Tag Archive | Pasta

Pasta Puttanesca

I put tonight’s dinner together in the 11th hour and it turned into an absolutely delicious Italian pasta dish – Puttanesca. This is a great fix for those nights when you realize your pantry has been filled with nothing “instant” – only ingredients to make everything from scratch.

Pasta is always an easy answer in these times, and after seeing Martha make Puttanesca on her show today, the powers that be started working their magic in my kitchen. I added in sun dried tomatoes for more flavor, as well as some spinach so I can get my veggie serving. This is great for a quick-fix meal and leftovers are already packed away for tomorrow’s lunch! Yummy goodness, I tell ya!

Pasta Puttanesca

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound bow-tie pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 3 anchovies, rinsed (optional)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 -2 cups baby spinach
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt boiling water and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovies, if desired, mashing with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and their juice.  Stir in olives and sun dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. If sauce gets thick, you can spoon in some pasta water to thicken it up a bit. Stir in spinach and allow to wilt down. Add pasta to skillet and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine, and serve with fresh Parmesan on top.

Adapted from here.

Meat Lasagna with Spinach and Béchamal Sauce

In case you couldn’t tell from my last post, today is a cool & cloudy day in my part of Oregon. What better day than today to share my *favorite* comfort food recipe – Lasagna!!

Oh, just looking at the gooey cheese dripping down the sides makes me so happy!

This is an adaption combined from my own recipe and from Giada DeLaurentis‘ lasagna recipe with béchamal sauce, in her cookbook, Everyday Italian. I replaced ground beef with a leaner meat, Elk, and added in a large package of spinach. It is a real crowd-pleaser and is wonderful as a meat dish or as a vegetarian dish (just omit the meat).

Meat Lasagna with Spinach and Béchamal Sauce

Béchamel Sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons for the lasagna
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk at room temperature
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Lasagna:

  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chuck beef or Elk meat
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pound lasagna sheets (I use the “ready to bake” kind)
  • 1 large package of fresh spinach
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Béchamel sauce:

In a 2-quart pot, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When butter has completely melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Continue to simmer and whisk over medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add the nutmeg and tomato sauce. Stir until well combined and check for seasoning. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

In a saute pan, heat extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the ground beef (or Elk meat) and season with salt and pepper. Brown meat, breaking any large lumps, until it is no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

In a medium-sized bowl, thoroughly mix the ricotta, eggs, and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine the béchamel sauce and the tomato sauce together. This will be used as your primary sauce when putting the lasagna layers together.

Into the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the béchamel sauce. Arrange the pasta sheets side by side, covering the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread a layer of all the ricotta mixture. Arrange another layer of pasta sheets and spread all the meat on top. Sprinkle 1/2 the mozzarella cheese on top of the meat. Spread another 1/3 of the béchamel sauce. Arrange the final layer of pasta sheets and top with remaining béchamel, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1/4-inch cubes and top lasagna.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place lasagna dish on top, cover and put on the middle rack of the oven and bake until top is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake for about 15 minutes.