Tag Archives: pasta

Prosciutto and Asparagus Alfredo Pasta

29 Apr


This dish made me feel like I was in Rome again! Oh how I wish I was, especially with all of the exciting events happening there this past weekend. But alas, I’m at home nesting like crazy and waiting for our baby to arrive any day now (can’t wait!) so I’ll take a little taste of Italy however I can manage. Also, due to the midwife’s orders, I’m supposed to currently limit my carb intake to one serving a day, so have to make it good!

This is a filling but not super heavy dish that’s perfect for spring. I’ve been on an asparagus kick lately and thought it would be a good match with the prosciutto. I’m not a big fan of salty foods, but the slight saltiness of the prosciutto paired beautifully with the creamy richness of the alfredo sauce. Of course you can make your own sauce, but this time around I decided to use a jar of store bought sauce to save some time and energy.


Prosciutto and Asparagus Alfredo Pasta

3 oz sliced prosciutto, roughly chopped
1 lb fresh asparagus, ends trimmed off, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
2 cups alfredo sauce (I used a 15 oz jar of store bought)
Black pepper
Grated parmesan

Yield: 6-8 servings

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and add the asparagus. Cook for about 7 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and prosciutto and cook for another 2 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and return the pasta to the pan you cooked it in. Add the alfredo sauce and the asparagus/prosciutto mixture and stir everything together until fully incorporated. Season with a little salt and pepper before serving and sprinkle some grated parmesan on top for garnish. Eat while hot and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Tide and Thyme


Spicy Sausage Pasta

15 Mar


This week, I was craving some sort of a zesty pasta dish with sausage. After a few searches, I ran across this recipe and knew they were the flavors I was looking for. The smoky turkey sausage with the tomatoes, green chiles, pepper jack cheese, and creamy sauce made for a delicious dinner. And the pasta of course hit the spot – I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like! It was exactly what this pregnant lady was wanting.

What’s even better is, if you have an oven safe pan, you can make the whole meal in one dish! Gotta love less dishes to do after a great simple meal. Also, the original recipe has Weight Watchers info and tips to make this a lower calorie meal. (see the link below) Enjoy!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of an onion, chopped
13 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes & green chiles
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
10-12 oz uncooked bowtie pasta
4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 medium green onions, diced

Yield: 6 servings

In a large skillet or sauté pan (oven-safe if you have it), add the olive oil and bring over medium heat. Add the onions and sausage to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until sausage is browned and onions are tender. Add the garlic and stir. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the broth, Ro-Tel, half and half, salt, and pepper and mix together. Add the uncooked pasta and stir together until the liquid covers the pasta. Cover the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep covered. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.

Set your oven to broil and make sure one of your oven racks is in the top 1/3 of the oven. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in half of the shredded cheese. If your skillet is oven-safe, you may continue to use it in the following steps. If it isn’t or you aren’t sure, transfer the pasta into a baking dish. (either a 7×11 or 9×13 dish would work)

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top of the pasta. Place the dish in the top 1/3 of the oven and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown (keep checking because broiling can happen really fast!). Remove from oven and sprinkle the green onions on top. Serve while hot and enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Emily Bites

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

8 Jul


Pesto sauce has become one of my favorites – between eating it with pasta, using it as a pizza sauce, and spreading it on sandwiches, I can’t get enough! This dish is a favorite simple go-to meal in my house. Just cook some jumbo pasta shells, stuff them with a combination of shredded chicken, mozzarella, and pesto, and bake them for just over 10 minutes. If you have some extra garlic on hand, feel free to add that too. (it’s hard to have too much garlic, in my opinion) You can eat them as they are or drizzle with some extra pesto sauce. Serve with a salad or vegetable and enjoy this delicious meal!

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

12 jumbo pasta shells
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken (about 3 chicken breasts)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
5-6 Tbsp pesto sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan and basil for garnish (optional)

Yield: 4-6 servings (12 shells)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the jumbo shells in boiling water for 9 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken, mozzarella, pesto sauce, salt, pepper, and additional garlic if wanted. Mix until well combined. Stuff a spoonful of the mixture into each shell. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and line up the shells. Bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with grated parmesan, fresh basil, or extra pesto sauce if wanted. Serve while hot and enjoy!

Source: A Beckster Original

Home from Rome

16 Apr

Hello everyone! Sorry for my absence lately – since getting home from our trip to Italy, life has been busy! We had an amazing time, and besides the beautiful religious aspects of the trip, the next best part was the delicious food! (is that a surprise?) We ate plenty of pizza, pasta, and of course, gelato! I could write for weeks about all that we did, and feel free to ask me about it, but here are some photo highlights to give you a taste of what we saw and ate.

cafe photos
(left to right: Nutella focaccia. Sweet shop in Assisi. Cannoli. Prosciutto, mozzarella, and arugula sandwich. Latte and a Nutella croissant. Salami and mozzarella sandwich. Sausage and mushroom pizza. Bakery with HUGE meringues. Fresh focaccia bread from the brick oven.)

rome collage
(left to right: St. Peter’s Basilica. The Colosseum. St. John Lateran. The Pantheon. Pope Francis! The Spanish Steps. St. Paul Outside the Walls. Trevi fountain. St. Mary Major.)

pasta collage
(left to right: Mezze maniche con chianti, speck e zucchini. Risotto radicchio e speck. Pasta cacio e pepe. Fregnacce con broccoli, speck e pecorino. Fusilli panna, funghi e salsiccia. Pasta carbonara. Pasta bolognese. Risotto ai funghi porcini. Gnocchi alla sorrentina.)

pisa florence siena assisi collage
(left to right: In Assisi: St. Francis Basilica. St. Clare Basilica. St. Mary of the Angels. In Pisa: The leaning tower (built as the bell tower for the cathedral!) The beautiful cathedral. The baptistry outside of the cathedral. In Florence and Siena: The cathedral in Florence. The gorgeous dome in the cathedral. The cathedral in Siena.)

gelato collage
(left to right: Strawberry and pistachio gelato. Banana and chocolate combo. Chocolate hazelnut. Dark chocolate. Chocolate rum from San Crispino. Mint chocolate. Kit Kat gelato. Coconut and chocolate combo. Tiramisu gelato – my favorite!)

While we had a great time and would love to visit again, it’s good to be back in Texas and cooking in my own kitchen. Stay tuned for some tasty things coming your way!

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

26 Feb


I thought this was a fitting post to announce that my dear husband and I are going to Italy next month! This trip started as a dream that we almost laughed off as impossible, but after looking at our vacation fund and rearranging our schedules, the dream became an unexpected reality! We’ll possibly be in Rome when the new Pope is chosen, take a side trip to Pisa, Florence, and Siena, plus we’ll be there for Holy Week and Easter! Can’t wait to share the experience with all of you. 🙂

Besides the awesome religious aspect of our trip, I’m beyond excited for all the great food we’ll get to eat. Although, I gave up coffee and Jason gave up alcohol for Lent. Go figure! We’ve been joking about how on Easter, I’ll be buzzed from espresso and he’ll be buzzed from Italian wine. 😉

Besides pasta and pizza, one of my favorite Italian foods is gnocchi. I’ve always bought it pre-made at the grocery store, but have had it on my try-to-make-at-home list for a long time. Feeling all giddy and inspired by our upcoming trip motivated me to finally give it a try!


If you’ve never had gnocchi, I encourage you to give it a try! (the store bought variety is so easy to make – you just boil it like pasta) Gnocchi is typically a potato based dumpling that’s light, fluffy, and delicious. With only three main ingredients – potato, egg, and flour – it’s a pretty basic dish to make. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some prep work involved in making the dough, but once you get the gnocchi shaped, the cooking process goes pretty quickly.

This Italian favorite can be paired with pesto, marinara, cream sauce, or just some simple butter and herbs. I usually add some Italian sausage, then have some salad or a vegetable on the side to make a delicious hearty meal. Enjoy!

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

2 large russet potatoes, halved
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pesto sauce (or your sauce of choice)

Yield: 4-6 servings

Place the halved potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water. Boil for about 40 minutes or until soft. Remove potatoes one by one with a slotted spoon and quickly peel them. Mash the potatoes with a with a fork or a ricer and ensure there are no lumps. Don’t over mash – they should be light and fluffy. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Shape potatoes into a mound with a well in the middle. Pour the egg into the well and sprinkle on 3/4 of the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a metal cutter, mix the flour, potato, and egg by gently chopping and scraping the ingredients together. Chop, scrape, chop, scrape until the ingredients are roughly combined. The dough should be moist but not sticky. If they are too sticky then sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 of flour.

Lightly flour your work surface and then gently roll the dough several times with a very light touch. You don’t want to over mix the dough. It should feel light and airy. Place the dough on a clean surface and cut about 8 logs.

On a floured surface, gently roll each log so that it’s about 2/3 inch thick. Using the cutter, cut off 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Mark the gnocchi with a fork by lightly but quickly rolling them down the inside of the fork’s prongs. This reduces the bulk of the gnocchi and makes little grooves to catch the sauce.

Bring some salted water to the boil. Have a non-stick pan ready, on medium heat, with 1 tsp of butter next to the boiling water. Place the gnocchi in batches into the boiling water. Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the top and then sauté them in the butter for about 1 minute or until they brown slightly.

Place the browned gnocchi into the waiting bowl of pesto and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Source: Slightly adapted from All Things Nice

Spicy Peanut Chicken Pasta

12 Jun

I’m such a sucker for peanut sauce – there’s just something about it that’s irresistible to my taste buds. So you can imagine how much I loved this Asian pasta dish with a spicy peanut sauce. The variety of vegetables gives it vibrant color and makes you feel a little healthier eating this tasty dish.

Quick tip: you can add the chopped vegetables to the cooking pasta for about 5 minutes to slightly cook them while still leaving a bit of crunch. Mix in the sauce, top with chopped cilantro, and you have a delicious meal after my own heart.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Pasta

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup shredded or julienne carrots
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast (2-3 breasts)
8 oz cooked whole grain linguine

For the dressing:
5 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp sesame or canola oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/2 Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic
1 tsp brown sugar
1/3 cup peanuts
Sriracha sauce (a few dashes – or more to your taste)

Cilantro for garnish

Puree all of the dressing ingredients (except peanuts) in a food processor until smooth and creamy.  Add the peanuts last and process until just finely chopped.

Cook the pasta and add the vegetables into the water for the last 5 minutes to soften them a bit. Drain and return to the pot. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Add more sriracha if you want a spicier taste. Top individual servings with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum

Lasagna Rolls

29 Nov

These are a fun different take on your classic lasagna! This pasta dish is also very easy to make – I made some little step-by-step photo collages to give yall a better idea. I stuck with more traditional flavors but you can mix it up with a vegetarian style or whatever you like. (I made half with spinach for me and half without for hubby)

You just cook the lasagna noodles till al dente, spread your choice of filling, then roll up the noodles!

Spread a little sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, line up the rolled lasagna, top with some more sauce and mozzarella, and bake! Easy as that! 🙂

Lasagna Rolls
(makes 8 rolls) 

8 lasagna noodles
1 lb ground Italian sausage
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Frozen or fresh spinach, liquid squeezed out (about 5 oz – optional)
Pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the lasagna noodles till al dente, per the directions on the box. Strain the noodles and lay out on parchment paper. Cook the Italian sausage until done. Drain grease and set aside.

To make the cheese mixture, combine the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. Spread mixture on the lasagna noodles, dividing evenly. Next, spoon the sausage evenly onto the noodles. Add the spinach on top of the sausage (optional). Spoon a light layer of sauce onto each noodle. Tightly roll each noodle from the top towards you.

Spoon a thin layer of sauce into a 9×13 baking dish and line the lasagna rolls in the dish. Spoon more sauce on top of each roll. Bake for 15 minutes, then take out and add mozzarella cheese on top of each roll. Bake for another 15 minutes and serve while hot.

Source: Adapted from Something Shiny