Sunday, June 15, 2014

Easy Family-Friendly Pasta Dinners

It seems like it's been forever since I've had a fun brand experience from Allrecipes to share with you (actually, I just went digging through posts, it's been since our last Johnsonville partnership in April!).  Last month our assignment was to help flesh out the Allrecipes Mexico site with photos of their recipes, but we came back strong this month with several fun brands.  This month, I got Barilla and was asked to make a couple of recipes from their collection on Allrecipes.com.
Click the picture to find the recipe at Allrecipes.com! 

I chose two that seemed fairly family-friendly because I have a pretty picky little 8 year-old to feed.

I went with Spaghetti with Broccoli Florets and Traditional Sauce and Elbows Mac and Cheese with Tuscan Herb Sauce.  They were both popular with my daughter, which is pretty impressive to say the least.

The sight of broccoli on a plate of spaghetti was enough to elicit an eyebrow raise and a "you think she's going to eat THAT??" from my husband the other night.
Surprise!  Not only did she eat it, she raved about it.
She ate every last bite and asked for more.

I really liked how the broccoli was added to the pasta just for the last couple of minutes, leaving it perfectly cooked.  Absolutely making it this way again!!  Definitely a winner.

The Elbows Mac and Cheese with Tuscan Herb Sauce also went over well, but to be honest it wasn't really mac and cheese and it would have been just "eh" without a pretty big change.

This dish calls for two kinds of cheese- parmigiano and fontina.  The parmigiano is the only cheese that is actually mixed in with the pasta and it's really not the meltiest cheese out there, leaving this way more like a goulash.  Also, I read a fellow Allstar's review of the recipe before making it and saw a comment about it being bland- I added a pound of ground Johnsonville Italian Sausage (we know how much I love them!) to the pasta mixture before baking and my daughter absolutely adored this!  Just don't expect it to live up to it's name, because it won't- "goulash-esque" is a much better description of this recipe!

All in all I'd say that this month was a success- both dishes are super easy, come together relatively easy on a weeknight, and can be made with ingredients most of us generally have on hand.  The fact that they're amazingly kid-friendly is a definite plus!

Elbows Mac & Cheese with Tuscan Herb Sauce
...or as I like to call it...goulash.
Modified from Allrecipes.com

1 (16 ounce) box Barilla® Elbows
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 (24 ounce) jar Barilla® Tuscan Herb Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pkg Johnsonville Mild Ground Italian Sausage, browned
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded fontina (or mozzarella) cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water and cook the pasta 1/2 of the cooking time. Drain and toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil and set aside.

2. Meanwhile in a large skillet saute garlic in remaining olive oil for 1-2 minutes or until slightly yellow in color. Add the Barilla Tuscan Herb sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the heavy cream, browned sausage, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a 13x9 casserole combine the pasta with the sauce and fold in the Parmigiano cheese. Top with fontina and bake in a 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.


I am an AllrecipesAllstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews my personal blog.  The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are all my own. 

1 comment:

  1. They both look delicious and I bet that sausage helped flavor the second dish nicely!


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