Tag Archives: pasta

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Bacon, and Garlic Chips


Paco and I saw this beautiful rainbow chard at the farmers’ market and couldn’t resist. YUM. I was inspired by a couple of recipes, this one from Epicurious and this one from Smitten Kitchen, to combine Swiss chard, bacon, and garlic chips.


Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Bacon, and Garlic Chips

1/2 lb of spaghetti
1 large bunch of Swiss chard, rinsed and cut into 1-inch strips (I use the stems as well, but you can remove them if you’d like)
6 strips of thick-cut bacon, diced
1 T olive oil 8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
kosher salt black pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/3 c grated parmesan, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Begin to prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions, draining when al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve one cup of the starchy cooking water.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered out and it is crispy. Remove the bacon and drain over paper towels. Pour the excess fat from the skillet.


Add the olive oil to the skillet, then add the garlic chips. Cook them until they are golden, but make sure to remove them before they burn. Drain them alongside the bacon.

Add more olive oil to the skillet, then add the red pepper flakes. When the red pepper sizzles a little bit, add the chard. Cook until it wilts, seasoning with salt and black pepper. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to the pot, then add the pasta and cheese. Toss together. Add more liquid if necessary.


Sprinkle the garlic chips and bacon over the pasta, then serve with additional cheese.


Whole Wheat Penne with Butternut Squash and Broccoli Rabe


On Sunday it was freezing by L.A. standards, so I wanted to make something comforting and fall-inspired. However, I also wanted to make something on the lighter side, since we’re about to enter the holiday season and there will be plenty of opportunities to indulge.

Anne Burrell’s recipe for Whole Wheat Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Broccoli Rabe, and Pumpkin Seeds sounded perfect, but I modified it to reduce the prep time.  The result was very delicious and autumn-appropriate!

Whole Wheat Penne with Butternut Squash and Broccoli Rabe
Adapted from Cook Like a Rock Star

1 package of peeled and diced butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)
1 bunch of broccoli rabe, bottoms of stems removed
2 T olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
3/4 c chicken stock
1/2 lb of whole wheat penne
1/2 c of grated parmesan
1/4 c of pine nuts, toasted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the squash in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or until tender.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Using tongs, swish the broccoli rabe around in the hot water, then remove it and set it aside to cool. Once it’s cool, chop it into 1-inch pieces.

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Once the garlic has browned, remove it from the oil. Add the squash and stock to a pan, and simmer until the stock has reduced by about half. Add the broccoli rabe.

Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water until it’s cooked but very al dente.  Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.  Toss the pasta in the pan with the vegetables, add the reserved pasta water, and then allow the dish to cook until the pasta water has evaporated/been absorbed by the other ingredients. Remove the pan from the heat, then toss in the parmesan, some black pepper, and the pine nuts.

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion


I have been curious about Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce for ages (here’s the link to her cookbook, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking).  It does call for a lot of butter, but considering that I usually include copious amounts of sausage, bacon, or meatballs in my tomato sauces, I had no excuse to modify the recipe by using less butter.

The verdict?  It was very sweet and delicious, and subtly different from any other tomato sauce I have made before. The onion was amazing, too!

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
(Adapted from Marcella Hazan)

32 oz can of whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
5 T butter
1 onion, peeled and halved
kosher salt

Put the tomatoes, butter, and onion in a medium-sized pot. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, then simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. When it’s ready, you will see drops of fat floating on top of the tomatoes.

Remove the onion, then salt to taste.

Serve over prepared pasta.

Quick Turkey and Mushroom Goulash


I have been making a version of Rachael Ray’s goulash for years. It’s quick, tasty, and Paco and I both love it. I usually use ground turkey, but I’ve used ground chicken and ground beef, and all versions are delicious. I usually lower the meat to vegetable ratio, but the great thing about this recipe is that you can modify it any way that you’d like.

Turkey and Mushroom Goulash
(Adapted from Rachael Ray)

3/4 lb ground turkey
1 T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp smoked paprika
kosher salt
black pepper
6 oz tomato sauce
6 oz water
1/3 c reduced fat sour cream
2 T chives, finely chopped
1/2 lb macaroni, cooked according to package directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, and cook until browned. Season with salt. Add the bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, and garlic, then continue to cook for five minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.

Add the tomato sauce and water, stir, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, taste, and adjust seasoning.

Turn off the heat, stir in sour cream, and garnish with chives. Add the prepared macaroni and toss to coat with sauce.

Cold Peanut and Sesame Noodles


I have been really into cold noodle salads lately, so I made this one to take to book club.  If you are making it as a side-dish, be warned that it makes a ton (at least 8 servings).

Cold Peanut and Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Mark Bittman

12 oz angel hair pasta
2/3 c peanut butter
2 1/2 T sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 T sugar
1 T rice vinegar
3 1/2 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 English cucumber, sliced into thin strips
5 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 c frozen edamame, shelled

Prepare the angel hair pasta and frozen edamame according to package directions. Drain.

Combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in a large  bowl to make the dressing. Add the noodles and vegetables and toss to coat.