Pasta

Slow Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti

 

Cheese- stuffed meatballsI bet you’re here because you saw one of those food videos online. Maybe the one that takes balls of meat, stuffs them full of cheese, and ends with an, “Oooh yeah?”

Well you’re in luck. This is that recipe – with a few minor adjustments to suit my personal tastes.

You can use any type or any combination of ground meat that tickles your fancy. The fattier your meat, the more tender your meatballs will be. I chose to use turkey because I enjoy leaner meals. If you use turkey like I did in this recipe, your meatballs will cook a bit quicker. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook.

When I followed the recipe in the Tasty video, I found that my meatballs were very wet. I recommend dialing down the whole milk amount by 1/4-cup (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup of liquid). You can always add more if your mixture seems too dry. However, be mindful not to overwork your mixture.

cheese stuffed meatballs

A very important part of making a good meatball is to treat your meat gently. Man, that sounds weird, but believe me, it makes a difference. If you cook like I cook, once you get in that bowl with your bare hands, you want to keep mixing until the end of time. Be mindful – you want your mixture combined but if you mix for too long, your meatballs will be tough.

So try to show some restraint, will ya?

Cheese- stuffed meatballs

We gobbled these up for National Meatball Day. What a wonderful, glorious (random) holiday. Don’t wait until any sort of national day to make these. They’re awesome and you should make these immediately! This recipe makes about a couple dozen meatballs and fed us for multiple nights.

Tasty!

Cheese- stuffed meatballs

Slow Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 8-ounces Fresh Mozzarella
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Parsley
  • 64-ounces Tomato Sauce
  • Spaghetti Noodles

Directions

  1. Cut Mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
  2. Using your hands (this is a requirement!, mix all ingredients together except for the Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, and Pasta.
  3. Line the bottom of your slow cooker with a layer of tomato sauce.
  4. Form meat mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs. Stuff each meatball with a cube of mozzarella, reform into a ball, then place in the slow cooker. After you have made a layer of meatballs in your slow cooker, top with tomato sauce and repeat until all meatballs are formed and tomato sauce is used up.
  5. Cook on high for 2 hours. Check meatballs for doneness. Continue cooking for up to 30 more minutes until cooked.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/cheese-stuffed-meatballs-and-spaghetti/

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms {Vegetarian}

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Sadly, I think my photography skills are getting worse. I don’t have my food photo area set up anymore after I’ve moved. I’m still in a temporary living situation so that wont change anytime soon. Plus, I have a tendency to want to inhale anything I spend hours cooking, so by the time I get to the photo session I get impatient, snap a few shots, and satisfy my primal urges.

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Besides the high contrast photos, life has been good. I’ve been participating in a 31 Days of Horror (movie) Challenge. So far I’ve been able to watch 9 movies in 11 days. I have a little catching up to do, but I did discover a new favorite series, Dead Snow. Bask in its glory.

If you’re a fan of Evil Dead or Dead Alive, you need to watch Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2! So many fun references, great humor, and even better Nazi zombie gore scenes. Foodie McBooty gives these two thumbs up!

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Okay, back to the food. Every fall pumpkin and squash everything seems to appear everywhere (lattes, shakes, spaghetti, ravioli) come out of the woodwork (along with all of the creepy crawlies), and I love it!! I’m definitely one of those people who takes full advantage while she can. My apologies to anybody around me who has to deal with my (slight) addiction, but if I see a pumpkin or squash related item on a menu, I’m most likely ordering it.

This is a recipe I’ve made before but haven’t posted until today. I added mushrooms to my lasagna this time because I picked some up at the farmer’s market last weekend. I have to warn you now, as this lasagna bakes in the oven you might go a little crazy. The smell of warm butternut squash, garlicky spinach, and bubbling, browning cheese might drive you nuts. Or at least, it drives me nutty, which is why by the time I pull this out of the oven, I can’t take any decent pictures. Everything goes dark and before I know it, I’ve eaten half of the pan of lasagna and I have crummy pictures on my camera.

I regret nothing.

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms {Vegetarian}

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

    Butternut Squash Filling:
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree (1 medium cooked squash or frozen works in a bind)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk (more, if needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 ground nutmeg
  • Spinach Filling:
  • 1 pound spinach, washed and stems trimmed
  • 6-ounces of your favorite mushroom, washed and diced (I used oyster, but white or cremini would work great too)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Other Ingredients:
  • 10 oz lasagna noodles, cooked or oven-ready
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning

Directions

    Prepare the Butternut Squash Filling
  1. Cut the end of the butternut squash off, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place squash in a microwave safe container and add 2 teaspoons of water. Cover and microwave 6 minutes on high (you can also roast your squash in the oven if you have the time). Scoop out the cooked squash and place in a food processor. Add the thyme, ricotta cheese, milk, salt and nutmeg and blend until smooth. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick.
  2. For the Spinach Filling
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium-size pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, toss, and season with salt and pepper. You may need to add more olive oil as mushrooms tend to absorb a lot of liquid. Cook until the mushrooms are browned or cook down a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and toss until wilty, 1-2 minutes. Lastly, add the minced garlic and stir almost continuously until fragrant. Put the mixture into a medium bowl and add the ricotta and mozzarella cheese while the mixture is still hot. Set aside.
  4. Assemble the Lasagna
  5. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 11 inches x 8.5 inches x 3 inches dish with butter or non-stick spray.
  6. Spread about a 1/3 of the butternut squash filling on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked or oven-ready lasagna noodles, being careful not to overlap them.
  7. Spread half of the spinach mixture over the noodles. Top lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  8. Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash mixture, then sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  9. Spread the remaining half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of cooked noodles.
  10. Spread the last layer (1/3) of butternut squash filling over this final layer of noodles, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese (should be about 1/2 cup of mozzarella). Generously sprinkle the cheese with Italian seasoning.
  11. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/butternut-squash-lasagna-with-spinach-and-mushrooms-vegetarian/

Pasta Carbonara

pasta carbonara bacon peas

Lately I have found myself eating more and more vegan and vegetarian meals.  I was a vegetarian for many years (many years ago now) but I found that my lifestyle had changed and I incorporated more and more meat back into my diet.  Nowadays, there are many fantastic meat substitutes available.  I can cope with fake chicken and fake hot dogs, but the fake-in bacon (whether you make it yourself or buy it) just doesn’t quite make the cut for me.  To me, the sound and smell of cooking bacon makes my mouth water and tummy growl.

So as I transition back to a (mostly) vegetarian diet, I still find myself craving bacon from time to time.  We completely indulged with this bacon, cream and cheese pasta dish.  As you can imagine, it’s decadent and delicious.  Salty bacon, creamy pasta and pops of sweetness from the green peas – yum!!

We used a combination of whole wheat penne and cavatappi for our pasta but you can use whatever pasta you have laying around.

pasta carbonara bacon peas

Pasta Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 12-ounces of pasta (a little less than 1 full box)
  • 8 pieces of thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cups grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup green peas

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon until just barely crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Pour off all of the bacon grease, but don't clean the pan. Return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat and throw in the onions and garlic. Cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix together eggs, Parmesan, cream, and salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. When the pasta is done, reserve a cup or two of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and place it in a bowl. While the pasta is still really hot, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta the whole time. The sauce will become thick and should coat the pasta. Splash in a little hot pasta water if needed for consistency.
  5. Halfway through, add the peas, bacon, and sauteed onion/garlic. Finish adding the sauce, stirring until it's all combined.
  6. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/pasta-carbonara/

Recipe from the Pioneer Woman.

 

Broccoli Pesto Penne {Vegan}

broccoli pesto pasta

With all of the recent tragic events it’s really made me sit back and count my blessings.  America is supposed to be a nation of nations, where people come to be free and thrive and build better lives.  What is happening lately?  Too many public shootings, then Newtown and now the Boston Marathon.  As one of my friends put it, it’s like the pendulum has swung and we’ve all become vulnerable.  I can’t imagine what all of the victim’s families must be going through.  I feel so helpless.  America needs to unify again and make a come back.  Anywho my heart goes out to everyone in Boston this morning.

Moving from my darker rant to something that always lightens my mood:  Fresh Pesto.

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces to add to a dish of steaming pasta.  I wanted to add some more nutrition to my bowl and thought it might be fun to incorporate broccoli into the mix too.  As it turned out, many other foodies and bloggers alike have had this same idea of pureeing broccoli into a pesto.  However, most of them omit the basil completely.  I decided to make a hybrid.

broccoli pesto pasta

We have also added whole wheat pasta to our regiment.  Although I don’t use it 100% of the time, I try to at least incorporate at half and half mixture to our pasta dishes.  I’ve found that some wheat pastas are a bit “wheatier” than others and may take a bit of adjusting to if you are used to all white, smooth flour pastas.  Mixing wheat and white pastas are a great way to start.

I really loved the texture of this sauce.  If I were going to add anything to this recipe, it would be a bit of fat from either heavy cream or greek yogurt.  Either would work great.

Broccoli Pesto Penne

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 1 pound pasta (we used whole wheat penne)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or your favorite nuts to use in pesto)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped, for garnish
  • grated parmesan, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into florets. Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the tough outer skins of the broccoli stem and chop the stem into 1/2-inch discs. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli florets and stem to the water to boil until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove broccoli to a bowl, leaving the water in the pot.
  2. Maintain the water at a boil. Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta well. Set aside.
  3. Return the pot to the heat. Add the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and cook 1 minute more. Return the cooked broccoli to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes to heat through. Season with pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer the broccoli mixture, fresh basil, lemon juice, black pepper and nuts to a food processor. Pulse in short bursts, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is finely chopped. Add a bit of pasta water to thin out the sauce until it is smooth and creamy. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary. In a large bowl (or in the pot), toss the pasta with the sauce. Serve with chopped tomatoes and freshly grated Parmesan if using.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/broccoli-pesto-penne-vegan/

Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Cheese Tortellini with Peas and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Cheese Tortellini, Mushrooms, Peas, Parmesan, Pasta

Man, it has been colder than cold here in Colorado lately.  I think the high maybe squeaked into the teens today.  BRR!!  It was time to whip out some warm, hearty recipes… like this one!

Besides my recent “splurge” at Sprouts Grocery Store (I bought an eggplant and some potatoes) I have mostly steered clear of the grocery stores overall.  Continuing with my Fiscal Cleanse, I didn’t buy anything for this recipe.  I still had leftover cheese tortellini from a previous recipe, frozen peas, and mushrooms in my fridge.  If you don’t like mushrooms, feel free to omit them, but do not (and I repeat DO NOT) skimp on the Parmesan sauce.  It is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good!

😀  This dish is cheesy and creamy with pops of freshness from the peas and the lemon juice.  I couldn’t stop eating this (which I later regretted but it was so worth the pain).

Cheese Tortellini with Mushrooms, Peas and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

Serving Size: About 12 tortellini

Cheese Tortellini with Mushrooms, Peas and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pre-made cheese tortellini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing, plus more for the tortellini
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 5 large white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/16 crushed red pepper, extra crushed in your hand, optional
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

Directions

  1. Boil your tortellini according to the package directions. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside.
  2. Saute the onions and mushrooms in olive oil and butter. Once the mushrooms have begun to soften, about 5 minutes, add the garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper. Saute for another 2 minutes then add the vegetable broth, heavy cream and frozen peas. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low (simmer). Stir occasionally and allow the sauce to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon and Parmesan and remove from heat. Stir until the Parmesan is incorporated in the sauce.
  3. Add the cooked tortellini and gently toss. Serve immediately.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/cheese-tortellini-with-peas-and-parmesan-cream-sauce/

 

Vegan Ziti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

Veganism is something that Mister and I are both currently exploring.  We are meat lovers at heart, but from time to time I find an amazing vegan recipe that I have to try (and Mister is typically my guinea pig).  Plus a good friend of ours is vegan, which provides even more opportunities to create some of these dairy and egg-free dishes.

Mister whipped this up for our last potluck and it turned out really good.  We took the leftovers and baked them with layers of leftover marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese as well.  Simply use vegan mozz if you’d like to do the same (which, I highly recommend).

This puppy made a ton of leftovers for us!  Great to make on the weekend to enjoy for  lunch for the next few days.

Vegan Ziti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: About 8-10 servings

Vegan Ziti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound box of ziti (regular or whole wheat)
  • 1 cup chopped oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup firm silken tofu, drained, pressed and cut into small chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped basil (or 1 tablespoon dried basil)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small can marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • soy parmesan (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook the ziti al dente. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the tomatoes, tofu, garlic, basil, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Process to a smooth consistency. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and artichokes. Sprinkle with the parsley and soy parmesan, if desired.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/vegan-ziti-with-sun-dried-tomatoes-and-artichokes/

Recipe adapted from 366 Simply Delicious Dairy-Free Recipes by Robin Robertson.

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/

Leftover Pasta? Spinach Frittata!

Ever wonder what to do with all of those leftover noodles from pasta night?  I can never get the sauce to noodle ratio right.  I either have a slew of sauce or a mound of noodles leftover.  In this case, homemade noodles were the culprit.

This might be one of the oddest things I have ever created but I really wanted to use pasta in a new and exciting way.  Originally, I thought I would make mini baked pastas but I couldn’t figure out a way to get the baked pasta to hold its shape.  Instead, I made these wacky frittatas.

The noodles practical hide among the eggs and cheese.  The flavors have transformed from spaghetti and marinara sauce to cheese, eggs and a hint of spinach – from dinner to brunch!

And there you have it folks, a completely new way to use up your leftover noodles.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Leftover Pasta Spinach Frittatas

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: 12 Mini Frittatas

Leftover Pasta Spinach Frittatas

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmigiano Cheese, reserving a few teaspoons on the side
  • 1 1/4 cups lite sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups half & half
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, drained or fresh spinach
  • 2-3 cups cooked noodles (angel hair, spaghetti or fettuccine work best)
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Leftover pesto or marinara sauce, optional

Directions

  1. Place your oven rack in the lowest part of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Generously spray your muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter and sauté the onions and garlic until softened. Add spinach and cook for another minute. Add your noodles, toss and remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the Parmigiano, sour cream, ricotta cheese, half & half, salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle a bit of Parmigiano in the bottom of each muffin tin. Add about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into each cup. Mount the pasta mixture in the cups. When you run out of pasta, pour the remaining cheese mixture into the cups, dividing evenly. Sprinkle a bit more Parmigiano over each.
  5. Bake uncovered until bottoms are brown (tops should not be too dry), about 30 to 35 minutes. Loosen with a knife and remove. Top with a bit of pasta sauce (if you have it) and fresh basil leaves before serving.

Notes

The frittata can be served hot, but tastes better at room temperature. Freeze the unbaked frittatas for up to a month to prepare these ahead of time.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/leftover-pasta-spinach-frittatas/

Homemade Pasta

There is absolutely NOTHING like homemade pasta.  Mister is a master of hand rolling pasta dough and the result just doesn’t come close to the dried pasta that is sitting in my cabinet.  This pasta is chewy in all the right places and practically absorbs your homemade sauce like it’s thirsting for it!

Two eggs for one cup of flour is a good ratio to stick to.  One egg per serving.  We made fettucine noodles.  You could cut them thinner to make more of a spaghetti noodle or grab a pasta press.  Either way, try your best to roll your dough out as thin as it will go because the pasta will puff up a bit when you cook it.

Homemade Pasta

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yields: Serves 4

Homemade Pasta

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour (you can substitute 1 cup of white flour for 1 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Combine your flour and eggs with your hands. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead the heck out of it until it is no longer tacky. You'll really need to put your back into it to get the gluten to cooperate so your dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Let the dough rest for a little while. Cut a chunk off and roll it out on a floured surface as thin as it will go.
  2. Now here's the tricky part (sort of): Lightly flour the top of your dough and gently roll it into a jelly roll. Take a butter knife and make small slices all along the length of the roll. You'll end up with many little rolls of dough. When you (carefully) unroll them, you'll have a big pile of uniform fettucine noodles! It's magic, really.
  3. Boil your noodles in heavily salted water for a couple of minutes. Fresh noodles take little to no time to cook at all. Serve hot with your favorite sauce. This recipe is my favorite.

Notes

Refrigerated pasta will last up to three days while frozen fresh pasta should be consumed within three months.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/homemade-pasta/

Note:

To dry your uncooked pasta, you can simply dry them on a drying rack, on plastic coat hangers or in nests, like I did here:

Simply make sure you allow your pasta to dry enough (as if you just purchased it at the grocery store).  Then carefully place your pasta in a ziplock bag and store in the fridge or freezer. Refrigerated pasta will last up to three days while frozen fresh pasta should be consumed within three months.

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/

Mac and Cheese With Buttery Goldfish Crust {Vegetarian}

I was at a friend’s house of mine a few nights ago enjoying an evening of fine conversation (and strong wine) when we started to get hungry.  Us ladies searched the pantry for scrumptious treats when she kindly suggested preparing a box of mac and cheese.  I looked at her, wide-eyed in disbelief, as if she had just told a child that Santa doesn’t really exist.

“Blasphemy!” I yelped and rambunctiously explained to her how powdered cheese doesn’t do a noodle justice. It should be banned from the United States for posing as a cheese, heck, all American cheeses should be banned from the cheese section  … but I digress.  I continued my snobbish manifesto until the crooked look on her face made me realize how absurd I was being (I get a little passionate when it comes to mac and cheese, sue me).

Instead of telling her, I decided to show her.  It is so easy to make real deal mac and cheese, you may never make boxed mac and cheese again.  Once you get the hang of things, you can add other ingredients and play with the concept a bit.

This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s Mac and Cheese recipe. 

Baked Mac and Cheese With Buttery Goldfish Crust

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: 6-8 Servings

Baked Mac and Cheese With Buttery Goldfish Crust

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound pasta (elbow macaroni, spirals, ziti... your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 6-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3-ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 3-ounces colby-jack cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup crushed Goldfish Cheddar Crackers or Cheez-It Crackers (or both!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiled, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a separate pot. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, paprika and cayenne. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  2. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  3. Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the crackers to coat. Top the macaroni with the cracker mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/baked-mac-and-cheese-with-buttery-goldfish-crust/

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.

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