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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Salad vegetarian

Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

Asian Noodle Salad Bowl // Karista's Kitchen

Who doesn’t love bowl food? I’ve loved bowl food since before bowl food was a thing.

When I was a twenty-something I’d bake diced potatoes or cook some rice or noodles. Then I’d add one of them to a bowl and layer it with any complimentary ingredients I could find in my fridge or pantry. I’d top it off with something creamy or saucy and then proceed to enjoy every last bite.

There is something so fresh, simple and comforting about beautiful bowl food.  This Asian Noodle Salad Bowl is easily assembled with seasonal ingredients that are combined with a few pantry staples. The result is a beautiful recipe with loads of flavor.

Asian noodle salad bowls are the perfect lunch or dinner bowl, combining the comforting texture of soba noodles with an array of fresh ingredients.  Top the ingredients with the plate-licking spicy peanut sauce and you’ll find yourself adding this beautiful bowl to your regular menu rotation.

I make this Asian noodle salad bowl with all or just a few of the ingredients, depending on what I have on hand.  Sometimes I simply throw a handful of baby greens in the bowl and top with sliced mushrooms, sliced green onions and sesame seeds.  This Asian noodle salad bowl is also delicious with grilled or pan seared Gulf shrimp, tofu or tempeh. This beautiful Asian noodle bowl is always a favorite at my kitchen table.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

Serving Size: Makes two bowls

Asian Noodle Salad Bowl


  • 1 package buckwheat or traditional soba noodles cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons warm water
  • Salt (optional)
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup sliced or diced red pepper
  • 1/3 cup mung beans
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup sliced radishes
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ avocado, sliced


In a food processer add the peanut butter, chili sauce, lime juice, vinegar, hoisin sauce, olive oil and two tablespoons of warm water. Blend until the sauces is smooth and creamy. Add additional water to thin the sauce if desired. Season to taste with salt if needed.

To assemble the salad bowl, place about one cup of noodles in each bowl. Top with the carrots, red pepper, mung beans, green onions, radishes, basil, cilantro, sesame seeds and avocado. Drizzle with the spicy peanut sauce and serve. Serve with extra sauce for the noodles.


I originally created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine February/March 2017 issue.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Pork

Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi

Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi // Karista's Kitchen

I adore a a simple and flavorful meal that comes together easily like my family’s favorite Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi.

This rustic and uncomplicated recipe uses fresh ingredients with a few pantry staples to make dinner nearly fuss-free and satisfying.

This Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi uses ground sausage or ground chicken sausage but you can use whatever you like, or keep it vegetarian.  We have a fabulous sausage house in our little town that makes the most incredible and creative sausages from locally sourced ingredients. So it’s a treat for me to scoot-on-down (my Southernism for the day) to the sausage house and pick up some unique sausages for this recipe.

I’ve used the traditional Italian sausage, Swedish potato, andouille, cheddar and jalapeño, sun-dried tomato and feta and probably a few more. It’s ridiculously difficult for me to make a decision when I visit our local sausage house – and it doesn’t help if I’m hungry when I’m shopping for the sausages.

This recipe is paired with one of my favorite types of pastas, Cavatappi. Cavatappi, meaning corkscrew in Italian, feels heartier and a little fancier than macaroni but with a delightful texture that holds up to broccoli, cauliflower, ground meats and sauces.  When I can’t find broccolini or what some call broccoli rabe, I use the garden variety of broccoli.

I’ve been known to throw other veggies into the pot as well, especially if I have vegetables that are on their last days of shelf life.  I’ve used collard greens, mushrooms, Swiss chard, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant; leftover cooked veggies that easily pair with this cozy recipe.

Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi works beautifully as a quick weeknight meal but it’s also ideal for a cozy fall or winter weekend meal paired with a glass of Chianti.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi

Serving Size: 4-6

Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi


  • 12 ounces Cavatappi pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1-2 lbs Broccolini (broccoli rabe), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 lb ground sweet or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 cup of prepared basil pesto
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmesan


Fill a pasta pot with water and heat over high heat. When the water boils, salt the water with one tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. About five minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccolini to the pasta. Continue to cook and when the pasta is done, the broccolini should be done as well.

While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the sausage. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium or large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the onion until wilted and then add the Italian sausage and cook until done.

When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and broccolini and place it back into the pasta pot. Toss the pasta and broccolini with the pesto and then fold in the sausage and onions. Stir in the squeeze of fresh lemon and then season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Pour the pasta into a serving dish or individual dishes and garnish with grated parmesan and serve.

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Appetizers Breakfast Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Salad vegetarian

Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

Jammy Roasted Tomatoes on an egg and biscuit // Karista's Kitchen

These days, my kitchen counter looks more like a market produce bin.  Which is why I’ve got these lush jammy roasted tomatoes incorporated into almost every meal this season.  I honestly thought I was a bit modest in planning my summer garden this year – it appears I may have over estimated yet again.

I’m sure my exuberance was due to the long winter and my yearning for fresh tomatoes and zucchini.  I certainly got my wish.

Every morning Tank and I walk out to the garden boxes and pick produce, pull weeds, water the plants and then stand around and lovingly admire all the work. I never fail to walk back into the house with a smile on my face and usually a small cherry tomato in Tank’s mouth.

Tank the Terrier and the tomato bowl // Karista's Kitchen

This summer, I’ve prepared every fresh tomato recipe my family likes to eat as well as every zucchini and poblano recipe I can think of making.  One of my favorite ways to use the fresh zucchini and tomatoes is to small dice the zucchini and combine them with diced tomatoes, summer corn, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  This is one of my family’s favorite summer salads… it’s a bit like this salad, only with the addition of diced zucchini.

These jammy roasted tomatoes are my attempt to do something different with all the summer tomatoes other than make a salad, sandwiches or tomato pie.  I adore the sweetness of roasted tomatoes and I love to toss them into pastas, wilted greens, smear onto sandwiches or breakfast biscuits.  I like to add them to summer soups and stews, homemade pizza and of course spread them over goat cheese crostini.  I’ve canned these jammy roasted tomatoes but I also like to freeze small packages for use this winter in my sauces and stews.

Jammy Roasted Tomatoes // Karista's Kitchen

I also adore these jammy roasted tomatoes dolloped into the center of cheesy polenta or served as a sort of sauce for grilled or pan seared fish, chicken or pork.  They’re so good,  sometimes I snag a spoonful out of the jar for a snack.

Besides thinking of new ways to prepare my plethora of produce, I’ve been busy working on a fun project that I know you’re going to love!  A View to Delicious is the autumn food issue that is written by me and published by VRAI Magazine.  It’ll include new seasonal recipes, stories and photos of the Pacific Northwest, reader questions, cooking tips and techniques and more.  I’ve put my heart into this issue and I hope you’ll read it and love it as much as I do.  It’ll launch September 26th! So stay tuned.

In between work and gardening, family vacation and getting my sassy gal ready for college, I also took a little time to visit the parents. My youngest gal and I went to the local farmers market with pop, had a lovely crepe prepared by Chef Tarek for breakfast and shopped for the weekly produce under the warm summer sun.

Chef Tarek making crepes at the Temecula farmers market // Karista's Kitchen

It was a quick visit but it was fun for the grandparents to visit with their granddaughter and see her witty but somewhat eccentric style.  Yep, as you can see, this one always thought she was a mermaid.  While touring an art museum she found a mermaid chair and claimed it as her throne.

Amelia and her Mermaid Chair // Karista's Kitchen
Today I’m back in the office (kitchen) working on new, exciting and of course, delicious, recipes for the fall and winter seasons.  The kiddos are back to school and soon the weather will carry a chill in the air and it’ll be time to put a simmering pot of soup on the stove again.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

Jammy Roasted Tomatoes


  • About 5-6 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes, drained as much as possible (enough to spread in a single layer on a lined baking sheet)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and then toss the chopped tomatoes with the brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, Italian herbs and olive oil.

Spread them in a single layer on the lined baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove them from the oven and let them cool before using, canning or freezing.


I make two or three batches of these jammy roasted tomatoes. One batch stays in the fridge, one goes in the freezer and the other one is used for dinner. Delicious!

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Salad Sassy Side dishes

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with green onions, pickle relish, shredded carrots and cilantro // Karista's Kitchen

Simply saying the word “summer” evokes some of the sweetest of memories.  Grilling outdoors with a cold beverage or tasty cocktail in hand, fresh fruit in abundance sitting on the kitchen counter, berry picking until our hands are bright red or purple, sweet cobblers and homemade ice cream, walking barefoot (my favorite!) and feeling the earth beneath my feet and of course Macaroni Salad.

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without macaroni salad.

I’ve made Grandma Eilene’s Macaroni Salad for years and my Bennett Crew adores this side dish.  However, recently I developed and photographed another very popular macaroni salad for my lovely clients, Home By Design Magazine.  Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.  Not surprising that it was a huge hit at my house.  I’d sampled versions of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad when visiting Maui a few years ago and I totally fell in love with this version of the quentisential American side dish.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is still macaroni salad but it’s loaded with all sorts of delicious ingredients.  

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad // Karista's Kitchen

It’s quite heavy on the mayonnaise as well, which doesn’t bother me one bit because I love mayonnaise.  I love it so much I’m terrified we’ll run out so I keep two extra jars in the pantry at all times.  I also make mayonnaise on occasion and my homemade version is so absolutely divine in this salad. Using your favorite mayonnaise is key because mayonnaise plays a big part in flavoring this salad.

I’ve recently discovered this mayonnaise from Thrive Market. My new favorite!  My youngest gal is allergic to canola oil, for reasons I won’t get into here unless you want me to stand on my non-GMO and Monsanto is bad soapbox. 😉  So I’m always looking for a tasty alternative mayonnaise to keep in stock.  On occasion I can find this at my local market but most of the time I purchase through Thrive Market.  This online market is such a convenient option for all your healthy pantry items, not to mention many of the items are priced less at Thrive Market than at my own market.

No kickbacks or payment for this mention, I just wanted to pass on my fun and fabulous find!   I still support local as much as possible. While were on the subject of supporting local… I love Barn2Door for my other local and regional ingredients.  Clean, sustainable food right from the people who grew it! 

Now that we’ve chatted mayonnaise and markets, I’ll get back to the rest of the salad ingredients.  I include shredded carrots, cilantro, sliced green onions, sweet pickle relish, sometimes shredded or cubed cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs and avocado slices for garnish.  Loaded with flavor and texture, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a deliciously festive side dish for all our summer barbecues.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy summer!

Loads of Love,


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Serving Size: 6

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

You’ve never had a macaroni salad quite like Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Creamy, dreamy and filled with flavor, this salad is fresh comfort food at it’s best. Traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is laced with a sizeable amount of mayonnaise. Personally, I adore mayonnaise and often make it at home. But if it’s not on your favorite ingredient list, feel free to adjust measurements.


  • 1 lb macaroni pasta cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 4-5 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped or sliced
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Avocado slices for garnish


In a large bowl, add the shredded carrots, chopped cilantro, hard boiled eggs and green onion to the cooked macaroni.

Then gently fold in the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar and pickle relish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Let the macaroni salad sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will help the macaroni absorb all the delicious flavors.

To serve, place the macaroni salad in a large serving bowl and garnish with avocado slices.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta vegetarian

Linguine with Brown Butter, Parmesan, Peas and Mint

Linguine in Brown Butter with Parmesan, Peas and Mint for a delicious light and spring season meal // Karista's Kitchen

The title of this recipe sort of makes me giddy – Linguine with Brown Butter, Parmesan, Peas and Mint.  

I threw it together yesterday for lunch as I was shooting two other recipes and it was so completely delicious – I once again wondered why I’d never posted it.

If you’re not a huge fan of mint, you might question adding the sassy herb to this lovely pasta dish.  However, there is just something so fanciful about the combination of peas and mint.  It’s as if they were meant to be together.  They work deliciously together with the toasty flavor of the brown butter and parmesan cheese and gives a nice contrast to the flavor profile of the pasta – making a most enchanting dining experience. Even when it’s lunch!

Linguine in Brown Butter with Parmesan, Peas and Mint for a delicious and spring filled meal! Karista's Kitchen

Though if you like peas, you’ll love this Linguine with Brown Butter, Parmesan, Peas and Mint.

Spring peas will be in season soon and they will inevitably find their way into a multitude of my recipes.  Sweeter and more tender in texture than summer peas, I adore their flavor and they make a fantastic addition to spring pastas, salads, sauces and pestos.  Until they arrive however, I keep a stash of frozen spring peas in my freezer.

Linguine in Brown Butter with Parmesan, Peas and Mint // Karista's Kitchen

I feel a little indulged as my co-op market carries frozen, local spring peas in bulk and I keep them on hand for soups, stews and veg dishes during the winter.   Ahhh… the beauty of living in a farming community; even when I’m stuck behind a tractor or a hay truck on the only road to the market, I still marvel at the luxury of having so many gorgeous farms and ranches at my finger tips.

Simple pleasures are often found in the fresh, clean flavors of the season – like this lovely Linguine with Brown Butter, Parmesan and Peas.  I promise, it’ll make you giddy too.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Linguine with Brown Butter, Parmesan, Peas and Mint

Linguine with Brown Butter, Parmesan, Peas and Mint


  • 12-16oz linguine or fettuccine, cooked according to package directions (I often sub with my fave gluten free pasta)
  • 8-10 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup spring peas, frozen or fresh
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped


In a large, light colored saute pan, so you can see the butter turn brown, heat the butter over medium heat.

Move the pan around a bit as the butter melts and just before it browns it will become frothy. Once the foam dissipates, you'll be able to see the milk solids start to brown and become brown butter. Once you see them begin to brown, stir in the garlic. Sauté just a few seconds, until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic or the butter and then add the pasta, swirling the pasta to soak up all the butter and garlic.

Take the pan off the heat and toss the pasta with the peas, parmesan and fresh mint. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve immediately.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Sauces, Salsas and More vegetarian

Making Pizza at Home

Making Pizza dough at home // Karista's Kitchen

If your family is like mine, trying to agree on what kind of pizza to order is sort of like a political debate – everyone has a different opinion.

This is why I started making pizza at home.

Making Pizza dough at home // Karista's Kitchen

When my two sassy gals were little, Friday night was dubbed pizza and movie night.  It was a great way to end a very busy work week and it gave the Bennett Crew something to look forward to – a big treat at the end of the week. (I love it when I rhyme)

As time went by, it seemed to spiral into a major weekly event that was often the subject of conversation during Thursday night dinner;  what movie would we all agree on watching (that was always another debate), and what kind of pizza should we order.

Making Pizza at Home // Karista's Kitchen

My two gals loved plain cheese pizza for the longest time, so ordering pizza was a simple task.  

As they grew older, their palates expanded and unfortunately they expanded in different directions.  My oldest gal loves a cheesy, pineapple and ham pizza and my youngest is a pepperoni only kind of gal.  Ranger Craig prefers Italian sausage and mushroom and I dream of a loaded veggie pizza. Can you see my dilemma?

To remedy the situation I used to order two or three different pizzas; which became a little ridiculous because we always had a fridge full of leftover pizza that no one would eat.  Nope, they won’t eat cold pizza warmed up.  (I actually like it cold right out of the fridge)

Pizza toppings with figs, prosciutto, basil and goat cheese // Karista's Kitchen

This is when making pizza at home came into play.  I’d had enough and decided that, although I had declared Friday nights as my night off from cooking, I’d make pizza at home.  This new trend was met with a bit of apprehension because could Mom really make pizza as good as the pizza place in town?  Ummm… let me think about that. Trained chef makes pizza at home.  I think it’ll work.  😉

It was a huge success. (of course!)

Pizza Margherita // Karista's Kitchen

Making pizza at home can be simple or it can be a simply fun project.  It doesn’t take long to make pizza dough or sauce but if for some reason you just don’t have the time or energy to make the dough or the sauce, using your favorite store-bought brand is just fine too.

I’ve listed recipes for both a quick pizza dough and sauce should you decide to make your own.

Pizza toppings with red onions, fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese // Karista's Kitchen

As we know, the love is in the toppings! One of my favorite ways to top a pizza is with caramelized onions, wilted spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and feta cheese.  I’ve listed a few more topping options in the recipe, but truly, your imagination is the limit.  If only you could have seen some of the pizza’s created by the two sassy Bennett gals. 🙂

Making pizza at home is a great way to get everyone involved in making dinner and of course, it’s fun and a delicious way to end the week or begin the weekend.   Buon Appetit´

Making Pizza at Home

2 12-inch pizzas

Making Pizza at Home

There is nothing quite like fragrant, yeasty pizza dough to make a delicious pizza. This is a quick and easy pizza dough that makes a lovely thin or medium crust pizza. Adding a bit of sugar rounds out the flavors and compliments the flavor of the yeast. Making your own pizza sauce is definitely worth the effort, but if time is of the essence, substitute this homemade sauce with your favorite jarred sauce. The key to a great tomato sauce is the length of time the sauce simmers stovetop. The longer you cook this sauce the tastier it will be.


    For the dough
  • ¾ cups (6 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 1 envelope active-dry yeast
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) flour, plus more for rolling out
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • For the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large can (28 – 32 ounces) tomato puree or Passata, which is an Italian tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (or a mixture of dried oregano, Italian parsley and basil)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • For a Karista's Fave Veggie Pizza
  • Pizza sauce, enough to thinly cover the pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup wilted fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • For Classic Margarita Pizza
  • Pizza sauce, enough to thinly cover the pizza dough
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Slices of fresh whole milk mozzarella
  • For Fig and Prosciutto Pizza
  • Pizza sauce or Pesto, enough to thinly cover the pizza dough
  • Fresh figs, sliced
  • Slices of prosciutto
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • For Sausage and Porcini Pizza
  • Pizza sauce, enough to thinly cover the pizza dough
  • Spicy Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 ounce reconstituted Porcini mushrooms, chopped
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


To make the pizza dough

Heat the oven to 500° F. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the middle of the oven.

Mixing the pizza dough: Measure the water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it dissolve, about 30 seconds. Stir the water to dissolve the yeast.

Add the flour, salt, oil and sugar to the water and mix with a wooden spoon or bowl scraper until the dough starts to come together.

Lightly dust the counter or board with flour and move the dough to the floured space. With floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

Resting the pizza dough: With a bench knife, divide the dough into 2 pieces. Round each piece of dough and place the dough rounds on a lightly floured counter to rest for 30 minutes. (While the dough is resting, prepare your toppings.)

After 30 minutes, fold the dough by stretching each side and folding it into the middle of the dough. Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest again for 15 to 30 minutes.

Shaping the pizza dough: Handling one piece of dough at a time, gently stretch the dough with floured hands. You can also use a rolling pin, but I prefer using my hands. Once the dough is about ¼ - ½ inch thick, lay it on a piece of very lightly floured parchment. You can adjust the shape at this point, but don’t worry about it being perfectly round. Shape the second piece of dough.

Let the dough rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes.

Finishing the pizza: Spread the dough lightly with sauce and add the shredded cheese and then your choice of toppings.

Baking the pizza: Bake the pizza on the parchment in a 500°F oven either on the heated pizza stone or on a cookie sheet. The pizza is done baking when the crust is brown and crisp on the edge and bottom. This should take about 6 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven, cut it and eat while hot. Enjoy!

To make the sauce

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until the onion is wilted. Then add the garlic and sauté for one minute longer.

Stir in the tomato puree, tomato paste and dried herbs and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until it’s thickened a bit.

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool before using. You can store the pizza sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.

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Appetizers DaVinci Wine Recipes Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta Pork Seafood

Part Two Feast of the Seven Fishes with DaVinci Wine

Italian Sausage and Shrimp Stew for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a delicious Italian tradition where seven delectable fish dishes are served for Christmas Eve dinner.

This year DaVinci Wine asked me to create seven festive and delightful fish dishes for their Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is the part of my job I absolutely love – especially when it involves fish and DaVinci wine.

The first five dishes we paired with DaVinci Pinot Grigio. You’ll find them HERE along with the first Feast of the Seven Fishes post HERE.

In this second post, I’m highlighting the last two fish recipes that we’ve paired with DaVinci Chianti. As well as one of the seven fish dishes that I believe pairs beautifully with both the DaVinci Pinot Grigio and DaVinci Chianti.

When I visited Italy with DaVinci Wine in 2013, I dined on the most decadent food but also the most decadent seafood dishes. One particular starter that struck me as simple but so lovely in flavor was a crostini with homemade ricotta topped with a single anchovy. I call it Bruno’s Crostini – named after our gracious lunch host and DaVinci grower, Bruno Rossetti.

Smoked Salmon Crostini with Herbed Ricotta for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

Although I prepare this starter often, I love using smoked salmon with ricotta cheese. Going a step further, I added fresh chopped herbs to the ricotta for a little more “bite” to the recipe. Salmon pairs extremely well with DaVinci Pinot Grigio, so I included this lovely starter in the first post.

However, I adore pairing both salmon and smoked salmon with DaVinci Chianti as well. Because DaVinci Chianti is well balanced with jammy flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit, it beautifully compliments the smoked salmon and herbed ricotta crostini – making it another lovely wine pairing for this gorgeous starter.

Italian Sausage and Shrimp Stew for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

Another recipe from our Feast of the Seven Fishes is an impressive dish everyone will enjoy. An Italian Sausage and Shrimp stew that warms the soul and delights the taste buds. This is an intensely flavored dish, filled with aromatics, fresh herbs that bring earthiness to the recipe, tangy tomatoes and spicy Italian sausage combined with fresh shrimp and clams.   Sounds like a winning combination to me! Although I use the DaVinci Pinot Grigio in the stew, I think this stew is best served with DaVinci Chianti.

The last fish dish in this series, is the gorgeous Spaghetti alle Vongole (Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce). Just the name of this dish sounds enticing.

Spaghetti Vongole for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

The Vongole sauce is distinctive and lush, prepared with fresh ingredients and a cup of DaVinci Chianti to round out flavors. It’s a hearty sauce that beautifully envelops the pasta and compliments the steamed clams – garnished with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh Italian parsley.

Creating a festive and exquisite Christmas Eve celebration is as simple as these seven fish dishes. Feast of the Seven Fishes paired with DaVinci Wine will delight your guests and bring delicious merry making to your holiday celebration.

Wishing you warm and Delicious Holidays!

Loads of Love,




Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Pasta vegetarian

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter // Karista's Kitchen

You know that feeling you get when you bite into a fork full of food so lush, so decadent, it causes a sort of euphoria? And for a moment, you’re senses are transported to another place – relishing the taste, the textures and aroma.  That’s Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter.

This isn’t just another lovely dish, it’s a dish to be savored, served with the best wine and the best company.  It’s a perfect “date night in” recipe, or something you’d serve to a few close friends.  When you prepare this dish, give your self plenty of time in the kitchen.  You know the old saying, the one your mom probably said a thousand times, “stop taking your sweet time and get a move on it”?  Well this is the time to ignore that saying.   Although it’s not a difficult recipe to prepare it does take a gentle hand and a little “sweet” time.

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter // Karista's Kitchen

When I was thinking about what I’d write for VRAI Magazine’s December issue, I knew I wanted it to be special.  I’d planned a roasted Tri-Tip that turned out sumptuous in every way – but it just didn’t feel right for the season.  It had to be Raviolo al Uovo.

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter // Karista's Kitchen

I know you’ll love this recipe and you can find it at VRAI Magazine.   If you make it,  I’d love to know how it turned out.  And of course, you can always email me with questions.

Wishing you all a beautiful and very delicious Holiday Season!

Loads of Love,



Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta Salmon

Smoked Salmon Fettuccine

Smoked Salmon Fettuccine with a light white wine cream sauce

I’m back from a brief hiatus (well, somewhat brief) with a brand new blog, a new website along with a brand new recipe. And who knows… maybe even a brand new me. 😉

It’s been an interesting and busy few months. It’s been so busy that when I was walking past a mirror the other day, I glanced, and then wondered “who is the strange woman staring back at me?”. I haven’t gotten as much sleep as I should due to late nights and early mornings, my roots need a touch up, I have man hands from cooking so much and Tank looks like a mop exploded.

Life is crazy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I cherish all the work during the busy times and when things slow down, I savor the moments and breathe deeply.

A few months ago, I felt the need to step away; get back to my culinary roots and remember why I started this journey in the first place. During that time I was constantly reminded how food brings us together, how it mends a broken soul, cures a heartache, brightens a day and nourishes a body.

Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made.

I worked on some fun projects that challenged and recharged my creative juices and another larger project that made me realize I’m not super woman and I can’t change people or change the rules in which they play the game of life. I’m forever the optimist and when these things happen, I take it as a gentle reminder to firmly plant my feet on the ground and move on.

I met some amazing young people who will forever be in my heart. Young people who displayed talent, confidence, compassion and a sense of justice for all. I will forever remember these young adults, for not only the hard work they displayed but the lessons they’ve taught me.

smoked salmon fettuccine with a light white wine cream sauce

With so many recipes and photos stacked up just waiting to be shared, I thought I’d begin with this Smoked Salmon Fettuccine.

The lush and perfectly smoked salmon was sent to me by one of my favorite farm to table companies, Barn2Door. As you might have guessed, I completely adore the CEO of the company and consider her one of my dear friends. Janelle Maiocco started Barn2Door out of love and passion for local farm food. Barn2Door is a marketplace where you can buy sustainably grown meat, fish, fruits, vegetables & items like raw honey and real maple syrup right from producers and growers. Farmers, fishers, ranchers and gardeners have their own store – like Etsy for farms – where they showcase the food they have for sale, and manage direct communications, sales and fulfillment (local delivery, national shipping or both).  Farm food online

Janelle was kind enough to send me seafood, which she knows I love, from Two If By Seafoods which is one of the many companies that sells local product through Barn2Door.

smoked salmon from Two If By Seafoods

Two If By SeaFoods is a direct source of Wild Alaska Salmon brought to you by a 4th generation Bristol Bay fisherman. Like the Founding Fathers, we believe in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness . . . which, of course, means fishing! We are dedicated to bringing you the quality of one of the world’s best maintained, pristine and protected salmon runs. This involves the whole process, from the operation of the fishery to delivering the fish to you. We are passionate about promoting the history and culture of this unique part of the world, protecting it for future generations. On board the F/V Paul Revere, we select premium fish to be processed within hours: fileted, vacuum packed and flash (blast) frozen to preserve the ultimate in quality. From our boat to your table!” – from their B2D store

I couldn’t have been happier with the smoked salmon that graces this delectable Smoked Salmon Fettuccine. Gorgeous, rich color with a subtle smoked flavor and a perfect texture that melted in my mouth.

Because I know you’re going to want to make this Smoked Salmon Fettuccine, the fantastic crew at Barn2Door has generously offered $15 off any Barn2Door purchase over $50. Just use the promo code KARISTA15 which is valid until 11/30/2015. Perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday! They also have a edible holiday gift guide that will make gift giving simple and delicious for the holiday season:

My deepest thanks to you for continuing to visit the blog while I was away and for sharing recipe links from Karista’s Kitchen Facebook, Instagram and Pinterst. I couldn’t ask for a lovelier and more loyal group of friends who support great food and a delicious life around the table.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Smoked Salmon Fettuccine

Serving Size: 4

Smoked Salmon Fettuccine


  • 1 lb fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or lemon thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 10-12 ounces smoked salmon, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for serving


Add the olive oil to a large skillet or sauté pan and heat over medium heat.

Add the diced shallot and cook until translucent or wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic, herbs and pinch of crushed red pepper and sauté for a minute longer.

Next, stir in the dry white wine and let the wine reduce by half. Once the wine is reduced, stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.

Simmer the heavy cream until it begins to thicken.

Once the heavy cream begins to thicken, stir in the parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Gently fold the smoked salmon into the cream sauce and toss with the pasta. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese, chopped Italian parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Serve immediately.

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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta

Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

Isernio's Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera with red and green peppers, peas, asparagus fresh basil and light cream sauce // Karista's Kitchen

We had only been in our new home in Washington state for a few weeks when we were invited to our neighbors home for dinner.  Mr. Neighbor was an excellent home chef and prepared the most divine slow cooked tomato sauce with locally produced Italian sausages.  I’m sure we had other dishes of food that night, but all I can remember are the sausages.

As we were chatting about food, Mrs. Neighbor mentioned the sausages were from Isernio’s Sausage Company in Seattle.  Well that was all she had to say because the next day I was on the hunt for Isernio’s sausages.  Thirteen years later… I’m still cooking with Isernio’s products.

If there is one thing that will completely grab my attention, it’s a great story.  The Isernio story is one of timeless traditions shared with friends and family, combined with hard work and passion that led to the making of a great sausage company.  Flavor, quality, product selection and value are just a few reasons I’ve been a long time fan of Isernio’s products.  From traditional mild and hot Italian sausages to fresh ground meats and chicken sausages, Isernio’s has a product to make every meal inviting and delicious.

Isernio's Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera prepared with fresh garden product and laced with a light cream sauce // Karista's Kitchen

Over the years I’ve created dozens of tasty recipes with Isernio’s products. These Chile Lime Chicken Burgers were one of the first recipes I created with Isernio’s Ground Chicken, making a flavorful and healthy alternative for burger season.  Isernio’s Ground Chicken is perfect for most any recipe you would use ground beef.  I use the ground chicken in tacos and enchiladas and of course I use it in all sorts of Italian pasta recipes.

This beautiful pasta primavera, prepared with linguine, is perfect for the spring and summer season.  It’s filled with fresh garden produce, beautifully balanced with Isernio’s Ground Chicken and laced with a light cream sauce.  Loads of flavor that make a healthy and hearty meal for any occasion.

Here’s wishing you a most delicious week!

Loads of Love,


Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

Serving Size: 4-6

Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera


  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb Isernio's ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus or asparagus tips
  • 1 cup sweet peas
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or chopped
  • 12 oz to 1 lb linguine
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Add water to a large pasta pot, add a generous pinch or two of salt and heat to a boil over high heat. When the water boils add the linguine and boil according to package directions. About five minutes before the pasta is done, add the bell pepper and asparagus to the pasta. The veggies will cook crisp tender in the pasta water. When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and veggies in a colander and place it in a large bowl.

While the pasta water is heating, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onions. Sauté until the onions are soft. Then add the garlic, Italian parsley and oregano and sauté a minute longer. Then add the ground chicken and a dash of salt and pepper and cook until the ground chicken is browned. If it's not cooked through, that's ok because it will finish cooking in the sauce.

Next add the 1/2 cup of white wine to the ground chicken mixture and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone.

Then stir in the heavy cream and simmer until the cream has reduced a bit and slightly thickened. Stir in the sweet peas and grated parmesan. Add a splash of lemon juice to the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the the sauce over the pasta and veggies, add the fresh basil and toss to combine. Serve with extra grated parmesan and warm, fresh Italian bread.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta vegetarian

Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake

Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake // Karista's Kitchen

Even when I was a little kid I adored broccoli and would have loved this Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake.

When most kids were sporting frowns and squishy faces at the sight of the green florets, I was beaming with giddiness.  I would eat it raw with ranch dressing until my belly was so full I couldn’t eat another bite.  I’d eat it steamed or boiled, and plain with salt and pepper or slathered in cheese sauce.  No one could possibly ruin broccoli for me.

Today, I still love broccoli raw with ranch dressing, but I also like this hearty veggie in salads, slaws and fried.  Although, Roasted broccoli seems to be my favorite method of cooking, laced with a bit of truffle salt and pepper and maybe a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Or gently steamed and then tossed in a garlic brown butter and sprinkled with shredded gruyere.  Oh, and then of course, there is the classic steamed broccoli with a rich and creamy cheddar cheese sauce.  What’s not to love?!

I use broccoli not only as a side dish but also as an entree.  It makes such a fabulous addition to stir fry’s and pastas and I’ve even been known to puree it into a gorgeous filling with ricotta, garlic and lemon for ravioli.  Which led me to this recipe – Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake.

Orecchiette, meaning “little ears”,  is a little “ear” shaped pasta that is perfect for pasta recipes with rich or delicate sauces and other delicious ingredients.  It’s a smaller shaped pasta, and for me, it gives the perfect mouthful of ingredients to pasta.

Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake // Karista's Kitchen

Some pasta bakes feel heavy and the pasta seems to overwhelm the dish and can dry out if there isn’t enough liquid.  So when I prepare a pasta bake it’s usually with a smaller variety of pasta like orecchiette.

Often I’ll use a béchamel in pasta bakes, but for this Broccoli Ricotta Pasta Bake I found the ricotta and lemon to be perfectly complimentary both in flavor and texture.  Keeping the over all dish a little lighter in texture and bright in flavor.  Perfect for the spring table.

Although broccoli can now be found in the markets year round, it’s season is October through April making it a grand “go to” green veggie for winter and spring. We have several farms here in the valley harvesting broccoli right now, in fact, I pass one every time I drive into town.  They are the funniest looking plants right before harvest. Tall cabbage looking at first; and then at a closer view, it looks like the flower of a cabbage.  Which is what it means in Italian, Broccolo  “flowering top of a cabbage”.

However you prepare broccoli it won’t disappoint. Especially when it’s prepared in this lovely and light dish of Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake.  I’ve made this three times in the last few months, usually right before my oldest gal comes home for a visit.  We always have leftovers for her to take back; which now makes her beam with giddiness.

Wishing you a most delicious week!


Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake

Serving Size: 6-8

Broccoli and Orecchiette Lemon Ricotta Bake


  • 12 ounces orecchiette
  • 1 pound broccoli, diced into bite size pieces
  • 14-15 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Serve with pasta sauce on the side if desired


Lightly butter a 9x11 or 9x13 baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Whisk together the ricotta, dried herbs, Italian parsley, lemon zest, minced garlic, parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. Season the ricotta mixture with salt and pepper to taste. About 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Then mix in the egg with the seasoned ricotta. Reserve.

Heat a large pot of water for the pasta and cook the pasta according to package directions. Five minutes prior to the pasta being done, add the broccoli to the pasta. When the pasta is done the broccoli should also be done. Drain the pasta and broccoli.

Gently toss the pasta and broccoli with the seasoned ricotta until it's well blended. Be sure to keep a light hand when tossing so the broccoli doesn't break up too much.

Pour the broccoli pasta mixture into the baking pan and then top with mozzarella cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and let the pasta bake for another 10-15 minutes until the sides are a bit bubbly and the cheese is golden on top. If the cheese doesn't brown on top you can turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes for the additional color.

Serve warm.


Serve with a side of pasta sauce if desired.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta Risotto vegetarian VRAI Magazine

Roasted Pumpkin Risotto

Roasted Pumpkin Risotto // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine

Risotto is true comfort food.  Just the act of preparing risotto feels comforting, soothing somehow.  Maybe it’s because when I make risotto I like to turn on old Italian music and channel my inner Italian; or maybe it simply reminds me of time spent in Italy with the most wonderful and delightful people.

Although risotto feels like comfort food, it also feels lush.  A bit decadent and a bit indulgent.  That could be another reason I love preparing risotto for my family – tossing in and adding seasonal ingredients like roasted pumpkin to create an even greater indulgent experience.

If you’ve never prepared risotto or you’ve prepared it and it didn’t quite turn out the way you anticipated, you are going to love this Roasted Pumpkin Risotto post.  I’ve created this post for the October issue of  VRAI Magazine.  Head on over and check out this easy and fun pictorial as well as all the fabulous articles about lifestyle, travel, DIY, fashion and more food!  Click HERE for the recipe.

Roasted Pumpkin Risotto // Karista's Kitchen

I just want to say a HUGE thank you for reading Karista’s Kitchen and following Karista’s Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  I truly appreciate and value your time spent browsing and reading – and my hope is that each and every recipe inspires you.

As well, thank you so much for following and reading VRAI Magazine!  I am so proud and feel so honored to be part of such a talented team of professionals.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,