Presto Pasta Night

There is nothing more comforting than PASTA. There is always some type of pasta in our pantry. Or I make some fresh to try out new recipes and an excuse to use the pasta roller. I needed something new for dinner and settled on some type of pasta dish. I just didn’t know which one until I was looking through all the magazine recipes I have torn out over the years. I came upon this one.

    Rigatoni with spicy sausage-tomato sauce, arugula spinach, and parmesan

The original recipe called for arugala, but since the only grocer that carries it is on the other side of the river on the other side of town I subsituted spinach, even tho…

    “The classic meat sauce gets some oomph from the peppery arugula.”

The oomph wasn’t worth the 40 minute round trip drive.


    1 Tbl olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    2 lbs hot Italian sausages casings removed {I used fresh ground Italian sausage.}
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
    1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
    8 ounces rigatoni
    2 cups (packed) fresh arugula, stemmed {Subbed in Spinach}
    1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
    1 Tbl shopped fresh oregano {I used 1/2 Tbl dried}
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

~ Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion; saute until translucent, about 4 minutes.
~ Add garlic; stir 1 minute.
~ Add sausage; cook until browned, breaking up with back of spoon, about 5 minutes.
~ Drain drippings from pot.
~ Add wine, diced tomatoes with juice, and crushed tomatoes; increase heat and bring to boil.
~ Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.
~ Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.
~ Stir pasta, spinach, basil, and oregano into tomato sauce. Simmer until arugula wilts, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
~ Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

      Recipe adapted from bonappetit June 2008

This was so good. Everyone liked it. Definitely a repeat.


There is just something about Ellie’s recipes that make them super easy and very adaptable. Is it the ingredients? Well, yeah, but it’s not so much what they are but how you can so easily change them to fit your own tastes.

    Shrimp fra diavlo with Spinach

There are really only 4 REAL ingredients – shrimp, fresh spinach, tomatoes, and pasta. There are, of course, basic flavor additives – oregano, pepper flakes, white wine, etc. Even though Ellie gives measurements if you decrease or increase one or two of any ingredients it still comes out perfectly. I left out the pepper flakes, added a little extra water when the sauce got a little too thick, and decreased the onion by just a smidgeon. It still came out perfectly. Perfectly delicious.

While Ellie adds the pasta to the sauce and tosses it I chose to simply serve it OVER the pasta. Just as good.

This week Jennifer of The Rookie Baker chose this wonderful pasta dish for us the ‘share’. Thanks, Jennifer, it was a great dish.

Visit the other members of Craving Ellie in My Belly and see how they enjoyed this dish.

If it was possible, I would have seafood every nite. Doesn’t matter if it’s oysters, shrimp, fish of any kind, scallops. Add in some pasta and I am in Seafood heaven.

Like this pasta with shrimp and scallops.

    Seafood Fettucine

      1 1/2 Tbl butter
      1 cup chopped green onions
      4 cloves garlic, diced
      1 lb medium shrimp, peeled
      1 lb sea scallops
      2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp black pepper
      1/2 lb lump crabmeat
      3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan Cheese, divided
      8 cups hot cooked fettuccine (abt 1 lb uncooked)
      1/4 cup fresh parsley {I used dried}

Pat the shrimp and scallops dry before cooking with paper towels so they don’t dilute he sauce.
Melt butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onions and garlic.
Saute 1 minute or until tender
Add shrimp and scallops.
Saute 3 minutes or until done.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add 1/2 and 1/2, salt, pepper, and crabmeat.
Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly (do not boil)
Gradually sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over seafood mixture, stirring constantly.
Cook 1 minute.
Remove from heat
Combine pasta and seafood mixture in a large bowl.
Top each serving with 1 1/2 tsp cheese and parsley.

This was really good. And very quick and easy. Once the shrimp are peeled that is!! One change I would make – sear the scallops before adding them to the mix. I think that would enhance the flavor and give them a better texture. This makes quite a bit of pasta. I hope it freezes well.

Recipe is from Cooking Light. I don’t remember which issue.

BTW this week’s host for Presto Pasta Friday is Pam of Sidewalk Shoes. Make sure you go by her site and look at the round up of great pasta dishes.

We are eating a lot of chicken. At least two nights a week, and usually three. Luckily, chicken is a very versatile food. You can bake it, boil it, broil it, stew it, fry it, with rice, with potatoes, by itself, with pasta. Tonight it was with pasta – and squash.



I made two changes

    I used boneless, skinless thighs.
    I used fresh basil.

This was pretty good, but I think next time I will simply cook everything but the pasta combo and serve as the main with a pasta on the side, or maybe a rice or potato side.

    Recipe comes from Taste of Home’s Chicken. The recipe was submitted by Pam Hall of North Carolina.


To me there is nothing better than a good dish with some type of seafood. Whether it be shrimp, crabs, scallops, or some type of fish we love it. And if it is a pasta dish – even better. So as I slowly work my way through ‘tons’ of saved recipes from bloggers, magazines, and other sources I tend to focus on seafood and pasta recipes. Like this one:

    Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Basil

The original recipe called for Angel Hair, but I made my own pasta. You could use any pasta.

    1 8 oz package pasta
    1/2 cup light olive oil
    1 tsp chopped garlic
    1 lb large shrimp – peeled and deveined 4 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    3 Tbl chopped fresh basil (my first time to use from my new herb garden)
    3 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese.

Combine water with 1 Tbl oil in large pot, boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well. Rinse well with cold water, drain, and set aside.
Heat remaining oil and garlic in a 10″ skillet.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the garlic is tender (abt 1 minute).
Add shrimp and continue stirring until shrimp turn pink.
Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside.
Stir tomatoes, wine, parsley, and basil into the skillet. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced by 1/2 (8 – 12 minutes)
Return shrimp to skillet and continue cooking until shrimp are heated through (2 – 3 minutes)
Serve shrimp over pasta.
Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

This was alright, but not great. If I make it again

    – I will use fresh shrimp instead of frozen (big dif in taste)
    – I will add more garlic
    – I will add salt and pepper which the recipe did not call for
    – I will chop the tomatoes up smaller.



I think if we do eat more chicken we are going grow feathers and start clucking. That said, I am always looking for new ways to cook this pleasant poultry. Looking thru my old recipes I ran across one from a 2003 Woman’s World Magazine:


      1/4 cup + 2Tbl AP flour, divided
      3/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning, divided
      3/4 tsp salt, divided
      1/4 tsp pepper
      6 boneless, skinless breast halves (I used 1/2 breasts and 1/2 boneless,skinless thighs.)
      4 Tbl butter, divided
      2 large shallots, chopped
      1 clove garlic, minced
      8 oz addorted mushrooms (mix whatever….)
      1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
      1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
      3/4 cup Marsala wine

In a bowl combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Put aside.
Place chicken piece between 2 sheets plastic wrap and pound each thin (to about 1/2 inch).
Coat both sides with reserved flour mixture.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt 1 Tbl butter. Add part of the chicken.
Cook, turning once, until lightly browned. Put aside and repeat. Keep chicken warm on a plate.
In same skillet melt remaining butter (I actually had to use more butter than recipe called for)
Add shallots, garlic, remaining seasoning, and salt.
Cook until shallots are just softened, about 1 minute.
Add mushrooms and tomatoes.
Cook, stirring occassionally, until mushrooms are softened and browned, about 3/4 minutes.
Stir remaining flour into broth and reserve.
Add Marsala to skillet and cook 1 minute
Stir in broth.
Increase heat to high; bring to boil.
Cook, stirring occassionally until thickened and lightly coats the back of spoon, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chicken back to skillet.
Cover and cook until chicken is no longer pink in centers, 10/12 minutes.

Serve over fresh cooked pasta. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley if desired.DSC04140

By the way, see the bread? DSC04138Those are Buttermilk Baps from Dan Lepard. These were really easy to make and quite tasty. I added Italian seasoning and some chiffinaded fresh oregano and basil to the dough as I kneaded and it added just the right flavor to accompany the chicken. Thanks to Nancy for finding the bread recipe. She, Tracey, and I did a Twitter Bake with these.

Nothing better than ‘baking’ with friends!

This is also my first submission to Presto Pasta Night This week Sweet Kitchen is hosting. Please visit her site and see what other cooks are doing with Pasta. presto_pasta_nights

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