Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pasta, Pasta, My Mind Sees Only Pasta

A somewhat misleading title because I actually made a delicious Hoisin Garlic Flank Steak, with Sauteed Ginger Garlic Kale and the last of the garlicky rice for dinner last night. That said....

Did you ever have one of those weeks when it seems like everywhere you look there's pasta? I've been drooling over every one of the dishes in the pasta chapter in Jamie Oliver's book Jamie's Italy and I've written about it before...

Mark Bittman's NY Times weekly column this week is all about making easy homemade pasta (I wrote about that too)

Don't even get me started on Donna Hay's newest book Seasons (well, see what I've written and then rush out to buy your own copy) but know that the Roasted Garlic, Ricotta & Kalamata Olive Pasta I made last week... and had for two wonderful leftover lunches, still has me licking my lips.

I guess I've been fixated on pasta because of tomorrow night's dinner. Our friends head back to Calgary after packing up their stuff and we wanted to spend the evening with them. A few obstacles stand between now and sitting down to dinner...

  1. Braces on my friend's teeth - yes, even those a few years over forty sometimes need them, means something soft;
  2. I'll be spending the day as I usually do with those little angels who sometimes give me time in the kitchen to prepare dinner, and often they would rather play - which means I have to prepare something in advance so I don't get stressed'; and...
  3. I want something that all three generations would enjoy.

And what could be better than a baked pasta dish that I can prepare today and just throw in the oven an hour before serving. Well, after flipping through lots of books and lots of magazines, not to mention searching the Internet, I ended up coming back to a recipe I found on the Italpasta box of jumbo pasta shells about a million years ago.

Naturally... because why should things be easy... the grocery store was out of jumbo shells and since we were expecting a blizzard yesterday, I really didn't feel like traipsing all over the city to find some. A little luck and some flexibility, I found some oven ready cannelloni, also from Italpasta - I do love the brand.

Now... oven ready cannelloni means that I can do the stuffing without cooked pasta tubes splitting on me. I just fill a zip lock baggie with filling, cut one of the corners off and make my own piping bag. It makes the process very manageable, not to mention easy to clean up. Hopefully, I'll take a photo of the cannelloni version, if we're not having too good a time eating it!

Baby Steps to A Rockin' Life!
And that's my tip for Baby Steps to a Rockin Life put together by Alex of A Moderate Life.

It's also my entry for this week's Presto Pasta Night. Claire of Chez Cayenne is hosting and you still have some time to send in your pasta before midnight tonight. Send your entries to cdmcculloch7 (at)gmail (dot)com and cc me - ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com

What's your go to dish for such occasions?


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This is one of my favourite ways with pasta for sure Ruth. Isn't it fun to entertain friends with wonderful food and plenty of laughter!

Ruth Daniels said...

Fun is absolutely an understatement! Thanks for dropping by.

Claire said...

I am drooling now looking at your stuffed shells photo. I've never used oven ready canneloni tubes. Let us know how they work out!

Ruth Daniels said...

It's my first time for cannelloni, but I'd tried lasagna and manicotti and they worked just fine.

Joanne said...

Oh the days of braces...good luck to your friend! Pasta is always the thing to make when having people over, I'm convinced. You just can't go wrong, especially not with stuffed shells!

Claudia said...

I want some of those oven ready cannelloni. Soon. Usually I use crepes left from breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Baked pasta is so convenient and everybody likes it. So actually my go-to recipe is very similar to yours, adapted to what I have in the cupboard and fridge. If I know kids are not too fussy and I am not catering for vegetarians, sometimes I prepare a stew. But baked pasta is my favorite.

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Couscous & Consciousness said...

Beautiful looking pasta dish Ruth - I love dishes like this that can be prepared ahead, and then just finished off in the oven when you need to.
Sue :-)