Cheryl’s Cuisine: March 2023

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

There’s nothing like pasta to satisfy you during these Fridays in Lent. Yes, we also have pizza, pierogi, tuna and other seafood, but pasta fills a void.  So, this month I’m sharing some of my favorite meatless pasta recipes to expand your repertoire for what can become the “same old, same old” meals.

In our house we have pasta at least twice per week….one is always Aglio Olio (oil and garlic) and the other is usually a clam sauce….my husband prefers red clam sauce, I prefer white.

Having been raised in an Eastern European family, we weren’t exposed to REAL Italian cooking, however, my Baba used to top her spaghetti with butter and V-8 juice.  It has a nice mild flavor and is easy on digestion.  The bonus is that it also takes just minutes to cook.

The first two dishes are from a restaurant, Villa Virella, which was open in Blakeslee in the 1970’s and 80’s.   It was truly one of my favorite places on earth.    The owners also gave cooking classes, which I frequented as often as I was able.

Salsa Pepperoni:
(Pepper Sauce)

4 large sweet peppers (red or green or both)
4 oz. sweet butter
½ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, halved
8 anchovy fillets
1 Tbsp. capers
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups half and  half
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

Clean and cut peppers into thin strips.  In a fry pan heat butter and oil.  Add garlic in large pieces and saute’.  Discard garlic.  Add anchovies to oil and simmer a few minutes.  Stir in capers and peppers and cook, uncovered, until peppers become soft.  Add tomato paste and stir.  Pour in half and half and cheese. Place hot linguine in a bowl along with some sweet butter and top with pepper sauce.  Serve immediately.  Note: This can be prepared in advance to just adding the tomato pasta. You can then keep it in the pan or refrigerate.  Keep out the half and half until right before serving.  


Tonno Con Cappellini:
(Tuna Sauce)

6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. chopped garlic
½ tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
1 – 35 oz. can pureed Italian tomatoes
½ tsp. salt
1-7 oz. can tuna in olive oil

In saucepan saute’ olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper together.  Add pureed tomatoes, salt and tuna.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Serve over Cappellini.


Noodles Lorraine:

1-8 oz. pkg. egg noodles
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 cups Swiss cheese, diced small
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook noodles. Saute’ onion in butter.  In large bowl combine eggs, salt and nutmeg.  Add noodles, butter and onion mixture,  and cheese.  Mix well.  Place in 2 -quart baking dish.  Bake 45 minutes until golden brown.


Mushroom Stroganoff:

1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp. butter
1 pkg. cremini or portabello mushrooms, sliced
1 can vegetable broth (1 ½ cups)
¼ cup dry white wine or sherry
1 ½ cups sour cream
3 Tbsp. flour
8 oz. medium egg noodles, cooked
1 bunch parsley, chopped

 In skillet over low heat, saute’ onions in butter until soft.  Raise heat to medium.  Add mushrooms and continue to saute’ until mushrooms are browned. Remove onions and mushrooms and set aside.  In same skillet add vegetable broth and wine to drippings.  Let boil and reduce to 1/3.  Lower heat and combine mushroom mixture adding to pan.  Mix sour cream and flour until smooth. Add to mushrooms and cook until thick.  Serve immediately over noodles.  Garnish with parsley.  Serves 4.


Pasta with Swiss Chard:

2 Tbsp. olive oil|
5 anchovy fillets, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
Pinch of hot pepper flakes
12 oz. Swiss chard, cut into coarse pieces, stems included
2 c. hot water
2 Tbsp. butter
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 lb. pasta (short, like a penne or farfalle)
½ cup grated Romano cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In large frying pan, heat olive oil over low heat.  Add anchovies and garlic to pan; mash with back of spoon 1-2 minutes or until anchovies dissolve.  Add hot pepper flakes, Swiss chard and water.  Cover, increase heat to medium and cook 8-10 minutes or until chard is tender.  Stir in butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.  

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but still firm.  Drain.  Pour pasta into large serving bowl and toss with cheeses.


Pasta in Gorgonzola:

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups heavy cream
6 oz. Gorgonzola cheese (or any blue cheese)
1 lb. pasta, such as fettucine

In medium frying pan toast walnuts 2-3 minutes over medium heat until lightly browned, shaking pan so as not to burn.  Set aside.  In large saucepan, boil cream over medium heat until reduced to about 1 ¼ cups, about 3-5 minutes.  Do not let boil over.  Stir in Gorgonzola until melted.    Once pasta is cooked, drain and pour into serving bowl…Toss together and sprinkle with walnuts.

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