Julianna’s Pasta with Garlic Cream Sauce

March 20, 2011 Entrees, Menu, Pasta No Comments
Julianna's Pasta

This week we’re going back to the basics with a simple pasta dish that is my daughter Julianna’s favorite meal. It’s a simple dish that’s very easy to make, and works great for an easy weekday meal. It’s also a nice alternative to alfredo sauce – not as heavy, and with more of a garlic kick.

Since Julianna asked that I share this recipe with you, I thought it would be best that she tells you all the great things about this dish!

So where did you learn about this pasta dish?
My  kindergarten aftercare teacher told me and my friend Maggie about it. But now I am in first grade.

What kind of pasta do you think works best with the sauce?
The bowtie  pasta that my kindergarten teacher used. I think the wheel pasta will work too.

What do you like about the sauce?
The cream and the butter. Yummy! … Continue Reading

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Cooking with Guinness on Saint Paddy’s Day!

March 13, 2011 Entrees, Menu No Comments
Guinness Burger

When my friend Alicia asked if I would be making something ‘deliciously green’ for Saint Paddy’s Day, I knew that I had to step up to the plate. Since Irish food is not my forté, my first thought was to put an Italian spin on a traditional dish. Instead of ham and cabbage, I was thinking broccoli rabe and pancetta. No doubt a delicious combination (and something that I could eat any day of the year), but I wanted it to be a bit more authentic for the occasion. I decided to go back to my St. Paddy’s day expertise… Guinness beer.

Like all other stout beers, Guinness can be put to many uses, far beyond the day’s toasting beverage of choice. Bernice Torregrossa, of The Galveston County Daily News, gives a perfect description of the many uses of stouts:  “Stout beer, made with darkly roasted barley and malt, is a versatile cooking ingredient. Its fermentation makes it a substitute for yeast in breads, the full-bodied taste adds depth to stews and soups, and the slightly bitter finish intensifies the flavor of chocolate in desserts.”

With this in mind, I started to search out Guinness recipes on the web, and with just a few clicks came across huggingthecoast.com, which offers 22 Guinness recipes! The first recipe listed, Gourmet Guinness Burgers with Guinness Barbecue Sauce (courtesy of inspiredtaste.net), jumped out at me immediately. Burgers, which are a standard pub item, married with the flavor of Guinness… perfect!

I followed the recipe, step by step. No doubt, this is a great dish to celebrate the day! The richness of the beer really plays well with the beef, and gives the perfect kick to the sauce. It’s the sauce that really blew me away with this burger. Even cooked at medium-well, this was one of the juiciest burgers that I’ve had in a long time. I would almost put this in a salisbury steak category, served on a toasty bun. … Continue Reading

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The Trials of Timbale: An Elaborate Eggplant Experience

March 6, 2011 Entrees, Menu, Pasta 2 Comments

Last week we hosted a family dinner to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. As with previous family dinners, I planned on making a special dish that was equal parts taste and presentation. This year I really wanted to wow my Mom with one of her favorite foods, eggplant. I decided to make an Eggplant Timbale, which is made of of an outer shell of eggplant strips, stuffed with a pasta-based filling, then baked into a mold using a spring form pan. I remember first seeing this recipe done by Giada De Laurentiis, and knew that someday I would have to try out this amazing meal!

I’ve been fortunate to have most of the recipes that I experiment with turn out the way that I had hoped, without any major fiascos. This time, not so much. Let me start from the beginning…..

When I decided to do this dish, I went searching online for a timbale recipe. As luck would have it, the first recipe that popped up was Giada’s. I looked it over and felt comfortable with all of the steps. The only thing that I wanted to change was the pasta filling. Hers called for the addition of some meats (you can really go any direction you want with the filling….meats, veggies, cheeses). I wanted to stay away from meat in this dish, so I started to click through other timbale recipes. I found one that had the exact filling that I was looking for – chopped tomatoes, sautéed garlic and leeks, fresh herbs and ziti. Perfect! I check out the assembly steps on this version of the recipe. Piece of cake! On to the big day…. … Continue Reading

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