Tag Archives: pasta

Zucchini Noodles With Spinach Pesto is a Yummy Weeknight Dinner

This easy vegan spinach pesto recipe is perfect if fresh basil is out of season, above your budget or difficult to find. Pair it with traditional noodles or enjoy with fresh zucchini noodles for a healthy alternative. Note: a food processor is required for this recipe.

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Zucchini Noodles With Spinach Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups fresh spinach (firmly packed)
1 clove garlic (optional)
2 ¼ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup walnuts
⅛ cup olive oil
2 medium zucchinis

Directions:
1. Add spinach, garlic, lemon juice and salt to your food processor. Process until spinach is completely processed and garlic is reduced (about 45 seconds).

2. Add remaining ingredients (walnuts and olive oil) to the food processor mixture. Process again until walnuts are fine, resembling pesto.

Related: Best-Ever Pasta Recipes for Easy Dinners

3. To make your noodles, peel your zucchini (remove outer green peel).  Use a clean vegetable peeler (or a vegetable spiralizer if you have one) to slice zucchini into “noodles.”

4. Place noodles and sauce into a large bowl and gently stir using two spoons until well combined. Enjoy immediately.

Tip: Spinach pesto keeps extremely well in the fridge for up to 4 days. If making in advance, store sauce in fridge. Then make fresh zucchini noodles at the last minute and assemble.

Published August 11, 2015, Updated May 29, 2018

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.

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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

a bowl of hummus on a white tile background

5 Tasty Ways to Use Hummus (That Aren’t Dip)

Nutritious, filling and most importantly, tasty, hummus is so easy and inexpensive to make that there’s no excuse not to make it from scratch. We all know that hummus is everyone’s go-to dip for vegetables and pita, but how else can you use this popular Middle Eastern condiment? Here are five delicious ideas to hummus-ify your meals.

Basic Hummus Recipe
Traditional hummus contains tahini, a creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds. However, I tend to skip the tahini since I don’t use it in much else. You can make your own tahini by simply grinding sesame seeds and olive oil together in a food processor—and this version is tasty as is.

Ingredients:
1 591 mL can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced*
Salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:
1. Combine chickpeas, garlic and olive oil in a blender, food processor, or a bowl if you’re using a hand blender.

2. Purée the ingredients until everything becomes a smooth and velvety texture, with all the lumps gone. If the mix is too thick, thin it out with a bit of water.

3. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Continue blending until everything is well incorporated. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

*If the taste of raw garlic is too strong, use one clove or opt for roasted garlic, which yields a milder, sweeter taste.

Related: One Humble Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals to Remember
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1. Sandwich Spread

Skip the mayonnaise and use hummus to beef up and boost flavour in your sandwiches and wraps. The nutty taste goes especially well with turkey slices, and the creamy texture adds a good contrast to crunchy toppings like cucumber and carrots. In the picture below, I made a vegetarian breakfast sandwich with thinly-sliced mini cucumbers and chunks of leftover, roasted butternut squash from the fridge.

Related: This Healthy Israeli Stuffed Pita is a Sandwich Lover’s Dream
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2. Pasta Salad Dressing

Thin out the hummus with olive oil and a bit of water until the consistency is similar to a creamy salad dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the dressing in a big bowl of fusilli, penne, or any pasta shape that has crevices to hold on to the hummus. Bonus: if you’re using hummus from the fridge, the cold dressing will help cool down the cooked pasta quicker. Here, I added chopped cucumbers, sliced chicken breast, and roasted corn and onions for a summery weekend lunch with the family.

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3. Chicken Topping

Jazz up a piece of grilled chicken breast by smearing hummus and sprinkling crushed raw almonds on top for some added texture. Bake the chicken at 400ºF for 12-15 minutes until it is well done.

Hummus_SaladDressing

4. Salad Dressing

The strong, garlicky taste of hummus goes especially well with the bitter taste of dark greens. Similar to the pasta salad, dilute the hummus with olive oil and water until it reaches Thousand Island-like consistency. Add a bit more lemon juice and salt, and mix with the greens.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Beet Hummus
Hummus_Soup

5. Hearty Soup

This soup is so thick and creamy (not to mention protein-filled) that this pot can feed four people, especially when you add in the vegetables. Speaking of, you’ll have to sauté the veggies (or better yet, roast for at about 30 minutes at 400ºF) until they’re soft, before you dump them into the pot. If you have any leftover roasted carrots and potatoes in the fridge, use them in this recipe to skip the first step and save time. Save this soup recipe for the cold, winter months when you’ll be craving a hot bowl of soup with a big punch of nutty, garlicky taste.

Ingredients:
2 cups hummus
2 1/2 cups no-salt added chicken broth, plus more for vegetables
2 cups carrots, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cups potatoes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup pancetta, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped green onion, to garnish
Grated Parmesan, to garnish

Directions:
1. Bring a splash of chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and let cook until they begin to soften. Add more broth if the pan starts to dry up.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the hummus and stir until well incorporated. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.

3. Using the same pan used to cook the vegetables, add a bit of oil and fry up the pancetta until it starts to brown. Add it to the soup pot, along with the cooked vegetables. Stir and bring to a simmer.

4. Pour the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with chopped green onion and parmesan. Serve immediately.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

Sometimes all you need is a big bowl of creamy, comforting pasta for dinner. This week, shake things up with this healthy, vegan and gluten-free take on fettuccine alfredo: it incorporates all the great flavours of white wine and mushrooms, but we’ve replaced the dairy with cashews and veggie stock for the sauce!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

888_vegan-mushroom-fettuccine

Ingredients:
400 g brown rice fettuccine noodles
1 ½ cups raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours minimum)
1 cup water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 large portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced
4 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
4 cups fresh baby spinach
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles to al dente. If using brown rice pasta, you’ll need to rinse the noodles when draining to keep the firm texture. Just before adding them to the sauce, rinse them again with cold water to prevent them from sticking to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain cashews from soaking water and add to a high-powered blender along with water, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Blend until very smooth.
3. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant.
4. Add mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes. When mushrooms are half cooked and start to release some moisture, stir in minced garlic, sea salt and ground pepper, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Once mushrooms have shrunk and released all their water, add white wine and simmer for 7 minutes.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in fresh basil and dried parsley, and cook for 1 minute.
7. Mix in the cashew cream, spinach and slowly stir in 1 cup of vegetable stock, stirring for about 4 minutes.
8. Add noodles to the pan and toss to combine everything well, coating noodles in sauce, for 3 minutes.
9. Top with vegan parmesan cheese and more ground pepper or sea salt as desired. Serve immediately.

Tip: If reheating leftovers, heat in a pan adding small amounts of vegetable stock, a bit at a time, while tossing the noodles to thin out the sauce again.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

A giant pot of gooey, stovetop mac and cheese is exactly what we need to get us through the final days winter. With just six simple ingredients, chances are you may already have everything on hand to make this this hearty meal. So go ahead and indulge in this creamy, dreamy dish.

Mac n Cheese recipe

And since everything tastes exponentially better with bacon, I’ve added a generous dose of the salty pork along with some chopped jalapeños for a variation you can’t resist.

Extra cheese mac n cheese recipe

Stovetop Macaron and Cheese

Ingredients:
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk
1/2 Gruyere, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni noodles or elbow noodles

Directions:
1. Cook noodles to al dente according to package directions.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add cornstarch and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lump-free paste. Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes. This will help cook out that raw cornstarch taste.
3. Slowly add milk while whisking constantly. Simmer until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Add Gruyere and stir until melted.
4. Add drained cooked noodles to cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bacon Mac N Cheese recipe 1

Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:
4 butter
4 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk
1/2 Gruyere, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni noodles or elbow noodles
5 to 6 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 jalapenos, sliced or chopped

Directions:
1. Cook noodles to al dente according to package directions.
2. Cook bacon until desired tenderness. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add cornstarch and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lump-free paste. Continue to stir for a minute or two. This will help cook out that raw cornstarch taste.
4. Slowly add milk while whisking constantly. Simmer until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Add gruyere and stir until melted.
5. Add drained cooked noodles to cheese mixture.
6. Stir in bacon and chopped jalapeno. Add salt and pepper to taste.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo

Orecchiette with Homemade Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes

The first time I tried making ricotta from scratch I was about 300-years pregnant with my second child and in some weird hormone-induced frenzy, it drove me mad halfway into the night trying to make my own cheese.

A happy ending being the clincher to this story, I finally made it and it was truly spectacular. Despite a few hiccups the process was not that difficult. You only need four ingredients and at the end of the day, homemade ricotta is hands-down worth making yourself. It’s rich and creamy and has none of that grittiness that comes with buying it off the shelf.

So I ended up making it three times in one night the first time. I’ll tell you what I did wrong, so you can spare yourself some craziness.

homemade_ricotta

Things to Watch Out For When Making Homemade Ricotta

– Make sure your cheesecloth is folded enough so that your luscious ricotta curds don’t slip right through the holes, resulting in no cheese.
– Let your milk/cream mixture come very slowly, almost to a simmer. Rushing this part by cranking the heat will result in no cheese.
– Make sure you add enough lemon juice, especially when you’ve already tried making ricotta twice in one night. Not going out to get more lemons when you know you should will result in—you guessed it—no cheese.

Luckily my misadventures in cheese-making means you won’t (or shouldn’t, because…hello? No cheese!) make the same rookie mistakes I did, and that your ricotta-making experience will be a breeze.

Because once you’ve made your own, going back to the stuff in the tub won’t be the same. Trust me when I say you’ll be scrambling to find things to smear it on. I like it tossed with steaming hot, just-from-the-pot orrichette pasta, with spinach, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped shallots and a healthy whack of basil, like this:

orecchiette_finished

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
1. Set a large, fine mesh sieve over a deep bowl. Line the sieve with the two layers of cheesecloth.
2. Slowly bring milk, cream and salt to a simmer, stirring occasionally. This step can take as long as 20-25 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice.
4. Allow the curds to separate from the whey. About 3 minutes.
5. Gently pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and let stand until all the liquid has passed through and your left with only the curds.
6. The longer you let it stand, the dryer the ricotta. I like it somewhere in the middle.

Orecchiette with Homemade Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes

orecchiette_ingredients

Ingredients:
1 clove garlic
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 small shallot, minced
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp quality olive oil
3-4 large basil leaves
1/2 cup, homemade ricotta
1 pound, orecchiette
Cracked black pepper and sea salt

Directions:
1. Cook orecchiette according to directions on the box.
2. Meanwhile, assemble garlic, shallot, tomatoes and spinach in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add cracked black pepper and sea salt. Set aside to marinate.
3. Drain pasta and pour over tomato/spinach mixture. Add ricotta to hot mixture and stir. Add a bit of the pasta water to loosen up the mixture if necessary.
4. Serve immediately.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.

Vegan Lasagna Roll Ups with Almond Ricotta

To celebrate National Lasagna Day we thought we’d switch things up and roll up our lasagna! These fun and healthy lasagna roll ups are stuffed with spinach and zucchini, and the most velvety almond ricotta (the ricotta can be made the day before) and can be used in so many other delicious recipes. We’re actually kind of obsessed with it right now!

Prep Time: 55 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Makes: 8 rolls

888_lasagna-rolls

Ingredients:

Almond Ricotta:
1 cup blanched sliced almonds
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp finely chopped basil

Tomato Sauce:
½ cup finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped basil

Lasagna Rolls:
8 lasagna noodles
4 cups baby spinach
1 large yellow zucchini (or 2 small)
1 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp nutmeg
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Note: The almond ricotta should be prepared one day in advance to give it time to set.

888_lasagna-rolls2

Directions:
1. In a high-powered blender combine all the almond ricotta ingredients together except the basil. You will fold this in after the mixture is blended.
2. Once the mixture is smooth, fold the finely chopped basil into the almond mixture with a spoon, then place a double layer of cheesecloth over a large mixing bowl and pour the almond mixture into the cheesecloth.
3. Take the excess ends of the cheesecloth and tie it around a wooden spoon or something you can lay on top of the mixing bowl, suspending it in the mixing bowl. It shouldn’t be touching the bottom of the mixing bowl. Refrigerate this allowing the excess water to strain from the almond cheese for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove it from the cheesecloth and place it in a new clean dish.
4. To make the tomato sauce, heat a pan over medium and sauté white onion for 2 minutes with olive oil.
5. Then add minced garlic and dried oregano, and sauté for another minute.
6. Stir in tomato paste until the garlic and onions are well coated, then add crushed tomatoes, sea salt and ground pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Add fresh basil, cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.
7. While the sauce is simmering for the last 20 minutes, preheat oven to 325°F.
8. Boil the noodles in salted water for about 5-6 minutes, until half cooked. Drain and set the noodles aside on a damp towel or damp paper towel to prevent them from sticking until you prepare the lasagna rolls.
9. Thinly slice yellow zucchini with a mandolin.
10. Heat another pan over medium heat with 1 tsp of olive oil, and add spinach and zucchini together with nutmeg, sea salt and ground pepper. Sauté for about 4 minutes. There will be a bit excess water from the vegetables, but just drain it from the pan before adding vegetables to the lasagna rolls.
11. To assemble the rolls take 1 Tbsp of almond ricotta and spread it across each lasagna noodle out to the edges, then layer spinach and zucchini on top. Roll the lasagna noodle snuggly.
12. Pour half the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 9” glass baking dish. Place lasagna rolls 4 across and pour the remaining sauce over each row of lasagna rolls.
13. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Vegan Mac & Peas

Ever since I turned vegan, I’ve been experimenting with different versions of mac & cheese. There are many ways to make it and I love our perfect vegan mac & cheese recipe made with cashews. But I’ve turned out a really quick version that doesn’t involve soaking nuts overnight! It’s still really creamy, kinda cheesy, healthy and kinda cute with the little green peas in it.

888_mac-&-peas2

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 x 454 g package Tinkyada brown rice spirals or approximately 5 cups of noodles of your choice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup pasta water, reserved from boiling pasta
Ground pepper to taste

888_mac-&-peas

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with sea salt.
2. In a dish, mix together tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, white miso, nutritional yeast, tamari and garlic. Set aside.
3. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add in brown rice pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until al dente. Add frozen peas to the boiling water during the last minute of cooking.
4. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water right before draining. Then drain the pasta and peas, do not rinse. Put the peas back in the large pot.
5. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup of pasta water to start, and stir to combine with the noodles and peas over low heat on the stovetop. Stir constantly to allow the noodles to get coated, adding more pasta water as necessary to create a creamy consistency. Don’t heat for longer than 2-3 minutes.
6. Top with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sauce: 1 Dish, 2 Ways

There’s nothing quite like slow-melted butter turned slightly brown and nutty, wafting throughout the house to whet the palate and get you excited about dinner. But when you toss a few fresh sage leaves into the mix, you’ve got an incredibly easy and delicious sauce that’s ready in less than 10 minutes.

This super-fast meal is both elegant and simple to throw together and thanks to a few last-minute flourishes — like a generous dusting of your best-quality parmesan and toasted pine nuts — this minimal-ingredient dish suddenly becomes restaurant worthy.

Tip: While you can certainly make your own gnocchi, this sauce works well on the packaged version.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

panroasredgnocchi

Fried Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Ingredients:
1 package potato gnocchi
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Brown Butter Sage Sauce:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
15-20 fresh sage leaves
1/2 lemon, zest finely grated
Kosher salt & cracked black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan, coarsely grated

Directions:
1. In a small saucepan, toast pine nuts over low heat until golden, being careful not to burn, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt butter, swirling occasionally. When the butter has almost completely melted, stir in the sage leaves. Cook until butter turns slightly brown and nutty and the sage leaves are slightly crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. In another skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add gnocchi in a single layer and fry on one side until crisp, about 1-2 minutes. Gently flip and fry one the other side for another 1-2 minutes.
4. Add fried gnocchi and lemon zest to the pan with the brown butter sage sauce and stir until coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.

gnocchibrownbutter

Gnocchi with Chili Brown Butter Sauce & Crispy Sage

Ingredients:
1 package potato gnocchi

Brown Butter Sage Sauce:
1/4 cups unsalted butter, cold
15-20 fresh sage leaves
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt & cracked black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan, coarsely grated

Directions:
1. In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt butter, swirling occasionally. When the butter has almost completely melted, stir in the sage leaves. Cook until butter turns slightly brown and nutty and the sage leaves are slightly crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Add gnocchi and chili flakes to the pan and stir until coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve immediately.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo.

1 Dish, 2 Ways: Easy No-Bake Weeknight Lasagna

In these final halcyon days of winter, I’ve mentally set fire to my coat and am two seconds away from dragging the BBQ out of the garage and starting an herb garden. And while these extended sunny evenings don’t exactly put me in the mood for cranking up the oven, I’m not quite ready to give up comfort food just yet.

Enter the no-bake lasagna. This dish boasts all the flavours of this heartwarming dish —homemade tomato sauce, melty cheese and succulent ground beef — in a fraction of the time.

While there’s no shame in simply breaking up plain old lasagna noodles for this recipe, I opted for prettily-shaped fiorelli pasta, which has lovely petal-like edges that not only reminded me of lasagne noodles, but expertly capture the sauce.

The best part of this dish is that you can stretch your leftovers to make a killer soup. A spoonful of ricotta on top is an unexpected topping that mimics the richness of your typical baked variety and the beefy tomato broth helps satisfy your inner cold-weather soup addict.

So go ahead and embrace winter just a little longer.

Easy-no-bake-lasagna-recipe-weeknight

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serving Size: 6

Ingredients

For the sauce:
1 can, San Marzano tomatoes
1 Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the lasagne:
3/4 package fiorelli pasta
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons, olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 cup ricotta

For the soup:
All of the above ingredients, plus…
6 cups beef broth
1 cup homemade tomato sauce (see above)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions for No-Bake Lasagna:

1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sweat onions and garlic until onions are translucent, about five minutes.
2. Add canned tomatoes and gently stir, being careful not to break the tomatoes (it can make them bitter). Stir occasionally. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add basil and puree with immersion blender. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet, add olive oil, onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, letting the oil get infused with the flavours. Add ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until there is no more red in the ground beef, about 12 minutes. Drain fat from beef.
4. Ladle prepared tomato sauce into skillet with the beef and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add cooked noodles directly to skillet and stir to combine. Stir in tomatoes, spinach and gently stir.
5. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with a spoonful of ricotta, grated mozzarella and basil.

Easy-no-bake-Lasagna-soup-recipe

Directions for Lasagna Soup:

1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, bring broth and tomato-ground beef sauce to a boil.
3. Add cooked noodles and stir. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of ricotta, grated mozzarella and basil.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo

Winter Squash Fettuccine with Crispy Pancetta & Pecorino

Butternut squash made a really great base for the pasta sauce, giving it lots of flavour and creaminess, without the heavy richness you would get from a sauce like Alfredo. The saltiness of the pancetta and pecorino was a great compliment to the slight sweetness of the butternut squash.

Winter-Squash-Fettucine-3

Winter Squash Fettuccine 

Original recipe via Bon Appetit

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces pancetta (chopped)
1 Tablespoon finely sage (chopped)
3 cups butternut squash (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
Salt & pepper
2 cups chicken broth
12 ounces fettuccine pasta
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino, plus more for serving.

Winter-Squash-Fettucine-2

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once heated add chopped pancetta, cooking until crisp (about 8-10 minutes). Toss with sage, before removing to a small bowl.
  2. Add squash, onion, and garlic to pan, season with salt & pepper. Cook about 8-10 minutes, until onions begin to turn translucent.
  3. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer about 15-20 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Once cooled slightly, puree in a blender, or with immersion blender, add more salt & pepper if necessary.
  6. In a large pot, cook fettuccine until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  7. In your pan, combine pasta, squash puree, and a 1/4 cup of pasta water. Cook over medium heat, adding more pasta water as necessary, until pasta becomes coated with sauce, about 2 minutes.
  8. Mix in 1/4 cup of pecorino, and season as necessary.
  9. Serve pasta with pancetta and sage, along with freshly shaved pecorino.

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Vegan Scallops with Spaghetti, Crispy Kale and Pomegranates

It’s definitely a romantic move to cook your lover dinner on Valentine’s Day. But ain’t nobody got time for meat and dairy on this occasion, especially if you still want to have enough room for dessert! So open up your minds and hearts this holiday and cook a vegan meal together. You’ll be left feeling satisfied but not stuffed with this light and flavourful pasta dish.

veganscallops_hotforfoodblog_7

Vegan Scallops with Spaghetti, Crispy Kale and Pomegranates 

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 2, generously

Ingredients:

6 oyster mushrooms
3 cups hot water
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 package brown rice spaghetti (approximately 340 grams – we recommend tinkyada organic brown rice spaghetti)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup finely chopped leek
1 cup white wine
1 cup pasta water (reserved from cooked noodles)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli peppers
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups roughly chopped lacinato kale (stems removed)
1/8 cup pomegranate jewels

veganscallops_hotforfoodblog_filtered3

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and start boiling your pasta water with 1 teaspoon sea salt.
  2. Trim the tops and woody bottoms of the oyster mushrooms, leaving the solid part of the stems. Cut the stems into medallions about 1-inch thick. You can cook the tops of the oyster mushrooms too (they just don’t look like scallops) or use them in another recipe. You should have about 14 medallions.
  3. In a bowl combine 3 cups of hot water with 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar and submerge the mushroom scallops in the mixture for 30 minutes at room temperature. Place a small bowl or plate bowl that fits within the main bowl on top of the mushrooms to ensure the mushrooms are submerged and not floating.
  4. While the mushrooms are marinating toss roughly chopped lacinato kale with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Bake for 12-14 minutes until crispy, but still green. Once baked turn the oven off and set the kale aside until you’re ready to assemble the whole dish.
  5. Cook your pasta until al dente and reserve 1 cup of the water for creating the sauce.  Drain the pasta (do not rinse it) and leave it to sit in a colander until the scallops and sauce are done.
  6. Heat a large pan to medium with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Place the mushroom medallions in the pan and brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip the medallions and season with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Brown on the other side for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the scallops from the pan and place on an oven safe plate/dish and place them in the oven to stay warm while you complete the sauce.
  7. Turn the heat under this pan down to medium-low if it’s become quite hot from cooking the scallops. Immediately add another 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 cup finely chopped shallot, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 cup of finely chopped leek. Sauté this for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently being sure not to burn the garlic and shallot.
  8. Then mix in oregano, basil, and chilli peppers, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add in white wine and pasta water. Bring the heat back up to medium (if you need to) to simmer, stirring frequently for 10-12 minutes as the sauce reduces. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper near the end.
  10. Reduce the heat to low and toss the cooked spaghetti noodles in the sauce for 1-2 minutes until evenly coated and most of the sauce is absorbed.
  11. Transfer the pasta to serving dishes and top with crispy kale, scallops, and pomegranates. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

1 Dish, 2 Meals: Skillet Turkey Sausage with Rainbow Kale

Turkey and Kale skillet recipe

A steaming bowl of pasta need not be heavy or labour-intensive. This light, turkey sausage and rainbow kale dish hits all the right flavour notes and is done almost as fast as it takes for the pasta to cook.

My advice is to take the extra few minutes to brown some bread crumbs. While not essential to the flavour, this step lends the dish a wickedly awesome crunchy texture that resembles the best bits of a baked pasta, without even turning on your oven.

Meal 1: Turkey Sausage and Kale Orecchiette with Toasted Panko and Parmesan

Turkey and Kale Orecchiette pasta

Ingredients:

2 cups rainbow kale. chopped
1 lb. dried orecchiette
1/2 lb. turkey sausage, casings discarded and meat chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons sea salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
* Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of bite

Directions:

1. In a pan over medium-low heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the bread crumbs and stir to coat. Season lightly with salt and cook, stirring often, until the crumbs are an even, deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoon salt and the kale and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool under cold running water, drain and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture. Chop coarsely and set aside.

3. Cook pasta until al dente according to the package directions.

4. Meanwhile, warm the 1/3 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add sausage and garlic and cook, stirring and breaking up meat with the back of a wooden spoon until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the kale and stir to combine for about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

5. When the pasta is ready, scoop out and reserve about 2 ladlefuls of the cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sausage mixture and cheese and toss well over low heat to combine, adding some of the cooking water, if needed.

6. Top each portion with a sprinkle of the toasted bread crumbs and more cheese.

 

Meal 2: Garlicky Turkey Kale Soup with Pasta, White Beans and Tomatoes

Stretch your kale and turkey sausage mixture by turning it into a soup. This bright and healthy meal is surprisingly filling and thanks to the addition of white beans and tomatoes, there’s even more deliciousness in every bite.

Use homemade broth if you have it, otherwise, a low sodium boxed version is just as delicious.

turkey kale white bean soup

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white beans
1 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered
Cooked turkey and kale mixture
Cooked orecchiette
Salt & pepper to taste
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to taste

Directions:

1. In a medium pot, heat 6 cups of chicken broth to a low simmer. Add 1/2 cup white beans and heat through, about 2 minutes.

2. Add cooked sausage and kale and cooked orecchiette and heat until ingredients are hot.

Serve immediately.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.