Pasta - Double-Post Monday

Besides being Meatless Monday, it's also Double-Post Monday. Today's double post deals with one of my favorites: pasta. Check out the Slow Cooker Chicken Ragù With Herbed Ricotta, the One-Pan Spaghetti and Meatballs, or any of the other yummy pasta recipes. Enjoy!


This is from Betty Crocker, and begins, "A lighter take on the classic Italian sauce, this vegetarian bolognese is packed with mushrooms and vegetables in a rich tomato base. Served with fettuccine, you’ll have a hearty dinner for just 300 calories."

Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes; Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes; Servings: 8

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3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

4 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 packages (8 oz each) baby bella mushrooms, coarsely chopped

2 packages (8 oz each) white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 can (28 oz) Muir Glen™ organic crushed tomatoes with basil, undrained

1 can (15 oz) Muir Glen™ organic tomato sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon soy sauce

12 oz uncooked fettuccine (from 16-oz box)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, if desired


In 5-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Cook onions, carrots, celery, garlic and salt in oil 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Remove vegetable mixture from Dutch oven to small bowl.

In same Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 14 to 19 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and liquid has evaporated.

Stir in vegetable mixture, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes; heat to simmering; reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking uncovered 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is starting to thicken. Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce.

Meanwhile, cook fettuccine as directed on package; drain. Serve fettuccine with sauce. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese and basil.

Expert Tips

Prefer a creamier sauce? If desired, stir in 1/3 cup half-and-half or heavy whipping cream after removing sauce from heat.

Cooked fettuccine may be stirred into the bolognese or topped with sauce, based on your preference.


This is from Sarah DiGregorio on The New York Times cooking site. Sarah wrote, "This recipe has a comforting lasagna vibe, as the spicy chicken-and-tomato sauce mingles with the rich, herby ricotta. Make the sauce as hot as you like: Begin with 1 1/2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes for a fairly mild spice level, then add more at the end if you want more heat. You’ll notice there isn’t much liquid when the chicken and vegetables go into the slow cooker, but have faith: The juices released during cooking end up making a not-too-thick ragù that is perfect for saucing pasta. In fact, because some chicken has more moisture than others, you may end up with more liquid than you’d like. If that happens, turn off the heat so the sauce cools a bit and is not bubbling, then vigorously stir in two egg yolks before you add the pasta. This adds glossy thickening power, just like it does in carbonara."

Yield: 4 servings; Time: 6 1/2 hours

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1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 yellow or red onion, finely minced (about 1 cup)

4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

1 sprig fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)

1-1/2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon onion powder

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes or crushed tomatoes

8 ounces pappardelle, tagliatelle, fettuccine or other long, thick pasta

1 cup whole-milk or part-skim ricotta

Heaping 1/4 cup chopped soft fresh herbs, such as chives, oregano, parsley or basil, or a mix

Juice of 1/4 lemon (1 to 2 teaspoons)

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 handful torn fresh basil leaves


In a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, carrot, onion, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, thyme, oregano, red-pepper flakes and onion powder. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and a couple grinds of pepper.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the slow cooker, crushing the tomatoes with your hands, if using whole. Stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low until the chicken is very tender, about 6 hours. The ragù will hold well on warm for an additional 1 to 2 hours.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the chopped herbs, lemon juice and a pinch of salt; set aside.

Coarsely shred the cooked chicken with two forks. Remove and discard the herb sprigs and add the vinegar and the basil leaves. Taste the sauce, adding more red-pepper flakes, if you like. Turn off the slow cooker. Pour the drained pasta into the slow cooker and toss to combine.

Divide among bowls and top with the ricotta mixture.


This comes from Bob McDonald at AllRecipes, and begins, "Wonderful rustic Italian style pasta dish! Meal can be dressed up or down with accompaniments to this tasty pasta."

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 15 minutes; Total Time: 30 minutes: Servings: 3

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1/4 pound fresh asparagus

2 red bell pepper, sliced

1/4 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced

10 cloves roasted garlic, chopped

1/2 tomato, quartered

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces dry fettuccini noodles

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons tapenade


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare asparagus by trimming woody base and cutting diagonally into 4 inch pieces.

In a roasting pan, combine asparagus, bell pepper, mushrooms, roasted garlic and tomato. Sprinkle with rosemary and oregano, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Toss with Parmesan cheese, tapenade and roasted vegetables.


This is from the May 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times (page 42). It is in an article titled Calci-yum!, and begins, "This quick and easy pasta dish offers a way to add not only calcium to your diet, but also protein and vitamins A and C." Time: 30 minutes or less; Makes 6 servings

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8 oz. uncooked spiral-shaped pasta

4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 19-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced


Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, or until al dente, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients.

When pasta is done, drain, and transfer to large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and toss well. Serve right away.


This recipe comes from Pure Wow, and begins, “Guys, this lazy cook's one-pan spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a total game changer. The next time you want to get dinner on the table with ease—and not deal with a million dirty dishes--we've got you covered.” Makes 8 servings.

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1 pound ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, whisked

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 pound dried spaghetti

3 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Make the Meatballs: In a medium bowl, mix the beef with the garlic powder, parsley and Parmesan to combine. Add the egg and bread crumbs, and mix to combine.

Form the mixture into balls, using about 2 tablespoons of meat per ball.In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook until they are fully cooked and golden brown all over, 3 to 5 minutes.

Make the Spaghetti: Remove the meatballs from the pan and set them aside. Drain any grease from the pan, and then fill it with three inches of water and a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti in an even layer and boil until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes (or according to package directions).

Drain the spaghetti, then return it to the pan. Add the marinara sauce and meatballs; toss to coat. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley. Serve warm, immediately.


This comes from Ali Slagle on The New York Times cooking site. Ali wrote, "Sometimes you just want a big bowl of pasta with butter and Parmesan. Starchy, silky and salty, it’s always good — and practically foolproof. To make it a little more grown up, just take it one step further: Brown the butter. When you slide the butter into the skillet, let it cook until the milk solids turn a toasty brown. It adds a rich, nutty flavor that makes the dish a bit more sophisticated with very little extra work."

Yield: 4 servings; Time: 25 minutes

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Kosher salt

1 pound spaghetti, linguine or other long noodle

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water (2 heaping tablespoons kosher salt to about 7 quarts water) to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta, but don’t shake it fully dry.

In a skillet or Dutch oven large enough to hold the pasta (and preferably with a light-colored bottom so you can see the butter solids brown), melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the foam subsides, the milk solids turn golden-brown and it smells nutty and toasty, 3 to 4 minutes. (Watch carefully to see that it does not burn. If it does, start over.) Remove from heat immediately.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with the brown butter. Stir in the cheese until melted. Stir in pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the pasta is glossy with sauce (you probably won’t need the full 1/2 cup).

Serve with black pepper and more Parmesan on top.