Archive for the ‘Pasta, Rice and Other Grains’ Category

We try to plan our menus for the week on Sundays.  This week my daughter asked for Spaghetti Bolognese.  I’m not sure where she had it before or heard of it but she wanted it.  Fine by me.  I looked up a few recipes and was dismayed to find that not only did they contain pancetta but that they also contained butter and cream.  Since we keep kosher that was a big problem.  Luckily I stumbled on a version that touted itself as the Perfect, Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce.  That is quite a claim!  Not sure it if is the perfect sauce or not but it was s big hit at our house.


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 or so slices pancetta (I used turkey bacon)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground veal or lamb (I used sweet Italian Veal sausage that I took out of the casings)
  • 2 cans (400g) diced or chopped tomatoes
  • 2 large glasses Red Wine (nice precise measurement, maybe that is why I love this recipe! I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pasta (enough for 4 people, cooked.  Recipe suggested tagliatelle, but we used spaghetti)


  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and fry the bacon until golden brown over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and the garlic, sauteing until slightly browned and softened.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute until the beef is browned.  Remove from pan to a bowl.
  • Add the veal or lamb and saute until browned.
  • Add the onions, garlic and beef back to the pan.  Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced in volume by about a third.
  • Reduce temperature to medium-low and add in the tomatoes, celery and carrot.
  • Allow to simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the sauce has reduced considerably.  Stirring now and then.
  • Pour sauce over the cooked pasta.  Enjoy!

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My Mother-in-law, like my Mom is a great cook.  We are blessed to have two wonderful cooks (and knitters) in our family.  I am trying to take down their recipes so that we can save them for the kids.  That is in effect what this blog is.  Partly a place for me to gather recipes from them as well as from Jeff and I.

MIL makes this dish all the time in the summer.  We made it recently but the kids changed her recipe a bit. Instead of adding cheddar cheese the way she does, they opted to add in some sliced fresh mozzarella.  Either way you make it, it screams summer with its brightly colored tomato pieces and sweet aromatic basil leaves.  The kids also voted to add some butter to the pasta before adding the tomatoes and basil.


There is no real recipe for this.  Here’s the basics:

Make pasta according to the directions on the package.  We have been using whole wheat pasta.  Spaghetti works but if you prefer another shape, go for it.

Drain the pasta and put it into a bowl.  Add a bit of butter to the pasta.  Mix it up to melt the butter.

Cut a good sized handful of grape tomatoes in half.  We used some red and some yellow to make it pretty.

Grab a really big handful of basil leaves (fresh from the garden) and roughly chop them.

Add the basil and the tomatoes.  Give it a good toss.

Slice up some fresh mozzarella.

Salt and pepper it all and serve!

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Last night we had a great dinner at home.  Just us and the kids.  Hannah asked for fried fish and Peter asked for Broccolini.  Easy enough.  I breaded the flounder with whole wheat bread crumbs and pan fried it in a mixture of olive oil and butter.  The broccolini was sauteed in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper.  At the last minute I splashed some balsamic vinegar over it and accidentally left it sit for longer than I meant to.  No worries though, it just caramelized a bit.  Yum.  I like having pasta with a red sauce with my fried fish.  It goes back to childhood.  For some reason whenever my Mom made fish sticks she made pastina with red sauce.  I didn’t use pastina, rather we had little shells in the house so we used that but I did make a red sauce to go with it.   I’ll give you the actual recipe rather than the notes I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper.  That has no measurements or directions just ingredients.   No picture today, sorry.

Arribata Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 box Pomi crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (you could put in more or less, we like olives so I probably put in more)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan
  • Stir in onions and garlic
  • Let cook for a few minutes until they get browned
  • Add the red pepper flakes and stir, let cook another minute
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, olives, capers and sun dried tomatoes
  • Let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring now and then.  The sauce will break down and start to reduce.
  • Add the basil and fresh diced tomato.
  • Cook another minute or two.

Serve over your choice of pasta.


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I am no use at clever names.  I envy people who can come up with them.  This was lying in the clippings file that was recently cleaned out.  Since last night was the first time I made it, I didn’t tweak with it much.  The kids and Jeff were full of suggestions to improve it next time.  We were all pleasantly surprised at how much we liked the kale.


  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta (we had penne so that’s what we used)
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped. (make sure to remove the thick stalk from the center)
  • 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Parmiggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup white wine (we had a bottle of Savignon Blanc in the fridge but any dry white wine will work)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper


  • Cook pasta according to directions on package and set aside keeping warm while the kale cooks.
  • Heat olive oil in a deep saute pan.  Add the garlic and let cook 2 – 3 minutes or until golden.  Stir often so it doesn’t burn.
  • Add the chopped kale. Depending on your pan you might need to add it in batches.  As it cooks, it will wilt down releasing moisture.  Stir often.
  • Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • Let the kale cook down for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas and stir.
  • Pour in the cream.  Bring to a boil.
  • Add the wine and the lemon juice.
  • Let cook another 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Toss it into a large serving bowl and add the pasta, butter and cheese.  Mix it all together and serve.




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