Italian

tofu parmesan sandwich sub italian

Tofu Parmesan Subs {Vegetarian}

tofu parmesan sandwich sub italian

Okay, it’s not the prettiest sandwich you’ll ever see, but as I like to say…

If it’s messy, it has to be delicious!

This sandwich is oozing with basil tomato sauce and melty mozzarella.  You may need some napkins for this one, if you can put it down.

I crisped up the tofu in the oven before I added it to this sandwich, like you would with a chicken parmesan sandwich.  Overall, I am not sure if it made a huge difference since the tofu didn’t stay crispy very long after adding the tomato sauce and cheese.  A personal choice I suppose.

*shrug*

At any rate, if you’re a fan of tomatoes and mozzarella, you will love this sandwich!  Not a word was spoken while Mister and I ate ours.  Heck, it took every bone in our body to not make seconds for ourselves.   A new favorite tofu recipe in our household.

Tofu Parmesan Subs {Vegetarian}

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Crispy, Oven-Fried Tofu
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup water
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 pound (about 8 cups) baby spinach
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 whole grain hoagie rolls
  • 8 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in the empty skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and let wilt, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  3. Place the bread cut-side up on a broiler pan. Spread the bottom halves with sauce, then top with crispy tofu, more sauce, slices of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Broil until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/tofu-parmesan-subs/

Recipe adapted from the Food Network magazine.

Chicken Pesto Bake

chicken pesto tomatoes mozzarella

Being unemployed has left me with a lot of free time.  At first it was great – like a stay at home vacation.  I got to sleep in, chill out, do whatever I wanted to do.  But that got old really fast, once I realized that the things I wanted to do with my free time cost money and I could only watch the movies I already owned for so long.  Netflix has become my new cheap best friend.

I reunited myself with old Nickelodeon cartoons for a few weeks.  That was nostalgic.  I blew through a few documentaries, movies, and then moved onto tv series.  Now I am hooked, heck, I am completely addicted to Breaking Bad.  Have you watched this show?  It’s about a chemistry teacher who begins cooking meth.  This show has everything – great characters, memorable lines, awesome music, and it’s packed with drama, action and bits of comedic relief too.  Anywho, I will be sad when I get to the end of this series, but I am excited to indulge in another, just as addicting show.  I was thinking about watching Mad Men next.  Any other suggestions out there?

Anywho, I hate to admit it, but I’ve been more of a couch potato than anything recently.  Mister made some beautiful pesto this week so I thought it might be a good opportunity to try this Skinny Taste Chicken Pesto Bake.  This dish is light, easy and so flavorful – perfect for those days when I just don’t feel like exercising.  🙂 I added mushrooms to my dish, but you obviously do not have to if you don’t like fungus.  I also added more pesto than Gina, because it’s delicious.

Chicken Pesto Bake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 2 servings

Serving Size: 2 chicken cutlets per person

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 chicken breast tenders will work too)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 package white mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced thin
  • 6 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment for easy clean up. Wash and dry chicken with a paper towel. Slice chicken breast horizontally to create 4 thin cutlets. You can skip this step if you are using chicken breast tenders. Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  2. While the chicken is baking, heat a small pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally. Set aside.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven and spread a tablespoon of pesto on each cutlet. Line each cutlet with the sauteed mushrooms, a layer of tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. You could also place the chicken under a broiler on high for 1-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/chicken-pesto-bake/

Turkey Meatball Stuffed Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant, Rollatini, Turkey Meatballs, Italian, Unique Eggplant Parm

Why do eggplants look so funny?  There are short ones, fat ones, long ones and even really dirty looking ones…

eggplant, boner, penis

*raises eyebrow*

However they look, they sure are tasty when you add some breadcrumbs and marinara sauce to the equation.  Plus things really get going when you gave your typical eggplant parmesan a new twist by “stuffing” them with an Italian turkey meatball mixture.  Boom, bang, SHAPOWIE!

I should really write a food comic book…

Anywho, step eggplant parmesan up a notch with this recipe.  The turkey meatballs alone are so flavorful.  You could use these on an ol’ pasta and marinara sauce any day of the week too.  But rolling them into some crispy eggplant slices add another layer of flavor.  I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as we did.

Cheers!

Turkey Meatball Stuffed Eggplant Rollatini

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yields: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

    For the Eggplant:
  • 2 large eggplants, tops removed and evenly sliced to 1/4-inch slices long ways
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup of your favorite (red sauce|http://foodiemcbooty.com/marinara-sauce/)
  • Extra Mozzarella, for topping
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey meat
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a shallow dish pour 1/2 cup oil, in a second shallow dish pour breadcrumbs. Dredge eggplant through oil on each side lightly then bread with crumbs lightly. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake the eggplant on a lightly oiled sheet for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, mix the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, oregano, basil, Parmesan, salt and pepper to a large bowl and mix well. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch diameter meatballs.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and saute, turning, until they are browned on all sides, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Pour a half cup of your red sauce into a baking tray and smooth it out. Take one slice of eggplant, add a pinch of Mozzarella cheese, two mini meatballs on top and roll it as tight as you can. Place the rolled eggplant in the saucy baking tray, seam side down. Continue until the remaining eggplant slices are filled and rolled. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sauce over each rollatini and sprinkle each with Mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/turkey-meatball-stuffed-eggplant-rollatini/

Eggplant picture from SideSalad.net

Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage

For my birthday (which was many moons ago now) my Mister bought me a gift card to this amazing European market in Boulder.  I finally went shopping and purchased some orecchiette imported from Italy.  Now if you’ve never had orecchiette, think of them as tiny pasta bowls.

In Italian ‘orecchio‘ means ‘ear,’ and the suffix ‘etto’ means ‘small’ because these resemble the shape of small ears.  Which, I admit, sounds a bit weird at first, but after you take a bite of orecchiette brimming with delicious sauce, you’ll understand why this pasta is so good.

Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yields: Serves 4

Calories per serving: 666

Fat per serving: 26g

Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces orecchiette
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces fully cooked Italian-style chicken sausage links, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans and peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and vegetables and return them to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage, pesto, Parmesan, and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry).
http://foodiemcbooty.com/pesto-orecchiette-with-chicken-sausage/

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

Lighter Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Hello friends!

Although all of us enjoy indulging in comfort food dishes from time to time, there are those moments when we feel completely guilty for consuming 1,000 calories in one sitting.  If you’re anything like me, that feeling passes relatively quickly but the thought DOES cross my mind.

Cooking at home gives me the chance to control what I eat and it also provides the opportunity for me to make healthier alternatives to my favorite “heavy” meals, including this one.

A lot of times the eggplant in eggplant Parmesan is deep-fried to get that super breaded texture.  You can achieve the same amount of crispy tenderness by baking your eggplant instead.  This way you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat a healthier version of eggplant Parm.

The best part of this dish has to be the marinara sauce.  This red sauce is my absolute favorite and you guessed it, I use Italian Plum Tomatoes for the recipe.  Absolutely drool-worthy!

Lighter Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants, purple or white, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.
  3. Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Use half eggplant and half zucchini for this recipe for added vegetables. You can also make this ahead of time by arranging everything in your baking dish, refrigerating it overnight, bringing it back to room temperature and then baking.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/lighter-baked-eggplant-parmesan/

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

Pizza Zucchini Boats

Le sigh… it’s been a very hot summer.  Even still, I feel like it’s flown by.  It’s almost the end of Summer now.  Do you know what that means?  It’s almost the end of zucchini season too.  Say a little prayer for these guys and devour ’em.

Zucchini alone can be a bit bland.  They’re due for roasting, or sauteeing, or do what I did here, and stuff them with oodles of deliciousness.

I found these San Marzano Italian plum tomatoes at the European Market and I had an overwhelming urge to make red sauce… immediately!  It was like someone possessed my body , sped my car home, chopped onions and made this sauce.  Before I knew it, I had amazing marinara sauce to use for these zucchinis.

Look how happy she is.  That’s because she makes some damn fine tomatoes!  I have to say, after I made marinara sauce with these tomatoes, I’ve never wanted any other marinara sauce ever again.  They’re THAT good!

My marinara recipe changes a bit every time I make it, but the basics never change:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sugar
  • Red Pepper
  • Bay Leaf

I’ve also added balsamic vinegar, cayenne, bell peppers, and mushrooms to my sauce depending on my mood.

Make your sauce, stuff some zucchinis then save the remaining sauce for another day.  The flavors really meld after a day or two.  And of course, you can use store bought red sauce for this recipe if you’d like a quicker version.

Pizza Zucchini Boats

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 Boats

Serving Size: 2 Boats

Pizza Zucchini Boats

Ingredients

    For the Marinara Sauce:
  • 1 large can Plum Tomatoes, crushed
  • 1/2 cup red wine, Chianti preferred
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large sprig fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of onion powder
  • dash of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • dash of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (to cut down acidity)
  • Mushrooms, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, optional
  • For the Rest:
  • 2 zucchinis
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Toss in onions, garlic, red pepper (if using) and salt. Saute on medium/low heat until onions begin to sweat. Add in any optional vegetables. When onions are clear, pour in red wine and turn up the heat to boil of any alcohol. Add tomatoes, reamaining seasonings, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh basil, cover and let simmer on very low for 30-60 minutes. Stir your sauce occasionally or it will stick to the bottom of your pot.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the tough ends of the zucchinis off and cut each in half, lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet sliced side-up and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon marinara sauce into each boat and bake the boats for 15 minutes. After the zucchinis have baked for 15 minutes, sprinkle the cheese over the zucchinis and return to oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 10 minutes longer.

Notes

*times do not include cook time for homemade marinara sauce

http://foodiemcbooty.com/pizza-zucchini-boats/

Lobster Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Crispy Breadcrumbs

My first memories of trying lobster were with my mom.  Being a single, hard-working mother never stopped her from indulging in a lobster tail from time to time and if anyone deserved food luxury, she definitely did.  I remember her telling me that you should always eat lobster drenched in drawn butter and morsel by morsel.  I broke the rules here, so she is going to lose a little respect for me after she reads this one.  Sorry mom, I love you!

I got the idea for this recipe on Framed Cooks.  She used clams in her recipe but Mister and I got this smokin’ hot deal on lobster tails and I decided to try this recipe with the lobster meat instead.  The result is rich in lobster and bright with vodka sauce – completely satisfying.  Comfort seafood anyone?

Lobster Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Crispy Breadcrumbs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yields: Serves 4-6

Calories per serving: 692

Fat per serving: 25g

Lobster Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Crispy Breadcrumbs

Ingredients

  • 2 lobster tails
  • 8-ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (or half & half to save on calories)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs or 2 slices of hearty bread, chopped in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the lobster tails until they float and are pink in color. Remove the cooked lobster, remove the legs and shell and chop the meat into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Cook the pasta in the same pot of water, drain and set aside. Reserve about a half cup of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the vodka and tomatoes. Return the skillet to medium-low heat and simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Add cream, lemon juice and salt to taste and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the lobster meat and stir to combine.
  3. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta water to loosen, if needed. Cover and set aside.
  4. In the meantime, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan until bubbling, then add the breadcrumbs. Stir until golden brown, about 4 minutes and cool slightly. Stir in parsley.

Notes

Omit the vodka sauce and use fresh cherry tomatoes and olive oil to save on calories and fat.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/lobster-pasta-with-vodka-sauce-and-crispy-breadcrumbs/

Homemade Ravioli and Basil Marinara Sauce

I’m one of those Americans that is a bit lost in her heritage, or maybe I should say my lack of heritage.  I didn’t have an Italian grandmother who taught me how to make noodles from scratch or an Ethiopian family who shared recipes centuries old.  I am who I am – a 100% American raised person.

I sometimes wish that I had more of an ethnic upbringing so I would have more to share with my future children (or future cookbooks) but I appreciate what I have learned throughout my cooking adventures.  I think of cooking as a learning experience of a lifetime.  I learn something every single time I create or recreate a recipe and homemade ravioli was no exception.

Now, this wasn’t my first rodeo with fresh pasta, but it did take me a few batches to get the hang of things.  Even after resting my dough was very springy.  I had to trick it into sticking to my countertop with a little water so I could add the filling.  I eventually figured everything out… except one little thing.  I knew this would be a tedious process so I made a double batch of the filling and the dough in hopes of freezing an extra batch.  Thing is, even with the double batches, I ran out of dough.

{DOH!}

Mister came up with a good idea for the leftover filling.  I predict a goulash recipe in the near future.  It’ll complement this gorgeous marinara sauce too.  A new favorite – simple yet sooooo finger licking good.  Simmer, simmer, simmer.  It’s worth the wait!

A big thanks to the wonderful website, My Italian Grandmother, for filling in the gaps here.

And without further ado, visual stimulation:

First, crack some eggs, add some flour and get messy, like so:

Wrap your dough and let it rest while you prep your meat filling (if you are using meat) and kick butt marinara sauce.

For the meat filling, chop your veggies, make ’em sweat and add your beef.  Drain and add seasoning.

Drop the mixture into a food processor (preferably one bigger than mine) to make a meat paste.

(Vegetarians are freaking out now)

{MEAT PASTE!}

Set the paste aside.  Make your delicious meat-free sauce, cover and simmer. I recommend spraying the bottom of your pot before doing this. That was a lesson learned…

Chop of piece of dough from your dough ball, recover and roll the chunk out as thin and as long as you can.  If you like large ravioli, roll out two of these (one for the top and one for the bottom).  Add your filling, drag a bit of water around the filling with your finger, cover with the second strip of pasta dough and press the ravioli around the filling to seal.



For smaller ravioli, you can use one of these pasta strips, add a little less filling, and stretch the pasta around the filling, like so.

Snip excess dough and combine with your large dough ball or save for later to make scrap noodles.  Press the edges down with a fork if you’re feeling especially decorative.

Bring some water to a boil and add your ravioli.  They are done when they float to the top.  Pour some sauce on them and devour immediately.



Homemade Ravioli and Basil Marinara Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yields: 32 smaller raviolis

Homemade Ravioli and Basil Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

    Pasta Dough
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • Marinara Sauce
  • 2 small cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Meat Filling (Optional)
  • 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1/2 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg

Directions

    Pasta Dough
  1. With a stand mixer, beat the eggs and salt. Attach dough hook and add flour a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase the speed and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, until the dough is smooth, soft and pliable.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands lightly and knead the dough for a minute or two. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Note: Making the dough with a machine requires a little less flour than making it by hand. Reserve 1/2 cup or so of the flour. After the dough is kneaded, touch it. If it is silky and slightly moist, it is ready; if it is too sticky, work in the reserved flour.
  4. Marinara Sauce
  5. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning and basil. Stir to combine.
  6. Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Fill about 1/3 can with water and swish around to clean tomatoes from sides and then pour into the next can and do the same thing. Add to pot. Stir and add sugar and pepper.
  7. Let the sauce come to a boil, stir gently. Reduce heat and let sauce simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Meat Filling (Optional)
  9. Sweat onion, garlic, carrot and celery in oil. Once vegetables soften add ground beef, breaking up the meat as you add it to your pan. Cook until browned and cooked through. Drain the fat and add the mixture to a food processor, pulse until smooth. Add egg and cheese and pulse to combine.
  10. ASSEMBLY
  11. Lay the pasta sheet on a floured surface. Place your meat or cheese filling about an inch apart on one half of the sheet. Use less than 1 tablespoon of filling (more if you want bigger ravioli). Dip your finger in water and drag your finger around each filling. Place the unused portion of the dough sheet over the half with the filling. Press out all of the air from around the meat and press down lightly on the dough to seal. Cut with a round biscuit cutter or cut into squares.

Notes

Make sure you save all of your scraps of dough. These are always nice in soups or with sauce for lunch later. Cut into strips and cook these in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.

To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add ravioli (if they were frozen you do not need to defrost) to the pot and stir. When ravioli float to the top they are ready.

To Freeze - Sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour or cornmeal. Place ravioli on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place in freezer for at least a half hour, or until frozen through. Place in large freezer bags and lay flat. You do not need to defrost these when you want to cook them.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/homemade-ravioli-and-basil-marinara-sauce/

Healthier Italian: Orzo with Sausage, Peppers and Tomatoes

Now, there are recipes and then there are RE-CI-PES!  Man, this one is out of the ballpark.  I don’t know what it is — the creaminess of the pasta and cheese or the heat from the sausage, but boy this is a winner in my book.

One thing I love about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to make.  Plus it’s super versatile too.  You can use just about any kind of sausage and replace Pecorino or Grana Padano in place of the Parmesan.  Heck, I even replaced the orzo with tiny star-shaped pasta.  Okay, I named more than one thing that I love about this recipe… but who’s counting?

I like to think that because you can substitute just about everything in here, this dish could be a healthier version of an Italian meal.  Substitute turkey Italian sausage for a lower fat content and low-sodium broth for the pasta water.  You shouldn’t lose much flavor because of all of the spices that are waltzing around on your taste buds.

This recipe is originally taken from the beautiful Giada de Laurentiis, who, is not my favorite Food Network personality, but cranks out some great dishes from time to time.

Sorry Giada.

I adapted this recipe from Serious Eats.

Healthier Italian: Orzo with Sausage, Peppers and Tomatoes

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: About 6

Healthier Italian: Orzo with Sausage, Peppers and Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large links of mild Italian sausage
  • 1 raw garlic clove, 2 if you're using roasted garlic
  • 2 or 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 or 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the pasta and bring back to a boil. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. This will depend on your pasta so read the directions on the box, approximate 8 minutes or so. Drain your pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sausage links, cover and saute until cooked through. You will need to turn these over after a couple of minutes to brown each side. Remove the sausage once they are cooked and cut them into coins. You may want to cut the coins in half to disperse the sausage throughout the pasta more. Place the sausage back into the pan and add the garlic, peppers, tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Stir for about two minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to form a bit of a watery sauce.
  3. Add your cooked pasta into the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of parsley, most of your Parmesan and toss well to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid to loosen the pasta if necessary. Top with Parmesan and sprinkle with remaining parsley before serving.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/healthier-italian-orzo-with-sausage-peppers-and-tomatoes/

Best schnausage from a grocery store!

Big helper, ready to toast… ANYTHING.

Only stops for food.

Mouth-Watering Marinara Sauce

As my good friend Willis would say, “It’s all about the saauuuuuuwwwwwssss!!”

Amen brother.

Making a red sauce from scratch might seem intimidating but it really is a simple process. The key to a good red sauce is time. Allowing everything to simmer long enough for the flavors to really meld and build is extremely important. I’ve heard of some Italian recipes that require you to simmer you sauce all night. I have yet to try doing this (in a crock pot) but it’s on the “to-try” list!

This is one of the best marinara sauces I’ve ever tasted. I love using wine, a bit of heat and the balsamic to add depth to this sauce. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Mouth-Watering Marinara Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yields: About 10 servings

Mouth-Watering Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 (28-ounce) can Plum Tomatoes or San Marzano, crushed
  • 1/2 cup red wine, Chianti preferred
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large sprig fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of onion powder
  • dash of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • dash of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (to cut down acidity)
  • Mushrooms, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium/low heat. Toss in onions and red pepper (if using) and salt. Saute until onions begin to sweat. Add in any optional vegetables.
  2. When onions are translucent, add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about one to two minutes. Pour in the wine and turn up the heat to boil off any alcohol. Add the tomatoes, remaining seasonings, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh basil sprig, cover and let simmer on very low for 30-60 minutes. Stir your sauce occasionally or it will stick to the bottom of your pot. Remove the basil stem and serve with your favorite pasta or with crusty bread.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/marinara-sauce/

Homemade Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

Today, begins a journey of epic proportions.  Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you the first recipe of my autumn recipe extravaganza, a very rich Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Sauce.  Originally, the recipe called for store bought gnocchi… and as you know, this doesn’t fly in my cookbook!  Plus I had never made gnocchi before.  I couldn’t resist this awesome opportunity to try making these little pillowy cushions of deliciousness.

Overall my favorite part of this recipe was the sauce.  It is sooooooo tasty!  I let my sauce simmer for a long time, and eventually had to add a bit more chicken stock to wet it again.  If you’re looking to substitute whole-wheat flour, I’d stick to a half/half ratio.  The sauce, especially with the added parmesan cheese, masks that chalky whole wheat flour aftertaste.  I also added garlic to the sauce.  I found it odd that the original recipe I followed didn’t call for garlic anyway.

Homemade Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yields: 6-8 Servings

Ingredients

    For the Gnocchi:
  • 2 large russet potatoes, halved
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour, divided
  • fine grain sea salt (for potato water)
  • For the Mushroom Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms, stemmed and thickly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds homemade gnocchi
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil (optional)

Directions

    For the Gnocchi:
  1. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, about 40-50 minutes. Remove the potatoes one by one and quickly peel them. Use a fork, food mill or ricer to mash them into a bowl. Don't over mash the potato, you want a nice fluffy result with no noticeable lumps. Let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes.
  2. Shape the potatoes into a pound with a well in the middle. Pour the egg into the well and sprinkle on 3/4 cup of flour. Work the potato mixture gently by scraping and chopping with a metal cutter. The dough should be moist but not sticky, almost billowy. Add a bit more flour if needed, let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly flour the work surface and gently roll the dough several times with a very light touch. The dough should feel light and airy. Divide the dough into eight logs. Gently roll each log on a floured surface so it's about 2cm thick. Use your metal cutter to cut off 1/2 inch pieces of gnocchi. Mark the gnocchi with a fork by lightly (but quickly) rolling them down the side the inside of the fork's prongs. This will leave little crevices for your gnocchi to pick up your delicious sauce.
  4. Bring some salted water to a boil. Place the gnocchi in batches into the boiling water. Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the top. Saute in butter for 50 seconds or until they brown slightly.
  5. For the Wild Mushroom Sauce:
  6. In a large pan heat the olive oil with the butter. Add the frozen gnocchi and saute about 5-10 minutes, turning gnocchi frequently, until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, one minute. Add the vermouth and cook until evaporated. Add the stock, cream, and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with truffle oil (a good quality extra virgin olive oil works too) and serve.

Notes

If you do not want to use all of your gnocchi immediately, place them on one or more parchment-lined trays and freeze at least 1 hour. Transfer to a plastic freezer bag for freezing up to one month.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/gnocchi-mushroom-sauce/

Recipe adapted slightly from Food and Wine and Jonathan Waxman’s recipe in the New York Times.

First photo courtesy of The Beer Cook

Second photo courtesy of The Komfort Kitchen

How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Basil Plant

Folks, you are in for a very special treat today.  You are witnessing a part of Foodie McBooty history — a huge milestone in the cooking life of Foodie McBooty:  I just bought my first basil plant!  Before this, I have never attempted growing an herb garden — in fear of my cat eating more of the plant than I actually would.

caboose killer kitteh
(*Jaws Theme Plays* AHHHHHH!!!!)

But I couldn’t resist the sweet smell of fresh basil and gave in.

So what’s a girl to do now that she has her own basil plant?  I ripped off as many leaves as possible and made fresh basil pesto!  I think I left enough plant for the little guy to survive.  I think…

(To be continued)

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yields: Two cups

Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, etc... *see note)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the nuts and pulse a couple more times. Add part of the olive oil and process for a few seconds. Repeat this step until all of the olive oil is used and your ingredients are smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add the cheeses. Pulse until just combined.

Notes

Pesto freezes really nicely. Pop any extra you may have into a freezer bag or small container for future use. Also, experiment with using different nuts in your pesto. Each provide a slightly different flavor and you might find a new favorite. I've heard toasted macadamia nuts are pretty good. Haven't tried it myself yet.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/basil-pesto/

Adapted from the Food Network Kitchens

Pesto photo from The Comfort of Cooking (thank you!)

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