Category Archives: Pasta

Recipe Reviver: Part II

Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage
Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage from Bon Appetit Magazine

So, I wanted to let you know that I had a slew of new recipes for you, but then my blog was hacked and temporarily disabled…so this time I was not a lazy panda. First up, is my reviews from the gloriousness that was the new Bon Appetit. Well, did I call it or did I call it gang? So far we have tried the three recipes below and none have disappointed. My favorites in order and a brief description of each:

  • Braised Beef with Red Onion and Gremolata: Jeez Louise, this was ALL kinds of good. No seriously, absolutely amazing and would be a great crowd pleaser at a dinner party.
  • Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage: Did you know you can make pasta feel like a cheesy dish with winter squash? Well you can, and this dish is a perfect example of easy, cheesy, breezy it is. My mind is racing with where else I can apply this method…so many opportunities!
  • Chicken and Dumplings with Mushrooms: This was really good. David liked it more than I did as it was a little heavy on the mushrooms for my liking. While I think mushrooms have their place in this world, in my stomach is not one of them.

More to come poppets from Real Simple and Cooking Light including one that had us bickering over the larger leftovers!


Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna


It’s no secret that I love Cooking Light, well I’m obsessed with all of the food magazines I’ll admit, but I love that Cooking Light can still throw a mean punch even with one hand tied behind it’s back. While others can lean on butter, tons of cheese, fatty meats etc, Cooking Light has to bring flavor AND nutrition to the table and this Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna recipe is perfect example of how they can nail it. KAPOW!

Our little one was still sick and had actually gotten worse (cursed daycare!) and while she was screaming and yelling, I still wanted to get a home cooked meal on the table for us both. You need something to keep your strength up right? When I looked up what I had chosen for the night, I sighed loudly and thought about making something else given that we have a screaming kiddo and lasagna can take time and patience, both things I was running very short on at the moment. However, and maybe it was the heat of the moment, the lack of sleep or both, I whizzed through this recipe in no time. It was in the oven and done and what felt like five minutes later my husband and were gobbling this up. I’m not a ricotta fan at all and really shy away from lasagna at most places for this reason, but, because Cooking Light can’t put in too much ricotta this recipe was right up my alley. It’s a very different take on lasagna and to me (and David) it was just perfect. So perfect that even I went back for seconds which is something I rarely do since I want to get to my dark chocolate after-dinner treat as soon as I can.

Once we were done hoovering our food, we looked up at each other, bleary eyed and covered in who knows what of bodily fluids (I never knew so much snot could come out of something so small), holding hands we went back to her room to check on our little sick one. I have to say, I have a whole new appreciation for my parents, and any parents for that matter, now!

“A David Favorite”


These are three words I love hearing during or after a meal from my adorable husband David. One of the many things I loved about him right off the bat was his love and appreciation of food which was very important to me when I was looking for “the one”.  I love exploring new foods, restaurants, wines and cocktails and David is always right there with me having the same great time. What I’m even more excited about is that we get to pass this love and appreciation for food on to our daughter (10 more weeks if you can believe it!). I can’t wait to share baking tips with her, or the right way to balance a dish, or heck, how to enjoy a good ol’ slab of chicken fry.

I know it’s been a while since I posted, and in between being insanely busy with The Pie Society (check it out! to getting ready for baby, it’s been a whirlwind past few months. Who knew that preparing for a thing so small could be so much work? Between appointments, getting the house ready, hospital details, I feel a bit like I’m getting off a Tilt-A-Whirl sometimes. Any advice from marathon moms out there?

Back to food! We had a lot of these “A David Favorite” moments going on in the house when I did have time to cook and let me just say, all of these are Emily favorites too. What I appreciated about all of them was they were fast, easy-to-follow, and very, very tasty. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole from Everyday Food. We had leftovers for days and it kept getting better and better each day. Here’s our round-up of all of them and next up, my new favorite restaurant in Austin!

Everyday Food’s Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole: YUM with amazing leftovers for days or an hour if you are pregnant.

Everyday Food’s Gnochhi with Quick Meat Sauce: Fast and easy. I used pre-made gnocchi from Whole Foods Market because they do amazing with those little potato pillows and that meat sauce is fantastico! Look it’s a demo video!

Bon Appetit’s Kerla-Style Beef Stew: reserve this for a night when it gets a little chilly and enjoy with some buttery toasty bread. You’ll thank me later. Oohh this was a stunner!

Cooking Light’s Crisp Chicken Marina: This felt like a fun spin on chicken Parmesan that was healthy to boot. I stirred in a cup of spinach until it wilted for an additional veggie oomph. You’ll be glad you had leftovers lambs.


Best Fruit Forward

We had a fruit-tastic evening here at Casa de Kealey last night! I have been in heartburn hades because of el kiddo and the one thing I keep seeing to quell said heartburn is watermelon. Now, I’m not the biggest watermelon fan – my Dad is currently shaking his head in shame – but I was willing to give this delightful looking Watermelon Gazpacho from Bon Appetit a try and then, because I have cravings like a mad woman, their Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta and Ricotta Salata looked YUMMY! And it was!

To keep things a little more healthy I chose to use whole wheat orecchiette and low-fat feta (since I’m using feta in a dish later this week). Let me tell you, these two changes will not change the flavor of the dish which was awesome and very delightful even the next day. I’ve always been a huge fan of the prosciutto/melon combo and to put it in a pasta? Brilliant. Now to the Watermelon Gazpacho! I slurped this you guys. I took one spoonful and then exclaimed “that’s SO GOOD” and then proceeded to down the bowl. I followed this recipe to a T, even the basil syrup part which is just too fun to say and it makes you sound like a kitchen badass…”oh this?” you might say “it’s just a little basil syrup.” Sounds fancy but it was really easy and I wish I would have doubled this for leftovers today. I will make more this week and keep it on reserve for those undesirable heartburn moments. Really, the heartburn is quite a thing isn’t it mamas? Oh, one thing I did add was a dollop (ick, I hate that word, weird I know) of sour cream and some fresh chives at the end to you know, kill off any hopes of stopping my heartburn.

Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta Salata:

Watermelon Gazpacho:

Boy? Girl? Let’s Find Out!

284967_395016050552859_1805443785_nOK, I’m going to admit that I completely dorked out over the gender reveal party for our baby. Massive, massive dorkage.  Maybe it’s because I was so tired in my first trimester and wanted to get my food groove back on or I’ve been fatigued and haven’t been able to spend as much time with friends as I’m used to, whatever it was, I was pumped pandas. Never mind the fact that we were about to start calling “it” her or him instead! David and I got to see baby Kealey that Friday on a sonogram (such a cutie) and then proceeded to give the sealed card to Tyler, my niece’s super gentle chef boyfriend. Alex, my niece, created a blueberry and a strawberry pie filling, the super cute cutouts and then gave Tyler directions on how to make the pie once he opened the card. We got back from lunch and Tyler had done such an awesome job with the pie…look at that, he SHUT IT DOWN. I kept swearing up and down the color looked blue underneath and David thought so too. Not until tomorrow would we know!

So down to the food geeking out part. I wanted to make foods that represented our very different backgrounds including something that embraced my East Texas/Southern roots and his Canadian/Northeast ones. Obviously, my Mama’s chicken fried steak and creamy gravy was on the menu and as was poutine –  the national dish of Canada. David requested tomato soup and grilled cheese since he loved that as a kid and fried mac ‘n’ cheese because it’s “just so awesome” in his words. I also served a kale salad for those trying to eat healthy (weird, but it does happen here sometimes) plus Devils on Horseback because bacon, dates and cheese are never wrong, a cheese plate and crackers. I thought earlier in the day that I had bitten off way more than I could chew, but actually, it wasn’t that bad making all this food!

Continue reading Boy? Girl? Let’s Find Out!

Potato Gnocchi with Pastrami Ragu

BLESS this dish, bless, bless, bless.

Best new chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbonne created this Potato Gnocchi with Pastrami Ragu and like an old Italian grandmother, I want kiss both of them on the cheek. I honestly don’t have much to say about this one except make it and snarf it I guess. One thing I did do and that’s because I’m kind of a tired bones panda at times and didn’t feel like making from-scratch gnocchi (I know you won’t judge me for that) I bought the chilled version from Whole Foods Market and followed the directions for perfect pillowy gnocchi. This made it extra splendid in my eyes  because it was so fast to make after a long night in the kitchen and got me in front of the TV quicker to geek out of over So You Think You Can Dance. Yes, I used to be a dancer (obviously not the caliber of those lovely ladies and gents) and lurve that show. I know, I’m a serious nerd. Don’t even get me started on Star Trek, comic books or Star Wars. Reason #4,567 why David and I are such a good match. Oh and speaking of, this is a David favorite and I remember that because he said it about 10 times; 8 while eating it and twice while getting seconds. If that doesn’t compel you I don’t know what will.

Nailed it!

There is a hilarious photo on the interwebs that just make me giggle and, after last Tuesday night, it definitely hits closer to home.


Although my situation had nothing to do with baking and creating what looks like a very difficult Cookie Monster cupcake, this recipe was actually much easier which makes it even more pitiful in my case.  I chose this Pumpkin Agnolotti from Bon Appetit because it sounded insanely good and was quick to boot. I was super tired after the kitchen, but got right to work on these when I got home. Reason number 4,023 I married David –  the two of us can sit and talk for hours and hours. So you can guess what happened, right? I made the pumpkin raviolis and then placed in the colander after boiling to sit while I made the sauce. Yep, we start chit chatting and I come back 30 minutes later to a pile of coagulated pumpkin won tons. Ha! I made the decadent butter and creme fraiche sauce anyway and plopped my now pile of pumpkin/wonton goodness in the sauce. It all fell apart, but I was so tired, I said “screw you agnolotti” as I threw my fist in the air as a very weak sign of defiance and then helplessly plopped the finished pumpkin/wonton mass in our bowls. But you know what? It was still freaking delicious and we ate with sloppy abandon. Heck, I’ll take that 30 minutes of talking to David over perfectly pretty pumpkin ravioli any day. And for your viewing pleasure (I’m sure you are giggling too right along with me), here is the photographic evidence.



Oooohh pretty Pumpkin Agnolotti from Bon Appetit


Not-so-perfect Pumpkin Agnolotti

Farfalle Provencal

My friend “The Boo” gave me the Neiman Marcus Cookbook (2003) as a Christmas present a few years ago and to this day I still love thumbing through it. After hours of working on the house – total remodel mode lambs – we were starving and I wanted pasta BAD. I had all of the ingredients for a basic marinara and was *gasp* going to to wing it on my own; shocking I know. However, I turned to the Neiman Marcus book and voila! a lovely and unique recipe for Farfalle Provencal.

Farfalle Provencal

Make the marinara sauce and while that cooks away prep for your pasta cooking; easy peasy! A few things I changed to the marinara, one I added a Parmesan rind to add a little bit more depth of flavor and not.waste.a.thing. Two, instead of water I used chicken broth for once again a smidge more flavor and I had some I needed to use up anyway.  Jiminy Cricket this was good! The depth of flavor with the savory tomato, salty bite of olives and capers and fresh herbacious basil was delicious. Go ahead, get your farfalle on!

Neiman Marcus Marinara Sauce  – Neiman Marcus Cookbook, 2003

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 cupd canned diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 3 cups canned whole plum tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil

Yields about 2 quarts

To prepare the sauce, pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring often, until garlic begins to brown. Add the diced and whole tomatoes, tomato paste, 3 cups of cold water, the pepper, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir the basil into the sauce.

Farfalle Provencal – Neiman Marcus Cookbook, 2003

  • 1 quart Marinara Sauce
  • 1 pound dried farfalle pasta (bow tie pasta)
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil
  • 1 cup pitted Nicoise or Kalamata olives, julienned
  • 1/4 cup drained capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup butter, diced
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the marinara sauce and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the pasta. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat and add farfalle. Turn down the heat to medium-hihg and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, unitl the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta in a large colander and shake the colander briefly under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain the pasta well and set aside.

Warm the reserved marinara sauce over medium heat, adding the basil as described in the sauce recipe. Add the olives, capers, and cooked pasta, and simmer for about 2 minutes, until the pasta is heated through. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to warm pasta bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

That’s A Spicy Meatball!

Ah Sriracha sauce, what a fiery little condiment you are. I don’t know how you came to be so popular these days, but I’m certainly happy you did. I’ve enjoyed you mixed in with mayonnaise to make a spicy dip, on Bahn Mi sandwiches and as an added kick in some of my favorite Asian soups. But in meatballs and marinara sauce? Me thinks not. For those of you who enjoy Sriarcha you know this packs a spicy punch that hits your palette and fades away so you are not writhing in pain. Everyday Food has a whole section dedicated to Sriracha in their January/February 2011 issue including recipes such as meatballs and marinara, potstickers and chicken wings. According to the magazine: The sweet and spicy blend of red chiles, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is named after the seaside town of Sriracha (SIR-rotch-ah) in Thailand…The California-based company Huy Fong Foods makes most of the Sriracha sauce sold in the U.S. It’s rooster logo earned it the nickname “rooster sauce.”


It was a tough choice, but I decided to make the Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs dish. The only thing I had to substitute was very lean ground beef for pork, otherwise I followed this exactly and it was killer. Killer because it tasted good and because it was SPICY. I think as a young child growing up in Texas I gravitated towards anything spicy and now my tolerance level is starting to fade rapidly. There might have been some perspiration, mouthbreathing and sinus clearing during and after eating this but I still loved it, and yes it faded away as quickly as it came. What a unique take on pasta and marinara sauce! We really loved the flavor of the meatballs and how they held their shape beautifully. I think broiling in the oven really helped. I can’t find the recipe online so here you go. If you like spice you will LOVE this!

Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs, Everyday Food, January/February 2011

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground white-meat turkey
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Sriracha sauce
  • 1 pound spaghetti or other long pasta
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped, for serving
  1. Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Place pork, turkey, spinach, breadcrumbs, egg whites, oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. With your hands, mix to combine; roll into forty 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil until golden brown, 10 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and Sriracha and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain pasta, add to pot with sauce and meatball, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Walnut-Breadcrumb Pasta with Soft Egg


Walnut-Breadcrumb Pasta with Soft Egg (Photo by John Autry)

This was an odd dish when I first saw it. “Where’s the sauce?” I said out loud as I was adding it to my menu plan. “Where’s the sauce?” David asked while I was making it. I’ll tell you where the sauce is. It’s in the super inventive breadcrumbs and soft gooey egg! Nom, nom, nom *buries head into bowl of pasta and barely comes up for air*. This seemed like a pretty simple dish to make but I don’t know if it was because I was tired (NO SUN DUE TO ARTIC CHILL) or that you’ve got three seperate things going on, the boiled egg, the pasta and making the breadcrumbs. Yeah, that’s not that hard, I was tired.

This was delicious and it was my first time making a soft-boiled egg. Hard boiled, sure. Soft boiled? Where the heck as this been my whole life? It’s just like a poached egg but with the exterior of a hard-boiled. News flash to me since David mentioned he’s been making these for quite some time. We loved all of the flavors together and don’t omit the goat cheese, it was a perfect addition to the dish. I would highly, highly recommend finishing this off with your favorite olive oil. We thought without this addition, even with the egg and breadcrumbs, that it could have turned out to be a little dry.  Nice little pasta for a weeknight meal. Just don’t make it when you’re a tired panda and you will be just fine.