Not to be misleading, but the recipe is for the Maple Cream Sauce I created to go with the Butternut Squash I just purchased from one of my favorite markets, Russo’s in Watertown, MA.
Russo’s is a really neat market that has loads of produce, and an especially great amount of Asian produce, imported Cold Cuts (I can’t even count the number of Prosciutto varieties they have), their own baked cold cuts (their Roast Beef is incredible), cheeses, home-made pasta, flowers, breads, meats, chicken and dairy, bakery, pies,plants and most importantly, the Vantia canned tomatoes I swear are the only ones I can use.
On todays trip, I purchased the Butternut Ravioli, some Bok Choy and fresh bean sprouts (hence the stir fry on this weeks menu), an Apple Crumb Pie, 2 lbs. of their own Roast Beef sliced super thin, some Plum Tomatoes and Imported Asiago cheese (for today’s Tomato Soup), some Bell & Evans Chicken, Coconut Macaroons, and more cans of my favorite Vantia canned tomatoes (the real reason for the trip), to name a few.
I had posted this recipe quite some time ago, but never put a picture because I have trouble with white on white on white pictures (white ravioli, white sauce, white plate)! However, this sauce is so delicious, it deserves another try with the pictures. I don’t think they’re much better, but hopefully you get the idea. This sauce is so “Fall”, it’s not funny. The flavors of Maple and Cinnamon and a touch of Nutmeg scream Autumn, falling leaves and sweaters. I used my Alligator Dicer to finely dice the onions. This is one recipe you don’t want big chunks of onions.
Wow, I’ve had quite a weekend for baking and cooking, and ALL of the recipes have turned out great! That’s gotta be a record! I’ve made the Pineapple Sour Cream Crumb Bars, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, Apple Pasties and I made this Zucchini Saute for supper, and thought…Wow this would be unreal for a spaghetti sauce!
So, I made some angel hair and put the sauce on it. Unreal. I’m really not a red sauce person, and could care less about spaghetti and sauce normally. But this is phenomenal! The sweet sauce with Zucchini is delicious. And good for you! It’s the other stuff I made this weekend that’s not so good for your waistline…but they were all delicious!
I always use Vantia canned tomatoes. I literally drive 45 minutes each way to buy them, and they are well worth it. Remember, your recipes only turn out as good as the ingredients in them. And these tomatoes are well worth it! I am working on carrying the various Vantia products in my store, so stay tuned!
Now, on with the recipe!
Just remember to use some really good quality canned tomatoes (I use Vantia, and drive about 45 minutes one way to get them!). Your recipes will only turn out as good as the ingredients in them. Trust me I know my tomatoes! These are one of the best! I’m working on carrying the various Vantia products in my store, so stay tuned…
This is a great recipe for a potluck, function, or for a weekday supper. I found this on Pinterest, and tweaked it a little from the original recipe. I added a finely diced onion and garlic, where the original recipe didn’t call for it. I just think it needed it. I added the flour mixture to the onions and garlic, and made a roux before adding the chicken broth, milk and cream cheese. You can basically add any veggie, just make sure if its something that won’t cook in 30 minutes, throw it in with the tortellini to pre cook it. The original recipe called for adding the green pepper to the casserole uncooked. I found that the pepper didn’t cook when thrown in raw. I adjusted the recipe to pre cook the peppers a little so they would cook thoroughly.
I bought the refrigerated tortellini, so they only had 7 minutes to cook. I threw the carrots in 5 minutes before the tortellini was to be cooked, and threw in the sugar snap peas, 1 minute before.
Meanwhile I sauteed the chicken and mushrooms in a skillet until slightly browned. You want the chicken and mushrooms to have a little color. I think chicken with a little color looks much more appetizing than chicken with no color.
I took the chicken/mushroom mixture out of the pan, and added 1 Tbsp of butter to the empty skillet. Then I threw in the onions I diced with my Alligator Dicer, which makes the job extremely easy. I could never get the onions so evenly diced by hand. I also added the green pepper and sauteed the peppers and onions about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook approx. 1 minute. You don’t want to cook garlic too long. If it gets browned it has a horrid taste, and then you have to throw your mixture out and start again. Just cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Then you mix the tortellini & veggies, chicken mixture and sauce with the cherry tomatoes and green pepper. Sprinkle in some grated Parmesan cheese, mix together, and put in a baking dish.
Cook for approx. 30 minutes and enjoy.
The tomatoes were surprisingly delicious and cooked just right, and really added the special touch to this dish.
I noticed this great pasta recipe on Pinterest from Joelen’s What’s Cooking Chicago blog, and knew I had to make it! It comes from a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated. What a coincidence, my favorite Chicken Marsala recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated, so I’m sure its bound to be good!
I did tweak it a bit though. I noticed there was no Pancetta in the recipe and thought Chicken Marsala just isn’t Chicken Marsala without Pancetta. So I added it. Basically, I followed the Chicken Marsala recipe from Cooks Illustrated, and added a little chicken broth, heavy cream and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (don’t use fresh, use the stuff in the jar). I sprinkled a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese in for flavor, but didn’t want the cheese to overpower the great taste of the Marsala sauce.
As with Chicken Marsala, it is very important to “reduce” the wine to a syrup. I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong. It’s easy to want to rush things, but very important that you don’t. The reducing not only burns off the alcohol in the wine, the consistency gets thicker, which is what you want for a great sauce.
I gotta tell you, what a great recipe to throw together for a weeknight meal! I use Bell & Evans chicken in all my chicken recipes, so I know the chicken will turn out tender and juicy. To me, there’s no substitute. I use Sweet Marsala wine for the best flavor and sweetness.
Thanks Joelen, for a great inspiration in this recipe!
I’ve been cruising through the various recipes for different types of macaroni salad on the various blogs and Pinterest. In most of them, it looks like the macaroni is screaming for help, from drowning in a pool of mayo:(
I don’t like my macaroni salad with more mayo than macaroni. I like the mayo to cling to the macaroni, and to be able to see all the great veggies and herbs in the salad as well. The first way to achieve this, is to cook the macaroni, drain, but do not rinse, and cool on a sheet pan or tray. When the macaroni is completely cooled, then proceed to add the veggies and mayo mixture. I mix the ingredients for the mayo dressing in a bowl together, taste, and then add little by little to the macaroni, so as not to add too much. Don’t discard the mayo mixture you have left over, because the macaroni will absorb the mayo some, and you may have to add a little more later to achieve the consistency you like.
This way, you control what your end product looks like. And I think macaroni should be the star. You can make with any type macaroni , and add essentially any veggies, olives and herbs you like. That’s what’s great about macaroni salad. It’s very versatile, and you can make with basically anything you have on hand.
This is truly a delicious salad. The dressing tastes a little strong when first made, but after it’s on the salad, tones down quite a bit. Just make sure you add to the salad sparingly, so as not to “drown” the salad.
Also, I used the pre-diced pancetta (pictured above), instead of cutting from a chunk. It’s very hard to get the dice so small, and larger pieces would not fare well in this dish. Nice lemon undertones, with crisp peas, crunchy bits of pancetta, and delicate scallions, make for a refreshing , light summer salad.
Sometimes the best dinners are the kind you just throw together. Since we have just gone through the loss of power, and mess that Hurricane Sandy (no relation!) sent our way, I decided to make the good ol’ standby… frozen Ravioli. I made some of my home made Fresh & Simple Marinara (it only takes 15 minutes), and boiled some water for the ravioli. Then I thought, I’m going to make mine Baked Ravioli. The generator kept the fridge going during our loss of power, so I had plenty of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to use.
The first time I had pasta and peas was at my hairdressers. I know, what a weird spot to eat Italian food, while you’re getting a haircut! My hairdresser is Italian, and his Mom always makes pasta on Thursday’s, so they always offer it anyone that’s there. It was delicious. So I asked how she made it.
It turns out to be so simple. I think it was a dish that was made during the depression, with very few main ingredients. It is extremely cheap to make, feeds a ton of people, and is extremely good! And, is extremely easy!
As I was browsing through some of my favorite blogs, I came across this recipe for Baked Rigatoni from Marie’s Proud Italian Cook’s blog. This recipe is so easy, and so delicious, its hard to believe its so easy! And so versatile. You can add some grilled chicken, ground beef or sausage or peppers, zucchini, or anything you like.
I added shaved Parmesan cheese, but you can add anything you have on hand.
I make it with my Marinara sauce, but you can use jarred sauce if you like as well. I added some variegated Basil fresh from the garden. This is just comfort cooking at its best!
My daughter had called me today looking for this recipe and I realized I had not put on my blog yet. Coincidentally, I had just bought some fresh haddock for dinner, and thought it would be a perfect accompaniment to the Haddock Meuniere I was making tonight. I initially found this recipe from Cooks Illustrated. Toasting the orzo gave this pilaf a real depth of flavor, adding Parmesan gave it a real creamy texture, and the nutmeg gave the Parmesan a nutty taste.
I saw this awesome pasta recipe posted on The Galley Gourmet’s blog, and knew I had try it. It is every bit as good as it looked! Very tasty, creamy, rich tomato flavor…the true meaning of comfort food.
1 lb. medium-sized dry pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/3 c. (about 1 1/2 ounces) creamy Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan
1/3 c. chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the shells according to the package directions; drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the crushed and diced tomatoes. Add the vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil and cook ,uncovered, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the cheeses, basil, and cooked shells. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
I used the same recipe (most of the time its in my head) that I use for my regular Wedding Soup. I just saw these fresh Buitoni mini ravioli’s, and thought I would put them in my soup. They do make the soup smell incredible. And the good thing is, I was planning on making meatloaf for dinner, so I made a little more to make meatballs for the soup. Then I added the veggies to the mixture for the meatloaf.
1 whole chicken
few stalks celery
1 medium onion
Salt & Pepper
2 whole garlic
Enough water be 2 inches below the top of an 8 qt stockpot
Ingredients for the finished broth:
3 or 4 carrots, diced
3 or 4 stalks celery, diced
cooked chicken, small bite sized pieces
1/3 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp celery leaves
Mini meatballs (recipe below)
1 pkg Buitoni fresh mini Ravioli
handful of escarole leaves, chopped (optional)
1/2 lb. or so ground pork and ground beef mixture (meatloaf mix)
1/4 c. bread crumbs
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped or dried basil
salt & pepper
Few shakes grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
Combine chicken, vegetables, herbs and water in an 8 qt stockpot. Cover, bring to boil and simmer approx 2 hours.
Meanwhile, combine meatball ingredients and form into tiny meatballs.
Remove chicken and vegetables from broth. Strain broth through screen strainer. Add diced carrots, celery, shredded chicken, herbs, meatballsand cook 30 minutes or so until vegetables are tender and meatballs are cooked. Add escarole and ravioli and cook 15 minutes or so longer.
This is the other recipe for stuffed shells I had been saving. Its a great variation to the standard ricotta stuffed shells. The filling is very flavorful and is very easy to make. Check out the Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Shells I made at the same time as these also.
16 packaged dried jumbo pasta shells
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 c. coarsely shredded carrots (3 medium)
1-1/3 c. shredded zucchini (1 medium)
1 – 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 of a 15 oz. container of ricotta cheese
1-1/2 c. shredded Italian blend cheese (6 oz.)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 c. pasta sauce
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse pasta with cold water; drain again.
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add carrots, zucchini and onion; cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in spinach; cook and stir for 1 minute. Transfer spinach mixture to a large bowl.
Stir ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the Italian blend cheese, the salt, and the cayenne pepper into vegetable mixture. Spoon a rounded 2 Tbsp of the vegetable mixture into each cooked pasta shell. Spoon pasta sauce into a 3 qt. baking dish. Place shells, filled side up, in sauce. Cover with foil.
Bake, covered, for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 c. Italian blend cheese before serving. Makes 16 appetizer servings or 4 meal servings.
I’ve been looking over saved recipes today and saw several for stuffed shells. I’m not sure why I saved them because I am not really a “stuffed shell” kind of gal. Something about my phobia of too much mushy filling and very little pasta. I think I saved them because the fillings sounded very interesting. I decided to make both recipes. This one has a broccoli and ricotta filling, very little sauce, and mozzarella on top. I will say the filling was very tasty. I think personally I would have enjoyed more if I used the filling inside of lasagna rolled up. I think there would be more pasta versus filling. But that’s just me.
I made my own marinara for this recipe, but you can also used jarred if you wish.
16 packaged dried jumbo pasta shells
2 c. broccoli florets, chopped
1 Tbsp water
1 – 15 oz carton light ricotta cheese
1/2 c. shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (2 oz.)
2/3 c. pasta sauce
2 Tbsp shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350° F. Cook shells according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine broccoli and the water. Cover with wax paper. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Drain. Stir ricotta and a 1/2 c. shredded cheese into cooked broccoli. Spoon mixture in to shells. Arrange in an un-greased 2 qt. baking dish. Spoon pasta sauce over shells. Sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp shredded cheese.
Lasagna is something I don’t make from a recipe. Having said that, it seems to always come out different every time I make it. This time it came out unusually well. Sometimes I make it with the no cook lasagna noodles and sometime the type you have to cook. I think I prefer it with the ones you cook, as I like it the traditional way. It very easy to make, and can be made in a variety of ways. Its just a matter of taste!
1 box lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef
2 or 3 Italian sausage links, casings removed and broken up
1 onion, chopped
2 – 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
oregano, basil, parsley, touch of sugar, salt & pepper
2- 3 lb. container of ricotta (I use whole milk and freshly made if possible)
1/2 cup-3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp dried parsley
8 oz. bag shredded 6 cheese Italian cheeses (Parmesan, Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago, Romano & Fontina)
8 oz bag shredded Mozzarella cheese
Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Brown onion in a little oil until slightly tender and add ground beef and sausage. Continue cooking meat until slightly browned. Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, spices, and a touch of sugar. Cook approx. 15-20 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Mix until combined.
Preheat oven to 325° F.
In a 13″ X 9″ baking dish, put a little meat sauce in the bottom (just to make sure the noodles don’t stick). Layer one layer of cooked noodles. Put a generous layer of ricotta cheese mixture and sprinkle a little of the Italian shredded cheese mixture on top of the ricotta. Top with a little of the meat sauce.
Continue to repeat the above steps ending with noodles. Top the noodles with meat sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Top the casserole with aluminum foil and cook covered about 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 35-45 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.
Remove the foil from the top and top entire casserole with 8 oz. package of grated Mozzarella cheese. Put back in to the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is just melted.
Note: After putting shredded Mozzarella cheese on top, don’t leave in the oven too long, or the cheese will get brown, very tough, and not very good looking!
Here’s another recipe I saw on Jamie Oliver’s show Jamie At Home. If you are lucky enough to have a pizza oven, this is something that would cook perfectly in it. For the rest of us, this recipe also cooks perfectly in a hot oven. It is a wonderfully rustic, tomato sauce with chunks of sausage, peppers and onions that is perfect with pasta or even in a crusty Italian roll. It is easy as pie to make as everything goes in one roaster pan, and that’s it! This would also be a great appetizer.
Note: The original recipe does not call for the peppers and onions. After making for the first time last year, I thought adding the peppers and onions really gave it that extra touch. For this version I omitted the peppers and onions, but like it much better with the peppers and onions!
4-1/2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, in season i possible
2 green peppers, sliced in to chunks
1 large onion, sliced in to chunks
2 sprigs each of fresh thyme, rosemary and bay
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
12 good-quality Italian sausages
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Get yourself an appropriately sized roasting tray, large enough to take the tomatoes in one layer. Drizzle in some olive oil and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add herbs and cook just a minute until the herbs start to emit their aromas. Off heat, nestle in all your tomatoes, garlic, peppers, onions and sausages on top. Add a little additional extra virgin olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Toss together, then make sure the sausages are on top and pop the tray into the oven for half an hour. After this time, give it a shake and turn the sausages over. Put back into the oven for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how golden and sticky you like your sausages.
Once it’s cooked, you’ll have an intense, tomato sauce. If it’s a little too thin, (which it can be depending on the fresh tomatoes), lift out the sausages and place the tray on the stove top to cook it down to the consistency you like – then put the sausages back in. Check the seasoning and serve either with a good-quality loaf of bread warmed through in a low oven for 10 minutes (great for mopping up the sauce!) or with mashed potato, pasta, rice or polenta.
Don’t know what to do with all those zucchini’s from your garden? This recipe is perfect! I saw this recipe on an old Jamie At Home show I Tivo’d, and knew I had to try it! Jamie made it look soooo easy, and it was! And really, really good!
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash
1 lb penne
4 large egg yolks (organic is best)
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 good handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
12 thick slices of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cut into chunks
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Half and then quarter any larger zucchini lengthways. Cut out and discard any large seeds from the inside, and slice the courgettes at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne. Smaller zucchini can simply be sliced finely. Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions.
To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly and put to one side.
Heat a very large frying pan (a 14 ” one if you have one), add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta until crisp. Add the zucchini slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the zucchini becomes coated with all the bacon-flavored oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.
It’s very important to get this next step right, or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water.
You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the zucchini, & bacon, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you’ll scramble the eggs.)
Get everyone around the table, ready to eat right away. While you’re tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. Serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and starchy if left too long.