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: parmesan cheese

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!

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.

 

 

 

Pasta Ragu

This is a super easy one pot meal to make for your family.  My daughter looked and said she wasn’t eating it until I had to tell her it was “Cinderella Pasta”.  When she asked why it was Cinderella’s Pasta I told her because the wheels in the pasta came from Cinderella’s pumpkin coach.  I was grasping at straws to try to get her to try it and I knew once she did she would like it. 

Really, it’s more of a ragu than it is Cinderella’s anything.  I made this with diced tomatoes, bulk Italian sausage and ground beef.  Let the ragu simmer on the stove while you boil the pasta water and you have a filling meal ready in no time.  And, okay, I actually used two pots, but one had boiling water in it so I’m not counting it.

Pasta Ragu:

  • 1 lb. Bulk Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • (1) 14.5 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • (1) 29  oz. Can Crushed Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 lb. Pasta such as Wheels, Penne, Bow Ties, etc.
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Dry Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Diced
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese *optional

 In a large and deep skillet, brown the pork and beef breaking up as it browns.  Remove it to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Without washing the skillet, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.  Add the meat and all other ingredients to the skillet except for the pasta and the mozzarella cheese.  Stir together well, cover and reduce to a low simmer.

Fill a large stock pot 3/4 with water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until just al dente.  Once done, drain the pasta, add to the skillet along with the mozzarella cheese and stir well.  Serve with garlic bread.

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe in the Saturday Swap over at Kim’s blog, Quit Eating Out

.
Check it out here for more great recipes!

Mini Meatball & Alphabet Soup

This is enjoyed by both kids and adults and you hear nothing but slurping when I serve it up.  In fact, I haven’t made this in a while and making it the other night brought comments from my four-year old daughter like, “Mom, this is the best dinner ever.”  Wouldn’t it be great if you got to hear that every night? 

The original recipe for this soup was inspired by the traditional Stracciatella soup.  Stracciatella in Italian means “torn rags”.  The soup got that name for the egg that is swirled through the soup and breaks up to look like torn rags.  If you don’t know it by now, I hate eggs. I cook and bake with them yes, but you won’t ever see me eat an egg in its natural state.  I cannot and will not and that’s just the way it is.  So I certainly have no intention of ever adding an egg to this recipe.  Okay, I did add it to the meatball mixture, but that’s different.

Also, in a typical Stracciatella soup you would add some shredded spinach, which to me would have been perfect.  However, my children have an aversion to anything green and it took awhile just to talk them around the parsley that was flecked in the meatballs.  Sometimes I will split up the batch of soup and add the spinach to half and leave it out of the other half.  And since spinach cooks up quick enough, you can always add it to your own dish before serving. 

Whichever version you choose, with our without spinach, this is a simple but delicious soup.  The recipe I’m providing below is a double batch since I always serve up one batch and then freeze the second batch for a later day.  You can cut the recipe in half if you want to just make it for a single family meal.  I serve this with some grilled cheese sandwiches and call it a night.

MINI MEATBALL & ALPHABET SOUP:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 quarts chicken broth (use low sodium or homemade if possible)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup dry tiny pasta such as alphabet, orzo, or other
  • few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Begin my filling a large stock pot with the chicken broth and water.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

While waiting for the broth to boil, mix up the meat, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, onions, parsley, salt and pepper.  Roll the meatball mixture into tiny meatballs about 1/2″ in size. 

Once the broth is boiling, add the meatballs carefully to the broth along with the pasta.  Turn heat to low and allow the pasta and meatballs to fully cook.  The meatballs will float at first, but will eventually sink to the bottom.   Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Once done, serve up immediately with some extra parmesan cheese sprinkled on the top. 

Enjoy!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

 

%d bloggers like this: