How many folks still hold with tradition and have “Sunday Dinner”? Growing up in my house, a big dinner with family members occurred every week. Family time and lots of good food are Italian American traditions. Once I was married and had children, we didn’t always live near family members. I think this is a common factor today. As a small family we always had dinner together, weeknights and weekends, but they were not the typical big feasts of old. Sunday meals were not much different from weeknight meals, usually. I thought this week I would make a traditional Sunday dinner featuring seasonal ingredients and a roast – a pork roast. The only thing missing from this dinner is the first course pasta dish that we always had in the old days.
Herb-Crusted Pork Roast
One 3 pound top loin, bone-in pork roast, fat trimmed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon coarse or kosher salt
¼ cup minced herbs (I used sage, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and basil)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
Pat the pork loin dry with paper towels. Place the roast on a platter or in a baking dish. Rub the roast with the olive oil and press the herbs and salt onto all the sides of the roast.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours). Bring to room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place the roast on a rack that has been placed inside a roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the roast over and baste with 1/4 cup of the wine.
Return the roast to the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F. Cook for 60-75 minutes longer, turning the roast and basting it with wine every 20 minutes; reserve 1/4 cup of wine for the sauce.
Check the roast after it has been cooking for 60 minutes. Place a meat thermometer in the roast to determine if it has reached 150 -155 degrees F.
If not, continue cooking until the temperature is reached.
Transfer the roast to a platter and pour the pan juices into a measuring cup.
Place the roasting pan over moderate heat on the stove-top; when it starts to sizzle, add the reserved 1/4 cup wine and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up the drippings from the bottom of the pan.
Add to the pan juices in the measuring cup; let the fat rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Skim off the fat and season the sauce with black pepper.
Carve the roast into thin slices and arrange the meat on a platter. Serve the pan juices on the side.
Roasted Butternut Squash Puree
I prefer to cook the squash whole. Uncooked butternut squash is a difficult to cut through, however, after baking, it is very easy.
This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash a 2 to 2 1/2 pound butternut squash and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 90 minutes or until soft all over, turning the squash halfway through the baking time.
Cool slightly and cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. With a spoon, scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash the squash.
Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste.
You can make this early in the day or the day before. Reheat before serving.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 celery stalk including the leaves at the top, finely chopped
10 ounce package of frozen peas (or 2 cups fresh peas)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; add the onions and cook until tender. Add celery and peas.
Cook until peas are heated through (about 6 minutes). Stir in salt and pepper and serve.
Apple Rosemary Tart
One 9 inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (do not substitute dried) or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar; reserve.
Peel and core the apples. Slice them into ¼ inch-thick slices. (You should have about 3 cups.)
Place the apples in a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the rosemary or cinnamon.
Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle the reserved flour/sugar mixture evenly over it, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered.
Arrange the apples evenly over the flour mixture. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Moisten your fingers lightly with water and gently press the creases so that they hold together.
Dot the apples with the butter.
Bake the tart for about 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, the apples are tender and the juices syrupy.
Cover the tart with foil halfway through the cooking time, if the crust is browning too rapidly. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slide the tart onto a serving platter.
Just before serving, sift the confectioners’ sugar evenly over the crust.
You may recall that I posted recipes over the past few weeks for Butternut Squash Gratin and Braised Steak. Naturally we had plenty leftover, so I created a few new ways to use the leftovers other than just heating them up again.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- 2 cups leftover butternut squash gratin
- See recipe: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/10/03/what-is-in-season-in-october/
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups cake flour, Italian “00” flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
- Black pepper to taste
- 12 sage leaves, sliced
Combine the butternut squash gratin, ricotta, egg and salt together in a large bowl. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well with your hands.
Add the remaining flour — the dough should be sticky, but pliable enough to shape into a large log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.
To make the gnocchi:
Spread some flour on a large work surface and cut the dough log into four equal pieces.Take one piece and cut it in half.
Roll the piece of dough into a snake about 1/2 inch thick, then cut it into 1 inch pieces..
Dust the gnocchi with a little flour and push the tines of a fork into one side of the dumpling. Place the gnocchi on a waxed paper tray dusted with flour and cover with a dry kitchen towel.
To cook the gnocchi
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add enough salt to it so that the water tastes salty. Place a pasta bowl close to the stove
Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they rise to the top of the boiling water. You may have to do this in batches, so as not to crowd the pan.
Remove the gnocchi with a spider allowing the water to drain and place the gnocchi in the bowl. Continue until all the gnocchi are cooked.
To make the sauce
Heat the butter and sage together in a small skillet. Pour the melted butter over the cooked gnocchi, add the cheese and mix well. Garnish with black pepper and serve immediately.
Butternut Squash Turnovers
Makes 4 pastries
1 sheet of cold frozen phyllo dough, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight
- 1 cup butternut squash gratin, divided
- 2 tablespoons red onion, diced
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
In a mixing bowl, combine the butternut squash, onion, garlic, sage, parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Roll the pastry into a 12 inch square on a floured board. Cut the pastry sheet into four equal squares.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the squash mixture into the center of each square and brush the edges with beaten egg. Fold diagonally in half and press the edges with a fork to seal.
With a wide spatula, place the turnovers on a parchment covered baking pan. Brush the turnovers with beaten egg.
Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the turnovers are puffy and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Quick Beef Pot Pie
- 2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough, at room temperature
- ½ of the Braised Steak recipe
- See recipe https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/10/21/family-dinner-time/
- 1 cup of cooked potatoes, cubed
- 1 cup cooked carrots, cubed
- 1 cup frozen peas
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a mixing bowl.
Fit one pastry into a 9 inch pie plate. Pour the filling into the pie pastry. Cover with the second pastry and flute the edges. Make several slits in the top crust.
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbly.
This past weekend, I had friends visiting us from Switzerland. I wanted to make a special Italian dinner for them. One that was not a typical Italian-American dinner but a dinner with dishes that are particular to Tuscany; one of their favorite places to visit. Dinner was big hit.
Italian Red Onion Soup with Parmesan Crisps
- Parmesan crisps, recipe below
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 8 cups vegetable broth
Melt the butter in a soup kettle and cook the onions, covered, for 10 minutes.
Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Add the salt, pepper, honey and wine and heat until the wine reduces a bit.
Add the broth, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 2 hours. Serve in individual bowls garnished with the crisps.
Makes 6 crisps
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Do not use cooking spray.)
Mound 3 level tablespoonfuls of cheese in 5 inch long strips about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Bake until the cheese is melted, soft and a very light golden color, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the baking pan on a cooling rack. Do not disturb the crisps until completely cooled and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
Using a thin spatula or knife, lift the crackers from the baking sheet.
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Sourdough Cheese Rolls
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sourdough starter (at room temperature)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 cup grated Italian cheese (half grated parmesan and half shredded mozzarella)
- 2 teaspoons salt
Combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, yeast, sourdough starter, sugar, butter, egg and salt in an electric mixer bowl. Beat 3 to 4 minutes.
Add baking soda to the whole wheat flour and blend into the flour-yeast mixture. Add cheese and remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Switch to the dough hook and knead until smooth (5 to 8 minutes).
Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rise until double (1 ½ to 2 hours). Punch the dough down. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil 2 baking sheets.
Divide the dough into 24 pieces and shape into balls. Place on the oiled baking sheets. Cover; let rise until double (25 to 30 minutes).
Bake at 375 degrees F about 20 minutes.
Grilled Italian Sausage with Grapes
- 2 pounds sweet Italian sausage grilled and cut into 2 inch serving pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound seedless red grapes, halved lengthwise
- 4 shallots sliced thin
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons excellent quality balsamic vinegar
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the grapes, shallots and broth and heat.
Stir pepper and salt into the grape-onion mixture and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the grapes are soft but still retain their shape, 3 to 5 minutes longer.
Reduce heat to medium, stir in the grilled sausages, wine and oregano and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine is reduced and the sausages are hot.
Arrange the sausages on a serving platter and spoon the grape mixture over the top. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and serve.
Quick Creamy Polenta
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, if using water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup quick cooking polenta
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring the broth and cream to a boil. Add salt and butter, then while stirring, slowly pour in the polenta.
Stir until there are no lumps, then turn the heat down to a bare simmer. After 5 minutes, stir in the Parmesan and turn off the heat. Cover the pan until ready to serve.
Italian Style Peas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 ounces frozen green peas
- 1 tablespoon chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook about 5 minutes. Add frozen peas, and stir in stock. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover, cook until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes and serve.
Ricotta Cheesecake with Cherry Sauce
- Soft butter for the pan
- ½ cup crushed Amaretti cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds ricotta cheese, drained
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Butter a 9 inch springform pan. Sprinkle the pan with amaretti cookie crumbles to cover the bottom and sides of the pan.
Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the ricotta, orange zest and sugar. Mix to combine. Beat in the flour.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the amaretto liqueur and salt.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for about 75 minutes, until a light golden color.
Make sure the center is firm and the point of a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator until chilled, overnight or at least for 2 hours.
Remove the sides of the pan and serve with fruit sauce.
For the sauce:
Combine the water, lemon juice, amaretto, sugar, salt and cornstarch in a small pot. Whisk until smooth.
Add the cherries and stir. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
If you want to serve it warm, you may do so; simply let it cool until it is warm, not hot or cover and refrigerate to store.
Pining for a great steak dinner or celebrating a special occasion? A trip to s premium steakhouse will cost you the following:
Morton’s 3 course steak dinner for one is $150-160.
Ruth’s Chris price for just the cowboy rib eye is $50.
Gibson’s Steakhouse in Chicago – premium steaks average $40 to $60 per steak.
Dinner at less prestigious steak restaurants will be at least $90 per person.
If you make this special dinner at home, and I did, this is what it cost me:
Cost of a quality steakhouse dinner at home for 2 is less than $30 plus whatever your wine cost. These are prices for my area and the vegetables are in season and often on sale here
1 1/2 lb organic, grass fed French cut rib eye steak cost $22.50
Prices at the market this week:
$1.99 per lb for asparagus = $2.98 for 1 ½ lbs
5 lb bag of red potatoes on sale for $3.49 = $1.40 for 2 lbs needed for the recipe.
1 lb mushrooms were $2.49
Grilled French Cut Rib Eye Steak
This steak has several names, such as cowboy or tomahawk. The steak can be grilled over indirect heat or it can be baked in the oven,
It is a large steak and we will only eat part of it. However, I like having leftovers that I can use for a salad or a quesadilla later in the week.
- One 22 – 24 oz French Cut Rib Eye Steak
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
One hour before grilling, remove the steak from the refrigerator. Season it liberally with the salt and pepper. Let it rest at room temperature until it is time to grill.
Set the grill up for direct and indirect heat.
Put the steak on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid, and cook the steak, turning a few times during cooking. The steak is ready for searing when it reaches 115°F in the thickest part of the steak, about 25 – 30 minutes.
Brush the steak with some of the melted butter, then slide it to the direct heat side of the grill. Sear the steak until a brown crust forms on the steak. This should take about two minutes on each side, at which point the steak should reach 125°F for medium rare.
Remove the steak to a platter and baste i,t one last time, with the butter. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
Oven Baked Method
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add the steak to the skillet. Cook until seared and golden brown, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven..
Roast steak in the oven, turning halfway through cooking and basting frequently with the butter in the pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into steak registers 125° for medium-rare, about 15 minutes, or to your desired temperature.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board and and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Balsamic Sautéed Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- Pinch Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the vinegar and the brown sugar in a small cup and set aside.
Heat the oil and butter in a medium skillet and saute the mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper.
Turn the heat to low and add the vinegar mixture. Cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces to a glaze consistency that coats the mushrooms, 15 to 20 seconds.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears, ends trimmed
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Heavy duty foil
Lay the asparagus on a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then with the garlic and lemon zest. Pour the melted butter over the asparagus.
Enclose the asparagus in the foil and seal the edges tightly. Place the package on the direct heat side of the grill while the steak is cooking.
Cook the asparagus for 8 minutes, turn the package over and cook another 8 minutes. Be careful opening the package because the steam will be very hot.
Warm Potato Salad
- 2 pounds red potatoes, ppelled and quartered
- 1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt to taste
Place potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan covered 2 inches by salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
In the same saucepan, combine the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, capers, vinegar and red onion. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.
Add the drained potatoes and toss with the warm dressing, celery and parsley. Salt to taste and serve warm.
I belong to a community group that meets once a month. We have a potluck dinner prior to each meeting and everyone brings a “covered” dish. Until I discovered the Reynolds Pan Carriers, I struggled with how to transport my dish to the meeting. The Reynolds’ pans make the whole process so much easier. You can reheat the food in the aluminum pan, cover it, place in the carrier and then into the car. So much easier to carry it into the meeting also because the pan has handles.
Carriers are available in Lasagna and 13 x 9 inch Cake Pan sizes. These carriers are made with the same sturdy paper board used to carry 6-packs of beverages. Plus, the colorful design on the disposable carrier makes it attractive to place on the table.
Below is a video from the Reynolds Company on how these disposable pans and carriers work. A bonus recipe is included.
Below are some of the recipes that I have made for the potluck dinners and I have been asked to make again and again. Hope you like them.
Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
- One bunch broccoli rabe, washed and trimmed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, cut into one inch slices
- 1 lb orecchiette pasta
Cut the broccoli rabe into one inch pieces and place in a large Dutch oven. Fill the pot with cold water and add salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook the broccoli rabe for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Remove the broccoli rabe with a slotted spoon or spider to a bowl. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the garlic and olive oil in a large deep skillet Add the sausage and cook until completely brown. Add the cooked broccoli rabe and red pepper. Heat thoroughly. Add the pasta cooking water and the cooked pasta. Stir and heat for a few minutes before serving.
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
- 15 mini fresh mozzarella balls
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
- ½ onion minced
- Small garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1/3 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- Marinara Sauce
Place cheese balls in a plastic freezer container in a single layer and freeze at least 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 375°F. Line 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.
In large bowl, mix bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons of pasta sauce. Stir in beef, onion, salt, oregano and egg. Shape mixture into 15 (2-inch) balls.
Press 1 cheese cube into the center of each ball, sealing it inside. Gently place on the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Do not turn off the oven.
Place browned meatballs in an ovenproof casserole dish with a cover and pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs. Place the covered dish in the oven and heat the meatballs in the sauce, about 20 minutes.
Oven Baked Italian Chicken Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- One 3 lb chicken, cut into 10 pieces
- 1 pound package Italian pork or chicken sausage each link diagonally cut into fourths
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Juice from 2 lemons (about 4 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 4 medium baking potatoes, cut in fourths
- 2 green and 2 red bell peppers, cut into one inch strips
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into eighths
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with the olive oil. Place chicken in the pan, skin side down. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken pieces and scatter the sausage pieces around the chicken.
Bake 15 minutes; turn chicken pieces over and bake 15 minutes.
Squeeze lemon over the chicken, place the lemon skins in the roasting dish with the chicken and sprinkle the chicken with the minced garlic and oregano.
Add the sliced potatoes, onions and peppers to the pan and sprinkle with salt.
Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
Cover the pan with foil and bake 1 hour, turning the ingredients after 30 minutes.
Italian Pot Roast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 lb chuck roast
- All-purpose flour
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 container crushed tomatoes (26-28 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
Trim most of the fat from the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Season the roast generously with the salt and pepper and lightly rub with all-purpose flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the roast and brown on all sides, 10-12 minutes.
Transfer the meat to a platter.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir about 1 minute.
Add the wine and stir to incorporate the vegetables. Add the beef stock, the tomatoes, half the parsley, the sage, the bay leaf and the roast with any juices accumulated on the plate. Bring to a boil.
Cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer on very low, turning and basting the meat every half hour or so, until the meat is very tender, about 4 hours.
(You can also put the pot into a 300°F oven and turn the roast every hour.)
Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a cutting board, covered loosely with aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes.
Taste and adjust the sauce for seasoning, remove the bay leaf and stir in the remaining chopped parsley.
Cut the meat into thick slices and place in a deep serving dish. Spoon the hot sauce over the meat to serve.
- 32 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 16 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
- 4 cups spaghetti sauce
- 16 lasagna noodles, parboiled
For the filling:
Mix all the filling ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagna.
Completing the Lasagna:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Oil a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish.
Spread about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish and place a layer of parboiled noodles on top.
Spread one-third of the sliced mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta and then one-third of the ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella; top with another 1 cup of sauce.
Repeat the layers twice, then top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the top layer of pasta.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
Believe it or not, it is possible to eat and cook healthy with pasta. When prepared appropriately, pasta has many positive benefits in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and it can satisfy numerous dietary needs. Pasta is a great vehicle for enjoying other healthy foods that improve your diet as well, such as healthy proteins and vegetables.
The most important thing to remember about pasta is that when you prepare it at home, you have complete control over making sure it was cooked in a healthy manner.
Some tips on how to keep your pasta recipes healthy:
Pay Attention to Portions
First, we nearly always cook too much pasta. The USDA recommends 2 ounces of dry pasta per person, which works out to about 1 cup of cooked pasta per person.
Add Healthy Ingredients
Add sautéed broccoli, peppers, spinach or sweet onions to your plain cooked pasta and mix in a tablespoon of olive oil for a delicious side dish with your meal. Add garlic, herbs and grated Parmesan cheese for flavor.
Always Use Olive Oil
Avoid saturating the pasta in rich, thick and high-calories fats. This is obvious for Italians, but always try to use olive oil, an unsaturated fat, which assists with the absorption of vitamins.
Choose Lean Proteins
Add drained and rinsed beans, such as cannellini beans or chickpeas, along with the sauce. Other healthy protein options include lean pork loin, grass-fed beef, fish, ground turkey and chicken or lean turkey sausage.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 ounces green olives, such as Castelvetrano (Italian green olives), pitted and chopped (1/2 cup) plus extra for garnishing
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon drained capers, chopped
- One 2-ounce can anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup canned crushed Italian tomatoes
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the olives, capers, anchovies, jalapeno and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and the almonds and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 7 minutes.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 3 cups of the pasta cooking water.
Add the spaghetti and the reserved cooking water to the sauce in the skillet and cook until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the parsley, basil, lemon zest and lemon juice and serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with additional olives, if desired.
Linguine with Scallops
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 pound linguine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
- 1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper (chili) flakes
Toast the pine nuts in a large dry skillet until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the same skillet over moderately high heat until very hot. Season the scallops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and put them in the skillet.
Sear until brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and sear until brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove the scallops to a bowl and cut them into quarters.
In the same pan, heat the remaining oil over moderate heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the red-pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the scallops and the pine nuts.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta.
Add the pasta to the skillet with the remaining 4 tablespoons of parsley. Toss well and serve.
Rigatoni with Red Peppers and Spinach
- 12 oz rigatoni pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 oz fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
Cook rigatoni according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return pasta to the pot to keep warm.
While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Stir in onion, peppers and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté, stirring occasionally.
After 5 minutes, add spinach and continue to sauté until the vegetables are tender and the spinach is wilted, about 5 more minutes.
Add vegetables, reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to the cooked pasta and gently toss to combine.
Place in a serving bowl and top with basil and remaining Parmesan cheese.
Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Capers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup soft bread crumbs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed, plus extra for garnish
- One 1 1/2 pound head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (5 to 6 cups)
- 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
Bring a 5- to 6-quart pot of salted water to boiling. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, except cook for 2 minutes less than the time given on the package for al dente. Drain spaghetti and return to the large pot.
In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-low heat. Add breadcrumbs to the hot oil; cook about 3 minutes or until crumbs are crisp and golden brown, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 clove of the minced garlic; cook and stir until garlic is tender. Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the lemon peel and set aside.
In the same large skillet heat the remaining the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt; cook about 3 minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 teaspoon thyme and the remaining 2 cloves minced garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add cauliflower, broth and capers; cover and cook about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Stir in lemon juice and pepper.
Add cauliflower mixture to the cooked spaghetti. Cook about 5 minutes more or until spaghetti is al dente. Divide spaghetti mixture among six shallow serving bowls. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Garnish with additional snipped fresh thyme.
Chicken, Green Beans and Pesto Pasta
- 4 chicken breasts
- Flour for dredging
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1 pound of penne pasta
- 8 oz thin green beans, ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup of homemade or good quality prepared pesto
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese
Trim fat from the chicken breasts. If very thick, slice in half lengthwise to create two thin cutlets. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until melted. Add in the chicken and sauté until browned on each side and almost cooked through – about 3 minutes per side. Place chicken on a cutting board and slice into one inch pieces and set aside.
Add the white wine to the pan and simmer for a few minutes to deglaze. Lower the heat. Add in the stock and simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan and allow to simmer until cooked through.
Bring salted water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Add the green beans to the pasta pan for the final 6 minutes of cooking time.
Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain pasta and green beans.
Add pasta and green beans to the skillet with the chicken. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pesto and add the remaining to the pasta. Stir to incorporate. If dry, add in as much pasta water as needed.
Arrange the pasta on a warmed serving plate and dot with the reserved pesto. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.