by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Pasta
Luxuriously Pasta Carbonara
Pasta Carbonara was something I always ordered out at an Italian restaurant. It seemed so complicated — a dish I couldn’t possibly make myself at home — silly me. Of course, I could make Pasta Carbonara! I make bread and pastries. Those are tricky to prepare well.
Confidence with Cream
I had nothing to fret about regarding this recipe. Anyone can do it. It is just cream, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, and pasta water.
Why was I so afraid? No clue. It does take practice to get the consistency right. It is simple. And quick.
Sausage or Bacon
You can make this recipe the more traditional way with bacon. Or you can make it with sausage. Depending on how I feel, I use spicy or mild sausage. That goes for how I prepare the sausage. Sometimes I take the sausage out of the casings frying it up that way or cook them whole then slicing them placing them on top of the pasta.
It is worth trying to find pappardelle. I prefer how the sauce takes to it.
So you can now skip the restaurant and make Pasta Carbonara at home.
Need more pasta recipes? Visit the pasta section of Well Worn Apron.
Pasta Carbonara with Italian Sausage
- 8 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
- 1 cups frozen peas
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 Italian sausage links - spicy or mild (about 1 pound)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the peas during the last minute of cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and peas, and return them to the pot.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked through about 10-15 minutes.
- In a mid-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half-and-half or cream, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Add the egg mixture and reserved cooking water to the pasta and peas in the pot.
- Cook over low heat, tossing gently, until the sauce is slightly thickened and coats the pasta. Serve with the sausage and additional cheese.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Pasta
Simple Savory Spinach Bacon Ravioli
Quick and simple doesn’t necessarily mean calling for pizza delivery (though sometimes that is a nice treat). You can make a quick delicious meal that is good on the wallet and the waistline. Spinach Bacon Ravioli is one of those meals that can be made in a jiffy but tastes luxurious.
Spinach Bacon Ravioli is a 15-minute meal. Well, 30-minute if you count stopping at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. Ok, I’m pretty quick in the grocery store so it may take you a little longer. The ingredient list is short: ravioli, bacon, whole garlic, spinach, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That’s it.
On The Go
I usually have bacon and ravioli in the freezer. Garlic and lemons are in the fridge. So spinach is what I’m stopping for in the grocery store if I haven’t thought ahead. That said I tried to stock my veggie bin with veg we like, and spinach is one of them. With my schedule going in different directions, I am trying to meal plan more and do a week’s shopping in one go. Am I successful? Not really, but I keep trying. For me, the key is to have essential ingredients that I can create different meals on the fly, depending on what I feel like or the time I have. And time is something I have a limited supply of these days.
Let’s get back to the dish. Super simple. With seven ingredients – five if you exclude the salt and pepper – you can make a fancy restaurant meal at home. I use refrigerated cheese ravioli, but frozen works just as well. Don’t limit yourself to cheese ravioli; get creative. When I’m preparing the bacon, instead of wiping out the pan to cook the garlic and spinach, I use the bacon fat. Why get rid of that super flavor? You can swap out the bacon fat for olive oil, but I say use the fat. Just gives everything a wonderful rich flavor. And it isn’t like there is an inch of fat in the pan, more like a coating. Just enjoy it. (Don’t do it with every meal, every day, OK?)
Looking for more pasta dishes? Visit the pasta section.
- 1 package ravioli
- 6-8 slices bacon
- 2 gloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 10 oz container baby spinach torn
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Boil then cook ravioli to package directions.
- While water is setting to boil, cut bacon into sections using a kitchen scissors then cook in pre-heated pan over medium-high heat.
- When bacon is almost crispy, add sliced garlic cooking until brown.
- Add spinach, salt, and pepper stirring until spinach is wilted.
- Add in lemon juice stirring.
- Drain ravioli arranging on plate topping with spinach bacon mixture.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Meatless Mondays, Pasta, Vegetarian
Simple and Fresh Cookless Tomato Sauce
Yes, you read that correctly a cookless tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is often thought of as something that simmers on the stove for hours on a Sunday afternoon. Not so. This is a much lighter version of the traditional cooked tomato sauce. Like the traditional sauce, this uses fresh ingredients. In fact, this recipe for cookless tomato sauce has only six ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.
Cookless Tomato Sauce
- 12 oz angel hair or thin spaghetti
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic chopped
- 3/4 salt
- A couple of turns of the pepper grinder
- A bunch of fresh basil
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the directions
- In a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Pulse until combined.
- Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce topping with Parmesan cheese and chopped basil.
by amvandenhurk | Seafood
Poached Cod with Tomatoes and Beans
Poached Cod with Tomatoes and Beans makes me think of the coast of France. Perhaps a cafe on the beach in Normandy. This is the perfect dish for gray skies and a rough sea. Or in my case a summer evening inland on the flatlands of eastern North Carolina. Anywhere you prepare this dish, it will be good.
It is a healthy, simple, and quick dinner that looks like you slaved over the stove for hours. You could even serve this dish to company to rave reviews. And I have.
Simple ingredients make for a clean rich flavor. The ingredient list is short and easy to find which is always helpful depending on where you live and how busy you are.
Serves 4. Takes about 45 mins to cook so it give time to check Facebook and Instagram. At about 400 calories, your waistline and heart will thank you.
1 Red pepper, chopped to your liking, but I do chunky making it more rustic
1 Onion, chopped
1 Yellow squash, chopped and pick a large one
3 Tomatoes, chopped
2/3 teaspoon salt, I use kosher
1/4 teaspoon pepper, I never measure pepper, but a few good turns of the grinder should do
1 can cannellini beans, wash and drained
4 cod fillets
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven then add the red pepper and onion over medium heat. Cook until they are soft then add the squash and tomatoes with salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes have broken down and squash has softened stirring a few times. Add the beans stir until mixed. Place the cod fillets on top of the mixture. Turn down heat to simmer covering and letting cook until the fish is flaky. Sprinkle with parsley.
Add buttered toast if you want. Being able to pile the bean mixture on the toast is very yummy and satisfying. Serve with a fork or a spoon.
There you have it. Poached Cod with Tomatoes and Beans. A little taste of France in 45 minutes.
This recipe was adapted from Real Simple.
by amvandenhurk | Pasta, Soups
As the weather turns cooler and grayer, soup becomes more and more on the menu of the Van den Hurk house. I adore soup.
A favorite soup recipe of mine will heat up the cockles of your heart or at least clear your nose: spicy sausage tortellini soup. Super quick and easy:
– Package of hot Italian sausage (castings off) – you can use pork or turkey
– 2 cups water
– Package of tortellini – you can use ravioli or gnocchi.
– 14-oz can of beef broth – you can use chicken or veg broths.
– 14.5-oz can of Italian-style stewed tomatoes – undrained
– Grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Cook sausage in large Dutch oven and cook until browned.
And then add everything else except for the cheese. Bring to a boil then simmer until tortellini floats to the top.
Ladle soup into bowls then add the cheese.
And there’s a quick, filling meal.