Monday, October 24, 2011

Baked Spaghetti

Why not?

My husband really enjoys baked pasta dishes. Recently he made the comment that, if it can be done with every other type of pasta, why not spaghetti? I couldn't argue.

As of late I have really enjoyed flexible recipes. Some of you may have noticed how less specific my recipes have gotten. It reflects a couple things. One is that my style of cooking is pretty flexible. I rarely do things the same way each time. The other thing it reflects is my hope that you will not be deterred from trying a recipe just because you are missing one ingredient. Likewise, if you'd rather avoid vegetables for some reason, just leave them out. The point: don't let barriers stop you from making good food for yourself and your family! I really hope you try this recipe out, and that you enjoy it.

  • 1 lb dried long pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine are all good choices)
  • olive oil
  • your choice of vegetables, chopped into bite size pieces (I recommend onion, bell pepper, and mushroom)
  • 1 regular size jar of pasta sauce
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • pinch of dried oregano
  1. Drizzle a little olive oil into a 13x9 baking dish and spread around to coat. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add your vegetables and saute until they have softened.
  5. Add jar of pasta sauce and turn heat down to low.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot.
  8. Stir in vegetable-sauce mixture to pasta.
  9. Pour pasta into oiled baking dish. Cover with shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle the dried oregano over top.
  10. Bake pasta at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  11. After the 20 minutes has passed, turn your oven up to Broil. Broil for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully, until cheese has browned. Remove immediately.
  12. Let cool for up to five minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chickpea, Potato, and Kale Soup

My friend Jonah, of the Jonah's Fish Chowder recipe fame,  came to visit a few weeks ago with a lovely surprise for me from his local farmers' market. It included oyster mushrooms, wedges of different cheeses, and a large bunch of chard. Since then, I've been daydreaming about leafy greens. (I know, that probably puts me in the category of food dork, but I'm okay with that.)

This is a variation on a soup that I used to make a long time ago. I love the combination of chickpeas and potatoes, and also how flexible the recipe is. Feel free to throw in other aromatics like carrots or celery with your onions; replace the kale with swiss chard; or even add some ground sausage to the mix.

(for gluten-free recipe, omit bouillon or use a gluten-free bouillon)
(for dairy-free or vegan recipe, omit parmesan cheese when serving)
  • olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp dried whole thyme
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4-6 red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 cups water, divided use
  • 3 tsp vegetable bouillon (or 3 bouillon cubes)
  • two 15 oz cans of beans, drained and rinsed (I used one can of chickpeas and one of pink beans)
  • 3/4 bunch fresh kale, rinsed well and chopped
  •  parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, smoked paprika, and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper. Cook until translucent.
  2. Add potatoes and 4 cups of the water. Cover and let sit until water comes to a boil. 
  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in bouillon. Add the other 4 cups of water, and place kale on top of other ingredients. Return cover to pot and let the kale start to steam. 
  4. After about 5-7 minutes, add beans, stir well, and return cover to pot. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, then turn heat off. Let sit, uncovered, for a couple minutes, then check flavors. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Serve with a side of parmesan cheese, for sprinkling, if desired.