Tag Archives: Pasta

Chicken in Pesto Cream Sauce over Broccolini

I wanted a simple cream based pasta dish; however, I didn’t want it to be too creamy (the wife doesn’t care for a thick cream sauce) so there is the one I came up with.


1/2 lb of sliced chicken breast

3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 tsp salt, cracked pepper, basil

2 minced cloves of garlic

8 oz cooked farfalle

A bunch of Broccolini

Let us get started

1 – In a large pan, over a medium heat, add your chicken stock and minced garlic. Bring to a slow simmer.

2 – Add chicken, salt, pepper and cook for roughly 6 to 8 minutes. Stir frequently.

3 – While the chicken in cooking, in a separate pan, add a half cup of water and your broccolini and cover. Steam until the broccolini is bright green. Remove from heat and drain.

4 – After the chicken reached the 6 yo 8 minute mark, add your heavy whipping cream and basil.  Raise heat to medium high, stir.  At this point we want the sauce to thicken slightly. When it is at your desired thickness you are done.

There you go.  Plate over your broccolini, add a bit of Parmesan cheese and you are good to go.

Fettuccine with Shrimp, Zucchini, and Summer Squash

Well, it is spring time in Chicago and thought it would be a good day for a spring-esque dish. What better than some Fettuccine and some fresh veggies. For this dish you’ll need:

1. 1/2 lb of Fettuccine

2. 3 tbsp of butter

3. 1 cup of chicken stock

4. 1/4 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup fresh oregano, 1/4 cup fresh arugula

5. One diced shallot

6. A pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper

7. 1 lb of cooked shrimp

8. 1 small Zucchini, sliced

9. 1 small Summer Squash, sliced

10. 1 tbsp minced garlic

11. 1 small head of Broccoli, chopped


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook pasta.

2. While the pasta is cooking, place the chicken stock, garlic and soft butter into a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Let simmer for 3 minutes.

3. Add basil, oregano, arugula and shallot. Simmer for 3 minutes.

4. Add Broccoli, Zucchini, Summer Squash and shrimp. Simmer for 10 minutes – make sure to stir!

5. By now your pasta should be done.  Remove for the flame, drain the pasta, then place it back into the original pot.  Pour in your shrimp/veggie sauce and serve!

Now, I understand that I haven’t done much cooking as of late… so my taste buds may be a bit off… but this was, by far, the best dish I have EVER made.

No, I’m not kidding. Hands down, the best dish I’ve ever made.

The sauce was very light. The Zucchini, Broccoli, and Summer Squash were perfectly tender and the shrimp absorbed just enough of the sauce to retain a perfect balance of the sauce and the shrimp itself.

I’d cook this up and serve it to anyone who stops by, and I strongly suggest you give it a try!

Oh… and up tomorrow… the Calamari dish that was an appetizer for this meal.

Three Cheese Baked Penne

I needed something quick and easy before I started work and so I came across this recipe.  Sometimes pastas can come out a bit bland or the sauce too “tomato-ey” or overpowering.  Between the sweet Italian sausage, the three cheeses, and the additional herbs – even my young  son (who has turned out to be my worst critic, go figure) can’t get enough!

Your supplies:

2.5 c uncooked whole wheat penne

2 (4 oz) links sweet turkey Italian sausage

1 c finely chopped green bell pepper

1.5 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/8 tsp black pepper

dash of salt

10 grape/cherry tomatoes, halved

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (8-0z) can garlic and herb tomato sauce

3/4 c shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 c crumbled goat cheese

1/4 c grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and keep warm.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with spray.  Remove casings from sausage.  Add sausage and cook 2 minutes, stirring to crumble.  Add bell pepper and next 6 ingredients; saute for 6 minutes or until pepper is tender.  Stir in tomato sauce.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Add pasta to pan, tossing to coat.

4. Spoon mixture into a prepped 8 in square baking dish.  Stir in mozzarella and goat cheeses; sprinkle with Parmesan.  Bake for 7 minutes or until bubbly and top is browned. Makes 6 (1. 25 c) servings.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 326

Fat: 10.9 g

Protein: 20.8 g

Carbohydrate: 38.9 g

Fiber: 4.9 g

Cholesterol: 47 mg

Sodium: 641 mg

Salmon Cakes with Lemon and Capers/Fettuccine in Tomato Broth

Implementing healthy, low-cal recipes has taken on much more significance for me recently so I am very happy to share those with you that actually taste good and are easy to put together.  These two were a suggested pair and so with the success of the tuna cakes I decided to try these yesterday afternoon.  Big smiles all around for these!

Salmon cakes:

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained

1 tsp black or green peppercorns

1 med garlic cloe, coarsely chopped or 1/2 tsp bottled, chopped or minced

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

whites of 2 lg eggs

1/4 cup fat free, cholesterol-free or light, reduced-calorie mayonnaise dressing

1/4 cup cornmeal

12 oz salmon fillet, skin removed

1. With a mortar and pestle crush and grind together first 5 ingredients.  Transfer to medium bowl.  Add lemon juice and using your mortar make a paste.

2. Stir in egg whites, mayonnaise, and cornmeal.

3. Rinse your fish, pat dry and cut into 1/4 in thick pieces.  They don’t have to be uniform so  don’t feel you have to be really precise.  Stir this into your mixture.

4. Preheat large skillet over medium heat and spray with vegetable oil spray.  Form 4 patties about 3/4 in thick.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning only once.  Enjoy!

For Fettuccine:

14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 c fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

2 pepperoncini (Tuscan peppers), stemmed, seeded, and minced

2 med garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp bottled minced

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8-9 oz fresh fettuccine

6-8 oz sliced or coarsed chopped fresh mushrooms

2 large zucchini, grated

3 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried, crumbled

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp shredded/grated Parmesan or Romano

1. Heat large, deep skillet over high heat.  Put in first 7 ingredients and stir.  Bring to a simmer.  Gently stir in pasta, mushrooms and zucchini.  Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook for 2 minutes or until tender.  Stir in basil.  When read to serve sprinkle with cheese if desired.

You may be wondering. . . zucchini?  I was very, very surprised at how creamy the fettuccine came out because of this vegetable.  No heavy creams, butter, or loads of cheese (which we all love) but this had an alfredo consistency with a different flavor.  It was excellent :)

Nutritional Information:


Calories: 160

Total Fat: 3 g

Cholesterol: 44 mg

Sodium: 245 mg

Carbohydrate: 11 g

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 20 g


Calories: 217

Total Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 1 mg

Sodium: 430 mg

Carbohydrate: 43 g

Fiber: 4 g

Protein: 10 g

Pasta Bolognese over Egg Noodles

Having had an impressive Bolognese sauce at Bravo! I wanted to give this one a go in my kitchen. I finally settled on the base recipe found here.

All the goods!

All the goods!

Needed for the sauce:

1 cups grated carrots

1/2 large red onion, diced

1/2 white onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon oregano flakes

1 tablespoon dried basil flakes

1/2 6-ounce can tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red wine

1 tbsp, 1 tsp Worcestershire

salt, pepper to taste

1 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes

1/2 cup half-n-half

Fresh Parmesan cheese

Let us get right to it!

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add grated carrots, onions and shallot and cook for three minutes.

    Onions, Shallots, Carrots.. oh my!

    Onions, Shallots, Carrots.. oh my!

  3. Add ground beef and cook for a few minutes until brown.
  4. Mix in oregano and basil.
  5. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients add tomato paste and heat.
  6. Add garlic and stir to combine.
  7. Add red wine and stir together.
  8. Add Worcestershire and stir.
  9. Add canned tomatoes.
  10. Finally add in half-n-half, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

And there you have it, you are done! Bolognese sauce over Egg Pasta

Bolognese Sauce Over Egg Pasta

Bolognese Sauce Over Egg Pasta

Enjoyable dish, one that seems to get better after the sauce has sat for a few days. Make some of the kick-ass garlic bread and you are ready to go.

Spinach and Tofu Stuffed Shells

Unless you tell, no one will ever be able to tell that the tofu provides the creaminess in this dish!

You will need:

18 dried jumbo shells

8 0z frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dried

2 tbsp green onion (green and white parts)

1 tsp bottled minced garlic

14 oz soft silken reduced fat tofu, drained

1 c loosely packed fresh basil, stems removed and chopped

whites of 2 large eggs or egg substitute equal to one egg or 1 large egg

2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

pepper to taste

1.5 c tomato based meatless pasta sauce

12 oz no salt added tomato sauce

2 more tbsp parmesan cheese

1. Cook shells according to package directions and carefully rinse in cool water.  Heat a large skillet over med heat, remove from heat and then spray down.  Cook spinach, green onion and garlic until all liquid has evaporated and spinach is heated through.  Put in a large bowl.  Crumble tofu into spinach and mash/combine well.  Stir in basil.

2. In a small bowl which egg whites and add parmesan cheese, nutmeg, pepper and stir this into spinach mixture.

3. Mix tomato sauces together and place half this mixture in a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish.  Fill pasta shells with spinach mixture and top with remaining sauce and parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 mins at 350.  Makes approx 6 servings.  Enjoy!

Assembling the shells. . .

Your end product!

***I would have put in a tad bit more garlic and if you wanted something “heavier” you can use a meat based sauce as well.  Regardless, this was perfect paired with salad and don’t forget garlic bread if you want the whole “complete” Italian deal (refer to Van’s Truly Kick-Ass garlic bread!).

Nutritional Information (per serving – 3 shells):

Calories: 195 (Yup, that’s right!)

Total Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 2 mg

Sodium: 374 mg

Carbohydrate: 31 g

Fiber: 4 g

Protein: 12 g

Bacon and Tomato pasta

When I couldn’t sleep a few days back I went searching for a number of dishes I want to make. As a result, over the next several weeks you’ll enjoy the results of my evening with insomnia and it starts with this dish – Bacon and Tomato pasta.

For this adventure you’ll need:

2 tablespoons kosher salt
16 ounces spaghetti pasta
1 pound thick-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red wine
4 tablespoons basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 16 ounces spaghetti pasta
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 4 tablespoons basil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For my version I substituted Chili powder for the Red Pepper Flakes and also added dried Parsley.

You’ll have two things at once going on here, just be ready for it.

  1. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt to a pot of boiling water, and the pasta and cook until tender
  2. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add bacon and saute until bacon is crispy.
  3. Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate and remove 3/4 of the bacon fat from the pan.
  4. Add extra-virgin olive oil, onions, and red chili flakes. Cook until onions are translucent, add garlic, cook for 2 minutes then add tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Deglaze with wine.
  6. Drain pasta and add to the tomato mixture pan.
  7. Add basil and bacon.
  8. Toss with Parmesan, and add salt and pepper, to taste.

Your end result should look something like this…


Now here is the good new and the bad news.

The dish is good; however, the dish is NOT a main course. Seeing the effort time one needs to put into making the creation there is almost diminishing returns taking place.

Ok, on to the taste.

The wine, garlic and bacon mix perfectly.  Add in the basil and there is a delicate addition to the dish that helps tie everything together.  Yes, next time I make the dish, and I will make it again, I will give it a shot with the red pepper flakes. But was it stands it has the ability to add a little something to your meal.

Just remember, it’s not a main dish! it IS a main dish.


Tina made a version of the dish and enjoyed it!

Fresh Pasta with Asparagus and Pine Nuts

With the stress of life and the recent lack of time, I haven’t given much time to Yes, We Cook! This is simply due to the lack of actual cooking I’ve had the chance to do.  Well, today I said enough is enough and get back up on the horse.

Some time back we had a discussion regarding fresh pasta.  Well, JT, a fellow writer on the site, introduced me to The Pasta Puttana (Yes, if you are Italian – Gianna – you know what this means) and her freshly made pasta. I picked up a package of the fresh white-wine tagliatelle at the local Chicago market, along with some fresh asparagus, and decided to make a quick meal.

As this way my first experience with Pasta Puttana, and with the fact that this was flavored pasta, I didn’t use my saltwater in the cooking.  I have never cooked fresh pasta before and didn’t know what to expect, but it turns out the actual cook time is VERY short.  Like 1 minutes short. So, I got the water going to a raging boil, dropped in the pasta, and before I knew it was done.

Remembering that the pasta was flavored, I made a quick butter / celery seed / dried oregano mix to drip over the dish.  I simply used 1 teaspoon of butter, added a pinch of each seasoning, and melted together.

For the fresh asparagus, I used the technique previously used in the “Fusion” steak recipe.

  • 1 bunch Fresh Asparagus
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • lemon juice
  • 1 pad of butter
  • freshly crushed black pepper

Cut the asparagus into inch long cuts.  Add enough lemon juice to cover the bottom of the pan, include your pad of butter, and boil the juice for roughly 5 mins.  Your asparagus will turn a nice bright green when it’s ready. Once bright green, take off the flame and drain off remaining lemon juice.  Add the garlic powder and black pepper, mix with the pasta, add pine nuts and you are set.

Let me say, and I’m sad to say, I did not have the camera available for this dish.  So there will be no food porn available.  Sorry.

First off, the fresh pasta by The Pasta Puttana was some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. The white wine was not overbearing in anyway at all. The addition of the butter mix wasn’t even necessary, actually. I did not take away from the pasta but it didn’t add much either.

I love my Lemon Asparagus but it was not appropriate for this dish.  The lemon was too strong for the subtle taste of the white wine pasta. I would suggest simply steaming the asparagus in water.

Bottom line: If you have a local pasta source, give it a try.  If you are in Chicago, contact The Pasta Puttana and get some of her freshly made goods.

Pasta with Pesto Cream and Asparagus

After my Chicken Pesto dish I had a plenty of pesto left over for future use. I had absolutely no desire to let it go to waste, so I decided to get creative – Pasta with Pesto Cream and Asparagus.  It’s quite important to note that I’ve never – ever – made a cream sauce before and I decided to wing it.  

So here goes.

Ingredients Needed

  • ½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 4 tbsp Pesto Sauce
  • 1 Box Fusilli (well, whatever pasta you so desire)
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus, cut

1)Begin Fusilli when you start your cream sauce

2)Heat the heavy cream until it starts to simmer, add butter and mix until it melts

3)Mix in corn starch, simmer for 2 minutes

4)Mix in the pesto sauce and and grated Parmesan cheese, simmer until for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.


5)Drain pasta, place into large skillet and add pesto cream sauce and asparagus.  Heat over low flame until the asparagus is crisp


I was very, very surprised at how well this turned out.  I had expected this to turn out like a really, really bad science experiment, but no! Depending on your taste, you may wish to hold off on the asparagus as it has the ability (especially on how fresh it is) to add a slight bitterness to the dish.  


It is interesting to note they sauce is very, very lite in the end.  The pesto is not overwhelming, actually it is quite subtile.  A great adddition to the dish would be some chopped chicken and pine nuts or sliced almonds.

If you have another cream sauce recipe that you would like to suggest, please do.  I’m more than willing to try others.

I hope you enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan, Salsa is not Spaghetti Sauce

I belong to a CSA, where every Saturday they drop of a bag of fresh produce from the farm at my front door.  What I receive in that bag every Saturday informs what I will be cooking for the next week.  I find that it forces me to be creative and use ingredients I wouldn’t normally use.  Recently I got an eggplant, so my mind immediately went to either ratatouille or eggplant parmesan, since I had fresh pasta and some pecorino in my fridge I decided on eggplant parm.

The problem was I didn’t have spaghetti sauce or the ingredients to make it (I usually make it, garlic, basil, oregano, crushed tomatoes, red wine.)  Looking in my fridge I realized that I did have an abundance of fresh salsa from the deli section of my grocery store.  I looked at the ingredients, tomatoes, onion, green chile, then a bunch of, contains less than 2% of… I thought, mistakenly, that I would be able to transform this salsa into a pasta sauce.  I sautéed onion, garlic and a little carrot, added the salsa, added massive amounts of basil, sundried tomatoes, oregano and garlic salt.  Brought the whole thing to a boil then simmered for 45 minutes.  The whole house had the wonderful smell of pasta sauce, but for some reason the tomatoes in the salsa never broke down, they stayed hard little dices (how unripe would they have to be to maintain this structure?) and most importantly they never lost their acidic zing that says “salsa.” It tasted like spaghetti sauce with a bunch of lime juice added.  In the end I had to go out and buy the ingredients to make a fresh batch of sauce.



Eggplant Parmesan

1 Eggplant


8 oz pasta

Pasta sauce

2 Eggs



Olive oil

Pecorino or Parmesan

Fresh parsley

1.       24 hours in advance slice your eggplant and salt liberally on both sides, place on a baking sheet with paper towels on both sides and place another baking sheet on top.  This forces some of the liquid out of the eggplant and removes some of the bitter flavor it can have.

2.       Fill a large pot with water and really salt the water.  I always heard it should taste like sea water, and my pasta never tasted great until I realized just how salty the water should be.  If you use enough salt then your pasta will taste great plain. Bring the water to a boil.

3.       Set up a breading station.  1 plate with flour on it, 1 plate with the 2 eggs beaten, 1 plate with a mixture of the bread crumbs and some of the parmesan.  Bread your eggplant slices, into the flour, into the egg into the breadcrumbs.

4.       In a pan, pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  When the oil starts to shimmer add in the slices of eggplant.  Cook until golden brown on one side, then flip.  Once they are cooked on both sides set on paper towels to drain.  They should be crunchy on the outside and creamy in the middle.

5.       When your water is boiling add your pasta, I am lucky enough to get fresh pasta from a local source so the pasta cooks in 1 minute.

6.       Drain the pasta

7.       Assemble the dish – Pasta, Sauce, Eggplant, Cheese, Parsley