Tag Archives: vegetarian 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: Acini di Pepe with Tomatoes, Spinach and Feta


We were out of town for most of last week. Every time we are about to travel for any extended amount of time, I like to empty out our fridge prior to leaving. For the few days before a trip, we eat weird meals of whatever needs to go. Typically this type of cleaning means I eat a lot… I mean a LOT of yogurt for a three or four days, with other heavy-on-the-dairy dishes and concoctions of whatever vegetables and fruits are laying around.

When we got back from Seattle Friday night, it was late. The following day was busy and grocery shopping didn’t happen. The next evening I realized I hadn’t gone shopping, again, and I didn’t feel like maneuvering through the grocery store while hungry. Seeing as it was just my husband and I, I asked, “Do you care what we have for dinner tonight?” The simple, “No.” was a green light to make my favorite go-to dinner variety dish: pasta.


I dug around in the refrigerator and found a pint of grape tomatoes I’d managed to neglect before we went to Seattle, along with a pint of heavy whipping cream. (Turns out I didn’t clean out the things I would’ve, had I looked better, very well.) This is an easily thrown together dinner. You can skip the breadcrumb topping if you prefer.

My favorite part was eating this again, like a pasta salad today for lunch. It was equally tasty cold as it was fresh out of the oven.

Acini di Pepe with Tomatoes, Spinach and Feta

Feeds 4-6 folks.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups acini di pepe
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 ounces feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on your spice preference)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs



Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch square pan and set it aside until needed. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil. Melt the two tablespoons of butter in a small skillet, then stir the breadcrumbs into the butter. Set aside once the breadcrumbs are coated.

While the water is coming to a boil, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, occasionally stirring until the onion is translucent (5 to 7 minutes). Add the garlic, tomatoes, and salt. Saute until the tomatoes soften (5 or so minutes).

Pour the acini di pepe into the boiling water, stirring to separate the grains. Cook until tender (7 to 8 minutes total). Drain, setting the pasta aside until needed.

Meanwhile, add the pesto to the onion/tomato mixture, stirring to evenly distribute everything. Add the cooked pasta, feta, fresh spinach, parmesan, and cream, stirring to evenly combine the ingredients. Taste, then add more salt and ground black pepper to your liking.

Pour the pasta into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta. Bake until the top is golden brown (10 minutes or so). Serve while hot.





Bleu Cheese Mac and Cheese


At times I am nearly positive that I reside in a peculiar realm of craziness. Sometimes my days bring an overwhelming sense of urgency and half the time I am not certain what that is born out of. The days move by so quickly, it’s easy to feel like I forgot to stop and catch my breath somewhere along the way.

We had a weird week filled with dreary cold and overcast skies, skin-tingly cold temperatures, sunshine, hail, rain, sunshine, semi-warmth. Then suddenly, as quickly as it seems to take my eyelashes to touch just below the eyes, all I find is life springing up around our yard – little green plants, flower buds galore, fresh herbs tenderly journeying through the surface they’ve slept beneath for the winter.

How does that happen? Where does time go? All I know is that in this strange lapse of time and days, all I want to eat is breakfast and pasta. Maybe cookies. Maybe cookies and beer (I don’t apologize for that being “lunch” one late afternoon earlier in the week). I don’t know where the idea for this macaroni and cheese came from, save for the abundance of bleu cheese currently residing in our refrigerator.

The flavor is creamy, slightly pungent but not in an overpowering way. It’s warm and approachable, even for someone weary of stinky cheese. I served this alongside some baked buffalo tofu, although I’m not quite ready to divulge that recipe as it didn’t turn out exactly how I’d like. The marriage of buffalo sauce and bleu cheese, however, was irrefutable. The unpredictable spicy kick with a notable, albeit mellow and still earthy creamy cheese? I’d gladly spend all my missing days eating this pasta.


Creamy Bleu Cheese Mac and Cheese

Serves 6-8 folks.

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
½ a small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. granulated garlic
½ tsp. ground mustard powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
pinch of fresh nutmeg
6 cups whole milk
8 oz. bleu cheese crumbles
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
optional 4 oz. American cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, generously adding salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter has completely melted, add in the minced onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until the onion is completely tender.

Whisk in the flour, salt, granulated garlic, mustard powder, cayenne, white pepper, and nutmeg. Continue stirring to create a smooth paste. Allow the mixture to cook for 3-4 minutes, to cook off the flour flavor.

Quickly add in the milk, all at once, whisking continuously. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Add in the bleu cheese, cheddar, parmesan cheese, and American cheese, if using. Stir continuously to make sure the sauce is smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk.

Remove about ¼ cup of the hot cheese sauce, whisking it into the beaten egg (to temper the eggs, assuring you don’t wind up with scrambled eggs in your sauce). Add the tempered egg to the rest of the sauce, whisking quickly to combine everything.

Meanwhile, drain the cooked pasta. Return the noodles to the large cooking pot, then pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. Stir everything together over medium heat. Allow the mac and cheese to cook for 5-10 minutes before serving, hot.