Category Archives: Pasta
Some days I just want to be able to throw something together for dinner quickly. Pasta is usually the answer! In this case, I just happened to buy some smoked salmon at Costco to use in salad and I still had some left.
Voila ! Smoked Salmon Carbonara. Bonus – no creams, just fresh eggs and Parmesan for the sauce. Read the recipe carefully, as you don’t want to overcook the eggs and Parmesan. The pasta MUST be a little cool to avoid scrambling the eggs!!! It looked and tasted great. You can skip the capers if it’s not something you like.
NOTE – Capers are immature flower buds from the Capparis spinosa (aka the “caper bush”), which grow all over the Mediterranean, just like olives do. Caper buds are picked before they can bloom into flowers. They are not a fish as some people mistakenly assume, but can be a little salty. Great on pizza, too.
Smoked Salmon Carbonara
- 14.1 oz (400g) linguine pasta, or similar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 5.2 oz (150g) smoked salmon, sliced thinly
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp. of capers (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the linguine or long pasta shape of your choice. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon into thin strips and finely chop some fresh parsley (this is optional).
3. Next, add the eggs to a bowl and whisk together, add the grated parmesan and a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir to combine.
4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot you cooked it in. Sprinkle over the strips of salmon then add the whisked eggs and parmesan mixture, immediately stir the pasta to coat it evenly in egg and to distribute the salmon throughout the pasta evenly.
5. Tip: wait exactly 1 minute before pouring over the egg mixture. If the pasta is too hot the eggs will scramble but if it’s too cool the eggs will remain raw.
6. The pasta should be creamy and evenly coated in sauce. Divide the smoked salmon pasta between bowls and top with a scattering of chopped parsley and an extra grinding of pepper, serve.
I’ve seen and made many pasta carbonara recipes in my time and I find that using 1 egg less as many servings works best. Does that make sense? For four servings I use 400g/14oz of pasta (100g per portion) and 3 eggs.
Quite often when I purchase a salmon filet there are little pieces which I cut off and freeze separately to use to make salmon poke, etc. Searching Pinterest for more ideas, I came across this great pasta dish!
Salmon Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-pound salmon fillets
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- 5 oz spinach fresh
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 oz penne
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
2. Season salmon fillets with salt.
3. When the oil is hot, add salmon fillets flesh side down (skin side up). Sear for about 4 minutes on medium-high heat.
4. Reduce heat to medium.
5. Flip the salmon fillets to the other side (skin side down). Sear for another 4 or 5 minutes on medium heat until salmon is flaky.
6. Remove salmon from the skillet.
1. To the same, now empty, skillet, add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and minced garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Add fresh spinach, and continue cooking and stirring until the spinach wilts, for a couple of minutes.
3. To the skillet with sautéed vegetables, add 1 cup of heavy cream, paprika, red pepper flakes. Bring to simmer. Simmer for about 1 minute, stirring. Season with salt. Add more paprika, if you like.
1. Cook penne according to package instructions. Drain.
1. Add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the cream sauce. Stir in.
2. Remove skin from the salmon by sliding the fork between the salmon fillet and the skin.
3. Slice salmon into large chunks.
4. Add salmon chunks to the creamy pasta. Stir to combine. Simmer for a minute or more, until the salmon is warmed up and cooked through. The salmon should be flaky.
5. Season with salt, if needed.
No doubt you have had this dish at any one of thousands of Italian restaurants around the world. It really is quite simple once you have prepared the sauce. You can use canned tomatoes, but in this case I used 2 larger fresh tomatoes, NOT plum. I simply chopped them up. One thing of note – do NOT use more than 3 – 4 tablespoons of vodka, as it will leave the dish bitter…
Penne alla Vodka
- 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained OR 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons cold butter
- Salt/Pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. Penne
- Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be. I simply chopped them up!
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.
Turn off the heat.
Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.
Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and become quite thick.
During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.
Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.
Season with salt/pepper if desired.
Add in the drained pasta.
Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!
What to do without Costco? I have had a bag of turkey meatballs in the freezer for awhile. The truth is we didn’t really like them! Not to waste I found this slow cooker recipe for Swedish meatballs and I got the chance to use them all up, never to buy again. If you have been following for sometime you will know that I had previously made meatballs for use with pasta. This recipe called for frozen ones. Et voila! Actually they tasted awesome…great for a buffet table.
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup, low sodium*
1 can beef broth, low sodium*
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen meatballs
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (1 cup)
1 (16 oz.) package egg noodles
sliced mushrooms (optional)
In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, mix undiluted soup with beef broth, onion soup mix and steak sauce. Stir well.
Then add in frozen meatballs.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-5 hours. (My slow cooker is always faster than the recipe calls for, in this case they were done in about 4 1/2 hours.
After meatball mixture is almost cooked, add in the sliced mushrooms and stir in sour cream.
At this time, put a pot of water on the oven to boil for your egg noodles (make according to package directions.) Drain noodles well when done.
Mix noodles and meatballs together. Or serve meatballs on top of noodles.
Note: Low sodium is my personal preference for this to keep it from being too salty. If I’m serving for a crowd, I will mix together noodles and meatballs and keep my crock pot on the ‘warm’ or ‘buffet’ setting. But when it’s just my family, everyone can serve themselves and grab as many meatballs, noodles and sauce as they like.
Eureka! Shrimp in the freezer. What to do? Checked the ingredients I had on hand and found this recipe for dinner. The worst part is cleaning the shrimp, so just cheat and buy them already cleaned and deveined…LOL. Substitute whatever protein you have available. As always, my changes are in red lettering.
Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta
- 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes ( one can of diced with juice depending on how much you like tomatoes)
- 1 cup cooked spinach
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 small lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
- 10 oz fettuccine pasta
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it’s cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
- To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
- In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
- Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don’t add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
- To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Costco strikes again! I bought the double package of tortellini when I really only needed one for a previous recipe. What to do? Find a recipe on Pinterest to use the one that was left. Eureka! Pinterest! Not only did it look yummy, it was…
Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup
Author: Karina – Cafe Delites Serves: 10
- 500 grams | 1 pound ground Italian sausage (or ground chicken, turkey or beef), browned*
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder (or chicken)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups beef broth (or chicken or vegetable broth — I use low sodium)
- ¼ cup cornstarch mixed and dissolved in ¼ cup water
- 3x 340 gram | 12-ounce cans full fat evaporated milk or half and half
- 1x 340 gram | 12 ounce packet three cheese tortellini (I used one of Costco’s, remember)
- 5 cups fresh baby spinach (whatever amount works for you)
- 1 cup milk
- Place the browned sausage, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, beef bouillon powder, salt, and broth in a 6-quart / liter slow cooker bowl. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours.
- Uncover and skim any fat that is sitting on the top of the soup with a spoon; discard. Stir in the cornstarch mixture with the evaporated milk (or half and half or cream). Add the tortellini and mix well. Cover again and cook on HIGH heat setting for a further 45 minutes until the soup has thickened, and the tortellini is soft and cooked through.
- Add in the spinach, pressing the leaves down to completely submerse into the liquid. Cover again for a further 5-10 minutes until the leaves have wilted.
- Pour in milk in ⅓ cup increments, as needed, to reach your desired thickness and consistency (I needed 1 cup); taste test and season with extra salt ONLY if needed, and pepper to suit your tastes.
- Serve with crusty warmed bread
First had this at one of our favourite restaurants in nearby Merida – Il Caffe Italiano. Had to try and duplicate this subtle dish. Et voila as the French say. PINTEREST as I say…LOL. I would highly recommend it for your Christmas Eve or New Years dinner. Suggestion is to serve it with grilled asparagus spears…I chose not to…
Ravioli with White Wine Butter Sauce (and Asparagus – optional)
- One 9 ounce package chilled fresh ravioli
- One bunch asparagus (about 15-20 spears), trimmed and cut into two inch pieces. You can use just the tips or if you like lots of asparagus, use the stems as well! OPTIONAL
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks carefully washed and chopped into 1/4 inch slices. Dont use the dark green parts!
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
- ¾ cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for garnish
- Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and olive oil, and then asparagus. Cook asparagus until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes, and remove asparagus with a slotted spoon, leaving the water boiling. OPTIONAL – just boil some water for the ravioli !
- Add one tablespoon of butter to a medium size skillet and melt over medium high heat. Add leeks and garlic and stir until soft, 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Now add butter, cube by cube, stirring until each one is melted into the sauce.
- While the sauce is cooking, add the ravioli gently to the boiling (asparagus*) water (I like to lower them in with a slotted spoon) and cook according to package directions until just done, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and put in a single layer on a plate until the sauce is finished.
- When all the butter is melted, stir in the chopped thyme.
- Divide the ravioli between two plates, (and tuck the asparagus tips in between the ravioli – OPTIONAL). Drizzle a generous portion of sauce over each serving, garnish with fresh thyme and shaved Parmesan and serve at once!
Sorry,no recipe this week, but in their place I came across some useful charts with info about cutting recipe equivalents in half, what sauces to serve with what pastas and converting cooking times with your slow cooker recipes from high to low. Hope you will find this useful as the holidays approach! Its amazing what you can find on Pinterest sites…
Canadians…Are you tired of turkey already? Try this easy one for something different.
Skillet Italian Sausage and Peppers with Penne
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
This comforting Italian sausage and pepper penne pasta is cooked in one skillet and comes together in 30 minutes or less for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
- 12 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
- 1 pound Italian sausage links (1 package)
- 1 small green pepper, sliced
- 1 small red pepper, sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
- ½ cup red wine (merlot or pinot noir)
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 12 ounces water
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Parmesan Cheese for finishing
- In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve starchy cooking water.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Brown sausages on all sides, until almost cooked through, remove and cut into ¼ inch slices. You don’t have to worry about cooking them all the way through, they will finish cooking while the sauce simmers.
- In the same pan drizzle another teaspoon or so of olive oil and sauté the peppers and onions until slightly softened, about five minutes.
- Return sausage back to the pan and deglaze with red wine.
- Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for ten minutes.
- Add penne to the skillet, toss with sauce. If needed add starchy pasta water to loosen the sauce up.
- Season with salt and pepper and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.
No oven, no worries. Pinterest to the rescue again! This has to be one of the best recipes I have ever found and it goes together fairly quickly. Your guests will rave about it as did ours. This recipe would be great for any potluck you get invited to. Be sure to follow the link at the end of the recipe for more great recipes.
Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna Serves: 8 servings
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 large jar (45 oz.) high quality pasta sauce (I used one of the two large jars of Prego that I bought at Costco)
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 large package (25-30 oz.) cheese & spinach filled ravioli (uncooked) (also Costco, my large cooker used 36 pieces of the stuffed ravioli – Pasta Prima brand)
- Brown ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Stir in Italian seasoning and pasta sauce. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
- Spray the inside of a 6-7 quart crock pot with cooking spray. Layer meat sauce, ravioli and cheese.
- Repeat layers ending with cheese. (I ended up with two layers.) Cover and cook on low 3 hours and reduce heat to WARM.
Follow Spend With Pennies on Pinterest for more great recipes!