Pasta with Pesto Trepanese

YouTube loves to suggest all kinds of videos for me and recently they suggested this cooking video from Laura Vitale:

It’s a recipe for Pesto Trepanese, which is like a pesto sauce mixed with tomatoes. Her version also uses almonds instead of the usual pine nuts. Since the only pesto recipe in my repertoire uses cream and is pretty unhealthy, I thought I’d give this a try. Plus, tomatoes with pasta is just perfection.

I’m happy to say it was pretty delicious! And super easy and quick to make, too. The sauce itself has a tendency to settle, so I’d recommend stirring really well before serving. (I think she says in the video that it’s better the longer you let the sauce soak into the pasta) It has a really nice nutty flavor, especially with whole wheat pasta.

I pasted the recipe below for convenience but you can also check our the recipe on Laura Vitale’s website.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb tomatoes, plum or cherry
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 box whole wheat linguine

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta according to box instructions.
  2. In a food processor, add tomatoes, basil, almonds, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to blend.
  3. Add olive oil and continue pulsing until desired consistency.
  4. Add the sauce to a bowl and mix in the grated parmesan cheese.
  5. Toss with pasta and serve.

Turkey Burgers with Zucchini

In keeping with the theme of healthy eating, I have another great recipe from Skinnytaste, which I think has become my new favorite good blog! This time, we made Turkey Burgers with Zucchini (zucchini seems to be a very popular ingredient in these recipes).

They were super easy and quick to make, which is great for a weeknight meal. I used my food processor to grate the zucchini, garlic and onion into a nice consistency for the burger mix (although you can do it by hand too). I grilled them on my George Foreman grill, but you can also use a skillet. We actually ended up making 6 patties instead of the recommended 5, but you can make them whatever size you prefer!

This was a huge hit and my fiance could not stop raving about them. They come out really moist and juicy and they actually don’t have that many calories. You can either eat the patty naked or eat them like a burger with whatever toppings you want. We ended up eating them with whole wheat burger buns, lettuce, tomato and a bit of mayo. Yum yum! They also reheat really easily.

I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience!

Ingredients

  • 5 oz grated zucchini (about one large zucchini)
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (recipe suggests whole wheat breadcrumbs)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp grated red onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Squeeze all the moisture from the grated zucchini.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, ground turkey, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the mix into 5-6 burger patties, making sure they’re not too thick.
  4. Prep your grill and spray with cooking oil to prevent sticking.
  5. Cook the burgers over the grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until the center is no longer pink.

Chimichurri Shrimp

I’m never been a big fan of seafood, but over the years I’ve grown to like shrimp. However I really only know one or two recipes for cooking it so I’m always on the lookout for new ones. This Chimichurri Shrimp recipe from Feasting at Home seemed so easy, so I gave it a try. I’m glad to say it was incredibly easy and quick to cook, plus it tasted really yummy! I’ll definitely add it to my regular repertoire.

The chimichurri sauce in the recipe is enough to make 2 lb of shrimp, but if you’re cooking for only one or two people, I’d recommend making 1 lb of shrimp and only using half the sauce at a time. The recipe says that the sauce can be used for other things, too, like over steak, eggs, veggies and more.

I served mine over simple white rice, but you can really serve it over any grain or veggies you like. I pasted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 2 tsp + 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro, packed (stems OK)
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, packed (steams OK)
  • 1-2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add shrimp and saute for about 5 minutes, until pink.
  3. In a food processor, add red onion and garlic. Pulse until chopped.
  4. Add cilantro and parsley, then pulse again until chopped.
  5. Add remaining olive oil, lime juice, salt and paprika (optional). Pulse until well combined.
  6. Divide the sauce into two batches. Store one half for later meals.
  7. Lower the heat to medium low. Add the other half of the sauce to the shrimp.
  8. Gently toss shrimp and sauce. Serve immediately.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus is great because it makes a nice, light snack or it can be part of a meal. I love to eat it with pretzels or pita and there are so many different varieties. I found this roasted red pepper hummus recipe that tastes amazing and is really easy to make. Plus, if you leave out the red peppers, it makes a great “plain” hummus. (Though you may want more garlic for flavor) It only stays good in the refrigerator for about a week, but at my place, it’s usually gone by then!

I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience, including my modifications. I usually choose not to include the cayenne pepper, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole red bell peppers
  • 1 15oz can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt

Instructions

  1. Move your oven rack to be 5 inches from the broiler. Put broiler on high.
  2. Remove core of peppers and cut into large, flat pieces. Arrange on a baking sheet, skin side up.
  3. Broil 5-10 minutes, or until skin has charred.
  4. Add roasted peppers to a resealable plastic bag and let cool for 10-15 minutes. (You could also use a bowl covered in plastic wrap.)
  5. Gently peel skin off roasted peppers and coarsely chop. If you want, save some for a garnish.
  6. Combine tahini and lemon juice in a food processor. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and process for another 30 seconds.
  7. Add olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and process for another 30 seconds.
  8. Drain the can of chickpeas and rinse well.
  9. Add half of chickpeas and process for about 1 minute. Scrape sides and add the second half. Process for 1-2 minutes, until thick and smooth.
  10. Add peppers and process for another 1-2 minutes, until peppers are fully combined.
  11. If the hummus is too thick, add 1-3 tbsp of water until desired consistency.

Bolognese Sauce

I’m a big fan of pasta and when I’m craving a tomato based sauce, I usually make my simple meat sauce. On my most recent trip to Europe, I ate a few dishes that used bolognese sauce, which I mistakenly thought was very similar to my meat sauce. However, in addition to meat and tomatoes, bolognese sauce also contains carrots, celery and onions, as well as a few other things. These are all things that I like, so I wanted to give it a try.

I’ve mentioned Hilah before, who is a popular YouTube chef. She recently posted this video describing how to make pretty simple bolognese sauce:

I wanted to try her recipe because not only was it simple, but it also left out the usual cream ingredient in favor of putting more cheese on at the end. (It also recommended substituting the red wine with stock if you don’t like cooking with wine. For some reason, I’ve never really been into cooking with wine.) It does take about 2 hours to make, so you need a bit of time. (Not your quick weekday meal) However, it does make a huge amount of sauce that you can reheat very nicely. I used my food processor to chop up the onion, carrot and celery, which not only saved a lot of time but also made them the perfect consistency for the sauce.

I’m happy to say that it turned out really delicious! My boyfriend gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up. Since it takes a bit of effort, I’ll probably save it for weekend pasta meals and leave my meat sauce for the mid-week madness.

I’d recommend watching the YouTube video and her website has a recipe card you can print out. I’ve also pasted the recipe below for convenience, including some of the things I changed.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of your favorite pasta (I used linguine)
  • 1 oz bacon, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef (or half beef, half pork)
  • 1 cup red wine or beef stock
  • 4 cups tomato puree
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat until well cooked.
  2. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook about 10-15 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add meat and crumble. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned.
  5. Add wine or stock and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
  6. Add tomato puree, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
  7. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Make sure to stir occasionally (about every 15 minutes).
  8. Prepare pasta according to box. Drain and serve with sauce.

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

I recently found a great specialty food market nearby that not only had better products, but is a bit more affordable than my usual supermarket. I was in the mood for pesto sauce, so I found this Pesto Cream Sauce recipe from Pioneer Woman and headed to the market to get fresh ingredients. It was super easy and quick to make and ended up being really delicious! My boyfriend ended up eating two plates. I’ve pasted the recipe here for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 box of your favorite pasta

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta according to instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add basil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper to your food processor.
  3. Turn the processor on and add the olive oil little by little. Continue blending until combined.
  4. Heat heavy cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat until butter is melted.
  5. Add pesto to saucepan and stir.
  6. Combine pesto with pasta and stir. Add diced tomatoes and toss.