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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Spinach Sausage Lasagna

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Prepare your favorite Red Sauce and add the cooked sausage and let it simmer covered for an hour or two. The longer your sauce cooks, the better it comes together and ultimately tastes. Other things you can do ahead of time are shredding the cheese and wilting some spinach. I have no idea if this is the best way to wilt spinach, but it works for me – wash your spinach and toss a bunch in a medium-low heat skillet. The volume will shrink dramatically, so as it reduces, remove the wilted ones and replace with un-wilted take care not to burn the spinach. Now that you’ve got most of the ingredients prepped, you’re ready to prepare the lasagna! Preheat oven to 375° and start a 6qt pot of water for the lasagna noodles. Mix the Riccotta & Egg together until it’s a goopy mess and add your wilted spinach and mix well. When the noodles are cooked, strain off the water and rinse noodles with cold water so they stop cooking (we don’t want overcooked noodles!). To a 13″x9″ baking dish, add a thin layer of sauce then following layers: Noodles, Ricotta Mixture, Mozzarella, Red Sauce. Repeat until you run out of room or ingredients. The top layer should be some Mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is starting to brown. Let it cool down closer to room temperature (~2 hours) then pop it into the oven or freezer! Of the possible reheating options, I prefer the toaster oven method as it produces the tastiest and best consistency, but the microwave does a speedy job.

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Red Sauce
32oz Tomato Sauce
12oz Tomato Paste
12oz Crushed Tomatoes
8-10oz Water or Pasta Water
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Italian Spices
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
12 oz cooked Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled

Ricotta Mixture
16oz Ricotta
1 Egg
1 cup wilted Spinach

16oz fresh shredded Mozzarella
16oz Lasagna noodles (cooked according to the box)

Makes 12 large slices. 2 hours total, can prepare elements ahead of time. With the sausage, spinach and other healthy goodies, this is a respectable meal but may be on the starchy side with the layers of noodles.


Written by Brent

May 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Shrimp and Gouda Risotto is-ah Very Good-ah… Har Har Har!

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Happy December everybody! For those in colder places than San Diego (read: everywhere else), this will surely warm your hands and your bellies. Risotto isn’t quite a rice and not quite a pasta – it’s a …. wait for it… rista! There are so many variations on risotto it’s ridiculous. Chipotle Risotto, Risotto Cakes, and now this! This lovely dinner was served with perfectly cooked Green Beans and a beautiful salad. ESC’s been getting bored with the regular lettuce and dressing, so she added some cucumber, brown-sugar bacon bits, mini heirloom tomatos, raspberry-walnut dressing, raisins, and more! MMmmmmmmm… Jealous?

Shrimp Gouda Risotto


The green beans and salad are easy enough, but the risotto might be a little tricky to get just right. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium-high for a minute or two, until just about to start smoking. Add the rice and stir/shake/rattle making sure it doesn’t burn. Add garlic and stir some more. Sauté until the risotto turns to sort of a translucent and just start to have a hint of browning. Dial down the heat to medium-low and add broth 1/2 cup at a time stirring frequently. The goal is to get all of the broth absorbed into the rice and not boil it away. After a few minutes add your assorted spices. Total time for absorption is usually 15-20 minutes. Taste often to make sure it’s done (shouldn’t be too crunchy, and definitely shouldn’t be super mushy). When the risotto is 2 minutes from being done, add the shrimp, green onion and fresh cilantro and mix well. Top with a couple bits of green onion and cilantro for good presentation, serve piping hot.

2 tbsp Olive Oil (or Butter)
1 Cup Aborio (risotto) rice
1 lg Clove Garlic, mashed
2 1/2 Cups Chicken/Veggie Broth
20 thawed cooked shrimp, de-veined and shelled
2 tbsp Italian seasonings (my favorite spices!)
Salt & Pepper
1 handful cubed smoked gouda
2 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves

Makes ~3 large servings. 5 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking. ~$3/plate – shrimp & cheese the most expensive parts. Using olive oil instead of butter helps keep this a healthier dish, but the cheese & shrimp add too much flavor to not use! Probably fairly high in carbs, eat with veggie sides. 🙂

Written by Brent

December 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Perfect Pistachio Pesto Pasta w/ Peppered Poultry

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Pesto In Da Choppa!

Pesto In Da Choppa!

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the letter ‘P’! Pesto is a fantastic dish that can be served fresh or refrigerated for a week and used in a multitude of leftovers. The combination of pesto and chicken made for a great weeknight meal that provided leftovers to take to work AND a little tub of extra pesto to be used in a few days. It can even be made well ahead of time to add to that quick meal!

Making pesto is super simple and requires almost zero effort. Just put the basil, olive oil, garlic and nuts into a food processor (we have a very cute baby one that holds about 4 cups) and pulse until everything is well processed. It should be sort of an oily paste-y consistency before adding the cheese. Now add the cheese, mix/process enough to get the cheese incorporated and you’re done! My lovely sous chef did the rest of the cooking while I made the pesto, but as for timing to do by yourself:

Pesto Chopped!

Pesto Chopped!

  1. Gather Pesto ingredients
  2. Start Pasta water
  3. Start chicken in a skillet
  4. Make Pesto
  5. Finish rest of everything
  6. ????
  7. Have a root beer float for dessert
  8. Eat Deliciousness
Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Peas and Poultry

Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Peas and Poultry

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 3/4 cup Fresh Basil
2 large Garlic Cloves, pressed
2 tbsp Pistachos (Dry Roasted or Raw)
1 tbsp chopped Walnuts (raw)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
3 pinches pepper
3 pinches salt
2 pinches crushed red pepper
1 Garlic Clove, pressed

Makes ~5 servings of pesto. 7-10 minutes prep. ~$3/tub. Nothing that’s exactly unhealthy, but it’s probably not something you want to gorge yourself on — your sweat will taste like garlic.

P.S. – I am totally fired for only having 3 posts since returning from Europe! Time to rectify!

Written by Brent

November 15, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Mac N’ Cheese courtesy of Alton Brown

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It’s been a gloomy and rainy couple of days out here in normally perfect San Diego, but perfect for some good homemade comfort food. ESC and I are getting settled into our new place and with the prodding of my big brother, I have no more excuses not to post the most recent culinary expedition!!

I have always been a Mac N’ Cheese enthusiast and used to love the generic boxed versions because they were sooooo cheesy and for some unfathomable reason, delicious. I stopped eating them because I was scared of the cheese powder. Scared that I would accidentally sneeze and it would go POOF all over the kitchen and completely ruin a perfectly tasty afternoon snack. Imitating the boxed flavor can be annoying to find the right recipe, but one of the food blogs I occasionally peruse had Alton Brown’s recipe in one of the comments. This recipe uses REAL CHEDDAR CHEESE and is just as cheesy and delicious as that crappy boxed version.

Warm Cider w/ Rum makes a great addition for a cold evening dinner!

Instructions! Bring water to a boil and cook macaroni al dente. While cooking the pasta: mix eggs, milk, salt & pepper in a smallish mixing bowl and set aside. Drain the cooked macaroni and return to the pan on low-medium heat. Melt butter into macaroni & stir, coating every precious curved pasta with buttery goodness. Mix in the egg-milk mixture, cheese and optional bacon. Let it heat up again to get the cheese to melt (~5 minutes). Mix thoroughly and serve hot in bowls. Serving sizes can be adjusted to make 5-6 side dish servings, or more pasta added with only minor porportional additions of milk & cheese. Enjoy!

Mr. Ghosty being welcomed!

Windup toys saying "HI!" to Mr. Ghosty.

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tbsp Butter
2 Eggs
6oz Evaporated Milk – This stuff is crazy
Salt to taste
Fresh black pepper
10oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Bits of Cooked Bacon

Makes 2 large bowls of goodness. ~3$/bowl. Completely unhealthy but stick to your ribs delicious.

Written by Brent

October 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Baked Mac ‘n Cheese – Holy Moly Delicous.

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So, here’s the story: I had tried to make mac n’ cheese before, and it turned out not so great. I had overcooked the noodles, the sauce wasn’t thick enough and it had a bread crumb topping that was just a pile of breadcrumbs and not crunchy. I was disappointed. ESC tried to console me and tell me that it was still good, but she may have been blinded by my usual awesomeness. Luckily I was not deterred and decided to make it again, but better. This was my redemption. This made up for that one and then some. If these two Mac n’ Cheeses were to fight, this one would’ve punched that one in the mouth, squashed it to little bits and thrown them overboard for the fishies to eat. This one had just the right consistency, great flavor from the nutmeg roux, perfectly cooked noodles and a great cheese topping. The first bite was a little bit of mouth euphoria.

Baked Mac N Cheese

Cheesy goodness lies just underneath that gooey crust

Start water boiling for pasta in a regular saucepan. Cook pasta until almost done – should be a little bit tough but not completely cooked. While water is heating, melt butter in a saucepan. When it’s all melted, add flour 1 tbsp at a time stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in nutmeg and make sure there are no lumpy bits. Add milk, bay leaves, salt and pepper; let simmer for a few minutes. This would be a great time to drain and set aside the pasta, remember not to cook completely as the noodles will still cook a bit in the oven. Slowly add cheese to the sauce mixture make sure to continue stirring to incorporate fully. Let it simmer for another couple minutes while it thickens. Add 1/2 of the noodles to a 9×9 glass baking dish spread evenly. Spoon some sauce over noodles then add the remaining noddles and sauce. Try to keep it evenly layered with a consistent thickness. Sprinkle 3/4 of the topping cheese on top and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 350°. With about 5 minutes left, top this delectable creation with the remaining cheese. Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Also, subscribe to my blog! You’ll get emails of deliciousness! Then you can take these recipes with you! Do it! Plus, you’ll be first to know when I post things like this:

Yayyy for good Mac n’ Cheese!!

1/2 lb Elbow Macaroni Pasta
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1.5 cup milk (skim)
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp crushed bay leaf
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Pepper
8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4 oz Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1.5 cup Cheese mixed

Makes ~4 servings. 20 minutes prep, 35 minutes baking. ~$2/plate. It’s mac n’ cheese with real butter and cheese, what more do you want?

Written by Brent

May 26, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Main Course, Pasta

Tagged with , , , ,

Whole Grain Rotini with Seasoned Chicken and Sautéed Veggies

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Veggies!!!! And Curly Pasta!!!!

This is a pretty basic dish that’s both tasty and has a lot of flexibility with what goes in it. Zucchini and Yellow Squash provide some nice colors and compliment the pasta well. Overall, it was a good meal, but the Whole Grain Rotini would’ve been much better covered with a nice red meat sauce along with the sautéed veggies.

Start heating the water for pasta and a skillet to cook the chicken breast. Cook the chicken breast in a pan with garlic, oil, salt, pepper and assorted spices over medium heat ~4 minutes on each side. When the chicken is about halfway done, turn the heat up to high and toss in the veggies. The pasta water should be about boiling, add rotini and cook al Dente (~8 minutes). Just before the pasta is finished, remove the skillet from heat and prepare your plates! Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle parmesan.

1/2 lb Whole Grain Rotini pasta
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 Chicken Breast
Olive Oil
Assorted Spices

Makes 3 servings. Total Time: 15-20 minutes. ~2$/plate. Veggies, protein, starchy-stuff, more veggies!

Written by Brent

May 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm