Tag Archives: pasta

penne with peas and bacon

penne with peas and bacon via dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comBasically, I love pasta. Pretty much any kind of pasta. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner pasta.

Well, maybe not breakfast, but you know what I mean, right? And bacon… who doesn’t love bacon? Put it together with some crispy peas and parmesan (and butter). Golden.

I was trying to think of something witty to write on here. Some weird story that had a hint of humor. But then I realized that I pretty much don’t do anything all day. Well, besides go to class or lab, eat, sleep, and watch TV.

I come to the realization that my life really is not that interesting a lot. Generally it’s during those moments when I think I am really funny and that I could have a TV show based on my life… something Kardashian-esque (admit it… you’ve thought the same thing about yourself!). But, then I realize most people probably don’t want to watch me in class all day or doing homework or pipetting chemicals into beakers.

I will admit that there are definitely times when I am the first one to laugh at my jokes. And sometimes the only person to laugh at my jokes.

But, hey, as long as I’m bringing a smile to someone’s face, even it is my own, I don’t mind. And sometimes a little bit of lightness is all you need to get through the day.

penne with peas and bacon

Makes 2-3 Servings

½ lb. penne
4 slices bacon, sliced
¾ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Add pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly crisp around the edges. Increase heat to medium-high. Add in peas and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until peas are heated through and beginning to crisp a little, about 5 minutes. Add in butter.

Toss bacon and pea mixture with pasta and Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.


gnocchi with beans and spinach

gnocchi with beans and spinach dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comPart three of meatless meals: Gnocchi with beans and spinach. Lauren made this gnocchi a while back and I was very thankful for a homecooked meal that I didn’t have to cook. Not that my mom doesn’t cook me dinner when I’m home. I don’t want momma to read this and think I’m telling the world she deprives me of food. Although if I were to look in the pantry right now, I’d say my choices would probably be pretty grim…

But, seriously, with meals like this, I could go vegetarian.

Okay, maybe I will take that last part back and rephrase: I do not miss meat with meals like this, but I certainly want it in some meal at least once per week. Is that too much to ask?

As I posted here about a week ago, I was set to begin the “Eat your Heart out” Diet on Wednesday. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on fruits and veggies for the first few days. And then, two-thirds into my fruit day, the first day of the diet, I could not do it anymore.

I’m a baby. What can I say? I never would have thought I would be saying that I got stuck on the fruit day. I love fruit! But… not so much for dinner. And not so much as the only thing to eat all day. The acidity and sweetness were killing me. Seriously. My teeth hurt.

So, I made a refried bean quesadilla for dinner and called the whole diet thing done.

I guess maybe I should just start trying to eat a little bit healthier instead…

gnocchi with beans and spinach

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 16-oz. packages dried gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
6 cups chopped baby spinach
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (use part-skim to cut down on fat)
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook for about 7-9 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir often until it turns lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add in water and continue cooking until onion is fully cooked, about 4-6 minutes. Add in spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add tomatoes and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Bring to a simmer. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top and cover for about 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

If you want, you can pop it under the broiler for of  to get nicely browned cheese on top.

Source: Eating Well

campanelle with green beans and bacon

campanelle with green beans and bacon | drag it through the garden

Seeing as though it’s officially the New Year, I have one very important question.

How long is it going to take me to remember to write “2013” on the date line for papers and homework instead of “2012”?

Oh, yeah… and how much do I have to beg you to try this pasta?

Not like “eat your Brussels sprouts” begging. More like I have about 1,000 pins of recipes on Pinterest and have only tried a handful begging.

But seriously, try this pasta. It’s super easy and it’s super yummy. Pasta with green beans? It may sound a bit strange (it did to me at first, too). But they’re all sweet and the bacon is doing its savory thing and the pasta is, well… carb-y (and if you know me, you know I have a mild obsession with carbohydrates).

And the leftovers? Yeah, they’re even better.

campanelle with green beans and bacon

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 lb. campanelle (or any other pasta you prefer)
6 slices bacon, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut up into pieces
3/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving

Drop pasta into boiling, salted water. Cook to al dente according to package directions, about 11 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, add bacon to a cold skillet. Turn heat to medium. Once bacon begins to sizzle, add in garlic cloves. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until bacon is slightly chewy and browned around the edges. Add in green beans. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 4-6 more minutes. Remove garlic cloves. Reduce heat to low. Stir in butter and parmesan. Toss with drained pasta and sprinkle additional grated parmesan, if desired. If needed, add in some of the water the pasta cooked in to loosen up the sauce a bit.

Source: Fine Cooking

capellini with chicken and artichokes

School is officially out and that means Christmas is almost here. Every year I get so excited about the coming Christmas. I just love the holiday cheer everyone has. I love the upbeat music everyone plays. And I love not having class or homework or exams. Oh… and the presents are a major bonus too.

So, now that I have absolutely nothing to do all day, I sit here anxiously checking every hour on the hour to see if my grades have been posted. I did actually start studying for my LSAT today (surprisingly), but we’ll have to see how long that lasts. Like that no-pasta diet of mine that lasted all of (maybe) two weeks.

Pasta is kind of my go-to if you haven’t noticed. My favorite part of this one? Besides the carbs… the briny flavor that comes from the artichoke hearts and capers to break things up a bit.

capellini with chicken, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes

Serves 4

8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1.5 lb.)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. chicken broth
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and quartered
2 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
5 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. butter
8 oz. capellini
4 tbsp. chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour to a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken with flour. Shake off excess. Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a separate dish.

Add broth to skillet and boil until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, tomatoes, and chicken. Stir. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add in butter and swirl around to combine. Cover until pasta is ready.

Add capellini to boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve chicken and sauce over capellini. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart, using reviews

classic spaghetti and meatballs

Midterm week is finally over! I say that as if I had a multitude of exams to take this week… It was actually more like one (and maybe a half if you want to count a take-home essay). But, the end of midterm week also means the start of a two-day Fall break next week. So, this would seem like the correct place to talk about having a nice time relaxing, reading a nice book, maybe catching up on TV episodes I’ve missed. But, you see, as you probably already know, professors all over the world want to make sure that no one gets too bored on their time off, hence the pile of homework I have up to my knees.

On a more food-related note, I made these spaghetti and meatballs on a meatball-induced crave. I have to say, they’re pretty delicious, although they took me all afternoon to make. I am not exactly sure why; looking at the recipe, it only seems like it should take about an hour a half, maybe two hours to complete. That being said, I no longer allow myself to look at the “total time” section on most recipes because I know that I’ll probably end of doubling it. That being said, I tend to multi-task in the kitchen. Not multi-task in “I’m making two things at once” (although I also do that), more in the sense of “I’m watching a movie and cooking at the same time. And probably texting someone too.” Probably not the best of ideas, but I’m still alive.

Back to the meatballs. These are super juicy, especially with the melted mozzarella over the top. This would be great for a big Sunday dinner… nothing too off-the-wall ingredient-wise to scare off the family, if you know what I mean.

Finally, on a blog-related note, my sister, Lauren, agreed to take over this blog recipe-wise while I’m abroad. And, I must say, she’s turned into quite the homemaker since she moved to Chicago. I still plan on keeping this updated with my travel adventures, but who doesn’t want recipes too?

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Makes 4-6 servings

Olive oil
1 Medium onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 c. milk
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 ½ lb. ground pork
1 Egg
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c. flour
4 c. pasta sauce (Pomodoro Sauce recipe below)
½ lb. mozzarella, torn into chunks
1 lb. spaghetti

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat with 3 tbsp. olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and parsley. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, until onion is translucent, but not browned. Let cool.

Moisten bread in a bowl with milk. In a separate large bowl, add beef, pork, egg, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bread from bowl, squeeze out extra milk, and add to large bowl with meats. Add cooked vegetables. Combine all ingredients, but do not over-mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reheat skillet over medium high heat with a bit of olive oil.  Separate meat mixture into about ten separate balls. Dust lightly with flour. Add to preheated pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides.

Transfer meatballs to a separate ovenproof pan. Spoon about 2 cups of pasta sauce over. Scatter with mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until cooked through.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on box (it’s about 8 minutes). Drain. Add to bowl. Top with remaining sauce and cooked meatballs.

Pomodoro Sauce

Makes 4 cups 

2 28-oz. cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand, drained and liquid reserved
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Medium onion, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
¼ c. fresh basil leaves, torn in pieces

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onion is softened. Add tomatoes and ½ c. reserved liquid. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes, until sauce thickens. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning and re-season with salt and pepper as needed.

Stir in fresh basil before serving.

Source: Tyler Florence

orecchiette with gorgonzola and chicken

I love those special edition magazines that you see in stores occasionally that are loaded with tons of great-looking recipes. I think they’re completely overpriced, but totally worth what you get. So, I recently bought Better Homes and Gardens’ Ultimate Italian magazine, not only because of the beautiful lasagna on the cover, but from all the amazing recipes inside as well.

This is the first dish I’ve made from this magazine: Gorgonzola and chicken pasta. As soon as I read the title, I knew I had to cook it. The Gorgonzola adds a nice tanginess to the creamy sauce. And, who doesn’t love the mushrooms inside?

Anyhow, I’ve been cooking a lot of pasta lately, but the leftovers keep so well, I end up munching off of it all week long, perfect for the nights when I don’t feel like doing anything or I’m too bogged down with homework to figure something out.


Orecchiette with Gorgonzola and Chicken

Adapted, only slightly, from BHG SIP: Ultimate Italian
Makes about 6-8 servings


1 lb. chicken tenderloins, cut into ½-inch slices
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. cremini mushrooms (or any other desired), sliced
2 c. whipping cream
5 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. orecchiette (or any other desired shape of pasta)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to heated skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

At this point, add pasta to salted boiling water and cook for about 11 minutes, according to package directions. Drain and set aside when done.

Reduce heat on skillet to medium. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook for about 5 – 8  minutes, until all liquid from mushrooms has evaporated and mushrooms are soft, stirring occasionally.

Return chicken to skillet. Add cream. Bring to boil and boil for about 3 minutes, until mixture has slightly thickened. Add half of Gorgonzola and all of Parmesan and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Heat for about 1 more minute, until cheese has melted.

In a large bowl or pot, mix together chicken and cream mixture, pasta, and remaining Gorgonzola cheese. Toss. Serve. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

spaghetti all’amatriciana

There have been exactly three times my entire life when I have ordered an entrée at an Italian restaurant that was not pasta. Seriously. The first time was chicken spiedini. Then, it was veal saltimbocca. The last time was pork osso bucco. While all three meals were very good, I found myself wishing I had ordered some type of pasta instead.

It used to be that pasta was a staple around my house. And then, my family turned into carb-conscious health nuts. Well, my entire family besides me. But, as I’m known to do, I started having pasta withdrawals. So, here’s my fix: spaghetti all’amatriciana. Sounds kind of fancy, right? And fancy foods are usually difficult to make, right? Wrong. This dish is super easy to pull together on a busy weeknight, but it’s nice enough to make your weekend meal, too!

(This whole fancy name dilemma got me thinking. Have you ever noticed how restaurants can charge so much more money when the name sounds more gourmet… or is in a different language all together? Would you spend more money on French toast or Pain Perdu? How about Spaghetti All’Amatriciana or Spaghetti with Pancetta, Tomatoes, and Onions?)

Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 6 Servings


6 oz. pancetta or bacon, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes in juice
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. spaghetti or bucatini
½ c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (2 oz.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Bring a large skillet to medium heat. Add pancetta (or bacon) and cook until crisp, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towels to drain. Do not remove grease from skillet. (There should be about 2 tbsp. grease remaining. If there is not, add olive oil until there is a total of 2 tbsp. fat in the pan).

Add onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and garlic is golden brown.

At this point, you can add your pasta into the boiling water. Drain after about 9 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, add canned tomatoes and red pepper flakes to skillet. Break tomatoes up a bit in the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to thicken.. Add pasta to the skillet and toss. If needed, add reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta up a bit and allow the sauce to adhere better.

Top pasta with reserved pancetta (or bacon) and grated cheese.