Yesterday we helped Julie move into her new apartment. Then she joined us for dinner. I shouldn’t have, but I made a very decadent pasta dish, and we pigged out while watching The Princess Bride (for probably the tenth time). If you are craving a high-calorie, savory, down-home, soul-food kind of pasta dish. This is the one for you.
Sausage & Basil Baked Pasta
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz dry penne or ziti pasta (makes about 3 cups cooked)
1 lb fresh mild italian ground sausage
24 oz jar of tomato & basil sauce
15 oz carton of ricotta cheese
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
Boil pasta per package directions, drain and set aside.
In medium saucepan, cook & crumble italian sausage. Drain off fat. Return skillet to heat and add onion & garlic to sausage. Saute until onion is soft. Add tomato sauce, heat through and set aside.
In large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, and half of the mozzarella. Fold in the cooked pasta to combine well with cheese mixture.
Into a 13×19 pan, add half of the pasta & cheese mixture, spread evenly. Add half the sausage & tomato sauce mixture. Layer again with remaining cheese and sauce.
Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, until bubbly.
Remove cover, add remaining mozzarella cheese and place back in oven for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve. Makes enough to feed an army.
I’ve crossed off another project from my growing wanna-do list in my head this weekend. As you may have come to know through this blog, we like to make homemade pasta. A lot. Spaghetti, fettucine, ravioli, waddevah. It’s the food of the gods. Over the holidays, I ran across a fresh pasta hanger on Amazon and it looked so simple and easy to make, that I refused to put it in my cart. We have a gynormous wood shop out back. So I did a little recon and found what I needed already in the shop and… voila! Ye olde pasta hanger. I made it without glue, so I can take it apart to store easily in the cabinet.
Tonight I tried it out. So, here’s how it went down:
2 1/4 cups flour
stir / mix with a fork, blending the egg & flour crater from the inside out. You may not need all the flour. When the dough stands on its own, knead by hand for 10 minutes. Till it looks a like more or less like this:
Wrap dough ball in saran wrap and let sit at room temp for 30 mins or so.
Afterwards, I cut the dough ball into 3 equal-ish sided pieces, ready to put through the pasta roller.
I used our Kitchen-Aid roller, starting on setting 1 – ending on setting 5. Rolling and dusting the dough with flour several times on each setting. After rolling each of the three balls into a sheet at setting number 5, I cut each in half. I found that each of my six pasta sheets ended up making about 2 ounces of pasta – a serving. So 3 eggs + 2 1/4 cups of pasta yields approximately 6 servings.
Next, I put the fettucine pasta cutter on the Kitchen-aid
I hung each section on my new, handy-dandy pasta hanger. (Awesome!)
Then I threw the pasta into a pot of boiling water. I sauteed the other bits in a skillet with some olive oil and I let the flavor develop.
Tonight Monte made pasta. I “helped” by hovering over the stove while he was making a light white wine sage cream sauce repeating how hungry I was.
Homemade pasta is nothing short of amazingly delicious. We have pasta roller and pasta cutter attachments for our KitchenAid mixer that make the prep pretty easy.
He used Mario Batali’s recipe for basic pasta dough. You can find a version of the recipe here. He made a smaller batch (3 eggs and 2.5c flour) and kneaded it for 10 mins, letting it rest for 30 mins before rolling & cutting. Here’s the finished product. We cut it fettuccine size. Yummmmmmmm
Rob & Jen came over for dinner tonight. It was great to see them, it’s been a long time.
On the menu tonight: Homemade ravioli with ricotta & cheese filling.
Recipe for the pasta:
3.5 c all-purpose flour
Mound flour on a hard flat surface. Squish in the middle like a volcano- shape and add the eggs in the top of the volcano. 🙂
Using a fork, beat the eggs and grab a little flour on each stir. Keep doing this while trying not to let the eggs run out of the volcano until flour is incorporated.
Now it’s time to knead the pasta dough. Scrape the surface clean and lightly flour and knead for 10 minutes.
Wrap dough ball in plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins.
You’ll need a pasta roller, like this one to roll the pasta to the right thickness. We have a pasta roller attachment for our kitchen aid mixer (like this one) so we use that.
Roll the dough into rectangular strips about 5″ wide.
Recipe for the filling:
15 oz ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 T minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Place a row of tablespoonfuls of filling on dough about 2 inches apart on the lower half of the strip of dough. Leave room to fold dough over to cover the row of filling blobs, and room to seal each side of each ravioli square. Before folding dough over, lightly brush water along edges that you want to seal to form each ravioli (on all four sides of each ravioli). Then fold and press edges of each ravioli square to seal, while trying to get as much air out of the pocket before sealing.
Then cut each ravioli free.
Place in salted boiling water for 4 minutes. Scoop them out and serve with whatever sauce you crave.
I realize now that I should have taken pictures of how we made these bad boys. But I didn’t. Next time.
We’ve been anxiously awaiting some, *any*, rain at our house for the last 72 hours or so. In between weather radar checks, I cooked dinner tonight. And as we were finishing, the rain started falling — yeah!!
Pasta, Proscuitto & Peas
6 oz fresh pasta (I used linguine)
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 oz prosciutto, sliced into long thin strips (I trim off fat to throw it in while sauteing the shallots and garlic)
1/2 c white wine
6 oz green peas (i used frozen, you can also use fresh)
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz parmesan cheese, finely shredded
Boil pasta in salted water. Over medium heat, saute onions, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes til soft in butter, olive oil and trimmed fat from prosciutto. After a minute or two, add sliced prosciutto. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Add wine to de-glaze pan, stir and reduce by 1/2. Add peas and cream. Stir again for 2-3 mins.
When pasta is done, strain (saving 1 cup pasta water in case sauce needs thinning). Remove sauce from heat and place strained pasta in cream sauce. Toss pasta in sauce. Add pasta water if needed to thin sauce.