Spaghetti alla Limone

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1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves smashed to puree
2 lemon juice
1 lemon zest
1/2 cup good parmesan cheese at room tempetature and some more for garnish
1 bunch chopped fresh italian parley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl big enough to serve the pasta mix garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Cook pasta ardent and pour hot over mix. Stir well and top with lemon zest, parmesan cheese and parley. Serve warm
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Italian Style Meatballs

Today I continue to use what I can find at home so I can start a fresh refrigerator and pantry for the new school year. This is what I came up with and it turned out YUMMY!
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1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
3 minced garlic cloves
2 eggs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup good quality parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

For Sauce;
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 small onion cut into small pieces
1 28oz can italian crushed tomatoes or plain crushed tomatoes adding a tablespoon of italian spices
salt and pepper

In a bowl mix meatballs ingredients very well. In a deep pan heat olive oil over medium and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic, cook for 3 minutes stirring accordingly. Pour tomato puree and stir. Make meatballs using an ice-cream spoon. Throw them in the tomato broth, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Serve with pasta

Organic Pumpkin Chicken Lasagna

lasagna1 can 15oz organic pumpkin puree
1 can 30oz organic italian crushed tomatoes
1 cup organic marinara sauce
2 cup organic ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded organic chicken about 2 breast pieces
6 square pieces mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 onion cut into small piece
1/2 head of fresh garlic crushed
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon italian spice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon brown sugar
sea salt and black pepper to taste
6 slices oven ready lasagne

In hot pan heat olive oil over medium high and start cooking onions with some salt for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook turning occasionally until start to turn brown. Add 1/2 tomatoes and simmer over medium for 10 minutes. Stir in italian spices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, brown sugar and salt an pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes and stir 1/2 parmesan cheese. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Mix shredded chicken with rest of tomatoes.
Start assembling the lasagna. First pour 1/2 marinara sauce on the bottom of pan. Place 3 pieces of lasagna pasta vertical. Layer, chicken, pumpkin puree, parmesan, and ricotta. Repeat step on more time. Place last layer and pour rest of tomatoes sauce on top, then top with mozzarella cheese and sprinkle parmesan. Cover and cook at 375 for 15 minutes, uncover, cook for 5 minutes. Let it stand for 5 minutes and serve

Penne Pasta with Serrano Ham

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1/2 pound serrano ham (spanish dried cured ham) cut into small pieces
1 yellow onion cut into small pieces
6 minced garlic cloves
4 plum tomatoes each cut into 8 pieces
4 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup fat free heavy cream (usually display with milk at supermarkets)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch fresh basil cut into small pieces
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
package penne pasta (I use whole grain)
salt and pepper
penne pasta for 4

Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan

In a large pan heat the oil over medium high. Cook the onion and garlic with salt for 8 minutes, stirring as needed. Stir in chicken stock, ham and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add cream, peas, and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir parmesan cheese, basil and remove from stove. Toss with pasta. Serve 6
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*Growing up in Puerto Rico we have lots of spanish ingredients in our diet. This recipe is the modify lighter version of my mothers.

Greek Inspired Shrimp Pasta

1 pack tube pasta
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 pound gulf shrimp
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon pepper
4oz fetta cheese
16 black greek olives cut in half
2 tablespoon chives for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium in a big skillet and add garlic. Saute for one minute until soft not brown. Add butter, basil and thyme. Cook for one minute. Add drained tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and pepper, cook until done. Do not let shrimp curl up. Add feta cheese and olives and remove from heat. Pour it on top of big pasta bowl and garnish with chives. Serves 8

*Grecia here I come!

Gnocchi

1 gochi
1 pound starchy potatoes (2 large russets or 4 normal size)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
fine grain sea salt

Fill a large pot with cold water. Salt the water, then cut potatoes in half and place them in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, this takes roughly 40-50 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the water. Place each potato piece on a large cutting board and peel each potato as soon as possible after removing from the water. Save the potato water.

Let the potatoes cool spread out across the cutting board. Long enough that the egg won’t cook when it is incorporated into the potatoes. Mash them through a potato ricer or a food mill using the disk with the smallest holes. When you are ready, pull the potatoes into a soft mound – drizzle with the beaten egg and sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour across the top. Scrape underneath and fold, scrape and fold until the mixture is a light crumble. Very gently. This is also the point you can add more flour (a sprinkle at a time) if the dough is too soft and is sticking to your hands. I usually end up using most of the remaining 1/4 cup flour, but it all depends on the the flour, and potatoes. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Cut it into 8 pieces. Now gently roll each 1/8th of dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch (see photo). Dust with a bit more flour.

To shape the gnocchi hold a fork. Use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl into a slight “C” shape, their backs will capture the impression of the tines as tiny ridges (good for catching sauce later). Set each gnocchi aside, dust with a bit more flour if needed, until you are ready to boil them. This step takes some practice, don’t get discouraged, once you get the hang of it it’s easy.

Now that you are on the final stretch, either reheat your potato water or start with a fresh pot (salted), and bring to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time. They will let you know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Fish them out of the water a few at a time with a slotted spoon ten seconds or so after they’ve surfaced. Have a large platter ready with a generous swirl of whatever sauce or favorite pesto you’ll be serving on the gnocchi. Place the gnocchi on the platter. Continue cooking in batches until all the gnocchi are done. Serve immediately, with a drizzle of good olive oil and fresh pepper on top or with any pasta friendly sauce. Serves 4. Yummy!
*In Italy usually gnocchis are part of your side dish or appetizer. I like them best with a meat sauce but they are delicious just with some olive oil, salt and pepper

Pasta with Tomato and Mushroom Sauce



1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 garlic head crushed
1 small package whole white mushrooms
1 small package whole baby bellas or portobello mushrooms (same)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 can diced tomatoes with juices
1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
salt and black or red flakes pepper(spicy) to taste
3 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
Garnish with parmesan cheese

In a deep pot heat olive oil over medium high, cook garlic until start to turn brown. Stir diced mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine, salt, pepper, stir and add parley, cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from fire, pour balsamic and stir. Serve over your favorite pasta and garnish with fresh parmesan cheese. Serves 8

FYI- Both wild and cultivated mushrooms have been consumed by humans for their nutritional and medicinal benefits. Nutritionally, mushrooms are low in energy and fat but high in protein, carbohydrate, and dietary fibre. Mushrooms contain a variety of minerals and trace elements such as potassium, and copper and vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and folates. They have been used as food for centuries because of their unique taste. Apart from being recognised as a nutritious food, certain mushrooms are also an important source of biologically active compounds with potential additional medicinal value in Chinese medicine. Bioactive secondary metabolites found in mushrooms include phenolic compounds, sterols and triterpenes. In vitro and in vivo studies with mushrooms and isolated bioactive constituents have purported many pharmacological effects such as anti-tumour, antioxidant, antiviral, hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycaemic effects. Consumption of mushrooms or mushroom products in our daily diet may provide health benefits.

Comfort Pasta Tomato Soup

3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cups small shell pasta
1 tsp salt kosher salt
1 1/2 rehydrated penzeys chopped garlic or 1 1/2 clove fresh garlic minced
1/4 tsp pepper penzeys ground pepper
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 can diced tomato in basil, garlic, oregano
6 cups chicken stock (I use penzeys chicken base)
2 sprigs fresh thyme (whole)
2 bay leaves (penzeys, they hold their shape better during a long simmer process)
6 ounces frozen spinach
2 cups water
2 cups shredded jack cheese

Add Olive Oil to hot stock pot. Add pasta shells and toss to coat completely with the olive oil over med heat. Add salt and pepper and sauté pasta shells stirring often, do not let burn. When pasta shells start turning brown, add garlic and sauté 1 more minute, do not let garlic burn. Add tomato sauce and cook another 2 minutes. Cooking the tomato sauce this way seems to give a deep roasted flavor. Add chopped tomatoes and continue cooking another two minutes.

Your base is now rich and delish tasting!

Add chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Bring to a light boil and reduce to simmer covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cups of water and simmer another 20 – 25 minutes uncovered.

Add spinach and simmer another 10 minutes or so, until pasta is plump and fully cooked! Taste and add a dash of salt if needed.

Remember, the pasta is not cooked when you start this dish so the long simmer time not only develops rich flavor, it is necessary to cook the pasta.

Serve in soup bowl and top with shredded cheese.

Sonia’s Pork Loin Ragu Recipe


2 pounds pork loin
1 28oz of can crushed tomatoes
1 jar marinara sauce
1 large large yellow onion
8 garlic cloves cut into small pieces or smashed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bag of big pasta like pappardelle or rigatoni
grated italian cheese

Season pork with salt and pepper. In a soup pot heat oil over medium high . Sear pork for 4 minutes each side. Set aside. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary and cook stirring for 3 minutes. Add marinara sauce, tomatoes with juices, stir scrapping the bottom of the pot. Return pork to the pot, cover and cook for 2.5 hours over medium low. Remove the pork, shred with a fork and put back in the pot. Add cinnamon. Simmer for few minutes. Server over pasta with grated italian cheese on top. Serves 8

*A friend from Beverly Hills had this dish at one of her fabu dinner parties. This is my version and is so GOOD!

Sonia’s Tuscan Inspired Pomodoro or Tomato Pasta Sauce


1 can crushed italian tomatoes or 2 cups of ripe tomatoes cut into pieces
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 red onion cut into small pieces
2 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded basil
fresh parmesan cheese to garnish

*serve with your favorite pasta or just dipping bread

Heat pan over medium high, saute onion, garlic with some salt. Cook for about five minutes and then add tomatoes and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Removed from heat, add the fresh basil leaves and balsamic vinegar and mix. Top with cheese and serve with pasta or bread. Serves 6

*This recipe was inspired by my trip to Tuscany last summer.