Bright, Citrus-y Pepper Pasta

Citrus-y Pepper Pasta

Citrus-y Pepper Pasta to brighten your winter night

In advance of our Oscars party, we revisited a classic recipe, adapted from The Red Cat restaurant cookbook – Spaghetti with Citrus-y Pepper Sauce.
I used

rozen bell peppers from our CSA. And as the peppers are already sliced up, we put this delicious dish together in about 25 minutes.

If you’ve got some peppers in your freezer, try this recipe. For your consideration.

Reliving the Glory of Summer – Pasta al Pesto Genovese in the Fall

Post-Thanksgiving Pasta – Sounds like a bad idea, right? I am a few weeks late with this post, but I hope you will still find it entertaining.

Pretty Purple Taters and Green Beans Ready to go

Pasta al Pesto was great excuse to reminisce about the summer’s bounty.  And required no additional shopping – a bonus after hitting the grocery store multiple times while prepping for Thanksgiving. I pulled a glass jar of pesto out of the freezer Saturday morning to defrost, excited for my resourceful quasi-pantry meal. We had purple potatoes leftover from the last CSA pick-ups (remember, potatoes do last), and the green beans, while neither local or seasonal at the moment, were leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. We cleaned and sliced them up, and boiled the potatoes first, then the green beans, using the same water.

Boiled potatoes and green beans, awaiting their turn

Set aside the veggies, then cook the pasta in the same water. While the pasta cooked, I thinned out my frozen pesto with some additional olive oil, and added 1/2 cup of grated parmiggiano to the pesto. If you prepare pesto for the freezer, don’t add the cheese until you are ready to use it.

Add the spaghetti, steaming, straight from the pot

Add the pasta to a large bowl with the green beans, potatoes, pesto and a splash of pasta water. Toss well.

Fabulous Fall Meal: Spaghetti al Pesto Genovese

Tutti a tavola! Spaghetti al Pesto Genovese on a chilly November night. I loved dipping into my pantry to pull out previously prepared treats.

Tell me what you’ve used from  your pantry lately.

Tuesday Night & What’s for Dinner? My Take on Pizzoccheri

The weather was turning nasty yet again, and I was feeling like something cozy and hearty for dinner. I was thinking about a pasta dish with some vitamins/vegetables. Pizzoccheri came to mind, which is a dish from the Valtellina in Northern Italy. It is a typical dish served in the mountains, usually during a day of skiing or outdoor labor. It is rich and tasty, made with buckwheat noodles, bitter greens (usually swiss chard), fontina, and sometimes potatoes. Perfect for a dinner for 2 after a day at the office, right? Anyway, the idea popped into my head and I couldn’t shake it.  I didn’t follow a recipe, but made one up as I went along, working off of memory and taste. Tracking down buckwheat noodles at the last minute, was not going to happen, so I used fresh whole wheat fettucine (store-bought), and for the greens, I chose organic kale (I reasoned that the power of the pasta would overcome Hubs’s revulsion to kale). I also bought some fontina to shred into the mix. 

My Pizzoccheri Pasta

The end result was a tasty, gooey pasta dish that warmed the bones. Not quite the traditional recipe, but worth repeating for sure. For more details on the real pizzoccheri deal, you can also check out Mark Bittman’s NY Times article   here.

My Pizzoccheri-like Pasta

3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound fresh whole wheat pasta, preferably fettucine, or other long flat noodle
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed and shredded
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper

Sauteed kale, onion and garlic

In large pan, saute onion in about 2 tablespoons olive oil until softened. Add garlic and continue to saute. Do not brown. Add kale in handfuls and saute until wilted. Add additional 1-2 tablespoons olive oil if kale mixture appears dry. Season with salt and pepper, and red chili pepper flakes (if using). Once kale is wilted, set aside.

Bring large pot of water to boil and prepare pasta according to directions. Fresh pasta only takes 2-3 minutes to cook, so I do recommend preparing the kale mixture in advance, or at least while the water is coming to a boil. Once noodles are al dente, re-heat kale mixture on a low heat, and use slotted spoon to remove from boiling water and add directly to kale mixture. Pasta should have some water on it (no need to drain), that will help loosen up the kale mixture (which is your pasta sauce). Incorporate pasta with kale mixture for a minute or two, over low flame and sprinkle fontina cheese on top. Serve immediately in bowls with additional cheese for sprinkling. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 servings

Delicata Squash Delight

Well, it’s Monday afternoon and believe it or not, there is not that much left from my Saturday pick-up. Have had a busy few days of cooking, eating, entertaining.  I much appreciated the help in consuming these delectable perishables. I’ll spend a few minutes reflecting on Saturday night’s pasta experiment with delicata squash, which was a first for me.

Delicata Squash

The delicata that we picked up from the CSA on Saturday was on the small side, but I still had high hopes for it. I figured its diminutive size could work in my favor – if we liked it, we’d be eager to try more. If we hated it, there wasn’t that much of it in the dish. I was intrigued by how pretty the squash looks when cooked, and by the fact that it doesn’t need to be peeled (bonus!). N.b. photo below is not mine. I did the unthinkable: left home without my phone/camera this weekend.

Roasted Delicata Squash

After some research, I settled on this recipe under the headline Delicious Fall Pasta Recipe from a Chicago chef and  foodie blogger Chow Bella. Given that my pantry was lacking some key ingredients, like radicchio and tallegio, paired with the fact that those foodstuffs would not fly with Hubs,  I took some liberties in my  technique and preparation….Here’s my interpretation of the recipe inspired by Chow Bella’s.


250  grams or 1/2 box of spaghettini (thin spaghetti)
3-4 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 lb. Delicata Squash
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Parmiggiano grated cheese [can add Taleggio cut in cubes if you have it on hand]
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the squash in half, lengthwise and trim off both ends, and scoop out seeds. No need to peel the squash.  Slice the squash in 1/4 inch slices.  Toss the squash with 1 Tbs. of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Lay the squash evenly on a sheet tray (without overlapping) and roast for 12-15 minutes.

From Chow Bella: Roasted Delicata Squash Sauce

While the squash is roasting, heat a large saute pan with 3 Tbs. of olive oil.  When the oil is hot add the slivered garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add the slivered onion, season with kosher salt and pepper, and slowly cook for 15-20 minutes, until the onions are caramelized.  Add the roasted squash and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the 1/2 of the cheese and turn off the heat.

Prepare spaghettini as directed on box.  When the pasta in nearly done, use a ladle to scoop a generous ladle of the pasta water into the sauce.  Drain the spaghetti and then pour into the pan with the sauce.  Stir all of the ingredients together, adding kosher salt, black pepper and a splash of olive oil as necessary to loosen up sauce. Serve with additional Parmiggiano on the side.

Yield: 2 generous servings

Conclusions: Would definitely try this again, and would be curious to prepare it with radicchio. The squash was a little dried out from the roasting, so I adjusted the recipe above to reflect that, and recommend 1/4 inch slices (even 1/2 inch) vs 1/8 inch in the original recipe. We added a little more olive oil at the table, but this recipe had great flavor. The squash is quite tasty, and not as sweet as butternut squash. Hubs said, “It has good flavor.” Final word: we had some leftovers which Hubs and Sam had for lunch the next day re-heated.

Pasta al Pesto Genovese per il Pranzo di Domenica, or Sunday lunch Italian-Style

A few days late, but wanted to share details on Sunday’s yummy lunch, prepared primarily from Saturday’s CSA pick-up. We made a delicious, traditional Pasta al Pesto Genovese. The traditional version is prepared with boiled potatoes and green beans in addition to your standard pesto. You use the same boiled water for the veggies as the pasta, giving the pasta another layer of flavor. I was inspired by a few things:

  • String beans, potatoes and garlic in our CSA stash
  • Basil plant in my garden growing like wild. Growing like wild for Western Massachusetts, not the Mediterranean, meaning it was about 6″ high, bright green and bushy, and in want of a haircut
  • My upcoming trip to the Italian seaside (please don’t hate me)

I’ve only had this dish in restaurants or at someone’s home and never prepared it on my own, so I was excited to give it a whirl. Here’s the final product:

Pasta al Pesto Genovese with local green beans, potatoes and pesto

It did not disappoint. Hubs and I loved it. We used orecchiette pasta (shaped like little ears) because  it would be easier for little Sam to eat than spaghetti, which would be the traditional pasta to use. Ironically, omnivorous Sam wanted nothing to do with the Pasta al Pesto lovingly prepared by his parents. Normally a big fan of pasta, I guess he’s just not that into pesto. His loss. Here’s the recipe for 4 servings

Pasta al Pesto Genovese

  • 2 medium new potatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1/4 – 1/2 pound string beans, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti (or other long, thin pasta)
  • Pesto. Here is a basic recipe to follow (1/2 a batch should do, and you can keep the rest of the batch for another use)
  • 2-3 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid from the pasta


  • Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Salt generously and add potatoes. Cook until tender. Remove from pot with slotted spoon and set aside Some recipes instruct you to cook the potatoes whole, then slice them after they’ve been boiled. I think it is easier to start with the potatoes sliced so you don’t have to wait for them to cool later
  • Add string beans to the same pot of water. Cook until tender (not overcooked), and remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add pasta to water and cook according to directions on package. Test for doneness and reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water when you drain the pasta.
  • Toss the pasta in a serving bowl with the pesto, potatoes, string beans and cooking liquid (as needed). Serve immediately.