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Meatless Monday, Pasta

Meatless Monday: Spinach Pesto Pasta

February 24, 2014


This weekend certainly was eventful – an entire nation setting their clocks (well, the west coast at least) to wake up at an unreasonable hour to watch our hockey team win the gold medal. After our win to the US on friday the early morning wake up call was inevitable. 

I didn’t want to get up at 4 am, but I did – for our country and all. It was fun to watch, though not quite as exciting as our last gold medal game (the overtime goal by Crosby was awesome) but fun nonetheless. I went back to bed at about 6:30, and then woke up again at 10:30. Thank goodness it was a sunday morning game. 

Another surprise to the weekend was a huge snowfall. It began saturday morning and didn’t stop well into Sunday night. We had at least 6 inches before I went to sleep, and more on the way. It was so snowy and windy that there was snow right up to our front door, and on it.

I stayed in most of the weekend, making my way to the gym and making Lainey go outside for a walk. She was hesitant, but once there were a few paths shovelled out for us she didn’t mind it. I tried to make her go out again before bed but I think the whole ‘theres snow up to the door’ thing discouraged her. She is only about 10 lbs and therefore quite low to the ground – I don’t blame her. 

This pasta dish is easy and really delicious. I have made spinach pesto quite a few times before after discovering how easy it was – you don’t even need to have pine nuts on hand to make it. A simple spinach + garlic + olive oil + lemon juice does the trick. 

My mom used to make a dish similar to this when we were younger, only it would have olives (which I didn’t have on hand) and lots of cheese (which I can no longer eat because of a dairy allergy) however, my version is still pretty delicious. I think it’s all the garlic. 

The best thing about this is you can eat it both hot or cold. I love it both ways – although I think I would prefer it cold. I usually eat it hot the first night for dinner, then I’ll have the leftovers cold for lunch the next day, adding more tomatoes to it as I go.

A pasta with lots of ridges is best for this dish, I used strozzapreti, but a penne or rigatoni would also work.


Spinach Pesto Pasta
An easy pasta dish that tastes delicious both hot and cold.
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  1. handful of spinach
  2. cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half
  3. 3 tbsp of pine nuts, toasted (Optional, and you can also sub sunflower seeds, or cashews)
  4. 3 cloves of garlic
  5. dash of ground black pepper
  6. extra virgin olive oil
  7. splash of lemon juice
  8. Choice of pasta - enough for 2-4 people
  1. Wash the spinach. Toast the pine nuts on a pan over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant.
  2. Add spinach, toasted pine nuts, garlic, a dash of lemon juice and olive oil, and black pepper in a food processor.
  3. Pulse until finely blended.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package instruction until al dente. Drain the pasta, and toss with pesto. Add the sliced tomatoes.
  5. Serve warm or cold.
  1. This pasta is delicious both hot and cold. I like to enjoy it hot for dinner, and cold for lunch the next day.
b a k e a h o l i c
Italian, Pasta

Homemade Pasta

March 4, 2011



First off, it’s cold. It’s still snowing, raining and windy here in Vancouver. I cannot believe it is March already. Isn’t it supposed to be spring-like and warm and sunny? I can only hope we will have a very warm summer to make up for this.

So last night my mom came over for dinner. You may have seen that I made Tiramisu for dessert, in keeping with the Italian dinner theme. One of the fondest memories I have of my father is his cooking. He would always make enough food to feed an army. He was home earlier than my mom on most days from work, and therefore he would make dinner. He was a really good cook. When he was younger he worked in the restaurant industry as a waiter, and later even owning and managing a few of his own in Vancouver. Pasta would be a dish that we would eat at least once or twice, if not three times a week. Of course being Italian its almost a standard. I think in those first years after he passed away my mom, brother and I lost weight from not eating those delicious foods. We most definitely missed him first and foremost, and missed his cooking secondly. I know I missed sitting around the table with the four of us for dinners during the week. As is in most Italian families the boy, or son, is considered the ‘king’ (HA) and It was always a joke that even if I were sitting at the table when dinner was ready, and my brother was still in his room my dad would set his plate down first. And then mine. This is just how it went. I even remember one night my dad hand peeled all of my brothers shrimp. Yup. He was spoiled. And I was younger!

I think great cooks run in the family. My Nonna is one of the best cooks { definitely bias, I know } she makes delicious homemade pasta, pizza and soups. We would always get together for large dinners for Easter and Christmas. Both would have large amounts of delicious foods including lamb and seafood. Anyone who has eaten Nonna’s food can attest that she is definitely a talented cook. Everything always tasted so fresh and authentically Italian. I hope I will get to keep enjoying her food and company for years to come.

For now, I’m trying to learn how to make and cook pasta myself so I can carry on the tradition when I have kids. I remember when my brother and I were young we would help our Nonna make pasta, each taking turns turning the hand-cranked pasta maker. Oh how things have changed. Thanks to Adam, I now have a KitchenAid pasta attachment that makes things so much easier. Homemade pasta is delicious. Simple as that. No store bought pasta can measure up to the soft supple noodles made from home. If you’re a pasta virgin try this recipe. It’s effortless with a stand mixer and the attachments.


And, if you don’t have a pasta drying stand, you can use things like clothes hangers to dry the pasta. I call it drying pasta in an apartment 101.


Bubbling away


Homemade Pasta
recipe from KitchenAid Recipe Book

Basic Egg Noodles


  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups AP or Whole Wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tbs. water


  1. In a stand mixer, combine eggs flour and water. Mix with paddle attachment for about 30 seconds.
  2. Switch to a dough hook, and continue on low for two minutes.
  3. Turn it out onto the counter top and knead slowly for another minute.
  4. cut into two large rounds and cover tightly with a tea-towel.
  5. let sit about 15 minutes before using it in your pasta maker.

Follow the instructions on your pasta machine / pasta attachment. Dry pasta on counter in a single layer, or using the ‘clothes hanger’ method.

Fresh pasta only needs to cook in boiling water for about 7 minutes, until tender. You can top it with whichever sauce you would like. I made a simple tomato sauce with seafood. recipe below.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or more)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • basil leaves/flakes
  • small can of tomato paste

In a large pot over medium low heat pour in olive oil.

In a blender/food processor/slap chop (my fav) dice up the onion and garlic together. Add to the olive oil.

Allow to heat up for a minute or two.

Using a mixer/blender puree the tomatoes until no large pieces remain. Add to the pot. Stir in the tomato paste as well. Using a wooden spoon stir gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in a few teaspoons of basil flakes, or a couple whole leaves.

Allow to simmer for about an hour on low. You can add some pre-cooked salmon pieces to the sauce at this point.

If you like when it is almost finished, you can add prawns/shrimp as well. Using thawed or fresh prawns/shrimp add them into the sauce about 10-15 minutes before serving. Allow them to cook fully in the sauce on low/medium heat. They should be fully cooked, making sure they are not undercooked or still ‘squishy.’ They should feel firm and meaty.

Serve over fresh pasta~


Enjoy! It’ll be gone fast. Trust me.