions and garlic sauteing for another 2 minutes.
2. Next add the crushed tomatoes, sea salt, and ground pepper. Simmer on low heat for 30 to 45 minutes while you prep the rest of the components for the lasagna.

Note: You could also just buy a jar of your favourite pasta sauce and use that.

Vegan-lasagna-recipe-tofu-ricotta

Tofu Ricotta Ingredients:
1 block extra firm tofu, crumbled
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. Crumble the tofu into small pieces (resembling ricotta cheese) with your hands. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine with a fork.
2. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.

Note: Tofu ricotta is optional. Alternatively you could use ONLY daiya mozzarella shreds in the layers, in which case you’ll need to use 1 whole bag instead of 1 cup as listed below.

Bechamel (White Sauce) Ingredients:
1/2 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:
Put all these ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth.

Vegan-lasagna-recipe-ingredients

Layer Ingredients:
1 pack of ready-bake lasagna noodles (gluten-free brown rice noodles also work well)
1 cup daiya mozzarella shreds
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vegan parmesan (optional)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup carrot ribbons
4 cups baby spinach
1 tsp light cooking oil (sunflower or grapeseed oil)

Directions:
1. You can make nice carrot ribbons using a vegetable peeler or you can shred the carrot with a cheese grater.
2. Partially cook the zucchini and carrot in a pan over low to medium heat with 1 tsp of sunflower or grapeseed oil. Set them aside on a dish and use the same pan to cook the spinach.
3. Get the spinach wilted and soft but don’t overcook it. It should still be bright green. If you want to use frozen spinach just make sure you thaw and drain out the water.

vegan-lasagna-recipe-layering

How to Layer the Lasagna:
Once all your ingredients are prepped and ready, use a deep 9-inch glass baking dish to assemble the lasagna in. Lightly coat the inside of the dish with 1 Tbsp of olive oil you can spread around evenly with your hand.

The lasagna can be assembled however you want, but here’s what I did:
1. Pour a quarter of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the dish and spread out an even layer with a spoon.
2. Add one layer of noodles across. You might need to break them in half and you can overlap the noodles if they don’t fit perfectly in the dish.
3. Then take half the amount of tofu ricotta and spread it evenly over the noodles (if you’re just using Daiya then skip this).
4. Take 1/3 cup of Daiya mozzarella shreds and sprinkle over top (if you’re only using Daiya than you can use more to your liking here).
5. Use up all the spinach as the next layer.
6. Pour half the white sauce evenly over the top being sure to get some of it down the sides of the dish.
7. Add another quarter of the tomato sauce.
8. Add another noodle layer, turning the noodles the opposite direction from the first layer.
9. Use the other half of the tofu ricotta as the next layer (if you’re just using Daiya skip this).
10. Take another 1/3 cup of Daiya mozzarella shreds and sprinkle over top of the tofu ricotta (if you’re only using Daiya than you can use more to your liking here).
11. Add the zucchini and carrots in an alternating fashion as one layer.
12. Pour the remaining white sauce evenly over top.
13. Add another quarter of the tomato sauce on top of the white sauce.
14. Then add one more layer of noodles and the remaining tomato sauce on top.
15. Add the last 1/3 cup of Daiya mozzarella shreds and vegan Parmesan as the topping.

vegan-lasagna-recipe-layering-2

Directions:
1. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400°F covered with foil for 40 minutes. Then remove the foil and turn the broiler to high and bake for 10 minutes.
2. Allow the lasagna to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Linguine-with-mussels-feature-image

Quick Canadian Dinner: Linguine with Bacon, Beer and PEI Mussels

This savoury, creamy pasta is a symphony of Canadian flavours. The beer adds a crispness to the rich sauce — we recommend a light, refreshing microbrew ale or lager. Thanks to the way PEI mussels are grown and harvested, they rarely have beards or grit inside them, so cleaning them just means giving them a good rinse.

Linguine with Bacon, Beer and PEI Mussels

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 lb (900 g) mussels
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 cup ale or lager
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp pepper
Pinch salt
12 oz (375 g) linguine
3 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley

Linguine with Bacon, Beer and PEI Mussels

Directions:
1. Rinse the mussels. Discard any that don’t close when you tap them firmly on the counter; set aside.
2. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Fry the chopped bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan to a paper towel and let drain.
3. Add the onion and celery to the fat in the pan. Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and bring to a boil.
4. Add the mussels then reduce heat. Cover and simmer until the mussels open, about 6 minutes. Discard any that do not open. With the slotted spoon, remove the mussels to a bowl. Add the cream, tarragon, salt and pepper to the pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to the package directions until al dente; drain. Add pasta and mussels to the pan, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and bacon.

Olive Oil Pasta

5 Simple Olive Oil Pasta Sauces

While a high-quality bottle of olive oil can carry a hefty price tag, investing in a beautiful and pure variety will allow you to make quick and simple pastas that are not only delicious, but require minimal ingredients. Because a true olive oil demands less heat and cook time, it’s the ideal solution to whip up an impressive dinner. No matter where in the Mediterranean it was produced, choose an extra-virgin olive oil that carries fruity notes and has a peppery finish. Then, use it in one of these five satisfying sauces.

Olive Oil Pasta Sauces

Caramelized Mushroom Sauce
Cook ribbon cut pasta, such as tagliatelle, in a large pot of well-salted boiling water. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high. Add chopped, mixed mushrooms to the dry pan and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and are golden-brown. Reduce heat to medium. Generously drizzle mushrooms with extra-virgin olive oil. Stir in a thinly sliced garlic clove and continue cooking until garlic is soft. Add pasta, then freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley. Toss until pasta is well coated.

Classic Parmesan Sauce
Cook short-cut pasta, such as penne, in a large pot of well-salted boiling water. Reserve a splash of cooking water. Heat a large frying pan over medium. Add a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, then two minced garlic cloves. Cook, stirring often, until garlic is soft. Add pasta, along with a large handful of grated Parmesan cheese and reserved cooking water, tossing until mixture is creamy. Season generously with freshly cracked black pepper.

Capers and Basil Pasta
Cook decorative-cut pasta, such as orecchiette, in a large pot of well-salted boiling water. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low. Add a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, then two finely chopped anchovies. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant. Stir in a handful of chopped, drained capers and continue cooking until slightly crisp. Add pasta, then freshly chopped basil. Toss until pasta is well coated.

Fresh Breadcrumb Pasta
Cook long-cut pasta, such as bucatini, in a large pot of well-salted, boiling water. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high. Add fresh breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate. Generously drizzle extra-virgin olive oil into same pan and set over medium. Add three thinly sliced shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft. Stir in roughly chopped green olives and fresh thyme leaves until warmed through. Add pasta and breadcrumbs. Toss until well coated.

Sundried Tomato Pesto
Cook short-cut pasta, such as rigatoni, in a large pot of well-salted boiling water. Add oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained, with toasted slivered almonds, one garlic clove and a handful of grated Parmesan to a food processor until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour extra-virgin olive oil until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Toss with pasta.

Looking for more delicious pasta recipes? Try Giada De Laurentiis’s 14 Best Pasta Recipes.

Roasted Root Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

In addition to being packed with protein, fibre, and many other nutrients, this comforting pasta dish requires less than an hour of prep and cooking time from start to finish. Parsnips, beets, carrots and butternut squash are tossed in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic and spices, and are then roasted to a tender perfection. These hearty veggies pair well with the creaminess of the goat cheese, while the walnuts add a nice crunch to the mix.

Whole-wheat-speghetti-w-roasted-root-veg-061-Edit (1)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into chunks
2 cups butternut squash chunks
4 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound whole-grain spaghetti
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Whisk oil with vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Measure out half and set aside.
  3. Toss remaining with carrots, parsnips, red onion and squash. Arrange on a foil-lined tray. Add beets to the same bowl and toss until evenly coated in the residual oil mixture.
  4. Arrange on one side of the baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, for 45 minutes or until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid and drain well.
  6. Toss with reserved oil mixture and as much of the cooking liquid need to achieve desired consistency.
  7. Garnish with goat cheese and walnuts.
BuffaloChickenMacnCheese

The Ulitmate Mac ’n’ Cheese for Game Night

By Elizabeth Lampman

My Buffalo Chicken Mac ’n’ Cheese is a flavourful twist on a classic recipe. I took my mom’s delicious macaroni and cheese recipe and ran with it to create a true taste sensation. This recipe combines all the comfort of mac ’n’ cheese with the addictive flavour of Buffalo chicken wings.

I didn’t just add a little heat – I also included the blue cheese that I love so much when paired with my wings. It really helps to tame the heat and adds another dimension of flavour.

It’s incredible how much this Buffalo Chicken Mac ’n’ Cheese takes me right back to my college days, when I’d go out with my friends to watch a hockey game, eat some wings and have a good time.

My kids can’t really handle a lot of heat in their food, but it is easy to split the recipe and omit the buffalo sauce from their portion. Bake it separately in a small casserole dish.

Buffalo Chicken Mac ’n’ Cheese, Courtesy of Elizabeth Lampman, frugalmomeh.com, Hamilton, Ont.

Whether it’s game night or just a family dinner, this familiar dish (with a bit of heat) is sure to be a crowd favourite.

BuffaloChickenMacnCheese

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
4 cups (1 L) macaroni
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1/2 to 3/4 package old cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) Buffalo wing sauce, divided
2 cups (500 mL) shredded Salerno peperonato cheese
1 cup (250 mL) cubed cooked chicken
1 cup (250 mL) crumbled blue cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium stockpot over medium-high heat, scald milk. Remove from heat.
4. Add cheddar cheese to hot milk, stirring until melted. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) Buffalo wing sauce.
5. Pour cheese sauce into the bottom of 13- x 9-inch (3 L) casserole dish.
6. Fill casserole dish with alternating layers of macaroni, peperonato cheese and chicken, finishing with layer of cheese.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese topping is lightly browned.
8. Remove from oven; top with reserved Buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is slightly melted.

Frugal Mom Eh!
Elizabeth is an IT professional turned stay-at-home mom and Canadian mom blogger. Look to Frugal Mom Eh! for delicious recipes for your family, brilliant DIY and craft projects for all ages, travel tips and great parenting advice.

SkilletLasagna

Skillet Lasagna in Under an Hour

By Kelly Kwok

Once the weather begins to cool down, my family starts craving comfort food. Anything with cheese or pasta is always a hit at our house.

My husband’s favourite pasta dish is lasagna, but I only make it on the weekends – it takes time to layer everything, and creates a huge mess and piles dishes to clean afterwards. During the week, one-pot meals are my favourite.

After some digging around in my pantry, this easy skillet lasagna was born. I added my own touches to make it lighter, and packed it with veggies, including zucchini and spinach. I even used low-fat Parmesan and cottage cheeses to cut down on the fat without sacrificing taste. The entire dish – pasta cooking and all – is done in the same skillet on the stove.

The best part? It was a hit with my family!

Easy Skinny Skillet Lasagna, Courtesy of Kelly Kwok, lifemadesweeter.com, Niagara Falls, Ont.

This easy one-pot meal is a surefire weeknight dinner.

SkilletLasagna

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients
1½ tsp (7 mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb (225-450 g) extra-lean ground turkey
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
2 medium zucchini, peeled and chopped (optional)
14 oz (398 mL) can diced tomatoes (San Marzano or fire-roasted)
8 oz (225 mL) can tomato sauce
2½ Tbsp (37 mL) chopped fresh basil, divided
1½ tsp (7 mL) dried oregano
½ tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups (500 mL) water or low-sodium chicken broth
8 oz (225 g) bow-tie pasta
2 cups (375–500 mL) spinach, chopped (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
⅔ cup (150 mL) fat-free cottage cheese
⅓ cup (75 mL) low-fat ricotta cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions
1. In extra-large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
2. Add ground turkey and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Drain excess fat.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add zucchini, if using. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.
4. Stir in water or chicken broth. Add pasta. Bring to boil; cover skillet with lid and reduce heat.
5. Cook, stirring every 3 minutes and adding more water or broth as needed, for 15 to 18 minutes or until pasta is tender. If using spinach, stir in after 13 minutes.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in mozzarella and cottage cheeses. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
7. Dollop ricotta cheese over top; cover skillet for 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, remaining basil and Parmesan cheese, if using.

Notes
This recipe allows for lots of creativity. You may choose to use a different protein or choose to substitute gluten-free or whole-wheat pasta. Cooking times may vary.

Life Made Sweeter
My name is Kelly Kwok. I am a wife and mom of two – and the writer, recipe developer and photographer behind Life Made Sweeter, where I share desserts, family favourites and healthy recipes.

Halloween Pumpkin Pasta

With fall upon us, out come the sweaters, colourful leaves, and tons of Autumn-inspired eats, like this Halloween pumpkin pasta.

This tasty dish is perfectly suited for the season; Halloween farfalle pasta covered in a creamy pumpkin sauce spiced with fresh rosemary, paprika and nutmeg.

888_pumpkin-pasta1

Halloween Pumpkin Pasta
Adapted from the Martha Stewart recipe.

Ingredients:
250 grams Halloween farfalle pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1 can (400 ml) pumpkin purée
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup of half-and-half cream
1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2-3 pinches of nutmeg
1 shallot (minced)
Salt and pepper

888_pumpkin-pasta2

Directions:
1. Start off by cooking your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until the pasta reaches its desired tenderness.
2. While the pasta is cooking, in a large sauce pan, fry the fresh rosemary in olive oil for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Once is begins to brown remove the rosemary from your pan onto paper towel.
3. In the same pan, add in the pumpkin purée, garlic, half-and-half, white-wine vinegar, paprika, nutmeg and shallot. Cook the sauce, stirring regularly for about 3-5 minutes until the ingredients have combined and the sauce has warmed through.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper (feel free to add more half-and-half if the sauce is too thick).
5. Once the sauce has finished, add in the rosemary and pasta, stir and serve!

Chicken, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

This creamy chicken, spinach and ricotta-filled pasta is packed with a flavourful tomato sauce and walnut pieces for some crunch. With its cheesy, crisp crust on top and moist and tender interior,  you can’t go wrong with this satisfying baked pasta dish.

888_chicken-spinach-cannelloni2

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
28 oven-ready cannelloni shells
1 pound ground chicken
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
6 cups fresh spinach
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
pinch nutmeg
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup grated 4-cheese blend, divided
½ cup walnut pieces

For the Cream Sauce:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Pinch nutmeg
¾ cups grated Asiago cheese

888_chicken-spinach-cannelloni

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, brown the ground chicken until cooked through and drain any water or extra fat. Add browned meat to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In the same skillet, heat olive oil on medium high and sauté onion until golden brown. Add garlic to skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Season with the salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
3. Add onions, garlic and spinach to bowl and allow to cool slightly before mixing ricotta through to incorporate. Mix in walnut pieces.
4. Make cream sauce by melting butter over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Take off the heat and whisk in flour. Heat milk and cream in a separate saucepan or in the microwave, and slowly whisk into butter and flour mixture. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a light boil, whisking occasionally. Incorporate salt, pepper and Asiago cheese, and set aside.
5. Pour ⅓ of the sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 9” casserole or oven-proof dish.
6. Stuff half the cannelloni shells using an icing bag or a spoon and place in 2 rows on the bottom of the casserole. Cover with ½ of remaining sauce and ½ of 4-cheese blend. Repeat with the rest of the cannelloni, sauce and 4-cheese blend.
7. Cover with tin foil and place on a pan to catch any possible drips. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
8. Let cannelloni cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into 6 sections and serving.