Rigatoni Pie

Don’t worry… You’re not putting pasta in a pie crust with this pie. This is a fun variation on your basic pasta, sauce and cheese dish.

You start off by boiling a pound of rigatoni pasta until it is lightly less than al dente – the minutes truly depend on the brand of pasta you buy. Once the pasta is ready, drain it and spread it on a baking sheet and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Next, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a 9-inch springform pan in the center. Grease the pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and began standing the rigatoni on their ends in the pan until the entire pan is filled.

Pour your favorite pasta sauce over the noodles and then sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the sauce.

Tent the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 375 F oven. Uncover the pan and bake for about another 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

Let the pasta cool for 10 minutes and then carefully remove the ring from the pan, cut the pie and serve.

 

Rigatoni Pie

Ingredients:

4 cups of marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)

1 pound rigatoni

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated

2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until is slightly less than al dente. Drain the pasta, spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Stand the rigatoni on their ends in the prepared springform pan. Pour the sauce over the noodles and spread with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Tent the pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, uncover and bake until the cheese us bubbly and golden brown, about an additional 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove the ring from the pan.

Recipe from Food Network

 

A Quick & Easy Bolognese

As the temperatures begin to drop our need and desire for hearty and comforting dishes begins to rise. There’s nothing like coming in from the cold with a nice hot bowl of soup waiting for you. That’s my usual go-to after a morning of shoveling, but let’s not talk about snow so early in the season. We haven’t even had our first frost yet! And just as comforting as soup is pasta and today I have a recipe for you for a quick and easy Bolognese. I came across it in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine where they coined it Weeknight Bolognese. I’m calling it quick and easy because I was able to make twice in one day without breaking a sweat. Why did I make it twice in one day you may be wondering? Well, it’s not because it was so delicious I finished it one sitting – don’t get me wrong, it was delicious – but, it was because I made a MAJOR snafu! If you didn’t know I am more of baker than a cook. The cooking thing is still fairly new to me and I have a lot to learn, like you shouldn’t substitute cooking wine for a dry red wine in any recipe. That’s why I made this recipe twice. The first time I used cooking wine in lieu of dry red wine and it was atrocious and incredibly salty. At first I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong, but, a quick Google search let me know. I believe I may have made this mistake once before with another recipe but, it’s not coming to me right now. At least I know for future cooking endeavors!

So, on my second go around I had a delicious dinner to eat and with the temps a little cooler in the evening it was quite comforting.

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A Quick and Easy Bolognese

  • Servings: 4 to 5
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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef*

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/4 cups dry red wine**

1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Kosher salt and black pepper

3/4 pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

*I used a 93% / 7% split

** I used Merlot

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon until the meat has lost its pink color and has begun to brown. Add in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Pour in 1 cup of the red wine, the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking finish the sauce by adding in the nutmeg, basil, cream and the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and continue simmering for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl and top with the sauce and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with extra Parmesan on top.

Recipe from Food Network

Mushroom & Sausage Quiche

Usually I add ground sausage to my Thanksgiving stuffing, this year though I was on the fence as to whether or not to add it in. As you can guess from this post I opted not to add it, but then the question was what to do with it. I could have frozen it and used it another time but then I remembered a recipe I had for a quiche that called for sausage and mushrooms, another ingredient for the quiche that I had left over from said stuffing. The recipe – Mushroom & Sausage Quiche – is one I came across in a cookbook I picked up years ago and ended up not using. While it was filled with many recipes most of them weren’t appealing to me except this one – which I ended up photocopying and then donating the book.

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I began by cooking the ground sausage.

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While the ground sausage was cooking I chopped up half a Vidalia onion and sliced half-a-pound of white mushrooms.

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After the sausage was cooked I transferred it to a bowl and wiped the skillet down and cooked the chopped onions and sliced mushrooms in a tablespoon of melted butter.

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Meanwhile in the bowl of my food processor I combined eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese (those of you not fond of cottage cheese don’t worry once the quiche is done you won’t even remember it’s there), flour and parmesan cheese and blended them until the mixture was smooth.

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I then stirred together the sausage, sautéed onions and mushrooms, the egg mixture and shredded sharp Cheddar cheese in a large bowl.

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And then spooned it into my pie dish which I fitted with a refrigerated piecrust.

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Following that I baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes.

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After letting it cool for about 10 minutes I sliced into it and enjoyed the every bite of it!

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Mushroom and Sausage Quiche 

Ingredients:

One 9-inch refrigerated piecrust, fitted into a 9-inch glass plate

One 1-pound package ground sausage

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 cup cottage cheese, 2% or 4% milk fat

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon hot sauce*

One 8-ounce package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

*I omitted this from my version

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Crimp the edges of the crust.

2. In a large skillet, cook and drain the sausage, and set aside. Wipe out the pan, and in the same pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until tender.

3. Place the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, flour, Parmesan cheese, and hot sauce in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Stir together the crumbled sausage, mushroom mixture, egg mixture, and Cheddar cheese, and spoon into the piecrust. Cover the edges of the piecrust with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from burning.

5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and the center is set. Cool for 10 minutes and cut into 8 wedges.

Parmesan Herb Loaf

If you follow my blog you know that I tend to try out a lot of Food Network recipes. It’s one of my go-to stops for looking for a recipe when I have something in mind and since I receive their monthly magazine it’s hard to resist the amazing recipes they include each month. Also included each month is a tear out booklet with 50 recipes designated to a specific thing… for the October issues it was 50 Quick Breads. And I was quick to try out one of those breads, the Parmesan Herb Bread to go along with the soup I posted about yesterday.

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To begin I caramelized two onions on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.

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Following that I whisked sour cream, vegetable oil and eggs together in one bowl.

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In another bowl I combined flour, grated parmesan cheese, sugar, chopped rosemary, baking powder, lemon zest, baking soda, salt and pepper and finally the caramelized onions. If you are wondering why the onions were mixed in to the flour mixture as opposed to the egg mixture it’s because coating the onions with the flour will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the bread. Hence they will be evenly distributed throughout the bread.

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After that I folded the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

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I then poured the batter into my prepared loaf pan – I lined it with parchment paper and sprayed it with baking spray – and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for 40 minutes.

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I let the bread cool in the pan for about an hour and then removed it and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

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Then it was time to slice it up… As you can see each slice had a nice amount of onions throughout it as opposed to just on the bottom. This bread was super simple to make; granted waiting for the onions to caramelize does take some patience but the end product is definitely worth it. It was incredibly moist and flavorful, it reminded me of Thanksgiving!

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Parmesan Herb Bread

Ingredients:

2 onions sliced and caramelized

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons chopped rosemary*

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

*The original recipe also called for 2 teaspoons of chopped thyme which I omitted

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang, and spraying it with baking spray.

2. To caramelize the onions, cook in olive oil over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

3. Whisk together the sour cream, vegetable oil and eggs in a medium-sized bowl.

4. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, grated parmesan, sugar, chopped rosemary, baking powder, lemon zest, salt, pepper and baking soda. Add in the onions.

5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 40 to 50 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

6. Let cool 1 hour, then remove the bread from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Tomato-Fontina Torte with Rosemary Crust

There is nothing like home-grown fruits and vegetables! When I was younger we used to always grow cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, string beans, strawberries (the only fruit with its seeds on the outside) and my favorite, tomatoes. I remember picking the tomatoes, rinsing them and biting into them like they were an apple. Unfortunately store bought tomatoes don’t invoke that same zeal in me. I strictly use those for sandwiches and salads. But, there is one store-bought tomato that does come close to that memory of my childhood… Heirloom Tomatoes. You may or may not have seen them at your local supermarket. They are usually not the perfect round tomatoes that many of us have come accustomed to seeing and they come in an array of colors – red, orange, yellow, green and purple. Recently I came across a torte recipe – Tomato-Fontina Torte with Rosemary Crust – incorporating these tomatoes and I knew I had to try it. It took visiting a few different supermarkets, but, I finally found decent heirloom tomatoes to use.

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I started the torte by making the crust… I combined flour, sugar, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper in the bowl of my food processor.

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After I pulsed it until it was just combined I added in 12 tablespoons of cold butter cut into small pieces and pulsed the mixture until it looked like coarse meal.

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I then added in eggs while the food processor was running so the dough could come together.

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After kneading the dough on a lightly floured surface I pressed it into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I then covered it and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day, while the crust was still in the refrigerator, I prepped the heirloom tomatoes by slicing them, spreading them on baking sheets and sprinkling them with kosher salt so they could release some of their juices.

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I also got my other ingredients together… shredded fontina and parmesan cheeses and capocollo.

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I combined the 3 cups of shredded fontina with 7 tablespoons (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon) of shredded parmesan along with a teaspoon of fresh chopped rosemary.

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As you can see my tomatoes did a great job of releasing their juices. I should note that I did let them sit for about an hour as opposed to the recipe recommended 30 minutes.

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After patting them dry it was time to start assembling the torte. I finally took the very cold crust of out the refrigerator and sprinkled it with a tablespoon of panko breadcrumbs.

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Next I topped the breadcrumbs with about 1/3 of the tomatoes and then topped the tomatoes with the capocollo.

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On top of the capocollo I scattered half of the cheese mixture.

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I repeated the layering once again.

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And finally I used up the rest of my tomatoes for the very top layer and then sprinkled it with a tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese.

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I placed the torte on a baking sheet and baked it in a 375 F preheated oven for 40 minutes. I wanted to be sure that the crust was completely cooked through so I dropped the temperature of the oven to 350 F and baked the torte for another 7 minutes. While the recipe did call for 35 minutes in a 400 F preheated oven I didn’t want to run the risk of over-cooking the torte at such a high temperature. And I am happy to say that my temperature and time adjustment was just perfect…

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I let the torte cool for about an hour before removing the ring from the springform pan.

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This was absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to make it again! There’s isn’t one flavor that overpowers the torte… In every bite you get a hint of the rosemary, the tomatoes, capocollo and best of all the cheese.

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Tomato-Fontina Torte with Rosemary Crust

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

2 1/2 to 3 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes

3 cups shredded fontina cheese (about 12 ounces)

1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese or parmesan cheese (1 ounce)

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 pound thinly sliced capicola (capocollo) ham, cut into strips

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Directions:

1. Combine the flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a food processor and pulse until just combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

2. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk in a small bowl. With the motor running, add the eggs to the food processor and process until the dough just gathers into a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until soft and pliable. Press the dough into the bottom and about halfway up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Cover and refrigerate the crust until very cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.

3. Slice the tomatoes and spread them out on 2 baking sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside until they release some of their juices, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the fontina and all but 1 tablespoon of the pecorino (parmesan) in a bowl; add the remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Pat the tomatoes gently with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon panko in the crust, then top with one-third of the tomatoes. Scatter half of the ham over the tomatoes, then half of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining 3 tablespoons panko, another one-third of the tomatoes and the remaining ham and cheese. Top with a final layer of tomatoes and sprinkle with the reserved 1 tablespoons pecorino (parmesan); drizzle with olive oil.

5. Transfer the pan to a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool about 1 hour, then remove the springform ring.