Slow-cooker Beef Ragu

During my Levy Court campaign, pretty much the only type of cooking I did was in the crock pot – slow cooking.  The only free time I had was at the very beginning of the day, and that only for about 15 minutes. So, that meant it needed to be recipes with very little preparation before going into the crock pot.

This beef ragu was a great meal that, served with pasta, provided us with hearty meals for several days.

I was able to pick up some locally raised beef (flank steaks) at the butcher. Yes, we are lucky to have a butcher near our home.

And look at the colors (and flavors) that went into the sauce. The herbs all came from my garden.

Slow-cooker Beef Ragu


1 teaspoon olive oil

6 garlic cloves, smashed slightly

1½ pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 4 pieces (locally raised)

salt and pepper

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup reduced sodium beef broth

1 carrot, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme (from the garden)

16 ounces pappardelle pasta

Parmesan and parsley for topping


In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

Pour the tomatoes and broth over the beef and add the garlic from step one, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Discard the herbs and shred the beef in the pot using 2 forks.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and add the sauce from the slow cooker. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the pasta and sauce are combined, about 1 minute.

Divide among 8 bowls and top each with Parmesan, ricotta, and parsley. Serve hot!…Yum!

Serves 8.

Categories: Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Time to use another section of my giant crookneck squash.


I roasted about 2/3 of the neck and since I only needed 2 1/2 cups of pulp, it was still too much , so I will need to find another use for the couple of extra cups of pulp. Since even just the plain roasted pulp was delicious, that will not be a difficult thing to do.

I used the squash in place of butternut for these lasagna roll ups. The squash is the base for both the filling and the sauce.

They were delicious!

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Slightly adapted from Proud Italian Cook

1 butternut squash (or part of a crookneck squash), enough to get 2 1/2 cups of pulp (locally grown)

10 cooked lasagna noodles


2 cups of squash pulp

1 cup ricotta

¼ cup of cooked, chopped spinach, measured after it is drained well

½ cup of grated parmesan

⅓ cup of grated asiago

1 egg (locally raised)

1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane

Kosher salt and pepper to taste


½ cup of reserved squash pulp, pureed smoother than the pulp for the filling

2 shallots, finely diced (I used 1 shallot and 2 very small onions from my garden)

½ stick, unsalted butter

1 small bunch of sage leaves (from the garden)

¾ cup of stock, I used vegetable

¾ cup of cream

½ cup of grated parmesan

Kosher salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the squash ahead of time (you can even do it the day before and refrigerate it until ready for use).  Cut lengthwise, with skin still on, remove seeds and roast the squash, cut side down at 350 degrees until tender and a knife goes through with ease, close to an hour. Let it cool, then scoop out pulp.


Mash 2 cups of the squash pulp into small chunks, making it easy for spreading.

Add in ricotta, egg, cheeses,grated garlic, zest, salt and pepper.

Mix together well, then fold in spinach until incorporated.


In a medium-sized skillet, saute the shallots in the butter with the sage leaves until slightly golden.

Remove the sage leaves, then add the broth and whisk in the ½ cup of the well pureed squash that was reserved until nice and smooth on low heat.

Whisk in the cream and add the grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.


Place a little sauce on the bottom of a shallow baking dish.

Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on each cooked lasagna noodle.

Roll up and place them seam side down in the baking dish.

Spoon sauce on top of each lasagna roll up, plus grate a little parmesan cheese on top of each. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, sauce will be set and top will be slightly golden.

Serve topped with some sauce and enjoy!!

Serves 4-5.

Categories: Butternut Squash, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Spinach, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Pasta with Collard Greens and Onions

I really never thought I would be cooking collard greens, or even stranger, growing it – and lots of it!

Nor that I would find collard green dishes that are kosher and healthy and that even my 7 year old would eat – which he did! (although he did call this spicy, so less red pepper flakes next time for him). But leave it to Martha Rose Shulman. She is definitely my vegetarian cooking hero. Whenever I have a vegetable I am unsure how best to use, it seems it always ends up being Martha who has the recipe that catches my eye (and my taste buds).

This is a beauty.  I had to hold myself back from piling my plate high with this (I was generous with my husband though). And, it was really tasty cold as leftovers for lunch!


Pasta with Collard Greens and Onions

Martha Rose Shulman

1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and washed (from the garden)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, preferably a red onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced across the grain

Salt to taste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

2 garlic cloves, minced

Freshly ground pepper

8 – 12 0unces pasta, any shape (I used linguini)

½ cup cooking water from the pasta

1 to 2 ounces Parmesan (to taste)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the collard greens. Blanch for 2 minutes, then using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, transfer to a bowl of cold water.

Drain, squeeze out excess water and cut crosswise into thin ribbons.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large lidded frying pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add a generous pinch of salt, the red pepper flakes and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the collard greens and salt and pepper to taste. When the greens begin to sizzle, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water, cover and continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the greens are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Bring the water in the pot back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente, following the timing instructions on the package. Before draining the pasta, ladle 1/2 cup of the cooking water from the pot into the frying pan with the collard greens and onions. Drain the pasta and toss with the greens.

Serve, topping each serving with Parmesan to taste.

Serves 4.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Fettuccini with Corn and Tomatoes

I have two farmers that I buy sweet corn from, Freeman’s in Lewes and Filasky’s in Middletown.  They are each heads and shoulders above any other corn I have ever had.  Which I buy simply depends on whether I am in the southern or northern end of the state the day I am buying corn.


Unfortunately, my son does not like corn…I can’t understand it, who DOESN’T like fresh corn on the cob? So, I have been on a search to find ways to prepare corn that he will eat.  This pasta dish was one of them.

The original recipe called for papardelle pasta (which would have been great) but it would have been too easy for him to pick the corn off the wide noodles, so I used fettuccini – still a nice wide pasta, but about the same width of the corn kernels. And it worked, he ate a nice plate of it happily. The only thing he left over were his tomatoes – he prefers them raw and had already eaten about a dozen while waiting for dinner.

Garden note – I am growing some onions that I can also use as scallions while they are immature. Aren’t they pretty?


Fettuccini with Corn and Tomatoes

Adapted from Food Network Kitchens Papardelle with Corn

Kosher salt
2 ears corn, shucked, kernels cut from the cob (from Freeman Farms)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb Fettuccini
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced (from the garden)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for topping
Torn basil, for topping (from the garden)


Place the corn in a microwave safe bowl with some water and cover.  Microwave for 60 – 75 seconds. Uncover, drain and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pappardelle ias the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Add the chicken broth and corn kernels to the skillet and bring to a simmer.

Add the pasta and remaining butter to the skillet, toss to combine.

Serve, topped with the scallions, parmesan and basil. Enjoy!

Serves 5.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Corn, Edamame & Tomatoes with Pasta and Basil Oil

If it was a little later in the season, all the vegetables except the corn would be from my garden. But I couldn’t wait that long, so the corn is from Preston, Maryland, the tomatoes from Highland Orchards, the edamame is frozen, but the scallions and basil ARE from my garden.

This is such a colorful dish, with richness of flavor to match the colors. We initially had the pasta and vegetables separated, I am including that picture since it shows the vibrant colors off best.

But the two dishes begged to be combined, and combine them we did.  Perfect!  Thus the adaptation I am presenting here. That, plus my use of less basil oil and heavier balsamic in the vegetables themselves.

Corn, Edamame & Tomatoes with Pasta and Basil Oil

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Skillet Corn, Edamame, and Tomatoes with Basil Oil

1/2 lb linguine

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (from the garden)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/4 cup finely sliced scallions (from the garden)

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 3 small garlic cloves)

3 1/4 cups corn kernels (from 3 – 4 ears) (from Preston, MD)

2/3 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed

1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (1 3/4 cups) (from Highland Orchards)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook linguine according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add basil; cook 10 seconds. Transfer basil to a bowl of ice water, then drain, and squeeze dry. Puree basil, 2 Tbsp oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. (I ended up using my spice grinder, it worked the best).


While the pasta water is heating or pasta cooking, heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add corn, edamame, and remaining salt. Cook, stirring, until starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes (reduce heat to medium if overbrowning).

Add tomatoes and vinegar; cook until tomatoes start to collapse, about 8 minutes.


Drizzle basil oil on vegetables, and stir.

Toss the pasta with the vegetables. Serve and enjoy!.

Serves 4

Categories: Edamame, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Orecchiette with Tomato Sauce with Kale and Mushrooms

Groundhogs don’t seem to like curly kale.  Or at least my groundhog doesn’t.  When it ate every other green in my garden, it left the curly kale.  We not have the electric fence protecting the other greens, but the kale has been growing all along.

I had some mushrooms in the fridge (a local food here in Delaware) and some red wine on the counter, so I decided to add an earthy note to the kale-tomato sauce.

All it needed was some fun pasta and a sprinkling of cheese. A happy dinner that even the 7 year old devoured (yes, he even ate the kale).

Orecchiette with Tomato Sauce with Kale and Mushrooms

Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s Orecchiette with Tomato Sauce and Kale

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of red pepper flakes(optional)

1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes with juice, pulsed a few times in a food processor or mini processor

1 cup mushrooms, sliced and each slice cut in half (locally grown)

1/4 cup robust red wine

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp dried basil (from the garden)

½ pound curly kale, stemmed (from the garden)

1 lb orecchiette

Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. As soon as the garlic begins to smell fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute), add the tomatoes, mushrooms, wine, sugar, salt and basil. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is thick and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust seasoning.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the kale. Blanch 2 to 4 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the kale to a bowl of cold water. Do not drain the pot of water.

Drain the kale and squeeze out excess water and chop medium-fine.

Stir the kale into the tomato sauce.

Bring the pot of water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente, according to the cooking directions on the package. Drain and toss with the tomato and kale mixture .

Serve topped with grated parmesan.

Serves 4 – 6.

Categories: Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Pasta with Escarole

It has been an awful spring for my garden, so cold and rainy.  Only a few things are doing well, among them is the escarole.  I have a nice row of heads growing. They are small but they are healthy.

I have a few very different recipes I want to try with the escarole – soups, salads and this pasta dishes, like this simple variant on olio e aglio. I love pastas with greens, filling, comforting and each dish picking up the flavor of the individual type of green used.

Pasta with Escarole

slightly adapted from Daphne Oz’s Escarole Pasta

1 pound spaghetti or perciatelli

3 cups escarole, chopped (from the Garden)

2 cloves garlic, minced

chili flakes, to taste

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground lemon pepper

Parmigiano reggiano, grated, for passing


Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. Season generously with salt. Cook the pasta til al dente.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the escarole, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Saute for 2 – 5 minutes, or until the greens are tender. 

Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pan, then add the cooked pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 

Serve topped with the grated cheese.  Enjoy!

Serves 4 – 5

Categories: Escarole, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe | Leave a comment

Salmon Pasta with Peas

There are days when even a local-obsessed cook like me can only get as local as what I can find in my freezer or pantry.  I’ve been away on business and have not had the chance to go to the store, little less the farm market, when I needed to make dinner.   So the only “local” ingredient is the frozen peas, they are raised and processed just a couple of hours away in Pennsylvania.

I do have to admit that I love canned salmon, as does my son (he loves salmon in any form). We would have been happy just eating the salmon straight from the can.

I combined the two with Cam’s favorite pasta, wagon wheels, to make a very simple, comforting dish.

Salmon Pasta with Peas

1 lb pasta

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 oz bag frozen petite peas

1 Tbsp minced chives

1 15 oz can salmon, drained

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

High quality extra virgin olive oil, for finishing

Juice of about 1/2 lemon

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and cook the garlic for about 30 seconds.

Add the peas and cook for a few minutes, just until the peas are heated through.

Add the salmon and the chives.  After about a minute, remove from heat.

Toss the salmon mixture with the pasta. Sprinkle with lemon juice and finish with some of the high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Serve topped with grated cheese.  Enjoy!

Serves 6.

Categories: Kosher, Pasta, Recipe | Tags: | 3 Comments

Pasta with Sweet-Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

Thanks again to Highland Orchards for beautiful pesticide-free butternut squash and kale. 

The inspiration for this dish came from The Splendid Table’s Sweet Roaster Butternut Squash and Greens Over Bow-Tie Pasta. I really like the sweetness that recipe brings to the roasted vegetables, but not the very creamy sauce.  So, I adjusted the ingredients and technique to what works for me and came up with a lighter dish that received rave reviews at dinner!

I mean, really, how can you resist colors like these?

Pasta with Sweet-Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

Adapted from The Splendid Table’s Sweet Roaster Butternut Squash and Greens Over Bow-Tie Pasta.

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunks (from Highland Orchards)

1 medium to large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 cups kale, washed, dried, and torn into small pieces (from Highland Orchards)

4 large garlic cloves, coarse chopped

1/3 cup good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp demerara sugar

Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper

12 oz bow-tie pasta

1 Tsbp high-quality extra-virgin olive oil

1 – 2 Tbsp half and half.

1 cup Balsamic BellaVitano cheese, shredded


Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a large bowl, toss together the squash, onion, kale, garlic, !/3 cup oil, pepper flakes, sugar salt and pepper.

Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Roast for 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender, turning the vegetables two or three times during roasting. Remove the kale.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander.

Turn on the broiler to caramelize it the squash. Watch the vegetables closely, turning as needed. Anticipate about 5 – 8 minutes under the broiler. You want crusty brown edges on the squash.

Place the vegetables and pasta in a large serving bowl. Add 2/3 of the cheese.

Drizzle with the high-quality oil and half and half.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve topped with some more cheese. Serve hot and enjoy!

Serves 4    


Categories: Butternut Squash, Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Pasta

On my visit to Highland Orchards I picked up a bunch of their broccoli rabe. I had a Mario Batali recipe for broccoli rabe pesto that I had been wanting to play with, so this seemed like a good opportunity to do that.

The color of the finished pesto had to make me smile – it looked more like guacamole than pesto (but it definitely tasted like pesto, not guac).

I liked the sharp flavor the mustard added to what was otherwise a fairly mild pesto. I also added some pecorino Romano to enhance that even more. To serve, we topped the pasta and pesto with additional freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

The recipe is scalable, I had a large bunch, about 1 pound, and made a good 3 cups of pesto.

Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Pasta

adapted from Mario Batali’s Broccoli Rabe Pesto

2 Tbsp Kosher salt

1 lb broccoli rabe, stems trimmed (from Highland Orchards)

4 – 6 garlic cloves, depending on the size

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano

1/4 cup Locatelli romano

Pasta, cooked according to package directions (amounts depend upon the number of people you are serving)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add Kosher salt. Add the Broccoli rabe and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a bowl of ice water.  Drain well.

In a food processor, with the motor running, drop in the garlic and finely chop it.  Add the broccoli rabe and almonds and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the mustard and blend well.

With  the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cheeses.

Makes about 3 cups of pesto.  Enjoy!  Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed glass jar, topped with a thin layer of olive oil for about a week.  Or can be placed in sealed plastic bags and frozen for a few months.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: