Tag Archives: ricotta

3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s the holidays and we all know what that means..time to cook and bake, and eat all the delicious treats of the season..like this savory
3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon. Can we say yay?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s so easy to make with some store-bought puff pastry because who has time to make their own with so many goodies to make and presents to wrap? And delicious holiday food to eat?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s got a gorgeous crispy, buttery crust topped with ricotta and Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup and of course, bacon. Then it’s topped with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and some fresh thyme along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sounds pretty perfect to me. 

Roll Dough

First, defrost and roll out your dough. Cut 1/2 inch strips around the edges to double up to make a pastry border and brush it with egg wash. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

RoastSquash

Next, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder over the butternut squash, then drizzle it with some maple syrup and roast it for about 15 minutes.

Bacon

Cook that delicious bacon, drain and set aside to crumble on the tart later.

Ricotta

Whip up your ricotta with an egg, salt and pepper and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Add Ricotta

Spread it on top of the tart pastry evenly. (Repeat all steps with the second pastry throughout.)

Add Cheese

Top it with some of that luscious grated Gruyere cheese.

Top w/ Squash

Place the roasted squash on top along with the bacon. Sprinkle some fresh thyme on top.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Then simply bake it for 30 minutes on 375 F, then drizzle it with some balsamic glaze, cut into squares and devour!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash & Bacon Tart

Yield: Makes 2 tarts, serves 12.

Serving Size: 1 tart square (6 per tart)

This delicious savory tart features three luscious cheeses (ricotta, gruyere and parmesan) along with crispy bacon and roasted butternut squash and thyme. It makes a great appetizer for the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 14 ounces frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 packages butternut squash, precut into 1-2" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • Balsamic glaze, for garnish
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roll out 1 piece of puff pastry into a large rectangle. Cut a 1/2 inch border around the edges and place the strips on the edges of the pastry sheet to create a border crust. Prick holes around the pastry to avoid puffing.
  2. Beat 1 egg and brush the pastry edges and repeat same procedure with second pastry sheet; chilling both for 1/2 an hour in the fridge.
  3. While pastry is chilling, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Cut the butternut squash into small chunks and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
  6. Cook bacon according to package directions and drain on paper towels. Crumble once cooled and set aside.
  7. Reduce heat in oven to 375.
  8. Mix the ricotta cheese with one beaten egg, parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper.
  9. Remove pastry from the fridge and spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the tops of both.
  10. Sprinkle with shredded gruyere cheese and crumbled bacon.
  11. Top both pastries with the butternut squash and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed around the edges.
  13. Cut into squares after cooling on a rack and serve warm.
  14. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top and additional fresh thyme if desired.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/12/14/3-cheese-butternut-squash-tart-w-bacon/

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Gosh I love the holidays.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Wishing you a great one!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Now back to that tart I just made… 😉

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Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage & Summer Veggies

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!

Colavita

I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies. 

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Fusilli pasta with sweet Italian sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic. I sautéed everything in Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil with a splash of Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar for some extra sweet and tangy flavor.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage and Summer Veggies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8

This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
  4. Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  7. Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
  8. Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Notes

You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/08/05/cheesy-baked-pasta-w-sausage-summer-veggies/

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Colavita has a great line of Italian gourmet food, olive oils, vinegars, pastas,  condiments and other specialty foods, which makes them one of my favorite brands for quality Italian cooking.

Check out their Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest and Instagram pages for more great recipes and cooking ideas!

Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.

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Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans, Ricotta & Toasted Walnuts

Yum

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

Today was one of those days – rainy, overcast, dreary, and oh, Monday. I also had a ton of things in my fridge that I need to clean out and organize. What a better day than today to do that, and whip up something delicious with all those goodies that needed to be used up.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

I had a whole spatchcocked chicken that I had already grilled and roasted last week, plus a bunch of spinach, shallots,  some white beans and garlic. I thought I’d make a healthy and delicious Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans served in a silky, savory sauce made with lemon zest and juice, white wine, butter, olive oil and chicken stock; infused with red pepper flakes, rosemary,  aged Ricotta Salata and topped off with some toasted walnuts for extra crunch.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

It’s such an easy and satisfying dish to make and it’s super healthy too, with tons of protein from the chicken and beans, and vitamin c from the spinach and lemon..and the silky savory sauce is just beautiful – light and bright, perfect for Spring. I also used a whole wheat penne pasta for some extra fiber and nutty flavor to go with the toasted walnuts which give a super nice crunchy texture.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

All you need is a glass of lovely white wine, and maybe some crunchy toasted bread with olive oil and more grated cheese to go with it. And forget that the sun isn’t out today. And that it’s cold and dreary. And that it’s Monday.

And just be happy where you are, right here. Right now.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens & Beans

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

This is a light and bright lemony pasta dish with roasted shredded chicken, sauteed spinach, white beans, garlic, shallots, and rosemary in a light wine and chicken broth sauce with grated ricotta salata cheese and topped with toasted walnuts for extra crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 1/2 bunches of fresh spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine or dry sherry
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup aged ricotta salata cheese (or grated parmesan)
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (grilled or rotisserie)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed and toasted

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Wash and trim spinach, cut shallots and garlic, drain white beans, zest and juice lemon and set aside along with other prepped ingredients (broth, wine, half and half, cheese, rosemary, red pepper flakes.)
  3. Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute shallots for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Increase heat to medium high, add spinach, red pepper flakes and rosemary; saute together for about 5 minutes until spinach is wilted, but still bright green.
  5. Add the cannelini beans and saute, stirring together for another few minutes until heated through.
  6. Add chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and zest and continue cooking with spinach and beans for a few minutes. Add the half and half and grated ricotta cheese, stir to combine.
  7. Stir in the cooked shredded chicken and cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, keep warm on medium-low heat.
  8. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the saute pan with the chicken, greens and beans, adding the reserved pasta water and stir to combine.
  9. Crush the walnuts into small pieces and toast over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes in a small saute pan until lightly browned and nutty flavor.
  10. Serve the pasta in large bowls with additional grated cheese, toasted walnuts, and salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

This recipe calls for whole wheat penne but you can use any pasta you desire. You can also experiment with other types of greens - chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, etc. Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese can also be used if you can't find aged Ricotta Salata. Toasted pine nuts or breadcrumbs would also be great in place of the toasted walnuts.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/04/20/lemony-rosemary-chicken-pasta-with-greens-and-beans-ricotta-toasted-walnuts/

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Moussaka and Memories of Greece

Greek Moussaka

Classic Greek Moussaka is one of the most popular Greek dishes, and a staple “comfort food” and main course meal in Greece (as Lasagna is in Italy). This tasty Greek dish is a culinary delight to those who sample it for the first time, and I experienced it when I went on a trip to the Greek Islands a few years ago for my birthday.

oia greece santorini

Some friends and I were in Santorini, a beautiful island in Greece in the Aegean Sea with pastel colors and gorgeous views, eating at a restaurant in Oia called Pelekanos, nestled up in the hills overlooking the sea.

Pelekanos

The sun was setting, the relaxing music was playing softly in the background and the atmosphere was just perfect. The waiters graciously came over and attended to our every need, and made our dinner a spectacular night with their attention to detail not only in the food and wine, but our dining experience overall.

waiter

The table was elegantly set, with fine china, white tablecloths, crystal glasses and silverware with beautiful flowers as a centerpiece. The waiters filled our glasses with water and wine, lit the candles on the table and gave us recommendations of the specials and enlightened us on some of their popular Greek dishes on the menu.

Fava Bean Dip

As we joyously dined, they quickly cleared our plates when we were finished eating, filled our glasses when they were half full, and stood by the table a few feet away with a watchful, attentive eye, to let us know they were on stand by for service, but just far enough away to not be obtrusive on our dining experience.

table setting

They always had a smile on their faces and let us stay at the table long enough to enjoy our dinner, engage in great conversation, take photos of our food and engage in the gorgeous bright red sunset that was going down over the ocean as we sat and viewed it in awe. I felt like I was sitting in a little piece of heaven up there and never wanted to leave.

Sunset

One of the most delicious dishes I ever tasted was the Moussaka, which I ordered that night. It was a perfect mixture of spicy meat at the bottom, layered with potatoes and tender eggplant, and tons of béchamel and gooey cheese on top. The vegetables were steaming as I dug into this gorgeous meat and vegetable pie – my mouth watered at the sight and smell of it. I became so obsessed with this luscious Greek dish that I decided I needed to make it for my big Greek birthday party when I got home from vacation.

moussaka

Moussaka can be made in many variations, but the classic recipe uses layers of eggplant, potatoes, a spicy meat and tomato sauce with a touch of cinnamon and a rich and delicious béchamel sauce and bubbly kefalotyri cheese on top. Other variations are Moussaka with zucchini or artichokes instead of eggplant, ground lamb instead of ground beef, or vegetarian-style with zucchini, eggplant and potatoes without the meat. Either way you make it, with its warm and rich flavors and gooey cheese you’ll be hooked.

I made this recipe with zucchini and potatoes, and combined ground lamb with ground beef together. The combination of all the spices from the meat and seasonings soak into the vegetables and once you layer some creamy béchamel and gooey cheese on top, you’ve got yourself a delicious heartwarming dish. Be careful to pat dry the vegetables though before layering in the baking dish, as you don’t want the liquids to make the Moussaka too watery as they are cooked down in the oven.

You’ll need a lot of time and kitchen space to make this dish, and if you’re cooking for a crowd, you’ll be safe to double the recipe and make two large rectangular baking dishes of it, as it won’t last long. The flavors in this dish really improve if you 
make it a day ahead. It’s also a very filling dish, so you may want to serve it as the main course, and accompany it with a Greek Salad, some Stuffed Grape Leaves and Tzaziki for a light side dish along with some Garlic Lemon Hummus and grilled pita. Serve with a red Greek wine and a shot of Ouzo as an aperitif.

Oia Santorini
Oia Santorini

Moussaka and Memories of Greece

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • Zucchini/Eggplant Potato Mixture:
  • 1/2 cup Greek olive oil
  • 3 large zucchini (or eggplants), sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, sliced
  • Meat Sauce:
  • 3 onions, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves or garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup red Greek wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Bechamel Sauce:
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • 4 eggs; beaten until frothy
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Zucchini/Eggplant Potato Mixture:
  2. Cut the zucchini/eggplant and potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick. If using eggplant instead of zucchini, peel the eggplant first. Brown the vegetables quickly in 1/4 cup of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until lightly golden brown, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside.
  3. Meat Sauce:
  4. Heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are?golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground meat, tomato paste, cinnamon, cayenne, and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Pour off excess fat through a strainer and return meat mixture to the pan. Then add the wine, cooking until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato puree to the meat mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer over low heat;?stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Remove the?mixture from heat.
  6. Make the Bechamel Sauce:
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Make the white sauce by melting the butter?and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk until smooth. Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture,? stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove ?it from the heat. Cook slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest and ricotta.
  9. Assemble the casserole:
  10. Grease an 11x16-inch baking dish or casserole dish and sprinkle the bottom lightly with?breadcrumbs.
  11. Arrange alternate layers of the zucchini/eggplant and potatoes and meat sauce?in the pan, sprinkling each layer with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
  12. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top and sprinkle some additional Parmesan cheese on top. Bake 1 hour, or until top is golden.
  13. Remove from the oven and cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
  14. Top with additional chopped fresh parsley. Cut into squares and serve.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/04/06/moussaka-and-memories-of-greece/

  • Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen”, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.

 

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Rotelle with Sausage, Peppers, Spinach and Ricotta w/ Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

So it’s finally beginning to feel like Fall around here in the Big Apple. The temperatures have dropped into the low 50s and it’s been raining like crazy for days. Enough to make you feel a little bit down, but also the crisp air, wet leaves and grey skies kind of make me feel nostalgic and excited for the holidays coming ahead. (November is also my birthday month so celebrations are in order in a couple of weeks!)

Also this dampening weather is a great excuse to make some homey comfort food, curl up under a blanket and read a good book! I absolutely love Italian food and usually get a craving for Rigatoni Bolognese or Lasagna on chilly days like these. I thought I would do something a little different and make some yummy pasta with spicy Italian Pork Sausage, some bright and colorful peppers, a few handfuls of healthy iron-rich spinach, and a homemade marinara sauce with fresh basil, topping the pasta dish off with some fresh ricotta and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and red pepper to give it some extra zing (yes, I do like my food on the spicy side!)

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

It’s really an easy dish to prepare and after making my own sauce I can definitely tell a difference from store-bought pasta sauce, which this one puts to shame on all fronts! I bought some Campari Italian tomatoes that are sweet and little and absolutely adorable (I got them at Fairway on 2nd Ave but I’m sure you can find them at other grocery stores). And the homemade sauce is soooo good with the spicy sausage, savory sautéed peppers, onions, spinach and garlic! (And hey, a little bit healthier than a fattening super cheesy-baked pasta dish I normally crave!)

The fresh ricotta and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese give it a creamy, tangy contrast to the spicy, savory flavors in the dish. All you need is some crusty bread and a nice medium-bodied Italian wine such as Nero d”Avola (from Sicily and a bit fruity and herby), Barbera (from Veneto with hints of black cherry and licorice) or a Bonarda (from Northern Italy with hints of black fruits, violet and black pepper). If you prefer white wine, go for a Pinot Grigio or even a Riesling which is a little sweeter and a good balance for the hearty, spicy flavors in the pasta.

Buon Appetito!

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

Rotelle with Sausage, Peppers, Spinach and Ricotta with Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

I absolutely love Italian food and usually get a craving for Rigatoni Bolognese or Lasagna on chilly days like these. I thought I would do something a little different and make some yummy pasta with some spicy Italian sausage, some bright and colorful peppers, some healthy iron-rich spinach and to top it off, make my own fresh marinara sauce with some fresh basil, topping the pasta dish off with some fresh ricotta and grated Parmesan cheese and some red pepper to give it some extra zing (yes, I do like my food on the spicy side!)

Ingredients

  • Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce
  • 3 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
  • 1 pound Rotelle pasta (or sub Gemelli, Gigli, Fusilli or Festonati)
  • Sausage, Peppers and Spinach:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound ground pork sausage (spicy or sweet, you choose)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ orange pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese:
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/4 cup grated)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • A small handful of minced chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Sauce:
  2. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, and shock in ice water. Peel the tomatoes and cut in half, and de-seed. Place the tomatoes and sea salt into the large work bowl of a food processor and pulse on medium speed until tomatoes are finely pureed. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for a few minutes, then add the tomato puree and cook for about 25-30 minutes at a steady simmer (lower heat if it starts boiling), stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and cooked through. Add in the fresh torn basil and remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Note: If making the sauce ahead of time, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  5. Cook the pasta:
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add fresh marinara sauce and toss to combine; throw in a little extra grated Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  7. Make the sausage, peppers and spinach:
  8. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  9. Add onion and bell peppers to the bowl of your food processor and pulse at medium speed until chopped into a small dice.
  10. Heat olive oil in the sauté pan, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute on medium-low heat until lightly golden. Increase heat to medium high, add sausage and cook until well browned and no longer pink. Drain the cooked sausage mixture on paper towels and place in a large mixing bowl.
  11. Heat additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions and peppers until soft and onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add baby spinach and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Place the cooked veggies into the bowl along with cooked sausage mixture, add salt and pepper, fresh basil and stir together. Set aside to cool.
  12. Prepare the ricotta and Parmesan cheese:
  13. Stir together ricotta, salt, pepper and shredded cheese and stir to combine, reserving some of the grated Parmesan for garnish.
  14. Scoop some of the pasta and marinara sauce into bowls. Top with Sausage, Peppers and Spinach mixture and stir to combine. Top the pasta with a few dollops of the Ricotta-Parmesan mixture, minced chives and additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  15. Serve with some crusty Italian bread, a green salad and a medium to full bodied red Italian wine such as Nero d”Avola, Barbera or a Valpolicella blend.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/10/23/rotelle-sausage-peppers-spinach-ricotta-fresh-basil-marinara-sauce/

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

 

Click here to see a great pasta and sauce pairing chart at Chow.com

Click here to see a cool chart to selecting Italian Red wines at WineFolly.com

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Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Summer has quickly arrived and it’s that time of year again to shed a few pounds and hit the beach. I’ve decided to muster up some will power and started experimenting with a low carb diet with grand visions of lazy days on the beach in that bikini I need to fit back into. The bad news is whenever I decide to go on a diet, my brain automatically starts thinking about all the evil foods I CAN’T eat – pizza being one of the first things I start craving.

I decided to make a low-carb pizza using a parmesan garlic cauliflower crust. It sounds weird, but it’s absolutely delicious and healthy and a great substitute for traditional pizza dough when you want a healthier option to cut some carbs out of your diet (while satisfying your cravings for pizza which are absolutely NOT allowed when you’re doing low carb!) I’m absolutely in LOVE with spinach artichoke dip and thought I would make a lighter version mixed with some fresh ricotta, garlic, onion and parmesan cheese to top the pizza.

I found a gorgeous head of bright yellow Carnival cauliflower and simply shredded and chopped it into a fine crumble (you can also do this in a food processor or blender). Then I chopped up some garlic and threw them both in the microwave for about 8 minutes, then drained and let cool.

You simply need to mix in some grated parmesan cheese (or any other shredded cheese you like), an egg, garlic, dried minced onion, herbs de Provence (or dried oregano or basil), a few sesame or chia seeds (optional), some yeast, almond flour and sea salt and black pepper. Then pat the mixture on to a greased pizza sheet or Silpat mat, then bake for about 10-15 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown.

In the meantime, to make the luscious (and healthy) spinach, artichoke and ricotta topping – simply sauté the spinach with some garlic and olive oil, mix in some chopped up artichoke hearts (precooked), fresh minced garlic, ricotta cheese and shredded parmesan cheese, then top the pizza crust spreading the mixture in an even layer. Top with some additional shredded cheese (I used sharp white cheddar but you can use mozzarella or Monterey jack or any other cheese you like that melts well), and then scoop some light and fluffy ricotta cheese on top of the mixture and bake for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly.

In my experiment I found that you shouldn’t spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

Also, let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes or so before slicing it. Top with additional salt and pepper, red pepper flakes if desired, and grated parmesan cheese.

Devour. Repeat.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare the cauliflower crust ingredients and pat down on a greased pizza pan.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to get golden brown around the edges.

Pizza Ready For Oven

Top pizza crust with spinach artichoke mixture, shredded cheese and ricotta. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Let pizza cool down for 5-10 minutes and cut into slices.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Garnish with additional salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Devour.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Repeat.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 (or 1 large 9-10\" pie)

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 ½ cups shredded)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon sesame or chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon herbs de provence (or dried basil or oregano)
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Grease a 9-10” round pizza pan or place Silpat mat on a rectangular baking sheet.
  3. Shred and chop cauliflower into fine crumbles (either by hand with a large Chef’s knife or with a food processor).
  4. Mince the garlic and add to the cauliflower in a microwave-safe large bowl.
  5. Microwave covered with plastic wrap for about 7-8 minutes.
  6. Uncover, drain and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the next nine ingredients and mix together well.
  8. Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove the crust from oven and set aside.

Notes

In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

Spinach & Artichoke Ricotta Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 (or 1 large 9-10\\\" pie)

Ingredients

  • 1 parbaked cauliflower crust (see attached recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted (or 1 bag fresh baby spinach)
  • 1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted (or 1-14 oz can, drained)
  • 1-15 oz container ricotta cheese, divided in half
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese (can sub Monterey jack or mozzarella), shredded
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Place the spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 8 minutes on HIGH.
  3. Mince the shallots and garlic cloves and drain the spinach (pressing out extra liquids).
  4. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  5. Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the spinach for another few minutes, mixing all ingredients together. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  6. Microwave the artichokes in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on HIGH and drain. (if using canned artichokes, simply drain).
  7. Chop the artichokes up into small pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Add half of the container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.
  9. Stir in the spinach, shallots and garlic mixture.
  10. Drizzle or spray some olive oil lightly on to the parbaked cauliflower pizza crust.
  11. Spread the spinach, artichoke and ricotta mixture evenly over the crust.
  12. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and scoop out a few large tablespoons of ricotta cheese and place on top of the pizza.
  13. Bake at 425 degrees for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly and the crust edges are light golden brown. (Watch crust edges to make sure they don't burn).
  14. Remove pizza from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  15. Slice into wedges (or squares if making rectangular pizza) and top with additional red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.

Notes

In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

More pizza recipes you might enjoy:

Two Peas and Their Pod Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza

Real Simple Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

Gluten Free Spinach and Artichoke Pizza Better Batter

Recipe Girl’s Hawaiian Cauliflower Pizza

Closet Cooking’s BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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A LOVE-ly Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta Tart

Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta Tart
Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta Tart

With all the cooking I’ve been doing lately, I’ve decided to mix it up and experiment with some baking.  I’m obsessed with savory tarts and quiches – perfect comfort food for this cold Winter we’re having in New York. I also haven’t played with puff pastry too much, so I though a free-form Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta tart would be fun to make for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day.

This recipe is fairly easy to make and healthy with all the veggies loaded on top. The light and creamy ricotta base has lemon zest, thyme and fines herbs to give it a bright, fresh flavor. It’s topped with sautéed fresh spinach and artichokes with a little bit of garlic and chile flakes, and I also used a combination of two flavor-infused oils by Tavern Direct – one with Lemon and Pepper, and the other with Chile Pepper and Garlic to give it a little more kick. You could also substitute the veggies with some zucchini and yellow squash and some shallots or sweet potato with bacon and kale. The tart is topped off with four shredded Italian cheeses, then  baked to a flaky, golden brown perfection. I used a frozen puff pastry, which is convenient to use, but if you prefer you can make your own puff pastry dough, which is a bit more time and effort but delicious all the same – Martha Stewart has a great recipe on her site. This scrumptious, savory tart is great served with a green salad and a crisp glass of white wine.

Ingredients

1 15 oz container Ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tbsp fines herbes, dried
1 egg yolk
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil (can substitute lemon, garlic or chile-infused oils for more flavor)
3 handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 pkg frozen artichokes, drained and chopped into large chunks
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes (add more or less to adjust heat)
1 puff pastry sheet
1 cup shredded Italian cheeses (Fontina, Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella)
Kosher or Sea Salt, to taste
Fresh ground garlic and black pepper seasoning, to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Ricotta and Lemon and Herbs
Ricotta and Lemon and Herbs

In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, thyme, fines herbes, lemon rind and egg yolk until smooth. Set aside.

Spinach and Artichokes
Spinach and Artichokes

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add artichokes and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and saute until it begins to wilt, another 1-2 minutes. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and saute 1 additional minute. Remove from heat, cover with saucepan lid and set aside.

Floured Pastry
Floured Pastry

Roll out pastry dough and sprinkle with a little bit of flour. Score around the edges with a sharp knife to make a 1 inch border and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Garlic Butter Wash
Garlic Butter Wash

Melt the butter and minced garlic on the stove or in the microwave for about 1 minute. With a pastry brush, coat the entire pastry sheet with the garlic butter.

Ricotta Mixture on Tart
Ricotta Mixture on Tart

Spread the ricotta mixture within the border on to the pastry sheet.

Spinach and Artichokes on Tart
Spinach and Artichokes on Tart

Top with spinach, artichoke, garlic and red pepper topping.

Sprinkle Four Cheese Topping
Sprinkle Four Cheese Topping

Scatter the grated cheeses over the entire tart and season with salt and pepper or garlic pepper seasoning to taste.

Flaky, Buttery, Creamy Goodness
Flaky, Buttery, Creamy Goodness

Place the tart in the oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for about 5-10 minutes.

Slice and serve warm with a green salad and a glass of crisp white wine. Delectable.

Serves 6.

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Ricotta Gnocchi and Wild Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi di Ricotta Con Sugo de Funghi)
Ricotta Gnocchi and Wild Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi di Ricotta Con Sugo de Funghi)

As far as I’m concerned, gnocchi are little pillows of love, goodness and deliciousness. Especially when they are homemade..that is a true labor of love. It’s not that they are difficult to make, but definitely time consuming, but with a little patience the end result is worth the wait! Gnocchi (Italian plural for gnoccho) are basically homemade dumplings that can be made from flour and potatoes, or in this recipe made with ricotta, parmesan cheese and flour. These dumplings have a thick and creamy consistency with grooves for holding a rich sauce made with cream and cheese, or a chunky meat sauce such as a bolognese or a luscious wine and wild mushroom sauce made with porcini, cremini and chanterelles in the recipe below. The gnocchi can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer and then boiled just before serving with the sauce of your choice.

To make the Gnocchi:

2 c ricotta cheese
1 c grated parmesan
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
Sugo de Funghi (recipe follows)
4 tsp fresh tarragon leaves
1 c grated parmesan cheese

Ricotta and parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl combine the ricotta and parmesan.

Mix flour into ricotta and parmesan

Gradually stir in the flour, adding more if necessary, until a soft dough results.

Knead and form the dough

Turn the dough out and knead until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough becomes sticky while kneading, add more flour.

Divide and cut the dough

To form the gnocchi, divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 3/4 inch thick and cut each into 3/4 inch lengths.

Make ridges in the gnocchi with fork tines

Dip a fork in flour, and holding the fork in one hand, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines to form ridges.

Freeze the gnocchi for 30 minutes

Refrigerate the gnocchi for 30 minutes or freeze.

Cook gnocchi until they rise to the surface

To cook the gnocchi, bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, stir in 2 tablespoons of salt, and cook until the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well, toss the gnocchi with the sauce. Garnish with tarragon leaves and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Wild Mushroom Sauce (Sugo de Funghi)

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
6 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb. chanterelles or other wild mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tbsp tomato paste
4 c chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in Marsala wine

In a medium bowl, combine the dried porcini and Marsala with enough hot water to cover and allow the mushrooms to soften about 30 minutes.

Strain the porcini and reserve the liquid

Strain the porcini through dampened cheesecloth or a coffee filter, reserving the liquid. Rinse the porcini to remove any sand deposits and chop roughly.

Chop the cremini and chanterelle mushrooms

Meanwhile, chop the additional wild mushrooms and place in a large mixing bowl.

Saute mushrooms, onions and garlic

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the cremini, chanterelles and porcini, and saute until cooked through about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomato paste to liquid and mushrooms in pan

Add the tomato paste to the reserved soaking liquid and add this mixture to the mushrooms.

Add stock and bay leaves and seasonings

Add the stock and bay leaves, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and simmer gently until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Add the heavy cream

Add the heavy cream.

Reduce by half

Reduce by half, about 10 minutes

Until sauce is thick and creamy

Until sauce is thick and creamy..

and completely delectable!

and ready to serve over the gnocchi.

Toss the gnocchi with mushroom sauce

Serve the mushroom sauce over the gnocchi. Toss with parmesan cheese and tarragon. Serve with a green salad and a robust red wine. Enjoy!

Makes about 3 cups.

Recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education

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