Ingredients (Sauce)

2 x 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp Tastefully Simple Onion Onion seasoning
2 tsp Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic seasoning
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
½ tsp sage
½ tsp salt

Spice measurements are for dried spices.

Ingredients (Pasta)

3 cups flour
3 eggs
Pinch salt
Cold water (if needed)

Ingredients (Other)

½ to ¾ container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup grated asiago
8oz fresh mozzarella (optional – you can just use more shredded instead. If you use the fresh, strain some of the moisture from it)
1 lb lean ground beef


Start the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat on medium, covered, until it starts to bubble. Reduce to low and let it simmer while you continue the rest of the steps.

Brown the ground beef and set aside.

Make the pasta dough. Scoop flour onto work surface. Make a well in the center. Add salt. Add one egg and start to incorporate with a fork. Continue to add eggs one at a time, incorporating more of the flour after each one. You will reach a point where it’s clear you can’t do any more with the fork and you just need to use your hands. Once you have a dough ball, knead, knead, knead for several minutes. If the dough feels dry, add some of the cold water to get it to the right texture. The texture should be kind of elastic-y, but not really sticky.

Separate dough into portions about a half cup in size. Cover unused dough with plastic wrap. Roll out dough to #4 setting using pasta machine (start on the widest setting, #1, and work your way thinner). Place dough onto work surface and cut into lasagna-sized noodles. I like to make the noodles as I assemble the lasagna, so I stop after making one layer’s worth.

Spread sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Layer noodles on top. Spread more sauce on top of the noodles. Add beef.

Make more noodles. Next layer is sauce, ricotta, and shredded mozzarella.

Make more noodles. Top with sauce, asiago, and mozzarella (fresh or shredded).

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil if the cheese looks like it’s going to get too brown.

This reheats really well. I had leftovers for lunch this week!

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad.png


1 box tricolor rotini
2 cups chopped pepperoni
8oz package mozzarella pearls
⅔ cup shaved parmesan
½ pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
4-6 pepperocinis, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 orange bell pepper, diced
½ cup white vinegar
2 tbsp white wine
¼ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 packets Good Seasons Italian dressing mix


Cook pasta and let cool to room temperature. Once pasta is cooled, add pepperoni, veggies, and cheeses.

Combine white vinegar, white wine, mayo, and Italian dressing mix in a blender. With the blender still running on low speed, slowly stream in the olive oil. Continue to blend until well-incorporated. Pour over the pasta salad and toss until everything is mixed and well-coated.

Dilly Pasta Salad

IMG_5150I went with my horseback riding club to tailgate at the Winterthur point-to -point races last week. This pasta salad was one of the things I brought to share. It was chilly and rained off and on, but we still had a great time.


1 box of tricolor farfalle pasta
Large pack of grape tomatoes (1qt)
1 package mozzarella pearls (8oz)
1 envelope Tastefully Simple dill pickle dip mix
2½ tsp to 1 tbsp dried dill weed
½+ tsp kosher salt
½ cup mayonnaise
Red wine vinegar to taste (about 6-10 dashes/shakes)


Cook and drain pasta. Let it cool to at least room temperature. If you don’t cook and cool pasta in advance, you can do the remaining steps and set everything aside to be combined once the pasta cools.

Cut grape tomatoes into quarters. Drain the mozzarella pearls and combine with grape tomatoes. Set aside.

Combine mayonnaise, dill pickle dip mix, dil, and salt.

Once pasta is cooled to at least room temperature, stir in mayonnaise mixture until the pasta is well-coated. Stir in tomatoes and mozzarella until they are distributed evenly throughout. This is a good time to taste to see if you need to add more dill. If the salad is too dry, add more mayo.

Add red wine vinegar and combine well into the salad. Taste and add more if needed.


We had a great tailgating spot right on the rail!


Three Cheese Rustic Herb Ravioli with Cream Sauce and Tomatoes


I tweeted earlier “Food blogger problem – realizing halfway through making something that you haven’t written any of it down.” That may have related to part of this recipe. The parts I’m unsure of are marked accordingly. Oh, and remember how I said before not to ask me about my pasta recipe because I have no idea about any of the proportions? I took note when I made the ravioli! Problem solved. Now let’s hope I can remember to keep writing these things down.


For Ravioli Filling

  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup smoked gouda, shredded
  • ¼ cup asiago, grated
  • 1 tbsp rustic herb seasoning (from Tastefully Simple)

For Pasta

  • 2½ cups flour + more for dusting
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt

For Sauce

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ to 1 cup heavy cream (This is where I didn’t take note of measurements. Start with
  • ¾ cup and increase from there if it seems too little)
  • ¼ to ½ cup milk (Same as above. Start with ¼ and increase as needed)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2+ tsp of the pasta water
  • Parsley (optional)


Ravioli Filling. Combine all ingredients. If you have the spice grinder for your Tastefully Simple seasoning container, use it. If not, crush up your seasoning a bit before you add it. Cover with film and set aside.


He wanted to monitor the situation.

Pasta dough. Scoop flour onto work surface. Make a well in the center. Add salt. Add one egg and start to incorporate with a fork. Be careful not to kill the walls of your well or it’ll get unnecessarily messy fast! Continue to add eggs one at a time, incorporating more of the flour after each one. Add the olive oil, continue to incorporate everything until it becomes doughy. You will get your hands dirty. You will reach a point where it’s clear you can’t do any more with the fork and you just need to use your hands. Once you have a dough ball, knead, knead, knead for several minutes.

  • Tip: I recommend adding the eggs one at a time because I always end up breaking the walls of the well or sloshing them everywhere when I put them all in at the same time. Also, I always crack my eggs into a small prep bowl before adding them to the flour. There’s nothing worse than trying to fish a piece of egg shell out of the middle of pasta dough (or cake, or whatever you’re making)!
  • Troubleshooting: If your dough is way too dry, add more olive oil or some water. If it’s too wet, add more flour.

Roll out the pasta dough and put it through the pasta machine. Start on the widest setting and work your way thinner. I went to #6 (out of 8) on the KitchenAid. Lay out sheets on a lightly floured surface.

img_4445Assemble Ravioli. Depending on the size of the ravioli you want to make, add 1tsp to 1tbsp filling at even intervals down one piece of dough. Press to flatten the filling a little. My ravioli were big ones, so I used 1tbsp. Lay another piece of dough over the top. Press to seal all around the filling. Cut out the shapes using a pastry wheel or ravioli stamp. Set them aside on a lightly floured surface.

  • Make Ahead & Freeze: You can put the ravioli on a lightly floured sheet pan and put into the freezer. I did this for my entire batch, then stored in an air tight container. I used lightly floured wax paper to separate the layers of ravioli.

Get the pasta water boiling while you start the sauce. Don’t forget to salt your pasta water!

Sauce. Melt butter over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add flour to make a roux. Just a basic blond roux is good. Once your roux is done, stir in the cream, milk, and parmesan. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. It should be thickening. Stir often enough so it doesn’t burn on the bottom (I’ve made this mistake before – the broccoli cheddar soup incident).

  • Troubleshooting: Sauce too thick? Add a bit of pasta water.

The ravioli should only take a few minutes to cook. Test an edge since this is the thickest part that takes longest to cook. Use a spider spoon to transfer the ravioli to the pan with the sauce. Let them cook together for a few minutes. Serve and garnish with parsley and some extra parmesan if desired.

Beef Stroganoff


My wife’s birthday was yesterday and she requested beef stroganoff. She couldn’t have just any beef stroganoff. She wanted the one just like her dad used to make. Yeah, the one with no recipe written down. She helped me recreate it, and now hopefully I have a recipe I can follow next time.


1¼ lbs beef (sirloin, we bought sirloin strips from Wegmans)
1 medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
12oz pack of white mushrooms
3 cups beef stock
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ cup sour cream
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
Olive oil
White pepper
1½ packages egg noodles
Red wine (optional – set aside another ¼ cup beef stock if you aren’t using wine)


Dice onions, mince garlic, & slice mushrooms.

Cut beef into thin strips. If you bought sirloin strips, go through the pieces and cut them so they’re all approximately the same size. Put the pieces in a bowl, season with salt & pepper, and coat in approx. 2 tbsp flour.

Heat olive oil (enough to coat the bottom) in one large skillet and one dutch oven over medium heat. If you don’t have a dutch oven, use two skillets instead. Put the beef in the skillet and onions + garlic in the dutch oven. Brown the beef. (Continue to the next step while the beef continues to brown)

Once the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms. Stir. Add beef stock, stir. Slowly add heavy cream, stirring the whole time. Add sour cream, also stirring the whole time. Stir until it’s well-mixed.

By now, the beef should be browned. Now is a good time to start the pasta water. Salt your pasta water!

Remove beef to a plate. Deglaze the pan with some red wine, or ¼ cup beef stock if you don’t have wine. Because of he flour coating on the beef, it will be pastier than a typical deglazed pan. Add beef to the dutch oven (or pan #2).

Melt the 3 tbsp butter in the pan. Add 2 tbsp flour and stir to make a roux. Normally I would use a 1:1 ratio of butter:flour, but

Once you roux is roux-tastic, ladle some of your liquid from the dutch oven (or pan #2) into the roux. Stir while you’re adding. It’s ok if beef and mushrooms come over in the liquid. It should thicken nicely. I think we did 3 ladles of liquid in total.

Add the liquid with the roux into the other pan and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer. Taste it. It’s going to need more seasoning. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Continue to let it simmer while you make the egg noodles.

Hopefully by now your pasta water is boiling. Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles. Don’t rinse them! Transfer the noodles to the dutch oven and stir. Let them cook together (on low) for a couple of minutes. If you used a pan instead of a dutch oven, put your noodles back in the pasta pot and transfer everything else to the noodles.

Homemade Pasta (Spaghetti)


My wife bought me the pasta roller and cutter attachments for my KitchenAid mixer for my birthday earlier this month. I have been begging for these for so long! I’ve always liked fresh pasta better than boxed (who doesn’t?!), and this gives me an easy way to make it at home. The KitchenAid attachments are really handy because you don’t have to turn a handle. Because I’m no Iron Chef, I need to use two hands to actually hold the dough when I’m rolling or curling pasta. Well, that’s not really possible with a pasta roller with the handle you have to turn. Anyway, so yes, if you’ve ever considered buying these, I definitely recommend them.

Please don’t ask for my recipe. It’s a combination of trial and error until the dough feels right. I start with some flour, eggs, and olive oil and work from there. But, have no fear. Anne Burrell will save the day. I’ve made her all purpose pasta dough recipe, and of course it’s amazing. If you need a recipe, use that one. You won’t be disappointed. There is a reason the pasta dough and gnocchi pages of my Cook Like a Rock Star book have a crusty floury texture! Yeah, things get messy when I’m cooking.

I’ve always made the well of flour for the eggs, etc. and kneaded by hand. You can also mix the ingredients in your stand mixer and switch to the dough hook for kneading. I’ve never done it that way, but one of these days I will try.

A few pointers about fresh pasta

  • You will her people tell you to let your dough rest, not rest, whatever. Sometimes I let it rest, sometimes I don’t. I’ve never had it turn out horrible either way. People can have some strong opinions on this. Google if you want to hear both sides of the story.
  • SALT YOUR COOKING WATER. If watching a ton of Food Network has taught me anything, it’s this.
  • Fresh pasta doesn’t take long to cook at all. 90 seconds to 2 minutes is all I usually do.
  • Do not rinse your noodles! Please, just don’t. Drain it, add it to your sauce, and let them cook together for a few minutes. Toss toss toss, and you’re good to go.


img_4368Dough is too crumbly/dry or keeps falling apart – add some olive oil or water, but exercise some caution here. At first it will be dry. If it’s to the point where it seems like it’s just going to stay dry, this is when you should add some water or olive oil.

Dough is too wet (more like a dumpling dough) – add more flour. Just add a little at a time until it gets to the right texture. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a vicious cycle of too wet – too dry – too wet – too dry… etc.

Keeps getting stuck in the pasta roller – make sure you start it on the widest/most open setting, which should be 1. If you’re already there and it keeps getting stuck, roll it out flatter with the side of your hand or rolling pin and try again.

Pasta falls apart when it goes through the roller – This one depends on how badly it’s falling apart. Sometimes I have ends that get a little weird. Just fold the dough in half and run it through again. If it’s seriously crumbly, see bullet point on crumbly dough.