Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil

Warm weather necessitates lighter fare and provides opportunity to showcase homegrown garden vegetables.

This pasta dish features fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden; of course, store bought are fine. These simple ingredients yield surprisingly rich flavor.

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Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 12 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 large basil leaves, julienned
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package spaghetti, cooked
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oil in a large skillet and add onions; cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to carmelize, about 20 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, and cook, stirring frequently, until juice is let and cooked down.

When sauce has thickened, season with sea salt and pepper; stir in basil. Pour over hot, cooked noodles, and stir gently until blended. Top with Parmesan, if desired. Serve with garlic bread and a salad.

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Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs

When they eat chicken, most people prefer chicken breasts. But the real flavor is in the dark meat.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs is an inexpensive meal that’s packed with flavors.

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Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs


Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only (no stems)
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup black kalamata olives
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • freshly cooked pasta

Combine oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and fresh herbs in large mixing bowl. Add in chicken thighs and stir to cover. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Transfer thighs to greased baking pan. Arrange olives and tomatoes around thighs. Pour any remaining marinade over thighs, olives, and tomatoes. Bake 30 minutes, and then increase temperature to 425°. Bake for another 10 minutes, browning chicken.
Serve thighs over freshly cooked pasta, spooning sauce over chicken.
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Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli & Pine Nuts

A late meeting forced a late dinner this evening – and I didn’t feel like spending a long time cooking. So I threw together this quick chicken and pasta dish that’s surprisingly fresh and flavorful.

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Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli & Pine Nuts

  • 1 package angel hair pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 7-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 head broccoli, cut and steamed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • shredded Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl. Separately, boil broccoli until just tender. Drain and rinse with cool water.

In a large skillet, sauté chicken pieces and garlic in olive oil. As chicken cooks, add fresh thyme. When chicken is cooked through, add butter and pine nuts. When butter is melted, add broccoli and lemon juice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine. Serve hot with shredded Parmesan cheese.

 

Tortellini alla Panna

Way back in the 80s when I went to college in Rome (Italy), rather than having class in a traditional classroom, we studied on site at famous places like the Colosseum or the Imperial Forum. Then we’d break for lunch to eat a local trattoria.

My husband – who was then my fiancé – would often choose this rich dish, made with cheese tortellini, pancetta, and peas. I’ve Americanized this version, but it retains much of the authentic Italian flavor. Buon appetito!

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Tortellini alla Panna

  • 1 20-ounce package cheese tortellini
  • 1 12-ounce package thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • a little milk, if necessary
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add tortellini, and boil until tender (they will float to the surface). Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, cut the bacon into 2-inch-long strips and fry in a Dutch oven. When cooked through, remove and drain.

Wipe the bacon fat out of the Dutch oven and add the butter. When melted, stir in the flour and then slowly add the cream. Stir to thicken the sauce, being careful not to let the cream burn on the bottom of the pan.

When sauce is warm, add in tortellini, bacon strips, peas, and parmesan cheese. Stir to blend. Add a little milk if sauce is too thick. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to bowls, top with additional parmesan cheese, and serve hot.