Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Sauce

I love pasta. Who doesn’t?

The best part about pasta is that my kids tend to love it–no matter what I put on it. Top it with veggies and some Parmesan cheese and they are happy campers.

Another reason I love pasta is because of all of the wonderful shapes it comes in. Every shape has a it’s benefits – based on how it sticks or holds whatever toppings you pair it with. One of my favorite pasta shapes is Orecchiette. The name of the pasta comes from it’s shape – the ear. Though my daughter thinks it resembles a hat more than an ear. We won’t go there. I love the shape and it’s consistency. I also love the way it grabs on to the toppings.

This recent pasta dinner was super easy to make – you just have to have a little bit of patience with the onions. I love onions, especially caramelized onions. They cook by themselves and require very little effort – my kind of meal. With the addition of some meaty baby bella mushrooms, the dish is complete.

Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Sauce

1 lb orecchiette pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped thyme
1/4 cup half & half
1/4 parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Cook to
al dente, reserving about 3/4 cup of the cook water. Strain the pasta. Do not rinse it. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, work on the onions. 

Slice the onions in to thin strips. Heat up a pan with olive oil and butter. Add the onions. Let them cook on medium with a lid for about 20 minutes. You will see them begin to caramelize. 

After 20 minutes, add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Let it cook for a bit longer. 

After another 7 minutes or so, add in the half & half and the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir.  Add in the pasta water and the pasta. Stir everything up.

Serve and enjoy!


Caramelized Pear and Ginger Popsicles

It’s been something like 100 degrees here every day this week. Every single day with no break. Yes, I sit in air conditioning all day. I don’t have it all that bad, but it’s disgusting the moment you walk outside.

When I was pregnant with my older daughter,  I lived on popsicles. We went through box after box.

Last year, I came across this popsicle mold on a similarly hot day. It appeared on the perfect day. I have made popsicles a few times since, including these.

While not pregnant, I am still a big fan of popsicles. Today, I was in the mood for something fruity. I turned to pears and ginger because I love that combo. I’ve become a bit of a ginger addict when it comes to flavoring foods. That or garlic or both – and I don’t think garlic tastes good in popsicles.

I was so excited for these popsicles to freeze up so I could taste them. I wasn’t disappointed.

Caramelized Pear and Ginger Popsicles

5 pears, cored and cubed
1/2 stick butter, unsalted is better
1/2 cup brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2.5 tbsp. chopped ginger

In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Add 1 tablespoon of the chopped ginger. Keep it going until the butter starts to foam. 

Stir in the brown sugar. Let the brown sugar melt a bit.

Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Let the pears caramelize and get soft.

The pears will start to give off it’s own juices. This is good. This should take 5-10 minutes.

Let the mixture cool a bit. 

Transfer mixture to a bowl and blend using an immersion blender. You could also transfer to a standard blender.

Chill the blended mixture in the fridge for about half an hour.

Pour in to popsicle molds and freeze overnight.


Caramelized Pear and Ginger Popsicles

Grilled Cheese with Pears and Caramelized Onions

My dad is the sandwich master – especially on the weekends. Even my kids know. Zaydie is who you turn to when you want any multitude of sandwiches. After a few weeks with my parents, my daughter came home asking me to make lunch like Zaydie did. “Zaydie likes it this way.” “Zaydie makes this differently,” and so on. Egg salad is never just chopped eggs with Zaydie. It’s amped up with herbs and pickles or olives. Same with grilled cheese. There was always something added to it. I remember a period of time when grilled cheese was often filled with cheddar, tomato and sunflower seeds.

So…tonight’s dinner is dedicated to my dad. As I drove home, debating what to make. I thought of the bag of fresh cheeses I had just bought at the store. With Shavuot coming up, I had to stock up. I wanted something fast and something tasty. I decided to make this. Not sure if I have upped the ante on my dad’s sandwich skills, but hopefully, I have come close to reaching his sandwich awesomeness.

Grilled Cheese with Pears and Caramelized Onions (makes 2 good sized sandwiches)

1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. thyme
4 slices of bread ( I used rye, but a ciabatta or a sourdough would be great with this)
dijon mustard
gouda cheese, sliced
1 ripe bosc pear
more butter, for grilling

Start by heating up a small saute pan. Add butter to the pan. Get it hot. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook the onions slowly. Add the salt and the thyme. Let the onions caramelize.  This will take around ten minutes or so. Stir every so often. Once the onions are done, set aside.


Slice up your pear in to thin slices. About 1/4-inch thick.


Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on the inside of two of the slices of bread. Make sure not too put too much mustard on, or it will overpower the other flavors. Add a slice of cheese; then a pear layer; then the caramelized onions and finally another slice of cheese. Sandwich it together with an a slice of the bread that doesn’t have any mustard. You are now ready for some grilling!

This sandwich would do really well in a panini press. Alas, that is the one kitchen appliance that I don’t have.

In a large pan, heat up a tablespoon of butter. Place sandwich in to pan. Pan should be on medium-high heat.

Take a large cast iron pan or some other heavy heatproof object and press it down on your sandwich.

Grill for a few minutes on each side.

Slice in half and eat up! Serve with some salad on the side.



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