Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to Make Pretty Penne and Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes + 2 Fun Giveaways via Cleo Coyle

I have two treats for you
this Halloween Week!

Treat Number 1: Cozy Mystery Book Reviews is celebrating the Culinary Mystery this week, and I am happy to be part of it with a guest recipe post and giveaway. 

If you leave a comment on my guest post (click here), you will be entered to win a signed copy of my latest Coffeehouse Mystery: A Brew to a Kill, in its beautiful hardcover edition along with a bookmark hand embroidered by Bella, the blog owner, with some very sage advice: Keep Calm and Read a Coffeehouse Mystery!

(Isn't Bella's bookmark adorable? >>>)

The recipe I'm sharing at Bella's blog is one of my fall favorites, Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes with warm Butter Pecan Sauce. If you missed my previous chances to share this recipe, you can hop over to Bella's blog now and check it out. 

The drawing for A Brew to a Kill and the Coffeehouse bookmark is next Monday, Oct. 29th, and you have until then to leave a comment for the giveaway.

As for Treat Number 2,  you will
find it 
below today's recipe!

Behold one of my favorite fast meals....

With an Italian-born mom and aunt, I grew up on spaghetti aglio e olio. Mom and Aunt Mary did it traditionally. Now I do it my way with high-fiber penne and broccoli!

A word on the pasta...

I've been trying out various "healthier" pasta products recently, and I've become enamored with the Ronzoni "Smart Taste" pasta (pictured right). This high-fiber pasta has a taste like regular pasta, and that's a big success in our house since I simply cannot persuade my husband to eat whole wheat pasta or anything that doesn't taste like standard Italian pasta. This does, I'm happy report; I just bought a boatload of it for our fall pantry... 

...and here is one of
the many ways I use it!

Cleo Coyle's
Penne with Broccoli
and "Fast-Infused"
Garlic Olive Oil

For a PDF of this recipe that you can print, save or share, click here.


1 bunch broccoli chopped into florets (or 3½ to 4 cups florets)  

1 twelve-ounce box of pasta (I use high-fiber Ronzoni Smart Taste, penne,  spaghetti, or thin spaghetti) 

* 2–4 cloves of garlic 

* ¼ cup (+ just a splash more) extra virgin olive oil 

* 2–4 tablespoons grated Romano, 
Parmesan, or aged (hard) Asiago cheese 

* Dried Italian seasonings mix to taste (oregano, basil, rosemary) 

* Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Tips: Flavor is the key to this recipe. For best results, (1) be sure to infuse the olive oil with as powerful a garlic flavor as you have time to impart; and (2) don’t skimp on the grated cheese or dried herbs. I recommend an Italian seasoning mix to save time, but you can do your own thing with dried oregano, basil, and rosemary.


(1) First steam or boil the broccoli until fork-tender (12 to 15 minutes). While broccoli is cooking infuse the olive oil with garlic as directed in my note below. 

(2) When broccoli is finished cooking, drain it over a large bowl to catch the broccoli-infused water. Transfer this water to a deep pot, add more water, a splash of oil, and salt and boil the pasta according to package directions. 

(3) Drain the pasta and return it to the same pot in which you boiled it. Toss in the broccoli. Drizzle on the garlic-infused olive oil and mix well with the pasta and broccoli. Mix in the grated cheese (to your taste) and dried Italian seasonings to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon). Finish with (optional) freshly ground black pepper. 

How to quickly infuse garlic into olive oil: Place the oil in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Add roughly chopped and/or crushed garlic. (The chopping and crushing help to release the flavor.) Applying the heat to the garlic and oil will speed up the infusion. After ten minutes, check for desired flavor. If you’d like a stronger flavor, continue heating for another five minutes. Remove the garlic chunks from the oil, use in the recipe above, and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Treat #2
(You found it!)

Enter to win $25.00 in books (via gift card), an NYPD travel mug, and a signed copy of A Brew to a Kill by entering my 2nd Printing Party contest at Fresh Fiction.com. Like Bella's contest, this one ends on Monday, Oct. 29th.

To enter the Fresh Fiction
click here

Good luck! 

Yes, this is me - Cleo Coyle
Learn about my books here.

Friend me on Facebook here.
Follow me on Twitter here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit
my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.


  1. You might want to check the date you have for the first contest. You say it ends on 29 August.
    Love your recipes and LOVE your books!

    1. For sure, Libby, "next Monday" would be October, wouldn't it! That's what I get for transitioning from writing fiction to writing fact in the wee hours. :)

      Thank you for the note and thanks especially for reading my books. It is the best gift you can give to any author, and I appreciate it.

      Read (and eat) with joy!
      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Cleo, love the recipes. The pictures make my mouth water!!! (And Libby's right. Your first contest mention says August 29. Have you figured out a way to turn back time? It's October for most of us. LOL You clever girl.

    ~Daryl aka Avery

    1. Ack, I know! As I told Libby, I was working on a scene with Clare and Mike and they were speaking about something that happened in August. There you go...the perils of transitioning from writing your book to writing your blog post! All fixed now and thanks for the "next Monday" is in fact October alert, lol.

      Have a great week and don't forget to check out the wonderful Culinary Cozy Week, over at Cozy Mystery Reviews.

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. This looks heavenly. Hubby is not a huge broccoli fan, but he might go for this. I know I would love it. It's like something my Italian grandmother would have made. We use Barilla's new Barilla Plus pasta--pasta plus protein. I'll have to try the Ronzoni version.

  4. Thank you, Peg! Broccoli is a super-food and there has been so much cancer on my mother's side of the family (she passed from it, as well) that it's something I make sure to include in my diet. This is just one way I sneak it in there, the high-fiber penne makes it a no-guilt dish o' pasta, as well.

    Thanks for dropping by the kitchen today. Have a great Halloween Week!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. I love these quick and easy meals. Everyone needs them for busy nights. In fact, if you substituted spinach for the broccoli (unless you have a kid who loves broccoli), it would be a great Halloween night dinner -- tell the kids the garlic will keep the vampires away!

    ~ Krista

  6. That's perfect, Krista. In fact, you just reminded me of my "anti-vampire" cauliflower recipe with 20 cloves of roasted garlic, which (let's face it) will keep anyone who doesn't eat it away, too!

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Cleo Coyle, those pumpkin pancakes look shamefully tempting--and I can't wait to make them, you wicked temptress. :) This is definitely the time to use pumpkin, isn't it? Or apples. Or pumpkin AND apples.

    The penne looks delicious - the perfect quick meal. To my sorrow, I am allergic to broccoli, but I have been really having fun finding other veggies to substitute for it. I am having a love affair with greens, especially kale.

    Does anyone else keep little cubes of frozen crushed garlic on hand? I buy them at Trader Joe's; they come in trays with little squares, each square containing the equivalent of one clove of crushed garlic. The taste is fresh and strong, the convenience is great.