I love Italian food but can't always put in the effort... yes, we always make our own sauce. Chopping veggies, simmering on the stove for hours and puree it up! And sometimes, yes, we even make the pasta. Lately we've been looking to alternative grains and gluten free options, which we have not had much success with making from scratch.
On a trip to Whole Foods we skeptically decided to try some ready made options. Taste Republic pasta in the refrigerated section caught our eye. Being from Wisconsin we tried the cheese tortellini. It's gluten free, made with a blend of brown rice flour and tapioca. Most of those gluten free pastas we've tried we've struggled to make successfully. This tortillini we followed the instructions and it cooked up perfectly. It had a great texture and taste, not gummy or soggy like many other GF pastas. This was very close in taste to a handmade conventional pasta. Next time, we will try the other varieties - they have fettuccini, linguini, vegetable based doughs, and even chickpea/lentil doughs! In looking to learn more about this company that makes this good stuff I was excited to see it's made by RP Pasta who we used to buy from at the Farmer's Market in Madison, Wisconsin. It's great to see a small company grow nationwide. Now that I'm in North Carolina I can enjoy a treat from back home. Website currently has $1 coupon towards the pasta - check it out here!
For sauce we went with Cucina Antica, tomato basil. When we make our own sauce we always use San Marzano tomatoes. We were drawn to this as they do as well. All of the ingredients I recognize, no strange fillers - all legit vegetables and spices in there, just like we'd make at home. The taste was of fresh tomato flavor. I like seeing the garlic and basil pulsed together with tomatoes. I just put it in a saucepan and heated it up. In a few minutes I had something like I'd be simmering away all day to make. So easy and delicious! I looked into getting more on the regular and am happy to see it's on amazon!!
To complete the meal, I roasted some ready cut butternut squash and grabbed some kale and spinach from the garden to toss in a raw handful. We added some protein and topped with basil from the garden. Such an easy fancy dinner that we look forward to repeating again!
This classic recipe is such an oldie that I can't find it on Martha's website anymore. I know it's simple but it's so delicious and a perfect way to use up the cherry tomatoes in the garden.
Tiny Tomato Salad
Martha Stewart, circa 2006
2 pints heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 cup basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
ground pepper, freshly ground
1. Cut 3/4 of the tomatoes in half, and place in a bowl. Set whole tomatoes aside for garnish.
2. Arrange basil leaves on each of four plates. Top each with 1/4 of the cut tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with reserved whole tomatoes, the feta cheese, and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
I will confess I'm not a huge fan of soup... usually lots of effort for so so effect. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt completely changed my mind after I made his tomato soup from his comprehensive book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. I hear him on my favorite podcast, Cooking Issues and finally checked out his book. It's a great read, with lots of basic tips on upgrading the usual favorites. My first one I tackled is the tomato soup and it has made it into the weekly rotation. So much I have the Muir Glen's on my amazon subscribe and save!
I started making this in winter when I didn't have fresh herbs so I topped with homemade basil oil which complimented this perfectly.
15 Minute Pantry Tomato Soup
The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups onion, finely diced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cans 28 ounce whole tomatoes , with juice
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons whiskey, vodka, or brandy
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs - parsley, basil or chives
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and oregano and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, with their juice, and stir, scraping the flour up off the bottom of the pan. Add the milk or cream and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with the spoon, until the whole thing comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes.
2. Remove the soup from the heat and puree using an immersion blender. Or transfer to a standing blender, in batches if necessary, and puree, staring on low speed and gradually increasing to high, then return to the pan. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the whisky, if using, and bring to a simmer. Serve immediately topping each serving with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of herbs, and if you like a crack or two of freshly ground pepper, with grilled cheese sandwiches alongside.
Recently I was told I need to eat more beets. I've been having beet smoothies, beet quesadillas, beet sandwiches, etc. But sometimes I just want a regular old beet salad! Here's a great one from Martha.
Roasted Beets and Edamame and Arugula
Whole Living Magazine
This Martha recipe is a fun use of that zucchini I love so much! The ribbons are great along with the spaghetti noodles and one of my other favorite veggies, peas make a great addition.
Spaghetti with Peas & Zucchini Ribbons
freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh English Peas (1 1/2 lbs unshelled) or thawed frozen petite peas
8 ounces baby zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/8" thick slices
1 1/2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, very thinly sliced
1 pound spaghetti
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 teaspoon salt. Add peas, and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh peas and 1 minute for frozen. Using a slotted spoon, transfer peas to a medium bowl; set aside. Add zucchini to pot, and cook 30 seconds; using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with peas.
2. Put yogurt and basil into a large, heatproof bowl; season with salt and pepper. Set bowl over the boiling water, and whisk until mixture is warm, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add peas and zucchini to bowl; set aside.
3. Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente; drain. Add pasta to vegetables and sauce, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cheese.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".
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