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Entries in Italian (16)


Bolognese Sauce


There is no better way to spend a blustery, wintery day than by playing in the kitchen, making a slow-cooked meal, and letting it's aromas and warmth fill the house. It requires only a little bit of work at the start to prep the ingredients, and the payoff is amazing! Soups, stews, and sauce are perfect recipes to make on those long, cold days. When it comes to sauce, I’m generally a fan of meatless marinara. However, in the depths of winter, with the frigid temperatures we’ve been having, I’ve been feeling the need for something more substantial to keep us warm. This bolognese did just that. It also made more than enough to enjoy for 4 meals! Since I unfortunately don’t see an end to winter any time soon, I take comfort in knowing that I have plenty bolognese in the freezer to warm me up whenever I need it! 

Olive Oil
4 ounces Pancetta, diced
1 pound Ground Sirloin
1 pound Ground Italian Sausage
2 Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and diced small
1 Green Pepper, chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 can (6oz) Tomato Paste 
1 cup Red Wine
1 cup Beef Stock
2 cans (28oz each) Crushed Tomatoes
2 cans (14.5oz each) Diced Tomatoes
2 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flake
Parmesan Cheese Rind

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta in olive oil until slightly crisp. Add the sirloin and sausage, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned. You may want to drain some of the fat before going any further. Add the onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring frequently, and cook until the vegetables have softened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomato paste until it is fully incorporated, then add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and cook until the wine has reduced. Add the beef stock, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes, and parmesan rind, stirring to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and let the sauce simmer for 3-5 hours to thicken. Discard the bay leaves and cheese rind (if it didn’t already melt) before serving. Season with additional salt, pepper, oregano, or red pepper flakes, as needed. Serve over pasta. If freezing, let sauce cool completely before placing it into a freezer-safe container.

SOURCE: Cassie Craves


Spicy Italian Drunken Noodles with Sausage

Drunken italian pasta

Even though it's officially spring, you wouldn't know it by looking outside. The temperatures have been in the upper 20's and low 30's. One minute it's clear, the next minute snow is blowing sideways in an apparent blizzard! The weather is certainly bi-polar, at least where I live. So, since it doesn't feel much like spring, I will share a comforting pasta dish that is well suited for winter. This filling pasta dish is full of flavor; the sweetness from the peppers perfectly balances the spiciness from the sausage. The original recipe says that it serves 4, but we had enough for a few days worth of food, which would come in handy if we happened to get snowed in...

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 links Italian Sausage (we used hot), casings removed
1 Onion, quartered and thinly sliced
 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
 1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings (I used a mix of oregano and basil)
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 Orange Bell Pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, cored and thinly sliced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
1 (28 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes, with juices
2 tablespoons Parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Basil Leaves, julienned
8 ounces Pappardelle Noodles 

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Squeeze the sausage out of the casings and into the pan with the hot oil; break the sausage into chunks and allow it to brown on each side. Once the sausage has been cooked, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside in a bowl. Add the onion to the pan with the sausage drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to become golden; add salt, Italian seasonings, and black pepper, stirring to combine. Add the bell peppers and allow them to sauté with the onion for about 2 minutes, until they become slightly golden and tender. Add the garlic and once it becomes aromatic, add in the white wine, allowing it to cook until the wine has almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and return the sausage to the pan. Gently stir the mixture to combine and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for 3-4 minutes, to allow the flavors to combine. Turn off the heat and stir in about half of the parsley and basil. Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles well, then add them to the pan with the sausage mixture, gently tossing to coat the noodles with the sauce. Place portions of the pasta on plates or in bowls and top with remaining herbs and shaved parmesan, if desired. 

SOURCE: The Cozy Apron


Chicken Parm Meatballs

Chicken parm meatball 1

I really can't remember having homemade meatballs all too often growing up. Sure, we'd sometimes have meatballs with our spaghetti, but they were most likely from a bag in the freezer section of the grocery store. I think because of that, I never really gave homemade meatball recipes the time of day. Somewhere along the way, however, I gave one a try, and I was hooked! Since then, I've tried a few different kinds, pairing them with pasta, stuffing them into a hoagie roll, or just by themselves. When I came across this recipe, I loved that it took the flavors of one of my favorite dishes, chicken parm, and rolled them into one easy-to-eat package. These meatballs were delicious on top of a pile of spaghetti, and they were equally delicious the next day in sub form. 

1 1/4 pounds Ground Chicken
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs (I used Italian style)
2 tablespoons Chopped Onion
1 tablespoon Chopped Parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 egg, whisked
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Spaghetti Sauce (I used the jarred sauce I was topping the pasta with)
12 slices Mozzarella Cheese (I used 3 square slices, which I quartered to make 12)

In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together the chicken, breadcrumbs, onion, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, egg, and lemon zest. Shape the meat mixture into 12 balls (slightly larger than golf balls). Place the meatballs a few inches apart from one another on a foil lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the oil with the spaghetti sauce. Brush the mixture on top of each meatball. Bake the meatballs at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Once the meatballs have been cooked, place a piece of cheese on top of each one and put them under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and melted. Serve the meatballs on top of pasta, in a hoagie roll, or by themselves with additional sauce. 

SOURCE: Daydream Kitchen


Eggplant Cannelloni

Eggplant cannelloni

One of my favorite local restaurants has the best stuffed eggplant on their menu. Of course, it is filled with cheese, deep fried, and covered with even more cheese. While that is normally my kind of meal, I knew it was out of the question to recreate it in that way at home. Instead, I found a recipe that, while different, has the same concept: cheese inside eggplant, rolled up and served with sauce. In this recipe, broiling the eggplant slices rather than coating them in breadcrumbs and deep frying them saves on calories. While typical stuffed eggplant recipes have some sort of ricotta blend inside, this one has a mixture of tangy goat cheese, salty olives, and fresh parsley, which really makes this recipe stand out. This is yet another quick weeknight meal that is both healthy and delicious!

For the Sauce:
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 can (28 ounces) Crushed Tomatoes
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Oregano
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. Lower the temperature, stir, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  

For the Eggplant:
2 medium Eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
Olive Oil
4 ounces Goat Cheese
4 Kalamata Olives, pitted and minced
1 teaspoon Capers, chopped (I omitted)
2 tablespoons Parsley, chopped

Coat the eggplant slices in olive oil (or cooking spray) and broil on a baking sheet until golden brown on both sides, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese, olives, capers, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley in a bowl. When the eggplants have been browned, remove them from the broiler. Place about 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling at the end of each eggplant slice; roll up.

Spread sauce along the bottom of a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Lay the rolled eggplant seam side down in the dish and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Top with the remaining sauce and garnish with remaining parsley.

SOURCES: Sauce-adapted from Skinnytaste, Eggplant-adapted from Shape


Spicy Kale Stuffed Shells

Kale stuffed shells

Not that rain has ever stopped us from grilling in the past, but last week, rather than grill while it rained, we decided to make pasta. I know that pasta is a little on the heavy side, and it has been warm here, but sometimes, pasta is just the perfect comfort food on a rainy day. As soon as I saw this recipe posted on Pink Parsley, I was intrigued by the use of cottage cheese instead of ricotta. Until making this dish, I had never had cottage cheese. Once, I accidentally bought it, thinking that it was yogurt. When I opened it up for lunch at work, I saw the curds, and thinking that it was just yogurt that had gone bad, I threw it out. It was only after I got home and looked for the date on the other "yogurt" in the fridge that I realized it was actually cottage cheese. I think I was so grossed out by that whole experience, that I let it sit in the fridge until it was way past the expiration date, then threw it away. Now that I have tried cottage cheese, however, I realize that I actually enjoy it! These shells were delicious! I cooked up an entire box of shells, and it ended up being way too much. Next time, I plan to double the filling so that I can make a double batch and freeze some for later!

8 ounces Jumbo Shells
3/4-1 pound Kale, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped
2 cups Cottage Cheese, low-fat
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley or Basil, minced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
16 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper 

Boil the shells according to package directions, then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kale and a splash of water, stirring until the kale is wilted and softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the kale to a strainer, and set aside. Return the pan to the stove, add the oil, and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, wrap the kale in a lint free kitchen towel or paper towels and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Chop into small pieces and set aside. Strain the cottage cheese through a strainer, pressing to remove as much liquid as possible (mine didn't have much liquid to strain out of it). Transfer the strained cheese to a medium bowl and stir in 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella, the herbs, and the kale. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper, to taste. To assemble the shells, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a greased 9-inch pie plate or square baking dish. Use a spoon to fill each shell with the kale-cottage cheese mixture, then arrange them in a single layer in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, then sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving.