Category Archives: pasta


As I froze my butt off on the chair lift yesterday, all I could think about was THIS recipe.  It is one of my favorite dishes, from one of my favorite Portland restaurants.  A few years ago, a friend phoned me when Caffe Mingo shared this recipe in the RSVP section of Bon Appetit magazine.  We were pretty excited about the whole thing.   It is so simple and hearty–the perfect winter meal.  


Serves 6 people (or 4 pigs like us)
3 Tb butter, divided
1 2.5 to 3 pound boneless chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 large red onion, halved, thinly sliced
Half of a 750ml bottle Chianti (drink the other half!)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 C. brewed espresso
1 pound penne or other ridged pasta
Preheat oven to 400.F
1. Melt 1 Tb butter in large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook beef until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer beef to large bowl.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 Tb. butter to pot and melt. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
3. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Add wine, tomatoes with juice, and espresso. Bring to boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
4. Braise beef until tender, about 2 hours. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to bowl. Using 2 forks, shred beef. Return beef to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pasta: Cook in pot of heavily salted water until tender but still firm to bite.  Divide pasta among 6 shallow bowls, spoon meat sauce over, and serve with freshly grated parmesan.  
Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before serving.

Original Recipe found here.  
photo credit THE OREGONIAN

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Filed under meat, pasta, restaurants


Oh, summer…how I will miss you.  Farewell, fresh cut flowers from the garden. So long,  sweet strawberries.  Adios, vine ripened tomatoes….until we meet again. 

For many of us, summer felt like a quick blip on the radar screen.  Fortunately, I was able to harvest enough red tomatoes to make a few rounds of my favorite summer pasta.  Unfortunately, I have MANY green tomatoes still left on the vine (thank you, Food Day, for your recent section on green tomato recipes!!!).  

This garden tomato sauce has become a summer staple for us and we can’t seem to get enough of it.  We hope to enjoy a lot more of it next summer….

6 – 8 large tomatoes
4 – 6 medium garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flake
1/2 teaspoon sugar
black pepper

Prepare Tomatoes: 
Remove stems.  Cut an “X” through the skin on the bottom.  Submerge in pot of boiling water until skin begins to peel off (30-60 seconds).  Plunge into ice bath. Once cooled, remove remaining skin, cut tomato in half (along the equator) and remove seeds.  

Prepare Sauce: 
In a large skillet, heat olive oil until shimmering.  Add garlic and chili flake, saute for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Add roughly chopped, seeded tomatoes and one teaspoon salt.  Simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates out and sauce thickens (I sometimes use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes).  Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and black pepper.  

Toss with your favorite pasta and toppings.

Our “summer garden pasta” usually includes: linguine tossed with fresh basil, chopped kalamata olives, feta, and/or grana cheese.  It is also great with sauteed prawns.

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Filed under garden, pasta, tomatoes

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA whole foods market cookbook

Last summer, my sister-in-law helped me to plant my first garden. I was nervous at first, given my penchant for killing plants, but it didn’t take long for me to convert into a full fledged garden enthusiast. In the fall, we harvested our squash. With our first batch, I made butternut squash ravioli.  I had trouble deciding what to do with the rest, so I stored it in a dry, cool place while I waited for the right recipe to come along. And I’m glad that I did. For Christmas, my thoughtful friend, Jamie, gifted me The Whole Foods Market Cookbook. Even my carnivorous husband enjoyed this dish as it is simple, but packed with flavor! Buen provecho…

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH with PASTA – Whole Foods Market Cookbook

4 cups butternut squash (approximately 1 medium squash)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (approximately 1 medium onion)
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flake (use more if you like heat)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt

1 pound pasta (farfalle, penne, gemilli, etc)

1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

PREHEAT oven to 375.*  PEEL butternut squash with a vegetable peeler.  CUT the squash in half with a heavy knife, lengthwise.  SCOOP out the seeds and discard.  DICE the squash into 1 inch cubes, yielding 4 cups.*  COMBINE squash with onion, garlic, chili flake, olive oil, lemon juice, and 2 tsp salt in a large mixing bowl.  ROAST mixture in a roasting pan for 45 minutes, or until golden brown, shaking it up occasionally. 

BOIL water with 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot.  COOK pasta for 8-10 minutes until it is al dente.  DRAIN pasta and place in large mixing bowl.  MIX in the cooked squash, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.* 

*notes:  I prefer to roast squash at 450 degrees for 25-35 minutes, heating the oil in the pan for a few minutes first.   I also prefer the squash no bigger than 3/4 inch.  When mixing, I used less pasta and more veggies.  

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Filed under butternut squash, pasta, vegetarian