Tag Archives: pasta

Vodka pasta

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This is my first two-way post! So you can feel free to take the fancy or the frugal option, for whatever fits your mood. The vodka pasta was made for a birthday since it’s creamy and unbelievably rich and awesome. But it does require quite a few ingredients, plus vodka. Which down under is a little pricey. So if you don’t have the time or the funds you can make a simple creamy tomato pasta. It’s all up to you…

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Vodka Pasta

Adapted from Cook Like A Champion
Who heavily adapted it from Williams-Sonoma

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves,
minced medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil, plus additional for serving
1 pound penne pasta
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for serving

Directions: Cook pasta in well salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, drain pasta and set aside.

Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in frying pan, remove the casings from the sausages, break into small pieces and cook until browned on the outside and cooked through. Drain on a plate covered in paper towels and reserve for later.

While the pasta and sausages are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about a minute more. Stir in tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the tomato paste and vodka. Cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, at least 5 minutes. Stir in cream, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in basil and cheese.

Add pasta and sausage to skillet and toss to coat, adding pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Serve topped with additional basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And for the frugal option…
Serves 1

Ingredients:
1 cup  of pasta
1 tablespoon of cream cheese
1/2 cup of pasta tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1/2 cup of frozen prawns, defrosted
sprinkle of parmesan
olive oil

Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. While you’re cooking the pasta heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan. Put the defrosted prawns in and when they’ve cooked add the tomato sauce, cream cheese and tomato paste and stir until everything melts and becomes a nice creamy sauce.

Pour the sauce with the prawns over the pasta, mix in and sprinkle with parmesan.

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Filed under Pasta and rice, Recipes

Spicy pork and mushroom noodles

Pasta is a great and easy option for weeknight dinners but that doesn’t mean it is always the best option. It’s easy to make a bit too much and it’s also very tempting to put creamy sauces or heaps of cheese on. So if you’re looking for a weeknight meal that’s easy, cheap and healthy it’s great to have some hokkien noodles in the cupboard. They’re super easy when you want a quick dinner- you don’t even have to cook them and they’re pre-packaged so you can keep track of portions and nutrition info. This is one of my favourite stir fry dishes to make with the noodles. It’s pretty versatile and you can use pork or turkey mince- whatever you have on hand. When you’re cooking the meat with the mushrooms and sauce it will seem like there is a bit too much liquid but once you simmer for a couple minutes and add the hokkien noodles they will soak up the sauce. Hokkien noodles are available at most grocery stores and at Costco you can often get a big box for just a couple dollars.

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Adapted from this recipe
Serves 4

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
4 servings of hokkien noodles
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces lean ground pork
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha
4 lime wedges

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat.

Add pork to pan; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add mushrooms and saute 2 more min or until brown. Add the green onions.

Stir in chopped onion, and salt; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in cornstarch. Gradually add stock; bring to a boil. Stir in soy sauce and sriracha; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the hokkien noodles and stir to combine. (Some hokkien noodles will need to be softened in boiling water- check the instructions on the package). Divide the noodles and and pork mixture among four shallow bowls. Serve with lime wedges.

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Lasagna

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Now that I am actually aware that several of my family members do read my blog, (thanks guys!), I feel like maybe I should make things a little more PG rated. Not that I’m censoring of course, my life is very PG and there isn’t a single drunk photo of my anywhere.

Except maybe Facebook.

But anyways, on to the story of this lasagna.

The first time I ate this lasagna, I had had a lot of….apple juice.

And that apple juice was making me very happy…and chatty…and giggly…and dance-y.

It was just magical apple juice all around.

And so, when I first ate this lasagna I thought it was the golden god of lasagnas. Seriously, it was a legit party in my mouth.

So, when I decided to make it again, I was a little wary. I didn’t have quite as much apple juice on hand and I thought the lasagna might taste a bit, well, different.

But gloriously, it did not.

Apple juice or no apple juice, this lasagna is the bomb.

So I suggest you make it.

Now.

This recipe comes from my dear friend Mariann Foll. All the way from Norway, thanks love.

Lasagna
Serves 4

Ingredients:
500 g minced beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
1-2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water or milk
Salt, pepper, basil (fresh / dried)
Lasagna Sheets (about one 250g box of instant lasagna sheets will do)
250g cheddar cheese

For the White sauce:
2 tbsp butter / oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
4-5 tablespoons cheese
A little salt, pepper and dash of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

Saute the onions until soft and then add the meat. Continue to cook until the meat has mostly browned. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and water / milk. Simmer for 10 minutes, and season to taste.

Melt butter / heat oil, stir in the flour and dilute with milk while stirring rapidly. Cook on low heat while stirring. Let simmer for 5 minutes, add the cheese and season to taste.

In a casserole dish, add a layer of meat sauce, then the lasagne sheets and white sauce. Add one more layer of lasagna sheets, another layer of meat sauce and cover with cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes – until the sheets are soft. Leave the lasagna for 10 minutes after baking, so it will “set up” a bit.

Served usually with a salad and garlic bread.

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Filed under Beef, Pasta and rice, Recipes

Caprese salad pasta

Lots of people have a go to dish when they’re not feeling great. Chicken soup, congee with leftovers, scrambled eggs and toast, anything simple and comforting. You’re not supposed to eat anything dairy or acidic while you’re feeling ill. So this dish isn’t exactly ideal but it still seems to make me feel better. It’s one of my favourite dishes while I’m home too. It takes all of half an hour and five ingredients. A perfect weeknight meal or cozy feel-better dish when you’re sick.

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Caprese salad pasta
Serves 5

500g pasta (bowtie or penne)
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
250g mozzarella, diced
3/4 cup basil, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to directions. While the pasta is cooking dice the tomatoes, the mozzarella and the basil. Just after the pasta is done cooking and you’ve drained it return it to the pot and add a drizzle of olive oil and then add the tomato and mozzarella. Mix them in and then let the pot sit with the lid on so the cheese melts and heats through. After about five minutes add the basil and stir through. Serve immediately.

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Bowties with chicken sausage, yoghurt and zucchini

I don’t like saving. I haven’t even really started saving yet but I already hate it. That’s right, Allie is officially on a budget. This may suck. But it’s for a good reason, as saving usually tends to be. Ciaran and I are planning to travel later this year, we will both be recent university graduates and we are both currently jobless so it seemed like a good time. Things may change, we know that, but for now we will prepare as if we are both still free in September and will whisk away to sing showtunes in the hills in Austria and lounge on the beaches in Greece and eat nothing but carbs in Italy and see new places and faces and explore. Sounds pretty ideal. I think I just have to keep repeating that to myself when I’m about to order another drink at the bar or step into Dotti or Sportsgirl ‘just to check’ what they have in store.

Luckily, food is generally an easy area to save a few bucks. I’ve been doing much better at eating on the cheap this year but I think I can push it even further. But don’t fear, there will be no beans and rice posts on this blog! Ick. I’ll just have to find ways to use cheap ingredients and stretch my food further. So far this year it has been going very well. The other day I made corn, pea and haloumi fritters with a tomato salad using only ingredients that I already had! Such a win. Another lucky thing in this whole saving my pennies plan is that pasta is cheap. And man do I love pasta. So I will use that excuse to eat those pillowly carby little bites but only topped with healthy ingredients. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Enjoy,

Allie

Bowties with chicken sausage, yoghurt and zucchini
Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 4-6

500g bowties
4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), coarsely shredded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
300g chicken sausage (we used kid’s chicken sausages since they were cheap  )
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the farfalle until al dente; about 1 minute before the farfalle is done, add the shredded zucchini to the pot. Drain the farfalle and zucchini, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium frying pan over medium high heat and cook the sausage until browned and cooked all the way through. We took off the casing and separated the sausage into small chunks or you can cook it whole and chop it up after.
  3. After the sausage is done, place it on a paper towel to drain and use the same frying pan to melt the butter. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt and the 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and season the yogurt sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the bowtie, chicken sausage, zucchini and reserved pasta water to the saucepan and cook over low heat, tossing, until the sauce coats the pasta; transfer to warmed bowls and serve with the extra cheese.

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Filed under Chicken, Lunch, Pasta and rice

Spaghetti aglio e olio

Having lived in Italy myself and now living in Sydney with an Italian roommate I am used to having a lot of pasta around. Sometimes it’s nice to create a wonderful blend of flavours and make a big sauce to go with the pasta and other times you’re just looking for something simple and tasty. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is just that. Also known as Spaghetti Aio Oio or “the one dish that all Italian men know how to make.”

Translated it is simply spaghetti with garlic and oil and while that may sound boring it is actually quite delicious. And if you don’t eat too much it’s a pretty healthy meal as well. The ingredients needed for this recipe are basic staples you should keep in your kitchen since you’ll use them in countless other recipes. Plus this is honestly one of the cheapest meals you’ll eat all semester so you can feel good about that too. So if you want to spice up your life tonight, have some good old pasta the Italian way.

Recipe:

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 pound of spaghetti

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente.

A few minutes before the pasta is done heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is lightly browned.

Drain the pasta and transfer to the saucepan tossing to coat. Add a little extra oil if it seems dry.

Sprinkle with a dash of salt and serve immediately.

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Orzo risotto with buttery shrimp

Shrimp was on special this week! Very exciting, I know. I’d also been craving orzo for a while so I decided to throw the two together and ended up with this creamy, rich shrimp risotto. Though it takes about half an hour to whip up this meal it’s all pretty simple.

And it’s a great comforting meal for the middle of the week when you’re aching to get to Friday. The savoury shrimp is definitely a pick-me-up to get you through to your relaxing weekend. Since we usually just have pasta in this apartment it was a nice change to switch to orzo, while yes, it is still technically pasta, it’s a different taste experience than a bowl of starchy spaghetti. I’m also the only one who ever buys shrimp, usually it’s beef or steak and with my Italian roommates we always have to keep the pasta and meat separate. I’m still working on convincing them that flavour combinations can be so much better than having each part of the meal separately. It seems to be an ongoing battle.

But apparently shrimp in pasta is just fine so I went ahead and it was very well received.

Recipe: Orzo Risotto with Buttery Shrimp

Adapted from Food & Wine

Makes four servings

Ingredients:

2 medium sized zucchini (the recipe actually calls for asparagus but I didn’t have any so I substituted with my go-to veggie, zucchini)

1 3/4 cups orzo (12 ounces)

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/2 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp

Salt and pepper

1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth (I keep some chicken stock cubes on hand which is really helpful for recipes like this, you can usually get about 7 or 8 for $1)(But don’t forget to add it to water to create the broth before you start your recipe, I sometimes forget, well, more than sometimes)

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions:

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo to the boiling water, cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, for 10 minutes. When you drain it, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water for later.

Chop the zucchini and saute in a frying pan on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a frying pan (you can put the zucchini in a bowl on the side and use the same pan from before) melt the butter over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the butter begins to brown. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until pink and curled, about 1 minute per side.

With a slotted spoon add the shrimp the the zucchini on the side. Don’t drain the pan! Reserve the butter in the pan.

Once you’ve drained your orzo and returned it to the pan add the brown butter and stir to mix. Set the skillet over high heat and add the chicken stock, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour the stock and  the reserved cooking water into the orzo; cook over medium heat, stirring until creamy, 2 minutes. Make sure you keep stirring so that nothing on the bottom gets burnt.

Stir in the zucchini and shrimp and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to bowls and serve with more parmesan.

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Filed under Pasta and rice, Recipes, Seafood