Category Archives: Pasta

Meatless Monday Baked Ziti, My Way

There’s got to be a gazillion different ways to make Baked Ziti.  What is Baked Ziti you ask?  Well, it’s pretty much any type of tubular pasta, like Penne or Rigatoni, but my personal favorite right now is Cavatappi, combined with Red sauce and Cheese, then baked in a casserole dish.

Let’s get started.

Once the pasta of your choice is cooked to al dente, drained well and returned to the pot, I stir in enough of my homemade Marinara to get it nice and saucy.  Next goes in the cheese.  Now most recipes call for three to even four different ones, but I went with grated Grana Padano and Mozzarella, give it a good toss and then dump it all into a baking vessel.  Add some more cheese to the top and bake, uncovered at 350⁰ for about 20 minutes, until the cheese melts and turns a bit brown.

MMM!

It’s that simple.  This smells like Lasagna!  I made enough for two pans of pasta.  One stays here and the other goes to our next door neighbors for their lunch.  All we need now is some nice bread and a salad.

Manigamo!

A Different Shape Of Pasta For Us

My American-Italian husband is just a FREAK for pasta.  You name it.  Rigatoni (his favorite), Elbow, Cavatappi, Ditalini, Orecchiette, Lasagne, Spaghetti, Fettuccini, you get the idea.

I like to watch those TV chefs make Italian foods and I had never heard of Bucatini until one of favorite gals on PBS, Lidia Bastianich made a simply dressed pasta dish with Bucatini, YUM!

Bucatini

I made my own version.  Bucatini cooked to barely past al dente and tossed (off heat) with LOADS of grated Grana Padano Cheese, Extra Virgin Olive Oil,  sautéed Pancetta & minced Garlic, Pine Nuts and a final flurry of plenty of fresh chopped Flat Leaf Italian Parsley.  Oh, and don’t forget to top the pasta with MORE Cheese, MMM

DELICIOUS!!!

Homemade Cheese Raviolis

One of my long time followers, Krystle, who also blogs at Pictures And Plane Tickets (please check out her blog) requested my recipe for Cheese Raviolis.

Ya know, I could have sworn that I’d posted this recipe previously, but I guess not, just mouth watering photographs of the end product… sorry, my bad.  So with no further ado, here we go.

Auntie’s Cheese Raviolis

Dough:

3 1/2-4 C. All Purpose Flour (or Semolina)

1 1/2 tsp. Table Salt

4 large Eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. Water

Filling:

1 lb. Ricotta Cheese (I get the Whole Milk, go for it I say 😉 )

1 C. Parmesan Cheese, grated (buy the best quality you can find)

1/4 C. Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

Now, let’s get to it.

For the dough:

In a food processor combine the dry ingredients; with the machine running add the Eggs and Oil. Pulse in enough Water for the dough to JUST come together, you don’t want it too wet or sticky but firm and smooth to the touch.  Turn the dough out to a large piece of plastic wrap, bringing all bits together into a ball; cover well and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours, it turns a funny looking grey, unappetizing color.

For the filling:

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Take a zip-top baggie, fill about half way (not too full as it makes it unyielding when it comes time to fill the raviolis).  Snip a smallish hole in one corner, this makes the filling process much easier; close up the bag and place in a small bowl to keep everything contained for now.

To assemble:

Divide the dough into about 12 pieces, being sure to keep the dough covered in the plastic so that it doesn’t dry out.  Dust your counter top with a small amount of flour, then with a rolling pin, flatten out 1 piece of dough into a rectangular shape, thin enough to go through a Pasta Sheet Roller on the first setting. Dust the dough lightly and run it through as many settings as you like, I go from #1 to #4 on my KitchenAid attachment.  Set aside and repeat a second sheet.  Using a Ravioli Mold makes life easy.  Place one sheet over the flour dusted mold, make the rounded indentations and fill by squeezing that baggie of goodness in to that spot, not too much though; very lightly moisten all edges of the form with your finger dipped in some water.  Place the second sheet over the top, starting from on end and gently pressing out any air.  With the rolling pin provided (or your own) seal and cut all edges well (you’ll see the metal edges come through), peel away the excess dough (save that under the plastic wrap) and turn the Raviolis out on to a floured sheet pan.

Repeat

I get anywhere from 6 to 7 dozen Raviolis with this recipe.  Allow the Raviolis to rest for at least 3 hours on the kitchen counter, uncovered.

To Cook:

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add the appropriate amount of salt and stir.  Gently drop your desired amount of Raviolis into the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes or to your preferred doneness.

Now that’s just one technique of assembly Raviolis, you could go without the mold and simply roll out the sheet of pasta, squirt on some filling, fold over the dough and cut as desired.  I have a hard time with that, they wind up exploding in the boiling process, not good eats.

I like to make a large batch of Raviolis and once dried, I pop the entire sheet pan into the freezer overnight, dust off the flour and place in a zip-top bag for later consumption… I mean 84 Raviolis are ALOT!!! 

*Added bonus – if you like, this dough makes wonderful fresh Fettuccine or Spaghetti or really any shape you like.  I do this with the leftover scrapes of from the Raviolis.  I gather them all up into a ball, sheet it out and cut as desired.  I roll the sheets up into a “cigar shape” and use my parring knife, unfurl each strand into that sheet pan of flour, toss to coat in the flour and allow to dry a bit.  You can freeze the fresh pasta for next Sunday’s Supper.

homemade pasta

ENJOY!

Food As A Gift

When I was a kid, our family would exchange gift certificates with one another.  I have carried on this tradition with my husband.  For Christmas one year, I made up the cutest coupon book with all of DH’s favorite dishes.

Gift Coupon Booklet

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned this in a previous post… The other day, my favorite guy came up to me with his hands behind his back.  “What do you have there?” I asked; he whipped out his Ravioli coupon.  I could have sworn that he had cashed that in long ago, but I must honor my gift.

Ravioli ready for the deep freeze

Homemade Cheese Raviolis in mass

I can’t recall if I’ve posted my recipe for Cheese Raviolis, Hmmm.  I’ll need to look for that, `cuz these are tasty indeed!!

ENJOY!

What I’ve Been Up To

SO, I’ll tell you, the reason that I’ve not been around is that DH and I have been so very busy moving into our new home.  We sold our home and purchased a new-build home, very exciting. While our home was being built, we rented an apartment, fully furnished, but I didn’t have all of my kitchen toys, though we got by 😉  So here is a small portion of meals.

ENJOY!

Things I Buy At Trader Joe’s

I LOVE this place!

When my husband and I first moved from Hawaii to “the Mainland”, my sister was telling me that I needed to shop at Trader Joe’s.  Never heard of it… So, I thought, well let’s give this a whirl.

I had some meatballs in the freezer that needed to be used up, DING!

Dinner courtesy of Trader Joe's

Dinner in no time…

ENJOY!

Stuffed Shells For A Bereaved Family

A few days ago, one of our neighbors pasted away.  The following day, all of his children and grandchildren arrived, that made for a very full house.  In Hawaii, its customary to take food to the home of the dearly departed, as I’m sure that is the case in many parts of the Country.  Now, mind you, I’m not talking about a plate of cookies or such, we’re talking about a full blown meal for the entire crowd.  But what to make here on the Mainland?  I was on Pinterest and saw a bunch of pins for Stuffed Shells, okay, that’s like Lasagna; I’ve never made this before.  My husband was very excited, knowing that he’d get some too.

 

Italian Sausage-Spinach-Cheese Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo Pasta Shells

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

½ C. Onion, minced

¾ lb. bulk Sweet Italian Sausage

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1 egg, beaten

1 (15 oz.) container Ricotta cheese

9 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry

¼ C. Flat Leaf Parsley, minced

1/8 tsp. Nutmeg, freshly grated if possible

¾ C. Parmesan cheese, grated and divided

6 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, grated and divided

½ tsp. Kosher Salt

½ tsp. ground Black Pepper

32 oz. Marinara, more if needed

Cook the pasta as directed on the box.  Drain and place on a greased sheet pan.

In a large skillet, heat the Olive Oil over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and garlic to just translucent; add the Sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon and brown well, transfer to a large mixing bowl, leaving behind any grease.

Stuffed Shells filling

To the bowl add the Egg, Ricotta Cheese, Spinach, Parsley, Nutmeg, ½ cup of Parmesan Cheese and 4 ounces of the Mozzarella Cheese; combine well.  Fill a zip top plastic bag with the filling mixture and snip a corner of the bag, making a hole large enough to pipe it into the cooked Shells.  Carefully fill each Shell; roll it into itself to resemble a shell.  In a 9X13 inch baking dish, spread about a cup on the bottom, arrange the filled Shells and pour enough Marinara to just cover the Shells (that’s why I say “more if needed”).

this recipe makes alot

the larger pan will stay at our house

Cover the dish tightly with Aluminum Foil and bake in a preheated 350⁰ oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheeses and bake for another 10 minutes.

As you can see above, I made a larger dish of Shells for DH.  The two smaller pans went to our neighbor’s home with cooking instructions as well as the makings for Salad, Garlic Bread and a bottle of wine for the adults, all packed into a large basket for transport.

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