Baked feta pasta

This pasta recipe was the talk of the town a few years back and it’s still going strong. I wanted to give it a go to see what all the rage was about. It’s made by oven roasting a block of feta with cherry tomatoes to create a salty and creamy sauce for your pasta. The original recipe is from a Finnish blog here

PREP TIME 5 MIN COOK TIME 25 MIN

INGREDIENTS FOR 2-3

  • 300g spaghetti, fettuccine or pappardelle
  • 200g feta
  • 400g cherry tomatoes (of different colours)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 or more garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • peperoncino (optional)
  • dried origano
  • fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C and cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions.
  2. Pour some olive oil on the bottom of a baking dish and place the block of feta on top. Add the chopped peperoncino and the origano on top of the cheese and pour some more olive oil on top. Now place the cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves around the feta, swirl them in the olive oil and season with pepper and a dash of salt.
  3. Bake in 200 C for 15 minutes, turn the heat to 225 C, move the dish to the upper rack and use grilling mode for 10 minutes. Don’t let the tomatoes burn.

4. Break the feta and mix with tomatoes. Add the cooked pasta and toss well to combine. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Tip: next time I’ll remove the stems before putting the tomatoes in. They look nice in the photo but are a drag to remove. Also I would try half feta cheese and half ricotta because even though I love feta as is, I found the baked feta a bit too salty and tangy for my taste. But definitely try the recipe!

BUON APPETITO!


Farfalle pasta with vegetables

This is a simple vegetarian pasta recipe. I used pumpkin, button mushrooms and onion to dress my pasta, but you can use veggies of your choice depending also on the season. No creamy sauces needed. Just fresh vegetables stir fried in good olive oil.

PREP TIME 10 MINUTES COOK TIME 20 MIN

INGREDIENTS FOR 4

  • 360g farfalle pasta
  • 450g pumpkin, cleaned and diced
  • 300g button mushrooms, diced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • parsley
  • salt
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile cut and slice the vegetables.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add the onion slices and fry for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the diced pumpkin and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the diced/sliced mushrooms and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Season with salt.
  5. Drain the pasta and toss it in the pan with the veggies. If needed, add a half a glass of the pasta cooking water.
  6. Serve with some chopped parsley.
  7. OPTIONAL: If you love Parmigiano cheese, you can top the plate with it.

BUON APPETITO!

Fusilli with fresh salmon

Salmon and pasta are a match made in heaven. It’s all about simplicity and freshness. With fresh dill, sweet cherry tomatoes, zucchini, lemon zest, olive oil and fresh salmon, you practically have summer on a plate. I went with fusilli for this recipe but you can use any kind of pasta you like: spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, pappardelle or other tube-type pastas. If you want it even healthier, sub with whole wheat pasta instead.

prep time 10 min     cook time 10 min
ingredients for 3
  • 180g fresh salmon, cut into cubes
  • 270g fusilli pasta
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small zucchini cut into sticks
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • handful of fresh dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions or until al dente.

    2. Meanwhile cut and slice the vegetables..
    3. Heat some oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-heat. Start by cooking the onion for 2 minutes, add zucchini and after a few minutes the salmon cubes. Season with salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes until salmon is cooked.
    4. Drain the pasta reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water and add to the pan with the cooking liquid. Gently toss to combine.
    5. Divide onto plates and top with fresh dill and lemon zest. Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine.

BUON APPETITO!

Pasta with pomodorini confit, anchovy and mozzarelline

In this recipe I’m using the pomodorini confit from my previous post.

prep time 5 min     cook time 10-12 min
ingredients for 4
  • 400 g orecchiette pasta (farfalle, penne, rigatoni)
  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 400 g pomodorini confit
  • 150 g baby mozzarella
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
  • a few basil leaves

1.  Cook the pasta al dente.

    2. In the meantime heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic clove and the anchovy fillets. Let cook until the anchovy “melts”, then remove the garlic. Add a ladle of cooking water.
    3. Drain the pasta 2 minutes before it’s cooking time, add to the pan and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
    4. Transfer to a serving bowl, add the pomodorini and the baby mozzarella (you can also use a mozzarella cut into cubes), toss and add the basil leaves on top.

 

    BUON APPETITO!

Penne pasta with asparagus and sausage

Delicate asparagus and strong savoury sausage is a perfect match. I recommend using Italian sausage but you may substitute it with turkey sausage ( I know, not the same thing). The dish is creamy without adding any cream. Yummy and healthy!

prep time 10 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4
  • 400 g penne rigate (or rigatoni, farfalle, fusilli, tortiglioni)
  • 500 g asparagus
  • 300 g sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • half a glass of white wine
  • 3-4 basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

1. Separate the top part (head) of the asparagus from the stem (approximately 5 cm or 2 inches) and chop the stems discarding the hard white ends.

    2. Heat a few Tbls of oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the crumbled sausage to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Add the wine and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

3. Add the asparagus heads to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove.

    4. Add a little bit of oil and pour the chopped asparagus stems to the pan. Add a glass of boiling water and cook the asparagus for 10 minutes. In the meantime start cooking your pasta.
    5. Blend the cooked asparagus until creamy adding a dash of salt and pepper, 1-2 Tbls of oil and the basil leaves.
    6. Tip the sausages and asparagus heads, setting aside 8-10 of them, in the pan, add the cooked pasta al dente, swirl and add the cream little by little at the end. I added it carefully to the plate. Otherwise it becomes all mixed and mushy.
    7. Plate and place 2-3 heads on top.
    BUON APPETITO!

Fusilli with radicchio, gorgonzola and walnuts

This is one of those recipes that you either love or hate due to the strong flavours of radicchio, the Italian red chicory, and gorgonzola cheese which divide opinions quite radically. This pasta is a blend of bitter radicchio, salty gorgonzola and crunchy walnuts. If you find radicchio too bitter for your taste, you can replace it with red cabbage. Not the same thing, but in your kitchen you can be as creative as you like.

prep time 10 min     cook time 10 min
ingredients for 4
  • 360g pasta, I used fusilli
  • small onion, chopped
  • 150g radicchio, a small head
  • 150g gorgonzola
  • 30g walnuts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh thyme to garnish

1. Wash and dry the radicchio and cut into strips. Cut the cheese into cubes. Cut or crush the walnuts with a knife.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes until translucent and add the radicchio strips. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Remember that gorgonzola is salty.

3. In the meantime cook the pasta according the instructions on the package.

4. Add the gorgonzola to the pan and also a few tablespoons of the cooking water to help the cheese melt.

5. Drain the pasta and pour into the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Top with the crumbled walnuts and some fresh thyme.

BUON APPETITO!

Baked pasta with artichokes and zucchini

Baked pasta is one of the easiest dishes to make and you can use almost anything to mix into it. I was making it with artichokes but added two leftover zucchinis. I also used two different kinds of pasta.

prep time 15 min     cook time 25-35 min
ingredients for 6
  • 500g pasta, I mixed rigatoni and fusilloni
  • 5-6 artichokes, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g besciamella
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • breadcrumbs
  • grated Parmigiano

1. Preheat oven at 200 C.

2. If making your own besciamella, here is the recipe. If using store bought besciamella, skip this step.

3. Cook the pasta according to the instructions in the package but leave it al dente.

4. Clean and then chop or slice the artichokes. You can read about cleaning them here. Then cook them in a pan with the oil for about 10 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini, season with salt and cook for additional 2-3 minutes.

5. After the artichoke mixture has cooled for a few minutes, stir in the besciamella sauce. Then add the cooked pasta and pour into a greased oven proof dish.

6. Sprinkle generous amount of grated Parmigiano and some breadcrumbs on top.

7. Cook for about 30 minutes until the top is golden and crispy.

BUON APPETITO!

Pasta salad with chickpeas

A fresh alternative for lunch. This pasta salad is simple and fast to make, nutritious and packed with flavour. You need only a few ingredients and it’s also very wallet-friendly.

prep time 5 min + marinating     cook time 10 min
ingredients for 3
  • 300g farfalle pasta
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • parsley and basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmigiano

1. Place the chickpeas in a bowl, add garlic, the juice of half a lemon, 3-4 Tbls of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix, cover the bowl and put in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, better yet overnight.

2. Cook the pasta according the instructions on the package, drain and place in a serving bowl. Let cool.

3. Add the marinated chickpeas, some more olive oil and lemon juice, chopped herbs. Mix and add grated Parmigiano on top.

BUON APPETITO!

Baked pasta with ground beef and veggies

This is a very easy baked pasta or oven pasta recipe where you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey or chicken and use veggies of your choice. This time I chose peas and button mushrooms.

prep time 15 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4-5
  • 500g short pasta of your choice, I used big penne
  • 500g ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, dices
  • 10-15cm piece of celery, diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g frozen or fresh peas
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 500ml béchamel sauce, I used store bought but you can make your own
  • glass of white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g provola dolce or mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 50g + 30g grated cheese, Parmesan or other
  • breadcrumbs

1. Pre heat the oven to 180C.

2. In a large pan heat a few Tbls of olive oil. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook for a few minutes. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the mushrooms, let cook for a few minutes and then add the frozen peas and also the bayleaf. Pour the wine and let cook on low for 15 minutes.

4. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions but drain it 3-4 minutes before it’s al dente.

5. If you are making your own béchamel sauce, here is how. You need butter, milk, flour, salt and nutmeg.

6. Mix the drained pasta with the meat sauce in a large bowl. Stir in 400ml of besciamella, mozzarella cubes and 50g of grated cheese.

7. Pour the pasta into a 25 x 35cm oven proof baking pan. Top with the remaining 100ml of besciamella, sprinkle 30g of grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for about 25 min until the top starts to brown. For the last 5 min you can use the grill setting.

BUON APPETITO!

Red pepper sauce with pasta

This pepper sauce is as easy as it gets and is delicious. There’s no need to use any kind of dairy cream to make it creamy. Just add a little bit of the starchy boiling pasta water and voilà.

prep time 10 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 3
  • 300g pasta of your liking, I used rigatoni
  • 1 big red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion
  • 5-6  cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • handful of pinoli
  • extravirgin olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh basil
  • grated Parmigiano

1. Wash and cut the pepper into thin slices. Slice the onion thinly, place it in a large pan with a little bit of oil  and cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the pepper slices, tomatoes, some salt and a little bit of water (half a glass) and let simmer about 20 min.

2. In the meantime cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

3. Take a few slices of pepper for garnish. Blend the rest of the sauce with an immersion blende adding the pinoli and some oil. Pour the blended sauce back into the pan. Add some pasta water.

4. Drain the pasta, pour it into the pan with the sauce and mantecare (toss with grated cheese for a few minutes while the pan is still hot).

5. Serve adding basil leaves, some more grated Parmigiano and a few pepper slices onto your plate.

tip: you can roast the pinoli in a hot pan without oil for a few minutes and add them on your pasta instead of blending them with the sauce.

tip: you can substitute the red pepper with a yellow one.

BUON APPETITO!