I should have been born Italian. I love pasta. Give me noodles, give me sauce and I'm a happy girl.


My signature dish.

1 pkg fresh spinach, chopped to bit size pieces
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 container of cottage cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 pkg manicotti noodles
1 cup tomato sauce
lots of grated mozzarella cheese

Microwave the chopped spinach for about 1 minute. In a large bowl mix together the spinach, parsley, garlic, cottage cheese, parmesan and eggs. Set aside.

Cook manicotti noodles according to the directions on the box. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Stuff the noodles with the filling and place in a 9x11 greased baking pan. Pour the tomato sauce over the noodles and cover with lots of (or a little, depending upon your liking) of mozzarella. Cover with tin foil and cook in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Very good served with a Caesar salad.

Variations: Try replacing the cottage cheese with ricotta or using lots of parsley instead of spinach. Just don't forget the garlic! I did once and it just wasn't the same…

Smoked Salmon Pasta

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, minced
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup smoked salmon, chopped
1 cup whipping cream (or ½ cup whipping cream, ½ cup milk)
1 tsp thyme
¼ cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. Sauté onion, red pepper and mushrooms for about 1 minute. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add smoked salmon and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cream, thyme, salt and half the parmesan. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Cook pasta in a large pot until tender but firm. Drain and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta. Toss gently. Serve with remaining parmesan and fresh ground pepper.

Wild Mushroom Lasagna

1-ounce package dried chanterelle mushrooms
1 cup hot water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup spinach, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
12 (about) lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

For sauce:

Rinse chanterelle mushrooms briefly under cold water. Place in small bowl. Pour 1 cup hot water over and let soak 30 minutes to soften. Remove mushrooms from soaking liquid, squeezing excess liquid back into bowl; reserve soaking liquid. Chop mushrooms, discarding any hard stems. Heat oil in heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add chanterelle, button and shiitake mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary and crushed red pepper and sauté 30 seconds. Add wine. Pour in reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Increase heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

For filling:

Combine ricotta, cottage and Parmesan cheeses in medium bowl. Mix in cooked spinach and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in egg.

Cook noodles in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse under cold water to cool; drain. Oil 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

Spread 1/4 of sauce over bottom of dish. Arrange 3 or 4 noodles over, trimming to fit as necessary. Spread half of filling over. Spoon 1/4 of sauce over. Sprinkle with a bit of mozzarella. Top with 3 or 4 noodles, trimming to fit. Spread remaining filling over noodles. Spoon 1/4 of sauce over. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with 3 or 4 noodles, trimming to fit. Press gently to compact. Spread with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover lasagna with foil and set on baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until sauce bubbles and cheese melts, about 35 minutes.

Spicy Rice Noodles with Tofu

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb firm tofu, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable stock
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp jalapeno pepper, minced
2 cups cooked rice noodles
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup spinach, cooked

Heat the oils in a large skillet. Stir-fry the tofu, garlic, ginger and mushrooms until soft. Add soy sauce, stock, peanut butter and jalapeno. Mix together. Add noodles, red pepper and spinach and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.

Variation: Use shrimp or chicken instead of tofu.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

This is one of my favourites! It's so easy and tastes so good. Experiment with the amount of cracker crumbs, cheese and garlic. I always add a lot more cayenne than called for.

1 LB shrimp
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp dried oregano or parsley or basil
juice of half a lemon (optional)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (the more the better)
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1/4 cup parsley

In an oven-proof saucepan, melt the butter along with the oil. Add garlic and toss - don't let the garlic burn! As it cooks, add the pepper, pepper flakes, oregano and cayenne. Stir well. Cook about 3 minutes, then add the shrimp. Toss shrimp around the pan, keep tossing and add the lemon juice, parsley, crumbs and parmesan cheese. Stir to coat completely.

Place pan under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve on any pasta.

Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce

This is a very quick sauce, it takes about as long as it does to boil the noodles. Beware though: this is not real pesto sauce as I have an extreme dislike of pine nuts. But add them if you like 'em.

2 cups chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk

In a medium bowl, mix together parsley, garlic, cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil. Set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat, DO NOT BROWN! Add milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes or until thickened. Mix in the parsley mixture and remove from heat. Add to hot pasta of your choice, I like spaghettini or penne for this. Toss and serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Broccoli Pasta

12 oz. fusilli pasta
3 cups broccoli pieces (about 1 bunch)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cups milk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
21/2 cups shredded old Cheddar cheese

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 10 minutes or until just tender. Stir in broccoli. Drain immediately. Return to pot.

Whisk flour, salt and pepper into milk and pour over pasta. Stir in mustard and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.

Alfredo Blue Cheese Pasta

1 (16 ounce) package fettuccini pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic in olive oil until golden. Remove garlic, and reserve oil.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine blue cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cream. Stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in the oil from the garlic pan. Season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Toss sauce with hot pasta, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cucumber & Dill Pasta

This seems really odd, but it's actually quite refreshing on a summer's day!

1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 green onion, minced
1 tbsp butter/olive oil
1/8 cup white wine
1/8 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese
cooked pasta

Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Salute onion for about 1 minute. Add cucumber and dill and sauté about 2 minutes. Add wine, broth and salt and pepper, cook for 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, mix in cooked pasta and serve with parmesan cheese.

Roasted Tomato, Garlic & Rosemary Pasta

2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped (or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped)
8 cloves of garlic, halved
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp hot peppers flakes(or however much you like)
salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup mozzarella, cubed
cooked pasta

Mix tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, hot peppers, salt, pepper and oil in a glass baking dish. Bake in a 400º oven for 30-35 minutes.

Mix sauce and cubed cheese into warm pasta and serve!

Basil would be a good substitute for the rosemary.