Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Pasta, Rice, and Doughs’ Category

Orzo Salad with Olives and Feta Recipe

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs, Soups and Salads on March 25, 2016 at am

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I don’t cook with olives or feta cheese very often, because I try to stick to a low sodium diet, but when I received a can of olives from Spain as a souvenir, I knew that I had to do them justice. In my opinion, this orzo salad was the perfect way to use them, because the olives add the perfect saltiness and tanginess to the otherwise bland pasta. The great thing about this salad is that it can be served cold or at room temperature and during any season.

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Favourite Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs, Red Meat and Eggs, Sides and Sauces on November 15, 2014 at am

I’ve made this delicious and authentic Italian bolognese sauce twice now, and I’ve learned a few things about how to make this sauce even better.  First of all, don’t use finely ground meat.  You will get the best results in texture if you grind the meat yourself using a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  The store ground meat ends up feeling and tasting gritty.  Secondly, the quality of the canned tomatoes that you use makes a huge difference.  For best results, use san marzano tomatoes if you can afford it.  Though not necessary to make a delicious sauce, it will make a huge difference in tomato flavour.  (I found very affordable cans of san marzano tomatoes at Costco.)  Lastly, this sauce is delicious when made with lamb, too.  So feel free to try making this using beef, lamb, or a combination of beef and pork.  This recipe makes a large batch of sauce and is an easy way to cook for a large group.  I made this for dinner for 9 people and there was enough for everyone to have seconds.  The sauce is freezer friendly and the recipe can be halved.

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Anchovy Pesto Pasta Recipe

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on November 2, 2014 at am

I don’t normally experiment with anchovies, so I’m really glad that I gave this recipe a chance.  I guess you could say that it was meant to be, because I had some anchovies leftover from making caesar dressing (see recipe here), when I happened to stumble upon an anchovy pasta recipe in an old cookbook that I was flipping through.  I made it for a dinner party and everyone loved it.  I love how quick and easy it is to make.  You could easily double the recipe (I did!) and make it in advance.  I like serving this with roasted chicken and a side salad.  The only downside to serving this dish is that it’s not easy to pair with wine.

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Simple Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe (with a Secret Ingredient)

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on August 29, 2014 at am

This pasta sauce uses a short list of ingredients and is very easy to make.  This recipe is for a vegetarian pasta dish, but you could always add meat if preferred.  The key ingredient that makes a world of difference to this otherwise simple tomato sauce is ricotta cheese.  Try adding a dollop of ricotta cheese to your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce recipe, or simply mix it in with store-bought tomato sauce.  This is a great way to use up leftover ricotta.  Some of my other recipes that use ricotta cheese include lasagna rollsricotta and tomato crostini, wild mushroom ravioli, puff pastry tarts with arugula and cherry tomatoes, and lemon ricotta muffins.

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How to Grill Pizza (Bob Blumer’s Demonstration)

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on June 17, 2014 at am

When I attended the Great Canadian Cheese Festival (see post here), I had the privilege of attending celebrity Chef Bob Blumer’s demonstration on how to grill pizza.  His recipe for grilled pizza can be found in his cookbook, Glutton for Pleasure.  His grilled pizza really was delicious.  I am sharing his instructions for how to grill a pizza on a BBQ here.  Note that he used an 8 burner BBQ that had a built in thermometer.

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Bob Blumer

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Delicious Sausage and Tomato Pasta Recipe

In Main Course, Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on January 22, 2014 at am

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Whenever I make pasta as the main course for dinner, I like to serve a white pasta as well as a red pasta.  My mom loves creamy seafood alfredo (see recipe here), whereas my dad and I love sausage and tomato pasta.  So here is an easy recipe that is one of my family’s favourites.

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Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on January 18, 2014 at am


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I love creamy pasta sauces and I love making them from scratch.  My mom requested seafood fettucine alfredo for her birthday this year, so I’m sharing the fettuccine alfredo recipe that I used.  If preferred, you could substitute chicken for the seafood, or serve the fettuccine alfredo plain.

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Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini Recipe

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on August 6, 2013 at am

Hi everyone!  This is the first recipe that I’ve shared in over a year.  It comes served with a side of apology.  By now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t learned food photography yet.  But, more than 3 years into food blogging and I think my photography skills are actually getting worse.  I will forever cringe whenever reminded that I posted a photo with an electronic date stamp on it.  Please see below, please forgive, and then please never think of it again.  (I had to borrow my dad’s old camera at the time and I was too hungry to try and figure out how to remove the date setting.)

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Favourite Chicken or Turkey Casserole

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs, Poultry on December 26, 2011 at am

Casseroles are simple, one dish meals that are commonly found in North American homes, at pot lucks, and at other gatherings.  I have seen countless tv and movie scenes that portray families complaining about casserole dinners or that jokingly associate casseroles with poorly skilled cooks.  I was in university the first time I tried a casserole and, jokes aside, casseroles are tasty, convenient, and most of them freeze well.  They’re great for using up leftovers and they can be thrown together using any protein, pasta/rice, and vegetables that you happen to have on hand.  I don’t make casseroles often, because they tend to be high in calories and sodium, and are often made with processed foods, but every now and then I will surprise my sister with her favourite casserole (recipe below).

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Pasta with Brie, Tomatoes and Basil (A Great Summer Garden Dish)

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on August 18, 2011 at am

A neighbour was kind enough to give me a large basil plant.  I wanted to use it for something different than the standard pesto and this pasta recipe was perfect for that.  If you have a garden with tomatoes and basil, this is an easy pasta dish that will help you use up a lot of both.  It’s also perfect for cheese lovers as it contains an entire pound of brie.  This is a great option for entertaining.

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Quick and Easy Chicken Pesto “Pizza” on Bread

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on January 30, 2011 at am

I roast chicken breasts often because they’re a healthy source of protein.  However, I find them bland and boring.  So I’m always looking for flavourful ways to use the leftovers.  One day, I was craving chicken pesto pizza, but didn’t have the time, energy, or the motivation to make pizza dough.  So, I threw together a few things that I had on hand and put them on toast.  It was so delicious that I started roasting chicken breasts just for this.  When I’m really lazy, I use the microwave to melt the cheese so dinner literally takes seconds to make.

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Quick and Easy Salmon and Asparagus Penne

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on January 28, 2011 at am

Since I started taking professional courses outside of work, cooking regularly during the work week has been a challenge.  So I used this as an opportunity to try various foods that I wouldn’t normally buy.  For example, I discovered that I like canned Atlantic salmon.  It’s closer to fresh salmon than canned tuna is to fresh tuna, in my opinion.  I used it in this quick and easy, delicious pasta dish.  Even Ed liked it and he doesn’t usually like cream-based sauces.  Feel free to substitute the asparagus with any vegetables that you like.

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