Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce from KatiesCucina.com

Their is nothing quite like a hearty bolognese sauce on top of pasta. I might be a picky-meat-eater, but there is one thing I love, it’s bolognese sauce. My mom was never one to make meat sauce growing up. I think it was partly because I was so anti-meat at a young age. I wish I could tell you a story about how this recipe was passed down from my grandparents who immigrated from Italy, but its not. As I got older I started experimenting and figuring out what worked and what didn’t work in a bolognese sauce. I tried countless recipes and finally found one that I really enjoy.

Bolognese Sauce from KatiesCucina.com

What I can tell you is that I’ve learned to make a big batch of sauce. I serve half the sauce up that evening with dinner and then freeze the rest for a rainy day. The sauce freezes beautifully and you can put it in the refrigerator the day before you want to serve it to thaw it and then reheat on the stove top!  I love this sauce best with my homemade spaghetti recipe, although any pasta works fine.

Bolognese Sauce from KatiesCucina.com

Whether you just top your spaghetti with bolognese sauce or use this recipe for a hearty lasagna–either way your meat-loving heart will be content. This is a great recipe to entertain with. Make the sauce early in the day and just let it simmer on the stove—let the saucy aroma fill your home.

Slightly adapted from Go Bold With Butter

Bolognese Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 75 minutes

Yield: 10

Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1lb. ground pork
  • 1lb. lean ground beef
  • (2) 28oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
  • (1) 12oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh parsley, basil, and parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter. Then add onion and carrot and cook until onion is translucent about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic ground beef and ground pork to the pot. Cook on medium heat, breaking up the meat for 10 minutes or until the ground beef and pork are no longer pink.
  2. Once the meat is cooked add in the crushed tomatoes, can of tomato paste, dried parsley, sugar, red pepper flakes, whole milk, and salt and pepper to taste (I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper at a time). Mix well, place heat to medium-low, and let the sauce simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has thickened pour it over pasta and garnish with fresh parsley, basil, and parmesan cheese.
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 Orzo Antipasto Salad via KatiesCucina.com #FlavorsOfSummer

When I think of picnics and barbecues I think of pasta and potato salads. Something about the quintessential side dish that gets me every time. I’ve made my tried and true pasta salad year after year but wanted to spice it up recently at a barbecue. That’s when I created this recipe for Orzo Antipasto Salad. Who doesn’t love tomatoes and fresh mozzarella? Why not put it into a pasta salad? I chose orzo pasta because its light and to be honest I neglect it more often than use it. So I wanted to do something with it.

Orzo Antipasto Salad via KatiesCucina.com #FlavorsOfSummer

This Orzo Antipasto Salad is loaded full of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, and pepperoni! I also love pasta salads because you can make them ahead of time and nine times out of ten they only get better over time! For this pasta salad I used Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs paste which made a pesto like taste throughout the pasta salad! This salad pairs beautifully with everything from burgers to pulled pork (pictured in the background).

Orzo Antipasto Salad via KatiesCucina.com #FlavorsOfSummer

Katie Original Recipe

Orzo Antipasto Salad

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Orzo Antipasto Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp salt (for water)
  • 16 oz Box of Orzo Pasta
  • 1/4 cup Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs Paste
  • 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Garlic Paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz Mini Marzano Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup mini mozzarella, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Garlic Stuffed Green Olives, chopped
  • 25 slices of Pepperoni

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to box instruction. Make sure to 1 tablespoon of salt to your pot. Drain the orzo in a colander and run under cool water until the pasta is at room temperature. Place pasta in a large container.
  2. Add to the container the 1/4 cup Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs paste, garlic paste, olive oil, mini marzano tomatoes, chopped mozzarella and olives, and pepperoni slices. Mix well until everything is incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving and store in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
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Celebrate Sweet Vidalia Flavors of Summer with the great tastes of fresh Vidalia Onions, Avocados from Mexico, Gourmet Garden Herbs, Johnsonville Italian Sausage, mangos, watermelon and Stemilt Cherries. Great food and good friends make everyday a party to remember so start entertaining and visit www.flavors-of-summer.com for recipes, coupons and entertaining tips.

Don’t forget to enter the Flavors of Summer Giveaway



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Lemon Bruschetta Pasta with Grilled Chicken from KatiesCucina.com

Bruschetta. How I love thee. I could eat bowls full of tomato and basil bruschetta. It had been a few years since last making a bruschetta chicken pasta. It use to be my go-to meal and to be honest I have no clue why it fell off the radar. I never blogged about it, so that right there tells me that I think its been almost 4 years since I’ve last made it. If I didn’t blog about it most likely it can be dated as a pre-blog recipe. When I made the recipe I would use a soup-mix pouch to get a lot of the flavors. I did not have the mix on hand and figured I would create my own version using fresh ingredients and flavors!


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Baked Caprese via KatiesCucina.com #recipe #italian #sidedish #vegetarian

If there is one thing in life I love (other than my husband) it’s a good caprese salad. Fresh mozzarella, plump tomatoes, aromatic basil, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mmmm I’m drooling just thinking about the coveted fresh salad. While flipping through my digital magazines I saw a tomato basil bake… I thought why not make a baked caprese salad? To me, it was a no brainer! I mean I love cold caprese salad and I love the idea of a crunchy panko bread crumb topping on just about anything!

Baked Caprese via KatiesCucina.com #recipe #italian #sidedish #vegetarian

This baked caprese works as side dish or a main dish. I made this one night last week before I left for the annual BlogHer Food conference (which by the way was amazing and I can’t wait to share a few things from my trip later this week). The night I made this dish I happened to eat it as main course amongst other appetizer like recipes.

Baked Caprese via KatiesCucina.com #recipe #italian #sidedish #vegetarian

This casserole is perfect as a main dish for two or a side dish for four. Although, everyone will love the baked caprese so much you might just need to make a double batch! I’m still trying to figure out what to make for Father’s day dinner this weekend for my dad.  I have a strange feeling he is going to ask for fresh spaghetti with bolognese sauce and if he does I think I’ll be making the baked caprese to accompany our meal. Whether you’re entertaining or it’s a simple meal in you must give this baked caprese recipe a try!

Baked Caprese via KatiesCucina.com #recipe #italian #sidedish #vegetarian

Inspired by Rachael Ray Magazine, June 2013

Baked Caprese

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Total Time: 24 minutes

Yield: 4 (side dishes) 2 (main entree)

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. Mini San Marzano Tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 mini fresh mozzarella balls, quartered (1/2 cup)
  • 10 basil leaves, thinly sliced and divided
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. While the broiler is preheat, slice the mini san marzano tomatoes in half. Toss with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add to an oven safe casserole dish. Broil for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the broiled tomatoes from the oven, mix tomatoes, then add in the 1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella. Broil for 2 minutes.
  4. While tomato/mozzarella mixture is under the broiler mix 1 tablespoon melted butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add panko bread crumbs and set to the side.
  5. Remove tomato/mozzarella mixture from the oven, add half the fresh basil to the dish, then top with panko bread crumbs. Top with 1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese. Broil an additional 1-2 minutes until panko topping is golden brown. Before serving, sprinkle the remaining basil on top of the casserole.
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Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara from KatiesCucina.com

Would you hate me if you knew that I ate my first bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara last year in Europe? Yep totally true. I think the whole egg thing has thrown me off all these years, and thus kept me far, far away from the egg based pasta. But while on vacation I tend to get a little more adventurous. I was craving creamy pasta and I gave it a try… and what do you know? I loved it, and then proceeded to gorge myself until I had a stomach ache (which by the way I don’t recommend that).

I was inspired to make a lighter version of spaghetti carbonara at home. I was craving comfort food. I had a busy day at the office and all I wanted to do was eat a quick comforting dinner and then veg on the couch (which lets get real I rarely ever veg on the couch. I typically get my second wind after dinner and start working on blog stuff until the wee-hours of the morning).

Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara from KatiesCucina.com

So on that sluggish evening (this happened be right after I made tons of homemade spaghetti) I knew I wanted to make pasta but I didn’t know what. I typically make my go-to Shrimp Scampi recipe, but on this particular night I did something I haven’t done in a while… I opened a cookbook! gasp! I find myself opening cookbooks less and less and going straight to the internet. And then, of course,  once I open the cookbook I tend to get lost in it for hours just as I would the internet. That’s when I flipped to this glorious recipe. This was also around Easter time when I had leftover Slow Cooker Ham. Might I add, that I never have ham in the refrigerator, so I felt that this recipe was destine to be cooked. I will tell you that Spaghetti Carbonara is not as scary as it might seem… even if you aren’t a fan of egg yolks–its creamy and comforting and brought me right back to Italy!

Adapted from Cooking Light Five Star Recipes

Spaghetti Carbonara

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4

1 cup

Ingredients

  • 8 oz fresh spaghetti
  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup chives, diced

Directions

  1. Cook fresh spaghetti for 3 minutes or until al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and set to the side.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the diced ham and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta to the pan and stir well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reginnao, sour cream, skim milk, salt, and lightly beaten eggs. Mix well, then add the reserved pasta water. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and stir until incorporated and cook for 5 minutes. You'll want the sauce to thicken--make sure it does not boil. Stir in ground black pepper and fresh chives and serve immediately.
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Italian Sausage Bake from KatiesCucina.com

Today, I’m over at Food Fanatic contributing the most divine one-pot meal recipe I’ve created to date. I’d like to introduce you to the Italian Sausage Bake. This is perfect for a weekend meal. Fresh ingredients such as pepper, onions, grape tomatoes, and potatoes tossed with spicy Italian sausage that bakes in the oven for a whopping 2 hours. I’ve made this recipe a few times now, and found that tits best to let the sausage cook on top over the vegetables. The juices from the sausage permeate into the veggies creating the most flavorful and simple dish. Since you have your starches, veggies, and proteins all in one–this is all you have to make. Of course you can always pair it with crusty Italian bread and a side salad.

Italian Sausage Bake from KatiesCucina.com

Visit Food Fanatic to for the full recipe: Italian Sausage Bake: One Pot, One Hearty Meal


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 Fire-Roasted Tomato & Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta Bake from KatiesCucina.com

I love a meal where I can use up leftovers. Transform them into something new. That is exactly what this recipe is today. Back in January, I shared how to make Spicy Italian Sausage Subs with Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce in the Slow Cooker. Super simple meal that allows your slow cooker to do all the work for you. Then a few weeks later I showed you how to Roast Red Bell Peppers. Well, I don’t know about you but when I have lots of leftovers I like to transform them. And thus this beautiful Fire-Roasted Tomato & Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta Bake came to life.

Not only did I utilize some of the leftovers I had on hand, but I used a few more pantry staples include Dreamfields Pasta, some fresh herbs from my garden, and cheese in the refrigerator. After boiling up my pasta, I toss all the ingredients together and voila a beautiful pasta bake ready in less than an hour. Typically, most pasta bakes are loaded with cheese. This pasta bake just so happened to not be loaded with cheese. I chose to place a few dollops of ricotta in the bake. Every now and then we don’t need our pasta loaded with cheese, right? Ok, maybe I’m wrong, but I loved it just the way I made it. If you love cheese feel free to load it up! Either way–its a great way to use up leftovers!

Katie Original Recipe

Fire-Roasted Tomato & Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Fire-Roasted Tomato & Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Then add in pasta, chopped roasted red bell peppers, spicy Italian sausage, and sauce. Toss well them add 8 dollops (tablespoons) of ricotta, sprinkle with caramelized onions and grated cheese.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the inside of the pasta is hot and the cheese is melted.
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Disclaimer: I received pasta from Dreamfields pasta; however, I was not compensated nor required to write about them. This is a brand I buy on a regular basis and enjoy eating. As always, all opinions are my own. 


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Shrimp Scampi Pasta | KatiesCucina.com @KatiesCucina  #recipe #seafood #shrimp #pasta
I didn’t learn how to make shrimp scampi until I was in my early twenties. I just thought it was a delicacy you could only get at restaurants. I had no idea how easy it was to make at home! I’ve been making my Shrimp Scampi Pasta for years now, and as the years progress I keep finding ways to make it healthier. One of the ways I make my pasta healthier is buy using Dreamfields Pasta. Their healthy pasta recipe has fewer digestible carbs, about the same high fiber as whole wheat pasta, and it can help you manage your blood sugar. I’ve served this pasta to countless people and no one can tell the difference!
Shrimp Scampi Pasta | KatiesCucina.com @KatiesCucina  #recipe #seafood #shrimp #pasta
Ove the years I’ve went from making Shrimp Scampi Pasta for only special occasions like Valentine’s day to entertaining with this main entree when all my family comes in town (about 15+). If you omit the broth and just use water for the cornstarch slurry (and of course omit the pasta) the shrimp scampi portion is gluten free! So it has always worked for me to make this dish when I entertain for my family since my cousin has a gluten allergy. I’ll dish hers up first (a nice hearty portion of shrimp is garlic-lemon wine sauce) and then continue to plate others on top of pasta. No need for me to have to make multiple meals to suit all needs.
Shrimp Scampi Pasta | KatiesCucina.com @KatiesCucina  #recipe #seafood #shrimp #pasta
So if you haven’t thought about what you are doing for Valentine’s Day dinner tomorrow night you might want to consider this quick-and-easy Shrimp Scampi Pasta to impress the one you love! Oh and if you want to spice this up a little I’ve been known to add in a handful of chopped fresh spinach or even some grape tomatoes into the scampi sauce as it reduced down. Get creative!

Katie Original (republished from July 13, 2010)

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Looking for a quick and easy fancy dinner that will impress just about anyone? This Shrimp Scampi Pasta will not only impress the ones you love, but satisfy everyones craving for a rich shrimp scampi dish that is lighter on the waistline!

Ingredients

  • 1lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 package of Dreamfields Spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 3 cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp chicken/fish/vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil (make sure you salt your water). Once the water comes to a boil put in the spaghetti. Cook until al dente (according to package).
  2. In a skillet, on medium heat add butter and olive oil cook until butter is melted (about 1 minute). Then add the lemon pepper seasoning, thinly sliced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cover and let this marry for a few minutes (5 minutes) (make sure that the butter and garlic do not burn)!
  3. Add white wine to the pan and stir. Let the wine cook out of the dish (about 5 minutes) then add shrimp. Cover and cook on medium for 2-3 minutes.
  4. While shrimp is cooking mix together teaspoon chicken stock with 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Set to the side.
  5. Stir the shrimp, and then push them against the pan to create a hole. Turn the heat off on the stove burner. Whisk in cornstarch liquid mixture making sure that it doesn't get lumpy. Sprinkle half of the fresh parsley in the pan. Mix everything well. Remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Plate spaghetti and then generously dish out shrimp and sauce over pasta. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!

Notes

*If you omit the pasta and the stock using water instead for the cornstarch slurry this can be served as a Gluten Free dish.

Katie's Cucina Original Recipe Copyright 2013.

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Disclaimer: I have a working relationship with Dreamfields pasta. I received pasta to create this recipe; however, I was not compensated. As always all opinions are my own. 

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Oven-Roasted Grape Tomato Flatbread

Last year, I posted about how to oven roast cherry tomatoes. This recipe has been a huge hit. Since posting back in March of 2012 it has remained in my top 5 most searched and looked at recipes. I make these delectable tomatoes at least once a month. Remember, to oven roast takes time. Think low and slow. These are perfect to roast on a weekend afternoon when your doing laundry, cleaning the house, etc. That is at least when I typically roast them.

Oven-Roasted Grape Tomato Flatbread
A few days after I slow roasted a pint of grape tomatoes my neighbor came over for an impromptu dinner. It just so happened to be her birthday. She had plans but decided to cancel last minute and we had invited her over to come pick up her present and enjoy a glass of wine. After I learned that she wasn’t going out to dinner that night I insisted she stay for dinner. I always make more than enough and the last thing I wanted her to do was eat dinner by herself on her birthday, of all days. So she stayed and I whipped up a quick appetizer to enjoy with our wine before dinner was ready. This was the quick appetizer I whipped up and it was a hit!

This is great for entertaining or eating as a quick lunch!

Katie Original Recipe

Oven-Roasted Grape Tomato Flatbread

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Wheat Flat-Out Wrap
  • 5.2 oz Boursin Shallot & Chive Soft Cheese (1/4 of package)
  • 1/4 cup 6 Cheese Italian Blend
  • 1/4 cup Oven Roasted Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 basil leaves, chiffonade cut

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the broiler. While the oven is warming up place whole wheat Flat-Out wrap on pizza pan. Then spread 1/4 package of Boursin Shallot and Chive soft cheese on the wrap. Sprinkle with cheese and place oven roasted cherry tomatoes around the flat bread. Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle basil leaves on top of the flat bread.
  2. Broil for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
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Pea & Pasta Soup

Pea and Pasta Soup

In ode to my current trip to Italy I figured I would give my readers a little taste of Italy. Italian meals are about simple yet bold flavors. First off, last month’s issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray (in my mind) was created just for me. As you know I’m on my last day of vacation before I have to fly back to the states. I’m sure I’ve consumed quite a few amazing meals by now. (Remember, this is scheduled out since I promised my husband that I would unplug from the internet!)

Ok, back to the magazine. I couldn’t put last months issue down. It was preparing me for all the amazing food I was about to experience. So I kind of went a little overboard and started making tons of Italian food. When I found the recipe for this soup I knew I had to make it. I love has simple it is yet the flavor profile tastes like it has been slow cooked on the stove for hours! This is a perfect quick soup to whip up now that fall weather has begun!

Pea & Pasta Soup

Adapted from: EveryDay with Rachael Ray

Pea & Pasta Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram or thyme
  • 2 (32 oz) boxes of chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups ditalini pasta
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen peas
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup grated parmesan + additional for topping

Directions

  1. In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook until the fat renders and it begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Add the diced onion and marjoram and cook until the onion is softened (about 8 minutes). Feel free to lower the heat if the onions are starting to brown.
  2. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil (over high heat). Stir in the ditalini pasta and peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in one cup of parmesan cheese. Serve and sprinkle additional cheese on top. Enjoy!
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