Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guest Blogger Wednesday!

Good morning bloggers, I wanted to pop in real quickly before I give the reigns over to our wonderful guest blogger, Dani. Please give her a warm welcome! She will be joining us every Wednesday, which thrills me, haha. So, give her a hand and here we go!


First I want to thank Mandie for hosting me on her blog. It is an honor to be here. Just a little bit about me… I am one of those cooks, who looks in the fridge and decides what is for dinner based on what we have on hand or what is about to go bad. That being said, I want it do be delicious and not a lot of work. Today’s meal is Pasta with Greens, Beans and Tomatoes.

Pasta with Greens, Beans and Tomatoes

  • 3 cups green beans, cut into bite-size pieces (I prefer fresh French beans, usually available at Costco)
  • 5 oz bag of spinach (about 4 generous handfuls, if you buy it in bulk)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced (there are no vampires in my house)
  • 1 - 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (I prefer petite cut, but use what you have)
  • 1 TBSP of Olive Oil (I prefer Extra Virgin)
  • ½ cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz of Fusilli (if using the long kind, break them into smaller pieces)
  • 1 cup of reserved pasta liquid
  • 2 tsp of basil (oregano, Italian seasoning, would work as well)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Cook pasta according to instructions in lots of water with plenty of salt. As all the TV chefs say, it should taste like the sea. If you have never accidentally swallowed the ocean, use your best judgment. We are going for salty. This will give your pasta more flavor and you will need less seasoning during the rest of the cooking. I prefer firmer pasta, so I cook it 1 minute less than it says.

While pasta is cooking, heat your oil over medium heat. Once hot, add your green beans and sauté with about a tsp of pepper, and 2 tsp oregano for about 2 minutes. Next, add the whole can of tomatoes with garlic. Cooking for another 2-3 mins or until your green beans are cooked to your liking. I like them cooked, but still having some crunch so 2 mins is about good for me.

Add the ricotta cheese, lemon and stir until evenly distributed without lumps. If your veggie mixture has reduced too much, add some of the pasta water. Before serving, add the pasta to the veggie mixture and toss to coat. I like to serve topped with a bit of mozzarella, just a little sprinkle.

What I enjoy best about this dish is the beautiful colors, how easy it is to make and that my picky 4 year old likes it. You can experiment with this recipe by using different veggies, as well as, different cheeses. Other veggies I would use are kale, mustard greens, fava beans, carrots. Cheeses to use are cottage cheese, mozzarella cubes, goat cheese.

Mainly, be creative in your kitchen. Thank you again, Mandie for having me.

Cheers! J