Category Archives: Pasta

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Another Quick Dish–this one can be Vegetarian!

Kalamata Olive Pasta…Otherwise Known as Pasta Puttanesca

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I always have the ingredients for this easy Italian Pasta dish on hand for those busy days when I just don’t want to cook, but I want to eat!  This dinner takes only about 30 minutes, including the salad shown!

Kalamata Olive Pasta (Pasta Puttanesca)

(This recipe is adapted from one found on the Epicurious website)  Serves 6

 

 

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You will need:

  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 5 cloves organic garlic, minced or forced through a garlic press
  • 1 TBSP Wild Caught Anchovy Paste
  • 1/2 tsp hot red-pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-oz can of Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup drained pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 TBSP drained organic capers
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh organic basil

Begin:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
Puree the tomatoes in a blender (I used my small food processor because my blender was broken!  Boo! But it worked alright)

 

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Mince or press the garlic
Coarsely chop the olives
When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente
 
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat
Add the garlic, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes, and stir occasionally until fragrant.  This only takes about 2 minutes.
 
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Add the tomato puree to the garlic oil 

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Stir and then add the Kalamata olives and capers, then bring to a gentle simmer and add salt and pepper to taste 

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Meanwhile, chop the basil, and check the pasta to see if it is done.  When it is al dente, drain.  You can toss the pasta into the sauce if you would like.  Or serve the pasta and sauce separately.   

Make the salad–this takes only about 5 minutes!

Easy Caprese Salad

 

This is one of my favs!

You Will Need:

  • Mozzarella Fresca (Fresh Mozzarella), drained.  I like the little balls–they are about 1/2″ rounds
  • Organic cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Organic Basil, coarsely chopped
  • Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • Organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh-ground salt and pepper, to taste
Just toss everything together!  I do about half the amount of Mozzarella Fresca to the amount of tomatoes (2 cups of tomatoes, 1 cup of Mozzarella Fresca), then add the basil, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to taste

Now Serve!

Stir the basil into the pasta sauce, and pass shredded parmesan cheese, if you’d like.  Everything is ready!
 
We like to have some Lassen’s Baked Rosemary Bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side.

 

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Seriously!  It’s dinner in about a half hour!

This is a perfect meal for a busy summer day when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen!  
 
Happy pasta-ing!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
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Meatless Monday

My daughter likes to call this pasta “Angel’s Red Hair” 

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In keeping with the “Hungry for Change” or even the “Forks Over Knives” documentaries that I have reviewed lately, I thought I would share a favorite family recipe that I have been making for over 25 years.  Farm fresh produce, onions and garlic, olive oil and basil–nothing better that that!  These amounts are to serve 6. (And we love leftovers of this for lunch!)

Onions and Garlic

 
 
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Chop the onion.  I used a medium-sized Spanish Onion.
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And then mince the garlic–if you don’t have one, invest in a garlic press.  So much easier than mincing by hand!  I used four cloves.

And Here’s a Handy Tip…

Here’s a technique that helps me avoid one of the most annoying tasks when I cook–peeling tomatoes.  I learned this technique way back when I helped my mom bottle tomatoes every summer.
 
First, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Then wash your tomatoes (I used about 3 lbs of Roma tomatoes.
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Drop the washed tomatoes carefully into the boiling water.

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The water will stop boiling, but that’s ok.  Some of the tomatoes will float to the top, so push them back down with a spoon so they stay in the water.  After about a minute, scoop up one of the tomatoes and prick the skin with a sharp knife. If the skin splits open, they are ready.

 

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Scoop the tomatoes out into a strainer.  Put them under running water to cool and stop them from cooking further.

 

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Core and peel the tomatoes.  The skins will slip right off!

 

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Then chop the tomatoes and set aside.
 
Make sure your water comes back to a boil, and if you are using spaghetti, start cooking it in the boiling water.  If you are using angel hair or capellini pasta, wait to cook it (It only takes about 2-3 minutes of cooking time.)
 
Heat about 2 TBSP olive oil in a large pan, then add the onions and garlic and sautee over medium heat until soft and translucent.

 

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Add the tomatoes.

 

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Stir and bring to a slow simmer.  Season to taste with salt, and if desired, pepper (I never use pepper in this recipe, but some people really love it!)  If you are using the thin pasta–angel hair or capellini–put it in the water now.

 

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When it has come to an easy simmer, add chopped fresh basil and stir.  Check the pasta to see if it is tender, and when it is, drain the pasta.

 

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Now dinner is ready to serve!

 

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This is a great main dish for a light supper, or even a side dish if you’d like to have some grilled chicken or fish.  If you’d like serve with shredded parmesan cheese.  Lately we have been enjoying the Lassen’s brand Rosemary Sourdough Bread when we eat Italian, too.  Tonight I’ll make some sauteed Italian Squash, and we’ll have a great meal!
 
Happy Meatless Monday!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
 
mac+and+cheese, fancy+macaroni+and+cheese

Fancy up your Mac & Cheese!

Heathier and Happier!

It’s hard to find a person in this world who doesn’t love (or at least like) mac & cheese.

It is, I believe, the ultimate comfort food, right up there with chili and grilled cheese sandwiches.

When I was a wee one my sister and I had mac-&-cheese-offs. Back then it was the big brand in the blue box full of sodium and artificial colors. I preferred mine with full cream and butter while she insisted it was best dry as a bone with clumps of cheese powder sticking to the noodles (guuuh!).
Over the years I’ve come across hundreds of varieties based on the old favorite with all sorts of gourmet renditions and fancy additions such as smoked gouda, apple bacon, carmalized onions and sweet potatoes, just to name a few. There are even vegan versions using creative options like cashews to make that perfect savory “cheese” sauce. While those are all BEYOND AMAZING, there’s still the ease factor of that blue box that can not be denied.
 
Thanks to Annie’s Homegrown, I can throw together mac & cheese with all the finesse of my 9 year old self without having to succumb to tweedle-yellow-5-dee and tweedle-yellow-6-dum. However because I am no longer 9, I thought the fancification of this boil-and-eat delight was in order.
 

My Quest: Maximum flavor with minimum effort.

 
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My Prize…

 

Jalapeno Garlic White Cheddar Shells with Kale

(with 4 simple ingredients)
 You’ll Need:
 
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1. Annie’s Homegrown Organic Whole Wheat Shells with White Cheddar
I know, technically its not “macaroni” but shells have a wonderful tendency to trap sauce better!
 
2. Fage Total 0% nonfat greek yogurt
In place of milk and butter, this thickens the sauce while adding a slight tang!
 
Any fat% Greek yogurt will do. I was just trying to keep this as skinny as possible. 
 
 
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3. Organic Lacinato Kale
Where the goodness comes from!
 
 
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…and the secret ingredient that really packs this easy-peasey dish’s punch…
 
4. Majestic Garlic Jalapeno garlic 
I can not fully stress my undying love for this product. 
I discovered Majestic Garlic about 2 weeks ago and it has since become a welcome condiment to most meals.The amazing zing of the organic raw garlic plus the unexpected kick of the jalapeno really puts this over the delicious edge. 
 
 
Instructions:
1. Start by following the instructions on the Annie’s Box. Boil noodles for 8-10 minutes until tender. Drain and pour back into pot. 
2. Add 6 oz container of Fage 0% nonfat Greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons of Jalapeno Majestic Garlic and white cheddar packet from the Annie’s box. Stir until completely mixed. 
3. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 cup of organic chopped kale. Put cover on and let sit for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until kale is wilted. 
4. Take off heat and serve!!! If you’d like add sea salt and Parmesan to taste. 
Yields 2 servings.
 
Simple and AMAZING. 
 
Do you have an awesome macaroni and cheese recipe of your own?
Share it with us on our NEW Facebook page and we might feature it in our blog 
(with full props to you of course!)
 
Have a wonderful weekend and stay healthy!
 
Love,
     
Lassen’s