avocado and lemon pasta salad

3 c medium pasta shells
2 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Few strips of thinly pared lemon rind
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 c light cream

Cook the pasta shells in boiling salted water until 'al dente', rinse and drain well. Mix with the oil and leave to cool.

Halve the avocado, remove the stone and scoop the flesh into a blender. Add the lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and cream and blend together until smooth. Mix the avocado and lemon sauce with the pasta and stir in the spring onions and parsley. Sprinkle with lemon rind.

provençale pasta salad

2 c pasta rings
½ c French dressing
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 c green beans, cooked, sliced
12 black olives, pitted   
7.5 oz can tuna, drained and flaked
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small head lettuce, shredded
2 oz. can anchovies, drained

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and mix with a little of the French dressing. When cool, turn into a bowl and mix with the tomatoes, beans, olives, tuna and salt and pepper.

Toss the salad lightly with the remaining dressing and serve on a bed of shredded lettuce garnished with the anchovies.

couscous salad

1 lb couscous
2 1/2 c boiling water
5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
3/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ea cloves, nutmeg and turmeric
3/4 c olive oil
3 celery stalks, sliced (1 1/4 c)
2 carrots, pared & cut into strips
2 medium zucchini, cut into strips
1 medium onion, halved & thinly sliced (1 1/3 c)
2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded & cut into large dice (2 c)
1 c chopped fresh coriander OR parsley

Place couscous in large bowl. Add water. Stir gently with fork to separate grains, being careful not to mash grains. Continue to stir, breaking up any lumps, until water is absorbed and couscous had cooled. Set aside. Combine vinegar, rinds, juices, garlic and spices in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil until well blended. Set aside. Toss together vegetables in medium bowl. Gently mix vegetables into couscous until thoroughly combined. Add dressing and mix again. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.                         Makes 8-10 servings

shrimp and feta cheese sauce for pasta

3/4 lb medium shrimp, cooked, shelled and deveined
1 lb feta cheese, rinsed, patted dry and crumbled
6 green onions, finely chopped
4 tsp minced fresh oregano (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
4 tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb pasta, freshly cooked and drained

Combine all ingredients except pasta in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Add pasta and toss to coat well. Makes 4 servings.

oriental pasta salad

6 oz small pasta shells
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp orange juice
Small can of pineapple chunks in juice
2 tsp soy sauce
Green onions, chopped
Pinch of ground ginger
6 oz bean sprouts
2 small carrots, grated
1/2 small cucumber

Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and run cold water through it. Whisk oil, orange juice, 2 tbsp of the pineapple juice, soy sauce and ginger together. Add to pasta and toss well. Boil sprouts for 5 minutes and drain. Cool. Stir sprouts, grated carrot, cucumber (cut in chunks with peel on) and pineapple into pasta. Garnish with green onions. Serve with cold chicken.

fresh basil, tomato and ricotta with ziti

3 c chopped tomatoes (1 1/2 lb)
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp  fine chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, fine chop
1 c whole milk ricotta
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 lb pasta such as ziti

All ingredients should be at room temp. Combine tomatoes   garlic in large serving bowl. Stir in ricotta cheese, oil, salt & pepper. Set aside. Cook pasta and drain. Immediately, while pasta  is still very hot, toss with sauce and serve at once. Serves 4 as main, 8 as a first course

parsley pesto sauce with pasta shells and tuna

2 cloves garlic
2 c packed fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
1/3 c pine nuts
3 tbsp parmesan cheese                   
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c olive oil
1 lb pasta such as shells or fettuccine
1 can solid white tuna packed in water, drained & flaked

All ingredients should be at room temp. Chop garlic in food processor until finely chopped. Add parsley & process until finely chopped. Add nuts, cheese and salt. With motor running, add oil in thin stream and process until well mixed. Turn pesto into large  serving bowl. Pesto can be stored in airtight container in fridge for 2-3 days, but return to room temp before tossing with pasta. Cook pasta and drain well. Immediately, while pasta is still very hot, toss with sauce. Garnish with tuna and serve at once. Serves 4 main, 8 first course

scallops, red pepper and spinach pasta

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chopped shallots
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 lb fresh mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thin
1/2 - 1 c white wine (to taste)
1 lb fresh scallops, cut in half if large
Pinch dried hot red pepper
3/4 c roasted sweet red peppers, cut into pieces
1 c fresh spinach, washed, dried & torn into pieces
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped and for garnish
8 oz linguini or spaghetti, cooked al dente
1/4 c roasted pine nuts

In a heavy skillet, sauté garlic and shallots in olive oil until golden. Turn heat to medium and add a pinch of salt and the mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding additional oil if needed. Stir in wine and simmer until evaporated - approximately 3 minutes. Add scallops, hot pepper, roasted red peppers, spinach and basil. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until scallops are cooked, about 4 minutes. Immediately toss with drained pasta. Garnish with sprigs of fresh basil and roasted pine nuts.

artichoke, roasted red pepper & sundried tomato sauce for rotini

6 oz jar marinated artichokes, drained, rinsed and cut in halves
7 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and diced
1/4 c chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, patted dry
1 tbsp pitted bine cured ripe olives, cut in slivers
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp pepper
1 lb pasta, such as rotini

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Combine artichokes, red peppers, parsley, tomatoes, olives, garlic, oil, vinegar and pepper in large serving bowl. Stir to blend well. Cook pasta and drain. Immediately, while pasta is still very hot, toss with sauce in large bowl and serve at once. Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a first course.

basil, walnut and garlic sauce with linguine

1 c chopped fresh basil
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts
1/4 c chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped, pitted black olives  
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c olive oil
1 lb pasta such as linguine or fettuccine

All the ingredients should be at room temperature. Combine all ingredients except the pasta in a large serving bowl. Stir to blend. Cook pasta in large saucepan and drain. Immediately toss the hot pasta with the sauce and serve at once. Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a first course.

peanut orange noodles with vegetables

3 oranges
1/4 c light peanut butter
1/4 c fish or soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 lb dried linguini, broken into thirds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh gingerroot
1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes or to taste
4 c assorted vegetables (snow peas, broccoli, red pepper, etc)1/3 c chopped green onions1/2 c chopped fresh coriander

Grate zest from 1 orange and place in bowl. Whisk in peanut butter, fish sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and sesame oil. Peel and section oranges over a bowl to catch the juice. Set orange sections and juice aside separately.

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain. Rinse under cold water, then drain well and reserve.

In a large wok or non-stick skillet, heat oil over high heat. Cook garlic, gingerroot and chili pepper flakes, stirring for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add vegetables, cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add reserved orange juice. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are just crisp- tender. Stir in noodles and peanut sauce. Cook until heated through. Add orange sections, green onions and coriander. Toss gently. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side dish.

green roll (rotolo verde)

2 lb spinach, washed (1 kg)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 lb (250 g) ricotta cheese
3 tbsp Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c AP flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp water
7 tbsp butter

Cook spinach in the water remaining on the leaves after washing. Drain the spinach, squeeze it dry and chop. In a skillet, brown butter, add the spinach and stir over low heat for about 5 minutes. Sieve ricotta. Remove spinach from heat, add ricotta, Parmesan and some salt and pepper. Mix and set aside to cool.

Sift flour on board, make a well and break eggs into it. Add the water and knead together for about 10 minutes until dough is firm. Divide the mixture in half. Put on half in a plastic bag to keep from drying out. Roll out other half to strip about 10x20" or to fit the length of the dish in which roll will be cooked. Using spatula, spread half the spinach mix evenly over pasta. Starting from one of the short sides, roll up the pasta. Wrap in a piece of floured cheesecloth. Tie cloth at both ends and in the middle. Repeat the same process with other piece of dough.

Fill a deep oval casserole or fish poacher with salted water. When water boils, add pasta rolls and cook for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The rolls must remain immersed in water throughout cooking period; add more boiling water if necessary. Melt the 7 tbsp butter over low heat. Take one roll at a time from the water, remove cloth and slice rol into 1/2" rounds with sharp knife. Put each slice into a casserole as it is cut. After one layer is made, sprinkle it with a little melted butter and Parmesan. Add a second layer, etc., until both rolls have been used up. Stand casserole in bain-marie with boiling water. Make sure no water gets into the casserole. Cover and simmer a few minutes to let pasta absorb the flavours of butter and cheese. The dish may be kept warm for up to 30 mintues. Serve with tomato sauce. Makes 4 servings

roasted vegetable lasagna

3 c coarsely chopped vegetables - broccoli, onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and sweet peppers are good choices
2 tsp olive oil
1 tub low-fat cottage cheese
1 - 300 g pkg frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
2 egg whites or 1 egg
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c shredded light mozzarella
2 c bottled pasta sauce
9 cooked lasagna noodles
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried)

Toss vegetables with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 375°F for about 20 minutes. Cool.

Process cottage cheese, spinach, egg and half the Parmesan in a food processor. Combine mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.

Coat 9x13" pan with non-stick spray. Spread 1/3 of the pasta sauce in the bottom and top with 3 lasagna noodles lengthwise in the dish. Top with roasted vegetables and another 1/3 of the sauce. Sprinkle with basil. Top with another layer of noodles, then the cottage cheese mixture. Add one more layer of noodles, the remaining pasta sauce, and top with mozzarella misture. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing.

spaghettini estivi

6 medium very ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp basil, crumbled
1/4 c lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb spaghettini

Peel tomatoes and chop. Put tomatoes in strainer over a bowl. Let drain about 1 hour. Combine drained tomatoes, parsley, basil, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in large bowl; reserve. Cook pasta and drain. Add butter, then add half the sauce by spoonfuls, tossing quickly. Place dollops of remaining sauce on indvidual servings and serve. 4 main, 8 first course servings

tricolor sweet pepper, olive & anchovy sauce with fusilli

1/2 c diced sweet red pepper
1/2 c diced sweet yellow pepper
1/2 c diced sweet green pepper1
1/2 c diced frying pepper (Cubanelle)
1/2 c diced ripe tomato
3 tbsp chopped pitted imported ripe olives
2 tbsp diced red onion
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
6 tbsp olive oil
tbsp (4 fillets) diced anchovies
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
12 oz pasta such as fusilli, wagon wheels or shells

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Combine the peppers, tomato, olives, onion, basil and parsley in a large serving bowl. Add oil, anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are well combined and anchovies are dissolved.

Cook pasta in large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, following package directions, until al dente, or firm to the bite. Drain. Toss with sauce in large bowl and serve at once. 4 main, 8 first course servings

roasted red pepper and ricotta with spaghetti

1 clove garlic
15 oz whole milk ricotta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 (7 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 lb pasta, such as spaghetti or radiatore

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Finely chop garlic in food processor. Add ricotta, peppers and oil. Process 1 minute or until blended. Transfer to large serving bowl and stir in parsley, Parmesan and oregano. Cook pasta and drain. While pasta is still hot, toss with sauce in large bowl. Serve at once. 4 main, 8 first course servings

ricotta and fresh herb sauce with penne

15 oz whole milk ricotta
1/4 c grated Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/8 tsp pepper and salt to taste
12 oz pasta, such as penne or shells

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Combine all the ingredients except the pasta in a large serving bowl. Stir to blend well. Cook pasta and drain. Immediately, while the pasta is very hot, toss with the sauce and serve at once. 4 main, 8 first course servings

tagliatelle with walnut sauce

12 oz green tagliatelle
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
4 oz walnut pieces
2 oz butter, melted and hot
3 oz grated Parmesan
4 tbsp sour cream

Cook tagliatelle, adding 1 tbsp oil to water. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in saucepan and fry chopped garlic 2 minutes. Add walnut pieces and stir 1 minute. Add this hot mixture with butter and parmesan to well drained pasta. Season with pepper. Serve at once topped with sour cream. Makes 4 servings

roasted vegetables with whole wheat penne

4 cloves garlic, cut in half
2 plum tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
2 carrots, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 each red and yellow peppers, chopped
60 mL (1/4 c) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
500 mL (2 c) chicken stock
5 mL (1 tsp) chopped fresh rosemary
Shaved Parmesan cheese

1 - 375 g pkg whole wheat penne rigate  Toss vegetables with oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place vegetables on baking tray and cook at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove and place in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cool slightly.

Cook penne according to package directions. Heat chicken stock with rosemary. Add vegetables and heat through. Toss penne rigate with the vegetable sauce and serve topped with cheese. Makes 4 servings

fresh vegetable sauce with tubetti

1 1/2 c chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 c fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear)
1/4 c chopped peeled cucumber
1/4 chopped sweet green pepper
1/4 c chopped zucchini
1/4 c chopped green onion
1/4 c shredded peel carrot
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp diced radishes
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper
12 oz pasta such as elbows or tubetti

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Combine vegetables in a large serving bowl. Add oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Refrigerate up to 6 hours, but return to room temperature before tossing with pasta. Cook pasta and drain, then immediately toss with sauce and serve at once. 4 main, 8 first course servings.