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Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

Do you ever have those nights when you think you have plans, the plans are canceled, and you are left with no dinner?  Well, this happened to me the other night.  I am trying to minimize the amount groceries I buy this week because ultimately Adam and I will have to move it next week.  I hate moving food.  It is such a production.  Loading bag after bag of dry goods, refrigerated items, frozen foods, into the car.  Driving to the new place quickly to then hike bag after bag up the stairs, and feverishly put the frozen foods in the freezer and other items in the refrigerator, while the dry goods sit on the floor in their bags until you are able to find a home for them.  Ugg.  I hate moving…

But I digress…no dinner plan, no ingredients, oh, and the grocery store was closing in 20 minutes.  Perfect!  I had some leftover pasta from the lentil soup, and found this recipe online for baked pasta with Italian sausage.  Yum!

It was quick and easy to make, and I managed to get it on the table only a few minutes after both Adam and his friend, Robert, walked through the door.  We sat around Robert’s newly constructed kitchen island…

Enjoyed a few beers, and devoured every last bite on our plates.

Baked Pasta with Italian Sausage
adapted from Week of Menus
Printable Recipe

1 lb of elbow pasta
1 lb of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
a few good handfuls of grated cheese (Italian mix) or 3/4 lb Fontina cheese, rind removed, sliced as thinly as possible
1/2 cup basil chiffonade (rolled into a “cigar” and sliced finely)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In large pot, cook pasta according to package directions, ONE MINUTE less than required. Drain pasta and set aside.

Heat 1 TBS oil in a large skillet or pan, add sausages and use the back of a spoon, or spatula to break up into small pieces.  Cook until evenly browned, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from the skillet and put on a plate, but leave the oil and fat renderings.  Add remaining 1 TBS oil to the pan, heat, and cook onions until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for an extra minute.  Add sausages back in and add tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano.  Continue to cook until all the sauce is hot and bubbling.  Season with salt and pepper.  Taste sauce and adjust seasoning according to your taste.  Add pasta to the skillet and toss and heat through.  Pour out into a 3 quart casserole dish.  Top with cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is all melted.  Remove from oven and top with basil chiffonade.  Serve and enjoy!

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This may be a recipe that I will wake up in the morning craving for dinner!  There is just something about the sweet pasta pillows drizzled with the citrus buttery sauce that makes me want to run out to the grocery store, grab a few more sweet potatoes, and make it again.  I was inspired to make this dish after ordering the pumpkin ravioli at Cucina di Pesce in Manhattan.  Their pumpkin ravioli was paired with a creamy pesto sauce.  It was delicious, but I wanted to do something a little different.

Since pumpkins are out of season right now, I decided to go with sweet potatoes.  Additionally, I do not have a pasta making machine, nor the patience to make a pasta dough and roll it out until paper thin.  I opted for easy peasy wonton wrappers.

With a little egg white and folding…

Presto!  You’ve got a ravioli!

I knew I wanted to make a brown butter sauce, and after doing a little searching on the internet, I found a recipe for lemon sage brown butter sauce.  I thought the lemon would definitely give the sauce a depth of flavor that would make Adam want to lick his plate clean!  Oh, and it did.  Adam had seconds before I was done finishing the photo shoot!

Sweet Potato Ravioli with Lemon Sage Brown Butter Sauce
from Group Recipes
Printable Recipe

1 (1-pound) sweet potato
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
24 wonton wrappers
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
6 quarts water
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sage sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°.  Pierce potato several times with a fork; place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.  Cool.  Peel potato; mash.  Combine potato, cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.

Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to keep them from drying), spoon 1 tablespoon potato mixture into center of each wrapper.  Brush edges of dough with egg white; bring 2 opposite corners to center.  Press edges together to seal, forming a triangle.  Repeat procedure with remaining wonton wrappers, potato filling, and egg white.

Bring 6 quarts water to a boil.  Add 8 ravioli; cook 2 minutes or until done. Remove ravioli from pan with a slotted spoon.  Lightly coat cooked wontons with cooking spray; keep warm.  Repeat procedure with remaining ravioli.

For the sauce, melt butter in a small skillet over high heat. Add chopped sage to pan; cook 1 minute or until butter is lightly browned.  Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, juice, and pepper.  Drizzle butter mixture over ravioli.  Garnish with sage sprigs, if desired.

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I have been making this lasagna for years!  It was the first thing of my mother’s that I learned to cook.  Back then, it felt like a huge task to make this dish, and a wonderful accomplishment when the lasagna came out of the oven bubbling, cheesy, and appetizing!  Now, this lasagna is something that I “have-in-the-bag”.  I can make it with little effort!  I decided to make this lovely layered pasta dish because soon we will be enjoying the feast of Christmas, and lasagna is not on the menu for our holiday dinner.

This lasagna is designed to be easy, quick, and flavorful.  I use store-bought spaghetti sauce to cut down on the preparation time, though I think it would be amazing to make your own sauce from scratch.  I also use frozen chopped spinach for the same reason.  After cooking the lasagna noodles, assembling it, you can just pop it in the oven and forget about it for an hour.  During that time, the house starts smelling of cheesy, saucy goodness!

Adam loves my spinach lasagna and I love making it for him.  It tastes just like my mother’s!

Spinach Lasagna
by Anne
12 lasagna noodles
1 -1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce
2 -3 cups of ricotta cheese
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.  Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions to just before al dente.  You’ll want to make sure the noodles still have a little “bite” to them because they will continue to cook in the oven.  Drain and let rest in the colander until cool enough to handle.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, egg, onion powder, garlic powder, Parmigiano Reggiano, and spinach until blended.

Spoon 1/4 of sauce into bottom of the baking pan. Place 3 lasagna noodles lengthwise on top of sauce, and one at the end crosswise and trim. Do not overlap noodles. Spread 1/3 of cheese and spinach mixture over noodles, top with 1/4 of sauce and 1/3 mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with noodles and sauce.  Sprinkle a little bit of mozzarella on top, reserving the rest of the mozzarella cheese for later.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes uncovered to brown-up the cheese slightly.  Let rest 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy with garlic bread!

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