This pasta is everything: a hearty, creamy, cheesy, flavorful bowl of autumn comfort! Flavored with shallots, garlic, and thyme, the creamy and sweet butternut squash is pureed with a dash of cream into a rich velvety sauce. A sprinkling of pecorino romano cheese balances out […]
A classic Egyptian comfort food, Macarona Bechamél oozes a creamy béchamel sauce, layered over penne pasta, savory beef, and gooey cheesy flavor throughout. This pasta casserole will be a huge hit with the whole family. The classic recipe with meat sauce can be found in […]
This delicious linguine pasta dish features spinach, pea shoots, onion, and garlic, with some hearty portabella mushrooms and sweet red bell peppers.
Pasta is such an essential go-to dish to create a flavorful and easy meal with a variety of vegetables and fresh ingredients. I love me a good farm-to- table meal; and these fresh chopped veggies from the farmer’s market are the perfect companions to pasta linguine. Even better, this a fast and easy quick meal, and even the busiest of us can whip up this gourmet dinner in no time!
Pasta has been getting the cold shoulder a lot lately with the ever increasing popularity of gluten free and low carb diets. Even I personally have been limiting my carbs lately and trying to eat a lot more whole and raw foods, but there will ALWAYS be a place for pasta in my life. The key is to utilize it as a vehicle for the fabulous fresh vegetables and sauces you create. My kids love to eat pasta, and I love to give it to them loaded with nutritious vegetables and ingredients.
Pasta is also an excellent dish when you need a carb loaded meal to give a boost of energy such as at the end of a long Ramadan day of fasting!
I love this recipe because it is fast, fresh, and easy. No sooner than you finish reading this post, you can whip up this quick gourmet meal.
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I simply use inspiration from the fresh produce available. At the farmer’s market I picked up some pea shoots for the first time (at the suggestion of my friend), fresh spinach leaves, portabella mushrooms, red bell peppers and tomatoes. I made a quick marinara sauce with all the tomatoes I got, then used the remainder of the vegetables to make a delicious rainbow of textures and flavor. I always start by sautéing some onions or garlic, in some olive oil or in this case both. Then add in the mushrooms and peppers until they start to become tender, and add the leafy spinach and pea shoots at the end so that they do not get too soft and release water. I toss this fabulous mixture with the pasta and drizzle my delicious homemade marinara over it, and we have a gorgeous and colorful meal in no time!
Garnish with fresh basil or parsley. Bon a petit!
- 6-8 portabella mushrooms (2 cups sliced)
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup pea shoots, parsley, or scallions (optional)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce or sliced tomatoes
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb linguine pasta
- salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt)
- Boil the linguine pasta in water with olive oil until al dente (about 8 minutes), and drain.
- While the pasta boils, slice the mushrooms, pepper, onion, and garlic. The spinach only need a rough chop; it will decrease in size considerably over the heat.
- Sautee the onion and garlic slices in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and red pepper and toss for about 1 minute. If using fresh tomato slices instead of marinara, add the tomato slices. Add the spinach and pea shoots and toss gently. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and immediately toss in the linguine pasta. If using the marinara sauce, toss in the sauce at this point. Serve hot.
This is not only extremely easy and fast to make, but the best recipe yet. I love a good marinara sauce because it is so basic and essential in so many recipes: spaghetti, linguine, lasagne, casserole, grilled vegetables, shrimp stir-fry, stuffed zucchini and peppers, eggplant […]
When I saw Giada making these on TV I knew it would be a hit in my family. I never eat regular chicken salad or tuna salad because I strongly dislike mayonnaise and other processed condiments heavy in preservatives. This chicken salad is a genius […]
This is another classic Egyptian dish. Oozing a creamy béchamel sauce, savory beef, and yummy cheesiness, this pasta casserole will be a huge hit with the whole family. There are many variations to make this casserole slightly healthier such as using vegetables instead of beef, whole grain pasta instead of regular, and even reducing the cream and cheese used. This recipe however is the original and is the PERFECT texture and flavor. I am using my mother in law’s recipe which she perfected over the years as it is her husband’s favorite meal! Everyone who knows her, knows she makes this dish the best; so I went to none other than the source herself for the secret!
The recipe is fairly easy and is excellent for making in large quantities and freezing extra pans for later quick meals. The trickiest part is stirring up a creamy velvety béchamel sauce. But I will take you through the steps below to help ensure the best sauce! Bechamel consists of flour and butter creamed into milk. You first need to melt the butter in a large pot over LOW HEAT. The temperature is very important. If you scorch the butter or flour, it will clump and not cook properly.
Once the butter melts, you will add some oil, and then the flour and stir consistently with a wooden spoon or a whisk into a golden paste.
Then you need to slowly add the milk, a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well in between each pour. It is best to use an immersion blender to stir in the milk and prevent any clumps.
The béchamel will thicken significantly when it sits, so you want to make it after you boil the pasta and cook the beef so that it does not sit for too long.
Once the sauce is cooked, you will add some shredded romano cheese, salt and pepper.
The pasta should be tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, some shredded cheese so that you’d actually want to just eat it like that! You will add a dollop of the béchamel to the cooked pasta and mix that all together. This mixture of pasta is part of the secret to achieving the perfectly delectable flavor in every bite you take. Once you have the sauce, pasta, and beef all ready, you can assemble the casserole.
Then Pasta again:
Finally, crown it with the béchamel:
Bake for 30-40 minute in 400 degrees until the top is bubbling.
Macarona Béchamel (ala Neveen)
- 1 1/2 lb penne pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the beef filling
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 c diced onion (one medium onion)
- 2-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1/4 c tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
For the Bechamél
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/2 c flour + 2 tbsp
- 4 cups of milk
- 1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 c shredded romano cheese
- 1/4 c shredded mozzarella
- Cook the penne pasta in boiling water and 1 tbsp olive oil, just past al dente (it will cook more in the oven), and set aside to drain.
For the beef Filling:
- Brown the beef in a pot over medium heat, adding some oil if it is not a fatty beef.
- Add the onions and garlic and stir until you hear a sizzle and onions turn a yellow in color.
- Add the spices, salt, and pepper.
- Add the tomato sauce and 1/2 c water and stir.
- Add minced parsley leaves and stir. Cook until all excess water has evaporated.
For the Bechamél Sauce
- Make the béchamel sauce by first melting the butter over LOW heat and stirring in the olive oil.
- Maintaining the pot over low heat, slowly add the flour, stirring constantly into a golden paste. Slowly add the milk, bit by bit, stirring constantly. Use an immersion blender to completely blend smoothly.
- Stir in the broth and stir.
- Turn the heat up to medium. Keep stirring and once the mixture bubbles, turn the heat back down to low. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, pepper to taste, and 1/4 cup of the shredded romano cheese. Remove the sauce from heat.
- In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with 1 tbsp olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, 1/4 cup of romano cheese, and 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella. Add about 2 tbsp of the béchamel to the pasta and stir.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).
- Layer the casserole in a 9 inch rectangular dish in even layers in the following order: half of the pasta, all of the beef filling, the other half of the pasta, then pour all remaining béchamel sauce so that the penne is completely covered. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Allow the casserole to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Bil hana will shifaa!
When you think of typical Egyptian food, kushary may come to mind. Kushary is a classic Egyptian comfort food. It is a popular street food in Cairo and throughout Egypt. Kushary is a delicious combination of common pantry grains, chickpeas, crispy onions, garlic, and savory-tangy […]