Brent's Food Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘pasta

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

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

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