Tag Archives: Giada’s Pasta

{ Lemon Caper Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes }

One of the most difficult aspects of planning a meal, aside from getting all the groceries together, is deciding what the heck your actually going to make! As is true of most hardcore foodies, I’m no basic meat and potatoes girl. I love elaborate side dishes and I practically live for condiments–the more, the merrier! So after I choose a protein to cook, I usually find myself flipping through the section labeled “side dishes” in my recipe binder (aka my bible), searching for the perfect partner(s) for my main dish. The standard garlic mashed potatoes and roasted veggies just haven’t been tickling my fancy as of lately, and tonight I wanted something different. So I turned to the end all be all recipe collection, the direct source itself, the food network.

After a great deal of searching, I resolved to try making this lemon, garlic, caper pasta created by Giada de Laurentis. My main dish was a simple herb grilled chicken breast (although my mom also paired it with a nice filet of salmon), and it complimented both dishes beautifully. There are very few ingredients used in making the pasta, so the tremendous flavor comes as quite a surprise, but it was more than welcomed by my plate tonight.

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
{ To Make the PastaBring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
Just before serving, add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine.

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{ Turkey Meatballs with Simple Tomato Sauce }

Being that I am half Italian, my idea of comfort food is classic spaghetti and meatballs. When I am sick I crave my mother’s chicken noodle soup, and when I am away from home for long periods of time I crave her homemade pasta dishes. Unfortunately, I won’t be putting my mother’s meatball recipe on my blog anytime soon (as that is my trump card to winning over a man’s heart…aka top secret stuff), but I do highly recommend these turkey meatballs by Giada De Laurentiis. Not only are they significantly healthier than the average meatball, but they are also very easy to make and taste quite delicious (most people don’t even suspect that they are turkey meat!). For those of you that have her cookbook or have seen this recipe online, you will notice that she pairs the meatballs with a quick tomato sauce containing peas (the sauce seen in my photographs below). I gave this sauce a shot, but could not find anything enjoyable about it. I tried adding extra garlic, extra salt, even mushrooms…but there was just no remedy. So I have offered my own simple tomato sauce recipe to serve with the meatballs, which I use as the base for several pasta dishes. If you are looking for a lower carb meal, then serve the meatballs in a bowl with fresh lemon wedges and a generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Whether atop pasta or served alone, these meatballs are fantastic.

NOTE: If you wish to freeze the remaining meatballs, place them into a one gallon ziplock bag with a few ladles of tomato sauce. I find that the sauce helps to keep them moist.

{ Ingredients for Meatballs }

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I used extra lean)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grate Romano cheese
  • 1/4 fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I use Panko)
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

{ To Make the Meatballs } Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and cook for about 2 minutes, to render out some of the fat. Add the onion and continue to cook until pancetta is crisp and the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pancetta/onion mixture with the remaining meatball ingredients and mix with hands to combine.

Form the turkey mixture into balls, about 2 inches in diameter. Place onto a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Now make the pasta and sauce.

{ Ingredients for Simple Sauce

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

{ To Make Simple Sauce } Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Sautee the onion for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two (do not burn the garlic). Add the salt, pepper, parsley, and tomatoes. NOTE: If you like your tomato sauce spicy, then add some crushed red pepper flakes at this time! Cook for 10 minutes, then add meatballs to sauce and continue to heat until warm throughout.

{ To Serve } Laddle tomato sauce over cooked out pasta (I use linguine) and top with 2-3 meatballs. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley over the dish, and enjoy!

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{ Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccine }

Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccine with Parmesan and Basil

(Adapted from Giada De Laurentis)

All week my mother has been pestering me to cook dinner for the family. She knows how often I cook for my boyfriend in Miami, and she gets jealous that I don’t cook as often here at home. Whatshe doesn’t seem to realize is that she is the reason I don’t cook at home. Why should I have any motivation to make a meal when she makes some of the most incredible food that I have ever tasted? If she was serving up Kraft Mac&Cheese every night, I might be more inclined to offer up my culinary services. But when her idea of a Greek dinner includes Kafta, tabouli, hummus, tahini sauce, cucumber salad, tzatziki, and fresh pita all made from scratch…well, I just step aside and play taste tester. However, tonight I was in the mood to cook and so I decided to make one of my favorite pasta dishes, which is Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccini. I got the original recipe from Giada De Laurentis, but I made many of my own modifications to simplify the recipe without compromising the flavor (the recipe below is my version). This dish is incredible and tastes even better on the second day, so if you are making it for company then I would make it the night before. It is very similar in flavor to a chicken cacciatore, but without all the time and work. I don’t like working with chicken on the bone so I used chicken breasts in my version, but for extra flavor you could use a couple of chicken thighs, as the original recipe calls for. If you are eating this the same day that you make it, one of my favorite aspects of this meal is that it is so quick yet tastes like it has been cooking for hours. Everyone can’t help but love this dish, so definitely try it….it’s one of my all time favorites.

Ingredients }

  • 1 ¼ pound chicken (I use chicken breasts)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons capers

{ To Make the PastaSeason the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is ot, cook the chicken until golden on both sides; about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the prosciutto and the peppers and cook until the prosciutto is crisp and the peppers browned (about 5 minutes). Then add the garlic and continue to cook for an additional minute, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the wine, and herbs, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Shred the chicken using two forks, and return the shredded chicken to the pan. Then add the chicken stock and capers and bring mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over fettuccini pasta and sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

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