Archive for the ‘Pastas’ Category

Rigatoni with Summer Squash, Sausage, and Goat Cheese.

Ok, this post will be short and sweet. If you want to hear me babble on about summer squash, go to my summer squash gratin recipe. This is a very simple pasta dish that not only comes together quickly, it is great on a hot summer day since it doesn’t require a long simmering sauce. OK, so here is what you will need.


1 pound of rigatoni pasta

olive oil

1 pound of Italian sausage (I used hot but I think next time I’ll do a 50/50 mix of sweet and hot)

1/3 cup of chopped shallots

2 cups of chopped yellow summer squash

3 ounces of Chèvre goat cheese

2 tablespoons of chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Fresh cracked black pepper

Grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup of reserved pasta water


Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, sauté the Italian sausage in olive oil removing the casing and breaking up into small pieces. When cooked remove and set aside. Remove the leftover oil from the pan but leave all the browned goodness behind. Add more oil and sauté the yellow squash and the shallots until soft but still a bit crisp. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain reserving a 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss all the other ingredients back into the hot pan except for the Parmesan Reggiano and mix well. Serve topped with the Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional parsley.


Cincinnati Chili

The following recipe is a local specialty in southern Ohio. You may have heard of Gold Star or Skyline Chili. It originated in the 1920’s by a couple of Greek immigrants and is a very unique dish. I was introduced to it by my wife while we were dating. See, she is a Buckeye. Her family snuck across the border into Michigan when she was a little girl. After her family moved back to Ohio, stopping for a Cincinnati Chili each time we visited was required. At first I refused to try it. I couldn’t even imagine anyone serving a chili over pasta. I would order a few hot dogs and watch her eat this strange chili over noodles. She likes it 5 way (I’ll explain what that means in a bit). After several visits I gained some courage and decided to try it on a chili dog. It was pretty good. Needless to say it grew on me over time and I finally decided to try it over the pasta. I ordered up a 5 way and thought it was just o.k. It became a ritual every time I went up north hunting or fishing for her to make a pot for herself. I’m not exactly sure when, but I ended up liking it. Now I can’t figure out why I didn’t like it from the start. The unique blend of spices is great over the pasta or over a hotdog. However, I will say this is not a chili to eat plain in a bowl. The spices are too overpowering and need to be tamed by the pasta or the hotdog bun.


1 quart of beef stock

2 pounds of lean ground beef (you will see why you use lean in a bit)

2 medium onions diced

one 15 to 16 ounce can of tomato sauce

3/4 teaspoon of ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

4 tablespoons of chili powder

2 tablespoons of vinegar

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

1/2 ounce of bitter unsweetened chocolate

1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

(Toppings to follow)

Directions: Add the raw ground beef and the quart of beef broth to a pot and simmer for thirty minutes. Make sure you break up the beef as fine as possible with the back of a large spoon while it simmers. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low for 3 hours stirring occasionally. It is best refrigerated overnight for the grease to harden and the flavors to blend. Remove the grease before reheating. You can serve it right away as well, it’s up to you.If you use lean beef it is just fine. Serve it one of the following ways. Traditionally it is served with mild cheddar, however we have also used sharp.

2 way- chili over pasta

3 way- chili and cheddar cheese over pasta

4 way- chili, cheddar cheese, and raw onion over pasta

5 way- chili, cheddar cheese, raw onion, and kidney beans over pasta

Mom’s Polish Spaghetti Sauce

Ok, so here we go for round two. I’m going to share a quick easy weeknight meal that I grew up on.  I wasn’t sure if I should call this mom’s Polish spaghetti or mom’s spaghetti. Here’s why:  After getting married I was missing some of my mom’s comfort foods. My wife asked my mom for her spaghetti sauce recipe so that she could make it for me. My mom wrote the ingredients down on a 3×5 card and said “now this is Polish spaghetti sauce”. I laughed and said to my mom that just because she was Polish didn’t make it Polish spaghetti sauce. Then I started thinking. Well,  she is Polish, it is her original recipe, and it is spaghetti sauce so maybe it is Polish spaghetti sauce.  This is a quick, easy, hearty, and delicious sauce with a short simmer time and flavorful results. Growing up we never had fancy cheese in the house. We did however always have the pre grated parmesan cheese in the green can with all of it’s added anti caking agent goodness. In her honor and that of my childhood I made it with the cheese I grew up on for this blog. I do however recommend a good block parmesan or parmesan reggiano so that you aren’t eating additives that keep the cheese from caking up. Mom always serves this over mostaccioli noodles.


1 onion

1/2 green bell pepper

1 to 2 garlic cloves.

1lb ground beef (I use 4% lauras lean)

1 can stewed tomatoes (I used basil, garlic, and oregano), chopped or pureed

1- 6 ounce can of tomato paste plus 1/2 can water

1 small can of tomato juice

1 TBSP worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano (dried)

1/2 tsp basil (dried)

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp Onion salt


Place chopped onion and green pepper in a tall sided saute pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute for a few minutes. Add minced garlic and saute for a few minutes more. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain fat from pan if desired (if using Laura’s lean I leave it in).  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 20 minutes, longer if desired. This sauce thickens quickly so keep an eye on it stirring regularly. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy with garlic bread.

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