Displaying items by tag: pasta and rice



This quick, gluten-free lasagna is easy to put together. Rice noodles don't have quite the same taste as regular noodles, so amping up the flavours of the other components (like homemade meat sauce) is key. Fresh ricotta cheese has the best flavour and texture for this dish. We made it with both brown and regular rice noodles; the brown rice noodles had better flavour and texture. You can find them at supermarkets and health food stores.Servings: 6-8


Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ready In: 1 hour, 45 minutes


9 brown rice lasagna noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound (500 grams) ground beef

2 teaspoons garlic, chopped

½ cup red wine

1 796-ml can Italian tomatoes pureed with their juice

3 cups chicken or beef stock

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

¼ cup whole basil leaves

½ teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1 cup grated parmesan

14 ounces (400 grams) mozzarella, grated


Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add beef and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes or until beef loses its pinkness. Stir in wine, bring to boil and let wine bubble for about 3 minutes or until almost gone. Stir in tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Add oregano, whole basil leaves and chili flakes, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until tasty and reduced to about 6 cups. Stir in chopped basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Beat together ricotta, eggs and ½ cup parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Brush a little bit of sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch or similar size casserole dish. Layer one-third of noodles, one-third of meat sauce, half of ricotta and one-third mozzarella. Repeat layers, finishing with meat sauce, mozzarella and remaining parmesan.

Bake when needed for 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and top is lightly golden.

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With sweet potato and maple syrup, this soup represents both fall and sweetness.



Servings: 6 to 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 45 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups onion, diced

2 cups leeks, white and light green part only, diced

2 cups turnips, diced

2 cups sweet potatoes, diced

2 cups carrots, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

8 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons thyme, chopped

1 cup orecchiette

4 cups baby spinach

1 teaspoon sriracha or other Asian hot sauce

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and sauté until coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Add turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots and garlic and continue to cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until beginning to soften.

Add stock, maple syrup and thyme and bring to boil. Add pasta and hot sauce, turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.

Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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This recipe comes from Andrew Carmellini of The Dutch restaurant in New York City. If Andouille sausage is hard to come by, look for a pork sausage with lots of spice, not heat.


Servings: 8 to 10 as a side dish, 4 as a main course

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 50 minutes


2 tablespoons canola oil

½ cup small onion, diced

½ cup green pepper, diced

1 cup celery, diced

½ cup Andouille sausage, diced

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 bay leaf

1 whole clove garlic, peeled

1½ cups long grain rice

2½ cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)

½ teaspoon salt

To finish the rice:

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ cup chicken livers, diced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

½ cup green onion, thinly sliced


Heat oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, celery and sausage. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables have softened. Add celery seed, chili powder, bay leaf and garlic and mix well.

Add rice and stir together, then add broth and salt and bring to a simmer. Cover pot tightly, turn heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the liquid. Remove pot from heat and remove garlic clove and bay leaf.

Heat oil in a medium non-stick pan over high heat. When oil begins to smoke, add chicken livers and sauté, shaking pan, for about 1 minute or until browned. Season with salt and chili powder.

Stir chicken livers into dirty rice, along with most of the green onions, reserving some for garnish. Spoon rice into a large serving bowl, sprinkle with reserved green onions and serve hot.

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Move over cutlery, food on sticks is the next big food trend and we're talking about more than just your average kebab. A little creativity is all that's needed to successfully serve almost anything on a stick and inject a whimsical twist to your cocktail hour. They do have their limitations though: once the nibble is gone, your guests will be left holding the sticks. Make sure there are receptacles around or you may find them in your plants the next day.

Any time you're cooking with a wooden stick or skewer, soak them in water for at least one hour to keep them from burning. They are at their prettiest served upright in glasses or other stylish receptacles. A few (like the carbonara) look best lying down.



Pasta on a stick is the hottest trend


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ready in: 25 minutes


2 ounces (60 grams) bacon

4 ounces (125 grams) angel hair pasta

1 large egg

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

8 small cherry tomatoes


Cook bacon in a frying pan over medium heat for 8 minutes or until crisp. Finely dice and reserve along with any rendered fat.

Cook angel hair pasta in boiling salted water over high heat for 2 minutes or until al dente. Drain, reserving a little pasta cooking water.

Beat together egg and Parmesan in a bowl. Add a little pasta cooking water to temper slightly, then add pasta and toss to coat. Add reserved bacon bits and fat and season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Place one cherry tomato on a skewer, then twirl a bit-sized portion of pasta around skewer and place on a parchment lined baking sheet until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining skewers. Makes 8



These are very beautiful but are also quite fragile so handle with care.


Prep time: 1 minute

Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Ready in: 15 minutes including cooling time


1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan per pop onto prepared baking sheet and gently spread into a circle. Place end of skewer in centre of each cheese circle and cover stick with another sprinkling of cheese.

Bake for about 7 to 8 minutes or until cheese is melted and pale gold. Let cool on paper until cold and solidified, about 5 minutes. Serve upright in bottles or other tall vessels. Makes 12



Usually served on full skewers as a main course, we've condensed these traditional Russian kebabs down to one piece of chicken each to made tasty hors d'oeuvres.


Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 6 minutes

Ready in: 1 hour 16 minutes


1 pound (500 grams) boneless chicken breast, cut in 1 ½-inch cubes

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup white wine

2 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

½ teaspoon chilli flakes (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

Half onion, cut into 1½ inch pieces


Toss together chicken, lemon juice, oil, wine, garlic, oregano, chilli flakes and cumin and let marinate for about 1 hour.

Preheat grill to high.

Season chicken with salt. Place a piece of onion on each skewer, then a piece of chicken and finish with another piece of onion. Place skewers on grill and grill for 3 minutes per side (about 6 minutes total) or until juices run clear. Makes 16



Use any baby vegetables you like, just make sure they will all cook at the same rate.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 4 minutes

Ready in: 9 minutes


8 baby patty pan squashes

8 baby zucchini

8 cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat grill to high.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide between skewers and grill for 1 to 2 minutes a side or until grill marked and tender. Makes 8



It's best if you can buy hearts of romaine.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Ready in: 5 minutes


8 small romaine leaves

8 croutons

8 ½-inch chunks Parmesan cheese

¼ cup Caesar dressing (homemade or store-bought)


Place a crouton onto one skewer, then a romaine leaf and top with a chunk or parmesan to make one skewer and repeat with remaining ingredients. Brush or drizzle with Caesar dressing just before serving. Makes 8



Crunchy bacon.  Add an oyster and twist bacon around it if you wish.


Prep time: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ready in: 22 minutes


8 slices thickly sliced bacon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Coarsely ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Lay bacon on a rack over a parchment-lined baking sheet with sides and brush with 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Dust with pepper. Thread one piece of bacon on each skewer. Place on rack and bake for 10 minutes or until fat has rendered. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup and bake another 10 to 12 minutes or until bacon is crisp and slightly caramelized. Makes 8



Buy frozen dumplings and gussy them up.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time:10 minutes

Ready in: 15 minutes


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

One 380-gram package frozen Chinese dumplings

½ cup water

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon Asian chilli sauce

1 slice ginger

¼ cup finely chopped green onions

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add frozen dumplings and fry, turning, for 2 to 4 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add water, soy sauce, balsamic, chilli sauce and ginger, then cover, turn heat to medium and cook, shaking pan occasionally, for 6 minutes or until dumplings are tender and glazed with sauce (cook a little longer uncovered if necessary). Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Skewer dumplings lengthwise and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Makes about 20



A traditional stick food.


Prep time: 8 minutes

Cooking Time: 4 minutes

Ready in: 30 minutes including chilling time


8 large marshmallows

4 ounces (125 grams) dark chocolate, melted

1 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts or pistachios or other nuts


Skewer marshmallows and dip in melted chocolate to coat. Immediately crust with nuts. Chill until chocolate is set. Makes 8



Cake pops are often too-sweet mixes of icing mixed with some cake. Here is one that tastes as good as it looks.


Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ready in: 2 hours 15 minutes including chilling time


3 ounces (90 grams) chopped white chocolate (about 1/2 cup)

¼ cup mascarpone

1 cup brownie crumbs

6 ounces (175 grams) chopped white chocolate (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons sprinkles


Heat white chocolate in a small heavy pot over low heat until melted. Remove from heat, then add mascarpone and brownie crumbs and stir together. Transfer mixture to a bowl and chill for 1 hour or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Roll batter into 1-inch balls and push a skewer into each ball. Refrigerate for another 1 hour.

Heat white chocolate in a small heavy pot over low heat until melted. Dip each cake pop into melted white chocolate and swirl until coated. Garnish with sprinkles. Place skewer in a glass tumbler standing up in the fridge. Refrigerate until needed. Makes about 8



These delicious popsicles need to be served and eaten right away as the alcohol makes them melt considerably faster than normal.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 3 minutes

Ready in: 5 hours including chilling time


1 cup orange juice

¼ cup lime juice

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup rum

Dash Angostura bitters


Combine all ingredients in a small pot over low heat and heat gently for 3 minutes, stirring, or until sugar has dissolved. Pour into popsicle makers and freeze until solid. Makes 10 to 12 depending on size


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If wild leeks are unavailable, substitute 1 cup chopped green onions and 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic. The sweetness of the tomatoes balance out the dish, although you could omit them. Use a short pasta. I particularly like casarecci or cavatoni but the names change with the region, so find one that suits you.



Servings: Serves 4 to 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes including cooking pasta

Ready In: 1 hour 5 minutes


2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

12 ounces (375 grams) short pasta

4 whole wild leeks

2 tablespoons hazelnuts

2 cups wild leeks, chopped

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

¼ cup pasta cooking water

2 ounces (60 grams) ricotta salata, shaved

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place cut side up on baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until skin is browned and tomatoes have softened. Scrape into a bowl along with any juices.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and boil for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente. Just before draining, add whole leeks to pot to blanche. Drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking water.

Place hazelnuts in food processor while pasta is cooking, and grind nuts until roughly chopped. Add chopped leeks and olive oil and process until still slightly chunky. Stir in pecorino cheese. Toss with pasta along with the cherry tomatoes, any juice and pasta cooking water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place on four serving plates and sprinkle with ricotta salata. Top with one blanched wild leek each.

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Made with pancetta, eggs, cheese and cream, carbonara is soaked in tradition. Young chefs, such as Francesco Apreda at the stunning Imago restaurant in the Hassler hotel (the best meal we had in Rome), are putting their own spin on this quintessential Roman dish. I adapted this recipe from the dish he made for us with quail and quail eggs. If you can find boned quail, use 12 ounces finely chopped (instead of the chicken) and the yolks of 12 quail eggs. Pecorino Romano is a sheep's milk cheese with a satisfyingly salty edge that is traditionally Roman.


2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup finely chopped celery

¼ cup finely chopped carrot

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

12 ounces (375 grams) ground dark-meat chicken

1 bay leaf

1 branch Italian parsley

Pinch dry thyme

2 tablespoons white wine

¾ cup chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper

To Finish:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2/3 cup diced bacon or pancetta

4 egg yolks

2 ounces (60 grams) grated Pecorino Romano cheese

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound (500 grams) fusilli pasta

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add celery, carrot and red onion and sauté gently for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft and lightly browned. Turn heat to medium-high, add chicken, bay leaf, parsley and thyme and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, or until chicken is lightly browned.

Add white wine and cook for 2 minutes or until wine has almost completely evaporated. Add half a cup chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, adding more stock as needed, until chicken is cooked through and still slightly saucy. Discard bay leaf and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.

Heat oil in a separate frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté for 8 minutes or until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon and blot on paper towels. Reserve.

Combine egg yolks, pecorino, bacon, parsley and pepper in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving about half a cup of the cooking water. (Pasta water gives substance to sauces, making them a little creamier. It's a good addition to most pasta dishes.)

Combine a quarter cup of the cooking water with egg yolk mixture and quickly toss the hot pasta, stirring to coat. If necessary, add more cooking water to make the sauce even more creamy. Add reserved ragu, toss and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

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Hostaria Romana is an old-fashioned Roman trattoria. The waiters are old pros doling out lavish bowls of antipasti with irreverence and wit. The pastas are served in the bowl that they are mixed in (called originale) and if two of you order the same pasta, they give the woman the bowl and the man a soup plate, which goes to show that Italians really do love women.

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

½ to 1 teaspoon chili flakes

8 ounces (250 grams) spaghetti

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook slowly for 3 to 5 minutes or until garlic is very soft. Cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving about a quarter cup of the cooking water.

Toss pasta with flavoured olive oil in skillet and add 2 tablespoons or more of cooking water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and grated cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4 as a first course.

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Eric Reguly, the European business correspondent for The Globe and Mail, invited us for dinner in Rome. He lived in Rome as a boy and is based there now, and loves all forms of Roman cooking. Small Manila clams or New Zealand clams are less sandy than littleneck clams. In Italy, no cheese is ever served with seafood. The tomato confit garnish is optional.

Tomato Confit:

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1 pound (500 grams) linguine

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 cup white wine

1 teaspoon hot chili flakes

3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) Manila clams

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350F.

Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for 25 minutes or until semi-dried. Set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving about half a cup of the cooking water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add wine and chilies and bring to boil. Add clams and steam until they open, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir reserved roasted cherry tomatoes into clam sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed.

Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss together, adding pasta cooking water if needed. Garnish with parsley and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serves 4.

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This easy and attractive dish serves four as part of a Chinese menu or two alone with noodles or rice. Clams or shrimp make excellent substitutes for the mussels. If you can't find fermented dry black beans, you can substitute an equal amount of Asian black bean sauce, though the dry beans have a better flavour. This makes a lot of mussels; you can serve them without the noodles if you prefer.


8 ounces Chinese egg noodles

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 tablespoons fermented dry black beans, rinsed

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons white wine

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup chicken stock or water

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 pounds mussels, rinsed

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and boil until just tender. Drain and season with soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add garlic, ginger and black beans. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add soy sauce, wine, sugar, chicken stock and rice vinegar and bring to boil. Add mussels, cover wok and steam for 3 minutes or until they open. Remove mussels to a bowl.

Add cornstarch mixture and sesame oil to sauce and bring to boil, stirring until sauce has thickened. Toss with mussels and garnish with coriander. Serve over noodles. Serves 4


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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Years ago on my first visit to Spain, I tasted a paella made on a wood-burning grill that became my standard for paellas ever since. I’ve experimented over the years but it was always missing something – it must have been the wood they used, the warm night and my new relationship. Last week, I tossed caution to the winds; instead of sourcing hard-to-find Spanish ingredients, I used what I had. Somehow this time it worked magically. A finished paella should still have some liquid on the top and ideally, a bit of a brown crust on the bottom of the pan. I used a large skillet.

1 pound (500 grams) jumbo scampi or large shrimps

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika or chili flakes

4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock

⅓ cup olive oil

1 cup thickly sliced Spanish dried chorizo sausage

1 cup diced onions

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

4 medium squid, sliced

1 cup fresh or canned tomatoes chopped

2 cups short-grain rice, either sushi rice, Spanish Valencia or Arborio

1 pound (500 grams) fresh clams

1 pound (500 grams) fresh mussels

1 cup lima beans or green peas, defrosted

¼ cup chopped parsley

3 green onions, cut into long pieces

Use kitchen shears to cut through scampi shell on the leg side (the shell stays on). If using shrimp, shell and reserve shells.

Combine shrimp shells (if using), saffron, stock and paprika and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Discard any shell and reserve.

Heat oil in paella pan or large skillet. Add chorizo and sauté for one minute. Add onion and sauté for two minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add scampi or shrimp and sauté for two minutes or until partly cooked. Remove scampi or shrimp from skillet.

Add squid and sauté in oil for two minutes or until white. Add tomatoes and sauté one minute or until just limp.

Stirin rice, then pour in flavoured stock and bring to boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is nearly cooked through. Stir occasionally. Add in clams and mussels, cover pan and cook five minutes or until shells begin to open. Add scampi or shrimp and peas and cook another five minutes or until seafood is cooked through. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and green onions. Serves 6 to 8.  

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