Brown Butter Shells w/ Sausage & Pecorino

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The recipe inspiration here was from Blue Apron – but we did switch it up just a tad, but I feel I should give them appropriate credit. It was yum. This is a quick and easy recipe that tastes like it took longer than it did. Its become a staple in our house, even our little one will eat it! ūüôā Hope you enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Italian sausage – 1/2 lb already ground or approx 3-4 Italian sausage links (removed from their casings)
  • ¬†1.5 cups fresh peas or can use frozen
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tbsp dried ground/rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
  • 8 oz orecchiette or shell pasta

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat large pot of water to boiling and cook pasta until al dente
  2. Meanwhile in larger skillet (ensure at least 2. inches deep) heat 4 tbsp of butter (or a bit more if you like) over medium high heat
  3. When butter begins to foam, add in sausage and begin to cook until browned. Breaking up sausage with back of wooden spoon – into little bits.
  4. Add garlic and continue cooking.
  5. When pasta is finished, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and strain off the rest. Set aside.
  6. When sausage is almost finished cooking (only a few spots of pink left), add in the sage and cook until sausage is completely cooked through.
  7. Add in peas and the cooked pasta.
  8. Stir together.
  9. Reduce heat to medium/low.
  10. Add in 2 tbsp of pasta water, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up any brown bits. The water should help start to make a sauce.
  11. Add in another 2 tbsp of pasta water and stir.
  12. Add in pecorino cheese, a pinch of salt and a couple of pinches of black pepper.
  13. If the sauce is too thick – add in another tbsp of pasta water at a time, stir in between to ensure you don’t add too much water – you want there to be a coating…but not soupy.
  14. Remove from heat and serve!
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boiling pasta

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cooking Italian sausage

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added sage and garlic

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adding peas

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adding pasta

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adding cheese

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mixing and adding salt/pepper

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LOOK at this FACE. Loving his pasta. ūüôā¬†

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Ridiculously Easy “Cheater” Lasagna

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For¬†anyone who doesn’t yet know…I am pregnant again. #2 – baby girl – comin’ in hot!! So take advantage of my recipes posted¬†between now and then because I’m headed to another dark hole of ‘taking care of a tiny human’ time suck…and may never cook again. When I come out the other side it’ll be a huge accomplishment to boil water. No, for real – ¬†moms amirite?

BUT, this baby has me craving absolutely nothing¬†healthy so of course I indulge her highness¬†as much as I can without massive amounts of guilt. She wants Mexican or Italian – these are my craving genres for baby round 2. So,¬†the other day for NO reason whatsoever, lasagna popped into my head and sounded UH-MAZ-ING. But doing a real deal lasagna¬†can take¬†forever (boiling noodles and making home-made sauce), so I did ‘cheater lasagna’ and…holy lord¬†it was so good. Sometimes when you¬†take a cooking¬†short-cut¬†it will taste¬†bland or just ‘eh’,¬†but this was really surprisingly delish!¬†Um…why would I do the 4 hour bolognese sauce and boil noodles ever again? This was LEGIT.

This makes 1 large casserole pan full of lasagna – so 2 meals for a family of 4 probably – with maybe leftovers. My pan is a bit larger than 9×13 and its pretty deep – make sure its at least 3 inches deep if not more. Leaves¬†room for the lasagna to expand.

Time Р1 hour 5 minutes including cooling time (25 min prep, 25 minutes cooking, 15 min rest, but I usually let rest at least 20 min)

Calories – 4 Billion, but this honey badger don’t give a F*CK. This was SO worth it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna – I use Barilla oven-ready noodles
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 – 24oz jars tomato sauce –¬†I bought marinara, Paul Newman brand
  • 2 tsp garlic ¬†– I use pre-minced, less work and time
  • 2 – 24oz containers light cottage cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese – or you can buy an Italian mix if you prefer
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley (can use dried if¬†that’s easier)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil (can use dried if that’s easier)
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Heat EVOO in deep skillet/sauté pan over medium high heat
  3. Add onions and ground beef Рcook, stirring and breaking up big beef chunks, until beef is cooked about half way (half the beef should still be red/pink)
  4. Add garlic and pinch of S&P, and continue cooking beef until all browned and broken down into small bits
  5. Pour off grease from pan – return to stove
  6. Add in both jars of marinara sauce Рcover and simmer on low until step 8
  7. In mixing bowl dump both cottage cheese containers, 2 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of pepper, parsley, eggs and 2 cups of shredded cheese. Mix well.
  8. In large casserole pan, spoon about 3 big serving spoon fulls of marinara sauce, enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan
  9. Next – layer on 5 sheets of the oven ready lasagna. I put 4 sheets closely ovelapping each other on the left side of the pan (images help here), and then for the open spaces on the right (where I could still see sauce), I split the pasta sheet in half lengthwise to cover up the rest of the red sauce. This does¬†NOT have to be perfect. If you break the sheet¬†into 4 pieces on accident, just use the pasta sheet bits to cover up the sauce best you can. It’ll all work out. Promise
  10. Next add another 3 or so spoon fulls of marinara sauce to cover the noodles
  11. Next add half of the cheese mixture to cover the sauce
  12. Repeat step 9 Рadding pasta sheets to the pan. But this time Р move the cleaner layered noodles to the other side of the pan (for me this is the right side of the pan now), so the remaining areas where you can see red sauce (on the left side of the pan now) are opposite from where they were on layer 1. This just helps it hold together better.
  13. Add 3 more spoon fulls of sauce – or enough to cover the noodles
  14. Add the remaining cheese mixture to cover up the marinara sauce
  15. Add the remaining  red sauce to cover the cheese mix
  16. Top with the remaining 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  17. Place in oven for 25 minutes (I recommend placing on a sheet pan/cookie sheet in case it boils over). Do not cover.
  18. Pull from oven(make sure corners are bubbling). Turn oven off and top lasagna with chopped basil
    • Let the lasagna cool for¬†at least¬†15 minutes minimum. Lasagna will¬†be SUPER messy if its still hot, and it holds heat for a long time. Its easier to serve if its cooler. I regularly¬†wait 20 minutes¬†if not longer.

*You can make a day ahead (like on a weekend) and just cut out pieces at dinner time to microwave to save time on weeknights.  *You can do all the prep and not bake until the day of eating. Just make sure you cook it about 45 minutes or bubbly because it will have been fully cooled in the fridge. *You can also make ahead (bake or no bake) and freeze.

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Oven ready noodles I prefer

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step 3 – cooking beef, onions, garlic, S&P

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step 6 – adding in marinara sauce to beef

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step 7 – making cheese mixture

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step 8 – marinara sauce in bottom of pan

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step 9 – adding noodles on top of bottom sauce layer

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step 10 – covering pasta layer #1 with sauce

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step 11 – covering sauce w/ cheese mixture

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step 15 – adding remaining sauce to final sauce layer

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step 16 – topping w/ 2 cups shredded mozz cheese

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step 18 – cooling lasagna!

Formerly Trendy Pasta

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This pasta is delicious. I mean its FREAKING good. Just believe me. I call it¬†‘Formerly Trendy’¬†pasta since its got all the major food trends that struck it hot¬†for a short time recently: kale, bacon, butternut squash – all things that made it into a lot of new dishes and on many restaurant menus in the past two years. But…trendy or not, these ingredients are some of my favorite (minus kale which I can only eat cooked or chopped into tiny bits – I think it tastes like tree leaves might taste).

The pasta is sweet, savory, smokey, creamy, and has a tiny bit of spice from the red pepper flakes. It is one of my favorites. It reheats SO well. This recipe makes about 8 healthy portions. My mother was in town helping me with the new baby as I head back to work part-time…and we nibbled on it for lunch and dinner for a couple of days. No-one ever was tired of the pasta – which means its pretty damn good. ūüôā Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package uncooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta)or other short tubed pasta of your preference
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 8 bacon slices
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup¬†light sour cream
  • 1 cup¬†shredded Gruy√®re cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400¬į.

2. Combine squash and 1 tbps olive oil¬†in a large bowl ¬†or in a Ziploc bag with 1/2 tsp salt and the 1 tbsp black pepper; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with tin foil (or can use cooking spray).¬†Bake at 400¬į for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

3. On another baking sheet with foil, lay the bacon flat and cook for 20-30 minutes (cooking times will vary greatly based on the thickness of the bacon). Flip the bacon every 5 minutes to ensure its fully cooked and not burnt.

4. While the butternut squash and bacon are in the oven cooking, place the chopped onion in a saute pan on the stovetop. When the bacon is done cooking, pour off about 2 tbsp of the bacon drippings into the pan with the onion.

5. Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente. Add kale to pot of pasta (with water) during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture into colander and then pour into large mixing bowl.

6. Pull butternut squash from oven and place into bowl with pasta mixture.

7. Pull bacon from the pan and place onto paper towels to dry and crisp. Once crispy and dried – chop into small 1/2 inch pieces and place into bowl with butternut squash and pasta.

8. Turn the onion/bacon drippings (grease) pan to medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until onion is translucent. When completely cooked, pour into bowl with pasta/kale/butternut squash/bacon.

9. Combine 1/4 cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Bring the remaining 1 3/4 cups of the chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Add flour/broth mixture to the boiling broth. Then add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to the broth. Cook and whisk 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir/whisk in 1 cup of light sour cream. Then stir in 1 cup of the cheese Рcontinue to stir until melted.

10. Combine squash, bacon, pasta/kale mixture, cooked onion mixture, and cream/cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss gently. Coat a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; then pour in the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining¬†cheese on top of the pasta. Bake at 400¬į for 25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

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Chopping kale – keeping the stems out of the chopped mixture

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Butternut squash in oven to roast

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Raw bacon entering oven to cook

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Cooked butternut squash

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Cooked pasta & chopped kale mixture

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Cooked mixture of pasta/kale in big mixing bowl

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Added butternut squash to pasta mix in large mixing bowl

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Cooking onion in bacon drippings

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Final cooked onion/bacon drippings/red pepper flakes added to large mixing bowl

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Cooked bacon resting on paper towels

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Chopped bacon added to mixing bowl

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Cooking the cheese sauce

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Final mixture of all elements: kale/pasta, bacon, squash, onion, cheese/cream sauce

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Pasta dish entering oven

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Final product – YUMMO!

 

Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

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Pasta salad is delicious – WHEN its done right. I am kinda picky about my pasta salad which is odd b/c I eat pretty much everything that comes in my path. Usually restaurants throw in a bunch of pasta, red onion and a basic Italian salad dressing and charge way too much for that thoughtless dish. No thank you!!

I love to make this salad for when I have friends over. They always think its store-bought, but its not! Its super easy to make and is bursting with flavor. If I have leftovers, I use for¬†lunches or quick dinners on weeknights. Grill up a chicken breast or some shrimp – toss it all together and you’ve got a delicious meal. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 pound rotini¬†pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta
  • 3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2¬†tsp¬†balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cups pesto, store-bought or¬†click here to try my recipe
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parm¬†Ramano
  • 1 small bag¬†frozen petite peas, defrosted
  • 1¬†teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2¬†teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large heavily salted pot of water to a boil. Add all pasta. Cook in boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes total, but taste to ensure its done. Strain and rinse gently with cold water. Toss with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the spinach in the microwave according to package directions. Strain into a colander, rinse with cold water and press out the liquid with the back of a spoon. I also grab paper towels and do one last smoosh through the colander to get out any additional liquid. Set aside.
  3. In a very large bowl, stir together pesto, spinach, lemon juice, balsamic, mayonnaise, salt and black pepper. Add pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, peas, and 1/2 cup the parmesan cheese.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Before serving, sprinkle with other 1/2 cup of the cheese.
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Cooked pasta tossed in olive oil

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Peas thawing

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Chopped sun-dried tomatoes

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Mixing mayo, spinach, pesto, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice & red pepper flakes

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Final product!

Shrimp & Artichoke Pesto Pasta

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If you follow any previous posts – you’ll know that I love me some PESTO sauce. It is delicious. Freezes well. Goes with everything: pizza, pasta, sandwiches, dips, seafood, beef, chicken — its awesome sauce (pun fully intended). This recipe is a quick after-dinner recipe that takes about 20 minutes to make from start to sitting down to eat. Just make the pesto ahead-of time and its that easy! Use fresh shrimp if possible and either make or buy fresh pasta. Buitoni¬†is delicious and makes a big difference. I used fettuccine is this recipe. Buon Apetito!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 – 1 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 lb fresh shrimp
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic (about 3 large cloves)
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup halved artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 package fresh pasta
  • salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set a large pot of lightly salted water to boil on stove.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp – poo in your shrimp is bad news. ūüôā
  3. Pat shrimp dry.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper over shrimp.
  5. Place artichokes, Italian seasoning, and half of lemon juice in a bowl and mix. Set aside.
  6. Place onion and butter in saute pan over medium heat.
  7. Once onion is starting to cook and become soft, add in garlic and red pepper flakes.
  8. Add the other half of lemon juice and white wine.
  9. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
  10. Check pasta water – add pasta and cook (if fresh pasta) for about 2 minutes in boiling water. If dry pasta, cook for approximately 8-10 minutes. When pasta is cooked, strain and cover with towel to keep warm.
  11. Add raw shrimp to saute pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Once shrimp is mostly pink and starting to curl up, add in the pesto sauce and artichoke hearts. Continue to saute for another 2 or so minutes.
  13. Add in cooked pasta – do this in thirds so you can toss pasta in the sauce and add in more pesto if its needed.
  14. Once all pasta is mixed with the shrimp/artichoke/pesto sauce – its ready to go
  15. Place into serving bowls and top with parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

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Raw shrimp waiting to be shelled and deveined

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Veins in shrimp = bad

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Shrimp with no veins = good

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Shrimp patted dry and sprinkled with salt and pepper

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Artichokes with Italian seasoning and lemon juice

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Onions, garlic, wine, lemon juice, red pepper flakes cooking

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Cooking shrimp!

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Added pesto to the shrimp mixture

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Artichokes added to pesto sauce and adding pasta bit by bit

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Done!

Pesto Sauce

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Pesto Sauce is one of my favorite sauces, why its not a ‘mother sauce‘ I don’t know. I think they should add a 6th one for sure. Basil makes everything taste better, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic – what’s not to love?! This sauce is great on pasta, on salads, on sandwiches, and I even will serve it over cream cheese with sun dried tomatoes and crackers as an appetizer. So easy! I also use this in my chicken florentine pizza recipe. I usually make a double batch, freeze it, and pull it out to thaw while I’m at work – when I get home voila – sauce ready for use.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves, pulled from stems (pack tightly into the cup)
  • 1 cup evoo
  • 2 tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all basil into food processor or blender. Pulse lightly a few times until roughly chopped.
  2. Add in garlic.
  3. Pulse a few more times.
  4. Turn machine on and pour in half of the olive oil.
  5. While machine is still running, add in pine nuts.
  6. Continue with remainder of olive oil and last add the cheese.
  7. After adding cheese only let the processor run for 5-10 more seconds.
  8. Stop machine – add s&p. Pulse a few more times – and pour into mason jar or container for use within a couple of days, or freeze immediately.
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Ingredients

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Basil roughly chopped in food processor

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All ingredients blended together

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Final product – this is the actual amount made w/ these measurements

Langoustine Linguini

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If you are a Costco addict, you and I have more in common than the love for food – and that also makes you awesome. Costco is amazing and if you don’t have one in your area, you probably think all of us Costco junkies are nuts, but it was the gift of Costco that lead me to this recipe. They have a great selection of seafood at amazing prices. Langoustines are available sporadically throughout the year, and when we spot them – we buy them every time and make this dish.

Langoustines are teenie little lobsters which are not teenie in flavor. They are extremely popular in Europe. I love to use them in dishes as you get much more of that lobster taste in every bite for a much lower price than a traditional lobster.

This recipe is one my husband found, and we’ve adjusted it over the last couple of years to make it even more delicious. The sauce is very simple – so you can really taste the langoustines, capers, lemon, and all the other deliciousness. I hope you enjoy this ‘Potts family star’ recipe as much as we do.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb linguini (or angel hair) pasta
  • 1 1/2 lb langoustines
  • 8 oz bacon – chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion – thinly sliced
  • 2 small to medium size vine tomatoes – diced small
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup quartered artichokes
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
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Ingredients!

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until just al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water just before its time to drain.
  2. Drain and return pasta to the pot. Cover to keep warm.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until close to crispy. Remove and set on plate lined with paper towels.
  4. To the same pan, add the onions and cook, stirring until soft for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1-2 minutes seconds.
  6. Add the wine, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 3/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper, lemon juice, and langoustines. Cook on med-high heat, stirring often until the shellfish are pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the capers, artichokes, tomatoes, parsley, bacon and stir to combine. Saute for about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add the cooked pasta to the shellfish mixture and toss well to combine. I recommend adding the pasta to the sauce in batches to ensure the pasta and the sauce are in the right proportions.
  9. Cook until the pasta is heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest, and adjust the seasoning with salt or more pepper if needed.
  11. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Plate and serve immediately.

*Note: If at any time you feel the sauce is dry or there isn’t enough, you can add the pasta water or wine…or both! Just add in equal portions – tablespoon by tablespoon until its to your liking.

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Me, my zester, wine, and cute new spring shoes! Oh yeah – I’m cooking too.

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Step 1: Getting pasta started!

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Step 3: Cooking bacon

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Step 3: Bacon cooked & drying on paper towels

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Chop Chop Chop!

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Chopped tomatoes, chopped artichokes & capers

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Step 6 & 7: Sauce mix after all ingredients included

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