Pasta with Broccoli, roasted galic, and pine nuts

I love thrift stores. Its not even the clothes and such that I like when I go to thrifting with my friend, its the books I get lost in.  Books and Pyrex.  Yes, its true, I collect milk glass pyrex. Back to the books, I can’t even name how many book series I’ve completed in my library through thrift stores and the cook books they have are unreal. Vintage old cookbooks, new cook books, cook books you never even thought existed. Lucky me, I found two cookbooks that peaked my interest greatly. One was a french country fare cookbook, very french traditional country meals. It had lots of sauces, stews, pot pies and thick pastry recipes, it even had recipes for rabbit and squab! So I had to pick it up, especially since it was $0.99. How can you say no? Aside from that, I picked up “The White Queen” by Phillipa gregory, which is a book I lost when moving, and I picked up a quick from scratch pasta cookbook.

What caught me about the pasta cook book, is that it has all these pasta night recipes, yet almost everything in here I already have stashed in my pantry regularly. So, This recipe is coming straight from the cookbook callled “Food and Wine Magazines Quick Pasta from Scratch” (tho, none of the pasta in the book is made from scratch.. go figure.)

Pasta Shells with Broccoli, Roasted Garlic and Pine Nuts

  • 1 head garlic, seperated in to cloves and roasted
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs broccoli florets
  • eyeball up your Rotini
  • 1/4 cup parmasan, plus more for serving

*The recipe itself calls for Orecchiette pasta, which is prett much large shells.  I did not have this, and it is a blizzard outside so rotini it is.

Garlic in oil, roast at 325 for 30 mins, throw in the pine nuts at the 15 min mark so they toast for 15 minutes

mmmm. they'll look like this when they're done. Be careful not to overtoast the nuts, nuts taste baaaaaad burnt

Our delicious ingredients. mmm! Broccoli. At this point you want to squeeze the pulpy part of the garlic out of the skin in to the oil. Remember to make sure the garlic is cool enough to handle when you do this. Burnt fingers in oil -> no good.

boil the broccoli til just finished, and cook your pasta. I used rotini because it was all i had

boil the broccoli til just finished, and cook your pasta. I used rotini because it was all i had

Drain pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Combine everything, plus 1/4 cup pasta water and the parmasan. If the pasta looks dry, add the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water

Now mange mange mange!


So… What did I think of this recipe.  Well the pine nuts were the star.  The garlic didn’t lend enough of its flavour to this meal in my opinion, though you’d get a few bursts of that delicious roast garlic here and there.   I left out the seasoning of the garlic oil because I’m not a fan of a lot of salt in my meals but in hindsight I may keep it next time.  Other than that, it was good tasting. Fresh, and nutty.  I liked it!


Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta

Laid back night here in the homestead.  I didn’t take any meat out, was thinking it was a kraft dinner night, but I decided I would just pantry up something yummy.  So here it is! Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta. This recipe is somewhat of an adaption of a recipe a woman I used to live with made all the time, except she used 2 containers of flavoured cream cheese, spaghetti, and no tuna or onion.  I never really liked the addition of cream cheese as a sauce, it felt too heavy, but I thought if i used less it could work out better.  Less is more, right?  It turned out wondeful.

Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta

  • 1 handful sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil from the sundried tomato jar
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (or half a brick)
  • salt/pepper to taste

Boil some water for your pasta of choice, I used rotini, feel free to improvise on the pasta front and cook that however you would cook normal pasta.  In a frying pan, put the 2 tbsp oil in and heat, then salt the oil.  Add chopped onion and let it cook until it becomes opaque, a few minutes, and add the tomatoes.  Cook that around for a few minutes to let the oils mix around with the onion, it will become a reddish brownish colour from the tomatoe.  Add the can of tuna, and cook more, and salt/pepper to taste.   Keep that going for a few minutes at med-med low until the pastas nearly ready and then add your cream cheese.  I pushed the cream cheese around with a wooden spoon until it melted as best it would and mixed it all together.  Spoon it out on to your pasta and eat. Delicious.  I could never figure out why I stayed away from sun-dried tomatoes so long.

Spicy Cherry Tomato and Pesto Spaghetti

Cherry tomato goodness

Pasta is a way of life.   Pasta is possibly the only food you can buy for ridiculously cheap and feed an entire family with.  It maintains ridiculously well, it cooks nice and easy, and you can make virtually millions of versions of the same dish.  Also, when I run out of groceries,  its the first (and only) thing that I reach for.   This happened to me not to long ago, during a week we were rather tight pocketed and I was at a loss on what I could make to nourish my babies, and have them actually want to eat it.   So I thew together a tiny inventory, and reached for my spaghetti.   This is what I came up with and I absolutely loved it!  I actually thought I entered this here awhile ago since i’m making it again tonight but turns out I did not.  To the recipe!

Spicy Cherry Tomato and Pesto Spaghetti

  • 2 cups of Cherry or grape  tomatoes, halved
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes (use less if you prefer less spicy, or none at all if you dislike spicy.)
  • 1 – 2 tsp dried oregano (or 2 – 3 tsp fresh oregano)
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley (from my garden. Woohoo!)
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil  (or more)
  • 4-5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • spaghetti
  • Pesto sauce (I just use that from a jar)

Boil your pasta in a nice pot of briny water.  A pasta water should taste like a nice day at the beach (near the ocean.. obviously haha).   While your doing this, heat up the olive oil in a pan with the garlic and hot pepper flakes.  Let the garlic cook for a bit.    When cooking things in oil on the stove, you have to make sure that you get the pan super hot before putting the food in.   If you put cold food in to a cold pan the food absorbs all the oil and everything will just taste like oil. Once thats softened and cooked a bit pop in the tomatoes, let them cook for a minute or two before adding the herbs.   Cook that down until the tomatoes are cooked through, soft and wrinkly.   When that’s done, just wait for the pasta to finish, if its already finished obviously drain it, and put in 1 – 2 spoons of pesto sauce, depending on your taste.  Stir those up, and then toss in the cherry tomatoes mix.

Each cherry tomato just pops in your mouth.  It is a flavour and experience I have neglected to give myself growing up when my mothers garden yielded seeming mountains of them every summer.  My mother would never cook them, and to this day I still can’t manage to eat an uncooked tomato.   You can refrigerate any leftovers, my husband loves taking them to work so he can show his colleagues that he doesn’t have to eat sandwiches every day.

I will edit this entry with a photograph once I take one tonight.   I’m also in the market for a smaller personal camera.  The one I use now is amazing, it is the photographic love of my life, but it is to valued, expensive, big and precious for me to want to haul it around for my various exploits.  I have a few leads, be patient.   I’m also soon to update my newest regular recipe.  The Esmeq Zucchini bread supreme! No fail, and when stale, tastes like gingerbread.  Delicious.

Roasted Tomatoes


  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 8 slices of pancetta or 4 slices of bacon, optional
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • penne pasta or other type
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cut the bacon with a pair of kitchen scissors (its easier than cutting raw bacon!) and toss it with the garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and onions in a casserole dish or glass dish.  Preheat the oven and bake them until the tomatoes shrivel up a bit, the onions and garlic cooks down and the bacon is done (around an hour).  It smells fantastic! eat it as is, or mash it up and put it over penne or some larger slotted or fluted pasta so it holds everything nicely.

We absolutely loved it! so fragrant and fresh!