Farfalle with Mushrooms and Sausages

Have you seen this beautiful Farfalle pasta by Torino?  I was shopping at World Market’s Cost Plus, when this jumped out at me!  Look at the beautiful colors.

It cost more than what I like to spend on pasta, but I couldn’t pass this up.  They call it “designer” pasta.  I’m not into designer fashion, but apparently I’m a sucker for designer pastas now.

The recipe on the back of the box made my final decision.   It’s SO simple to make and it tastes so fresh and earthy!

Farfalle with Mushrooms and Sausages

Adapted from Torino pasta recipe

8.8 ounce farfalle pasta

6 ounce mushrooms (possibly porcini or 2 ounce dry porcini put in water to soften for 2-3 hours)I used a package of wild Italian mushrooms I found at World Market

6 oz fresh sweet sausage-I used Italian sausage from Whole Foods

5 oz white wine

1/4 white onion

1/2 clove garlic- I used whole

1 oz extra virgin olive oil

2 oz light cream — I used whole milk

3 oz grated pecorino or parmesan cheese- I used both

pepper and salt to taste

In a skillet, sautee x-tra virgin olive oil with garlic and onion–finely chopped.  Add the sausage without skin, and cook for 5 minutes to color.  Add the mushrooms and cook slowly and add the white wine.   When it looks ready, add the salt and pepper and light cream.

Cook the pasta al dente in plenty of salted water.  Drain pasta and place in the sauce skillet mix on top of stove for 2 minutes and then serve with cheese.

The mushrooms are SO earthy!

I served it with chardonnay


Simple enough for a weeknight meal, and flavorful enough to impress company.


Spanakopita and Gardening in April/May

Spanakopita or Spinach Pie


Adapted from a recipe posted online–years ago–by Jack Roemer

14 Phyllo Pastry sheets

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 Tbsp olive oil + 4 Tbsp melted butter

spray olive oil

40 ounces frozen spinach, chopped  OR 2 – 16oz pack

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian(flat leaf) parsley

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

3  Tbsp fresh chopped dill

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup cottage cheese –I use lowfat

1 egg

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

a light sprinkling of white wine vinegar- approx 2 tsp


Thaw and drain the 2- 16oz packages of spinach.

Crush the garlic and drop into the olive oil and butter. Set aside.

To make the filling, squeeze the spinach between your hands to remove most of
the liquid.   Place in a bowl or in a food processor.   Add the parsley, onions,
dill, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in the cottage cheese, egg and
feta.  —NOTE– I do it all in the processor except for the feta. — Combine well. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Lay one sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the dish and drape the edges overthe
sides of the dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray and cover with another sheet of phyllo dough.   Brush that sheet with the garlic-olive oil mixture.

Layer a total of four sheets, coating each alternately with nonstick cooking spray and olive oil. Spread half the filling over the prepared phyllo dough. Lay another sheet of dough over the filling and coat lightly with cooking spray.   Lay down another sheet and lightly coat with olive oil mixture. Continue alternating spray and olive oil for a total of four
sheets. Layer remaining spinach filling on dough.  Sprinkle on the vinegar-as evenly as possible.

Continue layering phyllo dough over the filling, spraying the first sheet and alternately brushing with olive oil and spraying subsequent sheets.  The last layer has 6 sheets.

When finished, brush the surface with olive oil mixture and roll the edges of the doughin ward to create an attractive rim around the outside.  Score the surface with a sharp knife into 12 portions.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes until golden.  I turn on the broiler at this point for 1-2 minutes (keep pan in center of oven) WATCH IT,  or you will burn the top layer!  Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 12 portions.

Test kitchen notes: Phyllo means “leaf” in Greek. The dough is usually available in the frozen food section of most supermarkets or in Greek or Middle Eastern markets. For best results, allow dough to defrost overnight in the refrigerator.   Keep it covered with wax paper and a damp towel while making pie.

The Gardens in April and Early May

I’ve decided to post my gardens once a month.  I want to document the stages of growth.

This is the time of year I start to get excited about gardening.   I love my flowers, but I especially love the vegetable and herb gardens.

That said, I planted an assortment of flowers from seed this year.  I rarely do this, but my cousin , MaryAnne, who lives in upstate New York, sent me seeds from her own flower gardens and a packet of Honey Bear Sunflower seeds, which means I might have a new passion.  I’ll post on those as soon as the seeds germinate.

The terracotta pot above is my husband’s great find.  It is from Mexico, and I thought a few coral colored begonias,  double pink impatiens, along with a few chicks from my Hens and Chicks plants, would look lovely in this pot.

The portable greenhouse is filled with starts and seedlings:

Tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, artichoke, basil,  and squash are waiting to go under the cloche of the front gardens.

Flowering seeds are in their little seed pots too.

As you can see, the backyard garden has plenty of cool weather plants:

lettuce, radish, beets, onions, spicy mixed lettuces, carrots, broccoli,  and several herbs.

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