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pasta

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Orecchiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Upon review of my recent posts, I have come to realize that I have a pasta problem. My last five posts have all been pasta recipes. Pasta is such a crowd-pleaser in our home that it’s my go-to meal for most weekdays. If both my husband and I are working, then I will whip up a pasta dish when I come home from work. If my husband is on days off and I’m working, then he’ll BBQ steaks or kebabs (is it kebabs or kabobs?) with grilled veggies and potatoes. On weekends when I’m off work I do more involved recipes, such as something Vietnamese or roast beef or roasted chicken or I experiment with new recipes for content on this blog.

Since we are eating so much pasta, I like trying different types of pasta to mix things up a bit. My favourite is the mafalda corta that I mentioned in my bolognese recipe.  Penne and bowtie are okay, but I’m not a fan of spaghetti or linguine. If a recipe calls for a longer strand type of pasta, then my absolute favourite is pappardelle. For this recipe, I decided to try orecchiette because I like the way it sounds and because I found a bag of it at Save-On Foods one day. (I’ve never seen orecchiette at Safeway).  Orechiette comes from the Italian word ‘orecchia’ meaning ‘ear’ and ‘etta’ meaning small because ,well, the pasta is shaped like small ears.

I added broccolini to this recipe because like most moms, I’m trying to get my toddler to eat more vegetables. It didn’t work, by the way. She just picked out the pasta and sausage bits and left all the broccolini on her plate. Oh well, at least I got more vegetables in my diet. Broccolini is similar to broccoli, but it has smaller florets and long thin stalks. It’s almost like a broccoli / asparagus hybrid. It has a sweeter flavour than broccoli, is super high in Vitamin C, and is so versatile in recipes. I’ve sauteed broccolini with beef or chicken in an Asian stirfry before, but this time, I decided to boil them and add them to this pasta. You can find broccolini in the produce aisle of your grocery store, and they are often packaged in a tray and wrapped in plastic, like this:

broccolini

For some added protein and flavour, I used a package of Johnsonville mild Italian sausage. If you aren’t feeding your kid this, I would recommend buying the Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. I think that would add more flavour to it.

And as always, remember to use real Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself!

 

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Johnsonville Italian sausages (I bought the mild flavour)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 500 g bag of orecchiette pasta
  • 1 package of broccolini, trimmed and cut into small florets and 2-inch stalk pieces.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, with extra for serving

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the Italian sausages with a fork (so that they won't explode!) and place them on a foiled sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes in the oven, turning once, until just cooked through. Slice them into 1/2 inch coins and set aside.

2

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven). Add the sausage slices and saute for 5 minutes until the pieces are browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste and salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and then let simmer on low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccolini.

3

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

4

In the last 3 minutes of the pasta cook time, add the broccolini pieces in with the pasta and finish off cooking for 3 minutes.

5

Drain the pasta and broccolini and add to the tomato and sausage mixture.

6

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Easy Bolognese

Hello everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I have been neglecting this blog a bit lately, but I just paid my annual maintenance fees for it and that motivated me to keep this blog alive! I have been posting my cooking process on my Instagram stories about once a week, but I just never translate those stories into a blog post. I’m positive I’ve showed on my stories how to make this easy bolognese recipe before. This is a family favourite of ours, and I make it probably once every two weeks. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s filling, and it calls for 1 cup of red wine which gives me an excuse to drink the rest of the bottle!

This is also my go-to main dish when my husband and I are having another couple over for dinner. Served with a salad and garlic toast, it’s more than enough to feed four ravenous adults.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese recipe. I made a couple tweaks to the recipe.   I don’t add fresh basil all of the time. I had a basil plant in my backyard and I would add basil to the recipe when my plant was alive and thriving. However, I managed to kill it off so now I add some dried basil to it instead. My main tweak to the recipe was to reduce the amount of wine added. I found that the extra 1/4 cup of wine that she calls for in her recipe is just a bit much and I could still taste the wine after it was done cooking. Considering I also feed this to my toddler, I didn’t think that was such a good thing. Also, 1/4 cup less wine in the recipe is 1/4 cup more wine for me to drink instead! Speaking of wine, I sometimes get asked what wine I use for my cooking. I cook with the same wine I would drink. And lately, it’s been this Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon. This retails for about $24 dollars in Regina, but whenever I go to Calgary I buy a case or two from the Costco liquor store. I was just in Calgary for the July long weekend, so my wine cabinet is stocked up with Liberty School. That should last me for another couple months until my next trip to Calgary at the end of August.

You can use any type of pasta you want, but I tend to use the bowtie pasta that you see in the pictures or this mafalda corta:

It’s the perfect shape to catch all the beefy goodness of the bolognese and it’s a fun shape for my toddler to grab onto.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be making this again tonight!

 

Easy Bolognese

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500g bag of dried pasta (I like bowtie or mafalda corta)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1/4 tsp dried basil)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cooking until meat is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes). Drain off any excess fat from the skillet.

2

Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.

3

Pour 1 cup of the red wine into the skillet. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box/bag of pasta.

5

Add the nutmeg, dried or fresh basil, and heavy cream to the sauce and simmer for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6

When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well.

7

Serve and enjoy with Parmesan on the side!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Creamy Garlic Steelhead Trout with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Wow, it has been MONTHS since I’ve posted anything on here. Honestly you guys, this working mom thing is no joke. I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel all day every day – wake up, go to work, go home, make dinner, play with my child, bathe my child, put her to bed, go to bed myself by 9PM, repeat. And then weekends are just a blur of playing, laundry and housework. Work has been crazy busy but it’s also been a lot of fun. Although I do try to make dinner every day, I will confess that due to my workload and my husband’s crazy hours, we do end up ordering Skip the Dishes at least once or twice a week. However, when I’m on the ball and I’ve meal prepped and grocery shopped and put out the right things to defrost the night before, dinner isn’t usually too difficult to throw together after work. I have a whole repertoire of easy 30 minute meals that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Now if only I can find some time to take photos of the meals and blog about them!

Now that summertime is here, I try to hit up the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday during my lunch hour and support local vendors as much as I can. I buy a lot of my produce at the Farmer’s Market but they do have a few vendors that offer meat products too, like Reid’s Meats. A few weeks ago, I visited the Reid’s Meats storefront here in Regina for the first time and picked up quite a haul of locally and ethically sourced meats. For just over $100, I bought two steelhead trout fillets, one whole chicken, two packages of chicken bangers, two pounds of ground beef, and two flatiron steaks. I plan on featuring these products in a series of recipes over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Purchases from Reid’s Meats

Today’s recipe is going to feature the beautiful steelhead trout fillets that I bought. They were the fresh fish feature that day and they were just so gorgeous! I try to make a fish dinner at least once per week, but our go-to is usually salmon. I don’t buy trout in the grocery stores as they tend to look quite anemic and unappetizing. I was excited to see such beautiful trout fillets at Reid’s Meats, as this might be another economical protein that I can add to our family recipe repertoire.

My little toddler will eat any type of pasta, so this was a good recipe for her to get her pasta fix and try some healthy fish as well! And with this being a quick 30 minute meal, I was able to easily distract her with her favourite movie (Moana) while I quickly whipped this up.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I’ll try to pop on here more regularly and share some more recipes but no promises! With the beautiful summer weather, all I want to do during my spare time is go outside and read books in the sunshine!

Creamy Garlic Trout with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 steelhead trout fillets, skin off
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 5 oz jarred sun dried tomato strips in oil (drained of oil), roughly chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups half and half cream
  • Salt and pepper (to season fish, and to taste)
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the trout on both sides with salt and pepper, and sear in the hot pan for 5 minutes on each side. Once cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.

2

Melt the butter in the remaining juices leftover in the pan. Add in the garlic and fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the onion and fry for another 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine and allow to reduce slightly (about 3 minutes). Add in the sun-dried tomatoes and fry for about 2 minutes.

3

Reduce heat to low, add the heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

4

Add in the spinach leaves and allow to wilt in the sauce. Add in the parmesan cheese. Allow sauce to simmer for another minute until the cheese is melted.

5

Add in the cornstarch slurry and allow to simmer for another 4 minutes until the sauce thickens.

6

Add the trout back into the pan, spoon the sauce over each filet, and allow to simmer for another minute.

7

Serve over your pasta of choice!