Tag: pasta

Foodie Swellness: From Italy with Amore at Loblaws


Can’t we all use #moreamore in our lives? More specifically, more Italian cuisine made with authentic Italian ingredients?

I say sì! And I recently had the chance to learn to learn how to make some dishes from Chef Massimo Bruno at Loblaws. Bruno is from Puglia, and has lived in Toronto for about 16 years, and he said that when he first moved to Canada, it was hard for him to find the Italian ingredients he needed to make his dishes. This is not the case anymore because Loblaws carries more than 350 authentically Italian — they’re certified by the Italian Trade Commission — including many of Bruno’s favourites such as Lupa cheese.

Chef Massimo Bruno at More Amore

It was such a treat to get to learn from Bruno; I’ve been keen to go to one of his monthly supper clubs for ages but now I was getting to learn to cook alongside him. We made a few dishes: fettuccini with tuna and lemon, and a fresh pasta with tomatoes and garlic.

I learned a lot from Bruno over the course of the evening about Italian cooking:

  • When cooking with pecorino romano, be careful with how much salt you add to your dish as the cheese itself is quite salty, so add salt sparingly (if at all).
  • Don’t cheap out; spend the extra $5 on authentic pecorino romano (he likes the romano lupa) as it’ll really make your dish sing. When you buy a bottle of olive oil, go for a quality one, such as the President’s Choice Extra Virgin Olive Oil From Tuscany.
  • When making a sauce using ingredients like fresh tomatoes and garlic like the one we made, prepare it and let it sit so that the flavours come together.
  • There are two types of gorgonzola, dolce and piccante. Dolce is sweeter. Bruno recommends using Dolce if you’re cooking since many people find gorgonzola to be quite strong, so Dolce is a safer choice given it is more subtle.
  • There is no such thing as too much parmigiano reggiano.
  • There is also no such thing as too much fresh basil. Pile it on, says Bruno. He says you’ll never get a complaint, “Oh there’s too much basil in this.”
  • When using tomato purée to make your pasta sauce, add a little bit of water. If you don’t, your passata will cook off and become too thick and paste-like.
  • A quality dried pasta will have a slightly rough texture to it before you throw it into the pot of salted boiling water. (And don’t be shy when salting the water, Bruno threw handfuls into the water; he says it’s essential to cooking the noodles that the water be well salted).
  • You can trust in the imported Italian food products with the DOP label. This label is the product’s certification, which means you can be confident the product has been locally grown and packaged in Italy using traditional methods. DOP stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta, which translates to Protected Designation of Origin.


Besides all of these foodie lessons, we ate so well (above is a beef dish Massimo prepared for us) and that fettucine we all helped prepare? It’s so simple to make and you can be eating in about 10 minutes, which is exactly the kind of recipe we all need when we get home and it’s late and we’re too tired to cook, right? Here’s the recipe:

Fettucine with tuna, lemon and basil

Fettuccini with tuna, lemon and basil

In a large bowl, add one can of Rio Mare tuna, drizzle with olive oil. Add the zest and then the juice of one lemon. Add some fresh basil (you can just tear the leaves with your fingers) and season with pepper. In the meanwhile, cook your pasta in salted boiling water as per the package. Take about a half cup of the starchy water the pasta has been cooked in and add to your tuna mixture (this will make the sauce easier to mix with your noodles). Drain the pasta and add the noodles to the tuna sauce and mix to combine.

And you’re done! Dinner is on the table. So simple yet so good.

Here’s to more amoré in your life! Buon appetito!



1 Comment November 3, 2017

Foodie Swellness: Enter the #SoThankfulScaddabush Richmond Hill contest!


Scroll through my Instagram and you may notice I’m a fan of carbs and in particular, Italian food. And if you’re just as thankful for Italian food as I am, then you’ll be very keen on entering this contest Scaddabush Richmond Hill is holding – you could win dinner for eight people! How fun (and delicious!). Having been to their downtown location, I can say I enjoyed everything I had there.

Not familiar with Scaddabush? It’s got a comfortable and friendly vibe; they make fresh pasta and mozzarella dailiy; and hello, there are two signature meatballs every day. You definitely need to bring your appetite when you head here.

OK, now to the fun contest details:  the great news is that it’s super simple to enter this #SoThankfulScaddabush Richmond Hill contest, which ends 5 p.m. EST of Monday, November 2, 2015:

From now until 5 p.m. of November 2, 2015, take a picture of something you are thankful for (so not only are you entering contest, you get a chance to reflect on the good things in your life!).

Post this picture on your Twitter or Instagram, or you can you post it as a comment on www.facebook.com/ScaddabushItalianKitchen&Bar and make sure to include the hashtag #SoThankfulScaddabush.

You can enter once a day but you must post a different photo each entry (a nice way to reflect each day on what you’re grateful for in your life, dontch think?).  Three winners will be chosen at random.

Make sure you’re eligible to win, though. You have to be a Scaddabush Social Club member (sign up at www.scaddabush.com), and be legal drinking age, and a few other criteria. You can get the full contest details and info on eligibility here.

What fun would it be to feast with seven of your friends at the new Scaddabush Richmond Hill location! (I’m thinking you should invite me…just sayin’…haha).  Oh, and the #SoThankfulScaddabush dinner takes place on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 7 p.m. so if you’re entering the contest, keep that evening clear in case you’re one of the three lucky winners!

Go forth and be thankful, and good luck in this contest!





Leave a Comment October 20, 2015

Foodie Swellness: Philips Pasta Maker (+ GIVEAWAY!)





THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING! Congrats to Pam H. of Kitchener (Pam, I’ve emailed you!), you’re the lucky winner of the Philips Pasta Maker! 

One of my favourite foods is pasta, and even more so, fresh pasta. Delicate and laced with a delicious sauce and maybe some spicy ‘nduja. Or with some fresh veggies. Or carbonara (with salty chunks of pancetta, mmm)…gosh, is anyone else hungry now??


I’ve made fresh pasta in a cooking class or two, and have had friends make it for me, but have never attempted to make it myself at home. Partly out of laziness (it seems like a lot of work), plus I didn’t know if I wanted to invest in a manual pasta machine. But when I had the chance to try the Philips Pasta Maker (which essentially does all of the work!) I jumped at the chance. I eat pasta at least a few times a month, after all. And with all the running I do, I feel like I’m always looking for carb-y meals to fuel me.

fresh penne

I’ve used the machine over the past month or so and I love it. All you have to do it throw the ingredients into the machine, press start and it mixes them and then extrudes it out (I’ve made linguini with pesto, peas and avocado, spaghetti with buttery mushrooms, and penne with spinach, sausage and roasted peppers — the machine comes with a choice of shaping discs) and you slice it into the length of pasta you want.

Philips Pasta Maker


I’ve made both the smaller recipe (which serves 1 to 2 people) and the larger recipe (serves 2 to 4), and I swear it only added maybe 10 to 15 minutes to my cooking time, it’s that fast and simple. While the pasta hasn’t come out exactly the texture I had in mind (I think I need to find some semolina flour, rather than the whole wheat flour I’ve been using, to get it to the taste and consistency I prefer), I had dinner ready so quickly and it was still tasty.


I’ll be playing with the machine more to perfect my pasta (and then I’ll start experimenting with making flavoured pastas and other types of noodles!), but for a fresh pasta lover, I am pleased as punch with having this appliance in my kitchen and am  looking forward to having friends over for a pasta dinner. The only downside? The machine is a bit bulky and storage in my downtown Toronto condo is limited. And I’d say you have to be eating pasta a fair bit if you’re investing in a pasta machine…

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to invest in the Philips Pasta Maker yourself if you WIN this one that I’m giving away!

You can enter to win the Philips Pasta Maker (retail value $299.99) in four different ways:

  1. Email me at healthandswellness@gmail.com with your name and address (please put “Philips Pasta Maker” in the subject line).
  2. Twitter. Follow me on  Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I love fresh pasta! And I want to win this #giveaway of a Philips Pasta Maker from @healthswellness! http://bit.ly/1hjkOQf

  1. Instagram: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness) and like the photo of the fresh pasta dish I made with the Philips Pasta Maker on Instagram, and tag a friend who loves fresh pasta as much as you do in the comments.
  2. Facebook: Like the Health and Swellness page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/healthandswellness) and comment on the photo of the Philips Pasta Maker about what pasta dish is your favourite.

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents and you can enter up until 12 p.m. EST, Wednesday, August 26, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via the method they’ve won. If they do not claim their prize within five days, another winner will be selected at random.

Good luck!




6 Comments August 17, 2015

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