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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Rigatoni Lasagna Pie


Rigatoni Lasagna PIe

One of the things I truly love about Facebook, aside from being able to stay connected to family & friends both near and far, is the food pictures and/or recipes which inspire me to get into the kitchen and try them out. Most recently, a childhood friend posted a photo of her rigatoni pie, and it was seriously so pretty, I had to try to make it for that reason alone (well, it also looked delicious). I searched online and found quite a few recipes, and went with two I wanted to modify. Since I knew this pie was going to be a bit labor-intensive, and in the interest of time, I decided to use store-bought pasta sauce instead of making my own, but by all means, if you make a mean sauce, go ahead and use that. I am thrilled to report that this pie turned out amazing and absolutely scrumptious!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rigatoni pasta
  • 1 jar (24 oz.) pasta sauce (I used Bertoli Italian Sausage Garlic & Romano)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
Fill up the springform pan with all of your cooked rigatoni
Fill up the springform pan with all of your cooked rigatoni
Ricotta cheese mixture ready to pipe into rigatoni
Ricotta cheese mixture ready to pipe into rigatoni

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente (12 minutes for my pasta). Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water and drain again. Stir in 1 tbsp of the olive oil and set aside. (This keeps the pasta from sticking.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Gently stir 1 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese into the cooked rigatoni.
  4. Stand the rigatoni up vertically in a greased 9″ springform pan, using the entire pound of cooked pasta.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and oregano until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Use a pastry bag, or put a zip lock bag inside a tall glass, and fill the bag with the cheese mixture. Close the bag and snip the corner of the bag and pipe a decent amount into each noodle (don’t fill all the way).
  7. After piping the noodles with the cheese mixture, carefully pour about 3/4 of the jar of sauce over the whole top and push down as much as possible. (I wanted to save some sauce to heat up and use later for leftovers.)
  8. Top with the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  9. Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has fully melted.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow it to stand in the springform pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the pie from the pan, then remove the sides.
  11. Slice the pie and garnish with parsley, if desired.

A piece of the "pie"

Rigatoni Pie

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Artichoke, Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna


I woke up yesterday, yearning to make a meatless/veggie lasagna. I have no idea why this particular dish was pinpointed as the object of my affection, but knew I HAD to make it. I perused some of my saved recipes, and came across a few that looked delicious. So, I took one, altered it quite a bit and came up with this one, which I thought was amazingly scrumptious. I tried to be conscientious of the exact measurements I used… hopefully, that’s the case 😉

Artichoke, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz.) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 (28 oz.) jar tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) container Ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (4 oz.) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled

Veggie Lasagna

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Put butter or olive oil in a large skillet and heat on medium-high.
  3. Sauté onion, garlic and mushrooms for 5 minutes, or until onion is tender-crisp.
  4. Stir in broth, rosemary and basil, and bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in artichoke hearts and spinach; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce.
  6. Mix together, ricotta, egg, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  7. Spread 1/4 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 cooked noodles.
  8. Add some big dollops of the ricotta/mozzarella mixture (using half) on top of the noodles, then more of the sauce.
  9. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with sauce mixture and remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top.
  10. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 10 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Cut Lasagna

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Stuffed Shells


I was very fortunate to grow up having a Mom who was (is) an excellent cook. And I know my passion for cooking and baking resulted from her amazing meals and desserts. Thanks Mom! One of my (many) favorites was her amazing stuffed shells. I think this recipe is pretty close to the one she used to make 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz. package jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 32 oz. container ricotta cheese (I use light)
  • 8 oz. finely shredded mozzarella cheese, low moisture, part skim (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
  • 4 oz. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
  • Pasta sauce or my turkey sausage bolognese

Directions

    1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
    2. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook for 8-10 minutes, drain.
    3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic until well combined.
    4. Put mixture in fridge for 30-45 minutes (which will make stuffing the shells much easier. You can skip this step if you choose).
    5. Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture and place in a 9×13 baking dish (you’ll probably need 2 baking dishes).
    6. Pour desired sauce over shells and sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese.
    7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45-60 minutes or until edges are bubbly.
    8. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan.

Enjoy!

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