A Taste For Spice »

Masthead header

Tag Archives: pasta dishes

BEEF SHORT RIBS RAGU

These hearty one pot meals especially during the Winter is LIFE! I think I get more use out of the slow cooker during the colder months than any other time of year, but with that comes big batch cooking for even tastier leftovers along with really easy prepping so that you can do whatever you need to do for the day while it slowly cooks.

This Beef Short Ribs Ragu recipe is among my favorite next to my Braciole & Italian Sausage recipe. It’s perfect for cold days and also for the holidays. But I’ll admit I’ve made this when it wasn’t cold because it’s that good. And often when I’m being good with my choice of eats, I won’t ignore the craving for this! Okay, believe it or not it doesn’t require anything fancy to make. Cooking it long and slow is the main ingredient to making this taste amazing. Normally I would use 1/2 cup of a dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon but there have been times I didn’t have any or forgot to get wine and it came out just as good.

There is one ingredient you don’t want to ditch when making this, and that’s the pecorino Romano cheese. Make sure you go to the cheese section and buy the block of pecorino. Not the grated. It is often compared to Parmesan cheese but the difference is that it’s made of sheep milk; giving that much stronger pungent taste. AND IT GOES SO PERFECT WITH THIS DISH! Trust me. You can use the leftover block of Romano in place of Parmesan cheese, over any pasta dish, or shaved over salads. It can also be stored tight in a freezer bag in the freezer for future uses if you don’t plan to use the rest of it so quickly before the expiration date.

One last thing! If you’re not feeling pasta, you can definitely serve this over a baked potato, polenta, Italian inspired quesadillas, and even top a homemade pizza with the shredded meat. Never feel you’re limited to only one dish when you make a big batch of food. Enjoy!

Print Recipe
BEEF SHORT RIBS RAGU
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and bring to high heat. Brown all sides of the short ribs about a minute each side. Lay the short ribs into a slow cooker set for 8 hours on low.
  2. Drain the excess oil from the pan, place the pan back on the stove on medium heat. Add the beef broth and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Then, add the onions, carrot, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Stir for about two minutes and transfer into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the bay leaf, tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, dry red wine (optional), and Romano cheese chunks. Stir gently and cover the slow cooker to cook.
  5. Feel free to stir everything once half way through if you like. It should be ready in as little as 6 hours but 8 hours is perfect.
  6. Remove each short rib onto a large cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. Place the shredded meat back into the slow cooker, add salt as needed, stir, and serve over pasta.
Recipe Notes

I recommend using a spoon to scoop the pools of fat at the top. You can also do so by scraping the solidified fat at the top after it’s been refrigerated.

TUNA CASSEROLE

Who doesn’t love comfort food? Comfort food is seriously some of the easiest dishes to make. They’re quick, full of flavor, filling and of course satisfying! With this being my favorite time of year I have to share with you a more basic meal I grew up eating. My Mom always whipped this up using those crunchy shoestring potatoes inside and on top and it was beautiful gluttony. Which you can do so if you like! But I love my veggies and it eases my guilt when I can mix them into a dish like this. I’m telling you though they add a fantastic gourmet flavor that you’ll be glad to have made a huge batch for leftovers.

And let’s face it… part of my mission in sharing this food blog is to make things a little more healthier without compromising flavor.  If you don’t like leeks, use onion instead, actually add anything you like. If I have mushrooms in the fridge I’ll slice them up and add to the saute. And if you’re a garlic freak like me then try roasting a head of garlic and throwing them in the mix. YUM!

Print Recipe
TUNA CASSEROLE
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place a large pot of water filled with water over high heat to get the water boiling for the macaroni.
  2. Meanwhile saute the bell pepper, leek, jalapeno, salt, and pepper with olive oil over medium heat until they're almost soft. Then add the frozen peas. Stir the veggies around for another two minutes until the peas thaw then turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Cook the noodles from both mac 'n cheese boxes as directed on the box. Once you've drained the pasta and returned to the large pot, add the two cheddar cheese pouches that came with the boxed mac 'n cheese. Also add the can of cream of mushroom and milk. Stir everything together until it's well incorporated.
  4. Lastly, fold in the 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese, albacore tuna, and sauted veggies. Place the casserole into a 9" x 13" baking dish (or a deep 9" x 9"). Sprinkle a thin layer of grated parmesan cheese on top with the remaining 1/4 cup.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 - 30 minutes or until it's bubbling and the top is golden brown.

BRACIOLE & ITALIAN SAUSAGE

If there’s ever a meal that really brings back good memories of my childhood, it would be this one! There were so many years of family gathering around a long stretch of tables that flowed from the dining room and well into the living room hoarding some of the best Italian food there is. And among everything it was this particular dish that never failed to bring an already satisfied tummy just from the aromas to a starving existence. I’m telling you! Give yourself a weekend to enjoy your time in the kitchen with some family or friends to round these little bracioles together!

Slow cooking the Italian sausage for 8 hours draws all the natural fat from the pork and creates a hearty depth of flavor to the marinara sauce. And the sausage really melts in your mouth. The braciole becomes infused with all the flavors from the sauage, Marinara Sauce (try my homemade marinara for this recipe!) and it’s own stuffing; your taste buds may be a little overwhelmed with pleasure. I must admit… this is one of the many reasons why I would never turn back time and go back to my childhood. Because I would have to wait so long until the next time I can have this dish. Nowadays, if I want it… I can make it whenever I want to!

While I love sharing… this is a tough one to share because sometimes it’s fun to have little secrets and excite people. But honestly, I’m trying to share more and be a little less selfish in that regard. So please, try this some time. And hopefully it will spark some ideas for you to create your own in the future. Enjoy!


Print Recipe
BRACIOLE & ITALIAN SAUSAGE
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. If the meat isn’t already cut into individual pieces then go ahead and cut pieces that are about four inches long and 3 inches wide. Then pound each one thin with a meat tenderizer to about 1/4“ thick.
  2. In a bowl, combine the fresh basil, garlic, Italian bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, romano cheese, pepper, and salt together. Then using a spoonful of the mixture lay it down the center of each piece of meat.
  3. To roll the braciole together start at one end of the meat and roll it up tight using your fingers to catch any of the mix that may fall off pushing it back towards the center. Cut some cooking twine to tie around both ends firmly.
  4. With a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, drizzle the bottom with olive oil and sear the Italian sausage for a couple minutes on each side until the skin creates a crust. Transfer them onto a plate and set aside.
  5. Sear the braciole for two minutes on each side as well and put them on the plate.
  6. Cut the Italian sausage in half down the center and place them into a slow cooker set for 8 hours, along with the braciole and marinara sauce. Keep it covered the whole time.
  7. Let it slow cook for about 8 hours. Gently move the meat around a few times throughout the slow cooking process.
  8. Serve over pasta.