Tag Archives: italian

Lazy Sunday Italian Tomato Gravy

6 Nov
Lazy Sunday Italian Tomato Gravy

Lazy Sunday Italian Tomato Gravy

After we harvested the last of our ripe tomatoes before the first freeze hit, I decided to grab a bunch of the green tomatoes and hope for the best. These languished on the countertop for a couple of weeks as they slowly ripened. Yesterday I decided I better do something with the ones that finally ripened. Older tomatoes like this need to be cooked down, so slow-roasting them all day seemed the perfect way to spend my Sunday while binge-watching Chopped episodes. And it made the house smell divine!

While I used fresh tomatoes for half this recipe (I blanched and peeled them first), by all means use all canned tomatoes, and preferably San Marzano. Mine were fire-roasted but plain works equally as well. I had to add some additional water during the cooking since I didn’t have the canned juice to go with fresh tomatoes.

This recipe is halved, but by all means double it, as this tomato gravy can go with a multitude of dishes beyond pasta. We served it over rice with garlicky sauteed shrimp. I plan on poaching some eggs in the leftover sauce for a future meal. So rich and incredibly tasty!!

Lazy Sunday Italian Tomato Gravy
Adapted from Serious Eats/J. Kenji López-Alt

2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
8 baby carrots
1/2 medium onion, halved
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Fresh and Canned Peeled Tomatoes

Fresh and Canned Peeled Tomatoes

Lower rack in oven to bottom position and preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes thoroughly with your hands. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the crushed tomatoes to a container and refrigerate until later.

Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven until butter is melted. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil, and cook for about two minutes until garlic is fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, carrots and onion until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Tomato Gravy Ready to Slow Cook

Tomato Gravy Ready to Slow Cook

Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and place in preheated oven. Walk away and enjoy your day, coming back to stir about every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add a little water if needed throughout. The sauce should reduce by about half and darkened to a deep red, about 5 to 6 hours.

Remove from oven, then discard onion quarters and carrots. Add the reserved tomatoes and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately over pasta, rice or any which way you want. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to a week or frozen. Reheat from frozen with 1/2 cup water.

p.s. Austin Street Taco followers: I’ve closed my cart down now for the winter, but had a meeting today about a possible and exciting future venue next year! Stay tuned!

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Sage-Infused Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms with Cacio e Pepe

14 Aug
Sage-Infused Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms with Cacio e Pepe

Sage-Infused Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms with Cacio e Pepe

I follow some fantastic food blogs, and many of their recipes are the inspiration for our meals. The past couple of days yielded a bonanza for me for a meal that had everything I already had in the pantry, garden, or freezer. The hubby thought it was quite good!

Huge thanks to Linda at Fabulous Fare Sisters and to Mimi at Chef Mimi Blog for providing the motivation to make this super-tasty meal. Go check out their blogs when you have a chance!

On to the preparation!

Sage-Infused Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms
Inspired by Linda at Fabulous Fare Sisters

Garden Sage Plant

Garden Sage Plant

8 ounces sirloin tips
2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
2 tablespoons fresh chopped green onions (green part only) or chives
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Fresh ground pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste

Finely Chopped Sage and Green Onion

Finely Chopped Sage and Green Onion

Place the chopped sage, green onion or chives and garlic in a shallow dish. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, and whisk to combine.

Add the sirloin tips, mix well, then marinate at room temperature for a half hour.

Sirloin Tips in Herby Maridade

Sirloin Tips in Herby Maridade

Meanwhile, add another tablespoon of olive oil to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until liquid has released and mushrooms have browned. Remove from skillet and set aside and turn off heat.

Cooking the Mushrooms

Cooking the Mushrooms

Next, prepare the Cacio e Pepe (recipe below).

When pasta is cooked, reheat the same cast iron skillet on high. Drizzle a little olive oil into the hot skillet. Add the sirloin tips and sage mixture and sauté 3 to 5 minutes until cooked to your liking.

Steak Tips in Sage Sauce

Steak Tips in Sage Sauce

Add the mushrooms and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and serve immediately with the Cacio e Pepe.

Cacio e Pepe
Inspired by Chef Mimi Blog

2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
4 ounces dried spaghetti noodles
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for serving

Finely Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Finely Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Place a large pot full of salted water on the stove over high heat and cook spaghetti according to package directions.

When the pasta is done to your liking, reserve 2 cups of the pasta water in a bowl. Drain the pasta and return the pasta to the pot. Immediately add about a half cup of pasta water to the pot, stirring gently.

Add a teaspoon of coarsely ground pepper and the grated cheese, along with more pasta water as needed, (I kept having to add about a 1/4 cup at a time throughout and did end up with some clumpy cheese at the bottom, but that’s OK).

Pasta, Cheese, and Pepper

Pasta, Cheese, and Pepper

Stir vigorously through out this process until cheese is melted and pasta is creamy. Keep warm until steak tips are done, and add a little more pasta water to loosen up just before serving. Serve with additional ground pepper, if desired (recommended!)

Sage-Infused Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms with Cacio e Pepe

Sage-Infused Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms with Cacio e Pepe

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole

26 Apr
Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole

Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole

I “borrowed” this recipe from my foodie blogging friend Seana over at Cottage Grove House. Her recipes have never failed me, and this one didn’t either. The flavors in this are bright and flavorful! If we hadn’t left town for a couple of days this would have been completely consumed. The original recipe called for almond meal and nutritional yeast, but since I couldn’t find either of those I subbed in with ground roasted almonds and shredded Parmesan cheese.

Side note: This made a LOT of food for my small family so I plan on halving it next time. Part of that was my fault for using a pound of chicken sausage instead of 1/2 pound — DOH! But the family liked it and that’s what counts, right? 😀

All Natural Chicken Sausage

All Natural Chicken Sausage

Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole
Adapted from Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole at Cottage Grove House

1 medium head of cauliflower (roughly 2 pounds) cut into bite size florets
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound organic chicken sausages, removed from casings (1/2 pound would be plenty, too)
1 cup diced onion
1/8 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
1 28-ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup roasted almonds, ground in a food processor
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the minced garlic and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for approximately 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking time. When the cauliflower is lightly browned, remove from the oven and set aside.

Browning the Chicken Sausage and Onions

Browning the Chicken Sausage and Onions

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken sausage, breaking it up as you add it. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until it is cooked through and browned thoroughly. Lower the heat to medium low and add the onions, and thyme. Sauté the mixture for about 5 to 7 minutes until the onions have started to soften.

Tomatoes Added to Chicken Sausage Mixture

Tomatoes Added to Chicken Sausage Mixture

Add the Italian diced tomatoes to the skillet, with its liquid. Stir thoroughly and cook for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Last, stir in the cauliflower until all pieces are coated with the tomato liquid.

Cauliflower Added to Mixture

Cauliflower Added to Mixture

Spray a 3-quart casserole with olive oil and pour the cauliflower and sausage mixture into the dish. In a small bowl combine the ground almonds and Parmesan cheese and distribute evenly over the casserole. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Casserole Ready for Almond Cheese Topping

Casserole Ready for Almond Cheese Topping

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

23 Mar

UPDATE! I so apologize to my readers, but I am so thankful for my readers who point out a mistake in my recipe and that they actually take the time to make my recipes! I am humbled!

However, I forgot to include in the instructions to mix the Mozzarella and Parmesan with the spinach and other ingredients. That has now been fixed, both in this post and in the PDF. I apologize for any inconvenience (or lack of taste) this has caused for you. As always, thank you so much for sticking with me on this adventure! XOXO

anotherfoodieblogger

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

If you have some yummy spaghetti sauce on hand and want to make something different than plain ol’ spaghetti, this is a winning recipe! It’s not overly difficult to make (aside from stuffing those pesky shells) and makes a really nice meal that has all your veggies in it!

I pretty much used my recipe for my Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups, but just changed some of the cheese amounts. I feel pretty proud of this recipe, as all the online versions I found for it made anywhere from 24 to 30 shells — way more than I wanted! I went with my gut feeling, and figured 16 shells would do the trick with the amount of stuffing I use for my roll-ups. I was SPOT ON! Woo hoo! I served this with green salad and baked garlic bread. We ate half one…

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Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

21 Mar
Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

If you have some yummy spaghetti sauce on hand and want to make something different than plain ol’ spaghetti, this is a winning recipe! It’s not overly difficult to make (aside from stuffing those pesky shells) and makes a really nice meal that has all your veggies in it!

I pretty much used my recipe for my Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups, but just changed some of the cheese amounts. I feel pretty proud of this recipe, as all the online versions I found for it made anywhere from 24 to 30 shells — way more than I wanted! I went with my gut feeling, and figured 16 shells would do the trick with the amount of stuffing I use for my roll-ups. I was SPOT ON! Woo hoo! I served this with green salad and baked garlic bread. We ate half one night, then finished the other half the next, but you can freeze the leftovers if you want.

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

16 uncooked Jumbo shell pasta
3 cups Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce, or other prepared sauce
1 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella (I used a block of low-fat and shredded it with a grater)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 teaspoons minced garlic
10-ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, beaten
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Additional shredded Mozzarella, for topping

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook the noodles to al dente according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, combine the Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic, spinach, egg, pepper, salt or Mrs. Dash, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Stuffed Pasta Ingredients Ready to Mix

Stuffed Pasta Ingredients Ready to Mix

When the noodles are done, drain the noodles, let cool a bit, then lay them on parchment or wax paper in a single layer.

Cooked Pasta Shells

Cooked Pasta Shells

Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Stuff 1/4 cup or so of the cheese and spinach mixture into each pasta shell and place into the dish.

Stuffed Shells Wanting Sauce and Cheese

Stuffed Shells Wanting Sauce and Cheese

Pour 2 cups of spaghetti sauce over the stuffed shells. Grate additional mozzarella cheese over the top of the shells, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and turn on the broiler. Broil for about 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Stuffed Shells Ready to Cook

Stuffed Shells Ready to Cook

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a green side salad and garlic bread. You can freeze the remaining shells in Ziploc bags for a quick and easy future meal. My family loved this so much we ate the rest of it up the next day!

p.s. (Please let me indulge you with photos of my daughter’s rose she got at her dance team’s end-of-year potluck celebration! That was a long journey to get through dance season with the football and basketball schedules!)

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese2

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Mozzarella Rollups

21 May
Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

My daughter and I were browsing through Pinterest recipes last week looking for dinner ideas. This one immediately caught her eyes and she said “Make THAT ONE for dinner sometime!” So, I did! This came out so purdy and tasted so good — it is even dinner guest-worthy. But what’s even better is it is not that overly difficult to make and can be prepared in just under an hour. You just have to be set to get bread crumbs all over the place if you’re as sloppy a cook as I am!

When I went shopping for the cheese I accidentally bought shredded Parmesan instead of grated.

Shredded Cheese and Bread Crumbs

Shredded Cheese and Bread Crumbs

I really didn’t want to use the fake-shake cheese in a green can that is used in emergencies, so I did the next best thing. I simply put some of the shredded cheese into my Ninja food processor and BAM! Instant grated cheese. I just love that little appliance!

Now on to the recipe:

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Mozzarella Rollups
Adapted from Pinch of Yum Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 4 cups, chopped)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
Spray oil
Marinara sauce, for topping
Fresh basil, ribboned, for topping

Slice the chicken in half lengthwise into 4 pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and pound the pieces with a meat mallet until they are about 1/4 inch thin. (I used a smallish cutting board so had to keep moving them over as I pounded each one.) Season both sides with ground black pepper, to taste.

Chicken Pounded Thin and Seasoned

Chicken Pounded Thin and Seasoned

Add the breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl and mix in half the grated Parmesan cheese. (I used the glass lid off one of my Pyrex dishes.) Set all aside.

Grated Cheese and Bread Crumbs

GRATED Cheese and Bread Crumbs ~ Note the Grated Part

Drizzle some olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. Add in the spinach and garlic and saute it for just a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and add the spinach to a bowl.

Spinach and Garlic

Spinach and Garlic

Add the ricotta, the rest of the Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg into the bowl with spinach and combine well. Place the rest of the egg in another shallow bowl (or in my case, another glass lid). Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread 1/4 of the spinach-cheese mixture over each of the chicken pieces.

Filling Spread Over Chicken

Filling Spread Over Chicken

Roll one of them up starting with the narrowest end. Gently dip the entire chicken roll in the egg, then gently roll it in the bread crumbs, patting the crumbs into the chicken. Place in a 2-quart baking dish sprayed with oil, seam side down. Repeat process with the other three pieces.

Chicken Rollups Ready to Bake

Chicken Rollups Ready to Bake

Spray the top of the chicken lightly with oil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

While that is all cooking, slice your fresh mozzarella and chop up any salad fixin’s you want on your green salad, if you are serving the dish with that.

Mozzarella and Salad Fixings

Mozzarella and Salad Fixin’s (and the forgotten breadsticks)

Remove from oven, then spoon desired amount of marinara sauce over the chicken. Top each piece with a slice of fresh Mozzarella. Place back in oven and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh ribboned basil.

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

Serve with a light green salad and Italian breadsticks or garlic bread. (In our case, we ate the breadsticks AFTER dinner because I forgot to serve them — DOH!) I’ll be making this dish often in our household, as it was fairly easy to make and the flavors are outstanding! And my daughter, who picked out this recipe, really loved it.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Chickpea Bolognese

16 Apr
Chickpea Bolognese

Chickpea Bolognese

I entered one of my chickpea recipes in Food52’s most recent recipe contest, and was once again selected as a Community Pick Testing finalist! Here is the link to the finalists: Food52 Community Pick Recipe Testing

Mine is the “Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style” recipe in the list. My lovely photo of them for you viewing pleasure:

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Cajun Style

When I saw the other recipes that needed testing, I quickly glommed onto the Chickpea Bolognese. I just love chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and figured this would also be something my family would enjoy for dinner.

While I usually don’t test a recipe that is competing against mine, I thought well why not? We are all cooks in this together and I don’t mind at all offering my feedback to the other contestants.

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to use only 3 tablespoons of olive oil instead of 4, I simmered it for an hour and a half instead of 1 hour, and did not add any salt since the pancetta and tomatoes added plenty of salt.

This was lick-your-plate good and quite easy to make! And don’t skimp on the fresh basil! I also got two thumbs-up from the family. Plus I have enough leftover for another meal for the freezer for our “nobody feels like cooking dinner” nights. Win-win!

My changes (and additional notes) to the original recipe are in italics below.

Chickpea Bolognese Ingredients

Chickpea Bolognese Ingredients (I forgot to include the dry herbs in the photo)

Chickpea Bolognese
From Food52 website Chickpea Bolognese by inpatskitchen

Author Notes: I love a good Bolognese and often make it with a variety of meats, including ground turkey as an alternative to pork, veal or beef. This time I gave it a shot with chickpeas and it turned out rather well…  — inpatskitchen

Serves about 6

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 medium onion, rough chopped
1 medium carrot, rough chopped (I only had baby carrots so used a handful of those)
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 ounces pancetta (or bacon in a pinch) chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling (I used 3)
3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15 ounce cans drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional but oh so good!)
One 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (or other good plum tomato) (I used organic Muir Glen)
1 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup light cream or half and half
A nice handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
Parmesan cheese for finishing
Salt and black pepper to taste (I didn’t use salt)
1 pound dried pasta, cooked al dente (I used Mostaccioli)

Pour the cup of boiling water over the porcini and let “steep” for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and pancetta in the bowl of a food processor and process until not quite smooth. (I only have a two-cup processor so had to do it in batches.) You want a little texture here.

Food-Processor Vegetables

Food-Processor Vegetables

Heat the 4 (or 3) tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and add the chickpeas. Saute over medium heat for a few minutes, making sure the chickpeas are coated with the oil. Add the processed mixture and continue to sauté until the vegetables soften and become fragrant.

Chickpeas and Vegetables

Chickpeas and Vegetables

Add the basil, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes and continue to sauté another minute or two. Remove the porcini from the soaking liquid and chop finely. Add them to the pot. Strain and reserve the liquid.

With your clean hands, crush the tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the wine and porcini soaking liquid. Bring up to a simmer and simmer, partially covered for about an hour (I simmered for 1 1/2 hours). Stir occasionally.

Tomatoes and Mushrooms Added

Tomatoes and Mushrooms Added

After an hour (or more) , use an immersion blender (I used a regular blender and blended about half of it) to break down about half of the chickpeas. Add the light cream and bring back up to a simmer. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Off the heat, stir in the torn basil leaves.

Serve over pasta garnished with Parmesan and drizzled with a little olive oil.

Note: If you want to make this vegetarian, omit the pancetta but you might need to add some salt.

Chickpea Bolognese

Chickpea Bolognese

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

26 Feb
Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

This is one of those “it’s time to clean out the refrigerator” soups. I had a large hodgepodge of fresh vegetables to use up and a half-bag of cheese tortellini in the freezer. So why not make a soup out of it all?

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

I decided on an Italian-style soup with tomatoes and Italian seasoning. This started out to be a semi-vegetarian soup, but a last-minute errand brought me close to the supermarket so I ran in and bought a link of Italian Turkey Sausage. You can leave out the sausage because the tortellini is filling enough, but I’m always wary of serving my husband a vegetarian supper.

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

There is really not much to the recipe other than some slicing and dicing and a little sauteing. Use any kind of vegetables you want in this soup! Don’t have asparagus but have some zucchini? Use that instead! Don’t have any celery? Then add more carrots! What a flexible way to use up those pesky portions of vegetables that aren’t enough for a meal, huh?

Vegetable Base for Soup

Vegetable Base for Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/4 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 jar or can of tomatoes, diced, with liquid
6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
Small head of broccoli, cut into florets
Small bunch of asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
9 ounces cheese tortellini, frozen or refrigerated
1/2 horseshoe link of Italian Turkey Sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Dice, chop, mince, slice, and cut up all your veggies (and sausage if you use it). You can perfect your knife skills with this soup!

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the seasonings. Plop in two large spoonfuls of tomato paste into the skillet (about 2 tablespoons) then stir to combine with the vegetables. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

Simmering the Soup

Simmering the Soup

Add the diced tomatoes then add the broccoli and asparagus, stirring to combine. Now pour in the chicken broth. Turn up heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, to meld the flavors.

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the tortellini and sausage, bring back up to a simmer, and continue cooking until tortellini is cooked through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, and Italian Sourdough bread. I decided to use the one fresh tomato we had left in a side salad that we also ate with the soup.

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

18 Aug
Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

It is really difficult to take a photo of a casserole dish that looks good. And it is really, really difficult to take one when the only chance you had to grab a shot was when there was just a wee portion of it left. That being said, I have this fantastic recipe to share for you of this pasta dish my husband made earlier in the week. Paul is a hero. I’ve been working overtime for the past week and he has cooked every single night! And I’m not talking mac and cheese out of the box or take-out pizza either. Homemade food. Comfort food. Lovely fresh salads with tomatoes and chives from our garden. And this casserole. I just LOVED this meal and ate the leftovers until it was gone, gone, gone.

p.s. After last night’s dinner of grilled New York steak, baked potato, and garden salad, I squeezed the recipe out of him. I would only make minor changes to this if I made it. And I DO plan on cooking this myself when I crawl out of the weeds.

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

2 1/2 cups uncooked Ziti pasta
1/2 pound ground hot Italian sausage
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash regular blend
Ground black pepper to taste
2 cups milk (he used 1%)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cups cottage cheese (he used 4%)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (he used low fat)
Hungarian paprika, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside. In a skillet, brown the sausage until cooked through thoroughly, drain, and set aside.  In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the garlic. (For future versions, he thought adding some chopped onions and mushrooms at this point would be excellent.)  Stir in the flour, Mrs. Dash, and pepper. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until smooth. Bring up to  a slow boil, and continue whisking until thickened. Take the pan off the heat, then stir in 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and pour the cheese sauce over it and stir to coat.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the egg, cottage cheese, parsley, the other 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and more Mrs. Dash and black pepper, to taste. Layer about half the pasta/cheese mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish sprayed lightly with oil. Pour the cottage cheese mixture over it evenly. Now mix the sausage in with the rest of the pasta then layer that evenly over the casserole. Top with the Mozarella cheese, and shake the paprika evenly over the top, to taste. My husband used a lot of it, which I liked!  Now bake the casserole for 35 minutes or so, until hot and bubbly.  Creamy, comforting food for the weary. ‘Nuff said.

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy White Sauce 2

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy White Sauce

Additional notes: I would use 1 cup milk and 1 cup homemade chicken broth instead of all milk for the sauce for a richer flavor. I also liked his idea of adding onions and mushrooms.  Last, I’d probably mix everything up in one bowl instead of doing the layering thing to save both a bowl and time.

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