20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

I love pasta…yeah, yeah, yeah!

Pasta is so great….yeah, yeah, yeah!

 

That’s my new pasta song. Do you like it? Well obvi you can’t appreciate the full artistry of the song by just reading it.

But trust me.

It’s going to be a Grammy hit one of these days.

20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

This 20-minute beauty truly tops the cake! Or pasta cake…or whatever. Y’all get where I’m going with this………………

Using two of my most favorite items– spicy Italian sausage and ‘shrooms, this number comes together so quick and is so delish that it’ll be a regular staple in your weeknight dinner rotation. You can also throw in other cast members that you may have lingering in your fridge like bell peppers, carrots, zucchinis, etc.

This time around, I ended using whole wheat pasta but feel free to use whichever that tickles your fancy.

TGIF Folks!

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20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

kosher salt
½ pound dried linguine, or pasta of your choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
½ cup diced shallots
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon dried fennel, crushed
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups sliced crimini or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed Roma tomatoes
2-3 pinches sugar
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Boil the pasta for approximately 8-10 minutes in heavily salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

While the pasta boils, heat a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the sausage and use a wooden spoon to crumble up the meat while it’s browning. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink (about 1-2 minutes) and add the shallots, garlic, pepper flakes, fennel, oregano, and mushrooms. Sauté the items together for another 1-2 minutes.

Add tomatoes with its juices and bring to a boil. Add the sugar, thyme and lower the heat to medium-low. Use the wooden spoon to crush and break apart any large pieces of tomatoes. Allow the items to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Toss in the cooked/drained linguine, coating the pasta well. If you want a looser based sauce, add a tablespoon at a time of the starchy pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Season with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Plate the pasta and cover each dish with freshly shaved parmesan.

Enjoy!

 

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Guys… I moved to Việt Nam.

Okay, not really. But I swear, San Diego these past few weeks have been as hot and humid as South East Asia in the dead of Summer!

I’m MELTING!!!

And turning on the oven or kitchen burners has been the last thing I’ve wanted to do. But a girl has got to eat and the lighter and easier the dish–the better!

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Quick and light bites like this Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad is the perfect remedy to combat the heat. Soba (buckwheat) noodles tossed with fresh veggies in a bright and acidic ponzu sauce is easy to make and doesn’t leave you feeling like gazillion pounds.

I opted for a vegetarian take but if you miss the meat, throw in such grilled chicken or shrimp and you’ll be a happy camper.

Now excuse me as I pass out in front of the air conditioner.

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Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad
Serves 2

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons prepared ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons canola oil (or other light flavored oil)
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon sambal paste
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
kosher salt
black pepper

6 ounces dried soba noodles
1 heaping cup sweet peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup blanched edamame beans
1 cup blanched asparagus tips
1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers (or other small cucumbers of your preference)
¼ cup sliced scallions
1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles for 3-4 minutes or accordingly to package instructions. Drain the soba in a colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake off excess water and transfer to a bowl. Add all the vegetables to the noodles, except the scallions. Add several spoons of the vinaigrette over the noodles and vegetables and toss well. Add additional vinaigrette as needed for everything to be lightly coated.  Divide the contents between two serving dishes. Top each plate with scallions, sesame seeds and enjoy!

Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Pasta — Surf & Turf Made Easy!

Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Pasta
Now let me admit this to you.

Some girls love flowers delivered to their door and some gals love chocolate.

Me?

You’d have my attention with a nice bottle of vino or meat. :)

Yes, you read that correctly.

 

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So when our friends at Farmer John sent over a box of their latest Cheese & Wine Flavor Smoked Sausage, I squealed with joy.

Seriously…squealed.

Not only because I was so excited to try it out but we coincidentally were having our monthly Sunday Family Dinner just a few days after. Complete divine intervention since a part of our menu required for us to bust out our beloved habachi grills.

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It was perfect since our proteins mainly consisted of seafood (calamari, prawns, shellfish, lobster) and sausage was a much welcomed addition.

We sliced a few links up and threw them on the habachi which imparted even more of a smoky flavor. The sausage itself turned out to be a tad on the sweeter side (likely because of the wine) but it paired well with the salty-briny seafood.

So when it came time for me to use the sausage in a dish, I wanted to make sure to balance out the flavors.

Cue in spices, herbs and tomatoes.

 

Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Pasta

I played around with a few ideas and decided to use the browned sausage with a heavily spiced shrimp in a tomato sauce.

I finished the whole sha-bang with a mountain of fresh herbs and tossed it with linguine — a pasta that can hold up to a hearty sauce.

 

Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Pasta

It. Was. Delish.

Don’t believe me?

Well…shame on you!

Because it was.

Fo’ reals!

Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Pasta

The entire dish was then showered with a mound of freshly shaven parmesan cheese….and then I paused…..

Because when you make happy things in your kitchen, it deserves a moment of silence…

Followed by a serious dance-it-out session and a swig of chianti…or whatever you’re sipping on.

It’s completely mathematically sound.

Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Pasta

And yes, all of the flavors balanced out perfectly.

The salty, sweet sausage paired well with the spicy shrimp. The acidic tomato sauce with its aromatics added the much needed punch to the dish. And the cheese—well, the cheese added love.

Obvi.

Much thanks again to our friends at Farmer John - we love ya!

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Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Pasta
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

½ pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or other Cajun spice blend)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
kosher salt
olive oil
1 pound smoked sausage (I used Farmer John® Wine and Cheese Sausages), sliced
¼ cup sliced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup white wine
1 28-ounce can crushed Roma tomatoes
5-6 fresh thyme sprigs
½ tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 pound dried linguine
¼ chopped Italian parsley
1 cup parmesan (shaven, grated, etc.)

In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the Old Bay Seasoning, cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, garlic salt, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a heavy bottom, deep skillet (or pot) to medium. Add the sausage slices and brown on both sides. Toss in the shrimp and cook until they turn pink – approximately 2 minutes. Remove the contents to a clean bowl and set aside.

Add the shallots to the skillet and cook for a minute before adding the garlic. Cook for a minute and stir in red pepper flakes. Add tomato paste and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat to high and pour the wine into the skillet. Use a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the brown bits. Allow the wine to come to a boil and reduce the liquid for 2-3 minutes on the high heat.

Add tomatoes with its juices and bring to a boil. Once it comes to temperature, lower the heat to medium-low. Use the wooden spoon to crush and break apart any large pieces of tomatoes. Stir in the thyme and oregano and simmer the sauce, partially covered for 20 minutes.

While the sauce cooks, boil the linguine for approximately 10-12 minutes in heavily salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

Stir the shrimp and sausage into the simmered tomato sauce. Toss in the cooked linguine, coating the pasta well. If you want a looser based sauce, add a tablespoon at a time of the pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Season with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Plate the pasta and sprinkle each dish with parsley and the freshly shaved parmesan.

Enjoy!

 

 **Disclosure: I did receive products from Farmer John, but as always, my opinions are my own.**

20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach

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When I was in the elevator at work yesterday, I overheard someone saying how they made their grandma’s famous linguine alle vongole for Easter Dinner.

And then it was over.

I craved pasta all day long.

Preferably a pasta that someone’s grandma made but beggers can’t be choosers–I had to settle for something I could wrangle up.

20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach

So as I drove home I did a quick inventory of what I had in the fridge/freezer and decided upon a quick shrimp scampi. I have a delish recipe for Shrimp Scampi on the blog already but I wanted to change it up a bit.

I opted to throw in some fresh spinach leaves at the end for a bit of greens. I had originally played around with the idea of adding peas but went for the spee-natch instead. But who knows, I may throw some peas in next time for some oohs and ahhs.

Peas and thank you!

20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach

The pasta was bright, citrus-y, uber garlicky (vampires beware) and totally satisfying. And the best thing? Despite me calling this a 20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach, you can probably have it done in 15. But why not pour yourself a glass of wine during the process and take the few extra minutes?

Cheers!

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20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach
Serves 2

Ingredients:

kosher salt
4 ounces dry linguine or spaghetti pasta
½ pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to garnish
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 thin slices lemon
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
black pepper
2 handfuls (about 2 cups) spinach leaves
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Boil the pasta for approximately 8-10 minutes in heavily salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

While the pasta boils, mix the shrimp, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and garlic salt together in a bowl. In a large skillet, heat the oil to medium heat. Add the shrimp (with all the garlic and herbs) and lemon slices* to the skillet. Cook the shrimp on both sides until they turn pink—approximately a minute on each side. Remove the shrimp to a clean bowl/plate.

Turn the heat to high and pour the the wine into the skillet. Use a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the brown bits. Allow the wine to come to a boil and add the lemon juice. Reduce the liquid for 2-3 minutes on the high heat. Add the butter and whisk/melt it into the reduced wine.

Turn the heat to medium-low and toss in the cooked/drained pasta. Vigorously toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a tablespoon at a time of the pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Season the pasta with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Toss in the spinach and plate the pasta with the light sauce.

Top each dish with the cooked shrimp. Sprinkle the top with additional red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

*While plating the pasta, you can remove the cooked lemon slices. Some do not enjoy the slight bitter taste of biting into cooked lemons but I’m all about it.

15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta

15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta

I am ALL about fast meals during the week days. Delicious goodness that can be whipped up in a flash using minimal ingredients and the least amount of dishes.

Because if I haven’t told you before, I absolutely loathe washing dishes. I would pretty much rather wash anything else…….laundry, my car, Bella (my pup)–heck, washing an elephant would be infinitely more enjoyable than doing dishes.

Back to food……….

Pastas are one of my go-to quick fixes where I can throw anything together for a fulfilling meal. This 15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta is so easy to make and can really be modified to whatever you have in the fridge. The end results is a great dish that is rather light and would be perfect for a warm summer night with a glass of pinot grigio in hand. And coming from a carnivorous gal, you won’t even miss the meat while you get down on a big ol’ bowl of this deliciousness.

Have an awesome Friday folks and enjoy your Easter Weekend!

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15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta
Serves 2

Ingredients:           

kosher salt
4 ounces dry linguine or spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped shallots
½ tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup white wine
1½ cups grape tomatoes
3 heaping tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
black pepper
2 handfuls (about 2 cups) fresh arugula leaves

Boil the pasta for approximately 8-10 minutes in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots and sauté for 1-2 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic, chili flakes and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the wine and bring it to a boil. Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes until they begin to burst.

Pour the starchy pasta water into the skillet. Once the liquids start to boil, toss in the pasta and sprinkle in the parmesan. Vigorously toss the cooked pasta to evenly coat it with the sauce. Check for seasonings and adjust with kosher salt and pepper accordingly. Toss in the arugula leaves and plate the pasta to a dish.

Serve immediately.

Cacio e Pepe with Poached Egg

Cacio e Pepe with Poached Egg

Cacio e Pepe topped with an unctuous poached egg is absolutely divine and can be whipped together in about 20 minutes.

Want to learn more about how I’ve crossed two traditional pastas together to create this beauty? Click here and read my latest post and recipe for our friends at Safest Choice® Eggs.

You absolutely won’t regret it!

Ultimate Stuffed Shells to Ring in the Holidays

Ultimate Stuffed Shells

Here we go….let the Holiday celebrations begin!

Thanksgiving….Friendsgiving….Hannukah….Christmas…Kwanzaa…Winter Solstice…Festivus!

Don’t get me wrong, I adore them all. I’m a holiday-lovin’ gal. Heck, I’ve had my Christmas tree up for over two weeks now but with all of these festivities, there’s a lot of cooking that’s required.

And as much as I’m down for long hours of cooking and baking, I also strongly believe in dishes that I can make ahead that can still carry the spirit and yumminess (is that a word?) of the special occasion.

Ultimate Stuffed Shells

These Ultimate Stuffed Shells really fit that bill. Not only are they bright and colorful but they are just down right comfort food—something like grandma would make. Well, not my grandmas…they were old school Vietnamese and would have stuffed tofu than pasta. But someone’s grandma would have made them and it’s like getting a big ol’ hug when you take a bite.

Why do I call these “ultimate” stuffed shells? Because they’ve got all of my favs in them–spicy Italian sausage, mushrooms, spinach, and tons of different cheeses. They’re pretty easy to make and are always a fan favorite when they show up on a spread.

And with that….Bring on the stretchy pants–I’m ready for some Holiday Eats!

ps. And since this is the time for giving, check out these adorable personalized cutting boards from our friends at Red Envelope. Perfect for any loved ones who enjoy a delicious Foodventure.

Cutting Board

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Ultimate Stuffed Shells
Serves approximately 6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
½ cup diced shallots
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup minced baby portabello mushrooms
8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese + 2 tablespoons, divided
4 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
½ cup fresh basil chiffonade (more for garnish)
kosher salt
black pepper
20 ounces marina sauce
20-24 jumbo pasta shells, boiled to just shy of al dente
4 ounces shredded mozzarella

Heat a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the sausage and use a wooden spoon to crumble up the meat while it’s browning. Once browned, remove the sausage to a plate that has been lined with paper towels to drain.

In the same skillet, cook the shallots over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until tender but not browned. Add in the garlic, pepper flakes, thyme, oregano and mushrooms. Continue cooking for a few minutes until the mushrooms become tender. Add the spinach, parsley, nutmeg and continue to cook for an additional minute until combined. Transfer to a large bowl and cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Once the mixture has cooled, fold in the ¼ parmesan cheese, ricotta, beaten egg and basil until just combined. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Pour approximately 2/3 of the marina sauce into a baking dish. Spread the sauce evenly to coat the bottom. Fill each of the shells with heaping spoonfuls of the cooled mixture and place them in the dish on top of the layer of marina. Continue until all of the shells have been filled and are placed snugly amongst each other in the baking dish.

Spoon the remaining marina sauce over the shells and then the remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet (in case anything bubbles over during baking time). Bake the shells for 25 minutes and then remove the foil and continue baking for 10 minutes until the cheese bubbles and slightly browns.

Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Prior to serving, garnish with additional basil chiffonade and enjoy!