Quick and Easy Pasta Recipe

It’s Tax Day everyone, hopefully you’ve all gone out and completed your taxes (well at least here in the states). Here’s a quick and easy pasta recipe in case you’re trying to beat the tax clock and make it home to get dinner ready. These are simple ingredients that won’t bog you down with prep work. Just cut up a few veggies and you have yourself a complete meal without too much fuss. I made this pasta dish with bok choy but don’t worry if you don’t have any, you can substitute it for spinach, kale, broccoli rabe or any of your favorite leafy greens. Sometimes the best meals are unplanned and when you just don’t have the time you can toss together a few simple ingredients for a satisfying meal.

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Also, who doesn’t have some sort of pasta in the house? I usually pick up several boxes when I go shopping even though I don’t cook it often. I just like having it around because like rice, it can be a meal in a snap, especially when you don’t have anything else in the house. Add a little butter, salt & pepper and chopped herbs with any pasta, pair it with wine and that alone would make a delicious meal. Here I used penne pasta but spaghetti, but any other would go well with this dish. Spice it up with red pepper flakes and you have a hot and spicy dish to cure those tax blues.

bokchoy-pasta

Bok Choy and Pasta Recipe

Author: Maria

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pasta
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1/2 lb bok choy chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese shavings

Instructions

  • Prepare pasta according to instructions on box.
  • Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat, add garlic until fragrant, after 30 sec add bok choy, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper and stir.
  • Add the cooked pasta to pan and stir until ingredients are mixed well.
  • Serve and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

{Products I Love} Nonna’s Spicy Red Pesto Review

I picked up Nonna’s Spicy Red Pesto at the Chile Pepper Festival last Fall and finally getting around to write about it. I’ve only had the traditional basil pesto before so when I saw this version I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I thought, “Is this really pesto?” and “Isn’t pesto’s main ingredient basil?”. Apparently, after looking it up, I learned that pesto is traditionally made with basil throughout Italy but other areas like Sicily use tomato as their main ingredient. Pesto actually means to pound or crush in Italian and was traditionally made using a motar and pestle, which is where the English word “pestle” got its name.  I’m all for this red pesto and happy they spiced this up properly too!

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This spicy red pesto is no lightweight when it comes to heat. There’s a generous amount of habanero peppers to make the spiciness linger for a while. The paste is thick, chunky and great for adding to pastas, spreading on sandwiches and delicious all on its own with plain crackers or pretzels. The flavors are robust, bold, spicy and its strong concentrated tomato based flavor makes it perfect for mixing it into dishes without it losing its punch.

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At first I thought a 4 oz jar was too small to get much use out of it but a little does go a long way. I was pleasantly surprised how it still maintained its flavor even after adding a little heavy cream for my lobster ravioli dish.

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I mixed a tablespoon of the red pesto with about 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream and poured over the raviolis for a spicy, light and satisfying meal.

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Nonna’s spicy red pesto is just one of City Saucery’s products, they also make other tomato sauces using locally sourced ingredients from NY and NJ farms. I love that they started small and have had tremendous growth over the past few years which is a testament to their product. They’re sold online and in various retailers across the US, just check their website for more details. All in all, for $9 a jar, a wonderful product with all natural ingredients and worth every penny.

Ingredient List:  Sun-dried tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, lemon juice, vinegar, habanero peppers, garlic, sea salt and anchovies.

Spicy Recipes Roundup: Comfort Foods

Hi everyone! I’m starting a new weekly series titled “Spicy Recipes Roundup” where I’ll feature some of the best spicy food recipes around the web! This new feature will showcase five spicy recipes from some of my favorite magazines and food blogs so you don’t have to go scouring the web looking for great spicy recipes. To get things started I’m kicking off this week with spicy comfort foods to warm your soul, just in time for those chilly Fall nights!

 

1. This Curry Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Alton Brown looks great! Since I like things a little extra spicy I would double the curry and ground pepper then toss in a chopped scotch bonnet pepper while cooking.

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2. This is one hearty and “meaty” Vegetarian Chile from Food52, add extra heat if you like but boy is this an awesome recipe if you want to go meatless!  3. Try this Smokey Chipotle Meatloaf from Delicious on a Dime cookbook from the All You magazine editors. The chipotles in adobo sauce will kick up this classic recipe.

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4. Shrimp fra Diavolo is one of my favorite things to order at Italian restaurants, it’s flavorful, hearty and spicy so I just drooled when I saw this Lobster fra Diavolo version from the From Away blog. Go ahead and double the red pepper flakes seasoning in recipe or add an entire sliced serrano chile pepper! 5. Stir fry may not scream comfort food to some but for me a steaming bowl of this Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry is what I want on a chilly night.

 

Thanks for checking these out and let me know if you make any of them. What are your favorite spicy comfort foods?

Easy Sunday Dinner: Spicy Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti

The last thing I want to do on a Sunday is prepare an elaborate meal, unless there’s a special holiday coming up which is what I’ll be doing next week Sunday for Easter. During those times I don’t mind since I love the times spent with family but most of the time, I just want to chill out on a Sunday. Get up, walk the dog, make breakfast with some strong Bustelo coffee, watch the Sunday news and kick back. I might make plans to go into the city to check out an artsy or foodie event but if I stay in I want to make easy meals. Sometimes I’ll make large quantities so I can have some for dinner or lunch during the week and this is one of those dishes! The all too familiar spaghetti and meatballs but kicked up with a little heat and made with ground chicken…for an easy Sunday dinner.

I usually have beef meatballs but wanted to try chicken instead for a much healthier version….AND with all the pink slime talk I’ve kind of been turned off by ground beef again. I don’t know why people are flipping out because it really isn’t new news but guess with of all the attention it’s getting it’s fresh on everyone’s mind. Ever since that book came out, Fast Food Nation, I’ve been eating less red meat and processed foods in general. It’s all about moderation and buying foods from stores and butchers you trust so I say, eat what you like, just make informed choices. OK, so back to the meatballs…

After you make your meatballs, refrigerate them since you’ll need to make your sauce next and it will need to simmer it for at least 30 minutes. OR you can start your sauce first and then make your meatballs while sauce is simmering. Basically you want the flavors to blend well together. Place the lid on while simmering.

Place the meatballs into the sauce carefully, you don’t want them to break apart. Ladle the sauce over each meatball so they’re covered and cook for another 30 minutes.

I always thought meatballs were so complicated but just look how simple it is. I’d say the most difficult part or laborious part, since it wasn’t difficult at all, was rolling each meatball…and really, who can’t do that?

Serve it family style, with a salad, some crusty Italian bread, and a nice bottle of wine and just chill out and enjoy your Sunday evening.

Serrano Chile Chicken Meatballs and Spaghetti
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile pepper, diced
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric

In a bowl add the ground chicken, onion, garlic, chile pepper, and bread crumbs and mix well. In a separate bowl beat the egg then add the salt, black pepper, cumin and turmeric and mix well. Add the egg mixture to the meat and mix well.

Make the meatballs by spooning meat into hand and rolling. You should have about 12 golf ball sized meatballs.

After you make the sauce and it has simmered for 30 minutes, add the meat balls to the spicy tomato sauce and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Make spaghetti according to directions on the box, drain and spoon the meatballs over it.

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 30 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 jalapenos, sliced
4 basil leaves, ripped apart
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

In a large pot (large enough to hold all meatballs), heat up oil on high heat. Add onion and let cook until translucent. Stir in jalapenos then add the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes. Mix well then add the garlic, basil leaves, salt, sugar, and black pepper. Turn heat down to low, cover pot and let sauce simmer on low heat for about 1/2 hour.

You can make it spicier by adding extra jalapenos and serrano chiles but I really like this heat level, you can taste all the ingredients in the meatballs and the sauce.

Serve with spaghetti or make meatball hoagies, either way its a great meal!