Pasta with Shrimp (or without!) in Tomato White Wine Sauce

By Corinne

If you live in Thunder Bay and haven’t tried Big Lake Pasta you should track some down at your earliest convenience. This pasta dish could probably be made with any pasta, but the Saffron Campanelle really did give it an extra something special.

Speaking of special, you may have noticed a real lack of fish and seafood posts from me on this blog. That’s because when I make them, it’s only as something special for my husband or company that I really love as I have a fairly severe allergy to them. Full disclosure, I was told that the shrimp were really good, but I didn’t (and can’t) actually taste them myself. I have the feeling that three of these large prawns would have been a fine serving, but since it’s a special treat, hubby got all six. Obviously this isn’t vegetarian if you use shrimp, but I ate it without and didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

Serves: 4 (though you would need more shrimp for 4 people, there is enough pasta and sauce for 4)

Time: about 1 hour including simmering time for sauce

You will need:

  • 1 medium/large onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive or canola oil
  • 1 dried chili pepper or about 1/2-1tsp of chili flakes
  • 2 cups of white wine (preferably dry, preferably Chardonnay)
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped for garnish
  • wedges of fresh lemon
  • 350g fresh pasta, preferably Big Lake Saffron Campanelle

For the shrimps – I used tiger prawns and serving size will depend on the size of your shrimp!

I used this amount of butter/spice mixture for 6 large tiger prawns (probably 2 servings)

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp minced flat leaf parsley

In a large pot over medium heat, add about 2 tbsp olive or canola oil. Add the onion to this and stir around for about 10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and chili pepper and stir for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add 2 cups of white wine, slowly at first to scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Then add the can of tomatoes and paprika. Allow to simmer for about 45min to 1hr. Taste after simmering for a while, and add salt and pepper to taste.

While sauce is simmering, prep the butter mixture for the shrimp. Rinse and clean shrimp if necessary and slide onto bamboo skewers. Baste with butter sauce before putting on BBQ, and if you have enough, one more time when you flip them over.

The shrimp will take less than 10 minutes on the bbq, so when you are ready to put your pasta in the boiling water that would be the time to put them on.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs (parsley or basil) and squeeze a wedge of lemon over just before serving.

 

 

Left-over Chicken Fettuccine In A Light Cream Sauce

The other night I made some delicious Turkish Chicken and have been having a creative food-fest with the leftovers.  Yesterday I made some Chicken Salad and today, pasta!  Yummy, yummy pasta.  I have to start by telling you I don’t really like Alfredo sauce.  I find most of it sweet and rich and too thick.  I have never really had an Alfredo Sauce that made me stop and swoon the way I’ve seen some of my girl friends do.  Hence, I’ve never made it.  This sauce is sort of like Alfredo, but since it doesn’t use heavy cream it is not as sweet and rich and also not as fatty.  You’re very sad, I know.  I like light sauces, I almost always pick a tomato based sauce over a cream sauce, with the exception of some white wine creations which I love.

Don’t have any leftover chicken?  Slice and saute a chicken breast and set aside before starting.

You Will Need

  • 10oz of fettuccine
  • 2 tbsp pasta water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups of sugar snap peas
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 leftover chicken thighs, chopped
  • 100g of smoked Gouda (or any other favourite)
  • 1 cup of half and half cream
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Prepare pasta as per package directions, reserve 2 tbsp of pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.  Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat and add onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook 2 or 3 minutes until softened, add peas and red pepper.  Cook until tender crisp, about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 min more until fragrant.  Add cheese, cream, pasta water and chicken and bring to a simmer. This needs some salt and a generous amount of ground pepper.  Don’t be shy with the pepper, you won’t be sorry.  Add pasta and simmer until slightly thickened.  Serve immediately and garnish additional Parmesan.

 

Linguine with Fresh Grape Tomatoes and Basil

By:  Julie

Serves: 6

Time:  20 min

My favourite smell on earth, next to my freshly-bathed baby’s hair, is basil.  It’s floral and sweet and divine.  I really could eat a plate of linguine with some basil and olive oil and call it a day, but my family would look at me funny, so to appease them, I will add something tomatoey.  This dish is super fast, fresh and delicious.  I like to use pretty multi-coloured tomatoes but whatever you have is just fine.

You Will Need

  • 1.5 lb of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb of linguine
  • 3/4 cup of basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp chile flakes (optional)

Cook the linguine according to package directions, and reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta water.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in an extra large saucepan or pot over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes, salt, pepper and basil and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the pasta water and the linguine and toss to combine.  Top with additional basil if desired.

 

 

 

Pesto Tortellini bites

By Corinne

This appetizer has a short ingredient list, but is big on flavours. They come together quickly and can be prepared the day before your party if desired.

Makes: about 25-27 skewers with 3 tortellini each if you use the whole package

Time: about 10 minutes to cook pasta, assembly depends on how many you decide to make. It took me about 10 minutes to put together about 20.

You will need:

  • 350g rainbow tortellini (or plain will also work)
  • 3 tbsp of pesto
  • seasoned sundried tomatoes in oil
  • bamboo skewers or toothpicks

Cook tortellini according to package directions- if using fresh tortellini, usually the boiling time is only 2-3 minutes. Do not over cook. Drain and stir in a generous 3 tbsp of pesto. Let cool completely. This part can be done the day before if desired.

Slide a tortellini, piece of sundried tomato, tortellini, piece of sundried tomato and tortellini onto wooden or bamboo skewers. Repeat. That’s it. You’re done.

These can be prepped the day before and stored in an airtight container overnight if needed. I usually serve these cold, though they are certainly good heated.

Toasted Orzo

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By Corinne

This is a quick and tasty side dish. If you have some fresh herbs, add them at the end when you mix in the cheese. If you’ve been following the blog, you may notice that I often use fresh asiago instead of fresh parmesan. I find it has a similar delicious nutty flavour, but is generally less expensive.

Time: 25 min-  most of this is hands off time.

Serves:2-3 as a side

You will need:

  • 1 cup orzo*
  • 1 1/2 cups veggie broth  or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or use 2 cups of broth if not using wine)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh shredded asiago or parmeasan

Place butter in a pot to melt over medium heat. When butter is bubbly, add orzo. Do NOT add the broth at this point! Stir pasta in butter for about 3-4 minutes until about half of it has turned brown and toasty looking.

At this point, add the wine and broth of your choice, and cover. Cook about 15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally, until nearly all liquid is absorbed. When liquid is almost all absorbed, remove from heat and keep covered for about 5 min. Stir in shredded cheese and herbs if using and serve.

*if you find this isn’t QUITE enough for you, but doubling would be too much, try 1 1/2 cups of orzo, 3 cups of liquid for a bit more 🙂

Corn and Tomato Pasta Skillet

By Corinne

I love fresh summer sweet corn and am always looking for ways to appreciate it while it is in season. This is a simple supper with a short ingredient list that comes together quickly. We had it as a vegetarian main, but if you wished it would go well with a serving of sliced Italian sausage or smokey.

Time: 5 min prep, 15-20 min cook

Serves: 2 generously

You will need:

  • 2 ears of corn, remove kernels from cob
  • about 1.5 cups of mixed cherry tomatoes (I just used what I had, a few more would have been welcome)
  • 2 tbsp garlic infused oil (or regular oil)
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta of your choice – I used orecchiette but any similar sized pasta would work
  • juice of one lime
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper if desired

Boil water for pasta, pasta water should be salted for optimum flavour. While water is boiling, shuck corn and remove kernels from cob. In a cast iron or other heavy bottomed skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. When water is boiling, add pasta to water, and corn and tomatoes to skillet.

Stir vegetables every couple of minutes, allowing some of the corn and tomatoes to brown/blacken a bit. When pasta is finished(about 10 min), drain and add to skillet with corn and tomatoes. Mix and add 1 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar, juice of one lime and fresh cilantro. Serve garnished with additional cheddar and cilantro if desired.

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One Pot Chicken Rigatoni with Rosé Sauce

By Corinne

I happen to be all into a gardening adventure this year, and as some of my cayenne peppers are ripening up, I’ve been itching to use them!

Upon tasting my peppers they are SO good! Now this is one of the things about fresh produce, peppers are going to vary a lot in heat. I used two whole peppers in this pasta, and it was only maybe a medium heat. But taste your sauce and your peppers. It’s always easy to add more for additional heat than it is to try and reduce it if you’ve added too much.

If you are looking to up the veggie count, this pasta and sauce is delicious with the addition of snap peas, asparagus, or broccoli- simply cut and add to pot for the last 5 or so minutes of cooking time.

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Aside from gardening,  I’ve been reading “Consider the Fork- A History of How We Eat and Cook” by Bee Wilson.  Interestingly, “…  most domestic cooks from the Bronze Age until the eighteenth century had to make do with a single big pot: the cauldron (often called a kettle or kittle).”Another historical tidbit, Hitler took advantage of the nostalgia that many people in Germany had for the “Eintopf”, the one-pot meal in his propaganda, encouraging people to put aside one Sunday to eat this frugal meal and save their money to donate to the war effort.

Today, the one pot meal is generally lauded because of our poverty of time rather than a poverty of pots. It doesn’t have to be a matter of, “Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old”. While we generally have the utensils available to us, there is a lot to be said for a lovely one-pot meal.

Serves: 4-5

Time: 5-10 min prep, 30 minute cook

You Will Need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp oil- canola or olive oil
  • 1 28oz can of tomatoes, diced or whole
  • 2 fresh cayenne peppers finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 lb rigatoni noodles **gluten free if you use gluten free noodles – I find the corn ones have the best texture, especially for being cooked in the sauce and still holding their shape
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp dry basil
  • 3 tbsp fresh snipped basil, + some for garnish
  • 1 cup asiago, parmesan or romano cheese + more for garnish

In a large pot heat oil and add chicken pieces. Cook over medium high heat until browned, but they don’t have to be fully cooked. Add garlic and cayenne and stir around a bit, a minute or two until fragrant, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add wine, scrapping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let reduce about 5 minutes.

Add can of tomatoes, dry basil, 1 1/2 cup of water and noodles. Cover pot and bring to a simmer, stirring every 3-5 minutes. You may need to add more water, I did, but again, it’s one of those things where it’s easier to add a bit more than to try and deal with too much liquid.

When noodles are al dente and the liquid is mostly absorbed, add 4 tbsp of butter, and stir until melted. Add 1/3 cup of heavy cream,  fresh snipped basil, and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and cook for another 5-7 minutes until sauce has reduced to desired thickness.

Serve garnished with additional cheese and basil.