On My Kitchen Table: Spinach Fettuccine Pasta With Crushed Tomatoes, Vegetables, & Chicken Meatballs

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Let’s talk pasta.  I live for pasta days.  I get excited seeing Mario Batali make fresh, homemade pasta from scratch on The Chew (homemade stuffed ravioli and pappardelle in olive oil, mushrooms, and buttered sage!  OH.MY.GOD), I daydream about ravioli, linguine, and egg noodles, and I almost always dive for the pasta dishes at self-serve, pay-by-weight buffets at supermarkets and gourmet food stores like All the Best Fine Foods and Daniel et Daniel.  The seafood linguine at The Pickle Barrel was even one of my favourite dishes back in the day when my high school friends and I used to frequent the restaurant for girls’ night get-togethers.  And yet, for a pasta and noodle lover like myself, I don’t eat it often enough and it’s sadly one of the more neglected foodie areas on the blog.  I am totally committed to changing that this year though; I love pasta too much to not see it shine! 

I had three very memorable pasta and noodle meals this past month though, including a delicious ramen and pork gyoza dumpling noodle-in-soup bowl, an amazing pesto chicken fusili from Daniel et Daniel (fact: pesto makes everything heavenly), and an Italian all-you-can-eat feast for my brother’s birthday at Frankie Tomatto’s where I had crab stuffed ravioli bathed in a light garlic, tomato, and parsley cream sauce, spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs, and braised beef and butternut squash pasta.  It was wonderful.  

It’s hard to get my pasta fix on a regular basis.  And by regular basis, I mean almost every day.  My entire family has different carborhydrate tastes.  There’s me, the pasta and noodle lover in the flesh.  Then there’s my mum who happily claims she could live on nothing but bread.  Then there’s my brother who will eat rice, bread, and pasta but not really noodles.  Finally, we have my dad who is, what my mum and I call, a “human rice bucket”.  It’s maddening trying to find things we all love sometimes.  Thus, when my mum suggested having fettuccine for dinner, I did my happy-fists dance! 

For dinner: regular and spinach fettuccine in tomato sauce with chicken meatballs, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, button mushrooms, celery, crushed tomatoes, shredded mozzarella cheese, white pepper, and parsley flakes.  I love different cream sauces (garlic, mushroom, portuguese, white wine, the whole shebang) but every so often, tomato sauce hits the spot and for me, it has to be a tomato sauce devoid of meat.  Just plain old crushed tomatoes and herbs does the job.  I currently have my eye on some udon noodle bowls at a few sushi spots in town, some Portuguese chicken spaghetti, any and all kinds of macaroni and cheese, and ravioli.  Lots of ravioli.  The year is still young so we’ll see how many dishes I get around to enjoying!

*****

To view Ate by Ate’s archive of pasta related posts, click here.  More posts to come!

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Summer Love, Summer Salads

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I look forward to bean and pasta salads SO much when the warmer weather hits.  I enjoy eating them at any point in the year, but it’s so much more satisfying when the sun is out and you can feel the warm breeze waft through the windows.  Not to mention it’s just fun shopping at the fruit and vegetable markets around town.  It’s such an awesome feeling snagging fresh bunches of asparagus, tomatoes on the vine, and giant containers of juicy berries.  Last weekend my mom and I hit some of the fruit and vegetable markets in Korea Town down by Bloor St. W. between Bathurst and Christie St. and we picked up so much great stuff.  Blueberries, blackberries, avocados…we really lamented at not living closer because we would honestly go every day if we could.  A mix of beans, veggies, and pasta = meals I can eat every day for the rest of my life! 

Whenever my family and I want something simple and lighter to eat, these are our go-to meals and they’re so perfect for spring and summer and warmer patio weather.  I’ve always itched to get creative in the kitchen and it drove me crazy growing up when I wasn’t allowed to help and family would shoo me away and tell me to “go play”.  Now that I’m older, it’s been so great getting my hands busy in the kitchen and even though I’m still just a “helper” when it comes to preparing meals, it feels good to see a meal through from start to finish even if it’s something simple.  Healthy, crunchy, and juicy, summer salads are awesome because you can make a big batch and have yummy leftovers for the next day’s lunch.  Not to mention they’re filling and satisfying meals that don’t leave you filling gross and lethargic afterward.   

What I have for you is a smattering of summer salad photos with a bunch of different veggie, fruit, and pasta/noodle combinations.  Up top we have a crunchy salad of tomatoes, yellow and green bell pepper, white beans, chickpeas, and mixed kidney beans, and a fistfuls of chopped green scallions.  In the middle, a mixed bean and avocado salad with a sprinkling of cilantro and red pepper chili flakes atop udon noodles, and last, a pasta salad with Italian ditali pasta, roast chicken, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and fresh chunks of mango!  I think by the end of the summer I should have a veeery large collection of photos commemorating my salad love 😀

Taking Advantage of Summer’s Colour and Bounty – Not Your Ordinary Lunch Box Sandwiches

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This ain’t no ordinary kiddie lunch box lunch 😉  It’s been really fun mixing and matching vegetables and sandwich fillings with whatever we have in the fridge for the week and getting fresh bread from the bakery.  If you like mixing things up and hate eating the same thing twice in a row, you’re like me.  It’s quite fun, actually, challenging myself to get creative with combinations.  It’s like playing a sandwich puzzle, haha!  Here’s a thorough photo recap of some of my sandwich lunches over the past few months.

  • Sandwich #1: turkey, baby spinach, red and yellow baby bell peppers, hot banana peppers, sweet vidalia onions, mozzerella cheese on a submarine bun
  • Sandwich #2: oven roasted turkey, mesclun salad spring mix, green, red, and orange bell peppers, alfalfa sprouts, sweet onions on a kaiser bun with cantaloupe on the side
  • Sandwich #3: roast beef, baby romaine, roma tomatoes, mozzerella cheese, cilantro, lemon dill hummus spread on a wheat bun
  • Sandwich #4: roast chicken, alfalfa banana sprouts, hot banana peppers, avocado on a wheat bun