Tag: Pasta

A Comforting One-Pot Chicken Pasta, by Way of Peru

If I want to get my husband John excited about dinner, all I have to do is mention the word carapulcra. This rich, homey stew is made from pieces of sun-dried potatoes that are rehydrated and simmered with chunks of pork in a spicy broth. The sauce is perfumed with cloves, white wine, and Port. Thickened with ground peanuts, it gets an added touch of lusciousness from a very unusual (at least in Peruvian cuisine) secret ingredient: a bar of chocolate.

Carapulcra rarely makes an appearance at Peruvian restaurants in the United States, so it’s a real treat whenever I announce to John that I’m preparing it. I blame its absence on restaurant menus to the fact that it looks like dog food. It’s a member of that special society of dishes that objectively don’t photograph well, but taste heavenly.

I frequently browse Peruvian recipes, YouTube videos, and blogs to learn about different ways to make some of my favorite dishes, or even to discover new ones I’ve never heard of. I once saw a recipe for carapulcra in my feed and decided to take a look to see how the author made what has become one of my signature dishes. As with most online recipes, I scrolled to the bottom of the page to see what readers had to say.

Reading this comments section threw open the doors to a side of Peruvian cuisine that was entirely new to me. The number one complaint from most of the readers was that the author suggested serving carapulcra with rice. Apparently, this was entirely wrong. Some readers almost saw this to be a patriotic transgression. (We have strong nationalistic attachments to our food in Peru.) This was alarming to me: I had always eaten carapulcra with white rice. I didn’t know that there was another way to eat it.

I kept scrolling through the comments and found one, in particular, that offered an explanation. The reader was from Chincha, a town just south of Lima in a region called the Sur Chico (the “Little South”). This reader explained that in his hometown, people never ate carapulcra with rice. They ate it with something called sopa seca, which literally translates to “dry soup.”

Sopa seca consists of spaghetti, pureed basil, chicken, and broth simmered together in a clay pot until the pasta absorbs all the liquid and becomes tender. The dish received its name because it really does look like a dried up, herbaceous chicken noodle soup.

You may notice that two elements in this dish are common in Italian cuisine: spaghetti and basil. This isn’t mere coincidence. In the 1800s, Italian immigrants settled in the areas around Chincha to work in agriculture or guano harvesting. These Italian immigrants, who mainly hailed from Liguria (the birthplace of pesto), brought their food customs with them.

The legend holds that local Afro-Peruvian chinchanos saw their new neighbors consuming pasta with pesto and tried to recreate it themselves. However, they were a little perplexed as to how to actually cook the noodles, so they decided to cook it like rice—everything together in the same pot. Little by little, the dish evolved into its present incarnation.

While researching sopa seca, I discovered something important about carapulcra as well. In Chincha, it is always made with fresh potatoes. While it also features ground peanuts, it doesn’t have all of the fancy extras like Port, wine, and chocolate. The type of carapulcra I made and ate was the limeño variety.

Besides discovering that not all Peruvians ate the same kind of carapulcra, I also learned that in Chincha there is no such thing as carapulcra without sopa seca. They are as inseparable as a pizza to its crust. The combination is such an iconic part of the local cuisine that it even has its own name: mancha pechos, or “chest stainer.” You can probably guess why.

This combination of dishes is particularly popular at important gatherings like baptisms, birthdays, and weddings. In fact, it’s the last of these types of events that is said to have been the birthplace of this dish. According to local lore, when a couple got married, each side of the family brought its own signature dish. One side brought carapulcra, the other brought sopa seca, and just as the young couple exchanged vows, both of these dishes became perpetually bound in culinary matrimony.

While most Peruvians from the Sur Chico region, which includes Chincha, agree that carapulcra is made with fresh potatoes and that it is never complete without a side of sopa seca, there is some controversy as to the precise preparation of the noodles. As I was comparing recipes online, I encountered the same types of arguments that surrounded the proper presentation of carapulcra. There were those who insisted that sopa seca had no ají (Peruvian chiles) and needed to be mild because the carapulcra was already spicy. There were those who proclaimed that sopa seca included carrots and those who thought such an inclusion to be blasphemous. There were even arguments as to what to do with the chicken, with some advocating for shredded poached chicken while others claimed that this dish required bone-in chicken quarters.

The more I researched, the more confusing things became. Apparently, there are different micro-regional versions of sopa seca that can include such things as dry botija olives, raisins, hard-boiled eggs, and wine. I read comment threads where individuals from the town of Cañete would battle those from Lunahuaná on how to authentically prepare this “dry soup,” which also goes by the names of sopa bruta (“stupid soup”) and sopa chola (“Indian soup”).

I decided to develop a recipe that reflects the version of this dish you’d find in Chincha. I call for bite-size pieces of chicken, eliminating the extra step of poached chicken while also making it easier to serve and eat. I like carrots in many Peruvian stews and think it adds a sprinkle of color against the green background of these noodles. I include ají panca in the recipe, which adds a smoldering heat. However, feel free to omit it, especially if you want to eat this the way chinchanos do (with a side of carapulcra).

Just be sure to wear a bib so that this “chest stainer” doesn’t end up on your shirt.

Have you ever had sopa seca? Tell, tell in the comments below.

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Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta · i am a food blog i am a food blog

It’s Pi Day! You know, the day everyone eats pie because it’s March 14, which is 3.14, which is pi. Originally, I was intending to make a lemon meringue pie but that fell by the wayside because I currently have some sort of strange version of tennis elbow which is either caused by me using my phone too much or my bad posture at the computer. Either way, my right arm is basically useless, which kind of sort of means no pie.

I’m actually really worried about my arm. I haven’t really been able to cook or do anything really. I’ve stopped using the computer, my phone, or anything that requires my arms. I’ve just been trying to rest in hopes of the pain going away. Thankfully, Mike’s been taking care of me in the best way possible – making sure I have lots of snacks and also picking up the blog slack. He made this recipe based on my verbal instructions and it came out just how I wanted.

I was really happy with how the recipe came out – it’s truly reminiscent of chicken pot pie, minus the crust, plus noodles. The bowties were Mike’s idea because bow ties rhyme with pie. (By the way, I’m writing this using dictation, so any strange typos are totally due to that LOL.)

Anyway, this really is probably the most simple chicken pot pie-ish dish that you’ll ever make. It’s a dump and start kind of situation where everything goes into the Instant Pot. After a quick five minutes at high pressure, some butter and cream and a bit of corn starch are stirred in to thicken the sauce and everything becomes glossy and saucy and delicious.

I usually like to put a pie recipe up a couple days before Pi Day, but this year I wasn’t able to because of my arm. Still, I’m happy we got to celebrate in our own little way. If you’re anything like me and you didn’t plan Pi Day at all, you can still celebrate with super simple creamy chicken pot pie bow ties.

Happy Pi Day!

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Chicken Pot Pie Bow Ties: Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta Recipe
serves 4

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1/2 lb bow ties
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 carrots chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup cream whisked together with 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup frozen peas

In the Instant Pot insert, add the chicken thighs, bowties, onions, carrots, chicken stock, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Cook on high pressure for five minutes. When done, quick release the pressure and carefully open the instant pot.

Turn on sauté mode on medium heat and stir in the cream, cornstarch, and butter. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Add in the peas, taste and season. Enjoy!

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These Incredible Italian Grandmas Teach you to Make Pasta from Scratch

Pasta videos are one of my favorite things on the internet. To be specific, the making and shaping of pasta using traditional ingredients and methods. There are all sorts of videos out there, and pasta enthusiasts on all the different platforms, but I love watching Italian grandmas (nonnas) the most. I’m going to highlight a handful of favorite pasta videos here, and let these Italian grandmas show us how it’s done.

I also want to mention a channel on You Tube, Pasta Grannies, because it’s an absolute treasure trove of pasta videos by Vicki Bennison. I’ve embedded a few favorites episodes down below, definitely poke around the archives as well. There’s also some great inspiration at #pastamaking, and Miyuki Adachi is one of my all-time favorite Instagram accounts. Let me know in the comments if you have any favorites in this vein as well, I’m always adding to my list!

1. Pici

Pici(!!!) Pici is my first pasta love, and my favorite pasta to shape by hand. You roll out long spaghetti-shaped noodles across a countertop, and because you’re doing it by hand the shape is beautifully irregular and rustic. I thought my pici game was respectable until I came across this Tuscan grandma. Around the :50 second mark of this video, she shows us who’s boss.

2. Trofie

Trofie is the most recent shape I’ve tried to master. To make these tiny coils, some people wrap the pasta dough around a thin needle or umbrella spoke. I don’t have the patience for that (I’m so slow), and always resort to something more like this. Look at her outside-the-palm technique!

3. Fusilli Ricci

Proof that making fresh pasta keeps you strong! A beautiful portrait of nonna Maria at 86 years old making fusilli ricci.

4. Tagliatelle

Nonna Elena makes beautiful tagliatelle here, and make you think you can ditch your pasta machine for a pasta board and mattarello rolling pin. If you watch carefully, you get a sneak peek into her refrigerator too :).

5. Orecchiette

I visited Puglia years ago, and could watch the ladies make traditional orecchiette (little ears) for hours. In this video we see an orecchiette master at work, but don’t look away, because at the 2:00 minute mark, she goes big.

6. Cavatelli

The shaping of the cavatelli kicks in around the 2:00 minute mark here. I remember meeting some of these ladies when I travelled to Puglia years ago.

7. Sicilian Maccheroni

One more from the Pasta Grannies series. Filmed in Menfi, Sicily, I love this video for a hundred reasons. Watch Damiana and Gaetano make an incredible fava bean pasta lunch. Her knife skills are the best, the fresh from the garden favas(!), the sunny patio(!), Damiana’s fruit and berry tablecloth!

8. Miyuki Adachi

Not a nonna, but I suspect you’ll love Miyuki nonetheless. I found her on Instagram, and love watching her video shorts and pasta shaping demonstrations from Toronto. This is a video of some of what you’ll find her working on. As you can see, her trofie game is quite strong as well! (Follow Miyuki)


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Sweet Potato Pasta with Vegan Walnut Cream Sauce

Sweet Potato Pasta with Vegan Walnut Cream Sauce

As we wait patiently (or not so patiently) for spring, I’m sharing what feels like a bit of a last-hurrah for winter recipes. This pasta with walnut cream sauce came out of one of my instagram recipes. People liked it so much, I felt like it deserved a place on the site. It’s rich sauce is vegan, but I think that makes the creaminess even more amazing.

Walnut Cream, the real star

In all the nut-based alternative creams/cheeses, walnut cream reigns supreme in my life. I love the warm flavor and how nicely it purees into a smooth sauce. The softness of the walnuts is also your friend here. I find the walnuts only need a good hot soak for about an hour.

Of course, if you’re not on the walnut-wagon, you can use a more milder cashew cream or even an almond cream.

Sweet potatoes (and other veg)

I realize that as I’m posting this recipe, you’re probably over sweet potatoes and ready for spring. I’m with you, but I have a few more to use before I dive head first into spring. Swap the sweet potatoes for winter squash or try it with some steamed greens like kale or chard.

Grain Bowls

Finally, if pasta isn’t your jam, you could turn this into a delicious grain bowl. I’d plan to cut the sauce in half and use more as a drizzle and less as a sauce. Use a hearty grain here, like sorghum or wheat berries.


Sweet Potato Pasta with Vegan Walnut Cream Sauce

Sweet Potato Pasta with Vegan Walnut Cream Sauce


Rich and creamy pasta that is 100% vegan with help from a delicious walnut cream sauce.


Walnut Cream Sauce

½ cup walnuts

1 medium shallot

2 teaspoons maple syrup, peeled and sliced

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¾ to 1 cup pasta water

Sweet Potatoes

1 lb cubed sweet potatoes (peeling optional)

1 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary, plus extra for topping

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper


4 ounces pasta

Chili flakes, for finishing


  • At least one hour before making the pasta, cover the walnuts with warm water.
  • Preheat oven to 425˚F. Cover a large sheet tray with parchment and place the sweet potatoes on part and the sliced shallots on the other. Drizzle both with olive oil and salt. Keeping the shallots separate from the sweet potatoes, toss until the sweet potatoes and shallots are both well coated. Add pepper to the sweet potatoes and toss again.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, checking on the shallots and removing from the tray when soft. Continue roasting the sweet potatoes until soft and starting to brown, another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta until done. Drain and reserve the water.
  • When everything is done, drain the walnuts and place in a blender along with the roasted shallots, maple syrup, vinegar, salt, and ¾ cup of the pasta water. Puree until smooth, adding more pasta water to thin as desired.
  • Add ¾ of the sweet potatoes to the pasta along with the walnut cream sauce. Toss until everything is well combined. Top with remaining sweet potatoes, extra rosemary, and chili flakes (as desired).


The pasta sauce with be absorbed into the pasta quickly. You may need to add a splash or two more of the pasta water as needed. Also, because of this, the pasta is usually better assembled and eaten in the same day.

Keywords: sweet potato pasta, walnut cream sauce, vegan pasta


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Taco Pasta Skillet | Spoon Fork Bacon

Taco Pasta Skillet

Serves 3 to 4

taco seasoning:
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoons chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 corn on cob
6 ounces dry cavatappi pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 small shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese
salt and pepper to taste

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
few dollops sour cream
chopped cilantro, optional
chopped avocado, optional
sliced jalapeno, optional


1. Combine all spices in a small bowl and stir together. Set aside.
2. Set oven to broil and char corn under broiler on each side for 1 minute. Remove from broiler and slice kernels off cob and set aside (discard cob).
3. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
4. Fill a large pot with water and place over medium-high heat.
5. Once water is boiling, add a handful of salt and pasta and boil until al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Remove from heat and drain pasta. Set aside.
7. Place an 8” skillet over medium-high heat and add oil.
8. Add ground beef and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, breaking up the beef as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Add shallot and garlic and continue to saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
10. Stir in taco seasoning and stir together. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
11. Stir tomato sauce into the mixture and reduce heat to medium. Simmer mixture for about 10 minutes adding 2 tablespoons water at a time to mixture, if it begins to get too thick.
12. Once ground beef mixture has thickened, fold in cooked pasta and. charred corn until evenly distributed.
13. Top pasta skillet with shredded cheese and place in oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until cheese has melted.
14. Remove from heat and top with diced tomatoes, dollops of sour cream and sliced green onions. Serve.

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Meyer Lemon + Bacon Bucatini Pasta with Kale and Cauliflower – A Cozy Kitchen

Bacon Pasta with Meyer Lemon and Cauliflower,

I love a quick pasta, don’t you? It’s the perfect thing to have in your back pocket when it’s cold and chilly outside. I’m not gonna lie, I sometimes struggle with making these quick pastas interesting. A lot of times it’s just boring red marinara sauce and cheese. But Josh is great at this, grabbing ingredients out of our produce drawers and combining foods together that I wouldn’t normally think of.

This pasta is a play off of a pasta he threw together a few months ago. It has cauliflower, lots of lemon, sautéed kale and best of all…bacon.

For this post, I teamed up with Pure Farmland Bacon which is all-natural and free from antibiotics, preservatives and MSG, so you can feel good about incorporating this savory bacon into any meal, including this pot of pasta.

I made it my favorite way to make bacon…by baking it at a high temperature.

To make things easy, I baked them on a rack on one side of a baking sheet and on the other is the cauliflower. After 17 minutes the bacon was crispy and delicious.

Better yet, Pure Farmland also has teamed up with American Farmland Trust, which is an initiative to protect American farm and ranch land and support and promote sound farming practices in the U.S. To further Pure Farmland’s commitment to provide consumers with sustainable, socially conscious products, now through December 31, 2019, for every specially-marked Pure Farmland item purchased, Farmland will preserve one square foot of American farmland, up to $140,000.

I had the pleasure of visiting Underwood Family Farm in Camarillo, California a few weeks ago and can’t wait to share with you all about my visit and an another recipe inspired by my trip that uses their produce!

But for now, pasta…and a quick one, too. Of course, there are other ingredients, too, like fresh Italian parsley, a whole lot of crushed red pepper and some anchovy paste, which adds a nice brininess but is very optional.

I used a bucatini pasta but recipe tested this with rigatoni and it was splendid. So I like to think that this is the best type of recipe: a flexible one.

Meyer lemon pasta (bucatini) with kale, cauliflower and crispy bacon. 

CourseMain Course


Keywordbacon pasta, fast pasta, meyer lemon pasta, pasta, quick pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Calories: 680kcal

  • 4 slices Pure Farmland All-Natural Uncured Bacon
  • 1/4 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/4 cup, , divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 bunch of kale, minced
  • 1 Meyer lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound bucatini, or other pasta of choice
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On one side of a baking sheet, place a cooling rack atop. Lay the bacon side by side on the cooling rack. On the other half of the baking sheet add the florets of cauliflower and toss them with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Transfer to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, until the bacon is golden brown and the cauliflower is lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the bacon to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to drain the bacon. Dice up the bacon into bite-size pieces and set aside.
    In a large saucepan, set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, butter, anchovy paste, garlic, and red pepper. When the butter has melted, add the kale, and cook on low until softened, turned a bright color green and wilted. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta according to the package’s instructions, about 9 minutes.Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the side. Drain the pasta. Pour the pasta water to the butter sauce and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the pasta, along with the Parmesan, Italian parsley and reserved cauliflower; toss until combined.Divide the pasta amongst bowls and top with bacon, more parmesan cheese, pinch of crushed red pepper and lemon zest. 

Adrianna Adarme
Adrianna Adarme

A Cozy Kitchen is a blog written by Adrianna Adarme. Adrianna likes corgis, pancakes and cute things.

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Date Night Lemon Pasta · i am a food blog i am a food blog

A simple, comforting date night recipe that’s simple enough for any day of the week: creamy, dreamy lemon pasta.

Valentine’s day is coming up. I feel like that is a statement that invokes equal parts dread and delight. Are you the kind of person who loves Valentines? Or are you of the opinions that it’s one of those silly commercial holidays tailor made to convince people to spend more money? I feel like it’s a bit of both for me. I love the idea of celebrating love. I mean, what’s not to like about that? But, I also feel like a lot of people feel pressure to have that perfect date or gift.

I remember being so lonely on Valentine’s day when I was younger and single. A relationship seemed so out of this world to me. I used to spend hours in my room as a teenage girl, watching rom-coms and dreaming of someone to call my own. I was convinced that if I ever had a boyfriend, Valentine’s would be a whole crazy (good crazy) affair.

The funny thing is, now that I am in a relationship, we don’t really make a big deal out of Valentines. That’s not to say that I don’t feel completely out of this world lucky to have won the love lottery with Mike. It’s just more that it’s really the small moments that feel extra romantic. It’s him bringing home a bag of my favorite chips at the end of the day. Or us pausing Netflix in the middle of watching a confusing – yet strangely addictive – Chinese show that’s 70 episodes long and kind of sort of Game of Thrones-y to discuss what the heck is going on. It’s things like making dinner together because he knows it’s one of my favorite things to do.

This lemon-y pasta, called al limone in Italian, is absolutely delicious. It’s fancy enough feeling for date night while being very easy to execute. The sauce is bright and floral from the lemon zest with heavy cream for a luscious oomph, butter for that glossy restaurant style sauce, parmesan because cheese, and a finish of punchy fresh lemon juice which helps everything else come together. It’s everything you never knew you wanted in a bowl of noodles.

I did a thing and made spaghetti alla chittara, a square shaped spaghetti, from scratch, but this recipe will work with any kind of noodle. You could even go short if you wanted, but there’s something infinitely satisfying about twirling and slurping these guys so I’d recommend anything long.

Hopefully you get a chance to try this dish. It only has 5 ingredients (if you don’t count salt and pepper) and most of them are things you’d already have at home, making it the perfect weeknight date meal. Treat yourself and your other and make this pasta. It’s true love 🙂

lemon pasta | i am a food blog

lemon pasta | i am a food blog

lemon pasta | i am a food blog

Date Night Lemon Pasta Recipe
serves 2

  • 1 lemon
  • 6 ounces spaghetti or other long pasta
  • kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • freshly ground black pepper

via Bon Appetit

Use a vegetable peeler to remove a 2 inch long strip of lemon zest. Slice into thin strands and set aside for serving. Finely grate/zest the lemon. Squeeze out 1 tablespoon of fresh juice.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta 2 minutes shy of al dente according to the package.

While the pasta is cooking, add the lemon zest and cream to a large skillet and cook over medium heat, whisking, until it just starts to simmer, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium low and whisk in the butter, until creamy and emulsified. Remove from the heat.

Just before the pasta is al dente, scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water and reserve. Add 6 tablespoons of pasta water to the cream sauce and return to medium heat. Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the pan with the sauce and cook, tossing, and adding parmesan, little by little, until the cheese melts and the sauce is glossy and coats each strand. If needed, loosen out the sauce with 1-2 tablespoons more pasta water. Cream sauce tends to thicken as it cools, so add in a bit more water than you think you need so that you have quite a bit of sauce. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt.

Serve, finished with freshly ground pepper and the reserved lemon zest strips.

lemon pasta | i am a food blog

lemon pasta | i am a food blog

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Chickpea Casarecce Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chimichurri

Chickpea Casarecce Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chimichurri

Post sponsored by Barilla. See below for more details.

When it comes to pasta in the winter, I tend towards pasta with cream sauces or loaded up on cheese. It’s a hold-over from all those snowy days in the Midwest. However, now I occasionally opt for something I can throw in the car for a road trip or work day. That’s where this pasta comes in with a little help from Barilla Chickpea Casarecce.

Roasted sweet potatoes, or not.

I recently asked my three-year old why he decidedly didn’t like sweet potatoes anymore. His answer: they taste like garbage. When I posted this on Instagram, there were quite a few people who agreed with him. So, this section is for those people.

Swap out the sweet potatoes for roasted squash or roasted cauliflower for the cooler months. During the summer months, you can bet that I’ll be making this with smoked tomatoes and sweet corn.

Chickpea Casarecce Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chimichurri

Batch it: Chimichurri

Chimichurri is one of those sauces I batch make because if I’m going to spend time making it, I’m going to make a lot of it. I use it on grain bowls, tacos, eggs, soups, and pasta (like in this recipe). You can make quick work of this sauce with help from the food processor, but I typically just use a knife to chop everything.

Chickpea Casarecce Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chimichurri

Barilla’s Chickpea Casarecce Pasta

As I mentioned before in the recipe for broccoli pesto pasta, I love the shape of this Chickpea Casarecce from Barilla. I also love that it’s only one ingredient but cooks up like traditional pasta (holiday it’s shape really well!) While I went with an extra saucy pasta last time, I wanted to showcase the versatility with this dish that’s a bit more pasta-salad than dinner dish. It’s the perfect pasta to pack-away for a work or picnic lunch. You can find all four varieties (Red Lentil Penne, Red Lentil Rotini, Chickpea Rotini and Chickpea Casarecce) on Amazon.


Chickpea Casarecce Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chimichurri


4 ounces Barilla Chickpea Casarecce

1 medium sweet potato

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon seas salt

1 recipe for chimichurri


  • Heat your oven to 425˚F. Give the sweet potatoes a good scrub and cut into ¼” cubes. Place on a sheet tray and toss with the minced garlic, olive oil, and salt. Roast until the sweet potatoes are tender and starting to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the chimichurri.
  • Finally, cook the pasta. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Chickpea Casarecce and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and return the pasta back to the pot.
  • When the sweet potatoes are done, add them to the pasta along with to 1/2 cup of the chimichurri. Stir to combine and serve hot. This pasta can also be served chilled. Whichever way you go, keep extra chimichurri on hand- the pasta likes to soak up the sauce and you might need a bit more!

Chickpea Casarecce Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chimichurri

Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Barilla. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week.
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Black Olive Red Lentil Pasta

Overhead, close-up photograph of red lentil pasta, cheese, and black olives.

Post sponsored by Barilla. See below for more details.

When it comes to vegetarian pasta dishes, it can feel a bit harder to get protein into the meals. I typically opt for making a side salad loaded with chickpeas and occasionally I’ll make a version of lentil Bolognese. However, sometimes I just want a simple, 20-minute dinner that doesn’t take any fuss. Enter this black olive lentil pasta using at Barilla Red Lentil Penne.


I love shallots, but I know they can be a bit of a pain when it comes to mincing. Swap out shallots for minced garlic or minced onion. If you want to make this during the spring, this is also an opportune time to use green garlic.

Overhead photograph of red lentil pasta with olives and a box of barilla pasta.

Olive varieties

I typically reach for kalamata, primarily because we pick up olives from the olive bar quite frequently. However, using black or green olives would work as well. We keep a couple cans on hand for quick meals, and this would definitely be one of those quick meals!

Barilla Red Lentil Penne

Up to now, I’ve showcased the chickpea pasta from Barilla, but I’m also excited to share their red lentil version. This beautiful pasta is made from just red lentils and one serving has 13g of protein. When cooking vegetarian, it can be a puzzle to get enough protein into your day and I love when I can use ingredients like lentils in unexpected ways. You can find all varieties on Amazon.

Make it Vegan

One of the best things about this pasta: it’s easy to make vegan. While I love the parmesan in this recipe, you could easily leave it off. Or, try your hand at some vegan parmesan. I love using this mix that has hemp and nutritional yeast- it’s such a great nutty flavor.

Side-angle photograph of red lentil pasta with black olives and parmesan.


Overhead, close-up photograph of red lentil pasta, cheese, and black olives.

Black Olive Red Lentil Pasta


4 ounces Barilla Red Lentil Penne

¼ cup olive oil

cup minced shallots

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¾ cup sliced kalamata olives

2 tablespoons minced rosemary

½ cup grated vegetarian parmesan, for serving


  • Cook pasta according to the instruction on the package, making sure to not overcook the pasta. Drain, reserving a ½ cup or so of pasta water, and make the olive oil mixture.
  • Heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook until the shallots are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the olives and cook for another few minutes until the olives are warm.
  • Finally, stir in the rosemary and cooked pasta. Cook for just a minute, to bring everything together. Turn off the heat and add the parmesan. Stir, taste, and adjust the levels of salt/parmesan as desired. If it’s looking like the olive oil hasn’t coated the pasta, add a splash or two of the reserved pasta water.

Keywords: red lentil pasta

Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Barilla. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week.


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Beer-Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta | 101 Cookbooks

Hang in there with me on this one. It’s a study in efficiency, and with some faith, it all comes together in the end. In short, poach a whole head of cauliflower in an olive-oil dappled, chile-spiked, beer-based broth, then wedge it & roast it until golden-crusted and butter tender. At the last minute, use that same broth to cook your favorite pasta. Serve it all up in a bowl with a shower of fresh herbs. Beer-roasted Cauliflower with Pasta

PRO TIP: Only add as much pasta as you’ll eat to the broth. It’s not great for leftovers. Use whatever pasta you like – I used a whole wheat fusilli here, but you could use penne, or one of the alternative grain or legume pastas.
Beer-roasted Cauliflower with Pasta

I started working on this recipe just before leaving San Francisco. It’s the perfect hearty bowl for cold nights, wintery weather, or summer in SF.  A squeeze of lemon brightens everything up.

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