Monday, March 18, 2019

FARFALLE WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGES, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, & FENNEL

Here is a recipe that includes Italian sausages, sun-dried tomatoes, and fennel. Farfalle (pronounced far-fa-lay) translates to "butterflies". Get the onion, fennel, peppers, and garlic chopped up on a cutting board ready to toss into the skillet. Dinner in under 40 minutes!





2 T extra-light olive oil, divided
1 lb mild or hot Italian sausages

1 T sea or kosher salt, for the pasta water
1 lb farfalle (butterfly) pasta

1 large sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 T fresh basil, chiffonade or torn
½ t red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup red or white wine
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into bitesize pieces

1 bunch Italian parsley, trimmed and chopped
½ cup grated Pecorino Toscano or Pecorino-Romano cheese

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and fry the sausages for about 20 minutes over medium-low heat until brown on all sides. I put a splatter screen over my skillet to keep most of the grease from popping out on the stove.
Remove to a cutting board and discard grease and carefully wipe out or wash out skillet.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the salt.  
Boil the farfalle pasta for 10 minutes, until al dente.
Save 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.  

Drain pasta and set aside.

In the same large clean skillet add the rest of the oil and cook the onion, fennel, and peppers over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring as needed.  
Add the garlic and cook another minute. 
Add the wine and cook another minute.

Cut the sausages into ¼ inch circles and add to the skillet along with the sun-dried tomatoes.  
Add 1 cup of the pasta water and cook another 3-4 minutes.
Spoon in the pasta and add the basil, red pepper flakes and parsley.  
Toss to combine and add more pasta water, if needed.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the grated cheese and spoon pasta into 4 heated pasta bowls.
Serve with extra grated cheese at the table and a green salad...and of course a glass of vino rosso or vino bianco!

Serves 4





Saturday, March 16, 2019

CASA LASAGNE BOLOGNESE AL FORNO

I use a combination of Asiago and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in this lasagne. Asiago is similar to Parmigiano because it has a slightly nutty and sweet flavor. The Ragù is enough for two lasagne or enough for another meal or two with pasta. I start out making the Ragù one to three days before I assemble the lasagne. Many times, I freeze the unbaked lasagne to have another evening. Just remember to bring it out to defrost before baking. This style of lasagne is also known as Tuscan Lasagne.




Ragù
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
¼ lb pancetta, diced
2 lbs lean ground beef
½ lb ground pork
½ lb ground veal 
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 (13-oz) can tomato paste

4 T unsalted butter

2 cups whole milk
2 t dried oregano
8 leaves fresh basil, torn or chiffonade
¼ t nutmeg
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic 
until fairly fine; like a minced soffritto.

In a Dutch oven, add the 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook the soffritto over medium heat 
for 10 minutes. Spoon mixture into a very large bowl and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven over medium heat, add the rest of the oil and cook the pancetta until golden.
Add half of the ground beef and brown until crumbly, about 10 minutes.
As the meat cooks, break up any chunks with a wooden spoon into small pieces. 
Spoon into the large bowl with the soffritto
Repeat with the rest of the beef, then spoon into the bowl with the cooked vegetables.
Repeat with the pork and veal and brown; leaving in the pan.
Return the browned beef and vegetables to the pot.
Add the wine, stirring up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. 
Add the chicken stock, water, and tomato paste; mix in well.
Simmer very gently, partially covered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the butter and rest of the ingredients and simmer another 15 minutes.


Besciamella (Béchamel)

6 T unsalted butter
6 T all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 ½ t sea salt
½ t grated nutmeg

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foaming; add flour and cook, 
whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Do not brown.
Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil, while whisking constantly. Add salt and nutmeg, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and
simmer 2 minutes, until it thickens slightly.
Turn off heat and set aside.

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
Mix the above cheese together in a bowl.

1 lb fresh lasagne sheets


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


Spread a layer of ragù in the bottom of a lasagna pan. 

Cover with a sheet or two of pasta, a layer of besciamella, a layer of grated mixed Parmigiano and Asiago, and a layer of ragù.
Repeat 3 more times, ending with a layer of besciamella.

Sprinkle the last of the grated cheeses over the top.


Cover loosely with parchment-lined aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. 
Remove foil and continue to bake another 15 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 to 12 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 6 to 8










Monday, March 4, 2019

SEAFOOD GRATIN

Use your favorite seafood in this gratin. I used my favorites and my husband loved this. I made four and there were two left over for another dinner; just bake the two you don't want to eat right away for 10 minutes. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate for another 1 to 3 days. You can use bread crumbs but the butter flavored crackers are so delicious.


4 T unsalted butter
2 large shallots, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T all-purpose flour
1t dry mustard
½ cup dry white wine or dry sherry
1 ½ cups whole milk or half-and-half
8 oz haddock or cod, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in thirds
12 sea scallops, cut in thirds
Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper

3 T unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup butter cracker crumbs, crushed in a zippered baggie
¾  cup grated Asiago or Parmigiano cheese
1 t paprika
1 T finely chopped Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place 4 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the shallot and celery and sauté for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Stir in the flour and mustard and cook 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes; stirring often.
Stir in the seafood and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Turn off heat and divide evenly between the 4 gratin dishes.

Mix melted butter, cracker crumbs, cheese, and paprika in a bowl and sprinkle mixture evenly over each dish.

Bake in oven until lightly brown and the center is bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 4