Tag Archives: pasta

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

We’ve been hosting sleepovers nearly every weekend for the last few weeks. My dilemma is never that I adamantly don’t like children (OKKKK that’s not the dilemma MOST DAYS). I often find myself trying to think of a vegetarian meal that will go over well with non-vegetarian guests, especially if it’s a type of cuisine they’re not used to.

Growing up, if I didn’t want to eat what my mom made (sorry, Mom) then I could: 1) eat it anyway or 2) make my own food. In my adulthood, I find myself trying to appease 9-11 year old appetites. WHAT.

I decided to take a chance and make fettuccine alfredo one Friday night when I knew we were hosting one of Silas’s friends. To my amazement, Silas demolished his dinner. His buddy ate two big platefuls AND the next week when he slept over again, he said to me, “Auntie J, that pasta was SO GOOD! OH MY GOODNESS!” So, here’s the recipe for you to have as well!

Note:  I’ve learned that when a recipe calls for scarce ingredients, using quality products is important.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves 6-8 folks.

1 1/2 pounds dried fettuccine noodles
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
salt and fresh ground pepper, to your liking
a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (4 of 8)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water (this is your chance to flavor the pasta as it cooks, so don’t be afraid to salt profusely). Cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, add the heavy cream, butter, and lemon juice to a medium-sized pot of their own, over medium heat, whisking occasionally to combine. Continue heating and stirring until the butter completely melts and the mixture is well combined. Add the cheese, a half-cup at a time, stirring with each addition until the sauce is smooth. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Reduce heat to low.

Drain the cooked pasta, reserving about one cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot, then pour the sauce over the noodles. Gently toss well, until all the noodles are covered with sauce. If you need to, add some of the pasta cooking water to help make everything more smooth.

Serve immediately, topping with a bit of fresh ground pepper if you’d like.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Summertime throws my schedule so very out of whack. Up until the middle of last week, anytime we had Silas here, baseball practice ran until after 8, making dinner time somewhere around 8:30 or 9. Vincent’s lax summer schedule (as expected and predicted for any 16 year old) means half the time I don’t know if he’ll be here for meals, or  if I’m supposed to make sure there’s food on hand just in case, or if I don’t have to think about it at all.

We come and go, dependent on weather and shenanigans, last minute excursions, etc., and while I am all for unplanned/last minute trips or spontaneous decisions to be somewhere other that in the kitchen when I’d generally be cooking, it certainly makes any meal planning seem ridiculous.

Often I end up with the ingredients for dishes I’d planned on making, with half the people I intended on feeding. (Thankfully never ever the other way around, not enough food for the folks I need to feed!) I forget how this lasagna came into existence, but know it wasn’t what I initially planned on.

The thing about pastas in general, they’re satisfying all the way around here. They’re filling, plentiful, and often leave enough leftovers to get me off the hook for another meal or two the following day! (Hurray!)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Makes one very large lasagna.

15 ounces whole fat ricotta cheese
4 ounces goat cheese,
6 ounces pesto (homemade or prepared)
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 large eggplant, peeled then sliced in 1/4-inch thick slabs
2 large red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced in large pieces
3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
3/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest from one large lemon
1 tablespoon seasoning salt

24 ounces marinara sauce (of your preference)
4 cups low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound lasagna noodles (1 box, typically)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Work in batches if necessary. Lay the noodles in a single layer until needed, on a baking sheet drizzled with the two tablespoons of oil.

In a food processor or high power blender, combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, pesto, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper, until well combined. Fold in spinach and parmesan cheese. Set aside until needed.

Whisk together the 3/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and seasoning salt. Brush the eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini with the mixture on both sides. Using either an outdoor grill or indoor grill, work in batches to grill the vegetables until nicely browed/charred. Set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Work in batches if necessary. Place the cooked noodles on a baking sheet.

To put the lasagna together, spread the remaining two tablespoons of oil along the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spoon a half cup of sauce all over the bottom of the pan. Arrange a layer of noodles over the sauce, overlapping the edges by about 1/4-inch. Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles, followed by the grilled peppers. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining marinara sauce over the peppers, followed by 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture, then a layer of zucchini, another 1/3 of the sauce, the eggplant, and another 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, followed by the remaining sauce, then the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of grated parmesan over the mozzarella.

Line a large baking sheet with foil, then place the lasagna dish on top, covering it tightly with foil another sheet of foil that has been brushed with oil. Bake the lasagna on the center rack in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Cut the lasagna and serve.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Forbidden Rice Blog | Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Even as a girl who thoroughly enjoys cooking, it’s easy to get into cooking ruts. Since dinner tends to be the meal I put the most time into, it’s not uncommon for me to feel like I am cooking the same dinners week-by-week, simply changing the day we happen to eat that particular meal. My husband and the kids are pretty flexible about my need to change things up, although the theme rarely seems to stray — Mexican food, Asian food of various sorts, pasta-type things, pizza…

I do love pasta-type things. And I certainly do love pizza (it’s what we’re having tonight, in fact). But sometimes the same old, same old becomes just that… old. While thinking about making pizzas (again) with a spinach and ricotta topping, I decided I didn’t want to make pizza (again). I happened to be walking through the pasta aisle, right near the jumbo shells and decided that would certainly change things enough for one meal.

Of course when Silas asked what was for dinner and I responded with “stuffed shells,” his reaction was, “WHAT! What is that?!” (They ended up going over well!)

You can easily stuff the shells ahead of time (by 2-3 days) then bake them up later. They also reheat nicely for a second-day-lunch! This is a great, simple, mid-week vegetarian dinner option if you’re in need of one!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Serves 8-10 folks.


6 ounces Quorn Chik’n tenders
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
30 ounces part-skim ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
4 ounces raw spinach, chopped roughly
12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
64 ounces marinara sauce *

*You can use whatever sauce you prefer. Store-bought, homemade, whatever. I used some sauce I canned from our tomatoes last summer!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells


Oil a 13 x 9-inch pan, set aside. Get a big pot of water boiling and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the middle.

To make the filling, bring two tablespoons of olive oil and garlic to sizzling over medium heat. Add the Quorn tenders, half teaspoon of salt, and half teaspoon of pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally until the tenders are golden brown. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, prepared pesto, parmesan and basil, teaspoon of salt and half teaspoon pepper. Mix until combined, then fold in the chopped spinach and Quorn tenders. Set aside.

Cook the shells according to package instructions in generously salted water until the pasta is al dente. If you overcook them, the shells will tear as you fill them. Drain and let cool long enough to handle.

Spread 1/3 of sauce across the bottom of your prepared pan. Fill each pasta shell with the ricotta filling, arranging the filled pasta in a single layer in the pan. Gently pour the remaining sauce over the shells, then top with the shredded mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover for an additional 10 minutes. Serve while hot.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Forbidden Rice Blog | Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Gemelli with a Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

photo 4

I was going to tell you how I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week and a half now.  I was planning to let you know I haven’t disappeared, my blog isn’t at some official standstill. I thought about bringing up how many times I’ve sat down to write these words, only to fall asleep halfway through, or find myself needing to be in fifteen other places simultaneously. Maybe I should mention we took a super last minute trip to Portland last week with Vincent and his girlfriend, who participated in the USA Olympic Development Program for water polo. I brought work along on the trip, but didn’t touch any of it for three days straight. (I did eat some good food though… and more doughnuts than necessary.)

It seems my to-do list is never complete and constantly growing. On one hand, I don’t mind. I function better as a person when I have things to do. Cooking hasn’t taken some back-burner position (nor has the food consumption around here), but the photographing appears to be an afterthought once dinner has already been demolished. It’s okay. I’ll get back into the swing of things eventually. Bear with me; there is good food to be had… I promise.

Let’s eat more pasta in 2015. No shame in the pasta game around these parts! I do want to explore sauces and noodles in combinations that have nothing to do with marinara or pesto sauce. The following recipe was a leap in that direction and warmly welcomed here.

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Gemelli with a Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

Serves 6-8 folks.

1 pound dried gemelli pasta
8-19 large crimini mushrooms, diced bite-size
8 strips of tempeh bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 large cipollini onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8.5 ounces sundried tomatoes (oil packed)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

photo 5


Cook the pasta to al dente, in generously salted water according to the package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of the salted cooking water after the pasta has cooked through.

Heat the tablespoon of oil in a medium-large skillet. Cook the tempeh bacon until golden brown on each side. Drain excess oil on a paper towel, then dice into bite-size pieces. Set aside until needed.

In the same skillet you cooked the tempeh, add the 4 tablespoons of butter. Melt over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and cook, until tender and semi-translucent (4-6 minutes). Add the garlic, thyme, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Cook for an additional minute, before adding in the heavy whipping cream. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce begins to thicken slightly (10 minutes or so). Stir in the parmesan cheese, then taste and add pepper and salt to your liking. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat.

Increase the heat to medium high and cook the pasta in the sauce for about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle the parsley on top then serve immediately.

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Meatless Monday: Fettuccine Alfredo with Vegetarian Chik’n


Every now and then, I crave certain foods wherein I simply start off knowing, if I eat this, certainly it’ll satisfy my craving for the next year. Maybe the next 6 months. Fettuccine alfredo and homemade fried doughnuts are probably at the top of that list, hands down. If I weren’t too concerned about balancing my health and nutritional intake, perhaps I would eat doughnuts and fettuccine alfredo more frequently. Maybe even in the same day.Gasp!

But I do care, so when I give in to making either of these dishes, I know it’ll be well enjoyed. There is nothing low calorie, low butter, or low fat about fettuccine alfredo — let’s just be real.  Traditional fettuccine alfredo didn’t originally contain cream. Warm pasta was simply tossed with butter, parmesan cheese, and pepper. As the cheese melted from the heat coming from the pasta, a beautiful sauce formed. I do enjoy the rich creaminess that results in using cream, though.

I prefer dried fettuccine noodles to freshly made pasta, as the sauce is so incredibly rich that fresh pasta makes things much too heavy. Plus the dried noodles seem to hold up under this creamy sauce much better. The addition of Quorn Chik’n Tenders that have been sautéed in spices and herbs makes this a deliciously simple, filling, kid-friendly meal.


Fettuccine Alfredo with Vegetarian Chik’n Tenders

Serves 8-10 people.

18 ounces Quorn Chik’n Tenders (one and a half bags)
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1 1/2 pounds dried fettuccine noodles
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
zest and juice from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
small pinch of fresh nutmeg



Prepare the Quorn Chik’n:  In a large saucepan (I use one similar to this), heat the three tablespoons of oil over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and Quorn Tenders, gently tossing to coat everything with oil. Sprinkle in the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, dried basil dried oregano, and red chili flakes if you’re using them, and the lemon juice. Sauté until the tenders are lightly golden brown. Remove the cooked tenders from the pan.

Prepare the pasta: Cook the fettuccine to al dente, as per the directions on the pasta packaging. Drain, reserving about a half cup of pasta cooking water.

Prepare the sauce: In the pan you used to cook the Quorn Chik’n, pour the heavy cream and milk. Add in the stick of butter (you can cut it into smaller pieces for quicker melting). Occasionally stir the mixture until the butter has completely melted. Whisk in all of the parmesan, the lemon zest, half teaspoon of black pepper, salt, parsley and nutmeg. The sauce should almost instantly begin to thicken once the cheese is added.

Finish things off: Now that the sauce is nicely thickened, gently fold in the pasta. Once all the noodles are coated with the sauce, fold in the Quorn Chik’n Tenders. Serve immediately.

*For reheating, should you have leftovers: Cream based sauces can be tricky to reheat, as separation from the butter and cream naturally begins to happen. To reheat this pasta, add a few tablespoons of milk, half and half, or cream to a large sauce pan, bringing the temperature up over medium heat. Once the milk is warm, add in the leftover cold pasta. Gently break the noodles and sauce apart (not too quickly, as it’ll become easier as the pasta and sauce warm up). Gently fold the noodles into the added milk, occasionally stirring/folding all the ingredients together until the pasta is heated through. You can add more or less milk as needed, to reach your preferred consistency.