Pennette Lasagna


Pennette Lasagna

A couple of weeks ago, a coworker friend of mine brought me in some of his homemade lasagna and it was incredibly delicious. It took me a few meals to finish it as I like to eat pasta sparingly; however, when it was gone, it left me yearning for more, so I decided to make some and improvise with the ingredients I had on hand, which included pennette pasta. If you’re not familiar with pennette, they’re simply a shorter and thinner version of penne pasta, and have ends that are cut at an angle. I threw this together without doing a lot of measuring (and made a small serving), but am providing my best guesstimate on the amounts I used. To be honest, I was a little nervous how it would turn out, but much to my delight, it was truly scrumptious. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 container (around 11 oz.) of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup 2% mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic 
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups pennette pasta
  • 2-3 cups prepared marinara or pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 cup Mexican Style Four Cheese Blend

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta, cook for 8 minutes (they won’t be completely done but they finish cooking in the oven).
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. Mix together ricotta and egg, then add mozzarella, parmesan, basil, oregano, garlic and salt.
  5. Spray a small baking dish with Pam (I used a small 5″ x 7″).
  6. Put a layer of marinara in the bottom of your pan, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and then 1/3 of the noodles (lay them flat), spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles, put a layer of sauce on top of the cheese, add pepper flakes, top with 1/2 of noodles, repeat process again, and finish with remaining sauce and the Mexican 4 Cheese (there should be 3 layers).
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  8. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Pennette Lasagna

Pennette Lasagna

 

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Braided Spaghetti Bread


I loooooove bread and pasta, however, I try to keep my carb intake to a reasonable level. But, when I saw a picture of this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. The original recipe calls for using frozen bread loaf dough, which I found to be a little difficult (aka sticky) to work with, so alternatively, you could use Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheets to make it easier and much quicker (and cut down on the carbs a bit). With that being said, after I got the dough loaf thawed (which takes about 2 hours) and rolled out, everything else was a breeze. The end result was a delicious garlic bread filled with spaghetti and mozzarella cheese! So if you’re a carb-lover, you will truly enjoy this recipe.

There are a ton of other things you could do with this if you want to skip the spaghetti… pizza, reuben sandwiches, chili-cheese bread, etc.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf bread dough, thawed to room temperature, about 2 hours (I used Bridgford, but the original recipe calls for Rhodes)
  • 6 oz spaghetti, cooked (I used thin spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 cups thick spaghetti sauce, like Trader Giotto’s (Joe’s) Tomato Basil Marinara
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 egg white
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley flakes for garnish

Directions

1.  Thaw bread loaf to room temperature.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3.  Place loaf on parchment paper (not wax), and spray rolling-pin with cooking spray.
4.  Roll  into an approximate 12×16-inch rectangle.

5.  Cover with plastic wrap, let sit 10-15 minutes, then roll again.
6.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, cool slightly and mix with marina sauce.
7.  Place spaghetti lengthwise in a 4″ strip down the center of the dough and add the cheese cubes.

I added sweet Italian turkey sausage and sautéed onions to the sauce.

8.  Make cuts 1 1/2-inches apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2-inch of filling (as seen in picture above).
9.  Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling. Then braid strips left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid.

10.  Brush with egg white, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and parsley, as liberally as you like.

11.  Transfer parchment paper to baking sheet and cook for 30-35 minutes.

12.  Cool slightly and slice to serve.

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