Dinner, Pasta

Italian Sausage and Shells Dinner

Quick Dinner idea! Do you have pasta, sausage and diced tomatoes on hand? Heavy cream as well? Then this would be a great weeknight dinner that comes together really quickly. This made a really great meal paired with a salad for Eric, Emily and I last week when she was here for dinner between calls.. Emily was going to take the leftovers home for her boyfriend’s dinner but forgot! So lucky me – great lunch today!

  • 8 ounces uncooked medium shells
  • 1 lb. Italian sausages (spicy or mild) crumbled
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can finely chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn to taste (optional)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
  1. Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook the shells al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and take the sausages out of their casings and crumble it into a skillet. Sauté the onion and sausage over medium-high heat for 7 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Drain the fat from the pan.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cream, basil, and season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed. Cook for another minute or two and then toss with the drained pasta.

Dinner

Goulash!

When someone mentions comfort food people think meatloaf or mac and cheese.  I dig back in my childhood memories and Goulash pops up.  My Dad was great at throwing things together and creating a tasty meal or soup.  When I was little 9 up to about 12 years old) my parents ran a small town diner and Dad manned the kitchen.  Dinners were generally from the diner and generally prepared quickly and pretty hearty.  None of my Dad’s recipes were written down, so I like to try and recreate them from either memory or find something similar and close to it. This recipe was pretty close.  I lightened it up with a half ground beef, half ground turkey.  This is a good meal to make in a hurry because most of this is pretty much on hand pantry items.  With the snowstorm coming this might be a great meal to make.

Ingredients

2 onions chopped
1 pounds lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic minced
1 jar tomato based pasta sauce approx. 26 oz.
1 28  oz cans diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 can 6 oz tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
3 cups water
salt & black pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni noodles uncooked
1 cup cheddar cheese



Cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
Add pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, seasonings and bay leaves. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add in the in the macaroni and continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender (about 20 minutes). Remove & discard bay leaves. Top with cheese and replace the lid. Let sit about 5 minutes or until melted.

Dinner, Seafood

Shrimp and Fettuccine with white wine sauce



    To celebrate national pasta day last Friday we made a variation of a recipe we found on Pinterest.  As you might know, pasta is one of my son’s favorite dishes.  So we decided that he was going to help with the cooking this evening to skills to more than ramen noodles and omelettes.  It would not be that difficult has he has been working over the summer and on breaks as a prep cook at a local restaurant.  He has spent many an hour slicing and dicing various items for the line cooks we knew he could do this at home and actually complete the recipe.  

    The sauce is very light but has a kick with the crushed red pepper.  You can even omit the shrimp and just make the sauce for your next pasta dish.



    1 lb pasta 

    2 tsp minced garlic
    1/4 c olive oil
    5 Tbsp butter
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper {fresh ground}
    1/2 c white wine
    1/2 c parsley for garnishing
    1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan
    1 lb of large size shrimp

    In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add garlic, red pepper and saute until golden, about a minute.  Add salt, pepper, wine and butter.Stir 2 minutes, add shrimp and cook until pink – about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and toss with pasta.Garnish with parsley and generously add fresh Parmesan

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      Ricotta Meatloaf and Peas with Pancetta

      This recipe is a long time coming, but has not been forgotten.  I made this earlier in the spring and with all of our family activity it hadn’t been posted.  Lydia is a new favorite of ours. I will definitely try this again and make the peas more often.

      Ingredients 

      1 cup milk
      3 cups day old bread cubes, from a loaf of country bread
      3 pounds ground beef (freshly ground preferred)
      3 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
      1 pound drained fresh ricotta (about 2 cups) plus more for the sauce if you like
      1 bunch scallions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
      1/2 cup grated Grana Padano
      1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
      1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
      1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
      freshly ground black pepper to taste
      1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
      1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
      4 to 5 cups tomato sauce

      Pour the milk over the bread cubes in a bowl, and let soak for a few minutes, until the bread is saturated. Squeeze the soft bread a handful at a time, pressing out as much milk as you can (discard the milk). Tear the bread into small shreds and toss back into the empty bowl. Crumble the ground beef into the bowl, and add the eggs, ricotta, scallions, grated cheese, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Fold and toss everything together, and squeeze the mixture a few times between your fingers to distribute all the ingredients evenly. Scatter the mozzarella cubes on top, and fold and mush them throughout the loaf mix.

      Brush the roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Gather the meat mixture in the bowl, turn it into the pan, and shape it into a fat oval loaf. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover the pan with foil—tent it so it doesn’t touch the meat—and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until the meatloaf is browned all over and completely cooked through, another 1 hour and 30 minutes or so. (If you check the loaf with a meat thermometer, it should reach a temperature of 160 degrees.) Remove the roast from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

      Heat the tomato sauce to a simmer in a saucepan as the meat rests. Turn off the heat, and, if you like, stir 1/2 cup or so fresh ricotta into the sauce. Cut the loaf crosswise in the pan or on a cutting board, in slices as thick as you like.

      Serve on warm dinner plates, topped with a spoonful or two of sauce, and pass more sauce at the table (or, for family-style serving, arrange the slices on a warm platter, topped with some of the sauce).

      Peas and Pancetta 
      3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      3 ounces Pancetta, finely chopped
      1 small onion, finely chopped
      1 (1 pound) bag frozen peas, thawed
      1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
      Directions
       In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, pancetta and onion. Cook until pancetta is rendered, about 5 to 7 minutes.

       Add the peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and peas are tender and flavored with the pancetta. Stir in pine nuts. Cook and toss for a minute, then serve.

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      The Pioneer Woman’s Polenta Lasanga

      So, following the big tomato soup and roasted garlic and cheese bread demonstration on The Pioneer Woman, Ree made homemade Bolognese Sauce in the crockpot and then used that for a Polenta Lasanga Dish.  Polenta – I love polenta so I had to make this the next day. 
      The sauce was very easy and made enough to freeze two extra servings for pasta some night. I will definitely make this sauce again.   The lasagna was very good too.  Just make sure you like polenta or tell you guest that it is not your typical lasagna.  This was best served when it rested. So this recipe topped off a weekend of recipes from just one show on Food Network and we will definitely make these again.

      Ingredients

      2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan
      1 cup polenta 
      Kosher salt
      1 cup grated Parmesan 
      5 cups Slow-Cooker Bolognese, recipe follows
      12 slices provolone 
      2 cups shredded mozzarella 
      fresh basil for topping

      Slow-Cooker Bolognese

      4 tablespoons olive oil
      4 celery stalks, chopped 
      2 carrots, chopped 
      2 onions, chopped 
      Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
      6 cloves garlic, chopped 
      One 6-ounce can tomato paste 
      1 cup dry red wine 
      4 pounds ground beef 
      2 cups whole milk 
      Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes 
      1 tablespoon dried oregano 
      1 tablespoon dried basil 
      2 teaspoons dried thyme 
      2 teaspoons red pepper flakes 
      1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
      1 Parmesan rind, optional

      Directions

      Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

      Put 4 cups of water into a pot and set over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta so no lumps form. Add a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and cook according to the package directions. When it is finished, stir in the butter and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.

      Spread a cup of the Slow-Cooker Bolognese in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Add half the polenta and spread it evenly over the sauce. Add a layer of 6 slices provolone and 3/4 cup mozzarella, then top with 2 cups of the sauce. Make another layer with the remaining polenta. Top with the remaining provolone, 3/4 cup mozzarella and remaining sauce. Sprinkle over the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan.

      Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 15 minutes more. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

      Slow-Cooker Bolognese:
      Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots and onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Pour in the red wine and cook until it is mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Pour this mixture into a slow cooker.

      Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons oil into the skillet, add the beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up any lumps, until it is nicely browned, about 15 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the milk and cook until it is mostly absorbed by the meat, about 5 minutes. Add this to the slow cooker along with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, nutmeg and Parmesan rind if using. Add some salt. Give it a good stir, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

      Skim off any fat on top and check the consistency. If it is too thick, add a bit of water. If it is too thin, cook for another 30 minutes with the cover off.

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      Baked Ravioli Lasagna

      How easy can this get!  4 ingredients, a little prep time, then 30 minutes in the oven. Plus this is perfect now that the weather is slowly beginning to change.  Think if it as a little bit of comfort food when you don’t have the time to make real lasagna from scratch.  We are making this extra special by using one of our favorite sauces from a little restaurant that recently closed.  Canale’s traditional sauce is my hubby favorite and we stocked up before they closed their local restaurant.  They still have the original restaurant but that is about 45 minutes away from our house.  It is good thing though that we can get the sauce at the local grocery store.  
      So, give this a try and let me know what you think.  

      Easy Ravioli Lasagna

      1 – 25 oz package frozen cheese ravioli
      1 lb cooked ground beef
      4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
      1 quart or 32 oz tomato sauce

      Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9″x 13″ baking pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer with half ravioli. Pour 1/2 of the remaining sauce over mixture and 1 cup of cheese. Add half the cooked beef.  Layer remaining ravioli on top of sauce. Layer 1 1/2 cups cheese, top with cooked beef and remaining sauce. Add remaining 1 1/2 cup cheese to top of casserole.

      Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with a little fresh basil.
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      Pasta and Baked Meatballs

        
      You never know what I am going to find when I browse through my board called Looks Yummy, Have to Try.  This one had been there awhile and when I decided to make it our daughter said, oh, I wanted to try that one night, but Dad picked another recipe.   I am glad we finally gave this one a try.  One pot pasta dished are my favorites.    Too bad the kids were working that night, because they only got the left overs!

      ORECCHIETTE WITH BAKED MINI CHICKEN MEATBALLS IN TOMATO CREAM SAUCE

      Meatballs
      ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
      ¼ cup milk
      ½ lb. ground chicken
      1 egg
      2 Tbsp. grated or shredded (in food processor) onion
      1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
      1 Tbsp. sour cream
      ½ tsp. salt
      ¼ tsp. black pepper

      Pasta & Sauce

      2 cups uncooked orecchiette pasta
      ¼ – ⅓ cup reserved pasta water*
      1 cup jarred Tomato Basil pasta sauce
      ½ cup heavy cream
      ½ cup mini mozzarella balls 

      fresh chopped parsley or basil

      INSTRUCTIONS

      Meatballs

      In a large mixing bowl, combine Panko with milk. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until milk is absorbed. To the Panko, add the chicken, egg, onion, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper. The mixture should be quite wet.

      Turn on your broiler on HIGH.

      Shape the chicken mixture into 1¼-inch meatballs (I used 1 tsp. measuring spoon) and place in a single layer on a lightly coated with cooking spray or oil baking sheet.

      Broil the meatballs on HIGH for 3-4 minutes (I had my oven rack set in the middle) or until lightly golden and almost fully cooked but still slightly pink on the inside. Keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook! Remove and let stand at room temperature while preparing pasta+sauce.

      Pasta & Sauce

      Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Reserve ¼ – ⅓ cups of pasta water and drain the rest.

      In a large saute pan, heat pasta sauce over medium heat. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer over low/med heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly and meatballs are cooked through. (Meatballs should be super moist, tender, and white on the inside).

      Add cooked pasta to the sauce and the reserved pasta water.** Give it couple stirs with a spoon and then add the mozzarella balls.

      Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve immediately.