Tag Archives: Parmesan

Ham and Pea Gnocchi with Basil Parm Cream Sauce

Ham and Pea Gnocchi with Basil Parm Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ham and Pea Gnocchi with Basil Parm Cream Sauce


The other night I needed a quick dinner so went to the fridge and freezer and decided on whipping up gnocchi dish and wanted to go on the creamy side with the sauce over tomato based. I took a ham steak that I had on deck for breakfast and diced it up. For the sauce, I had some Parmesan cheese and Basil Pesto so I had the salty and savory covered and thought by using peas to pop it with some sweetness.

It turned out as a great and rich dish that satisfies on a cold winter night. You could treat this as a soup/stew and pair it with a sandwich or even as a side that could replace elevate a mac and cheese type side.

I do apologize that I have been lazy with my photos. I have two or three more posts that you will have to suffer through and then I will take a little more time to make them more representative of how they taste.

Trader Joe’s package of gnocchi
1 ham steak (diced)
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1-2 tbs of Basil Pesto
1 cup of milk
1 tbs of butter
1 tbs of flour
1 cup of fine grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup of frozen peas

1. I started off by dicing my ham steak and putting it in a pot on medium low heat. At the same time that is cooking get another pot boiling for you gnocchi.

2. When the ham takes on some color I added the flour and butter to make a small rue. When the flour turned light brown took the heat down to low and added the garlic and pesto. Cooked it for about a minute to remove some of the bite from the garlic. Then slowly added the milk. IMG_0912

3. Keep some of the pasta water to thin your sauce if it happens to be too thick. Add the gnocchi, peas and grated Parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir it up until everything is coated. I put a dollop of the basil pesto to finish it off. IMG_0920

Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl

Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl
I was trudging towards another healthy dinner and wanted to make my “Might Fit Foods Lemon Turkey Asparagus” copycat. Jill inquired what we were having for dinner and when I told her she politely and unknowingly gave me a vibe that she wasn’t that excited about dinner. It’s the lemon that repels her. So I had to improvise and work in some pasta. The outcome was a almost healthy version of creamy pasta ground turkey and vegetable dish.

This dish does have carrots, onions, garlic, asparagus and basil so there is some healthy aspects. The ground turkey lightens it up also. It’s creamy as you want it to be with cream cheese and Parmesan. I still used the juice of a lemon but it was much more subtle so she didn’t even really notice. No doubt a bit random but it did turn out well.

1 package of lean ground turkey
1 bunch of asparagus (trimmed and diced)
2 carrots (diced)
1 red onion (diced)
4 cloves of garlic (pressed)
1 lemon (juiced)
handful of fresh basil
3 tbs of cream cheese
3 tbs of Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
Kosher Salt to taste
3 tsp of dried thyme
2 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of cayenne
Angel Hair Pasta for two

1. Cook your pasta per the package in salty water. While it is coming to boil and cooking work on the other part of the dish by first browning your turkey in a medium heated pan with some salt, dried basil, dried thyme. When done remove and set aside.

2. Put your pan back on the heat and soften your onions and carrots until the onions are translucent. It will be 5 minutes or so. Now add the asparagus, lemon juice and garlic. see below

3. Okay by now your pasta is close to being done. Add your cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir well. Taste, salt and season accordingly. Take your pasta directly from the pot and add it to the mixture. You will want some of that pasta water to keep it loose. Turn off the heat and mix well. Top with fresh basil and a little extra Parmesan cheese.

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells
Tonight was pasta night and I was thinking stuffed shells. It eats like a less cheesy and rich lasagna. You can control your cheese, meat, spinach ratio. I have made this several times and don’t really have a recipe for it but rather make it up each time.

Italian sausage is good but sometimes a little over powering. I found a lighter version that was lighter on fat and spice. I wanted to bump up the spinach ratio while lowering the cheese mixture. Jill was held up at work so I had to cook it a little longer than I wanted. I used my biggest cast iron skillet to accommodate all the shells but by doing so I left some shells exposed. Just be careful because you will harden up the exposed noodle part. I like the chew it gives them but you may not.

Really delicious meal that lets the pasta, Italian sausage and spinach shine through with the sauce nicely tying it all together.

3/4 package of Jumbo pasta shells
1 package (1 lbs) of light Italian Sausage (casing removed)
1 jar of Tomato Sauce
1 bag of spinach
4 cloves of garlic
handful of fresh cut basil
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella cheese
1 container of Ricotta
1 small onion

1. Boil your pasta in salted water according to the directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cool water so you can handle them as you stuff them.

2. Make your stuffing. Brown your pork sausage and remove the rendered fat. Add your onion, spinach and two cloves of minced garlic. The spinach has a lot of water so when everything is soft and wilted, remove as much of it as you can. Pour into a bowl and let it cool. IMG_0028

3. When the meat spinach mixture is warm add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and your ricotta cheese. Mix well and taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly. You shouldn’t need extra salt with the sausage and parm but taste it to make certain.

4. I used the same cast iron skillet after I removed the meat mixture. I added a jar of marinara sauce. To that sauce I added 2 cloves of minced garlic and tomato paste and crushed red peppers. Brought it to a simmer and then added my basil. I turned it to low while I stuffed my shells.

5. Stuff your shells and put them into the sauce face up. I liked to add a some mozzarella or parm on the top and finish them in an oven around 375 degrees until the cheese melts. Like I mentioned above mine when a little longer because Jill was running late. IMG_0025IMG_0026

6. Serve in a bowl with some sauce added.

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

I don’t ever recall having short ribs…ever. I am embarrassed to admit it but when at a restaurant and I want meat I always lean towards Filet Mignon. Ive looked at them in their package and thought “whats the big deal and where is the meat?” However people tend to rave about them. Lately in fact, I am either hearing more people liking them or just noticing them.

So I decided this week I would give them a try. Monday night we went to a dinner party for some of Jill’s friends from work. The hostesses husband served… short ribs. Perfect timing because I was planning to make them in two days from the party and I could give them a test run to see if I actually wanted to make them. They were fantastic and now I get it…. basically melt in your mouth meat with layers of flavors because they cook so long. You get the fat and the concentrated sauce creating really sophisticated flavors.

They are pretty rich so having them served or mashed potatoes or polenta seems fairly common. You need something to balance the richness from the wine sauce. You know “a ying and a yang thang.”


Short Ribs (if small think 4 per person or if they are long maybe 2)
3 carrots diced
3 onions diced
3 celery stalks diced
10 gloved of garlic (minced)
2 tbs of tomato paste
1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
2-4 cups of beef stock
3 tbs of flour
3 tbs of grape seed oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of oregano
4 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves

Parmesan Polenta
4 1/2 cups of water
1 1/4 cups of yellow cornmeal
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2/4 cups of whole milk
4 tbs of unsalted butter
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Before the steps let me paint the picture for you. We are going to sear, sweat the veggies, reduce the wine by half while thickening it and then bake them in the oven. The “sauce” will be strained so don’t worry about the sprigs of herbs nor the dice of your veggies.

1. Short ribs…. In a large pot on medium high heat add 3 tbs of grapeseed oil. Dust your short ribs with Kosher salt and black pepper. Once your pan is hot enough sear your short ribs on all sides working in batches (careful not to crowd the pan) Remove the seared short ribs and set them aside.

2. Remove the rendered fat and oil left behind EXCEPT for about 3-4 tablespoons. Add your chopped carrots, celery, onion to the oil/fat and sweat them out.

3. Once translucent add the 3 tbs of flour and tomato paste stirring constantly for about 3-5 minutes. Pour in your wine and add the seared short ribs back into the pot. Simmer and reduce by half. (30mins or so).

4. Add the garlic, herbs and beef stock to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil and put the dutch oven into your oven at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.

5. Remove the spare ribs and wrap them in foil while you filter your sauce by pouring through a cheese cloth or fine meshed strainer. Maintain some of the sauce to pour over the top of the dish.

6. For the polenta, I boiled the water with a tbs of salt and then slowly whisked in the yellow cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook the cornmeal for about 17-20 minutes. Stir often. Once it thickens, remove from heat and add the milk, butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Take a large bowl and spoon in the polenta. Place your short ribs on top of it and ladle a little of the strained sauce over the top and garnish with a sprig of herb.