Easy Bolognese

20160617_190950The weather has not been very summer-like this week, rainy, windy and 65 degrees. This is hardly a surprise, as almost exactly two years ago, just a few short days before our wedding, my then-fiance and I woke up to a gentle dusting of snow in our backyard (and promptly freaked out).

So, we’ve found ourselves back in hibernation mode, craving things with tons of meat and carbs and basically anything not involving vegetables or a salad. There was boxed macaroni and cheese the other night. I know.  Continue reading


Sundried Tomato and Pesto Pasta

gluten-free vegan pesto pasta 2

Guys, summer’s over, and my tomatoes are stubbornly refusing to ripen. I have two giant cherry tomato plants in my garden, one of the Sweet 100s variety and one pear-shaped yellow one. While they have just started to poke out their little green tomato fruits, they are stubbornly refusing to yield the sweet, ripe little flavor bombs I know must be coming. I’ve been waiting all summer to collect giant handfuls, quarter them, and throw them into some pasta with an amazing homemade pesto.

It’s times like these when I turn to sundried tomatoes packed in oil. Speaking of flavor bombs, these suckers add a burst of summer to any dish. I mostly use them in the winter, when I can’t find good cherry tomatoes anywhere, but it turns out they’re also good for assuaging tomato-induced frustration.

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Macaroni and Peas (vegetarian, gluten-free option)

macaroni and peas gluten-free vegetarian

If you say the title of this dish really fast, you can fool your significant other into thinking you are making macaroni and cheese for dinner. I don’t recommend this, because if your significant other does not like peas, he or she is going to be sorely disappointed in this meal.

I, on the other hand, was delighted with the way this turned out. The final recipe of Green Week had to be really, insanely green, and when I saw this recipe on Food52, I knew it was perfect. It’s so simple, so easy — just peas, garlic, butter and parmesan cheese, tossed with macaroni, salt and pepper. The peas become incredibly rich and velvety when blended, and the butter ensures that even though you’re really not eating that much cheese, this pasta still feels and tastes decadent.

I also love how technicolor green it is. Like, appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day green. Be careful not to overcook the peas, or you will definitely get sort of a brown sauce. Just lightly cook the peas until tender and bright green. I also did not bother to sautee the garlic as the original recipe recommended…if you want to do that, go for it, but I was not about to dirty another pan.

Serve this with a spinach salad with olive oil and balsamic, and enjoy the best, brightest, most spring-like meal I could imagine. If you like,use gluten-free pasta…though this pea puree can also be adapted to work in a risotto recipe.

Macaroni and Peas
  • 10 ounces shelled small peas, fresh or frozen (I used frozen, and it was great)
  • 10 ounces short pasta (gluten-free, if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, coarsely grated
  1. Put on a large pot of salted water on to boil. Put the peas in a separate saucepan and add water to just cover. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender — a couple of minutes. Drain the peas — but reserve their cooking water.
  2. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, put half the cooked peas in a blender with 6 tablespoons of their cooking water, the butter and garlic, and the grated cheese. Puree until smooth, adding more cooking water if necessary.
  4. Combine with the remaining (whole) peas and season liberally with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and toss with the hot pea sauce and whole peas. Serve with more grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  1. You probably are going to add more salt than you would expect — it’s okay. This keeps well for several days, but you’ll want to add a touch more butter or oil when you reheat, I think.

Squash Mac and Cheese (meatless, gluten-free option)

acorn squash gluten-free mac and cheese

It’s sleeting here, following a few dustings of wet, heavy snow. Somehow, it still surprises me when it snows on the cusp of spring — despite having lived in Buffalo, New York, for 22 years and Idaho for almost four, that quintessential April (or May) snowstorm sneaks up on me every time.

I had planned to make something green, spring-like and super-healthy for all of you. Then, my fiance and I drove to our wedding venue on Saturday. There were four inches of snow and slush on the ground; we were worried about making it because the roads were a mess.

After that, all thought of greens flew out the window. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s still winter, and therefore, squash season. So, I made this pasta dish, which has been on my list for ages, but was rejected for the past month because it was “too wintery.” Ha. Continue reading