Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: Italian

Fusilli Pasta With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Fusilli is my favorite shape of pasta, and I attribute that to the thickness of the stands and the way it really grabs onto whatever sauce you top it with.

I have many ways of making sauce to top pasta, and this is just one of them.  It’s quick, easy, and delicious. 

FUSILLI PASTA WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 lb. Long Fusilli Pasta
  • 1 – 24 or 28oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (Half & Half works in a pinch, too)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Yes, you can use the powdery stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dried Pepper Flakes (*Optional)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan, add the oil, onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent, and if you like it the way I do, I usually let the garlic just begin to brown a bit.  Watch the garlic since it goes from nutty and browned to burnt in mere seconds.

Once done, add the white wine and stir to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano and parmesan cheese and stir well.  Place the burner on simmer and cover.   Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, add water that you have generously salted.  Cover and allow to come to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good rolling boil, add the pasta and stir to prevent sticking.

Uncover the sauce and add the cream, chopped parsley and basil, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.  *If you are adding the pepper flakes to the sauce, add them now and stir well. 

Once the pasta has reached al dente, immediately drain it and place it in a large bowl.  Remove the sauce from the heat and add this to the pasta.  Stir well and serve immediately.  This is especially good with some garlic bread on the side.

Enjoy!

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Sausage & Chicken Bake

The other day I decided to switch up my Sausage and Potatoes dish with a new twist.  I had some boneless chicken breasts waiting to be used and thought about what I could make with them.

I threw them all together with the sausage, potatoes, onions, and then added some roasted red peppers to the mix.  The final result was something my family truly enjoyed and a definite keeper.

Here is how to make it.

SAUSAGE & CHICKEN BAKE:

  • 8 Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage
  • 3 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 5 – 6 Red Potatoes
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion, cut into large pieces
  • 1 – 12 oz. Jar Roasted Red Peppers, with the juice
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Dried Basil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

 You will want to start the recipe a few hours before you are ready to bake it.  Overnight would work too. 

Begin cutting up the chicken breasts into equal bite size pieces.  Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag.  Slice the roasted red peppers into strips and add this to the chicken.  To the chicken peppers, add olive oil, garlic, onion, basil and the roasted red peppers.  Allow to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Leaving the skin on, cut each potato into equal size pieces and add to a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Cut each sausage link into 3 pieces and add it to the potatoes.  Dump in the entire contents of the chicken mixture to the potatoes and sausage and mix well. 

Add the entire mixture to a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for one hour.  After an hour, turn the oven to 400 degrees and remove the foil.  Allow to continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sausage browns somewhat. 

Once done, remove from oven and enjoy.  

Sicilian Pot Roast

They had rump roast on sale last week and I picked one up undecided what I wanted to do with it.  While I was searching through some recipes over at Tasty Kitchen, I came across one that had received all positive reviews and looked delicious, so I gave it a try.

It’s different than the typical pot roast I make with potatoes, carrots and onion.  I was looking for something different so this worked out perfectly.

The tomato and garlic really does something different to this dish in a very good way.  The meat was fork tender and the sauce was tangy and filled with garlic.  I added some thyme and rosemary to the dish, which the original recipe did not call for, but it turned out wonderfully.  Other than that, I kept the recipe the same way.

Here is the link to the recipe Sicilian-Style Pot Roast if you want to give this a try.  I highly recommend it!

I served this with some Roasted Potatoes
and asparagus.  It was a perfect Sunday dinner.

Enjoy!

Baked Stuffed Shells

 This is just one of my oldest son’s most favorite meals to eat.  And it’s simple since you can throw it together early in the day, or even the day before, and then pop it in the oven to bake for a bit when you need a quick dinner on the table.

I’m not going to go nuts about giving precise measurements for this dish because I don’t really have any.  I can give hints of how much of this and that I’ve used, but in all honesty, it’s really just something you can throw together without worrying about being exact with the amounts.  Most of how I cook is really me throwing this and that in together and seeing how it comes out.  If there were one area of my blog I could say I struggle with its coming up with precise measurements for recipes.  While sometimes I’m able to provide that easily, I can’t say it always works out that way.  Sometimes I just need to make something a second or third time before I publish it so that I can really focus on exactly how much of an ingredient I’m using. 

With that being said, use this as a general guideline of ingredients and measuring and don’t make yourself crazy about how much of each you use.  It’s food, folks.  We are meant to enjoy it, not stress over it.

BAKED STUFFED SHELLS:

  • 1 – Box Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 1 – 24 oz. Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 – 16 oz. Block mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Freshly Made or Store Bought Tomato/Pasta Sauce (roughly 4 – 5 cups)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

If you are making your own homemade tomato sauce, good for you.  There is nothing else in the world like it.  But, if you aren’t, use whatever brand you prefer.

In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, spoon some sauce across the bottom.

Cook your pasta shells for half the amount of time listed on the box.  You don’t want them aldente for this dish.  You only want to partially cook these since they will continue to cook while you bake the dish in the oven.  Make sure to salt the water well before cooking the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, add the ricotta, 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella, chopped parsley, grate parmesan and salt and pepper.  Stir together well and then spoon into a large Ziploc bag.  You may want to only spoon in half the mixture to work with and then refill it with the rest when you’re done.  It makes the bag easier to manage while you are filling the shells.

Once the pasta is done, strain it and rinse with cold water.  Once cool to the touch, begin filling each pasta shell with the ricotta mixture.  You don’t want to over fill the shell’s, but put just enough in each shell so that you can easily fold the shell so that each open end meets.

As you fill and fold each shell, place them seam side down in the baking dish.  Continue repeating until you have filled the dish. 

Spoon on some tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of the shredded mozzarella. 

At this point you can either place them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them, or throw them into the oven and bake them right away.

Place them, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and the cheese has completely melted.

Enjoy with a salad and some garlic bread!

Note:  I ended up with about 38 cooked and stuff shells.  I was able to fit 27 of them on the first layer of the baking dish.  I covered those with sauce and mozzarella and then added the remaining stuffed shells to the top of them, spaced out as evenly as possible, and topping those with sauce and shredded mozzarella as well.  You can do it this way with the extra shells that don’t fit into a single layer in the baking dish, or you can just make a smaller batch in a smaller baking dish.  Your choice.  Either way, nothing goes to waste.

 

 

 

Shrimp Scampi – Super Easy

This past Christmas, my sister-in-law gave me a subscription to Cuisine at Home.  I fell in love with this magazine immediately because it’s nothing but recipes, they are simple and very often fast, and they show detailed step-by-step photos for each and every recipe. 

The last issue had a ton of great recipes in it, and this is just one of them.  I have to tell you that this is by far one of the fastest and simplest recipes I have made in a very long time.  A perfect choice if you are short on time but want something delicious.

I doubled the recipe since the original version was for two instead of the four I was going to be feeding that night.  I also made the recipe in one large casserole dish vs. the two small individual dishes the recipe called for.  Their presentation was more aesthetically appealing, but I was going for feeding a family and making something that tasted great. 

If you buy the shrimp that are already deveined and peeled you can save a ton of time as well. 

The official name of this recipe is shown below.  But to me, it’s just Shrimp Scampi – Super Easy!

Broiled Greek Scampi with Parmesan Crust:

Serves 2

Recipe from Cuisine at Home April 2010 issue

  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Dill
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Bread Crumbs (*See note)
  • 1 Tbsp. Shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. Paprika
  • 10-12 Extra Large Shrimp, peeled, tails left on and deveined, about 8 oz.

Preheat broiler with oven rack 6-8 inches from the heating element.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in lemon juice, garlic, dill, salt, and pepper.  Let stand-off heat to steep.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, oregano and paprika in a small bowl; set aside.

Coast 2 6 oz. casserole dishes with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet.  Arrange shrimp evenly in each dish.  Divide butter mixture evenly between dishes and top with bread crumb mixture.

Broil until shrimp are cooked and bread crumbs are golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Let cook 1 minute before serving.

I served this with some rice, but next time I plan on doubling the butter sauce and serving it over some linguine instead.

Some changes I made; I didn’t add the oregano because I’m not a big lover of oregano.  It’s a little over powering for my taste.  I also did not use fresh breadcrumbs.  I used 1/2 seasoned breadcrumbs and half Panco and I plan to use that the next time I make it as well.  It was a nice combination.

This is definitely a keeper.  Enjoy!

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