Archive for the 'Pasta' category

Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad

June 16, 2013 3:32 pm

Sometimes it is too hot for a warm meal, and you just need something light but filling with lots of healthy, crisp-cooked veggies. You know, so you can still feel pretty good about yourself later in the evening, after you’ve have three times your fill of chips and dip and white wine, and yes, more strawberry andre. (Hey, it was a good Saturday night. Nothing wrong with that.)

And it’s finally getting quite warm here in Madison! So what are we eating today?

feta pasta 1feta pasta 2

I made two versions of this lovely broccoli and feta pasta salad, one with RP’s campanelle and one with odds and ends of pasta I had sitting around. The first time, I didn’t keep track of anything. The second time (today) I did, and waayy upped the broccoli, as you can see. I used only half the amount of pasta (about 8oz dry) and also half the amount of feta cheese (somewhere between 4 and 5 oz). Otherwise, I still used 2 tbsp olive oil (why not?) and one tbsp red wine vinegar. Actually, instead of using red wine vinegar, I just scooped some liquid out of the olive jar, which is mostly red wine vinegar anyways, with that nice salty olive taste! I didn’t put any actual olives in Glenn’s (lame-o that he is) and I did put some green onions in mine (though finely chopped red onions would be better). I also added a few squirts of lemon, some chopped oregano, and a scoop of cottage cheese for a little extra creaminess. I know, I know, at this point I might as well have given a recipe, but I’m lazy today 🙂 I think we’re going to get 4 lunches out of this one, each with about 380 cals, 14g fat, 47 g carbs, 5g fiber, and 17g protein.

This salad is a great use of the first broccoli of the season and Farmer John’s amazing feta cheese! As I posted yesterday, I’ve been torn about using RP’s pasta v dried pasta. I will admit that RP’s was wayyy tastier in this dish, since the dressing is really light. Last night’s version with fresh pasta felt special, and Glenn declared it a new favorite of his. Today’s lunchtime version just felt like a run-of-the-mill lunch. But for something I’m going to scarf down in front of my computer while I’m working, I’m okay with the dried pasta. If I were going to make this for company, I would definitely use fresh. Totally different dish.


Fettuccini with Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Lemon

June 5, 2013 8:25 pm

I could have eaten this all night. I had maybe 6 oz of spinach leftover from earlier this week, a small tub of garlic goat cheese from dreamfarm (dreamy indeed!), RP’s fettuccini that Glenn bought this morning, and inspiration.


All it needed was a salty bit of meat. I added just one little meatball, but a little pancetta would have been heaven! Remind me, next time. Because there will certainly be a next time.

I pretty much followed her recipe (which was very simple to begin with!), except I didn’t cook the spinach at all. I just poured the hot pasta over it and let it wilt. I also didn’t need any pasta water, probably because the spinach gave off some liquid. I bet it would have been amazing with asparagus, if we’d picked that up instead.

This more than makes up for my chicken fiasco. Although, I did have a bit of diced chicken in my salad for lunch, and it was sort of lovely that way (with just lettuce, tomato, goat cheese, homemade croutons from homemade bread, and a sour cream – herb dressing).


Smoked Mozzarella Tortellini in Swiss Chard Pesto

June 2, 2013 6:52 pm

Its a cool, partially cloudy Sunday, with little to do except lounge around. At least for me, since I can’t walk much. Glenn’s been doing dishes and laundry and errands all day… But seriously, a perfect day to roast a chicken, right? Well, it would be if the dang thing were defrosted! Note to self: It’s going to take more than a day and a half to defrost a 5lb chicken in the fridge. Okay okay, we’ll leave it for tomorrow.

What did we have today for dinner? This!

tortellini with chard

The smoked mozzarella tortellini is from RP’s pasta, which is a local gourmet pasta company that sells at our markets and nationwide: “farm to fork with a conscience.” This particular tortellini is one of our favorites.

Originally, I was going to do a variation of this spinach and orzo pasta, which I like very much. I decided I would omit the cheese (since the tortellini comes with plenty of that!), and omit the olives (Glenn doesn’t like them), and cook down the red onions a lot (again – Glenn)… and after thinking about all those changes, I realized I should just toss my pasta in a pesto and get on with it!

chard pestoSo I did. With the chard!

Swiss Chard Pesto

4oz Swiss Chard, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp of oil, divided
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
1/2 oz walnuts, gently toasted*
salt to taste

I’ve never made chard pesto before, but it was nearly as easy as any other pesto. Unlike a basil or spinach, I didn’t want to use raw chard, since I find it to be bitter. Instead, I sauteed the chard in a tsp of olive oil with some garlic, just for a few minutes, on medium low. Just enough to wilt it but not enough to lose the color. I put the chard and garlic (without removing any moisture), walnuts, vinegar, and remaining oil into the food processor and processed until smooth. I took it out of the processor and gently mixed in a little bit of salt. Not too much, since the tortellini is salty already! Depending on your taste, it could be ready immediately. Glenn doesn’t like the taste of vinegar, so I put it in the fridge to mellow for a couple of hours. It probably doesn’t need the vinegar, and pesto doesn’t usually include it. But, I like a mix of oil and vinegar on greens and on pasta, so I figured that it would be a way to add liquid without adding fat. *Also, you could use some other nut. Pine nuts might have been best, but I had walnuts on hand.

Building the Meal

This pesto went on the tortellini, along with some raw, roughly chopped spinach. I had 9 oz of smoked mozzarella tortellini and I added 2 oz (dry) of rotini, since the tortellini gets a bit dense and I wanted this to stretch to four servings. With that in mind, each serving is 282 cal, 11g fat, 36g carb, 1g fiber, 11g protein.

It’s not a particularly low-fat recipe, but chock full of yummy veggies! Also, I think this would only be 2-3 servings for those who are not used to eating small meals. When I served this to Glenn, I added a couple of small meatballs we had in the freezer to bulk it up. It would have been great with some chicken… that is still defrosting in the fridge… 🙂

CSA season! Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Pac Choi and Tofu

May 28, 2013 8:52 pm

We got our very first CSA box today, so exciting! Usually we go with a large box, every other week. In anticipation of many market visits, we downsized to the small box, and I was sad to see how small it was…

… until I more closely inspected its bounty!

photo (1)

We got one baby pac choi, a bag of salad mix, green onions, a few ounces of spinach, three little radishes, two small heads of lettuce, two smallish turnips, and several very large leaves of my favorite: rainbow chard! If you look very closely, you’ll also see a jar of yummy honey that we picked up at the Downtown Middleton Farmers’ Market this afternoon (from the nicest lady EVER).

I’d originally planned on making palak paneer (hindi for something like spinach & cheese curry), but there was so much chard and so little spinach. Instead of cooking it all together, I decided to pair the spinach with the baby pac choi and save the chard for later.

And, what did I do with that spinach and pac choi? I picked up some rice noodles from woodman’s, pulled half a pound of tofu out of the freezer, chopped up some green onions and the turnips, and made this —

photo 2

Okay, I’m not that great at food photography, but trust me, it was delicious! I mostly followed Martha Stewart’s recipe for Pork Chops with Bok Choy and Rice Noodle, except with tofu instead of chops, of course! (This Cooking Light recipe is very similar, but I think the extra calories in Martha’s version were probably worth it.) I sauteed the tofu in only about a tablespoon of oil, I threw in the spinach and turnips to make up for the small amount of pac choi in my box, and I used some of clover honey (did you find it in the picture?) instead of sugar. We got 2-3 servings out of this (Glenn ate more than I did, and we had some tofu/sauce left in the pot, but no noodles). Three servings would mean: 384 cals, 12g fat, 60g carbs, 2g fiber, and 8g protein per serving. And it was filling!

Also, I almost forgot to mention – we had garlic from the market AND instead of red pepper flakes, I subbed some chili vinegar from Savory Accents that I got as a housewarming gift from Rachel ages ago (they are also at the capitol market). That’s right, I said housewarming gift. That makes 5 local veggies and 2 local condiments, woohoo! The only ingredient I bought for this (that wasn’t already in my cabinet/freezer) was the noodles, so I count this one as mostly a success on the ingredient front. Next time I’ll do market chicken or pork instead of tofu and then I’ll count it as a 100% success. 🙂

(I asked Glenn to proofread my post and he said it was great, but needed more pig pig. So here. Bonus points if you can find a Tiarazard under all that fluff.)