Tag: Pecorino Romano

Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Pasta

Whole wheat pasta baked in the oven with a quick pumpkin sauce
made with bacon, shallots, pecorino cheese and a touch of rosemary then topped with mozzarella cheese. This is such a great Fall dish and my husband loved how it turned out!

I’m really excited to share this pasta dish, because I finally found a brand of whole wheat pasta that me and my family actually likes. Even my husband couldn’t believe it was whole wheat and thought they had to be lying. The brand is Delallo[1], and I honestly can’t say enough good things about them.

It’s definitely more of a high end pasta in price, but for me good pasta is worth paying more for. Not only is their pasta 100% whole grain, it’s also organic and cut with bronze plates which is always my favorite kind of pasta. But what really gets me excited is they sell their whole wheat pasta in every pasta shape you can think of, from standard spaghetti, linguini and penne, to the more exotic shapes like orecchiette, gemelli and fusilli bucati just to name a few. I found a few of those shapes in my local supermarket, but you can also buy them on their website[2].

Back to this pasta dish, I wanted to make this quick so I opted for canned pumpkin. But you can make your own homemade pumpkin puree[3] which in my opinion always tastes best! You could also use butternut squash in place of pumpkin if you wish and if you’re eating gluten free you can certainly use brown rice pasta.

Canned pumpkin really has no taste, so I added flavor my sauteeing some bacon and shallots, then I added a little fresh rosemary and Pecorino Romano to mimick a pumpkin pasta gnocchi dish I love ordering out, then thinned it out with some chicken broth. My husband just happened to walk in the door when it was ready, and I love getting his opinion because he’s brutally honest – and he loved it and even went back for seconds.

Baked Penne with Pecorino Pumpkin Sauce
Servings: 4 • 1 generous cup • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 8 pts
Calories: 307 • Fat: 7 g • Protein: 16 g • Carb: 49 g • Fiber: 8 g • Sugar: 5 g
Sodium: 237 mg (without salt) • Cholesterol: 14 mg


  • 8 oz Delallo[4] uncooked whole wheat pasta (use brown rice pasta for GF)
  • 2 slices center cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 15 oz homemade[5] or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella (I recommend: Polly-O)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9×9-inch baking pan with oil spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat add chopped bacon and sauté until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chopped shallot and cook 1 minute. Add pumpkin, chicken broth and 3 tbsp Pecorino Romano, stir and add salt and pepper to taste; simmer about 8 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the pumpkin sauce and mix well.

Transfer to the baking dish and spread evenly. Top with the remaining shredded Pecorino Romano and mozzarella.

Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned. Let it cool 5 minutes, then divide into 4 equal portions.

This can be prepared up to a day in advance and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

Makes 4 servings.


  1. ^ Delallo (www.delallo.com)
  2. ^ website (www.delallo.com)
  3. ^ homemade pumpkin puree (www.skinny-bits.com)
  4. ^ Delallo (www.delallo.com)
  5. ^ homemade (www.skinny-bits.com)

Cauliflower Fritters

This is a delicious way to prepare cauliflower. It’s similar to the taste of a potato pancake and makes a fabulous side dish – your kids will love them!

My Sicilian friend Julia is a wonderful cook. I remember the first meal I ate in her NYC apartment; lamb chops and fried cauliflower which she calls broccoli a pasteta[1]. She joked that day you can fry a sponge and it would taste good – she’s probably right. These are a lightened version of her recipe, made with Pecorino Romano, parsley, egg, garlic, white whole wheat flour and just enough oil to saute them in a pan.

Cauliflower Fritters
Servings: 8 • Size: 2 fritters • Old Points: 2 • Weight Watcher Points+: 3 pt
Calories: 139 • Fat: 6 g • Carb: 14 g • Fiber: 4 g • Protein: 7 g • Sugar: 1 g
Sodium: 269 mg  • Cholest: 61 mg


  • 6 cups roughly chopped raw cauliflower (from 2 small heads)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 extra large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil


Steam the cauliflower in 2 1/2 cups water over medium heat until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and quickly rinse under cold water to stop it from cooking. Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces with a knife once steamed and measure to make 5 cups. Set aside the rest for another use.

In a large bowl, combine the steamed cauliflower, flour, garlic, eggs, grated cheese, parsley, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper. Add water so that batter becomes slightly more dense than pancake batter.

Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 teaspoon of oil coating bottom of the pan. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form fritters. You can fit 4 fritters at a time, flattening them slightly with the back of the measuring cup. Cook until golden brown, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter 3 more times.

Adapted from Julia’s Healthy Italian [2]


  1. ^ broccoli a pasteta (juliashealthyitaliancooking.blogspot.com)
  2. ^ Julia’s Healthy Italian (juliashealthyitaliancooking.blogspot.com)

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Spaghetti squash and fresh vegetables simmered with a quick marinara sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella if you desire – easy, cheap, gluten-free and perfect for Meatless Mondays!

This was inspired after watching a marathon of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but this time we actually decided to go to the nearest DDD restaurant, The Pit Stop[1] which was featured on the show for their spaghetti squash primavera.

As a spaghetti squash lover myself, I ordered it and loved it and knew I wanted to re-make this at home. Super easy to make and you can use whatever vegetables you like – I used broccoli, carrots and zucchini but you can use asparagus, eggplant or bell peppers. To speed this up I made the spaghetti squash in the microwave which takes only about 8 minutes to cook, but if you have more time you can make it in the oven, the directions below are for both.

Of course, I had to top mine with fresh mozzarella which was just made and still warm when I bought it this morning! Leave the cheese out for vegan, dairy-free or paleo diets, nutritional info is provided below both ways. This dish comes together in less than 20 minutes, and you can easily double the recipe to make it 4 servings using a larger saute pan. You can also freeze this once cooked and reheat it in the oven for another day, enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Primavera (with cheese)
Servings: 2 • Size: 1 3/4 cups • Old Points: 7 • Weight Watcher Points+: 8 pt
Calories: 340 • Fat: 14 g • Carb: 38 g • Fiber: 8 g • Protein: 14 g • Sugar: 6 g
Sodium: 356 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 34.6 mg

NO Cheese:
Servings: 2 • Size: 1 3/4 cups • Old Points: 4 • Weight Watcher Points+: 5 pt
Calories: 212 • Fat: 5 g • Carb: 37 g • Fiber: 8 g • Protein: 4 g • Sugar: 5 g
Sodium: 89 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 1 mg


  • 1 small spaghetti squash (you’ll need 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced shallots 
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 2 cups homemade marinara sauce[2]
  • 1/2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano (optional)
  • 3 oz fresh mozzarella (optional)


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and
scoop out seeds and membrane. Season lightly with salt and black pepper;
bake about 1 hour, or longer if needed on a baking sheet, cut side
If you prefer the microwave, stab the squash with a knife all around and place on a microwave safe dish.
Microwave 7-9 minutes or the skin gives when cut with a knife.

Once cooked, use a fork to scrape the strands out into a bowl.

In a medium saute pan heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic, red onion, celery and carrots and cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add the broccoli and zucchini and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the marinara sauce, increase heat to medium and simmer until the
vegetables are tender crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of the
spaghetti squash, Pecorino Romano and stir, adjust the salt and pepper
to taste and cook 1 minute.

Divide the vegetables in two small casserole dishes, or you can use the shells of the spaghetti squash to make boats, then place under the broiler or in a hot oven until the cheese melts.


  1. ^ The Pit Stop (www.pitstopeats.com)
  2. ^ marinara sauce (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)

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