Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

From Dish Deanna:


The last time I had lobster mac & cheese I was on a date about a year and a half ago. We went to this really nice restaurant on the water and because it was on the water I obviously had to order some sort of fish. I’d heard good things about the lobster mac & cheese and couldn’t help myself. It was literally the best thing I’d ever eaten. Unfortunately, the date didn’t really work out (we’re still friends!), however, the mac & cheese made quite an impact.

I was feeling pretty adventurous when I woke up this morning and said to myself, “I NEED to make lobster mac & cheese tonight.” I don’t know what came over me. I already had a recipe for homemade mac & cheese but it was missing a few key ingredients, including the lobster. Here’s my own take on the most fattening and delicious dish ever.


  • One 2 lb steamed lobster
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup fontina cheese, grated
  • ½ cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 and ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 and a ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground, powdered mustard
  • ½ lb of pasta (I prefer Cellentani for this recipe but you can use Elbows or Cavatappi, or really anything)
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • Salt & pepper to taste

lobster meat

The first thing you should do is cook your lobster. I went to the store today and they offered to steam it for me. When it came time to shell the lobster, it was already cooked perfectly.


Prep all your ingredients. Grate all your cheese (make sure your measurements are correct- don’t eyeball it), take out the butter, & pour the buttermilk into a measuring cup. If your lobster is already cooked, take this time to shell it and cut the meat into bite size pieces.

First, boil water in a saucepan and add your pasta. Add salt and olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking. Cook the pasta to your liking. In a separate saucepan, on medium heat melt the butter completely and then add the flour. Stir continuously until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the buttermilk and stir until the liquid thickens. It should be thick enough that it coats the back of your spoon. This should take around 10 minutes. Don’t forget about your pasta during this time! If it is ready, strain and set aside for later.

buttermilk mixture

When the buttermilk has thickened, add in the cheese mixture and the mustard. Stir continuously until the cheese is completely dissolved. Add salt and pepper.

When the mixture is completely blended, add the pasta and lobster meat to the saucepan with the cheese and stir until it is coated.

Grease your casserole dish lightly and transfer the mac & cheese into it. Sprinkle plain breadcrumbs on the top until it is completely covered. Pop it in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes at 300 degrees. It is my personal preference to brown the top of it but that is completely up to you! If you choose to brown it, keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!




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From Dish Nicole:

Gnocci glam

I have a love-hate relationship with gnocchi. I love it when it’s light and fluffy and has just the right amount of sauce. I hate it when it’s heavy, gluey and starchy. My fiancé and I attempted to make potato gnocchi a while ago and the outcome ended up heavy and gluey. We tried baking the potatoes then ricing them. We tried boiling the potatoes. Different kinds of potatoes. Every recipe had a different approach and none of them were better than “just okay”. We then visited Lupa, one of Mario Batali’s restaurants and had his ricotta gnocchi. The man knows his pasta. It was the best gnocchi we had ever had (actually everything we had was pretty fantastic). It was like eating a savory cloud. We couldn’t stop thinking about it and went back again. Then I realized that the consistency I was looking for all along was that of ricotta gnocchi. So I found a recipe I liked and got to work. It turned out PERFECT and was super easy. Don’t get me wrong I have had fabulous potato gnocchi, but it’s much more labor intensive. This recipe (taken from Epicurious) is less time consuming and will impress the pants off your friends- it’s that good.

egg grated

Serves 4

2 cups whole-milk ricotta (1 pound)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces), divided

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 stick unsalted butter

2-4 large sage leaves torn into pieces

Parchment paper to layout the pre-cooked gnocchi


Stir together the ricotta, eggs, 1 cup of the cheese, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add in the flour and form into a wet sticky dough.


Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface with lightly floured hands into 1-inch-thick ropes. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces and place on a floured parchment-lined baking sheet.

boilslotted spoon

Cook gnocchi in batches in a large pot of boiling salted water, adding a few at a time to the pot and stirring occasionally, until cooked through (cut one in half to check). I found that 3 minutes was the perfect amount of time. Lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

brown butter 1 brown butter

While cooking the gnocchi, cook the butter and sage in a skillet over medium heat until the butter is golden brown. (approx 5 minutes). Toss in the gnocchi and serve with the remaining cheese sprinkled on top.


I think Mario would approve.


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Shrimp Scampi

From Dish Erin:

To me there’s nothing better than an easy, healthy, delicious weeknight meal. And minus the pot you need to cook the pasta, this is pretty close to a one-pot dish. I tend to have almost every ingredient I need for this dish on hand at all times, so I’ll usually just stop on my way home from work and grab the shrimp and it’s basically done in 30 min. This classic dish lends itself to personal interpretation. Shallots and tomato paste are not standard, but I really like them in this dish. Some people like scallions, too. I also think peas would be delicious. But then again, I put peas in everything, so maybe that’s just me.

(Hopefully you won’t need to scold your puppy halfway through the cooking process for trying to steal the butter.)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
4 large garlic cloves, minced roughly
1 shallot, sliced very thinly
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt & pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
5-10 cherry tomatoes, diced
3/4 lb capellini or linguine
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, (about 2-3 min depending on size). Then transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add garlic and shallot to oil remaining in skillet along with red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add butter to skillet, stirring until melted, then add tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, and wine and simmer until alcohol burns off and everything is incorporated, about 5 min. Add shrimp back to pan. Remove skillet from heat.

Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Toss pasta well with shrimp mixture and parsley in the sauté pan, adding a few tablespoons of the pasta water.

Top with extra parsley and parmesan cheese.

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From Dish Gwen:

I’ve never been much of an eggplant fan. The texture is mushy, the flavor isn’t really there, and my sister claims it makes her mouth itch. But last summer I happened to eat dinner at an excellent Italian place (Emilio’s on Houston) and had one of the best pasta dishes ever, and it just happened to have lots of eggplant in it. And it’s pretty simple to make!

– 1 lb eggplant, cubed or sliced into small rounds (no more than 1.5” across)
– ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, diced
– salt
– olive oil
– thin spaghetti, cooked al dente


Slice up your eggplant and toss it in a bowl with lots of salt (enough salt to coat each piece of eggplant completely). The salt serves two functions: 1. It makes the eggplant salty and delicious; and 2. It draws the water out of the fruit, which improves its texture. Let the salty eggplant sit for about 15 minutes, then dab it off in a towel to remove the excess water and salt.

On medium/high, heat a sauce pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and then toss in the garlic and eggplant. The eggplant should sizzle and once it’s golden brown on all sides, toss in the spaghetti and mint. Turn off the heat and toss everything together gently, then serve! A delicious, easy summer dish!

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From Dish Erin:

Full disclosure: I completely forgot to do my SLD this past month. So what you’re getting here is a sneak, last minute peek into what my kitchen looks like between the months of July-Sept, when I pretty much tailor all my meals around my beloved Jersey tomato. It’s peak season for tomatoes right now–they’re so juicy and fresh that just a few dices in some olive oil are delicious enough to become a ‘sauce’ for pasta, no hours of simmering or cans needed. Summer pastas and pretty much my go-to and this is a perfect example of what I will whip up on a weeknight.

Note: The night before I had roasted a chicken, and had quite a bit leftover. You can used leftover cooked chicken, or just saute a chicken breast in a pan until cooked through. I promise I’ll get it together next month, dear readers.

2 cups whole wheat penne
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced roughly
A few shakes of red pepper flakes
1 whole Jersey tomato, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon oregano
About one cooked chicken breast, diced into cubes
4-5 kale leaves, chopped roughly
salt & pepper
A few basil leaves, chopped julienne
Parmesan cheese

Saute onions in a medium sauce pan with olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, red pepper, and tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, start to cook the penne according to package directions.

Make a well in the tomatoes and add the tomato paste, oregano, and stir to incorporate into sauce. Add white wine, and stir again. Add chicken & kale, season with salt & pepper and cover to simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Remove lid, mix in basil, taste and add more salt & pepper if need be.

Serve in bowls over penne and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

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From Dish Gwen:

I grew up on spaghetti and marinara sauce, and it’s one of the most comforting meals that I make for myself and my family. It’s also something that I make really often, so in order to keep it fresh and interesting I like to play around with the ingredients. This time I used ground lamb, red wine, and classic Italian sausage spices like fennel seed, oregano and sage.

1 lb thin spaghetti, cooked al dente
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ head garlic, diced
½ small white onion, diced
2 lb ground lamb
12 oz can of crushed tomato
2 cups red wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tsp fennel seed
½ tsp red pepper flake
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, simmer the garlic and onion on medium-high heat. Once they’re lightly browned, add the ground lamb and chop it up with a spoon or spatula so that it separates into small chunks. Add the salt, pepper and other spices and blend it in gently.

Simmer the meat until it browns about half of the meat, then stir in the red wine and tomato. Bring the heat down to low and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, then serve over a bed of spaghetti. Serves 4.

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From Dish Nicole:

As soon as the leaves start to change, I get very excited for all things pumpkin. What is cozier than a warm house with a hint of pumpkin spice wafting through the air? Not a whole lot. The boyfriend and I just recently moved into a new apartment and we couldn’t wait to have our first dinner party to make it really feel like home. So when Dish Danielle’s mother, Laurel, came to town, I couldn’t think of a better reason to christen our apartment with friends and food. (Side note: Danielle and I have been friends since 4th grade and Laurel was like a second mom to me). Pumpkin lasagna was the first dish that came to mind. I had made a vegetarian version of this recipe last fall for some friends and they loved it, so this time I decided to spice things up with some spicy Italian sausage. In addition to this recipe being delicious/a crowd pleaser, it’s extremely easy (thanks to the greatest invention: no boil lasagna noodles). I have once again perused many variations and cherry-picked what I think are the best ingredients and came up with my own recipe. So let’s get started:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lasagna Ingredients:
15 ounces of pureed pumpkin
15 ounces of ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 boxes of no boil lasagna noodles (1 should be enough but buy 2 just to be safe)
1 medium onion diced
1.5 lbs spicy Italian sausage- removed from casings
3 medium sized zucchini – peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Béchamel Sauce ingredients:
3 cups whole milk
3 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating your oven and prepping your ingredients. The next step is to cook the onion and sausage in a sauté pan over medium heat. You will want to chop up the sausage into pieces while cooking. Once the sausage is no longer pink, set aside for later use.

In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, pumpkin puree and salt and pepper and set aside as well.

For the béchamel sauce you will want to start by melting the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute then add in the milk. Whisk constantly being careful not to let it burn to the bottom. Whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. The sauce will start to thicken at which point you can remove from heat.

Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna, which is the best part! Start by ladling about 3tbs of the béchamel sauce onto a casserole dish. Add a layer of noodles and top with a generous portion of the ricotta/pumpkin mixture.

Next add a layer of the zucchini and top that with a layer of sausage and onion.
Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat this process one more time. The last layer will just be the noodles sprinkled with remaining mozzarella, remaining béchamel and top off with the parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes covered with foil. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes or until the lasagna starts to become golden brown.

With the above recipe I had enough ingredients left over to make a mini vegetarian version on the side. (In all honesty, the sausage version was the crowd favorite.)

I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome. The house was brimming with delicious smells, laughter and love.

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