Tag Archives: pasta

When is pasta not pasta? When it’s mushroom.

2 Mar

For me, cooking is usually an arts-and-crafts project or a science experiment. I imagine that certain flavors will go together well and then test the theory.

Other times, I challenge myself by trying to recreate an amazing dish I’ve had at a restaurant. Like I did this week.

Recently, I went with friends to John Bentley’s in Redwood City, Calif. Everything on the menu sounded delicious and I thought it was going to be hard to decide what to order, until I got to the end of the menu and found: “Trumpet Mushroom “Pappardelle” with tomato, garlic, basil,Kalamatas, edamame and Pecorino Romano.”

Mushroom Pappardelle

A carbless delicious beauty from John Bentley’s

The waiter said the chef created Pappardelle from mushrooms. The dish had a red sauce, and it was like a pasta dish without the pasta. I was so intrigued I had to order it. And WOW! It was SO delicious!

A week later, I decided to try to recreate the dish with a few embellishments.

For my mushroom pasta, I did not use edamame or fresh basil, although there was basil in the pasta sauce. I used shiitake mushrooms, garlic, Kalamata olives, spinach, onion, tofu and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan on top. I went with the short cut of using Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Maranara sauce.

I started by sautéing garlic and onion in olive oil.

Step one, saute onions and garlic in olive oil.

Onions and garlic sautéed in olive oil.

Then I added the mushrooms, olives, tofu and spinach.

A garden in a skillet

Ingredients. Not pictured: sauce, cheese.

After the vegetables were softened, about 10-15 minutes, I poured in some marinara sauce, sprinkled shredded Parmesan on top and. SOOO good!! (To make it vegan, don’t add the cheese at the end.)

As you can tell with the difference in ingredients and stage presence, it wasn’t exactly the meal I had at John Bentley’s, but it was close enough and very satisfying!

Give it a try!  Add your own twists, and please share your recipe thoughts in the comments.

Bon appetite!

Lemons+Ravioli: A match made in Trader Joe’s heaven

5 Nov

It was another tasting bar moment. One paper-cup-sized bite and I knew what was for dinner.

The TJ’s staffer added some prosciutto and dressing to her sample. I tried something different. (My recipe’s below.)

Ricotta and lemon filled ravioli = tasty wonder

Lemony, cheesy, ravioli-y


My recipe for delicious ravioli from Trader Joe's

This is how my mixture looks in a square bowl.

JA’s TJ’s Lemon Ravioli Recipe:

Bag of Girasole Ricotta & Lemon Zest Ravioli
Bundle of fresh asparagus
3-4 Tbl fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of salt
Juice from half a lemon
To make it meaty, add half of TJ’s flat of “Just Chicken”

Combine. Serve. Enjoy!

Happy Summer! Recipe time: “Where Pasta Meets Kale”

21 Jun

Trader Joe’s serves up the ingredients for a healthful, nutritious, filling and yummy meal!

The intersection of fresh kale and hearty pasta

The intersection of fresh kale and hearty pasta

Once upon a time there was pasta and olive oil…

3 May

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” ~Federico Fellini

Pappardelle and olive oil at Trader Joe's

A family classic

Some days I go to Trader Joe’s with a shaggy shopping list thinking that something delicious will be waiting for me, like Prince Charming in food form, sitting between the string cheese and shaved Parmesan.

This is one of those fairytale displays that takes your hand and suddenly you’re at home with an amazing meal. Magical scents waft through the house as gourmet goodness fills your stomach.

Olive oil drizzled over lemon pepper pappardelle ribbons is all you need for a fabulous dinner, of course. But,  additional items can add a twist to the classic.

Some other favorite pasta-dish ingredients:

  • steamed asparagus
  • capers
  • kalamata olives
  • grilled chicken
  • tuna
  • grated Parmesan
  • artichoke hearts

What’s your favorite go-to pasta addition or recipe?

The letter “O” brought to you by Trader Joe’s

20 Aug

And, of course, the classic, drinkable “O”…

Thank yOu, Trader JOe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

Fruity O’s nutrition info

Trader Joe’s Spaghetti O’s nutrition info

Orange Juice cake recipe


Trader Giotto’s: How to make frozen vegetable lasagne good

3 Aug

With lasagne, it’s all about the cheese and the sauce. Additional fillings are a bonus, but if the cheese is too bulky or thin and the sauce is too spicy or bland, you’re sunk. In Goldie Lock’s terms, TJ’s Garden Vegetable Lasagne is just right.

Trader Joe’s Garden Vegetable Lasagne

This is another in my line up of hot-meal/cool-kitchen food. In 100-degree Midwestern heat, microwaving has reached mantra levels this summer. It’s a little heavy to make a staple right now, but I’ll definitely be considering this lasagne one of my cold weather go-to dinners. Bonus points for all the organic ingredients, too.

Gracie, Trader Giotto’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

Nutrition information

D.C. Girl in Pearls review

WebMD’s Best Tasting Vegetarian Foods

A good thing to do with bow tie pasta a.k.a. farfalle

30 May


I thought I’d share this recipe, a house fave no matter what variation the mood persuades me to try.

The original thought was born (and instant hit made) thanks to World Cafe’s recipe from years ago.

Last week’s trip to TJ’s inspired me in a Spring direction.

Farfalle Primavera ala Judy

Most of the ingredients are apparent from the photo below:

  • One bag (16 oz.) farfalle
  • One bunch fresh asparagus
  • Four chicken breasts
  • Healthy drizzle of olive oil
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (sprinkle with wild abandon)
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice (two or three lemons)
  • A bounty of chives
  • Three to four cloves garlic

To make the meal go faster and easier at the end, I did much of the prep work in the morning:

Steamed and cut the asparagus; baked and cubed the chicken; cut the chives; peeled the garlic and bought Parmesan already shredded.

About 20 minutes before my guests arrived, all I had to do was boil the pasta, and then toss in the ingredients – all the major cleaning had been done much earlier, which was such a pleasure to have out of the way!

Bow tie pasta primavera

NOTE: The farfalle bag says, “Servings Per Container: About 8.” We had seven at the table and even with the extra ingredients – and everyone went for a second helping – the portion was perfect. One serving was left at the end. I love leftovers : )

Thank you, TJ’s

Follow Things I Love At Trader Joe’s on Twitter: twitter.com/traderjoeskc

Related links

Nutrition facts for Trader Joe’s farfalle

Farfalle with pesto, goat cheese and grape tomatoes

Spinach artichoke farfalle (and other “quick and easy TJ’s recipes”)


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