About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fun Monday - Lotsa Pasta

Fun Monday for May 24th is a piece of cake--or, in my case, a bowl of pasta. Our host is Debs over at 1 Crazy Stitcher and she's asking us to share our favorite foods and, if we have them, foods we really dislike. Well, getting the dislike out of the way, for me it's soft cooked eggs, especially the yolks. Just can't do it. Aside from that, I haven't met a food that I didn't like. Unfortunately?

Penne-fusilli-farfalle-orecchiette-lasagna-vermicelli-cavatelli-angel hair-linguine. That's what flashed before my eyes when I read Debs assignment. Love, love, love pasta in all its forms and preparations. When I eat out, I go to the pasta entrees first. At home my shelves are stocked with several varieties of pasta at all times. I especially like the Barilla brand. And now they have my favorite pasta shapes in "piccolini" or mini versions. Cute little penne tubes, farfalle bowties, fusilli corkscrews. Now I wish I could say that I also enjoy whole wheat pasta, but I'm not there yet. It just doesn't have the al dente bite that the other pasta has.

Preparation is simple. It could be elbow macaroni cooked in tomato juice of my childhood or mac 'n cheese. Sometimes I'll make what Rachael Ray calls "stoup", a cross between stew and soup that contains a bit of chicken or ground beef, lots of vegetables and pasta cooked with tomato. Or, it could be vegetarian--farfalle with broccoli, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Version two would be penne with frozen spinach, artichokes, and Parmesan cheese. Sometimes its traditional spaghetti and meat sauce. It won't be Alfredo though--that sauce seems like overkill to me.

I also make cold pasta salads like Pasta Primavera with tons of fresh vegetables, vermicelli, and an Italian dressing. Debs asked us to share a recipe for our favorite food and last week I just happened to make a new pasta salad that was a real winner. So, just in time for summer cookouts I give you:

Marzetti's Summer Pasta Salad

3/4 C Marzetti Classic Ranch Dressing (look for it in the produce section)
8 oz. fusilli (I used the Barilla "piccolini" version)
1 C broccoli florets
1 C artichoke hearts, quartered (canned, packed in water not marinated)
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 red onion, about 1/2 cup VERY thinly sliced
1/2 C frozen peas, thawed
1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C pitted and halved kalamata olives (next time I may just use black olives)


Cook pasta according to package directions. One minute before done, throw in broccoli florets (be careful to just blanch the broccoli). Drain pasta and broccoli together. Run cool water over to stop cooking and drain well. Combine the pasta-broccoli with the Marzetti Ranch Dressing and remaining ingredients and toss gently. Serve or store in the refrigerator until serving time. Gilding the lily: this would make a wonderful seafood salad with the addition of a bit of lump crab meat.

So, there you have it. My celebration of pasta. Can't wait to see what other Fun Monday participants love to eat--and maybe get some new recipes. Check Deb's place for the list of players.

(Image credit for pasta poster: Pasta Italiana I, Riccardo Marcialis, www.art.com)


Debs said...

It's pasta all the way for me too. I love it in all its forms and like the sound of your recipe.

I can't eat most red meat, and on the rare occasion that I do it has to be so well cooked that it's pretty much ruined - or so my husband tells me.

Jan n Jer said...

We just had farfalle bowties last night for dinner at our favorite Italian resturant. Your right about the whole wheat pastas...they just dont have the right consistency for me. Your recipe sounds delish...will give it a try. Thanks for sharing Faye1

Debs said...

I like pasta. The kid in me loves the mini's LOL.

Sayre said...

I love pasta (though it doesn't love me back - CARBS!). However, I don't let that stop me from eating it, even if I have to be moderate. I do like the whole wheat pasta - it's got a bit more oomph to it in my head. My family doesn't care for it though unless it's the angel hair version. So that's mostly what we eat. I'm running late on my FM today - will post it later tonight.

The Church Lady said...

I am a pasta nut too, Faye! But I agree with you that the whole wheat pasta is yucky. I simply love the mini pastas and so do my kids! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I am craving a good pasta salad. (portion control is the key!)

janet said...

I love pasta too! And that recipe sounds fab! Of course anything with artichokes is a winner for me! lol

Janice said...

Now you've done it--I'm jonesing for pasta and I'm already in my nightie. Think anyone in Kroger would notice?

gracie said...

sure, I have some of your pea soup! I am sure it is very tasty. I like Pasta, but I prefer rice. Nice post!

Thom said...

This sounds excellent my friend. I love pasta. All types. I just don't know how to do anything in the kitchen LOL :) Have a great week ahead :)

Ari_1965 said...

The hardest thing about going gluten free is not the giving up of wheat bread (though I miss it badly). The hardest part is giving up pasta. There are gluten-free pastas, and I've found one that's decent, but they're a poor substitute for the real thing.

Faye said...

debs--not sure there's an English version of ranch dressing. If not, just think creamy, mayo-based.

janis--farfalle is a fav shape especially for pasta salad. But in an Italian restaurant? I'm seriously daydreaming!

debs crazystitcher--the kid in all of us loves mini anything, right?

sayre--pasta is a healthy food choice, especially with lots of veggies. Need to follow your example and downgrade my pasta bowl, however.

church lady--I'll bet you have one of those gadgets that measures a 2 oz serving of spaghetti--one of your many diet tricks?

janet--have you seen the frozen artichoke hearts? Heaven for an artichoke lover.

janice--somehow I know going to Kroger's in your nightie would not be a new thing for you. :-)

gracie--combining pumpkin with yellow split peas in a soup may even convert a confirmed pumpkin hater.

thom--doesn't take much cooking skill to do pasta--just plenty of water and a timer. That's another reason to love it.

ari--finding decent gluten free food is a real challenge I'm sure. Especially when you appreciate honest whole wheat.

Lane said...

I love pasta too and recently tip- toed into wholewheat land. I'm sure it's changed since the last time I ventured there (and left unimpressed) as it's perfectly lovely. Honest!

joangee said...

I love pasta, but himself doesn't care much for it.
Debs, check out the bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/ website, and you'll find a recipe for ranch dressing. Not sure how it compares to the real thing, but tis worth a try.
hope that helps