Pasta, Pasta, Pasta

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta

Welcome to our Pasta, Pasta, Pasta Post

We Love Pasta and wanted to share some of our recipes with you.

We also have an Autumn Pasta Post we’d like you to check out:

Click Here

Buon Appetito!


Beautiful Pasta’s that Gordon brought back from Seattle which we cannot wait to cook with.


Stuffed Pasta Shell Appetizers

These are SO Good!

Gordon made them originally for our Alice In Wonderland Easter.

I wanted appetizers that were of a mushroom theme but easy to eat, and delicious!

These were perfect!

We did two versions of this recipe, write up for both of them in this post below.


We also have an excellent Pasta Dinner for you that we threw together by using leftovers from our Easter Brunch.


Our Italian Pasta, Sausage, and Cottage Cheese Timbale

The Presentation was Beautiful

When we Plated it and Cut into it, it Looks a Bit Dr. Seuss, Doesn’t it?

If you would care to view the original recipe:

Click Here for:  Our Easter Brunches


So, Introducing our Rustic Pasta Dinner

Magnificent Meal of Leftovers Thrown Together in a Different Way



All of our Leftovers Below

I’m posting the original recipe and how we made the Timbale’s and then how we reworked the leftovers into something delicious and different.


Our Original Ingredients that Created the Leftovers to Begin With:

1 Cup Jarred Bruschetta Sauce – We used Tomato and Basil (Casa Di Oliva Brand)

You can use any that you prefer.

5 Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage Links (you can use any sausage or meat that you prefer such as hamburger, or ground turkey, or ground chicken)

3 Tbsp Olive Oil – (to cook the sausage with)

2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil – for the pasta

1 tsp. Salt for the pasta water

1 Cup Sundried Tomato Bruschetta in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Leonessa Brand)

Or any brand or kind that you prefer.

A Few Decorative Vegetable Flavored Bow Tie Pasta (Optional)

1/4 tsp. Salt for the pasta water

3-4 Helpings of Long Multi colored Vegetable Maestri Pasta

Or any type of long pasta you prefer that could be fashioned into a “nest”

2 Tbsp. Basil Pesto (Rana Brand)

1 Tbsp. Grated Parmesean Cheese

1 Tbsp. Fresh Basil – Chopped

1/2 Tbsp. Parsley – Chopped

2 Cups Cottage Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

~5 Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Basil Leaves for Garnish

Parsley Leaves for Garnish

1 tsp. Olive Oil to lubricate glass molds


Italian Sausage HOT!

This was a great sausage and added some nice HEAT!


To start, add enough water in a large pot to boil your longs strands of pasta (~ 3 quarts)

Add your Tomato and Basil Bruschetta Sauce to a small pot to heat on very low.

This was the BEST brand of Bruschetta that I, Julie, have ever eaten!  I bought it at Tuesday Morning and I’m going to see if they have any more and snatch them all up.  🙂


Prepare your sausage links…

Slice the links lengthwise to help in removing the casings

Add some Olive Oil to a large saute pan and heat to medium high

Pouring Olive Oil into 3 Pots and Pans

By pouring just a little in the water to boil the pasta helps to prevent the pastas from sticking together and also helps to flavor the pasta.  Also you add a bit of salt that will help to heat up the water quicker.


Add your sausage and begin to break up the sausage as it cooks

When done, it should look like photo below.

Use a splatter shield to remove the grease.

Be sure to hold the pan and shield tightly together as shown below.

Careful not to loose any of that delicious sausage down the sink.


Add your Sundried Tomato Bruschetta to the cooked sausage

Turn the heat off and mix in the Bruschetta

I, Julie, have to say that this Bruschetta in the HOT Italian Sausage was sooooo good!


To top off this creation, we used vegetable flavored bow-tie pasta. 

There are a huge variety of lovely Italian pastas out there that can just brighten up a dish.  We are always excited when we come across some.

Boil the bow tie pasta in about 2 qts. of salted water until al dente… this takes about 8 min.

Boil your long strands of pasta as well.  They take a little longer to cook, about 10 min.

This is a beautiful mutli-colored pasta.  They didn’t use food coloring, they are actual veggie pasta’s.

I do believe that it is viewed as something of a sin by Italian’s to break pasta apart before cooking, but the strands were too long to maneuver into nests like we wanted to.  And besides, we break pasta apart all the time.  Shh….


I always taste the pasta to ensure it is cooked properly.  Remember to add your salt to the pasta water.


Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse to cool.

Draining The Bow Ties


When done drain the strands of pasta, but DO NOT rinse.

If you don’t work quickly, (Adding your pasta to the mold) you may need to rinse it slightly as the pasta will start to stick together.


While the pasta has been cooking….Make your Pesto Cottage Cheese mixture

Chop up your fresh Basil and Parsley, being sure to keep some of the better leaves or tops for garnishing.

In a medium bowl, add your fresh Basil and Parsley

Now, add the Parmesean Cheese, Basil Pesto, and Cottage Cheese

Mix all the ingredients well.

Add salt and pepper to taste…and taste the mixture.

Adjust the mixture to your liking.

Adding Pepper and Salt


Assemble your ingredients and molds

Add a touch of Olive Oil to each mold and using a paper towel, coat the inside of the glass mold.

Taking about 5 strands of pasta, maneuver them in a circular fashion around the mold making a sort of nest.  You could also use a wine glass or a wide mouth jar for this project.

Now, add a Tbsp. of your sausage mixture to the top center of the pasta, then add more pasta around the outer edge of the mold.

Compress the mixture down to pack it, while completing the following steps.

When the pasta is above the meat sauce, add your pesto cottage cheese mixture on top of the sausage mixture.

Then place more pasta strands in a circular fashion around the edge of the mold.

You don’t want to cover either one of your internal mixtures while placing your pasta in the mold.

Continue the above steps until you have filled the mold, being sure to compact the ingredients down.

Gordon Working on our Pasta Nests

Here is a great shot of the final steps.

I used a large spoon to press down and compact the mixture of pasta and sauces into the mold.

Like So…..

They are Starting to Take Shape Beautifully!

Below, is also a great way to serve this.

You can garnish with some fresh slices of heirloom cherry tomatoes and Basil Sprig to top.

They are lovely to eat just like this.

Served with a nice drink and bread sticks… looks GREAT!


To serve this dish another way, we chose to un-mold the pasta onto a plate.

Take your serving plate and turn it upside down, then place your pasta within your mold under it touching the plate.

Right your plate holding the pasta mold down, then gently move the glass side to side using a twisting motion to un-mold the pasta.

Garnish with one of your cooked bow tie pasta…

then place some of the Tomato Basil Bruschetta on the plate.

Garnish the plate with a sprig of basil, parsley leaves, and sliced heirloom tomatoes.

Be creative with your garnishes… being sure you use edible garnishes which let the guest know what they are in for.

Mound of Pasta


You only need a fork to cut into this. 

You could eat this as is or with some bread and a salad.


Now for the Leftovers……

Our Italian Pasta Set

The Leftovers with a Few Additions

We had an extra bag of the Maestri Pasta that we boiled on the stove top until al dente.


Gordon Boiling our Beautiful Pasta

By adding a little salt to the water it helps in speeding up the water boiling.  Also by adding a little bit of olive oil it helps to prevent the pasta front sticking together and helps to flavor the water.

Pasta Boiling


Our DELICIOUS Leftover Sausage and Bruschetta

It just needs to be heated up in the microwave.

Our Leftover Cottage Cheese and Rana Brand Basil Pesto

Add Some Salt and Pepper

Bread and Dipping Oil, Excellent Appetizer

Sausage Mixture is Ready

Add the Sausage to Your Serving Bowl

When the pasta is ready and al dente, drain into a colander, then add to your serving bowl.


Add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, just a Tablespoon or so….

Mix Together

Now we are going to add some beautiful fat Capers.

And some oven roasted tomatoes….

Next, Top with the Cottage Cheese and Pesto


If you like you can sprinkle with a bit of Parmesean Cheese

This dish is definitely a keeper!

Gordon and the Pasta

An Excellent Dinner

Creating Something Similar, yet Different with Leftovers


Buon Appetito!


Stuffed Pasta Shells

The Ingredients:

Large Pasta Shells

3/4 Cup Parmesan Reggiano Cheese PLUS 1/2 Cup more to top the stuffed shells

2 8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese – softened

1/2 Large Onion chopped

8 Mushrooms – sliced and chopped

3 Cloves Garlic – thinly sliced, then chopped

Fresh Ground Pepper

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to taste – I used about 1/2 Tbsp

1 Bunch Parsley – Med. chop

1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives – chopped

4 Tbsp Butter



Boil your large pasta shells as directed.

In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients in a Med. bowl.

Place in your Parmesan Cheese and room temperature Cream Cheese.

Chop your Onion

Place it in a Med. heated saute pan with your butter.

Chop your mushrooms…

and garlic.

Place the mushrooms in with the onions and saute for about 7 Min.

When cooked, add your garlic and cook for another 3 Min. mixing well.

Add your pepper and Red Pepper Flakes and cook for another 3 Min.

Take the mixture off the heat when done.

Chop your Parsley and add to your bowl of cheeses, mixing well.

The Onions, Mushrooms, and Garlic are Looking Quite Good

Drain your pasta shells and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.

Add your chopped Kalamata Olives to your cheese mixture.

Once your onion and mushroom mixture has cooled, add it to the cheese mixture.

Below is the finished product.

Use a small spoon to fill the cooked large pasta shells.

Top each shell with grated Parmesan Cheese

Broil the Shells Until Brown, Then Done!



We ate the stuffed shells with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, Feta Cheese and some nice slices of bread.

An Excellent Appetizer


For the next stuffed pasta shell appetizer recipe, we did things a little differently.

The recipe at top was such an inspiration, because they turned out so good, which then ignites other possibilities to make them just as good using different ingredients, or to make them even better.

Second Stuffed Pasta Shells Version

The Ingredients:

2 Pkgs Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage

Large Pasta Shells

3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese PLUS 1/2 Cup more to top the stuffed shells

2 8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese – softened

3/4 Large Onion chopped

8 Mushrooms – sliced and chopped

3 Cloves Garlic – thinly sliced, then chopped

1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes in oil – thinly sliced, then chopped

Fresh Ground Pepper

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to taste – I used about 1/2 Tbsp

1 Bunch Parsley – Med. chop

1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives – chopped

2 tsp Paprika

Slice your onion well.

Saute your Italian Sausage over medium high heat.  Here I used a Wok, because it holds a lot and is non-stick.

I used some olive oil just to make sure there was enough fat/oil to saute everything.

Slice, then chop your garlic.

Saute your sausage until well cooked as shown.

Then remove the meat from the oil/fat and place into a large bowl.

I used the fat and oil to saute the onions along with the rest of the ingredients.

Add pepper to taste.

Saute the onions until well cooked and starting to brown.

Chop your mushrooms while the onions are sauteing.

Then place your mushrooms in with the browned onions.

Saute them with the onions, mixing well.  The mushrooms will soak up the oil.

Cook your large pasta shells as directed.  When done, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.

Below, I am adding more mushrooms along with the chopped garlic.

Cook them for just a few minutes.

Check your pasta!

Mix your ingredients well.

Place your Parmesan cheese in a small bowl…

Add your onion, mushroom, garlic, mixture to the cooked Italian sausage.

Chop your parsley and add it to the bowl with the Parmesan cheese.

Drain your pasta well and be sure to rinse it.

Mix the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Chop your Kalamata Olives…

and place them in the bowl with the cheese and parsley mixture.

Chop your sun dried tomatoes and add them to the parsley bowl.

Mix some of the cream cheese in with the parsley cheese mixture, and some in the onion sausage mixture.

Mix the two bowls together.

This is the way it looks when mixed well.

Turn your oven on to Roast, and place some aluminum foil on some sheet pans, then add some olive oil and brush around the surface.

Using a spoon, add the stuffing to the pasta shells.

Gordon and I did a Pasta Shell Stuffing Competition

Of course, HE won!

I am not very neat, he is though.

I think it’s obvious which shells were his, and which were mine.  🙂

Gordon topping the stuffed pasta with Parmesan Cheese

Gordon is Topping the Stuffed Shells with some Paprika

Now, all that’s needed to cook them is to broil them on high.

In the photo top, you can see the shells before they go into the oven, and after.

So Delicious!  So Easy!


If you would like to view our other Italian food posts…….

Julie’s Italian Appetizers and Edible Gifts


Gordon and Julie Italian Seconda Parte 2


Cool Refreshing Summer


Father’s Day Pizza Party


You Say Tomato


Edible Gifts:  Italian, Greek, and Irish


Autumn Pasta


Mother’s Day in the Garden


Italian Naan Pizza


Gordon and Julie Italian


Italianate Tre


Gordon and Julie