Category Archives: Pasta

Food Matters Project #44: Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers

I’m so happy to be the host of this week’s Food Matters Project.  It’s a perfect recipe for our household these days.  Between a new schedule and a new job, our lives have been a bit busy.  Easy, make-ahead and delicious recipes are perfect for us.

A while back I chose Mark Bittman’s Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers.  It’s a great recipe that can be changed to what you have in your fridge.  It’s fantastic prepared the night before, and wonderful for lunch the next day!  Check out what other FMP participants did with their recipes here.

I love tuna salad, but I really hate to order it in deli shops or restaurants.  There is always so much mayo in there, it doesn’t have the tuna flavor.  And it’s heavy, loaded with calories.  I loved this pasta salad- served cold, it was perfect for a hot summer day, and it’s still light enough that it doesn’t make you too sleepy after you eat it for lunch!

Food Matters Project: Tuna SaladPasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 232)

1 lb pasta (type: your choice)
4-5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cans 5 oz can of tuna in water, drained
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbsp capers
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.

In a large bowl mix together the following ingredients: cooked pasta, tomatoes, tuna, onion, capers, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir well and serve.

Rice Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

How come some weekends are mellow, where you have nothing planned?  That was more or less last weekend- we sat on the roof and enjoyed fresh bruschetta and fresh bread.  This weekend is crazy busy: birthdays, going away parties, celebrations, races and dinners with friends!

When those hectic (but fun) weekends creep up, it’s great to have some food prepared and ready for you in the fridge.  This way, if you need something to eat or snack on, you don’t need to worry about the preparation.


This noodle dish I is perfect for those kids of hectic weekends or weekdays.  It can be prepared ahead, and it’s best served cold (which makes it even better for this warmer weather)!

Rice Noodles with Eggplant & Mango
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (April/May 2012)

Although I had found this recipe originally in Vegetarian Times, it’s actually an excerpt from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I couldn’t get my hands on soba noodles, so we made it with rice noodles- equally delicious, and probably a little lighter.  This had fantastic flavors, and looked beautiful on a plate, perfect for a dinner party! 

1 1/2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
8 oz rice noodles
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 red chili peppers, chopped
1 inch cube ginger, grated
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 ripe mango, peeled, cut into thick strips
1 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup chopped basil

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Spread the eggplant cubes onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Using your hands, spread the olive oil and spices onto all eggplant pieces.  Roast eggplant at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  With salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Once baked, allow to cool and set aside in a large bowl.

Cook the rice noodles according to package.  Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water.  Drain, and set aside in the large bowl with the eggplant.

In a saucepan, heat the sesame oil.  Then add garlic, red chili peppers, ginger, sugar, rice vinegar and soy sauce.

In a saucepan heat sesame oil.  Then add: garlic, red chili peppers, ginger, sugar, rice vinegary, soy sauce.  Cook on low until the mixture thickens.  Add into the large bowl with the noodles and eggplant.

Lastly, add in the mango, cilantro and bail.  Toss all ingredients together.  Allow to chill in the fridge before serving.

Food Matters Project #4: Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese

I’ve had Mark Bittman’s book now for over a year, and I’m very upset I had not picked it up more often to find new and fun dishes.  As each week passes, I love this project since it’s a great way to go though a book.  And I love seeing what people pick out as their dish.

We’re in week four of the Food Matters Project.  This week’s host was Marcia and she chose a delicious dish- Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Blue Cheese.

Remember when I made the fig flatbread this past summer?  That was the day I fell in love with figs!  Once they’re in season, I might have to remake this dish- it was absolutely delicious.

Unfortunately, figs are not in season in DC at this time of the year.  So I used dried figs which I found at Whole Foods.  Although, you can use cranberries, dried cherries or any other dried fruit in this recipe.  It’ll all work well.

When making this dish, we used more brussels sprouts, and added mushrooms and onions.  We also didn’t bake the dish, but that is all preference.  This is definitely one you can impress all of your friends with, or enjoy it as an easy weeknight meal.

Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 221)

1 tsp + 1 tbsp salt
1 lb rigatoni
1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
10 dried figs, sliced
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp salt.  Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Meanwhile, mix the brussels sprouts, garlic with the olive oil and 1 tbsp salt.  Bake this mix for 20 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are tender in the middle.

Melt butter in a skillet.  Then add the mushrooms and onions.  Sauté the vegetables until the mushrooms and onions are soft.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot.  Add in the figs and blue cheese, stir together so the cheese starts to melt.  Then add in the mushroom and onion mix.  Stir well before serving.

Food Matters Project #3: Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

We’re onto our third recipe for the Food Matters Project.  I apologize for the delay, but we were out of town this weekend- and with no groceries in the fridge, it’s hard to make dinner!

Whenever I come back home, whether it’s from vacation, a work trip or just a weekend getaway, I always want something home cooked and fresh.  But it’s very difficult to have anything in the fridge if you were gone (since it’ll go bad).  Does anyone have great recipes which they make once they’re back from being out of town?  If so, I’d love to hear them (or have some links).

This week’s challenge was: Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut “Pesto”.  Mark Bittman gave some ideas on how to change up this pesto, which we did- although we also had some of our own ideas.  As he suggested, this does not only need to go onto pasta, feel free to pour it over vegetables, use it as a spread or an appetizer dip!

As with many recipes which we make, feel free to change out any ingredients which you like or don’t like, or have in your fridge or pantry.  For example, we used arugula- but spinach would be a great substitute.  Instead of pine nuts, use walnuts.  Or add some beans.  There are a million possibilities!

Heather has chosen this weeks recipe of Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.

If you’d like to see our previous Food Matters Project recipes, check them out here:
Seasoned Popcorn
Squash with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Roasted Red Pesto
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook

1 lbs dried fusilli pasta
1 16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup kalamata olives, drained
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained
2 cups baby arugula
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tbsp olive oil (you can use less or more, per your taste and texture)
salt (per your tastebuds)
pepper (per your tastebuds)
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Add dry pasta to liberally salted, boiling water.

In a skillet over medium heat, add garlic to 1 tbsp of heated olive oil and sweat for 1 minute, being careful not to burn.  Add mushrooms, pine nuts, pepper and crushed red pepper and saute until the mushrooms are soft.  Add arugula and saute another 1-2 minutes until wilted.

Transfer mushroom/arugula mixture, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, and grated cheese to a food processor.  Process mixture, slowly adding about 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then pour mixture over drained pasta and serve!

Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese

We made this delicious chocolate dessert for Valentine’s Day, so we couldn’t just have a boring entree for dinner, right?

So we decided to make some macaroni and cheese, but spiced it up a bit.  Something different, something special.

Last Sunday we had wandered the aisles of Whole Foods when Sam had a great idea- what about lobster?  Yum.  And then right before we started cooking, we found a package of bacon that we hadn’t used up.  Double-yum!

Rather than going out to eat on Valentine’s Day- which can definitely get overcrowded, we opted for a nice dinner at home.  It was very indulgent, but I enjoyed every bite of it!  (of course rocking out 5 miles that morning also helped).  The next time you’d like to have some comfort food, but with a delicious spin- try this!  (feel free to substitute the lobster for shrimp, it’ll be just as delicious)

Smokey Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese with Bacon and Jalapeños

4 lobster tails, cut into chunks
1 lb pipe rigate pasta (or something similar)
6 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
6 oz smoked mozzarella, shredded (or any smoked cheese)
1/2 lb smoked bacon
2 jalapeños, diced (optional)
1/4 stick unsalted butter
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large pot, add the pasta to liberally salted, boiling water.

In a skillet, cook the bacon on medium high heat until done, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the lobster and jalapeños to the bacon fat, and cook on medium high for about 4-5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Drain the pasta when al dente, then return to the pot you cooked it in.  Add the lobster, bacon, jalapenos, cheese and butter to the pot and mix thoroughly until the cheese and butter are fully melted.  Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.  That’s it!