Fresh Tomato Pasta with Garlic + Basil Bruschetta

This fresh tomato pasta is perfect all on its own, but top it off with flavourful bruschetta and it throws it over the top.

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So this fresh tomato pasta is a staple in our house, it’s super easy, requires mainly fresh ingredients, and makes you feel good about eating a big bowl of pasta.

While I also really love classic pasta sauce that is slowly cooked and has flavours developed over time, I kinda think that it’s more of a winter, cold-weather meal. That being said, even though it’s summer and hot outside it doesn’t mean you still don’t crave a hearty bowl of pasta every now and then, and so that is where this version comes in. It’s fresh, comes together in no time at all, and is topped off with super yummy bruschetta - the perfect summer meal!

Now, if you have never thought of putting fresh tomatoes on top of your pasta you are seriously missing out. It adds a perfect contrast and really brings this dish to the next level - plus it’s using all the ingredients that you already have so it's super easy to do!

I like to add a bit of Italian sausage into this as well but it is just as delicious vegetarian. You can sub the chicken stock for veggie stock and serve any of your non-meat-eating friends. Even throw it over zucchini noodles for a carb-free option. Seriously, the options are endless so make it any way that works for you and your family - but don’t skip the bruschetta - seriously, it's key and once you try it you will never to back to eating it without!

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 30 minutes

total time 50 minutes

servings 4 - 6

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 white onion

1 lb sweet Italian sausage

5 cups chopped tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic

1 cup chicken stock

5 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup parmesan cheese

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

6 basil leaves

salt + pepper

1 lb orecchiette (or your favourite pasta)

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package.

In a large saucepan add in olive oil chopped onion and cook until onions are translucent. Add in sausage and cook over medium/high heat until sausage is cooked through.

To the saucepan add in chopped tomatoes and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes are very soft. Add in chicken stock and simmer 10 minutes.

To the sauce add in tomato paste, freshly grated parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, thinly sliced basil leaves and salt + pepper to taste. Add in drained pasta and stir to fully combine. Top each serving with a good amount of bruschetta.

Bruschetta

1 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

6 basil leaves

1 tsp olive oil

salt + pepper

In a small bowl combine finely chopped tomatoes, garlic + basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt + pepper to taste.

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Ravioli with Peas, Mint and Pistachio Crumble

Ravioli with Peas, Mint and Pistachio Crumble - my version of Eataly’s Ravioli di Piselli.

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Ravioli with Peas - I must admit that initially, this wasn't a combination that sounded tasty, but then I tried it!!!

Last weekend we went to Eataly, one of my favourite places in LA, I mean seriously, It’s like Disneyland for food lovers especially Italian food lovers. If you ever have the opportunity to visit you must, plus they have locations in Vegas, Chicago, NYC and Boston so you have options. Seriously, if you want to make an amazing dinner that is simple yet so flavourful this is the place to visit. Just the mozzarella alone is worth the drive!

Now after you admire all of the amazing cheese and pasta you absolutely must visit one of the many food options. For us this weekend it was a necessity to have an Aperol spritz and some pasta, so while perusing the menu I was intrigued by their Ravioli di Piselli aka Ravioli with Peas.

So despite being unsure I went for it and let me say - I was instantly in love. Nothing is better than eating a meal and then dreaming of when you can return to have the exact same thing! So needless to say I needed to make a version of this to appease my ravioli needs.

Now while my version is a scaled down it is still super delicious. The Eataly version has pea and mint stuffed ravioli my version is a bit more weeknight friendly with a cheese ravioli and pea “sauce”. You get all of the spring pea flavours without all of the work.

This is a meal that you can whip up in less than 30 minutes yet looks fancy enough to serve at any dinner party. So if you can't run to Eataly tonight make this version - it will meet all of the Peas and Pasta needs you didn't even know you had!

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prep time 15 minutes

cook time 15 hour

total time 30 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup pistachio

1/4 cup panko

1 cup peas + 1/4 cup

5 mint leaves

6 tbsp salted butter

1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 lb cheese ravioli

Instructions

In a small frying pan combine finely chopped pistachios and panko and cook over medium/high heat until browned - approx. 5 minutes (stir constantly to avoid burning).

Cook ravioli according to directions on the package. Meanwhile, in a food processor place the peas and mint leaves and blend until smooth. Add butter to a large saucepan and allow to melt completely then add in the zest of your lemon, salt, pepper, finely grated parmesan and the pea puree. Whisk until it comes together and is smooth.

Drain the ravioli setting aside 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Whisk the water into the sauce then toss with the ravioli and remaining peas. To serve divide between 4 plates then top with the pistachio crumble.

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Roasted Garlic Pesto Spaghettini with Pan Fried Oyster Mushrooms + Crispy Pancetta

If you're a pesto lover, you will LOVE this version! Roasting the garlic mellows out the flavour and gives depth to this easy, fresh pasta dish!

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Happy Thursday and Happy last day of February everyone! Spring is just around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

So when I think about spring I think of light, fresh meals that don’t require a ton of time in the kitchen. This pesto pasta is a great way to get ready for sunnier weather because even though its pasta it’s still fresh and doesn’t feel heavy.

I don’t know about you, but I love pesto! With the addition of roasted garlic, this pesto has a more mellow, less sharp flavour.

There are many ways to roast garlic, but in this recipe, I slow roasted in oil. I did this for 1 reason - I didn't have any tinfoil. But, in the end, it turned out to be the best "mistake" I have made in a while. Since we all know pesto needs olive oil, you can use the oil you cook your garlic in and add even more flavour to your dish.

Now, don’t be afraid of the amount of garlic that is in the recipe. It’s a lot, and if it was raw, it would be so incredibly overpowering. But since it’s cooked the flavour is mellow and sweet.

Lastly, I had beautiful oyster mushrooms that I found at the farmers market, but if you can’t find them or they are not readily available where you live, white mushrooms work just as well.

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 40 minutes

total time 1 hour

servings 4

Ingredients

1 full head of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup walnuts + more to garnish

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp salt + 2 tsp for pasta water

5 oz pancetta

3 cups oyster mushrooms (or any mushrooms you have)

3/4 lb spaghettini

Instructions

In a small saucepan combine peeled garlic cloves and olive oil, cook over medium heat until the edges of garlic begin to bubble. Reduce heat and allow garlic to simmer for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Be sure to turn your garlic ever 2-3 minutes so that it does not burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a food processor combine basil, parmesan, walnuts, garlic and oil. Blend until smooth then add in lemon juice and salt and blend for 30 more seconds. Taste the pesto and add additional lemon juice and salt if necessary.

In a large saucepan add in pancetta and fry for 4-5 minutes or until crispy. Remove pancetta from the pot and place in a small bowl, drain all but 1 tbsp of the pancetta grease and set aside. To the pot add chopped mushrooms and fry until all of the liquid is gone, and the mushrooms are golden brown. Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the pancetta.

Fill the same large saucepan 3/4 full with water, add in salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling add in pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, drain then place pasta back in the pot.

To the pasta add in pancetta, mushrooms and pesto. Stir well then serve immediately. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

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Lazy Pirogies with Crispy Prosciutto

This is one of the easiest ways to get the wonderful flavours of pirogies without all of the work. This goes perfectly with a light and fresh salad to balance out the richness of this potato and cheese filled dish!

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So here is the deal, at least a quarter of me is Ukrainian, which means all of that good Ukrainian food always shows up at every big family function! Now, if you don’t love pirogies and cabbage rolls, you really can’t be welcomed into our family wholeheartedly (kidding, sort of).

So while you really can’t beat homemade pirogies, sometimes you just want all of those good flavours without all of the work. In walks this dish, which, while it may be slightly less work than rolling out the dough and stuffing with your filling, it is still a bit of work. Now, if you have leftover mashed potatoes that you are needing to use up you are literally golden and have just saved yourself a ton of time.

Now when I was a kid we use to make something very similar to this which was also super yummy, but I felt like it could use a little bit of an upgrade so my own version was born. The addition of the crispy prosciutto on top gives that hit of saltiness and crunch which I think is exactly what the dish was missing before. Now, if you’re not a meat eater you could certainly omit that part.

Lastly, this dish is quite rich so I would highly recommend serving this with a big salad to add an element of freshness to your meal!

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prep time 60 minutes

cook time 45 minutes

total time 1 hour 45 minutes

servings 6

Ingredients

4 large potatoes

2 shallots finely chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

4 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

2 1/2 cups milk

3 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

2 cups cottage cheese

6 lasagna noodles

8 pieces prosciutto

salt + pepper to taste

Instructions

Fill a medium sized saucepan halfway with cold water and add in potatoes that have been chopped into 1.5 inch pieces. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer on low until potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes and add in 2 tbsp of the butter and 1/2 cup of milk. Season with salt + pepper and mash until smooth and no lumps remain.

Meanwhile cook your lasagna noodles according to the package (I recommend using lasagna noodles your need to boil rather than no boil as your do not have enough liquid to cook the no-boil noodles directly in the dish). Once cooked set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt butter and add in shallots, cooking for 2-3 minutes or until shallots are translucent. Add in 4 cloves or garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute then slowly add in remaining milk whisking frequently to avoid lumps. Once sauce begins to thicken add in 1 cup of your mozzarella cheese then season with salt + pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350. While oven is preheating assemble your pirogies.

In the bottom of a 9x13 square pan add a small amount of your cheese sauce, a layer of noodles, mashed potatoes then 1 cup of cottage cheese. Repeat layers then top with remaining mozzarella. To finish top with small “piles” of prosciutto. Bake for 45 minutes then broil for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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30 minute Pasta with Tomatoes and Spinach

This pasta with fresh tomatoes and spinach comes together in less than 30 minutes. The perfect weeknight dinner for those busy days!

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So I don’t know about you guys but I have been totally into watching Tidying Up on Netflix lately. It's making me want to reorganize every room in my house and get rid of all of the things that I really don’t need. It’s amazing just how much stuff you can accumulate in just a few short years of living someplace.

So if you're like me and your presently more focused on organizing and decluttering than on making dinner you may need something you can throw together quickly so that you aren’t taking too long away from the real task at hand.

I always think it’s great to have a few meal options that you can put together quickly for those busy nights. This one is great because even though it’s a bit decadent with the cream cheese it also has an entire bag of spinach and a bunch of fresh tomatoes so it’s almost like you are also having a salad with your pasta!

I don't know about you but it always amazes me at how much fresh spinach you can add into pasta sauce. It is honestly one of the easiest ways to add in some veggies in a typically veggie lacking meal.

So if your looking for something quick to whip together tonight this meal is sure to do the trick, and if you haven't watch Tidying Up yet do it, your house will thank you!

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prep time 10 minutes

cook time 20 hour

total time 30 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

2 cups uncooked pasta

1 1/2 cup mushrooms

1 - 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 bag fresh spinach

1 - 220g herb and garlic cream cheese

1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts

1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

salt + pepper

Instructions

In a large pot bring salted water to a boil. Once boiling add pasta and cook as per directed on package.

In a large pan place quartered mushrooms and sauté in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, cream cheese, spinach and artichoke hearts and stir until combined and heated through.

Once pasta is cooked drain and add to sauce. Toss until combined. Add in freshly chopped tomatoes and season to taste with salt + pepper.

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