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Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza
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This is a great recipe for the grill, but it can also be done in the oven.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza
Print Recipe
This is a great recipe for the grill, but it can also be done in the oven.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Slice the tomatoes in half. Toss on a foil lined sheet pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 425 for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the ricotta, pesto, half & half, and Romano cheese. Set aside.
  3. Heat the grill . Place the nan bread on the grill to toast one side (2 - 3 minutes). remove from the grill.
  4. Spread the toasted side of the bread with the ricotta mixture and top each bread with the tomatoes. Divide the Italian blend and feta cheeses evenly between the two breads.
  5. Grill covered for 7 - 10 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and the bread is golden brown.
  6. Remove from grill. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the shredded basil. Serve.
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Artichoke Lasagna

Artichoke Lasagna
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Artichoke Lasagna
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Bechamel Sauce
Lasagna
Servings:
Instructions
Bechamel sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes or so. Add the milk slowly whisking constantly to keep things smooth.
  2. Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Set aside in a warm place. If sauce gets too thick add a little more half & half.
Lasagna
  1. Cook the lasagna according to the package directions. Drain well and lay out on wax or parchment paper. Prepare the filling while the pasta cooks.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and mushrooms and cook another 3 minutes. Stir often during this step to insure everything is softening.
  3. Add the garlic and artichoke hearts and cook 3 minutes more or until everything is soft, fragrant, and lightly browned. Allow to cool before adding to the other filling ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pesto, and 1/3 cup of the Italian Cheese Blend. Mix everything together. Add the cooled vegetables and stir it all together.
  5. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Place 2 lasagna noodles in the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the filling evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle with a little of the remaining cheese blend and drizzle a tablespoon or two of the Bechamel over the layer.
  6. Repeat the process with two more noodles and the other half of the filling. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with sauce as for the first layer.
  7. Top with the remaining two noodles. Spread the rest of the Bechamel sauce on top and sprinkle with the last of the cheese blend.
  8. Cover loosely with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Check to see if things are beginning to bubble. If not cover and bake another 5 minutes or so.
  9. When the lasagna is bubbly, remove the foil and raise the oven to broil. Broil the lasagna for 3 - 4 minutes or until it is lightly golden brown and even more bubbly.
  10. Allow to rest 10 -15 minutes before cutting and serving.
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Sunday Gravy Casserole

I’ve shared memories of my father’s “Sunday Gravy, a classic Italian tomato sauce that was loaded with meatballs, sausage, and pork neck bones. Every Italian family has a recipe for this simple yet totally delicious staple.

Writing about my memories inspired me to make my own gravy. This was a few months ago and the batch I made was huge. Most of it found its way into the freezer and was promptly forgotten. I did create a braised pork recipe (check it out on my RECIPES page) that was the essence of the pork neck bones as I remembered them. Some of that wound up in the freezer as well.

Fast forward to this week when I was cleaning out the freezer. I found 3 cartons of beautiful red goodness. I knew they were all gravy, but I didn’t know what else was in them. So, I put the 3 ruby cubes in a pot, and let them thaw over low heat. What resulted was gravy filled with all three wonderful meats.

I cut the meats into bite size pieces and returned it to the sauce. I found a large package of extra wide egg noodles that reminded me of lasagna. These became the pasta component. A little ricotta, cheese, and herbs were added and Sunday Gravy Casserole was born. This is really a riff on Poor Man’s Lasagna. Just search by the title on my RECIPES page)

Every bite of this was filled with meaty goodness. There was just enough cheese to make it feel decadent. The noodles stayed firm and held their shape. It was too good to be eaten alone, so I sent a generous pan over to the “new parents”

Sunday Gravy Casserole
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Sunday Gravy Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until just barely done (1-2 minutes less than package directions). Reserve a cup or so of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  2. Heat the gravy and meats in a large saucepan until bubbling gently. Add some of the pasta water if the gravy seems tight. Keep warm
  3. Beat the egg lightly and add it to the ricotta along with the Italian seasoning. Set aside.
  4. Put the mozzarella in the freezer for about 30 minutes (leave the packaging on). This makes the cheese easier to slice thinly. Slice the cheese 1/4 inch thick.
  5. To assemble the casserole: spray a large rectangular baking dish with non-stick spray. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into the pan, spreading it evenly. Add half of the noodles and top it with dollops of the ricotta.
  6. Spoon another 1/3 of the sauce on top of the ricotta and noodles. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese blend.
  7. Add the remaining noodles to the casserole. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the other half of the the grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil and top with the sliced mozzarella. Return to the oven uncovered and bake for another 10 minutes. The casserole should be bubbly and the cheese should be melted.
  9. Set the oven at broil and position the casserole about 4 inches from the heat source. Broil until the cheese begins to brown and bubble.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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Calzone (a.k.a. Easter Pie)

Easter is a time for re-birth and new beginnings. Spring is here for the most part and life begins to move outdoors…finally. When I was growing up, Easter was a special time. that was steeped in religious as well as food traditions. Lent ended and with it all the fasting, abstaining and giving things up. To say there was a food frenzy may be a bit of an overstatement, but it was definitely a time for enjoying eating.DIGITAL CAMERA

I loved the Calzone.  We sometimes called it Easter Pie and it was baked on Holy Saturday, not be eaten until after Easter Sunday mass. It was filled with ricotta and sausage, with egg in every part of it. My mother and my aunt both made it and I couldn’t wait for Easter morning to have it. If I timed it right, I could have my mom’s and then go upstairs and have my aunt’s, too. They each had their own version, my aunt’s often having ham and hard-boiled eggs in it.

This is my mother’s recipe.  She would make it every Easter. If I was lucky, I’d have it again at Christmas when her side of the family served it as Egg Pie. Whenever it was made, it was one of the most satisfying dishes I’ve ever had.

Calzone (a.k.a. Easter Pie)
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Calzone (a.k.a. Easter Pie)
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Servings:
Instructions
  1. To make the Crust: Sift the dry ingredients together cut in shortening or butter, blending well.
  2. Beat the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk together and add to the dough mixture. Blend well. turn onto a floured surface and knead for one minute. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or so.
  3. To make the filling: Cook the sausage and drain on paper towel. Allow to cool. Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs, cheese, parsley, and cooled sausage. Stir to gently blend.
  4. Divide dough in half. Roll one half out on floured surface. roll to an even thickness that will fit in a 9 inch pie pan with some overlap. Place in glass pie pan that has been lightly greased.
  5. Spoon the filling into the crust. Roll out the second half of the crust and fit it over the top. Crimp edges to seal well. cut several slashes in the crust.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. Brush top with beaten egg yolk about 15 minutes before pie is done. crust should be golden brown. remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve for Easter breakfast or any time you'd like.
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Poor Man’s Lasagna

Poor Man's Lasagna
Print Recipe
Quicker, cheaper, and easier than the traditional version. Use what you like and/or use what you have on hand.
Servings
8
Servings
8
Poor Man's Lasagna
Print Recipe
Quicker, cheaper, and easier than the traditional version. Use what you like and/or use what you have on hand.
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine the ricotta, egg, garlic powder, parsley, Parmesan, and pepper. Mix and set aside
  2. Cook the pasta one minute less than the box recommends. Drain and set aside Heat the pasta meat sauce until steamy. Keep warm.
  3. Spray a rectangular glass baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Spread on cup of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer the prepared ingredients as follows.
  4. Add one third of the pasta. Spoon one half of the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta. Top with one third of the cheese. Top with one cup of pasta sauce. Repeat the above layers one more time.
  5. Add the rest of the pasta to the dish. Top with the remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  6. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. the cheese should be melted and lightly browned and everything else should be bubbly.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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