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Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

9 Feb

Sunday’s in our house are normally reserved for Italian dishes.  DH likes to have some antipasti in the early afternoon; some cheeses, cold meats, and lots of bread with good olive oil!  I’m not sure how he manages to still have room for dinner after eating such, but he does!
I’ve been trying to cook different foods lately in an attempt to get through all the recipes I have saved throughout the years!  I have far too many! At any rate, I recently made Stuffed Shells and you know what?  We loved them!  We  both had seconds if that tells you anything!  I highly recommend this dish.  It’s perfect for a Sunday or weekend when you have some extra time.  It would also be a great dish to serve at a dinner party.  Add some salad and garlic bread or knots and your meal is complete!


  • 12 ounces (1 box) jumbo pasta shells (approximately 36 shells)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing baking sheet
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, diced (I bought a large piece of pancetta, probably a little over an inch thick and then diced it)
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) containers whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Lightly oil a 12 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish and set aside. Lightly oil the baking sheet and set aside.

Partially cook the pasta shells in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly tender but still quite firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. You will continue cooking the shells in the oven after they have been stuffed. Using a slotted spoon, drain pasta shells and place on oiled baking sheet, spreading them out so that they don’t stick together and allow to cool.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes.  Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring often.

In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolks, basil, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spoon 1 1/4 cups of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell. Arrange the shells in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, then sprinkle with the mozzarella.

Bake in the lower third of your oven until the filling is heated through and the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe from – Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce


Sausage and Broccoli Rabe served with Macaroni

18 Sep

This dish combines hot italian sausage, broccoli rabe, and lots of garlic to awaken your senses!  I opted for hot italian sausage rather than chicken sausage because that’s what I had in my freezer, but certainly use whatever you have on hand. 

This is a great Sunday afternoon meal that can be served with a salad and some garlic bread!  Enjoy!!


  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, washed and 2″ trimmed off stems
  • 1 lb lean chicken sausage, removed from casing (I used hot italian sausage)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz orecchiette (I used a mixture of ravioli and cavetelli)
  • 1 cup low sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


1.  Cut broccoli rabe in quarters.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  When it comes to a boil, add broccoli rabe.  Branch for about 2 minutes, drain, and set aside in colander.  Re-fill pot with water and salt for the pasta and bring back to a boil.   Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente.

2.  In a large, deep saute pan, brown sausage on medium heat, breaking up into small pieces as it cooks.  When completely cooked through set aside in a dish or bowl.  Increase heat to medium-high, add olive oil to the pan, when hot enough add garlic and cook until golden (don’t burn). 

3.  Return broccoli rabe to the pan, mix well with garlic and oil, season with salt and pepper and cook about a minute. 

4.  Return cooked sausage to the pan and mix well.

5.  Drain pasta and add to the broccoli rabe.  Reduce heat and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add chicken broth, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.  Add additional salt and pepper if needed.  Toss well; serve with grated cheese.

Adapted from Skinny Taste –

Linguine with a White Clam Sauce

15 Jan

My husband loves linguine and clams.  When we go out for Italian, it’s almost a given that he will either get this dish or a pasta dish with red sauce and sausages.  For this blog update, I will give you my take on linguine with a white clam sauce.  I don’t eat clams, so I can’t truly give you my review on this dish…but I got a great review from DH! 
DELICIOUS!  He loved this meal and ate the whole thing!  It’s a very fast meal to make and could easily be a week night meal!

1 pound of linguine or your favorite pasta (I used cavetelli)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
6 garlic cloves
1 12oz. can of Victoria White Clam Sauce
10 little neck clams
3/4 cup of white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Italian Seasonings
3/4 cup of heavy cream
Salt and Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Grated Cheese


1.  Cook the pasta according to directions.
2.  In a large skillet/pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil and 1.5 tablespoons of butter. 
3.  Add the garlic, clams and white wine.  Stir and then cover.  Reduce heat to medium.
4.  Take the little neck clams out as the shells open up and remove clams.
5.  Place clams back in pot and cook for an additional 3 minutes until the sauce had reduced.  Add the remaining butter and stir to melt.
6.  Reduce the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice.
7.  Sprinkle with the Italian Seasonings and Red Pepper Flakes.
8.  Pour in the heavy cream.
9.  Add the salt and pepper and stir well.  Cook until well heated.
10.  Plate the pasta and pour on the clam sauce mixture.
11.  Top with grated cheese.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook

Parma Rosa a la Daniel

13 Dec

A few weeks ago my husband and I, along with my in-laws took a drive to Springfield MA. After an afternoon spent shopping, we ventured to a restaurant called ” A Touch of Garlic”. This place was your local mom and pop type of place. The menu offered much variety with the majority being homemade. The meal was so good that when I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner this past Sunday night, he proclaimed- “Parma Rosa”, which was the name of the dish he had ordered and devoured on our trip!
I searched the Internet for an actual recipe, but couldn’t find one. I did get some ideas from ladies who have made similar dishes, so I took some notes and after heading to the local market, was ready to give this meal a shot!


Package of ground hot sausage
2-3 pieces of skinless thinly sliced chicken breasts cut up into smaller pieces; if you like a lot of chicken add a few more pieces.
Package of sliced mushrooms
Bag of spinach
Fresh garlic; approximately 3-4 cloves depending on your preference.
Italian Seasonings
Hot Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper
Your favorite pasta
Butter; approximately 3 tablespoons
Jar of Marinara Sauce (I used Patsy’s) or if you are feeling overzealous you can make your own!
Small container of heavy cream
Ricotta Cheese
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese


1. In a large pan, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat over medium high heat for a few minutes until oil gets hot.
2. Once hot, add the package of ground sausage and the chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to mix while enduring that the sausage gets broken up. Remain cooking until both are lightly brown and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Next add 3 tablespoons of butter to pan set over medium heat. As butter begins to melt, add few cloves of garlic and your mushrooms and spinach. Sprinkle with some Italian seasonings and salt and pepper. Give a good stir and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes until both spinach and mushrooms have been cooked down.
4. While the spinach and mushrooms are being sautéed, bring pot of water to boil and cook according to package.
5. Once mushrooms and spinach have been cooked, reduce heat to low and add in the chicken & sausage mixture (drain fat/grease first). Stir together while on low heat.
6. Add your pasta sauce or Marinara sauce to small pot and heat until warmed. Add extra seasonings if you prefer, I added some garlic powder! Then add in 4-5 tablespoons of ricotta cheese (more/less depending on your preference) and about 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Stir to combine until the sauce has reached that “pink color” and the consistency is to your liking. Add extra cream if need be.
7. Plate dish with pasta and top with your sausage, chicken, spinach, and mushroom mixture. Lastly add your sauce and some fresh mozzarella cheese to top off.

Best Macaroni & Cheese you’ll ever have! Repost from previous blog

30 Nov

This recipe was posted over the summer on my former blog, but I felt the need to post it over here, as it’s truly the best kind of macaroni and cheese I have ever had!

Let me know what you think!!

I love macaroni and cheese! Whether it’s in the blue box, velveeta, or homemade….I can eat this stuff all the time! I stumbled upon this recipe on a cooking board I belong too and knew I would have to try it! We had some family over this weekend from Nevada. They had been traveling for a few days and were looking forward to a nice home cooked meal! I accompanied this macaroni and cheese with country homestyle ribs, corn bread, corn on the cob, and some salad. It couldn’t have turned out better! I didn’t expect for us to finish it all…needless to say, I didn’t get a picture of it prepared! The picture here is of the leftovers!

There were 8 of us and the ¾ of a pound was just enough for a side. If you are cooking this for a smaller group you could easily reduce the recipe or just enjoy the leftovers!!


For the Topping:

¼ stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cups panko or coarse style breadcrumbs

1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

For the Cheese Sauce and Macaroni:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter *I used 5 tablespoons to ensure macaroni wouldn’t dry out

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes *I didn’t measure, but probably ended up with close to 1.5 tablespoons…we love anything spicy and with great flavor!

2 ¾ cup whole milk

¾ cup heavy cream

4 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¾ pound elbow macaroni


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease pan with butter or cooking spray.

For the topping:

Mix together panko, butter and cheese in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy pot over low heat. Whisk in flour and red pepper flakes, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes to make a roux. Whisk in milk in a slow steady stream. Increase heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Simmer for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture is thickened. Stir in cream, cheese, mustard, salt and pepper until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook macaroni according to package directions, making sure to add plenty of the salt to the cooking water. (At least 1 tablespoon for every 4 quarts.) undercook macaroni about 3-4 minutes so that it is al dente. This ensures the pasta won’t get mushy when cooking.

Stir together macaroni and sauce in a large bowl or in your sauce pot if it’s big enough. Transfer to prepared baking dish, mixture will be loose.

Sprinkle topping evenly over mixture and bake for about 25-35 minutes. Top should be golden and bubbling.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard

30 Nov

Recipe Repost:

On Sundays, DH and I like to enjoy a nice pasta meal! I will start off the morning by listening to the Italian House Party on the radio like my grandmother used to years ago! She would get up nice and early and begin cooking her dinner around 12pm. Sunday’s were always the days she would have an early dinner and I like to try and do the same! I wish she was here today to make some of her chicken cutlets and eggplant for me!

I came across this recipe on the food and wine website some time ago. Being a picky eater, its hard to find meals that I can make for both of us without having to prepare that much seperately. With the exception of the sausage, I prepared everything together.

It didnt come out as flavorful as I would have expected, but it was still very tasty and DH loved it! The recipe didnt call for any tomato sauce, but I like to enjoy my pasta with a nice sauce so I added some sauce and ricotta to it. If I made this again, I would probably saute some onions and garlic to give it the additional flavor.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard by Nigel Slater


  • 1 pound penne or medium shells
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced basil


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat. Serve at once.