Tag Archives: whole wheat pasta

Caramelized Onions Fettuccini

22 Mar

This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine December 2008 issue… 


This issue had a section that highlighted pantry staples and how they can shine and help you in many quick weekday dishes.  This recipe highlighted onions and I already has a batch of caramelized onions in the fridge from making my French Onion dip, so I decided to give this recipe a try.

I switched things a bit to accommodate what I had in MY pantry at the time, so this is my very own version of…



¼ pack of whole-grain fettuccini
2 tbs of butter
1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese
Half of this caramelized onion recipe
Salt and Pepper to taste, optional


  1. Boil pasta according to package directions in a big pot with boiling salted water.
  2. When pasta is done, drain the pasta while reserving 1 cup of the water used to boil.  Return the pasta to the pot, add the butter and caramelized onions.  Mix well to combine and to warm up the onions if they were refrigerated.
  3. Add some of the pasta water to loosen the mix and create a “sauce”.  Add half of the cheese and continue combining it all. Continue adding pasta water until the sauce reaches your desired consistency… mine is that all the pasta is lightly coated with a medium thickness sauce.  Add some additional salt or pepper according to your taste… you might not even need to add anything else.
  4. Plate and sprinkle the remaining cheese onto your plated pasta.


If you do the onions ahead of time, this recipe will take you about the time it takes to boil the pasta… if you make the onions for this dish in particular, it should be ready in approximately 40 minutes according to Everyday Food. 

Make a large batch of the onions and see how many recipes you can incorporate them in… I can give you some others besides this one already:

French Onion Soup

French Quesadillas

Stuffed Brie

Undercover Carrot Mac & Cheese

13 Mar

I am experimenting with ways to sneak in more vegetables into my nieces’ diet…  I know their moms try very hard, but they take the path of least resistance often to avoid confrontation.  Hey, I understand perfectly after spending 5 glorious 24-hour days with them.

Because they love macaroni and cheese, I thought I would try how it would taste “sneaking in” some carrots. I have done this with butternut squash and pumpkin in the past… so why not try with another orange vegetable?  And carrots are cheaper and more readily available in my fridge than those other options. 

I was fascinated by the concept of hiding vegetables and nutrients into kids’ diets when the book Deceptively Delicious came out.  I think it’s a great concept and one to try not only with kids, but for us as adults too.  Sometimes you know something is good for you, but you just don’t like to make it just for yourself… or you just like certain vegetables in certain preparations, not others.  What I also liked about the book is that besides “sneaking” vegetables into kids’ meals, it stressed you should always include a side of vegetables on your kids’ plates.  The fact that added veggies are hidden within the recipe does not excuse the fact we need to teach kids it’s important to eat salads and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.  The hidden veggies are just an insurance policy if they decide not to try the side of veggies that time around.

The mac and cheese turned out really nice… because I first tried it on myself and I was not too keen on dirtying my food processor, I just mashed the carrots into the sauce.  But the time I actually do make it for my nieces I will puree the carrots to make it blend in more with the rest of the cheese sauce.



3 medium carrots, steamed and pureed
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup Cheez Whiz – I don’t normally use this ingredient, but I had it in the fridge and I felt bad just throwing it away.  You can substitute very well with cheddar cheese
½ cup cottage cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 lbs of whole-grain pasta – I used whole wheat penne


  1. Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 350 F.
  2. Bring a large pot filled with very salty water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  I usually give it about 10-12 minutes.
  3. While the pasta water is coming to a boil, prepare the cheese sauce…   in a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the buttermilk and carrot puree.  When that is warm, add the cottage cheese, most of the parmesan, cheez whiz or cheddar and let it all melt together.  Watch out it does not boil because it will make the buttermilk runny/watery… just enough for all the cheeses to come together as a sauce.
  4. When the pasta and sauce are done, drain the pasta and combine it with the sauce.   Place them in a pyrex casserole dish, sprinkle with some of additional parmesan cheese and place in oven.
  5. It will take about 15-20 minutes for the cheese on top to brown… that’s when you take it out.
  6. Wait about 20 minutes for the cheese sauce to stop bubbling and dig in…



When I make these recipes, I usually don’t measure and eye-ball the ingredients.  I had some extra sauce that did not fit the casserole dish and used it to top some steamed potatoes… they were extra delicious too.

Arugula Pasta Salad

11 Feb

Because eating more salads is one of my New Year’s resolutions… this is one of the versions I came up with.  They not all have to be with only fresh vegetables, you know.



¼ pound of whole wheat pasta – I used penne, but any short tubular pasta will do
1 fresh tomato, peeled and diced small
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn small or cut thinly
About 3 tbs of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, smashed
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 handfuls of arugula leaves, washed well and dried
½  cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small
  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic clove, salt and pepper.  Mix well together and let the mixture marinate while you set up the rest of the ingredients.  While you’re preparing the rest of the ingredients, toss the mixture every so often to mix well.  You can do this a bit in advance if you want to let the mixture marinate more time… that’s up to you.
  2. Set water to boil pasta.  Boil pasta in plenty of salted water according to package directions.
  3. While pasta cooks, wash arugula lettuce well and spin dry.  Set aside.
  4. When pasta is ready, drain well and return to pot where you boiled it.  Add the tomato mixture, removing the smashed garlic clove, and coat well.  Add the parmesan cheese and toss together.
  5. Serve the lettuce in a salad bowl and place desired amount of pasta on top of the lettuce.  The olive oil in the marinated tomatoes will be your salad dressing.  Add the cucumber and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top if you’d like.

Fresh Baby Spinach Pasta

4 Feb

I’ve had this recipe in my Food Network Recipe box for the longest time…  Penne with Spinach Sauce  is a recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis that I have found fascinating since I first saw it on TV.

I did this recipe off the top of my head for my French conversation class group, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I actually made it almost the same as the original.  Two of my friends asked me for dish using spinach… so I knew they would enjoy it.  But Katherine is not a spinach fan, and she loved this dish.  She said the goat cheese in the sauce made it for her.  So this can be something to try on your little ones…  Call it Shrek’s pasta.

I used local fresh spinach, with a somewhat larger leaf than the one you get at the supermarket.  Remember to wash your spinach well before using it in this recipe…





¾ pound of whole-wheat pasta – I used penne, but any tubular pasta would do
2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, divided
3 ounces of goat cheese
3 ounces of cream cheese
1 small garlic clove, cut in small pieces
2 turns of the food processor of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, plus more to sprinkle on top to taste
  1. Boil the pasta in salted boiling water according to packaging directions.
  2. Wash and dry well the spinach leaves.  Set aside a small bunch aside and chop.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, add most of the spinach leaves you have not chopped, goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic clove, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pulse a few times until the mixture becomes a light green paste.
  4. When pasta is done, drain well while reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.
  5. Return the pasta to the pot and add the spinach mixture.  Mix well so the sauce loosens with the heat of the pasta and pot.  Add pasta water little by little to loosen the sauce to a creamy consistency.  Add the chopped spinach leaves and the Parmesan cheese and mix well.
  6. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top.


To reheat this pasta, I added a small amount of milk to a small pot together with the left-over pasta.  I also added a bit of cream cheese and more Parmesan cheese.  The sauce was creamy and delicious again as it was when done originally.

Easy Fettuccini Alfredo

31 Jan

I heard that when Italians feel “under the weather” all they want to eat is plain white pasta… and what I mean by white is with no meat or tomato based ragú or sauce.  Maybe some olive oil, salt and pepper and that’s it.

Ever since I learned this, when I do not want to eat something heavy I always think of these “white pastas”. So the other day I fixed myself a very easy version of a Fettuccini Alfredo.  Granted, it’s not the lightest of dishes, but it was super simple to make and it only takes the time it takes to boil the pasta.





1/3 pound of whole grain fettuccini noodles – I used a brand with flaxseed for added fiber
3 tbs of butter
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste


  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta boils, mix together the butter and the grated cheese.  Create like a paste with these two ingredients.
  3. alfredo-paste
  4. When the pasta is done, drain it reserving about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.  Return the pasta to the hot pot and add the butter/cheese mixture.  Mix together so the butter and cheese melt with the heat of the pasta and pot. 
  5. Add some of the reserved pasta water in small increments to create a creamy sauce.  Add as much water you feel is necessary to reach the desired sauce consistency.  I added about ¼ cup of water, but I eye-ball it all the time.
  6. Sprinkle additional cheese and cracked pepper to garnish and season lightly.


Serve with a nice salad on the side for a quick lunch or dinner alternative.

I had some pasta left over and when I reheated it on the stovetop, I added a bit of half and half to bring the sauce back to its creamy consistency.

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